The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

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Tassie Solos Rally 2017

This rally is the main reason I have been so slack doing my blog since ….  forever! (October last year, actually). I was the Rally Manager and all my energies and efforts were channeled towards creating a fantastic experience for our CMCA Solos Network members when we met in Campbell Town, Tasmania from 28th February to 6th March this year.

For those of you who follow my blog I’d like to explain that our Solos group are motorhomers that travel by themselves – it is not a singles club in that most of us are quite happy travelling solo and not looking for a partner. It provides a safe group of travellers that we can link up with as we journey around our beautiful country.

IMG_7341CT Rally 2017 web

Thanks to George Gatenby, Show Society member, who took this photo with his drone

It was a wonderful experience for me and I loved every minute of the planning, preparation, putting together a week long program and then seeing it come to fruition with the help of my Rally Team, some of the local residents and businesses and of course my sister, Marion who lives nearby.

We had 205 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes in attendance and about 225 people (some couples joined us as they’d heard how much fun we have at our rallies!)

The Campbell Town Showground was a great venue with big buildings and plenty of room for us all to park. It was ‘rustic’ – our main building was a 75 metre long sheep pavilion – and the smell of the sheep never really left it even with all the doors open. Here’s how I first saw it when I arrived in Tasmania in June 2016 and the Campbell Town Show was on.

Not long before our rally started the Show Society held a working bee, so this is what the pavilion looked like without the sheep!

And then we filled it up with happy Solos ready to party!

IMG_7346CT Rally 2017 web

The theme of the rally was Life is Magic so we had witches and wizards, fairies and fortune tellers dressed up for our night of Magic and Mystery.

A spit roast dinner was provided and the night kicked off with our very own witches dance that our members had learned and practised with our member/instructor Karin Kirk.

This was just one of the many things on our program. Here’s an overview of what we got up to during the week…. Programxls – At a Glance

One afternoon we had an Op Shop Fashion Parade where members unwanted clothes plus those from the local Op Shop were ‘modelled’ by some of our group. What a funny day! So much laughter even the townspeople were talking about it!

Our Skit Night showcased our talented members – or those who thought they were talented – and it was another night of laughter and friendship. Here’s our Line Dancers and our First Timers performing.

Before the main crowd arrived on the Monday we had a special dinner to thank our Volunteers and welcome our First Timers. You can’t keep a Solo seated for long when there’s dance music playing.

The local Solos Chapter, The Tassie Shearwaters, organised a great Fun Day for us.  Some of the activities were quite challenging but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.


Info Elaine


There’s a huge age range among our members and 2 of them celebrated their 80th birthdays at Campbell Town – Nev, our chief bus driver and Miss Information (or was that misinformation?), Elaine. We even found a special booth for her.


The local towns people were delighted with the boost to their businesses while we were in Campbell Town. Our mini bus ferried us back and forth daily to the supermarket and coffee shops and we totalled up our shopper dockets at the end of the rally and we had spent over $65,000 in town during the rally. This is a huge amount for the economy of a small town of only 700 people.


You can see it was full on and wouldn’t have been at all possible without our hard working volunteers and everyone who came along to have a good time. You made it happen!

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the many members who posted some of these photos on our Facebook page and I have ‘borrowed’ them to illustrate this blog. Contributors include Rosanna Grifone, Jenny McLelland, Fay Byrnes and Shannon Lightfoot.


Old Timers Mine, Coober Pedy

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There’s more than meets the eye in Coober Pedy!

Why? Because most of the town is underground! Its not only opal mines that are hidden beneath the surface…even if they didn’t find opals, those clever miners discovered that the temperature underground was a lot more bearable in the raging summer heat and also when they plunged to zero on cold desert nights. Coober Pedy is on the Stuart Highway between Adelaide and Darwin on a route first forged by John McDouall Stuart in 1858.

Coober PedyOpal was found in Coober Pedy on 1 February 1915; since then the town has been supplying most of the world’s gem-quality opal. Coober Pedy today relies as much on tourism as the opal mining industry to provide the community with employment and sustainability. Coober Pedy has over 70 opal fields and is the largest opal mining area in the world.                                                    Source: Wikipedia

Once known as the Stuart Range Opal Fields, Coober Pedy was renamed in 1920 and is the anglicised version of the Aboriginal words kupa piti, which means ‘white man in a hole’. How appropriate! The landscape around Coober Pedy is one of dry and dusty mine heaps but has its own appeal when you know that nearly everything is below the surface.

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In summer the daytime temperatures can reach around 50degrees Celcius, and in winter the overnight temperatures can plummet to around zero. The underground homes that have been built have a constant temperature between 23 and 26 degrees Celcius year round – no need for air conditioning or heating! You can tell how many rooms an underground house has by counting the ventilation pipes that dot the hillsides. We visited Faye’s Underground House and also had a look at one when we went to the Old Timer’s Mine. The rock they have been dug into is reportedly one of the most stable rocks in the world and shows no signs of movement after many years.

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The Old Timer’s Mine was a great experience as it walked you through the underground tunnels with loads of information about how the miners operated before machinery made their job just a little easier.

Perhaps the highlight of the underground lifestyle was the magnificent Serbian Orthodox Church. Look at the amazing patterns created by the machinery.

Serbian Orthodox Church, Coober Pedy

Serbian Orthodox Church, Coober Pedy

Our camping ground at Coober Pedy was behind the Clothing Barn and it was like a mini Solos Rally there were so many of us there at the same time. As you can imagine there were some great happy hours!

Coober Pedy South Australia

Happy Hour at Coober Pedy