Location: Manning Valley NSW
Date: September 2007.

September 30, 2007. Yes, feeling better but not completely over the cold sniffles just yet. Nonetheless, I whizzed out to Old Bar at 7:30am, and arrived 20 minutes later. TT (my old Holden) is just a joy to drive on a decent trip on the open road... she bowls along with ne'er a care. I updated pics of the Kombis so check 'em out if you haven't already... or read on and click the link at the bottom of this item. 

Top right of the JAlbum screen you can select a slide show which works quite well. One of the Kombis was actually two, both destined for the wrecker according to the owner. It's now a stretched Kombi and even features a 60s cabinet stereogram in the back, decorated with one of those kitsch 60s table lamps. The thing looks like a wreck but obviously goes okay. Scroll down the owner's website and check out its history. The owner is also responsible for the twin-cab Kombi fitted with a V8 motor. Oops! I just discovered that it's a V6 with 350 horses, and to quote the owner: Yeah the ole girl boogies when the pressure's on. its quite a gorilla to drive, has a mind of its own. But I love it to death, owned it over 20 years now.

Another Kombi that has definitely seen better days was occupied by a couple of bearded and toothless villains straight out of 'Deliverance'. "You guys almost make the van look respectable." "Hahaha. Yeah, it goes pretty good... got a Nissan motor and radiator, and it's a good fishing van." "Cool. And it doesn't matter if it stinks." "Nah, hahaha." I shoulda taken a pic of the guys... I thought about it but decided not to. One of them looked distinctly anti-social. 

One of the old split-screen models in terrific nick was selling for $20 K. Whoa! I discovered that the record for the most Kombis at the one place and time (apart from the German factory, of course) is held by the Canadians at 489. From what I saw today, Old Bar won't break it... there were maybe 200-ish there when I left at 10:30am, and they were still arriving. Judging was scheduled for 2pm. I also took a few pics of a powered hang-glider that landed at the adjacent airstrip. A little later, a couple of light planes arrived and two choppers, but I didn't take pics of those. Thought about that too but... it would have been different if I'd been on the odyssey with a caravan in tow... I could have stayed all day. However, I was a tad weary and wanted to get home. I also took a couple of pics of the beach... almost deserted, everyone was at the show. Unfortunately, I missed the previous day's exhibition of antique and veteran cars, and the RAAF caribou was nowhere to be seen. Oh, well... As to taking pics of the market stalls and kids playground... well, same old, same old. 

Interesting to note that there were lots of young teens and early twenties there, all mesmerized by the older Kombis, especially the split-screen models. Jeez, those kids weren't even thought of way back then. Maybe their parents weren't either! My dad test drove a new one in the late 50s for his work but didn't like the side door arrangement or rear engine. He ended up with a BORING Austin. 

There was a reminder of my TV past at the Old Bar Festival. A bloke with a movie camera was filming some sort of doco about the Kombi gathering. He got a guy with an American accent to front the camera for an intro. "Yeah, that was good but we need a bit more enthusiasm." So, every time the guy did another take, the director babbled on about more this and more that, and don't forget to mention whatever. The American, with no script and not unexpectedly, began to lose the plot and get worse with each take. Meanwhile, of course, the director became increasingly frustrated. Yeah, been there done that. NEVER AGAIN! There's only one bloke who directs me, and you're lookin' at him. Click here for the Kombi-fest photo album.

September 24, 2007. Here's a piece I wrote on my other web site:

Gorgeous spring day and I should be out somewhere. Should be... So why aren't I? A teacher once said of me when I was a kid, "Gary, you have an excuse for everything." Nuff said. One of these days, forests, beaches, deserts, rivers, large and small towns, and all kinds of fascinating places will be just outside my front door...something different every other day or week. Yeah? So I'll be able to combine laziness with adventure. :o) Besides, this A to B and back to A business irritates me. When I arrive at B I wanna stay there for as long as I want. Next stop? C.

As a young fella, I caught the 8am train to arrive at work just before 9am. Two hours a day traveling, ten hours a week, 520 hours a year (less vacation). That's over 20 days per annum, almost 3 weeks, sitting in a train and staring out the window at the same old, same old. What a waste!

OLD STUFF - pre Odyssey

I rummaged through a bunch of pics taken during the past 5 years or so around the Manning area. The Manning set contains pics of Taree city (including some derelict buildings that have since been demolished or are undergoing renovation), my dog Kelly, Tough Titties my faithful 1971 chariot (HQ Holden), a bottle brush in bloom, local beaches at Old Bar, Wallabi and Blackhead, my heart attack at age 58 back in 2002, the harbor at Tuncurry, a Vampire jet at nearby Wingham and Bluey the garden dinosaur. 

The Stephanie series contains a few pics of my talented Aboriginal neighbor's artwork. She's a clever girl! And I speak daily with her 3 sons at my front gate on their way to the school bus. Lovely boys and a credit to their mom. 

Back in 2003 (I think) I took a ride on a wonderful steam locomotive from Taree to Wingham and return. That was a fantastic experience, even just to hear the choof-choof-choof of the steam engine and the whistle tooting at observers gathered at the roadside. A special day! If you get a chance to ride one of those things, don't miss it! 

Some years ago, I attended a vintage Holdens show at Wingham. Yeah, I fondly remember those early Holdens buzzing the streets of Sydney when I was a kid. These are the first FXs and the later FJs, all from the late 40s to the early/mid 50s. Speaking of which, anyone interested in an old late 30s Chevrolet? Gorgeous old thing. My uncle had one and I thought it was a palace on wheels. 

August 25, 2007. Took a wander down the road to check out the Taree Hot Rod show, held by the banks of the Manning River in Queen Elizabeth Park. Cars come from far and wide, including Queensland. 


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