The last two days we have basically spent at camp here, with walks along the Bibulmun Track in the evenings. We’ve been clocking at least 5kms, my phone says up to 7kms for the day. Even going on long slopes uphill has become easier. Saturday evening we started on the beach and last night we started by going up towards the Cosy Corner Cafe, then taking Coombes Road to the left, then finding the track again, ending the walk along the beach.
So much for the 7 day challenge. Stephen is nearly out of lemon ginger teas and we have decided to take a day trip to Denmark where we will attempt for get some water (the water available there are taps set up with slow flow holding down the top). Apparently, the dump point is pretty disgusting too. So, not really for that reason. We had planned to move the van anyway because we are not getting enough solar charging in our spot. If we move about 1.5 metres forward we will have less shade, but more solar. It’s been difficult with all of our gear, including cameras, to manage.
So, we would be putting the awning in anyway even to move a short distance, so why not have the fun of a change of scene! See, we have some pretty good excuses.
I have lots of photos from our walks to process, plus we have video recorded on our GoPros (his and hers, of course).
The photos up top are of our tea last night. A fish van came to the campsite and I asked for fish that would fry up well for our tea. A 230gram pack of whiting was her suggestion and they were really lovely, coated in flour and fried up in a combination of butter and olive oil. I was using the camp stove which we set up yesterday for the first time on this trip. This meant that Stephen had room to serve up salads and drinks whilst I was occupied outside. We used the soapy water test on both connections (connection to the stove and connection to the van) to test for leaks before cooking.
We had a Facetime session with Matt, which might be the last for this trip, but I didn’t want to promise we would be back in case we don’t quite make it in time.
In the morning yesterday we discussed what we are going to do next. We explored going to stay in Denmark, or even just to go there to dump the toilet and get water, but the reviews of the dump point were discouraging. I am also concerned that if we head west there are fewer options for cheap and free camping near the coast and we are heading towards another heatwave which will affect places such as Margaret River. The coolest place to be is still Albany and surrounds.
We have become a little accustomed to our campsite here are Cosy Corner and we have many facilities that we need, including 2 bars of 4g internet on our phones. We have decided to take up the option of staying here for the full 7 nights. That is, provided we can last in terms of water. That gave us an excuse to head into Albany yesterday. After the usual business of emptying and filling tanks we parked up behind the IGA at the bottom of the hill and walked up to find a cafe. Dylan’s had a table for us upstairs, plus a friendly waitress who took care of us. We shared the first course, which was delicious and not quite enough, so followed up with cake and icecream. I think our waitress was worried about us having enough food because the slice of cake was definitely large enough to divide between two people. Stephen had a chai tea and I had my usual flat white coffee.
Afterwards, Stephen headed off to have a shower and wash his hair at the Womens Rest Centre and I took care of the shopping, stocking up for the duration of our stay. We went to Lawley Park, just a little up the road, and Stephen went for a walk up to the beginning of the boardwalk whilst I read my book. We had walked a lot the previous day, first to the cafe, then we went out along the Bibulman track in the evening, total of just over 11,000 steps.
We arrived back here are about 5.00 p.m. and had a restful evening, with a light tea. We had left our mat and chairs out to keep our spot, plus I had done some hand washing in the morning. It was still a little damp and as we had put up the awning when we got home I put the washing under the awning for the night. There was a bit of moisture in the air, not really raining, but it seemed good to have it under cover.
Another reason for the trip yesterday was that the batteries were a bit low and it seemed a good idea to give them a good charging by driving to Albany. It was cloudy this morning again, but we should have some sunshine in the next few days to keep them charged up. We are partly in shade so the solar mainly has a chance to work well in the mornings, by afternoons the solar panel is in shade. Yesterday, with the van parked in the open, we had 540wh, today with the cloudy conditions and now shade we have had 190wh so far. The batteries are at about 85% at the moment.
The Bibulmun Track goes through this campsite and gives us the opportunity for some walks. We don’t want to keep packing things up to drive and it will be interesting to see if there is enough to do on foot. We came in on Wednesday 13th January and if we stay for seven days we will be leaving on Wednesday the 20th January. I’ve asked if we can have one more night at Frenchman Bay, then the plan is to head back to Perth with one overnight stop on the way. I don’t know what the weather will be like at the time we are leaving, but it is likely to be hotter as we head north, which means there would be no reason to linger on the way.
Today I cooked a one pan meal of beef stirfry with lots of vegetables. We have leftovers for two more meals. Cooking in the evening is a problem because it’s a good time for going out for walks and I don’t feel like it when we get back. But, we’ve been hanging around today, watching a livestream with John and Mandy on Tour after the event as it streamed at 3.00 a.m. Perth time. I rarely watch a 2 hour livestream after the event, but Stephen was interested in it as well. We were able to stop and start as required. Towards the end I was able to listen as I prepared our meal, then we watched to the end whilst the meal was cooking.
We have been able to put out the hose for our grey water. It’s not ideal as we are on a slope the wrong way for a good flow, but that is something that will keep us going. I’ve also checked out the dump point. It doesn’t have water for washing down afterwards, but doesn’t look too bad. Our drop toilets are cleaned daily by a team of cleaners who do a number of camp toilets in the area of Albany. Quite a lot of driving involved. These facilities work in our favour.
Being partly in shade, whilst bad for the solar panel, is good for comfort for sitting in the van and our awning also means we have a shady spot to sit outside.
We finally made it to Cosy Corner (East) Camping area. I’ve been looking at this campsite for a while as a place to go if we went to Albany. We can camp here for seven days for free. There are drop toilets and bins and a camp host to consult about where to camp. There was a sign out to show ‘no vacancies’ so I got Stephen to go to ask if they had any spots. It worked, and she showed us this campsite, which is rather poor with regard to getting sun for our solar system, but very nice for feeling sheltered, with privacy because we are at the boundary fence, meaning we have bushland beside us.
Unusually for us, we have set up our outdoor mat, put out the awning, and set up the table and chairs for a comfy outdoor area. We’ve used it a little bit. I especially enjoyed having my first cuppa of the day sitting outside.
We emptied and filled tanks before leaving Albany and plan to stay here for three nights, probably the limit of how long our water will last. We have 100 litres in the main tank and 25 litres of drinking/cooking water in bottles.
I was initially disappointed with not being closer to the beach and compared with our Frenchman Bay campsite, well, there is no comparison, especially as FB has flushing toilets. But, it’s all part of the adventure to try out different places to stay. We can drive out to get water and keep our campsite by leaving the chairs/table/mat, but I think after three nights we may be ready to move anyway.
We can hear the roar of the waves as the beach is on the ocean side of the peninsula where it is unsheltered. We can see the Albany Windfarm in the distance. Yesterday evening we walked down to the beach and had a paddle. We saw young children using body boards in the surf with very little in the way of parental supervision, which I thought was pretty careless. There did seem to be parents around, but they weren’t paying much attention and one mother of two boys walked out of sight up the path from the beach, leaving the boys to finish surfing and follow. The beach seems too dangerous for swimming.
Today our aim was to walk to the nearby cafe for lunch. We put on sunscreen, covered up, and wore hats. The cafe was a bit disappointing as there were no tables inside and we had to eat outside contending with quite a cool breeze and lots of flies. The food was quite good (hamburger and chips, shared), but the experience wasn’t quite what we had hoped. It was also quite expensive. Still, it meant we had a walk after a fairly lazy morning at camp. The cafe is 1.6 kms away from our camp, according to Google Maps.
It was warm and muggy outside earlier, now it appears to be getting very cloudy and cool. We will go for another walk before our evening meal of leftovers which just needs heating up.
We had thought we might go to Cosy Corner yesterday after having our new tyres put on the van. But, I decided to go to a laundromat to do all of our washing in one go and it worked out that there was a laundromat within walking distance. We dropped in to get the washing loaded into machines and Stephen stayed with them whilst I went to drop off the van. My plan was to walk back, but then I was offered their little work car, which worked out well, especially as we were able to visit a local patisserie afterwards for hot drinks and cakes. Perfect.
The owner of the laundromat turned up whilst we were there and in conversation with Stephen it turned out that he was a Trump fan. I was trying to drown out the conversation by reading my book, but as he started spouting the latest Trump ideas about the election I was upset enough to ask them to change the subject. The man remained amiable and continued chatting with Stephen. It shows the power of what the lame duck president says that by repeating lies over and over again it makes people believe them, even apparently our Acting Prime Minister!
Anyway treats at the patasserie and new tyres on the front of the van made everything good again. We next tackled shopping, calling in at the IGA on our way out of town. Then dumping and filling tanks.
By this time we were ready for lunch and bought some pies at the service station where we bought fuel. Our thinking was that we might be too late to secure a spot at the Cosy Corner free camping and should stay the night at our old friend, the public golf course. We drove around a bit looking for nice day use park ups and found a marina where we ate lunch and had a rest. Later we went out to Fisherman’s Beach, but sadly nothing compared with our park up at Frenchman Bay.
Our overnight has been peaceful and we are the only van here. The manager and family live on site, which gave us some peace of mind. For the past few nights we haven’t used the front blinds as we don’t need them for privacy and it gives a nice sense of openness.
Today we will try for free camping at Cosy Corner, if unavailable, we have a place in Denmark where we can camp without facilities for $10 per night. It’s up at Scottsdale, and there are good reports on WikiCamps.
If we get into Cosy Corner there is limited internet and I may not be able to post for a couple of days.
We’ve had a lovely time here, walking on the ‘back beach’ towards the Whaling Station last night, walking that way again this morning to visit the cafe (again, as in the past, finding it disappointingly noisy and uncomfortable, but the walk was worth it). Our last walk for our stay here was this evening on our main beach. We found a little spring and some children also pointed out a stingray that was gliding fairly close into shore.
It was cloudy again this morning when we woke up, but then we’ve had sunshine for the rest of the day. It was chilly overnight last night and may be even colder tonight as it is clear. We enjoy snuggling together under the doona.
We have a couple of near neighbours. One is a man and dog in a van who camped in the clear space to our left. This evening another van arrived with people from Victoria. They assured us that they have completed the quarantine and had negative tests before being allowed to travel to Albany from Perth. I’ve suggested that they have our space tomorrow as we need to leave to get our new tyres put on the front of the van.
We have a few other tasks, I want to go to a laundromat to wash a good load of clothes and our towels and face flannels. I have to add my shoes to that list as a sea gull shat on one of them whilst I was taking video of the stingray. Very naughty of it, but if it had to be anywhere I prefer it on a shoe that can be washed in a washing machine. I washed it in the sea at the time.
We have run out of salads and food for evening meals and must go to a supermarket again. Plus normal stuff of emptying tanks and filling up with water. The plan is to head towards Denmark tomorrow after everything is done. We will try for a spot at Cosy Corner on the way, but it is a designated camping area with limited places, so we are not sure if we will get a spot. If not, we will travel on to Denmark.
The movie, The Dry, was really, really good. It is based on a novel, with a complex storyline and everything winding up with everything explained at the end. There was strong acting and a number of sympathetic characters. Very well worthwhile. We were able to spend time in the cafe before the movie which meant most of the afternoon in airconditioning.
I was feeling uplifted at the end and proposed that we go down to Emu Point before heading back to where we are staying. The sunset was worth waiting for and we had our meal there before heading back to our campsite. We had left all of the hoses/cords to be reattached to the van to make it a bit easier. Not something you would do at a caravan park, but it felt safe on private property.
I did the dishes whilst Stephen worked outside, then did some handwashing to hang on our hosts’ clothesline. Although it was cloudy and cool overnight things still dried quite well and were ready by the time we left. Our host said we could leave as late as we wished in the morning.
By the time we were ready to leave I was having thinking that living in our campervan was quite hard work. In addition, we went to the dump point near the cinema as I am wanting the toilet to last a couple of days before I need to empty it again. There are public toilets close to where we are camping which takes the pressure off.
We’ve come back to Frenchman’s Bay, this time to spend the night. By the time we spent the afternoon relaxing with our books/videos I realised that all the work was worth it. The van is parked in the same position overlooking the bay and we have a wonderful view. There are a few other vans around as well which is fairly comforting, it seems a normal thing to do to stay overnight.
About 4.30 we went for a walk towards the Whaling Station which is less than 2 kms away. There are steps down to the beach, then a lovely walk around the bay. If we get tired of being in the van tomorrow we could walk over there for a coffee.
Today has been cloudy and occasionally rainy, but I would much rather have the cooler weather even if it means clouds and rain after the hot weather we had for a couple of days. Our batteries are well charged and I hope we get enough sun tomorrow to keep them charged up. It would be nice to have a second night here.
I’ve put the details in the title so I know what I’m doing!
On Thursday in the evening the wind died down a bit for the first time on this trip. We enjoyed a walk on the boardwalk and from above Middleton Beach looks as lovely as ever. When we returned it was nearly 7.00 p.m. and I didn’t feel like cooking. We went into town to check out food options. There were a number of rather expensive looking bar/restaurants open, very busy, and not what we wanted. As we walked around the block we came to a modest Chinese restaurant with takeaway options.
After placing an order we walked around the block, then back to Stirling Terrace where we were parked. Stephen went off to pick up our order of ginger beef and special fried rice and I set up the table for the meal. With one of our nice downlights on we were able to have a lovely meal with the hot and delicious food. Afterwards it was home to the golf links for the night.
Friday and Saturday were forcast to be hot in Albany, at least 32 degrees, but we think it was hotter. Sitting it out at Emu Point yesterday afternoon seemed a good option and later in the day I moved the van to a shady spot. Most of the time sitting under a tree we felt like we were in airconditioning because of the cool wind, but there was an hour or so when the wind changed direction and we were feeling quite hot. An iced coffee helped.
Our berth for the next two nights includes power, water and sullage. It’s called ‘driveway camping’ offered by a local business just out of town off the Chester Pass Road. The owners live onsite and we have a spot next to their house. I managed to get our meal of Thai Chicken Curry cooked in the cool of the evening. We had gone shopping, mainly for some fly spray, but actually bought lots of other stuff and forgot the flyspray and our host was kind enough to lend us some.
We were able to keep our fan on all night plugged into 230v power and it was great to have running water, normal power, and sullage. To empty our toilet and get rid of rubbish our hosts recommended a local dump point on Albany Highway, very close to the cinema. Going to a movie is another way of dealing with a hot day, though I must say that it hasn’t been hot so far, as of about 12.30.
Another exciting thing to happen is that Stephen realised one of our front tyres is ball in the centre. The other one is also on the way out. We took the van to a tyre place to have the spare tyre put on, but are now going with the option of having them install two new front tyres on Tuesday next week. They have to come from Perth and are due to arrive then.
Saturday: We are presently sitting in a Coles parking lot next door to the cinema complex. The flyspray has been bought and I’m getting the blog up to date. We are hoping the cafe at the cinema opens soon so we can be in airconditioning.
We’ve been looking at weather forecasts for the southern region and have decided to stay here until Sunday when it should be cooler in other regions. Albany maximums will be in the low 30s, and given the wind will probably feel cooler.
We went to Emu Point yesterday, firstly to meet with Kim, a former colleague of Stephen and now our friend for a catch-up. It is six years since his girlfriend died and he has a new love who lives in Australia. In 2019 he visited her for months at a time, but for 2020 they have had a virtual relationship with romantic meetings online. Like us, he has been taking little trips around WA this year, and is considering whether to get some sort of RV for travel here when his love is able to come. As he is almost 20 years older than her they have different needs for comfort.
After an enjoyable lunch with him at the Emu Point Cafe we stayed for the rest of the day. On our walk along the bay we found a fish and chip cafe where we shared a meal.
Then back to the golf links for the evening. We secured a different spot which had lots of sun for charging batteries, then increasing shade to keep the van from getting too hot. Perfect. We don’t know if we will be this lucky tonight.
This morning we took care of the usual chores, emptying some containers and filling others. Then a visit to the museum was Stephen’s choice and I enjoyed a photographic exhibition, which was excellent and well worth the visit.
Afterwards we went to Middleton Beach, which was not at all what we expected. They are doing some repairs, upgrades and the lawn is mostly dead. This resulted in us getting a huge amount of sand coming into the van through the fly wire door before we realised. After lunch we relocated to a spot over the road. We still have a view, but are sheltered from the sand and noise of machinery.
We’ve been amazed at what happened in the USA, including the ‘spin’ by conservative media that it was the leftist Antifa, pretending to be Trump supporters, who stormed the Capitol. Really, they’ve made themselves a laughing stock and no country will ever allow them to lecture about democracy again.
Yesterday morning was a working morning. At the caravan park we were up early and spent until 10.00 a.m. getting ready to leave. Or that is how it felt. We headed towards Mt Barker for shopping and a coffee afterwards. We had emptied the cassette at the caravan park, but their water was a bit dicey (according to the manager) and we took advantage of Mt Barker’s facilities to fill up with water. I am a bit cross that they closed the free overnight parking, but not enough to deter me from shopping there. It was easier than going to a supermarket in Albany.
The drive down wasn’t too busy and we bypassed the city centre to take the road to Frenchman’s Bay. We had found a cheap place to stay on Wikicamps. The public golf course, about 9 kms from town, offers overnight stays by self contained vehicles for $15.00 per night. There are old, but passable, public toilets available 24/7, and that’s it. We’ve paid for two nights.
After booking in we drove out to Frenchman’s bay to have our lunch. Because of having morning tea we weren’t hungry until about 3.00 p.m. We found a beautiful place overlooking a very sheltered swimming area. There were people camping a bit further along the road above the bay and when I checked on Wikicamps found that this was not a formal camping area, but people do camp there. There are ‘no camping’ signs at the beach parking area, but nothing where we were. There are public toilets and outdoor showers available as well.
We spent a peaceful afternoon enjoying being in the lovely location. I took photos when we went for an evening walk, but am feeling a bit disappointed as they don’t convey how lovely it was. Only the fact that we had already paid to camp at the golf links made us go back there for the night. It was quiet overnight and we had a good night’s sleep. This place works out well for people with caravans who have a safe place to leave them during the daywhilst they tour around in their cars. The car park is very large and a few caravans on the edge don’t make much difference for people wanting to play golf.
It was another lovely day. I enjoyed the drive into Albany from Mt Barker because it is much greener here, indicating that they have had sufficient rain, unlike the rest of the southern area of the state where it’s now very dry.