Travels with the Winnie: Day 96

Meckering to Home Base

We arrived home at about 1.45 p.m. Safe and sound. The house seems nice, we left it fairly clean and tidy and the dust doesn’t seem to be too bad. We feel a bit disoriented. The Subaru started up first thing and Stephen has taken it for a run. He is now sorting out the mail as our mail redirection doesn’t end until the 29th.

There are lots of things to be done, but arriving home safely feels like a big achievement just at the moment. We are both thinking of other trips we would like to do, some local and the next big one – probably going around the other way – up north and then across to the Northern Territory.

But for now we need to settle in a bit and try to remember that all of the unpacking doesn’t need to be done today!

The featured photo is from the beginning of our trip, but I went across there this morning and bought a flat white to have with breakfast. It was supposed to open at 9.00 a.m., but I didn’t check the time before going and was happily served at 8.30 a.m.

Today is sunny, with a cold wind. We have really enjoyed driving down past Northam and other familiar towns through the jarrah forrest. We stopped at the bakery in Mundaring for soup and coffee and a shared cake. We stocked up on loaves and rolls which have gone straight into the freezer.


Travels with the Winnie: Day 95

North Road Parking Bay to Meckering

We had a good nights sleep and set off at about 9.15 a.m. We stopped briefly to refuel, and then to have morning tea in Kellerberin, and then lunch in Cunderdin. There is parking off the highway near the Pump museum. Stephen spent some time in the museum whilst I had a rest and then a cup of tea at the pub. We have passed this pub a few times now and I’ve taken photos of it, but this was the first time of going inside. The cup of tea was $2.00 and I was able to sit on a sofa near the fire.

Meckering is only 22 kms from Cunderdin so it was worthwhile to spend time in Cunderdin, arriving in Meckering to settle for the night. We have access to flushing toilets, a dump point and water taps. The cafe was still open when we arrived as it closes at 6. p.m., but doesn’t open until 9.00 a.m. in the mornings.

This morning, for the first time on our trip, the diesel heater has had problems. It was going for a while, then the light started flashing. We suspect that the fuel lead is blocked. Something else for our list of things for Ken Peachy to have a look at when it goes in on the 25th September. It has been such a blessing on our trip! We are glad that if it had to fail it has chosen to do so on our last morning before getting home.

We tried again after about 20 minutes and it worked perfectly. An intermittent problem?

yesterday morning (1 of 1).jpg
at North Road Parking Bay yesterday morning

Meckering (1 of 1).jpg
and Meckering yesterday evening

Travels with the Winnie: Day 93 and 94

Widgiemooltha to Boondi Rock and Dam, then Boondi to North Road Parking Bay (actually on the old road nearby)

We woke up to clouds yesterday morning, but by the time we reached Coolgardie it was mostly sunny. We tried to get our gas bottle filled, but no joy. We had morning tea at a roadhouse and refuelled.

Coolgardie Tourist Information Centre and Museum (1 of 1)

We arrived at Boondi Rock in mid afternoon. We had a short walk around the dam and a longer walk up on the rock until nearly sunset. We gathered wood and lit a fire in the large firepit provided. There are seven campsites, each with a firepit and picnic table. Using the firelighters there was no difficulty in getting a good fire going. We didn’t try to large pieces of wood because we didn’t intend to keep the fire after dark. I took some photos.

another with Stephen and fire (1 of 1)

us at the fire (1 of 1)

We particularly enjoyed all of the small birds singing. Hard to see, but they make their presence felt. On our walk Stephen rang Geoff to catch up. The featured photo shows Stephen about to make the call. We had a good 3g signal out on the rock.

water holes on the rock (1 of 1)
water holes on the rock
Campsite Boondi Rock (1 of 1)
Our campsite at Boondi Rock. We are just below the dam and had to climb a few steps to see it. There were only two other vans there and we met both couples when we were out walking.
dam reflections (1 of 1)
Good reflections on the water when we had our afternoon walk
flow markings2 (1 of 1)
Detail of some of the flow markings and lichen on the rock.

It was a very cold night, and I wonder how it would be to free camp with no heating. I think it would be quite tough, although we have camped overnight in reasonably cold conditions in the caravan without power. We were warm in bed, but it felt very cold on my face and head.

Our internet was very slow and I did not try to blog, it was important to just enjoy being there. In the morning we went for another walk around the dam and general area before heading off at about 10.00 a.m.

dawn over the dam (1 of 1)
sun rising over the dam
morning walk (1 of 1)
Setting off on our morning walk.
morning reflections (1 of 1)
morning reflections
bridge (1 of 1)
a zoomed in shot showing the rock behind the dam

We found the driving difficult, with a very bumpty road. It is more difficult than a gravel road because you have to maintain a much higher speed (say 80 kms), which makes the bumps worse than if you could go a bit slower. When we arrived in Southern Cross we were finally able to get the gas bottle refilled. We bought some bread and had lunch.

We were feeling oddly tired and out of sorts, probably partly grieving that our journey will end soon. We contemplated a few options. Southern Cross provides a dump point and coin operated tap for filling RV tanks. We thought of going to the caravan park, and nice as it is, it felt a bit of a comedown after our lovely bush camp. We thought of going to the free camping on the edge of town, but we looked at it on our way here three months ago, and it wasn’t that inviting. We could have stayed in town for the day, then gone there around sunset.

After quite a long rest, we decided to push on a bit and find a spot further down the road. We missed the one we were aiming for because it was on the opposite side of the road. We then used my ipad with Wikicamps to find a spot which is about 25 kms from Southern Cross. We are now about 330 kms from home.

We are not 100% sure that our spot is legal. The rest stop did not have places away from the road, so we went a little further and found a way into some bush. We can still see the highway. The Telstra signal is sufficient for blogging, which is important.




Travels with the Winnie: Day 92

Norseman to Widgiemooltha

We woke up to a cloudy, windy morning yesterday and stayed in bed for some time reading on our iPads. We decided to push onwards rather than have a rest day there. We wanted to cook up some mince and vegetables in the pressure cooker, for which we need electricity and had two possibilities in mind, Widgie or Coolgardie. By the time we arrived in Widgie it was lunchtime and the wind was still pretty strong. According to the forecast today will be less windy.

We stayed here on our way through to the east and rather like the odd little caravan park behind the roadhouse. There are cheerful young backpackers working here. We got our spot and hooked up the electricty, then went to the roadhouse to have soup.

The featured image shows examples of things we get up to in our ‘tiny house’ Winnebago.

We will be back in the city quite soon, so staying out of town was also an attraction of being here. We had enough of a phone signal to chat with Matt on Facetime.

fruit bowls refreshed (1 of 1).jpg
Sometimes we have all three levels with fruit, or we use one basket for our ‘stuff’, hat, scarf, mobile phone and glasses case.

We have planned three more overnight stops on our way home. Tonight (Monday) we will be at Boondi Rock and Dam, which is off the highway in a national park. Our neighbours here at the caravan park have just spent a night there and recommend it. The next night (Tuesday) will be at Burracopin Centenary Park Rest Area, and then Wednesday night at Meckering Memorial Park (where we stayed for our first night of the trip). That’s the plan and we will see if it works out. Of course, we could actually get home in two days, but we are not in a hurry. Stephen wants to be home for the 28th for a WASO choir rehearsal and we are well within that deadline.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 92

Afghan Rock to Norseman

It rained overnight yesterday, and when we woke up in the morning we were worried about being able to get out to the road along the 3km track. Part of the track was very good, but there were areas that had obviously been very boggy after rain. We had our cup of tea and washes, then headed back to the Ayre Highway to the rest area where we had our breakfast. The rain didn’t become heavy at any stage yesterday and we would probably have been OK. We really enjoyed being well away from the road in a quiet setting overnight.

Afghan Rock dawn2 (1 of 1)
the dam and windmill
Afghan Rock dawn3 (1 of 1)
a bit of blue sky
Afghan Rock dawn4 (1 of 1)
rays of sunlight

As we drove to Norseman the landscape changed. It became hilly, and the trees became taller. We went through an area of intense dieback where all of the tall trees had died. Internestingly, there were young trees growing thickly in the same area which appeared to be completely unaffected. I imagine they would have to thin out a bit.

We stopped at the Fraser Range Rest Area for morning tea. We had two slices of toast with our cuppa, which is where things started to get a bit odd as we then didn’t get hungry for lunch until about three. I had been suggesting that we had dinner at a pub, but we couldn’t imagine being hungry for an evening meal.

We arrived in Norseman early afternoon with a few chores to do. We refuelled, then went to the information centre where we used the dump point and refilled our water tank. We had to get a key for the dump point and a tap for the water from the information centre, so it was a bit complicated. We got into conversation with a man dressed in colourful tutu and tights. There was a market in town this morning which we sadly missed. I was too shy to ask him if I could take a photo. We then did some shopping at the IGA and were glad to restock on fruit and vegetables.

Our last chore was to get our gas bottled refilled, but there we ran out of luck. The BP station didn’t do refills, but we had some lentil soup anyway. The Caltex didn’t do refills and when we tried the caravan park they said they were too busy at the time and if we stayed the night with them they would do it overnight. We gave up and went to the free camp site. It is nicely located on the edge of town with a view to one of the salt lakes. It was quite bleak when we arrived, with wind and driving, light rain.

However, after our rest it didn’t seem so bad. We walked to the centre of town to a pub we had looked at earlier where they served meals. We had a drink and settled in next to the fire. Eventually we decided to have something to eat and ordered a steak sandwich with ‘the lot’. It was good value and we were so full that we couldn’t fit in any fruit when we got back to the van.

Norseman (1 of 1)
our spot, Norseman
Norseman2 (1 of 1)
the view
Norseman3 (1 of 1)
we weren’t the only ones
Norseman5 (1 of 1)
the Norseman pub
Norseman6 (1 of 1)
the clouds
Norseman7 (1 of 1).jpg
the other pub where there was a yoga retreat happening this weekend
Norseman9 (1 of 1)
there were two fires in the room. We sat at the other end which was more comfortable and there was an open fire right next to us.
Norseman10 (1 of 1)
It was very quiet for a Saturday night. The woman at the bar said that maybe people found it too cold to go out.

It sometimes feels quite odd that it doesn’t matter where we are, once night falls and we draw the curtains, our little home is the same night after night. Cosy and spacious enough that we can each feel we have some privacy. We think that we have lived in small spaces often enough that we can be together or separate no matter what the circumstances.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 91

Rest Area just East of Eyre Bird Observatory turnoff to Afghan Rock Camping Area

Today we went through the ’90 mile straight’ – fairly easy driving today, sunny and not too much wind. We were the last to leave our campsite this morning, but still managed reach our desired campsite. Instead of being just off the highway, we are actually on private property, close to a dam and windmill. Thanks to Wikicamps for information on this site. The comments section was very helpful about the condition of the track leading to the dam, including another motorhome owner who said it was OK taken very slowly.

We have our little circle of RVs and even though it has been dark for a couple of hours there are a group still sitting outside around a campfire. If Stephen and I wanted our own campfire we realise that we don’t have matches or any other way of lighting a fire. I am thinking of getting a small metal firepit that we can take around with us. It would mean we could have a very small and contained fire – only in season, of course.

Nomad Village (1 of 1)
Our nomad village for the night. You can’t see the dam in this photo as it is smallish and rather low lying.
stephen (1 of 1)
Stephen exploring the rock

We had morning tea at Caiguna and lunch at the Baxter Rest Area where we stayed on our way to the East.

We are now 180 kms east of Norseman and finally back in the WA timezone.


Travels with the Winnie: Day 90

Eucla to Roadside Rest Area (just East of the Eyre Bird Observatory turnoff)

This rest area is really named Roadside Rest Area, so what can we do! I did some washing this morning in Eucla, hence all the stuff hanging around.

At Eucla, Stephen rang up and discovered that we could have 20 litres of water for free, using the tap over the trough in the laundry which has potable water. Stephen asked if we could pay for another 20 litres of water. The person gave in and said we could have 40 litres for free. Before we left home I had purchased a suitable funnel and Stephen used our water container to fill the tank. We thought it was down to one third full, but it quickly filled up, only taking about 30 litres. We set off this morning feeling great with a full tank of water and our 2 ten litre containers full as well. We have vowed to use a kettle to boil water for washing up dishes and washing ourselves rather than using the water heater, which seems to use up a great deal more water. Our present water may need to last until Norseman about 2 sleeps away.

A couple of gems from today. Quite often people have their names and or some sort of slogan on their RV which reflects their philosophy. Today’s best one was “Two shades of Grey”.

The other one was over the radio after we had been passed by a largish four wheel drive motorhome. Today was quite windy.

RV driver: “Can you please turn the wind off”

Me: “I can’t reach the switch”

RV driver: “there must be something you can do for me”

I didn’t have a comeback for that one.

Yesterday at Nullabour Roadhouse Stephen was reading a large poster about trucks and caravans sharing the road. A truck driver got into conversation with him and I joined as well. He said it was good to see RVers taking an interest in learning about living with trucks. He is West Australian and lives in Kalamunda. Memorable for having a true bass voice.

It was a lovely sunny day, and the wind wasn’t that terrible and did gradually drop as the day wore on. We had lunch at the Madura Hotel as a bit of respite.

We stopped at one campsite, but whilst it was quite lovely, we only spent a little time discussing the fact that we don’t really need the internet to have a perfect campsite, then high tailed it 25 kms down the track to this place, which has quite a good 3g signal. We were the first to arrive, and settled in despite our policy of not camping on our own. As has happened a few times, once we were here, others started to arrive, so that we have ended up with four other RVs, three of which have parked in close proximity. So, we have a little community of 10 Shades of Grey.



Travels with the Winnie: Day 89

Rest Stop 164k Peg, SA to Eucla, WA

We had a fairly unevental day of driving after a peaceful night. It became more and more windy, but was sunny and bright, which helped. The road is very good, which really helps and, of course, in these wide open spaces it is very easy for other vehicles to pass us.

At Border Village we chucked a couple of items, an onion and lemon that I had picked up at Penong. In the laundry at Penong there is usually a pile of vegetables/fruit discarded by travellers who will be going through the quarantine check for SA. The WA quarantine check is at the border. I’d forgotten about honey – and we had to give them a container that was mostly used and a full, unopened one. Rats! I felt a bit like the King, nobody my darling could call me a fussy woman, but I do like a little bit of creamed honey with my toast! It will have to be marmalade instead.

Eucla is beautiful of course and we have camped in a spot overlooking the ocean. Whereas we normally like to be as level as possible we have accepted quite a slope because it means we have an uninterupted view. So, we go up to the bathroom and bed and down to the living area, it can be a bit disorienting.

On the way here we stopped off at one of the photo opportunities to view the cliffs. It was better actually being there. The featured image shows the coastal heathland and pathway to the viewing spot. I tried to get the horizon level, but it really wants to tilt!

cliffs (1 of 1).jpg
This was the view. A lovely clear day.
cliffs2 (1 of 1).jpg
view zoomed in a bit

We are still enjoying meals from our last cookup and will have the last one tonight.


Travels with the Winnie: Day 88

Head of Bight to Rest Stop 164k Peg, SA

After a peaceful night we headed down to the kiosk to buy our tickets to see whales. There were about 10 or so mums and bubs this time, our best whale watching yet. Unfortunately there was a lot of rain and wind, so eventually we were driven back to the warmth of the cafe. The featured image shows the special whale watching in the rain and wind Recovery Kit, hot chocolate and scones with jam and cream. It works wonders!

mother with black baby2 (1 of 1).jpg
mum and bub

We drove to the Nullabour Roadhouse about 14 kms away where we filled up with petrol and water. The water tap has probably always been there, but I found out about it from Wikicamps. It was still raining.

We drove to this Rest Stop which is about 35kms from the roadhouse. After having lunch we had a little rest. It was still raining. Stephen suggested that we move to the next rest area, just to move along a little bit, but I felt that driving through the rain to a RA without any internet at all wasn’t really worth it. We can reach Eucla tomorrow from here and the forecast said the rain would clear.

There was a caravan here when we arrived, but it left. Shortly afterwards a motorhome and caravan came in and parked close to each other to make a windbreak. They have a fire in the middle. Not long after three caravans came in and did a similar thing of parking in a circle. Another caravan drove down the road to find a parking spot out of sight. We are glad to have people near to us and glad that they made that decision, so we can’t be accused of crowding them. We took a walk just before sunset and found the camping area is very large, with lots of roads and campsites, marked by little rings of stones for fireplaces.

Winnie in the bushes with Stephen (1 of 1).jpg
Stephen and Winnie

It became very windy as the skies cleared, but there is now more of a breeze. We look forward to having a peaceful night here.