Tuesday, 30 June 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Monday, 15 June 2009
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
Thursday, 11 June 2009
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
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!!