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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: