Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby, Warren Gorge SA (southern Flinders Ranges)

Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby, Warren Gorge SA (southern Flinders Ranges)

Finally the weather starts to ease!

Wow – this has been a really hairy 48 hours as far as the weather is concerned.  We’ve been holed up in the van, hardly able to step outside it’s been so windy.  According to the weather bureau, the winds are pretty close to a Cat 1 Cyclone.  Thank God the rain didn’t match up.  It was bad enough with the van shaking violently.  WOW.

It was settled enough this morning so that we could go shopping.  Gee I love that job – it get’s more and more expensive too!

And now, just as I’m getting ready for dinner tonight (Marinated Chicken Legs), it’s coming on to rain again – ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!

Monday, 29 June 2009

The Fate of the Cruiser

We got a call this morning from Toyota confirming the problem with the Cruiser.  The brake line was rubbing on the inside of the tyre – hence the leak.  This means that the brake line assembly has to be replaced, together with the new lines.  Damn!  This is all a hangover from having the axle replaced.

We wont get the car back until at least Wednesday, because all the parts are sent out from Melbourne.

Oh well – them’s the breaks!  I look at it this way – it could have been a hell of a lot worse – on the freeway for example.

The weather has been really tragic again – last night and today.  The wind is piling up the waves in the Swan River and driving them up onto the Kwinana Freeway.  Played hell with peak-hour traffic this morning.  Glad we don’t have to worry about THAT!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Warren Gorge, SA (southern Flinders Ranges)

Warren Gorge, SA (southern Flinders Ranges)

Wild West Weather

Dinner last night with Jeff & Jennie was great – lots of really good food, laughs and wine!  Stayed overnight and headed back to the caravan park this morning.

The weather overnight has been really wild.  Some gusts of 100kph+.  High winds, high seas and lots of showers.  Half expected to get back and find cabins without roofs.  We were not too worried about the Kedron losing bits – they’re too well built!  But we needn’t have worried – the park is sheltered slightly by the dunes, so all was well, although a couple of TV antennae’s have gone west!

We spent the day huddled down against the wind and rain (probably 3/4 of Perth inhabitants are doing the same thing.)

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Trundling around in a Getz!

Getz_02 Getz_01

The hire car we’ve been given is a little white Hyundai Getz. Small, but quite comfortable, and gets us from A to B. It’s certainly better than the alternative – public transport – what a horrible thought.
A little bit of needed shopping (re-stocking the booze cupboard) and then staying out of the weather.
Dinner and a sleep-over with Jennie and Jeff Wake tonight.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Brakes – what brakes??

Today has been the day from HELL!!! Everything was going really well this morning until we decided to take a run up to Rivervale to see a satellite antennae guy. That was our first mistake.
We’d gone barely 5km when Rick swerved to the side of the road and onto the kerb, saying “We’ve got no brakes!” You can imagine my response. After crawling underneath, he decided that the right hand side brake line was fractured, and brake fluid was dribbling out. There was a mechanic’s workshop just across the road (lucky heh!) so he drove (very slowly) into the yard. After brief consultation with the mechanic and his apprentices, consensus was reached and agreed that yes, it more than likely was the brake line. The probability is that the mechanic in Eucla may have bent and fractured the line when putting in the new axle shaft. So, we called the RACQ, who put us through to RAC(WA). This was at 12:15. By the time that the RAC had arrived, assessed the problem, called for a tow-truck to take us to Toyota, discovered that the truck was not big-enough, called ANOTHER tow-truck, loaded us on, re-fuelled the truck, took us to Toyota (going to the wrong place twice), arranged a hire car and picked it up – it was 5:30pm. AAAGGGHHH!!!
By this time, we were both completely shattered and the thought of cooking anything when we got home had gone right out the window. Charcoal chicken and a bottle of white wine completed the day’s happenings with at least a little bit of relaxation.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Coogee Beach Caravan Park – 25km

We embarked on a bit of re-familiarisation today, had a drive around Fremantle and surrounds. Some places have changed quite a bit since we were here last year, but it’s pretty much still the same.
Did a bit of shopping in Freo – needed a new electric kettle and carving knife. The usual routine – coffee in a cafe which has been there since God was a boy. It’s just under new management now!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Merredin to Fremantle (Coogee Beach Caravan Park) – 332km

Weather was much more reasonable this morning – cool but not freezing. The sky was reasonably clear too. We fuelled up on the way out, and then headed towards York.
Arriving at York, we headed out towards the caravan park having made a booking yesterday. Unfortunately, by this time it was absolutely pouring with rain. We got there at 10:40 only to find that the office was closed between 10:00 and 11:00. We were just about to leave when the (presumably) manager appeared. On telling him we had a booking, he led us to a site right at the back of the park, which was occupied by the neighbour’s vehicle. This was not a bad thing in itself, but apparently the neighbour is deaf, and didn’t hear all the banging on the door. At that point, our joint patience reserve snapped (never very high at the best of times), and we decided to pull out and head directly to Perth.
We looked at the Coogee Beach Caravan Park first (2.5km S of Fremantle) and decided it offered the best value for money. With an Aspen Parks discount card the price is $26.10 / night.
Paid a quick visit to Jeff & Jennie, just to let them know we’re here, and to sort a date for a lengthier visit.
Had the last load of Scallops and Prawns (bought in Port Lincoln) for tea. Beautiful on Satay Rice.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Kalgoorlie to Merredin – 332km

Yet another cold morning – but overcast this time, so not quite so bad. Rick woke up with a really nasty sinus headache – a response to all the dust being blown about.
Stopped at a couple of the rest areas mentioned in Camps Australia 5 – Boorabin Rest Area in particular looks like it could be a good place to stop. Had morning tea there, and moved onto Southern Cross for lunch.
When we reached Merredin, we initially booked an unpowered site, but that **** heater just refused to fire up. The voltage was good and the pump working, but it just wouldn’t start. Tried a few times but it just refused. We ended up moving to a powered site so that we could use the electric heater. After moving and settling, I tried the diesel heater one more time AND IT WORKED FIRST TIME. Needless to say – some harsh words were said!!!!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Kalgoorlie – 19km

Yesterday’s weather prediction for a 1 degree morning was spot on! Thank heavens for the heater. After brekkie, we went into Kalgoorlie to pick up mail from the post office. Then the Dome Coffee House called, with Hot Chocolates and a gigantic chocolate chip biscuit. After that a little bit of essential purchasing (eg hardware, camping store and fuel). Rick went into Kalgoorlie Toyota to get a quote on replacing his seat-belt. After he’d picked himself back up off the floor, he came outside to tell me that no, he didn’t think we’d bother. $501 + GST – and that’s only for one seat-belt. According to Toyota, as long as it still grabs when stopping, it will work fine. It’s only the retracting reel which is giving up the ghost.
Then we went to the Super Pit. It’s an amazing concept and has been carried out wonderfully so far. The link below goes to the KCGM web-site which gives a really good overview. Have a look through the various pages – it’s really fascinating. I've also included a couple of photos for those who don't feel like going further.

Tomorrow we leave Kalgoorlie, and start heading west again.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Kalgoorlie – 20km

We headed up to Boulder Markets this morning for a look. Despite the weather, which was cold and coming on to rain, there were quite a few people around. The stalls were all lined up on the footpaths of the main street, with quite a few of the specialty shops also opened. We found the famous Boulder Sweet Shop. They have an amazing range of all kinds of lollies, both Australian made and imported (especially from the UK). Our usual search for Acid Drops unearthed some tiny little gems which were ‘tarty’, but not that ‘tarty’ that they rip out the lining of the mouth.
The rest of the day was spent huddling away from the wind and rain. When the front actually came across Kalgoorlie, the temperature dropped about 4 degrees in the space of an hour. And tomorrow, the predicted minimum is 1 degree. Oh wonderful!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Norseman to Kalgoorlie – 187km

We made yet another early start (not by choice though). Norseman is full of people who have to get up / leave for work at 5am, and they don’t exactly make any attempt to keep the noise down. No thought that other people might want to sleep!! Norseman now marked DO NOT RETURN.
We left at 5:45am and had breakfast 60km down the road in Widgiemooltha - a funny, ex-gold mining town. The Roadhouse is the just about the only place there now and is a very clean, tidy little place. The breakfast of Bacon & Eggs with Toast was just lovely, and the cook / server guy was very interesting to talk to.
After setting up in Kalgoorlie, we went and did the stock-up shopping. The total price was very un-pretty - but unfortunately necessary. All fruit & veg had to be either eaten or cooked before reaching the WA border, and I had deliberately allowed the meat and dry-goods stocks to run down as we crossed the Nullarbor. We ate a few rather creative fridge and pantry cleanout meals during the trip, but are now back to full stocks.
We are booked in here for 3 days, and will pick up the mail on Monday. We also want to go and look at the ‘SuperPit’. It appears to be the big attraction here in Kalgoorlie.

Friday, 19 June 2009

On the road to Clare, SA

On the road to Clare, SA

Olwolgin Rest Area to Norseman – 500km

This has been a long, long day. We left the rest area at around 5AM, had breakfast at Cocklebiddy and just kept going.
We had plenty of breaks but 500km is probably double what we would normally do in a day, so we both pretty tired – Rick in particular as he does all the driving. It’s pretty tiring just sitting still though, even as a passenger.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Dinner at the Oriental Hotel, Adelaide

Tamra, Rick, Lea & Daryl - Dinner at the Oriental Hotel, Adelaide

Eucla to Olwolgin Bluff Rest Area – 207km

Slow morning but we finally got car back at around 1.30 / 2pm. (Having troubles with exactly what time it is 'cos of the time zones!!!). The labour costs were $284 so all-up cost was almost $1000. We got underway fast and had lunch (Mrs Mac's Pies) at Mundrabilla.
We have camped just past Madura in a small rest area. We've already paid for the site in Eucla so this is not really free – damn! We're on our own in the rest area however, so this is good.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Still in Eucla

Good stuff and bad stuff today.
Good - the parts for the car actually arrived this afternoon.
Bad –it’s been a long, slow day – just waiting for something to happen.
Neither of us felt much like doing anything much either – couldn’t really settle. We tried to set up the Sat again - once again only a couple of channels. Contacted SatPlus and they advised tweaking the LNB a little. No go - VERY FRUSTRATING. Decided to wait until we reach Perth, and get the dish looked at by an expert as it’s a bit battered.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Yalata West Rest Area to Eucla – 294km

Stopped off at Head of the Bight this morning to check out the whales. There was 1 lone juvenile, and a mother and calf. Just lollygagging and beautiful to watch. The scenery in the bight is breathtaking.
From there to Nullarbor Roadhouse to get some Ice Coffee and a car sticker. $15 for the 3 items. What a rip-off!!!
We stopped at another cliff-top scenic view to empty out and get some more water to drink in the car. While there, Rick decided to have a look underneath to try to identify the worsening clicking noise coming from the front. BAD NEWS!!! The CV boot is completely shredded and a lot of the grease has been ejected. Not far from the border and Eucla, so will try and get it looked at there.
At the SA / WA border, an extremely nice young quarantine inspector told us about the local mechanic - Rod Fowler. Just as well, he appears to be the only mechanic until we get to Norseman. He is also the local RAC agent.
Later - OK - this is not going to be a cheap exercise. The whole axle assembly will need to be replaced. Rod has ordered 1 from Midlands Toyota in Perth and it should arrive tomorrow afternoon. $714 for the parts. He then has to put it in!
Head of Bight View_2

Monday, 15 June 2009

Streaky Bay to Yalata West Rest Area – 339km

Ceduna does not appear to have changed all that much – so we bought fuel & bread & then moved on.
Had lunch at Nundroo Roadhouse & then did some more kilometres before stopping for the night in a Rest Area west of Yalata Aboriginal Community. Most of the rain has stopped, but it's still windy & cloudy.
Tony & Katy Francis arrived not long after us and also set up camp.
We were in bed early, and slept pretty well. There was very little traffic noise overnight, even though we were only about 200 metres away from the road.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Streaky Bay, South Australia

We've now been in Streaky bay for 3 days. Because the weather was so bad when we got here, the decision was made not to go further, but to wait for the wind & rain to ease. Yesterday was so bad it was deemed to be a 'Doona Day', so we just stayed in the warm. Today is a little better so we took a trip out to Point Bauer. It's wild and woolly shoreline, with many rocks & cliffs - and very beautiful. Because the wind was so strong, we almost had to lean against it to stand in one position.
Yesterday we ran into Kedron owners, Tony & Katy Francis. We met them originally a few days ago in Port Lincoln National Park, and then again heading into Coffin Bay. They are now here in Streaky Bay as like us, are slowly travelling westwards.
Tomorrow we're off to Ceduna to do a bit of shopping, and wait for the weather (in particular the wind) to ease off so that we can begin the run across the Nullarbor without a head-wind.
I'm not so sure about this 'winter' stuff, but the travelling itself is just pure fun. A least the van's diesel heater is getting a good workout.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Elliston, Eyre Peninsula, SA

Today is our last day in Elliston, and it's been a really great day weather-wise. The sun has shone, and it hasn't been too windy! We took a drive on the local coastal Sculpture trail. Interesting!!!!!
Tomorrow we leave here and head for either Streaky Bay or Ceduna. We'll make up our minds when we reach Streaky. A lot depends on how bad the weather gets.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Short History

In July 2007, Rick & I retired from full-time employment and hit the road. For the first 8 months we travelled with our little baby Kedron (14'6" internal) from Brisbane to Birdsville (via Carnarvon National Park), then to Innamincka and back to Brisbane, before heading for Tasmania to spend the warmer months. We caught the ferry in late November and had an absolute ball travelling the island state, until our return to the big island in mid-January 2008.
Our new Kedron van was due for delivery in late February or early March, so we were very keen to be in or close to Brisbane around that time. After spending some time around Maryborough, catching up with family, we picked up our new baby on March 4, 2008. A period of 'sea trials' followed, where we (and those wonderful people at Kedron) ironed out the bugs, and then........
Late July 2008 found us finally leaving Brisbane to head west and north. Over the next couple of months, we made a big loop through Roma, Barcaldine, Longreach, Hughenden and up north to Georgetown, finally reaching Cairns at the start of October. The plan at that stage was to wander a little further north (Daintree etc), through Cooktown and then to Lakefield National Park. The Daintree is absolutely unbelievable, it is such a pristine, beautiful place.
The start of December was when we settled down in Atherton for a couple of months. The Tablelands are really beautiful, so green and rich, and many places to visit. Fortunately however, we left before the worst of the rains - and floods, and in January 2009, we began slowly to head back down the coast towards Brisbane (once again catching up with the family)and then further south.
Over the last four months, we have travelled down through the New England Tablelands and Wild Rivers areas, to the River Murray and into South Australia. Some time in Adelaide and surrounds (and some really, really good wine producing areas), and then it was off to the Flinders Ranges. Caught up with really good friends in Adelaide, and it was a wrench to leave them again.
We are now in Elliston, having spent the last couple of weeks wandering the Eyre Peninsula.
The next few days should be spent crossing the Nullarbor and heading towards Perth.

Onward and Upward!!