Jeff's Walk





Diary/Notes/Thoughts/Photos for upcoming book

The Decision

                    Deciding to "do it"

May (beginning of)    At Beaudesert caravan. Heard ABC interview with Gulf to Gulf cyclist.
July        Make firm decision to “do it”

July-Dec    Plan route - research gear

January      Purchase camping equipment

February    Purchase radio


    Leave caravan. Visit friends and rellies as I made my way to Sydney. Drop in on Bill at Stockton where we talked about his recent contact with Janne Bidenko, who started the DeafBlind Association of NSW (DBA NSW) 18 years ago and is still the prime mover and president. Bill and his wife Lynn met Janne through the support they provided for their daughter Nicky who developed deaf blindness at an early age. Nicky passed away suddenly a few years ago, aged 37, and was loved and is missed greatly by all of us. Bill and I had discussed me meeting with Janne as I passed through Sydney to see if DBA NSW would like me to “carry their flag” and raise awareness and whatever funds I could while I was walking. When I got to Sydney I arranged with Janne to meet her at her place at Berowra, a suburb of Sydney at the northern end a bit past Hornsby. I went by train, walking the last kilometer or so with my full pack on for a “show and tell” meeting. Janne was there with her colleague Paula and another friend visiting. We sat and chatted and supped and drew up a hasty plan. I would now be “walking for charity” although I always explain the circumstances of “just going for a walk” as the primary reason for starting. We also arranged for me to meet up with a group of deaf blind members and their carers who would be on a planned outing to Manly, where I happened to be staying with my sister, in the next few days. I would have my full rig with me so they could see, or feel, the gear that I would be carrying. These photos are from the outing at the esplanade at Manly, Sydney.

     Janne Bidenko and I at Manly       The DeafBlind and their carers at Manly       Tried to get them all for a photo op
   I took this opportunity to visit Emily, my third daughter from my first marriage, who is a single mum living at Grenfell with her son Sam (13). The elder son, Jamie, is living in Sydney with friends while he attends a school there which can further his interest and considerable skills in athletics. Emily‘s first reaction to the walk was “I‘m going too“ and proceeded to try to make arrangements for someone to mind Sam for 3 months. But Sam wanted to go as well. Anyhow, I stayed overnight, and a day or 2 later Emily phoned to say that they could not make it and wished me good luck.

   March 30th    Purchase solar panel.

   March31st, April 1st

   Stayed with brother Bob and his wife, Barbara, in Cromer and caught up with their daughters Tracy and Debbie and their kids.

   Stayed with my sister Diane at Manly and did my usual few chores to help out with the lovely big old 3 story house and caught up with most of her offspring and some of her grandkids.

   Visited Rebecca (2nd daughter, 1st marriage), husband Joe and boys Robbie, Tom and Jake. Also Jamie, Emily’s older son (15) was staying there at the time so I caught up with him as well.

   April 2nd    Fly Sydney to Adelaide. Picked up  by Emma Gordon (DBA SA) and driven to Blind Dog office in Adelaide where DBA SA have some office space. Met Amanda, Blind Dog PR, who arranged to take photo for Adelaide Advertiser and journo to call me for phone interview. Article appeared several days later. Coffee. Met Craig Gordon who is blind and is employed by a computer company to provide phone support for Windows users. He rarely tells the customers that he is blind. He has nursed a desire to do a long distance walk sometime and meeting me has made him re-think some things but also made his desire stronger. Someday you might hear of me leading a group of bindies on a 7 day walk or something. Then with Emma to Craig’s mother’s place (also blind) to drop off some groceries and general “stuff”. Then pick up Emma’s children from school, Eddie, Millie and Rosie. Eddie is blind (10% site) and deaf (hearing aids). Stayed at the Gordon residence overnight at Noaralunga. Gordon showed me a few “projects” he was working on including landscaping the block which was predominantly bare but with some trees and some partly completed stone walls. He was also part way through restoring a 20 year old V8 motor car. Yes, he was doing this all himself in his spare time! Talked for hours with Craig about solar pumps, electricity supplies, programming (he authors the DBA SA web site), and some of the world’s leading problems. Craig was keen to  walk the first “leg” with me to Hawker, 100+ km, but declined the next morning after “sleeping on it”.

   April 3rd    I said goodbye to Emma and kids as they headed off to school and work at 8am. Then left with Craig walking from their house to the bus stop (remember he is blind) with him “leading” me with “watch the step” etc. We caught the public transport bus to the train station and then a hurried walk to the station as the train was due in a minute or 2. I had to purchase a ticket (Craig travels free on bus and train) and still keep up with the hurrying blind guy. We (or I) just made it as the doors were closing. We chatted along the way and as he got off at his destination he carefully explained where I was to alight and how to walk from the station to the Blind Dog office and thence to the intra-state bus terminal. All in all an interesting experience.

   Phoned Janne Bidenko, DBA NSW, and discussed progress so far and talked about media contact.
   Bus Adelaide to Port August. Departed 4:30pm and arrived approx 7:30pm. Taxi ($7. It hurt, as I am on a low budget and self funding the walk and I live on a Government age pension [and I am a bit of a Scrooge]) to the Shoreline Caravan Park, where I had stayed over the years on my car trips back and forth across the Nullabor. This caravan park is on the shores of Spencer Gulf and was always planned as my starting point. I booked in at $10 per night for a camping spot and use of ablution facilities for 2 days.

   I set up the tent and stowed my gear inside with no trouble. I had erected it once back on the farm when I first got it for a practise run and again at Bill’s place to show it to him. I settled in for the night and turned on the transistor radio and listened to the Adelaide ABC till I fell asleep.

     Read on. The next section is about preparations in Port Augusta.