The plan may change, but the love for life on the road stays the same

If there’s one thing that the last few Covid-scarred years have taught grey nomads, it’s been the need to keep their travel plans flexible and to be ready to react to events on the ground.

That ability to stay light on their feet paid off for veteran travellers David and Cheryl Muirhead recently when their plans to drive the Darling River Run were scuppered by floodwaters blocking their path.

“We just changed course and headed into Victoria to the Silo Art Trail instead and were delighted with what we saw,” said David. “After Victoria, we headed into South Australia to explore the wine-growing areas, and the three peninsulas … and we’re still there.”

The couple, who are in their 70s, are strong believers in making the most of every situation and in doing and seeing as much as they can … like recently enjoying a flight over Lake Eyre and the Maree Man.

free camp

And the Muirheads are constantly amazed by the wonderful things they come across.

“North of Whyalla at Fitzgerald Bay we recently came across a Shingle Beach Ridge, one of only three beaches like it in the world … the others being in Scotland and Egypt,” said David. “This ridge consists of millions and millions of small, well-worn stones forming a very long ridge about three/four metres high and 10 metres wide … and there’s also a great free camp beside the beach.”

enjoying life on the road

David and Cheryl believe in making the most of every moment. PIC: David Muirhead

The pair’s passion for camping actually started back in the distant past when they were first courting, and went off for a few days in a three-man tent and cooked on an open fire.

“Unfortunately, it rained all weekend and I had to try to cook our barbecue while perched under a small umbrella,” said David.

In 1984, the couple took off around Australia in a pop-top caravan with their two very young children. David and Cheryl have learned to make the most of every situation

“Unfortunately, our kids can’t remember this great adventure,” said David. “But later we bought ourselves a Jayco Swan and enjoyed many great trips before my forced retirement at the age of 55.”

The pair seized the opportunity presented by retirement to travel extensively overseas, but the lure of the Australian bush ultimately proved irresistible.

Sunland Patriot

Ready to roam … the couple travels in a Sunland Patriot Off Road SE-L Caravan. PIC: David Muirhead

In 2014, they bought a new Sunland Patriot Off Road SE-L Caravan, joined the Sunland Caravan Owners Group … and they were off. They have since enjoyed some wonderful trips, with adventures to Tasmania, Lawn Hill, Winton, Cairns, the Snowy Mountains, and the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers being amongst their favourites.

“Over the years we have added many enhancements/extras to our Patriot including 2 x 225amp lithium batteries, 3000w inverter, a DC/DC charger, 4 x 180 solar panels, a red water valve, a grey water tank,” said David. “We have free camped in a wide range of places and all of these ‘extras’ mean we can live off the grid for longer … we also have a 110-litre water bladder in our LandCruiser 200.”

And the adventure continues.

  • Have you ever been forced to change your travel plans … and ended up being glad that you did? Email us here to share.

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