Yesterday we drove 376 kms to Denham. We left a little after 9.00 a.m., but dropped in at the bakery on the way. We had a good trip, with Marie and Geoff going ahead at their own pace, with us following at ours. This worked well. Stephen and I had about a 20 minute stop at a 24hr camping area, Galena Bridge, which was about 13kms up the road after reaching the highway. It was very pleasant in sunshine, with the Murchison River adding interest.
We had another short stop at the next 24hr camping spot, rather different, but with bitumen areas. It would be a better stopover place if it was raining.
We met up at Billabong. Marie and Geoff had already had lunch before we arrived, but they waited for us for a while, then we set off intending to meet again at the caravan park. In fact, we met close to Shell Beach, and went there for afternoon tea and a walk on the curious shell beach. It is very shallow water, and the beach made up of little shells, which went into waves.
When we arrived here in Denham it felt far less comfortable than at Kalbarri. It was very windy. Stephen and Geoff found a place where we had fish and chips and discussed the next few days. Two stops were confirmed, at the Hamelin Station Stay and Northampton. Marie and I were delegated to book in the morning, which we did.
Marie and I both did some washing and were able to hang it on a lines near the caravans. As today was sunny and mild, the washing was dry by the time we got back from Monkey Mia. We had a relaxed morning, leaving for MM by about 10.30 a.m., but with delays to allow caravans to get through into the park and shopping for Marie and Geoff, did not arrive there until after 11.00 a.m. We spent a lazy time enjoying the dolphins, the sunshine, and time in the little gift shops. We set up camp as it were outside of the restaurant, had our picnic lunch and bought coffees, etc. to make up for not buying their food.
After a mild, sunny day the wind came up at about 4.30 p.m., and it became rather cold and cloudy. So, we are hunkered down in our caravans, looking forward to having simple, home cooked meals.
We have spent our second day at Kalbarri exploring the river gorges. We took picnic food and went from place to place, taking in the views. There were good paths, signage, and picnic areas. The gravel roads could have done with a visit from a bulldozer, but we travelled slowly, as did most of the other cars on the road. There was surprisingly little dust.
Marie and I got washing done early and Stephen and Geoff went to the shops and bakery for fresh bread and our choice of treats.
We left at about 20 to 11.00 am and came home after four. There is more to do in this area, but that will have to be for our next visit.
Today has been interesting. We went for a walk to a local lookout, then had coffee and cake at a cafe overlooking the beach. We bought our cakes cheaply at the bakery and ate them with our coffees in the cafe.
I’ve just discovered why my photos for the last few days have been over exposed, I had moved the exposure dial accidentally and hadn’t checked that particular item when trying to work out what had happened. I’ve also had a spot on my photos, even though I have not changed the lens on my Sony. Could I be lucky enough that it was on the lens and not the sensor? We will find out tomorrow. If it is on the sensor it is very bad news for my photos, although I can correct them fairly easily in Lightroom.
We bought a roll each and went out to some of the ocean gorges. After walking along the cliffs on a boardwalk I at least was hungry for the roll, so we ate them there. Afterwards, Marie proposed having a rest back at the caravans. Geoff went off to Red Bluff whilst the rest of us had a rest. He helped me by putting some guy ropes on our side awning so that I could leave it up. This evening I did some washing and it is now hanging under the awning where it might just get dry, though probably not overnight as it is cold.
The storm had passed by this morning and althoug we had some cloud, it was mostly fine and a comfortable temperature with a maximum of about 21 degrees. We went up to a lookout late in the day, seeing some kangaroos in the distance as well as having a great view of the surrounding area. Really lovely and peaceful. The caravan park is a bit busy, and we have ‘luck’ in having two different families with young children. The father of the second lot apologised in advance for his kids, very sweet. They are good kids, but are small and lively.
Geoff cooked sausages on the BBQ and Marie and I did some veggies in the microwave for tea. We then retired to our separate caravans for a quiet evening. Stephen asked if I wanted to watch anything, but I felt tired and wanted to have a little time to process the photos from today. So, he is listening to something and I am looking at the photos.
On Monday morning we set off in the caravan for two weeks, travelling with Marie and Geoff for the first time. They have a little caravan that is very similar to ours, but different in interesting ways. Robyne was joining us for the first couple of days and we all met at Gingers Roadhouse, coming from our different locations.
We travelled pretty much together at first, then Robyne went on ahead as it was easier for her to travel at the speed limit in her car, whilst we were towing our vans and often went slower than the 100 km limit for caravan towing. We arrived in mid afternoon. Geoff and Stephen did the formal Wildflower Walk, whilst we women got settled in and had a bit of rest. We had a shared meal in Robyne’s little cottage.
Our day at Western Flora Caravan Park (Tuesday) was very enjoyable. We had some cloud and some sunshine. We walked to one side of the caravan park to a small lake and bird hide. There was a broom in the bird hide, and Marie couldn’t help herself…
Afterwards we took the trail down to the Arrowsmith River to try to find the waterfall. The walk through bushland with lots of wildflowers was very enjoyable. We found the river and what we thought was the waterfall. Fortunately Geoff went off by himself for a little while and found the real one, which was worth visiting. The walk took us a couple of hours.
Later in the day, some of us went for a drive to the ocean. We stopped at one of the little coves with tin shanties. The beach was interesting because of the erosion. Robyne and I were impressed with Geoff’s ability to see things at great distances. I took a photo of a spot on the ocean which he thought was an oil or gas rig. When we enlarged it in the evening, it was definitely a rig, blurry in my photo.
In the evening we had a shared meal once again in the small cottage where Robyne was staying. This morning she set off earlier than us to return home, whilst we battled wind and rain on our drive to Kalbarri.
It was pretty challenging and although we could have done some sightseeing on the way, the weather made that just not possible. This evening we are pretty tired. I didn’t take any photos but am looking forward to tomorrow. As we arrived in Kalbarri I felt excited by the scenery and the difficulties of the journey seemed well worth it. We lost Marie and Geoff as we were driving along in the town. We got in touch by phone and eventually found the caravan park, but even getting lost was worth it as we saw a great view of the waves whipped up by the storm.
Geoff and Stephen took time to get the caravans placed as they thought best, then we had coffee in Marie and Geoff’s van, which works better than ours for four people.
Whilst Marie and I were thinking of simple meals we could make in our caravan kitchens, Stephen and Geoff thought of a plan to go out for an evening meal. They did some research and came up with a place we could walk to from the caravan park.
The weather should be much better tomorrow, according to the weather bureau.
On Tuesday we went to look at Slattery House, an old farmhouse that operates as a restaurant, but only on weekends. We drove down the driveway a bit, but did not get out and walk around, respecting the owner’s privacy.
We were on our way to Oak Park, a local picnic area with self guided interpretive walks. It was quite interesting and we enjoyed walking around and having a picnic in the area.
Afterwards we drove to the nearby town of Dowerin. We had been told there was a bakery in the town, but our drive around the streets did not find one. We stopped at an information area and took photos. Stephen read the billboard information.
In the evening we had our usual Jack Daniels and coke, with chips. We sat outside of the kitchen area in sunshine and were reasonably comfortable. Stephen had made friends with the person managing the caravan park (temporarily) and arranged that we didn’t have to leave until 11.00 a.m. We made it just in time.
Our first stop on Wednesday morning was in Northam. We found that the area near the riverbank was set up for day use by RVs, and were able to get fresh water for the tap and plug into electricity. Stephen went off to do his Centrelink reporting and I did some shopping. By the time we got back we decided it was lunchtime.
When we arrived at Mum’s place, where we planned to spend Wednesday night, we found it difficult to get the caravan into place even with the caravan movers. We wanted to turn it around to get it into the ‘go’ position, and nearly got the jockey wheel bogged in soft earth. Anyway, after much struggle we got everything set up and plugged into power and water. There was some dripping from the tap, so we didn’t leave the water on.
I cooked tea using our vegetables and some meat from Joy’s freezer.
The next day Mum had an appointment at 1.10 p.m. at Midland Hospital. I was feeling tired, so rang up to cancel. The occupational therapist rang later and sort of had the appointment over the phone. The hospital is supposed to be getting in touch with me to set up a time for a home visit. Unfortunately, they will probably ring Mum, so I hope she thinks to write it down immediately.
We got home in time to have a rest and go to the first choir meeting with Raelene back. It was good to see her, but we are all hoping she will make a firm commitment to get us ready for the Dunsborough Songfest in November.
On Friday I had a checkup on my expensive tooth with Dr Calder’s surgery. No problems found. We went to a Kent Street lunch, having seniors’ specials, and good conversation. In the evening Ray and Eversley came to tea and we watched the 1953 film of Julius Ceasar, with Marlon Brando as Marc Anthony. Very good, if a bit long. We really enjoyed having them and found a way of setting up the lounge room so that each of us had our own armchair.
On Saturday I cleaned the caravan, washed the bedding, and set things up for our next trip away in two weeks. I am leaving the fridge on with some of the longer term food in it. In the evening we went to a Beethoven concert. Stephen had been offered cheap tickets through WASO. Ian and Marianne were sitting a few seats behind and we were able to chat with them.
On Sunday Marie and Geoff came and we organised an itinerary for the first week, at least, with a rough idea for places to do and things to see on the way south. We also discussed Robyne’s idea of taking Mum away for a few days. Marie said she would talk with Robyne about it and rang her later in the day. Robyne got angry with both of us, and I was quite upset. Matt was here, so Stephen tried to distract him from what was happening.
This morning I came up with the idea of Robyne coming to Eneabba, our first stop, with us. There is a guided wildflower walk and probably other things to see. She would have one full day, driving up with us on the Monday and then home of Wednesday. This way, she gets a holiday without having to look after Mum. Robyne was very pleased and I’ve booked a cabin for her as well as two caravan sites for us. Which makes me feel a lot better. I know she was wanting a holiday, but we didn’t feel that taking Mum away on her own was a good idea. It hasn’t worked in the past and things are far more difficult now.
I’ve also booked us into the Tudor Caravan Park at Kalbarri for three nights. Marie and Geoff will handle the booking at Monkey Mia. It is a RAC run caravan park, so we will get discounts.