Floods of controversy, a free camp free-for-all … and a posh tablecloth!

Grey Nomads Weekly Mailbag

Halllooooo Mailbaggerrrrs!
Welcome back to the wacky world of the wildest Weekly Mailbag in the grey nomad universe. It’s been all go here at Grey Nomad Central since the re-design of our website but I am delighted to report that … the Mailbag is back! Thanks to all of you who have written to complain about this crazy column’s absence and to demand its immediate return. All I can say to you guys and gals is …. Be careful what you wish for!

Right then, to business. What’s been getting you hot under the collar of late? What’s been making you happy/sad/angry?  Trevor L took strong exception to our report speculating about what sort of an Australia grey nomads of the future would be travelling if the Climate Commission’s gloomy global warming predictions came true. He remains what one could politely refer to as deeply skeptical about claims that the sea level has risen 20 centimetres in the last century.

“All records show this to be blatantly untrue,” he thunders. “Yes, there has been some extreme weather events but nothing extraordinary or different than we have had in the past.”
Trevor says the real difference has been in the population rise which means more and more people affected when these events occur.

Daryl N is equally unimpressed by the Climate Commission’s conclusions
“The truth is out there” he said. “But you will not hear it from the government-controlled panel of experts.”
That told ‘em, Dazza!

Grey nomads and free camping

Free camping is one issue guaranteed to get you writing.

Well, the Mailbag has been on a bit of a break but the one thing that’s guaranteed to get the inbox bulging hasn’t changed … any mention of a free camping clampdown and there’s some serious steam being generated.

Our story about Esperance Shire Council deciding not to pursue the option of providing short-term free parking for self-contained travellers caused a significant stir.

“I am sick of paying high prices for the privilege of parking my van in a caravan park when not requiring the use of amenities, pools etc.,” said Julie D. “We even have our own power source. If we could pay a minimal price then ok but not $35 or more. When you are on a pension this soon adds up.”
Too true, Julie.

Alph reckons a bit of grey nomad power could change some minds.
“I know that it sounds awful, but if no one went to the caravan park and no one spent any money in the town I am sure the council would change or be forced to change if no money came in,” he said. “No petrol sales, no food sales, no laundromats and the list goes on.”

Maureen C was a little more conciliatory.
“Why doesn’t the council look at putting in ‘stop no longer than 48 hours?” she asked. “Coolaman Shire in NSW has the perfect set up. It cost $2 power for 12 hours … they were fantastic.”

Thanks for the heads-up, Maur. And serious respect to Coolaman Shire. Hopefully, more council will follow their lead.

Allen ‘the Just’ was fair-minded enough to try to see the issue from the caravan park owners’ pespective.
“The small parks we go to have expenses too and have to charge to keep afloat,” he said. “They, like any business, are there to make a profit otherwise there is no point.”
And he says we had better be careful not to drive them out of business.
“ We need caravan parks … not everyone can free camp indefinitely or are able to do so,” he said. “Also, the way the world is travelling, the security of a caravan park can be comforting to some.”
Indeed, Allen.

Now, our report about the poor grey nomad who badly injured his leg while unhitching his van in the rain elicited a sad tale from Sonjatilly … and proved once again that you really never know what’s around the corner (so we should all make the most of every single day!). Poor Sontajilly badly smashed her elbow after stepping in a pothole in Cardwell and falling over. She was taken to hospital by fellow travellers but was les than impressed by the medical attention she received … and eventually decided to  fly back  home to Melbourne.

“Lucky it was the end of our ‘Lap’ when it happened,” she said. “Just try not to get sick in north Queensland.”
And can I just add to that advice, people. Try not to get sick anywhere!

Right, our story about the South Australian authorities adjusting the fishing limits for King George Whiting sparked some revealing emails. The inference was that some grey nomads had been abusing the situation to take outrageous amounts of fish away with them. Brett W corroborated the rumours doing the rounds.
“I have seen evidence showing some people with two or more portable freezers filled to the top with fillets,” he said. “This is not resource sharing … this is greed.”

Obviously, this is a serious issue but I must say that – if nothing else – I do admire the angling expertise of these freezer-filling fiends. If I could gather all of the fish I have ever caught in one average-sized caravan fridge … I’d still have room for a six pack, a couple of bottles of wine, some frozen peas, two litres of milk and a bag of bait. But, at least I have never, ever, ever exceeded the legal fishing quota … and I suspect I never will!

Grey nomads posh tablecloth

Isa tablecloth too posh for life on the open road?

And finally, we had the temerity to run a story that actually questioned whether the grey nomads’ much-touted camaraderie of the road was still alive and kicking.
Your letters flooded in and the verdict was a resounding “YES!”

British visitor Lesley W was unequivocal.
“We only met one couple who were unpleasant, the rest were wonderful,” she said. “We made some long-term friends and one couple even invited us to their place for Christmas … we had an amazing time and hated having to return home to the UK.”

Ideas Woman also has no doubts.
“In our short time of becoming travellers, we have meet nicer people on the road compared to living in suburbia where you no longer speak to your neighbours,” she said. “We are back home now and not enjoying it at all!”
Now I hate to suggest anything to someone as proudly titled as ‘Ideas Woman’. But wouldn’t it be a good idea be to pack up and hit the road again?

And finally, Gary K seemed more intrigued by the picture accompanying the story which showed happy grey nomad sitting around a table than he was by the camaraderie debate itself.
“Jeez, a table cloth?” he wrote. “Talk about posh!”
A comment which actually got me wondering. Do we all have the genteelness knocked out of us by life in the road or do we retain some of our civilised ‘used-to-live-in-a-house habits?  What’s the ‘poshest’ thing you still do even when you are travelling? Drop us a line here to let us know.


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