Bob (aka dING)

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Grey nomad character travels with bees
Bob enjoys seeing the night sky when his tent is open

Bob (aka dING), 74, from Tasmania has been a ‘wanderer’ all of his life … and he always gets a real ‘buzz’ from life on the road

What do you travel in?
I used to head off on my mo­torcycle and sidecar. Nowa­days, I go in a Land Rover County 110 (‘86 model) and a tent. For short camps, I take a mattress in the back of the ‘Landy’. Since ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ stopped travelling, it seems a waste to go bigger.

Do you get funny looks?
I really don’t care much what others think. I just quietly do my thing and enjoy what I can.

Are you jealous of big rigs?
I never feel the need to get anything more fancy. I prefer simple cooking on a fire, and sleeping under the stars. You can’t make damper and billy tea on a gas stove! But nowa­days, I use a camp stretcher ’cause ’tis hard to get off the ground!

Ever had a caravan?
We travelled in a small cara­van for a while after the kids grew, and then bought an old Coaster and did it up a bit. We did half a trip in the Coaster before SWMBO got crook and we came home. She doesn’t travel any more

How long do your trips last?
Up to eight weeks or so once a year, and 5-6 week ones during the year. I travel when I get the ‘itch’, mostly locally and camp ’cause I like to see the stars at night and, if you leave the tent open, you can get out several times a night. You need that with a 74-year-old bladder!

Where do you camp?
I free camp ’cause I always have, and begrudge paying to stay in overcrowded places that I have stopped at for years and never had to pay to camp at before.

What are your hobbies?
Ham radio, computers, mak­ing whisky … and bee keep­ing. Obviously some can’t be done on the road but even bee keeping can be done while travelling.

You travel with bees!
I’ve taken the bees with me on trips when I camp out in the Leatherwood Forest. I can fit four hives in the sidecar on the bike or 12 in the trailer behind the Landy. I got pulled up a while back by the plod for not wearing a seatbelt. Musta forgot, I s’pose. Anyhow, I stopped and the officer of the law arrived at my window with his notebook. His hands started waving around all over the place and he said: “Are they bees?” I said: “Yup.” Then he said: “P*** orf,” and got back in his car quick smart!

Do you make friends as you go?
I met my best mate on the road between Normanton and Karumba in 1974 when he lost a wheel and broke the springs on his Bondwood van. We made up a set of springs out of a coupla springy sapling, and dragged it 60 mile or so like a travois. We are still mates to this day!


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