Moora to home base

We woke up to a very cold morning, it was difficult to get out of bed. We used the heater for a while whilst we had showers. We were feeling relaxed about the journey home and didn’t feel we had to hurry to get ready.

The journey home was a bit more challenging once we were on the Great Northern Highway, with quite a lot of traffic, including trucks. New Norcia is now on a bypass and has a good parking area for tourists near the museum. There were new toilets. A young woman in a campervan asked if I would like some of her food as she had to give the van back, we scored some cooking oil, rice and peanut butter. I found a powerpoint and used it to grind some beans.

Due the bypass, we weren’t expecting the service station to be doing well, but it was looking quite smart and the cafe has been renovated. They still offer powered sites for caravans.

Back on the road we looked forward to our stop in Bindoon to visit the bakery.

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We decided on takeaway soup as it was $4.00 cheaper than having it in the cafe. We also bought some bread and a cake to share.

We had another stop at a pleasant rest area where we took a short stroll.

We had another stop at Gingers to refuel, then a short distance away pulled off to have afternoon tea. The rest of the drive went smoothly and we were home by about 4.30 p.m.

We had time to do a little unpacking and have scrambled eggs on toast before going to choir. It was a small gathering, about 10 in total, but somehow it worked better for singing. No viable as we don’t make enough money to pay our choir director for the night however. We need 17 people to break even.

We are still feeling somewhat relaxed from our lovely experience. Stephen did quite a lot of the driving and I’m becoming more comfortable with him at the wheel. This will be very helpful for later trips away.

I’ve done the washing today and we finished unpacking.

Mingenew to Moora

Today has been a day of travel. We dropped in at the Mingenew bakery to buy bread, rolls and a slice to have later for morning tea. At Three Springs we had coffee and the slice, Stephen went to the Visitor Centre and I took some photos of the murals.

We went out to a community farm for lunch in Coorow, then on to Moora where we are staying the night at the RV short stay park. It’s not as conveniently located as the caravan park where we have stayed with Marie and Geoff, but it is free. It is basically a large car park with no bays marked and caravans and campervans are parked around the edges.

We enjoyed the drive through the country which is so beautiful at this time of year.

Pindar to Mingenew

We don’t really choose destination according to bakeries. We did quite a lot of sightseeing today and Mingenew was reachable setting out mid afternoon. That’s our story, anyway. Plus it has a free camping site, and a dump point with separate drinking water tap and bin.

We are with a big group tonight, but managed to snag a spot with a view. The camping site is a little way along the Mingenew-Morawa road.

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our spot just out of Mingenew (1 of 1)

Today has been particularly wonderful. We had a very peaceful night at Pindar and had our best night of sleep so far. The only light was moonlight. We woke up refreshed and were on our way by about 9.30 a.m., our best so far. We drove out along the road to the wreath flowers. This site is so predictable that they have signs, but also have put flags out so that people don’t just drive past. The road was gravel and quite corrugated. There was a roadwork team working and where they had been, the road was much better.

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It was sort of Caravan Centrale at the site 10 kms in. All grey nomads like us. The wreath flowers were along the verges, we were entranced by the first one we saw, then realised they were pretty thick on the ground. This morning was cloudy and cool, with intermittent sunshine, ideal for exploring the area. We stayed there, walking about, for quite a while.

Back in Pindar, we took a look at the old hotel and read some information about the area before moving down the road towards Mullewa. On the way we found a rest area ideally located where there was a big show of everlastings. This doesn’t usually happen and we spent some time there too.

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In Mullewa we wanted to find a cafe with home made cakes for morning tea. We found a pop up art cafe which served decent coffee and rather nice cake. We shared a piece as it was 12.00 and we wanted to have an appetite for lunch.

We went to a lookout where Stephen had been told there were orchids. We spent some time there, walking on the trail, and found two types, donkey orchids and spider orchids.

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Then we went down the interesting church where we parked up and had lunch and a rest, before walking around. The church was unfortunately closed because of lack of volunteers, but we were able to read the signage about Monsignor Hawes, the architect and builder. He is the one who built the church in Geraldton, as well as many others. He was much in demand because of his style and often built the churches himself.

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We then tootled down to Mingenew enjoying the lovely scenery along the way. On arrival, we did our dumping and filling up, then drove out to this campsite. We’ve had scrambled eggs, toast and rose for tea, and sampled the new honey we bought a few stops back.

At Pindar and here we have good internet, 3/4 bars of 4g, which makes doing the blog easy. If the internet is slow I can still blog, but do it on the ipad – which can result in more spelling errors than usual.

Perenjori to Pindar

After our usual leisurely breakfast we went into town to get some information on wildflowers. We were tempted again with the promise of wreath flowers close to Pindar and decided that even if we arrive home on Thursday we can get to choir. Pindar is almost 500 kms from home.

At Morowa on the way  we were able to dump the tanks, get fresh water, refuel and do some shopping. All along the route there were patches of everlastings and other flowers. We also enjoyed the rolling landscape of green fields.

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We made a stop at Canna, a sort of hamlet, with a volunteer run campground for caravans. For a $10 donation you have the use of a campers kitchen, flushing toilets, hot showers and power. I took advantage of 10 amp socket in the campers kitchen to grind more coffee beans. There were a few caravans there, but we wanted to push on to Pindar so that we would finish the day within 10 kms of where we would find wreath flowers.

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we went for a short walk at Canna

Once again Wikicamps has suggested a place to stay. The area is quite large and is near another tiny hamlet, with one house and a lovely old pub that isn’t operating as a pub, but as a cafe that is only open during the day and not every day at that. It won’t be open tomorrow.

This is our first overnight stay that is not in a town.

We took a shortcut to bypass Mullewa on a gravel road for about 34 kms. It was mostly OK, but had some bad patches which made me wonder if things would fall off or be damaged. Our rugs, rubbish bin, a box and a bag of shopping that we had on the floor had moved and everything looked pretty messy when we arrived. A few minutes of sorting was all it took. And we don’t appear to have sustained any damage.

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selfie with the Winnie at Pindar
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sunset at Pindar

Wongan Hills to Perenjori

Our internet is very slow here in Perengori, but we finally feel we have arrived in wildflower country. After entering the Shire of Perenjori we began to notice patches of different coloured wildflowers along the road. We were tired and didn’t actually stop, but will check with the Visitor Centre tomorrow about good places to go.

The Visitor Centre in WH was very useful for dumping our tank and getting fresh water, and even for allowing me to grind some coffee beans in their kitchen, but wasn’t able to help with wildflowers as it is a little early in that area.

We drove to a place called Reynolds Reserve not far from WH and took a walk on the wildflower trail. There were some flowers, but the signs indicated there would be many more in a few weeks time. What we loved in the area were the lakes, which, with the yellow of canola and green of other fields made for wonderful colours in the bright sunlight.

Once again, we are parked up at a recreation centre in town. No hookups.

Perth to Wongan Hills via Toodyay

Our original plan was to drive as far north as Mullewa, but now that we are on the road and enjoying being out we may change our minds and just find places to go for walks without driving quite that far. We started out in our usual measured way, leaving home at about 10.30 and getting fuel on Great Eastern Highway as the first step.

We made Toodyay our first stop. There is good parking in the town for RVs, a good IGA (and we needed a few groceries), and, best of all, a really great bakery. It even has bread – and often in country towns a ‘bakery’ will sell pies and cakes, but not bread.

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A pity we are well stocked at the moment and couldn’t actually buy any. I went for the special, a corned beef pie and coffee, Stephen had the same pie and a choc milk. We shared a black forrest donut afterwards.

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We enjoyed the travelling today. There was little traffic once we left Toodyay and no trucks at all. It was sunny, with a coolish breeze. We had about three other stops on the way, apart from our lunch.

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An interesting tree, Goomalling
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There were lots of golden fields along the way.
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Wongan Hills offers free parking for self contained RVs. It is on an old basketball court. There is a caravan park in town as well. We walked down the main street to check out the Art Deco hotel and the Visitors’ Centre which we will visit tomorrw.

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An exciting announcement!

Disclaimer: if you have no interest in how to eliminate odors in a cassette toilet you don’t need to read any further. You won’t miss out on anything important and can come back to join us on our next trip.

We’ve had our motorhome for nearly two years. During this time we have used the cassette toilet mainly for no. 1s and occasionally for no. 2s in an emergency. I’ve researched blogs and Youtube to find a solution to the odor, and recently started using the heavily perfumed commercial solutions in our RV toilet. Unfortunately, they add another level of odor, without necessarily eliminating the original one. Plus there is the worry about whether we are poisoning ourselves.

Just before we went away to Wandering/Dryandra I watched a Youtube video about using a cassette RV toilet where they said they used white vinegar to successfully elimiate odor. I thought it was worth trying. We already use a spray bottle of water and white vinegar to ‘flush’ the toilet when we are conserving water. I bought a large bottle of cheap white vinegar in Coles and covered the bottom of the tank with about an inch.

We were away from Monday to Wednesday and two days later, today, I have just emptied the tank. We had not experienced any odor when we were away and I wanted to test it further. There was a faint smell of vinegar when I emptied the tank, but nothing else. Normally I spend lots of time rinsing afterwards and using washing up detergent to get rid of any lingering smell. Today I did two plain water rinses of the tank. In the case where there is no water for rinsing I think it would work to just start again with white vinegar in the bottom of the tank.

Of course, we are having quite a cold spell at the moment and it might not work quite as well in the heat.

The featured image above is another photo from the Dryandra forest. I thought a photo of the toilet was probably even more off putting than the subject of this post.

Wandering Home

After a very peaceful night at the Gnarla Mia campgrounds at Dryandra we took the long way home. In fact, because I consulted Google Maps and not Stephen who had an actual map, we went a very long way round through Cuballing. We wanted to drive through Dryandra Woodlands before leaving and take the Brookton Highway home.

After ‘lights out’ last night our eyes adjusted to starlight, with looming dark shapes of trees. We slept well and woke up to the alarm at 7.00 a.m. We used the heater for about half an hour whilst we had showers/washes in the bathroom. By the end of the time, we noticed that the heater was actually blowing cooler air – time to switch off. I tested it later and it was then blowing warm air, perhaps it had to do with the thermostat deciding that we were overheating.

Today we have had lots of cloud, some sunshine, and some rain. We are pleased that our patch appears to be working to prevent water coming in. We enjoyed going through the lovely green farmland.

We stopped at Brookton for lunch or second breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and pancakes. We had a rest, then coffee and cakes. We definitely haven’t done enough walking to justify all of the food, though we ate small quantiies and have had soup for tea, thank goodness for a well stocked freezer with the results of my cooking spree over the weekend.

We stopped a few times for short breaks during the day.

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At Brookton, there was a strong breeze and the flowers kept moving.
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a rest area on the Brookton Highway
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This rest stop wasn’t such a good idea, there were lots of puddles and we added some more mud to the lower parts of the Winnie.
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The puddles through the windscreen. Te had to negotiate through them to get to a section where we could get up some speed before driving onto the highway.
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We’ve seen quite a lot of wildflowers – the weather is still wintry and unusually cold and wet, but plants are anticipating spring already.

Stephen rang Marie just before 1.00 p.m. to see if they were nearby. They had gone home via Albany Highway and arrived in Roleystone around 12.00. I feel a bit envious that to get home they don’t have to travel for 30 kms down Albany Highway at the end of their journey. However, I was still feeling on a high from our short time away and did not find the drive through traffic too difficult.

Stephen helped with bringing in food, clothes and bedding and it was all over very quickly. We are taking the Winnie in for repairs early tomorrow morning, normally we would unpack most of our stuff, but not worry about getting everything out.

 

Wandering and Dryandra

We were able to get away by about 10.30 a.m. yesterday. It was slow progress until we left Armadale. The early part of Albany Highway rolls through forest and hills and at first we didn’t have much traffic to contend with. Later it was busier, but with lots of passing lanes we didn’t feel that we inconvenienced other traffic too much by travelling at 80 kms per hour. The road was surprisingly bumpy – we can’t remember it being that bad in the past.

We were feeling in very good spirits and the weather, though cloudy, remained fine. Wandering is very small, with the Tavern having to do douple duty as a shop. We went to the caravan park first, where Marie and Geoff were in the process of setting up. We drove back to the Shire Office to pay our fee ($25.00, plus a deposit for the key of a refundable $50). The caravan park is on the edge of the town with a large playing field, good toilets and showers, and a camper’s kitchen.

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Wandering Caravan Park

We had our lunch, then a rest, and Geoff then took us out for a drive. We went as far as Pumphrey’s Bridge, then down the York/Williams Road for a while, then on other gravel roads back to Wandering. We took small walks around the park and enjoyed the small stream running nearby.

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stream at Wandering Caravan Park

The evening was lovely. The campers’ kitchen has reverse cycle airconditioning for heating, plus dining table and chairs, a couple of lounges, a TV and kettle, toaster, microwave and stove. Everything is clean and well kept. We brought food and had a shared meal.

We couldn’t get the TV to work, and set up an ipad feeding into the TV instead. We watched the SA ABC news, (too early for WA news), then an episode of Backroads. We sang songs, with Stephen attempting to accompany us on his uke. He hadn’t brought music and gave up after a little while. We did some Youtube searches for music we enjoyed.

We went back to our little homes for the night. The park has some lighting and we needed our curtains to block it out, but appreciated the sense of safety it gave us.

This morning Stephen and I had our first cuppa at about 8.00 a.m. We were able to get away on schedule, somewhere between 10.00 and 12.00. We are finding that getting back into our normal routines of managing is taking time after such a long break and everything seems to take a bit more time.

We left before Marie and Geoff and arrived down at Dryandra at about the same time. We were able to travel at 50 kms along the gravel road (York/Williams Road) in the Winnie and felt that it was fairly comfortable even without the wonderful suspension of Geoff’s car.

I was confused about the location of the camping area, but a couple with local knowledge were able to help us, and gave us a map of Dryandra. We found a spot on loop 2 of the Gnarla Mia campground. It is fairly level and nearly as good as our spot at Wandering. Of course, it is a much simpler setup without hookups – just press the button for the slideout and put the gas on for the fridge. Marie and Geoff are staying at Wandering for their second night and brough lunch to have a picnic. We ate in the Winnie, very chummy on our supposedly four person dinette.

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Dryandra campsite

Geoff then took us on a drive through the park, stopping at the Arboretum, a small dam, and the Dryandra Village. Stephen and I had been to the Arboretum previously, but had not actually walked through the area where all the trees were sign posted before. It wasn’t well kept, but clearly, at some stage, a huge amount of work had gone into planning and signage that is now falling into disrepair.

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Arboretum
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Arboretum

Similarly, we noted the dam, but hadn’t walked around it. Geoff drove through the Dryandra Village and we found a road back onto the main road through the Woodlands.

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Dam with old pumphouse
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Plants at the edge of the dam. Tannin in water gives it this brown colour.

We all came back to the Winnie for afternoon tea. Marie and Geoff left at about 4.00 p.m. as they wanted to get back to Wandering in good light. They are having two nights there. Although we are enjoying being here we feel a bit bereft after having time together. It was lovely to have Geoff drive us around in his very comfortable car. Thank you Geoff.

We had leftover chicken and vegetables heated up on the stove, with toast, followed by an orange with yogurt and chocolate with our peppermint teas. We listened to some podcasts. We have a phone signal here, but only one or two bars, good enough for this blog, but we thought it might not run to watching online videos.

So far (9.30 p.m.) we haven’t needed to use our heating. We had a mostly sunny day, with a few cloudy periods and with the curtains open the interior was a comfortable temperature. Cooking using the gas stove kept the van warm after sunset. We will probably go to bed early as we missed having an afternoon rest.

There was a billboard at the dam with lots of information about Dr Vincent Serventy, a conservationist who was mainly responsible for the Dryandra Woodlands being saved from mining. He went to Perth Modern School and the University of WA and became famous in his lifetime for his passion for the natural environment. There is a Wikepedia entry about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Serventy

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