West Australia Re-visited

Day 1007 Tuesday 16th July

Our stop was Madura roadhouse for the night where we had a great camp with a couple of other nomads. Upon riding into the camp ground we were greeted with a sign that read ‘beware of snakes and spiders, ‘they may be harmful’! Camping close to a lean-to shelter to keep the bikes dry, the tent was pitched by an electric outlet. While we carefully set the tent out with full guy ropes as we feared winds may increase during the night and fracture our delicate, well worn poles, Our nomad friends came over and invited us in for a drink of home made scotch. As neither of us had much in the way of food due to the harsh quarantine laws in entering W.A. We bottled out and bought a seafeed basket of fried fish and fries. While the food was satisfying we both had feeling of too much cooking oil that tasted that it was many days/weeks overdue for a change. During the tent erection a largish blue spider with red ‘eyes’ walked purposefully across our area, while I got the camera to take its picture Diane stamped on it, showing a huge amount of mining camp etiquette, if you don’t know what it is, kill it before it gets the chance to harm or kill you.

Day 1008 Wednesday 17th July

Wanting to stay but having to move on we left by mid-morning. With our food being scarce we had scrambled eggs and toast,with no tea as four bucks a mug was too much for our purse. Having no idea of time as we had left SA time into central Australian time and then into WA time, but it was still light!! We rode off into a horrendous head and side wind of at least fifty km’s an hour, managing to cover ninety clicks we pulled over at a roadhouse to be to told of a huge fee for a room so we headed on a further sixty km for a reasonable priced room. While warming by a wood fire while the room was arranged by a very short tempered lady with a sharp manner, a fellow traveller told of the wind from the west was bringing in a storm which he had out run from

Norseman. Asking the owner of the weather he said “Don’t give much heed to it, it can blow through in a day or stay for a week, no mountains means the radar knows shit as far as we are concerned”. Giving my faith to the satellites and our informers knowledge we bunkered down for the night. The promised storm came in and continued to blow with much rain most of the night. The bikes were parked under a laundry drying area, safe from the wet but not the wind, our roll bags were tied down firm before we headed off to hot vegetable soup with our distillery friends from Madura camp.

Day 1009 Thursday 18th July

The sky all around was a mixture of dark and stormy or promising blue and sunshine. Not being able to make a decision on whether it was better to stay or move ever westward, as you only know what is down the road by travelling it we moved out. The cloud in our mirrors was dark and the one ahead was not much better but the rain, more or less, held off till we reached the Balladonia roadhouse. For the last twenty or thirty clicks Diane had felt progressively worse, and after filling our fuel tanks she was on the verge of collapse so we asked for a room. When we had the key to the cheapest backpacker room it resembled a glorified kennel so I coughed up more dollars than we wanted for a very pleasant room for her to recuperate in.

When I got back to the kennel she was pulling at the door edges saying “have you got the key”? “No I said, its on the bunk”. The wind had caught the offending door and had closed it when her back was turned to set a nice bench outside the kennel to sit upon. Bugger!

Setting herself in a warm bed with a cooler one bar electric fire ‘raging’ on the wall, I went to put the bikes to bed under cover from the promised rain. The site maintenance man was on leave till tomorrow so I set to gaining an entry to the kennel to free our helmets and gloves so maybe we could be able to move in the morning. The door had a kind of cat flap door tech screwed shut at the base of it so with a shifter these were removed and I could just about reach the door latch after stretching out my arm to the point of cutting off the blood supply to my hand, oh the things you do for love…..

With key and our gear recovered I headed off from the kennel for a well deserved juicy bone. (some of your minds are like a sewer, Diane was poorly)

I bought some health giving potato fries to feed our protein and green leafed starved guts a feed of fatty foods.

Day 1010 Friday 19th July

Riding out with blue sky asking to be played with and a cold wind asking to be ignored we set out to make Kalgoorlie, the wet had made the gum trees smell of eucalyptus and the grass sprout green in the road side verges, despite it being winter life was still showing signs of not giving in to the cold.

At Norseman we stopped for gas, a wood fire in the road house made us want to stop and drive the the cold from our bones but we feared the warm would make us tarry so we carried on to Kal.

Making the city limits after four and a half hours riding a hotel was found in the centre of town. Certain that the illness in Diane was due to lack of food we bought and cooked tuna pasta with hectic hot chillies and felt much better. Enjoying a glass of red wine with the two other guests as the sun sank we felt sad but relived to be in Kalgoorlie after the Nullarbor experience.

Day 1011 Saturday 20th July

Our morning was an enjoyable three hour visit to the towns museum, ranging from mining gold to the Antarctic expedition’s to the frozen south. And a walk around the shops before they closed at one pm. Bit like my home town thirty years ago!

We sat in a bar for a couple of pints and watched wide eyed at the ‘skimpies” serving the red dirt stained miners with a few beers before they headed home. (‘skimpies’) well use with yer head, young girls undressed in fishnets and bras, or even less, or even nothing at all on Sundays…

Day 1012 Sunday 21st July

Waking late we spent the day having a walk about town in the afternoon I looked through a few bar windows but saw no raw flesh before my attention was bought down to earth by herself….

Wanting to move today but feeling weary we stayed another night, aiming to head out in the early morning.

Day 1013 Monday 22nd July

After finding the janitor to open the garage door we packed up an left at seven am into a cold clear sky. Heading to the super pit for pictures of the worlds most famous open cast gold mine derived from many tens of individual private prospectors long since dead from the eighteen hundreds. Some found great wealth, some found misery, poverty, hunger and thirst. After thirty minuets of pictures and reading of the history of the pit we headed down the gravel track to the tar that lead west.

The only good thing that kept us going was that we were heading to our friends in Bullsbrook, Colm, Sandra and family. At Northam we stopped for gas, as we had travelled five hundred clicks we thought we were close. The lady at the bottle shop said that we were a hundred or more km from our goal. We slogged on through the most delightful wine growing country that we had seen for many a month.

Arriving at lot two hundred and eight, felt like coming home, this is where we left from to head north a few short months ago.

Day 1027 Monday 5th August

We tore ourselves away from this haven where we had rip sawed wood and split it for the fire, serviced the KTM with a big service of valve clearances and more!! This ideal spot of serendipity was very much appreciated but now after two weeks we needed to head to the frozen south to sort out work in Mandurah.

Colm and Sandra said we should stay and go on till Wednesday or later, while the offer was gold smothered in honey we left and rode south.

The ride was long in our heads but just over an hour saw us at the caravan park we had chosen when we were in Alice Springs, many moons ago.

Our cabin was not ready for a day or so we agreed to pitch the tent and wait. The forecast was told to us by a guy who worked on the camp, he advised of where to pitch. The sky was leaden and I was very worried about the bikes being out in the wet. The owner came by and said we could put the bikes under a carport, but it would be a long way from us. Asking where the shelter was we were told that’s your cabin, when its cleaned. So after sixty seconds of chat we were tent pitched under a roof carport, with bikes dry to.

Day 1028 Tuesday 6th August

Our cabin was cleaned in the morning and we took an hour to move in and make it home. It was an excellent caravan park which gave us all we could wish for. Maybe a games room would have been a good addition as a gathering point for the long term residents.

Day 1030 Thursday 8th August

Having managed to purchase two push bikes from the op-shop we biked to the new workshop to look at a job that the new boss quoted two and a half hours for. These vans I was used to from the UK. I said it would be one and a half days. The look on his face gave an indication of the things to come.

Day 1031 Friday 9th August

Went into the garage to fit the van oil cooler. By the end of the day there was maybe two hours left on it.

Day 1034 Monday 12th August

Got the van finished by ten, but there was mutterings on how it had not come in budget. My ideas of getting a price from the main dealer was curtly dismissed. The rest of the day passed with a couple of small services.

Day 1038 Friday 16th August

My nights were not very restful and I often woke in the early hours thinking about the work coming in the next day. In short I was not a content guy!

Day 1049 Tuesday 27th August

By now it was obvious there was a difference of opinion between us. In the past I always had a great working relationship with fellow workers, but this two hundred per cent efficiency was beyond my capability. So I quit at dinner time, on mutually convenient ground.

Cycling back I felt relieved at having left. The last week I had not slept well and it was getting me down. Maybe after being back on the road we had fell back into what we loved so much in Africa. The freedom of making our own choices and mixing with people of our own thinking, regardless of culture, colour or creed. Now at the beck and call from a control freak governor just did not sit well with me. At the cabin I cooked a splendid supper, and our world felt good again.

Day 1074 Sunday 22nd September

After many weeks of looking for work across the entire country with no luck we decided to give our one week notice and head north back to Bullsbrook to see Colm and Sandra. The guys at the camp were sad to see us leave and we regretted leaving but it it was costing us a heap we did not have to stand still.

Day 1081 Sunday 29th September

Packing our bikes made us realise how much gear we had. We gave away our bicycles to a grateful neighbour, but oddly to us nobody wanted our laundry powder or food! On the road such offering were always met with much acceptance. Finally our good friend and next cabin neighbour took what we had surplus with many thanks.

Day 1082 Monday 30th September

Left Mandurah caravan park for Bullsbrook. Being back on the bikes felt wonderful especially because we were heading in a linear direction.

Riding the gravel drive up to the huge house in outback Bullsbrook was like coming home. Which maybe is not very fair as it would feel like a home coming at every kind persons home who has shown us friendship and hospitality both here and in Africa. As the guys were at work we let ourselves in and made ourselves comfortable in the loft room. With big windows on three sides it was light and airy. With the warmth and smell of wood smoke from the fire drifting up the stairs we had a great camp set up.

Day 1092 Thursday 10th

After a fantastic week or so we left Colm and Sandra’s home for Mundaring where we had agreed to home and dog sit for a few days.

Day 1099 Thursday 17th October

Once again we left Mundaring, heading north for Geraldton. We were hoping to see the much publicised wild flowers of the northern wheat belt, give us something other than gravel and scrub to look at. Riding pasted the signposts that advertised the wonderful wild flower country we realised that we were either too soon or too late, either way there were no flowers. By the time Geraldton came into view we had given up looking into the wide blue yonder for colourful blooms.

Day 1103 Monday 21st October

Leaving Geraldton and heading north we had a deja vu experience, but no it was true we were bound for Wickham. It was with much reluctance, but we should really try to get up there before the cyclone season hits, and to suss out the place.

We smelt the familiar and a little comforting smell of decaying roos in the scrub. Sounds odd but after so many miles on the road it smelt like home…

Failing to find a free camp we made Carnarvon, Oasis camping ground was our site with tent pitch by late afternoon. It felt great to be under ‘canvas’ again, shame we were not wild camping but comforting all the same.

Day 1104 Tuesday 22nd October

Covered another five hundred clicks to make another reluctant stop at a camp site owing to the lack of free camping grounds. Fortiscue roadhouse made a great stop over with good showers and grass to pitch the tent on. And it was cheap as fries!

Day 1105 Wednesday 23rd October

Arrived in Wickham mid morning, we met up with Kim and Cathi the owners.

Then a hectic few hours of form filling and shopping for supplies was enjoyed.

Our cabin was for single occupation, with a king single bed, which I had never heard of before. It was all that was available to us, we made it home and unpacked the bikes.

Arranging to start work in the morning we had an early night.

Day 1106 Thursday 24th October

Once again in Australia I went to work in new clean clothes, but now in high viz shirt and long pants due to the hectic health and safety at work laws here. Probably everywhere now, but because I have worked for companies that fly close to edge of the rules it did not get enforced. Being shown around the work area I felt very much the new boy but once I got stuck in to repairing a trailer suspension it just felt like old times in Perth. Only the folks and red dirt were different. Diane took a picture of me as we walked in on our first day, at the finish of it, it looked like I had been there for ten years. It was all very friendly and laid back. The day passed swiftly and soon I was walking the hundred meters back home to our cabin.

Day 1107 Friday

Riding the fifty or so clicks into Karratha for our favourite veggi pasties and pies seemed a little excessive but as they were not available locally it made sense to us. The ride back was not so enjoyable as a strong wind off the ocean kept trying to push us into the oncoming traffic. Back at camp we packed our supplies away. Enough to see us through a cyclone!

Day 1113 Thursday 31st October

Halloween. We woke early with the sun casting an early beam across our tiny bed. I pushed the patterned fabric back from the glass to reveal a heavy condensation streaming down the window glass. Typical late October day thought I, not realising we were still down under, freezing cold outside and warm in. It was not till I had run my hand across the pane I comprehended that the water was on the outside and not in! It was warm and humid outside and cooler in so for once we were in the fridge and not looking at it outside!!

Day 1120 Thursday 7th November

Had a bit of a surprise late morning. As Diane took a short cut through the workshop we were called into the office, thinking it was our last day we were told some interesting news. As I said it was nice to have known everyone and we would go and pack we were told it was the opposite. A few weeks earlier couple of new double portacabins (donga) had been delivered. It was said that we would have one half of one of them. But that was not to be. It was said that we could take up residency in a two bed house that had become vacant. Not wanting to leave the camp as we love the cabin lifestyle a bakkie was thrown in so we could commute the ten clicks to the yard and not use the bikes. Also we could use it for shopping, without having to ask every time. (That made us feel like small children asking for candy, not sure whether the response would be in our favour or not!!) With such a good offer we agreed to go and view. At first glance it looked like a detonate and not a renovate, however after a clean it could sparkle.

Day 1122 Saturday 9th November

Moving day.

We woke early at ten and started to pack our little home. We only took enough gear to clean and stay the night if necessary. But by six pm the house looked like a million bucks and had a beer with our neighbour

Day 1153 Tuesday 10th December

Watching the public memorial of Madiba Mandela some, neigh many of the members of audience looked board and tired even though they dignitaries.

Day 1157 Saturday 14th December

After working for three easy hours we spent the afternoon having a beer and cleaning the house, we were surprised by the amount of dirt that had accumulated on the tiled floor, though we tried to be clean people!

As the heat started to dissipate from the day Diane said a walk to look at the ocean was in order. Living this close it’s ridiculous that we do not go more often. When living in the UK I always wanted to live by the sea which never happened, so here is a little bit of an experiment for us. When we do settle, where ever it may be, would it be worth living on the ocean? Or just a waste of money to buy expensive real estate and not exploit the benefits?

Once on the beach the winds were stronger than at the house, warm and smelling of salt. Off to the eastern horizon a storm was in full swing, the lead blue sky criss crossed with yellow and white hot wire-like bolts of lightning.

I took some pictures and a few movies of the storm to hopefully get some good still pictures off them. As darkness drew in we walked back the house before we may not be able to find our way through the scrub to the road.

Day 1161 Wednesday 18th December

Interesting day at work, as the workshop was fairly quiet I was asked if I would like to work out at the quarry driving a dump truck and a loader. Never having done this before I jumped at the chance.

Day 1162 Thursday 19th December

Arriving at sun up I was given a ‘crash’ course in loader handling and soon set too moving the spoil from the screening plant and making a new hill in the landscape. For a repetitive job the day passed quickly as the concentration you have to give is one hundred per cent. I noted that the cab radio had a USB port, never having used one I copied heaps of music to a flash drive for tomorrows entertainment.

Day 1163 Friday 20th December

Climbing up the steps into the loader with my water supply, food and flash drive it felt like the start of a new learning experience. Plugging the USB in I watched and waited, nothing. Oh well just get on with the job, driving around to the screening plant the sun came up over the horizon and Shine on you crazy diamond by Pink Floyd started to play. Must take a long time to load. I don’t know if you know this piece of music but it was perfect for the way I was feeling and the whole atmosphere of the place. Great day at work, forty four outside, air con and no flies inside.

Day 1164 Saturday 21st December

No rest for the wicked, six thirty am saw three of us on site to change the screens over from one hundred mil to thirty. This job no one like as it take six or so hours and is stinking hot, flies everywhere and confined spaces. Ten thirty saw the job done and us packing up. One guy said I must be a good luck charm, nice!

Day 1171 Saturday 28th December

With an oncoming Tropical Cyclone Christine pending we took advise from co workers and neighbours they advised us that the storm coming was a category three and we should garage the bikes and head back to camp as our house was not cyclone rated. I reasoned as it had stood for sixty odd years it would stand another one. But we packed and headed to camp with our worldly possessions that we could carry, bike clothing, helmets, paperwork and and food.

Day 1172 Sunday 29th December

Well all hands on deck (those that had not headed south to spend the festive season with relatives) Diane stayed on the camp and office area to stowaway plants in pots out of the promised winds, (of which there were at least a hundred) while I went to the quarry with the team to set the large loaders and dump trucks under the rock crushing plant and screens and tie down the lighter to the hopefully heavier. All of the vehicles were grouped around the sea container full of tool and spares, to give protection, while a ten tonne loader with a bucket full of sand sat its load on top of it. All looked good….

Day 1173 Monday 30th December

With all the local shop shut (yes the only one) we spent the day with the other four occupants of the camp having a beer and watching the oncoming storm gather in strength. It was planned to hit at six in the evening as it grew dark, but when it failed to hit at night fall we headed to our respective donga’s and slept for a while……

Day 1174 Tuesday 31st December 2013

Waking at five thirty, day break, we saw the devastation that had been reeked from the heavens. Boughs had been been ripped from their trunks, bushes and shrubs torn from the dry sand that they struggled to grow this far in. Even clothe pegs had been teased from their line to be buried under wet sand and leaves. It looked grim to us but compared to Typhoid Haiyan, in the Philippines it was nothing, as we had lots of fat ‘healthy’ bodies to regain our utopia, with the aid of power saws, dump trucks and loaders. Those a long way to north had no such fortune, and woke with their town levelled, lives and families broken, no water and no incoming food, aid or help in the form of white flesh in large yellow vehicles called ‘cats’. Makes one put a perspective on our own ‘disaster’….

With no sore head from the year change, seven O’clock saw us clearing tree debris from the camp and hand loading it into a tipper truck. All of the company’s vehicles had been positioned to protect the buildings and living accommodation. Just the two of us starting on the big clean up before heat and small flies came in to burn and torment us.

Day 1175 Wednesday 1st January 2014

Waking at five thirty, day break, we saw the devastation that had been reeked from the heavens. Boughs had been been ripped from their trunks, bushes and shrubs torn from the dry sand that they struggled to grow this far in. Even clothe pegs had been teased from their line to be buried under wet sand and leaves. It looked grim to us but compared to Typhoid Haiyan, in the Philippines it was nothing, as we had lots of fat ‘healthy’ bodies to regain our utopia, with the aid of power saws, dump trucks and loaders. Those a long way to north had no such fortune, and woke with their town levelled, lives and families broken, no water and no incoming food, aid or help in the form of white flesh in large yellow vehicles called ‘cats’. Makes one put a perspective on our own ‘disaster’….

With no sore head from the year change, seven O’clock saw us clearing tree debris from the camp and hand loading it into a tipper truck. All of the company’s vehicles had been positioned to protect the buildings and living accommodation. Just the two of us starting on the big clean up before heat and small flies came in to burn and torment us.

Day 1176 Thursday 2nd January

We assembled at the office at seven am to start on the big clean up. Six of us quarry men and Diane were set on tree felling, pruning, and pot plant reclamation. Being old chain saw monsters from old, we each grabbed a ripsaw a piece and set to making heaps of foliage and branches for the others to pick and load onto the tipper truck. Hitting it to hard in forty plus degrees of heat soon saw us panting hard and slugging more water than usual by one pm.

By four we were all truly bushed and headed the office for a beer.

Day 1177 Friday 3rd January

The day passed in the same vain as the previous one but with the exception of us taking more of a back seat roll as eight hours sawing took it’s toll on us the day before. Forearms and triceps burned like the days of old at the gym, but this was paid work to tone up. Result!

Day 1178 Saturday 4th January

Having lived back on the camp for almost a week we packed and headed back to our small house as the power was back on and the water had receded according to our neighbour… the afternoon was spent cleaning and writing this drivel.

Day 1202 Tuesday 28th January

Very unusual for this part of the world, tall light grey storm clouds were building in the south, but this time they made it to the ocean. Our normally still, dark night skies were filled with sheet and fork lightning. Rain hammered hard for what seemed like an eternity and only stopped as the sun rose over the ocean.

The previous occupier of our blue tin house was a self confessed witch and proclaimed to all that the house was haunted. Proven to her by doors that closed themselves, shadows and shaking walls etcetera. She cleansed the place by chanting and brushing the bad spirits away with white heather. Occasionally when reading in bed we could feel vibrations through the walls, we were unsure if we really could feel them, but when the open wardrobe door started to chatter against the wall that confirmed it. The only thing we could think it was, was maybe the huge ore ships being positioned at the jetty by the tug boats. We also could hear strange noises as the corrugated tin roof flexes and the vast array of thumb sized cockroaches and gecko’s roaming throughout the roof space and in the wall cavity.

When we arrived in the Pilbara I thought it strange that the houses had tin roofs, later to discover that tiles simply laid on batons are not cyclone rated and would cease to be tiles but become missiles in two hundred kph winds!

Day 1203 Wednesday 29th January

Sat in the dump truck watching a guy in a excavator clawing at the rock wall with a pick, to rip out more material it became hypnotic and my mind wondered of as to why we were still in Australia’s forty plus of heat, clear blue skies and sunshine. While our families are back in the U.K. With horrendous rain and cold. Recalling some of the places we rode through in Africa and Australia makes me think are we crazy for being here so long? But as we keep saying, W.A. Is the place to top up the bank, get us back, eventually, and start over.

Day 1289 Friday 25th April

Anzac Day in Australia, public holiday when all patriotic people rightly pay their respects to the fallen of the wars. We were invited to go with some of our co-workers to attend memorial celebrations at a local club. As it was forbidden to sell alcohol we had to queue at a counter to purchase little bits of different coloured paper with what ever drink you wanted written on it. Then queue again to exchange that at the main counter for your drink. It reminded me of the same system that I witnessed in the Soviet Union many years before. It was interesting to observe that most gatherings, including respective remembrance, in this and other countries involve drinking till you can’t stand straight without wobbling, talking rubbish, or wishing in my case that I could be instantly in bed without having to travel back! But even with the excessive amount of consumption we all had a good evening.

Day 1290 Saturday 26th April

With a predicted high tide we went to the causeway to try our luck at fishing again, as before we caught nothing but were lucky enough to watch a sea turtles and a half metre manta-ray heading out to the open ocean, with no particular hurry. Hope they had more success at finding dinner. The other locals took no interest in the wildlife at all. Even the children did not shout and point at them, is it common or T.I.A. again? We saw small shoals of Barramundie cruising by, taking no interest in our lure.

Back at home we discovered the freezer had defrosted itself again. This is no problem, even convenient. But what annoying it it drains the water into the fridge, this time into our bowl of left over re-fried beans! Who would design this and think it was was a good idea? We call it our urinating fridge.

Day 1299 Monday 5th May

Wickham, as I have possibly mentioned before in this diary, is know for it strange micro climate. The surrounding hills divert the clouds and the town gets little rain fall. The Met. Office had predicted heavy rain for Roebourne area, which is us, but you never take it seriously. However when we went to bed there were huge clouds building in the south. Around eleven we were woke by what sounded like a kettle starting to boil. As I lay waiting for the sound to get more frantic and eventually click off it dawned into my drowsy head that it was RAIN. We both stood in the door way and watched like children as it cascaded off the tin porch roof. Getting back to sleep was easy as it reminded us of when we lived in caravans in the UK, also there would be no work tomorrow as the material would be too wet to process.

Day 1300 Tuesday 6th May

Day light saw one hundred mm had fallen, as was going to give another twenty by lunch time.

Having time on our hands I undertook the once a week task of having a shave. Not big news I grant you but I need to record this for myself. (Not the shave).

Australia is known for being ‘red’, yes? Well this comes from the high iron content of the terra-firma. Which when your living close to a port that receives twenty seven trains a day, each a couple of clicks long, comprising of two hundred and forty, one hundred ton cars, every day of the year, full of iron ore. But before I got here, Pilbara, I was ignorant to the fact. So yesterday when finishing work as always I washed my face and hands with industrial cleaner, at the camp showered and washed before sleep. The next day shaved and the white foam was still red from the fine dust that coats everything up here, from door tops to the inside of closed draws, it gets everywhere. And stains the paint of vehicles to the extent you cant polish it out.

Day 1330 Thursday 5th June

Needing to get back to the yard to collect another loader to take to the sand processing plant I was asked to ride back in a bakkie. When about to sit into the front passenger seat, a bag was plucked from my landing site with the cry of “don’t sit on that, there’s a kangaroo inside”. “Of course there is”, I said, “what else would it be”? The guy said that it (she) was an orphan as her mother had been killed last night. “how did that occur I asked”, I shot it”, came the reply. “So now you are going to care for and feed the beast, a beast of burden then”? I chuckled at my own humour, but the recipient missed the point. “Yes, I’ve done it once before, but it was a buck and kicked the shite out of my wife so he had to go. I hope a hen will be calmer”. I reckoned it may have been easier to buy the dog meat and leave the ‘roo to bring up it’s own. But I’m only an incomer. Unwise in the Australian outback world of kill a ‘roo for the dogs, and maybe suffer the consequences of killing a parent and bringing up the offspring yourself. I guess most would not have been so soft or guilty and thrown the joey into the blend as well.

Day 1376 Monday 21st July

At one of the processing sites there is a huge (quarter million tones) pile of old

broken concrete which needs plastic, steel and metal sorting from the man made conglomerate. Another problem would be the voluminous amount of plastic, against my protests an old oil drum was used as a smelting pot in which to burn, neigh melt the builders plastic waste into a pot of solid toxic waste. The vibrant blue and green colours that were a by product of the melting were not made any better by the horrendous stench of a cocktail of poly chemicals. While on a tiny scale to what I believe exists on other sites it makes one’s heart ache on a global scale.

When Diane worked on a goldfields mine they threw all the unused food into a hole in the ground, while a terrible waste to me she said a bungarra (sand goanna) had moved in not long after the camp started, and since, never moved out and grew fat on free breakfast, dinner and supper. The kitchen staff gave water to complement his diet so he became a perfect recycling machine.

While the thought of throwing all the garbage into a hole sounds very un-eco friendly, think of when we now uncover an Egyptian or Persian waste dump, its a gold mine (no pun intended) of information on how folks lived, so maybe it’s not all bad. Maybe?….

Day 1465 Saturday 18th October

Yesterday saw the concrete job with just a day left to go. A few more long term workers were leaving as the promise of work here is looking less likely. Six or more months is the time frame that is being rumoured.

On Wednesday there was a small party for my birthday, tonight’s bash will be a little downbeat as the guys leaving won’t be back. Like being n the road, you make good friends but it’s only brief.

We have made a few changes to Dianes’ bike, wider handle bars to hopefully minimise any damage should she fall again, and heated grips as where we are heading will be cooler than sunny Wickham.

Sounds silly but part of our preparation for leaving is eating our food, the frozen can’t be taken and we can’t carry much. So we are back to zip lock bags of spices and herbs, pasta, rice and strange one pot soup or broth cooking.

Since Namibia my bike has used coolant, so hopefully reduce this and make it run a little cooler I flushed the system and installed a high ambient temperature fluid. Time will tell if it is successful. It is a little of a worry because I reckon it is a slight weep on maybe a head gasket, it did get warm in Ethiopia. Though not that hot as to illuminate the over heat light on the fascia panel.

In a straight line we are not that far from the rail line that brings in the ore trains, at night you can hear them hooting in the night, it reminds me of Alice Springs, as the train rolled through there. Over the road crossing you could here the seemingly endless clatter of steel wheels over the expansion joint in the rail.

given notice, leaving on 13th

Day 1489 Tuesday 11th November

Last day of work. Was fairly difficult to get motivated and out of the door. Felt just like packing and heading out. We had been counting the weeks and days down to today so it would have been very weak of me not to go in. My day was spent screening sand and it really reinforced the fact that this work is all really routine. Last day felt great. It has been an experience for me to operate this machinery, but today I was over it. Four pm came and I was out of there for the last time.

We left on good terms and would go back we said if work gets busier, but we think the boom in the Pilbara is over for most. The iron ore price is one third what it was, so we would be surprised to get a phone call or e-mail.

Day 1490 Wednesday 12th November

Diane had elected to do a few hours work for the owner of the company, and left at eight. I thought it would be a good idea to see if my bike will start so rode to Samson for one last look, and to see if Tony and Liz had left. I had worked with Tony for a couple of days, and we got on well. They too were leaving soon, as they had two small children it was said we would travel together so we could help them out with children…. They were still trying to cram their gear into a newly acquired camp trailer. We agreed to meet in Exmouth.

I packed the bikes and wanted to leave there and then, but an early start tomorrow makes much more sense.

Set an alarm for four am!!!

Day 1491 Thursday 13th November

Woke on the alarm and reluctantly ate a light breakie and set off at long last at five, as the sun was rising.

Made it to Exmouth, another six hundred and fifty km day. We vowed that we would not do these big K,s days. This was our third so far in the four years we have been away. It was made doable as we had set out so early. Arriving in town I felt fairly weary, then it dawned on me as I stared blankly at the clock it was three pm, ten hours on the road.

Day 1492 Friday 14th November

Woke nice and late, six thirty….. and relished the fact we were in our tent again. Opening an eye and seeing those orange walls of, what ever they are made of, was wonderful.

Walking around the town really made us feel like tourists again. We were out of the work thing hopefully for a long while to come, and it felt great!!

We all did a lot of nothing all day, and that was great to!!

Day 1493 Saturday 15th November

The girls took the boys to a water park in town, Tony and I took a drive to the Ranges National Park, there was a track through the gorges, we awed at the power of nature. Over millennia the water had worn the rock to deep ravines, now covered by small trees and surprising amount of green Spinifex.

Day 1494 Sunday 16th November

Took Diane’s bike to Yardie Creek, where the ocean had filled a gorge about seven hundred meters, a small boat took the tourists who did not wish, or were unable to walk the rock path to where the water ran dry and the Creek carried on alone into the range. A steeply sided canyon of heat, bungarras and sparse Spinifex.

A lot of travellers we met said that we really missed out by not paying a visit to Exmouth on our trip around Australia, the coral was much more colourful and the ocean more blue etcetera. Aside from the magnificent ranges, personally we thought the water was more choppy that further south and the coral just the same. When we did our boat trip out to the reef last visit to Coral

Bay fair enough the under water experience was spectacular. Maybe due to the deeper water. Snorkelling at Turquoise beach we saw no difference. Perhaps were just bad tourists…

Day 1495 Monday 17th November

Travelled an easy day to Coral Bay and immediately remembered what a great place it was, camping not to far from last time and marvelling at the grass. Sounds strange? Not much lush green grass where we have been for the last fifty five weeks. These guys are constantly watering the pitches as soon as they are vacated. Having their own bore hole for water enables them to really keep a great lawn.

Day 1496 Tuesday 18th November

Went snorkelling again, the beach is very shallow short walk the drops about three metres as the coral starts and is wonderfully accessible for a lousy swimmer like me. An hour was enough though as here is fifteen degrees cooler than the Pilbara, it feels really chilly in the light on shore breeze. What’s our next country going to feel like??

Saw Sadie whom now has a shop selling her own very good art work, mostly of fish and corals, understandably when she has seen so much of it first hand as a dive guide. I had noticed that a bar cum bistro cum bottle shop had been built since we were here last. A posh, shiny place, but a little sterile in my humble opinion, but very good to see that some one or some company that this little piece of paradise was worth investing in. Can only be good for the maybe couple of hundred folks that call this town home.

A fellow camper and bike rider from Ireland came over and talked at us for a long half hour at the amount of tyres he had used in twelve thousand k’s. As he talked of his uninspiring trip counter clockwise from Melbourne to here he said to get through the boring land scape he would often travel at speeds of one hundred and sixty kph. I was fairly horrified an said that why your using so many tyres. The response was he just wanted to get back to Melbourne and go back to Ireland. I said the outback roads like Mount Isa were a little bland but camping out in the free camps with no light pollution gave you a stunning sky with a million stars an the creamy smudge of the Milky Way, he was unimpressed and wanted to get back and on an air plane. Takes all sorts to make a world I guess.

At our camping pitch we were across the sand road from Tony and Liz, so we went to them in the evening as we could have a beer and the children could play or sleep as their fancy took them. A couple pulled into a pitch next door to them waving and smiling to us all as they stopped the vehicle. The eldest of the two boys had been relieved of his diaper to allow a little air to circulate, so to speak. As the lady started to put the tent up our little friend took the opportunity to relieve himself of a fairly large perfectly formed poo on the sand road way, much to her horror!! It took her less time to repack the vehicle a and relocate to another camp pitch.

Day 1497 Wednesday 19th November

Walked the beach early in the shallow waters watching the tiny fish dart from us and staying clear of becoming breakfast for the larger ones.

Inquired about working here, really nice place, much quieter than when we were here at Easter time eighteen months ago. A lady at the boutique seemed to think it would not be a problem at all as three quarters of the workforce here are blow-ins. Would be interesting to work in something different like a shop or post office but really its a foolish thing to contemplate at we should really be moving on with our trip. Australia has been very good for us work wise, its not the country I imagined it to be, but we have met some very good folks and will be reluctant to leave.

Day 1498 Thursday 20th November

Starting the bike oil light was on so Diane tried to tow me to the camp site workshop, where I could strip the bike, away from the sand and wind. Ever towed a bike? Or been towed? Bad idea!! Five guys were watching us having a laugh at our expense, they soon came over and gave me a push up the hill eight hundred meters to the garage. A couple were over weight and the rest smoked, so at the half way point they stopped for a rest, huffing and puffing. Our turn to share the laugh with them.

I checked what I could and rebuilt it, started fine and no oil light.

We left at mid-day for Carnarvon , Capricorn camping ground was our goal. As we pulled into the reception the oil light came on again. The camp ground owner said to renew the oil filter as it would be blocked. Never had that one before but as I had one I did change it. Problem solved…..

Day 1499 Friday 21st November

Starting the bike sounds like flat battery as at Wickham took out rear sparking plug span it over. To Kalbarri

Day 1500 Saturday 22nd November

Woke early as usual hope to break the habit some day

bike was wet, heavy condensation I thought, no it had rained in the night and we missed it!

Day 1501 Sunday 23rd November

Set an alarm for six and was ready to roll at seven, most of the camp were asleep so our plan was to start up and leave quickly. True to form of late I pushed the go button with a click to respond to my thumb. Bugger. I found a victim peacefully using his laptop, after a suitable greeting I asked if he had jumper cables, he smiled and said that he did. With all of the dramas I have had over the last few weeks it was a telling time for the battery on my bike. It did fire up on the cables so looking like a failing component.

Riding away from the ocean to rejoin highway one at Northampton I was struck on how green the land was, the fields were stubble from the harvest of grain, a back drop of rolling hills and wooded valleys. Some even with water in the creek beds. Passing over the grandly named ‘Hunt River’ I saw another dry creek bed but rich with green leafed trees stretching as far as the eye could see.

Arriving in Northampton a few of the local children stopped from their play, looked up at us, smiled and waved with enthusiasm, something we have not experienced in a long while. At the ‘T’ junction a huge banner made from an old bed sheet (appropriately enough) announced the forthcoming ‘Airing of the Duna Festival’ must now be warm enough to remove said duna from the beds as spring gave way to summer. (A duna dear readers, in Aussi slang is a thick bed covering filled with feathers, a quilt in the UK

Well ridding on to the four forty roadhouse, (so called as it’s four hundred and forty km from Perth). We filled the bikes and ate a brekkie roll of tomato and onion (just the same as Africa). My bike started no worries…. well no problem, its still a worry.

Pulling into the small privately owned gas station at Jurien Bay we stopped at on our way north the guys surprisingly remembered us. After chatting for thirty minuets over the best way to head south from there a couple of guys said of ‘the best route’, we took their advise and rode out. The pair of them said to the owner that they were leaving and drove out behind us in a very distinctive grey and black American muscle car. As we took the given direction that were accurate we noticed the sinister coloured vehicle was following us. after forty clicks it sped past us, crested a hill and was gone. One of my bags with the tent poles in was sliding off so we stopped to secure the roll. Getting off the bikes we both said ‘wow its like the movie Wolf Creek’!! Thinking the guys had outpaced us we continued on, at the crest of the hill we saw the black car driving back toward us, on sighting each other it turned in the road and stayed a kilometer in front of us. Worried, me? yes! we had seen no other vehicles for an hour and the movie was running in both our heads. Checking my compass it said we were heading north west, west was good, but north? We should be heading south. The odometer was saying we should be near the highway. Rounding a curve we spotted the predator vehicle pulled over, wanting to keep riding as the intersection sign was in view I stopped and the guys (both with peaked caps wore reversed) said “just wanted to make sure that you found the highway”. Very relived from my movie, everybody is out to eat you state of mind, even though through Europe, Africa and Australia we had met no animosity at all. We gave our grateful thanks and heading south once again.

Arriving in our Bullsbrook heaven after six hundred and fifty km’s we were handed a cold beer from Colm, felt very strange to be back after fifty seven weeks.

Day 1502 Monday 24th November

Called immigration. Found out we can a apply for a residential visa now having worked in the remote Pilbara, so here we go again.

Day 1503 Tuesday 25th November

Started to fell trees this morning and slice it into rings for firewood.

Day 1516 Monday 8th December

Fitted chains and sprockets and a rear tyre to the KTM

Day 1522 Sunday 14th December

Rode with new rear tyre and chains felt very smooth.

Day 1525 Wednesday 17th December

Wanting to touch base again with the guy to whom we would trust our bikes to we took a test ride, (to make sure the chain split link had been beaten properly), to one of the industrial suburbs of north Perth, close to where I worked a lifetime ago. All was good with him and a few of our queries were clarified.

Twenty clicks from the house saw the oil light flickering on again. Looking on the Adventure Rider website a knowledgeable guy from the U.S. had been unlucky enough to have suffered the same grief. The water pump failure is associated with low oil pressure so dismantling the bike as all series one KTM Adventure owners know is a tedious but simple proses of fuel tank (s) removal and a panel or two to gain access to the motor. Upon stripping the right hand side of engine case off we found the impeller shaft worn to buggery. Also the magnetic pick up for the ignition falling apart from its mounting bracket, resulting in a randomly variable timing signal being sent to the ECU, by five or ten degrees, ‘lucky’ I had one of those to! Being late in the afternoon we stopped for beer and food.

Day 1526 Thursday 18th December

Had a new rebuild kit for the water pump so we could get on with the rebuild with no waiting for spare parts Diane called KTM Perth for new stock to carry to avoid future delays, not only not in stock but on back order from Austria, two to twenty four weeks!!

Swapping bikes over early afternoon we fitted chain and sprockets to the Honda, what should normally be a largish job we ripped into it and finished it in under one and a half hours.

At five pm we tentatively left Bullsbrook for Mundaring. The bike felt different to ride, not only with the new chain but possibly the pick up, it would have eventually fell off its mount and possibly caused damage and certainly a big full stop to that days riding. We’ve always said that our trip is ‘being looked after’.

Day 1527 Friday 19th December

Checked coolant bottle hopefully see some liquid remaining, looking fairly empty, hope its due to an air lock and not a cock-up.

Having to have a medical for the visa we booked one for Monday afternoon, the next available was mid January.

Day 1529 Sunday 21st December

Chris and Jon took us for a nostalgic car trip to King Park to the same balcony we went to some three and a half years ago. Looking over the Swan river which at this point was not the small creek we cross close to Bullsbrook but a huge area with the CBD looking over it. I felt the same desire as they did ten years ago to make the move here. This visa is our last chance saloon, well no one can say that we have not tried hard enough to get in! It really felt like saying good bye as we stopped off at Cottesloe beach where we spent so many afternoons on the white sands. Looking out over the ocean there were the big ships as we were used to seeing in Point Samsom, but this time not ore but container ships where our bikes will be once again in a dark stifling box heading for another continent.

Day 1530 Monday 22nd December

Decided to take public transport to Perth as parking is hectic as with most capital cities. It was very surreal to be back on the bus rolling down through the Perth Hills forests to the big city on the horizon.

As we are possibly heading on to South America very soon, it dawned on us that we need an International Driving License once again, Diane can obtain one here as she has an Australian license. Me holding a UK license saw me sending our base station (AKA Selwyn) a hasty SMS to ask him to mail my application off, we had sent it to him months ago signed and ready to post.

The medical building was very smart with huge smoky blue windows, pale polished granite or marble floors and seats upholstered in very authentic faux leather. Could it really be leather, if it was paid for by the immigration department from visa applications I could well believe it as the centre on the third floor was very busy. Filled with hopeful applicants, eager to gain lawful entry into the country. The chest x-ray for T.B. Was OK, again but the blood sample for the HIV test was not a good experience for me, I don’t like pins at all. Sitting there feeling my life’s blood being sucked out of me by a mechanical vampire was not pleasant and felt like eternity. While Diane’s extraction lasted only ten to fifteen seconds. Surly I did not pass out? They would have told me?

Lots of blood given and money taken we walked back to the rail station through the seemingly thickening crowds. We ‘joked’ in the Pilbara how strange it would be to be back in the city. Now being there we started to feel overwhelmed and increasingly claustrophobic, not exactly panicking we fumbled at the ticket machine, repeatedly trying to feed in first a twenty dollar bill the a fifty, both with no success. Neither of us noticing the display which said five and ten bills only…. managing to pay by card we ran for the waiting train, as it laboriously stopped at every station we counted them down till our destination. The bus back up the hill was better, with the window open at least we had fresh air in our faces, but the window behind rattled loudly and I really had had enough for one day. Walking back to the house through the bush with the Maggies and Galas squawking was bliss. We really are not town people now, if we ever were!

Day 1532 Wednesday 24th December

Needing to ride the bike to check on coolant consumption I headed off alone for a fifty km cruise through the wonderfully wooded, hilly, twisty turny road past Mundaring Weir, I interned maybe as far as Kalamunda, another ‘hills’ town. Two km out of town the bikes power died and stopped half a second later. Coasting into a gateway into the forest the sound of the Parakeets made the site of the breakdown feel very isolated even though I was so close to town. My first thought, apart from ‘bugger’ was that I had allowed the pick up wires to burn through on the exhaust. No,that was OK, maybe the new pick had failed? A guy in a car stopped and asked if I needed help or a lift. I said I was probably OK, however could he call by at the house and tell Diane where I was, leaving me a bottle of water the good guy wished me luck and drove off. While taking off the saddle and removing the rear spark plug a few bikes passed me by. Not surprised the Harley riders did not stop I was surprised that a couple on ‘normal’ road bikes did not stop!! The spark was good at the plug, as I span the motor over, its started! So plug refitted I thought fuel, one tank sounded empty, the other not so. With the hurried rebuild of the water pump saga I had not turned on the right hand tank stop cock! Starting it up all was good and I rode off, waving at Diane and Chris, on their way to help or push the bike back. Finally off again I rode to Midland to buy a carton of beer, the temperature was a pleasing thirty two degrees. Sitting at the robot lights in the warm sun on my back was heaven, the bike rode nicely. The shiny new chain and sprockets rolled quietly around each other. It was certainly overdue for some love and attention. Riding back the long way through the Perth Hills along winding curves and quick dash straights, the hot air perfumed heavily with eucalyptus and gum trees. Keeping a look out for the unlikely event of a ‘roo bouncing out from the bush. This was why we ride bikes!

Day 1533 Thursday 25th December

Diane fancied a long walk this warm sunny Christmas morning, so Jon gave us a map and an idea of where to go, passing a pub to, sounded ideal at ten to thirteen km. Walking through the forest was lovely, birds squawking ‘roos crashing through the undergrowth. The path was initially well worn but not marked, and kind of followed the map. Two and a half hours later we were pretty lost as there were many tracks on the ground but only a few on the map. We stumbled on the Mundaring to Kalgoorlie water pipeline and followed it for a km or so before we realised that if we were wrong we were heading to Kal, six hundred and fifty km distant. We turned round and tried the other way, now having drank all our water. Thankfully we were only three km from the weir. The pub was closed, however an outside tap saved our day. This just left us with an eight km walk back!! Four hours of constant walking, Diane certainly got her long walk, about twenty five km we thought.

Back at the ranch we prepared our feast of fish for dinner, on the briaa of course!

Day 1537 Monday 29th December

Booked an R.V. relocate to Adelaide for next Tuesday, wanted earlier but the festive holidays got in the way.

Day 1538 Tuesday 30th December

The coolant level needed a small top up this morning, so a ride was planned to a Benedictine Monastery one and a half hundred clicks to the north. A good distance to ensure all was well with the water pump rebuild. Even the very strong easterly winds could not detract from the joy of riding, the bike felt like new! Alas we were visiting out of season so we could not enjoy a mug of Abbey Ale, nor watch the wines, bread and silky smooth chocolate being made. Walking the Abbey grounds and rose gardens was very pleasant, cant remember the last tie I smelt roses! Though it was hot and the flies must have come down from the Pilbara as they were very hectic. It all made for an enjoyable few hours.

Stopping at a very modern looking bakery at Bindoon to sample an award winning ‘roo pie. The smell of the bread made us yearn for a salad roll, all in the cabinet were meat, “no problem” was the smiley answer “I’ll just make you one” such service, you can certainly tell when your out from the city! The rolls were just as wonderful as the pies, we could get fat in this village if we lived here. Interestingly enough about half the customers were on the well fed side…

An Indian gentleman stood at our table and asked extremely politely “if he could be granted permission to take just one photograph of my bike?” Very pleased with my answer he strode out of the cafe. We had noticed anther guy looking at the map and flags on the pannier earlier, so maybe the village was a a magnate for travellers or want-to-be-travellers. Five minuets later our man was back, full introductions and much hand shaking (but just a curt nod to acknowledge Diane’s existence). Asking if he may link his web site to ours as he ran motorcycle tours in India, and when we visit his country we must tell him well in advance of our arrival as he could use us to boost sales on the tour we would accompany them on!! Never had that happen before. With all possible means of communication exchanged he parted from our sadly now empty of food table.

While I washed my hands Diane went to the bike for a smoke and as left the cafe a few minuets later she was chatting to a very enthusiastic guy who had pulled in driving a smart late sixties Cadillac, he was bowled over by our trip so far and asked about shipping, telling him the boat took five weeks to get from Cape Town to Freo he said his car took a week from California. He would find the company details and forward them to us. What an half hour, not for a long time have so many people been so keen on talking with us, made us feel like we were on the road again.

At three pm I thought that I could pack up my bike tomorrow, Diane’s could not be packed till Monday as she needed a crate to be made. We hurriedly put the KTM flat packed box on the trailer and tore into town obeying all the speed limits as being Christmas Australia has double points in force. The traffic was not too bad and we made the shipping agent with time to spare.

Day 1539 Wednesday 31st December

Probably one of the strangest new year eves for me, spent three and half hours crating my bike, again. Not as pleasant as unpacking it. It was surprising to me that I had forgot what came off and where it all went.

The guys in the warehouse were very helpful and interested, some even took pictures before we started to take off the boxes. Exciting to see it all wrapped up as back in Cape Town but also sad as it meant we leaving Australia, our home for some three years and seven months.

Afterwords we met up with Colm and Sandra for a beer in town which was nice, but it’s all goodbye’s from now on…..

That evening we put our heavy cooking pot, skillet and poor Pickles, our home made cooking pig, as he was so big and heavy it would cost a heap to send him to the UK, so they all went on gumtree advertising.

Day 1540 Thursday 1st January 2015

Had an sms from Helen and Mark, they wanted our pig, I had hoped nobody would and I would be forced to pay and ship the beast home. I was out when the came for him, Diane said they were lovely folk and he went to a very kind and caring home. We have visiting rights when we return down under.

We boxed our remaining gear ready for the big off on Tuesday.

Day 1543 Sunday 4th January

Getting ready to leave W.A. Felt very much like when we arrived, no transport of our own. Taking public transport once again was surreal. The whole proses of getting rid of stuff and not collecting it.

We had spent to last few days sawing wood and gardening for Lou. She had moved property while we were in the Pilbara, and the previous owner had let it go a little. Was great to get some exercise and help her, the smells of the trees and earth reminded us of the forests we had ridden through in the past.

Day 1544 Monday 5th January

Crating day for the Honda! Packing our remaining gear was tinged with sadness as Mitzy the hectic hound sat by the kitchen sink and watched us with a bowed head and mournful eyes as we carried cases past her. I guess she knows cases means someone is leaving. Chris waved us off but she was nowhere to be seen.

Setting ourselves up in the same spot our gear soon exploded around us. (as always) Piles to post (again), piles to send with the bike and a too big a pile of ‘necessary’ stuff to carry with. The temperature outside hovered around forty degrees, goodness knows what it was in the tin shed.

At least we were out of the sun, the sweat was running of the guys working there, so hopefully we all smelt the same! Diane’s bike was easy to pack as a base was found in the warehouse from an ‘arrivee’ in Australia. Being wide enough to leave the handle bars on was a great help and will make for a fast re-build the other side. Never having removed the top box before we removed all the screws we could see and it remained firmly attached, strange…. We looked, poked and scratched our hot sweaty heads. The crate maker came to offer help and soon pushed the large red button and the box lifted away, shame faced, I started to put the large handful of screws back where they came from. Two pm saw payment made and Dave kindly offering us a lift to a train station as the buses are not reliable after the commuter rush. We sat on the train to Freo’ with our four cases of belongings like real tourists. Long gone the days in the Pilbara at Wickham Woolies shopping in hi viz work wear, playing spot the tourist. Now it’s us, full on!

Not far from the train termination was a backpackers, checking availability earlier we headed there, only to be told the private twin had been taken, should have booked it. While being shown the other options, a mixed dormitory, male/female only and a share double. The later would have been OK but for the other couple were both male…. Also the place was very busy with sweaty half naked young men, no girls, playing table tennis, air hockey and generally lying about trying to look cool, not our swan at all. The places we had stayed in Africa were not like this at all, there they were interested in talking and having a quite drink.

We headed into town and paid twice as much for a pleasant double room in the town centre. Wandering the streets looking for birthday cards we were shocked how peaceful the place was, usually it was a colourful, hectic bustling of folks out for food and drink, must be off season.

Day 1545 Tuesday 6th January

Got out early to wind our way through early morning rush hour back through Perth and across town to collect our R.V. Re-location vehicle. All was simple and we were soon heading east not in a four wheel drive as booked but a four berth family vehicle with shower, toilet, stove and everything you could and did not need for a road trip! While on one hand this was a bonus to have the washing facilities it would use a heap more fuel that we had not budgeted for.

After receiving an sms from Chris we headed back to Mundaring to pick up mail. Bought some food and we were off to Norseman for the night, all being well.

Seven hundred km later saw us parked in a secluded free camp area just out of town.

Day 1545 Wednesday 7th January

Still being on a mission we aimed to slog non stop to Ceduna so we could take a diversion via Port Lincoln to our destination of Adelaide.

Slog it was too, with both of us driving alternatively, stopping only for fuel it took eleven and a half hours to cover eleven hundred and thirty one km. To save time I cooked our vegetables into soup when Diane was driving, as we could not take them into South Australia due to quarantine regulations. Not task I would want to undertake again as keeping a boiling pot over the flame was hectic as it wanted to slide off to other burners that were cold, or even worse off the hob altogether!!!!

Coasting up the the quarantine sheds we saw that it was the same as crossing into Northern Territory, we did not have to cook our food and eat all our fruit in one sitting!!!!! ah well better safe than sorry.

 

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