Double Break: sunrise over the coffee van

Sunrise in Bunbury with coffee caravan ready for my morning coffee

I cooked a one pan meal in the late afternoon on Monday and we enjoyed a movie as the predicted storm arrived. It rocked the van a bit, but wasn’t too bad. We had a disturbed night though because of the strong wind and also had a bit of a wash from the reticulation system! But, it was worth it in the morning as it was partly cloudy and I went out and took photos of the waves breaking over the rocks and the pink clouds.

It was time to head home again, fortunately the drive from Bunbury is less than 200 kms and even with a break at the Dome in Pinjarra we were home by about 1.30 p.m. In the evening we had choir, so not much time, but unloaded most of our stuff from the van.

Double Break: Boyup Brook to Bunbury

It was very bright overnight at the caravan park due to floodlights on the main shed. I suppose it was good if you wanted to walk up to the toilets in the night, but it meant we had a lot of light in the van as we were sleeping. Still, we slept pretty well both nights.

It was sunny and cool on Friday when we walked into town. Most of the way was fairly flat, with a steep bit at end of about 300m. As we got up so late it was lunchtime, so we checked out the town’s only cafe. It is delightful, and well worth a visit if you come to Boyup Brook. There are comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces, friendly service, and great coffee and food.

After sharing a hamburger I went shopping whilst Stephen went to the Visitor Centre again. Then we walked back along a very attractive walking trail to the caravan park, doing a kind of loop. We had planned to continue on the trail to the Skeleton (Skelly) Bridge in the evening, but found we were both quite pooped from our walk into town and preferred to have a restful evening. The handwashing I did when we first arrived Thursday was dry, so that needed sorting and we had a light meal with eggs and salad.

On our second stage of the movie I set the projector up closer to the blind on the sliding door and managed to get the whole picture on a smooth surface. This made it even more enjoyable.

A bit later in the morning

Yesterday was a morning of tasks. We needed to dump and fill up, plus I thought we should do a bit more shopping in the town, rather than in Bunbury which was probably very busy. Of course, we stopped in at Dardanup on the way and had vegetarian steudle slices. We bought two donuts, but had no appetite left after our main course. We shared a donut for afternoon tea and still have one in the pantry for today.

After arriving in Bunbury we didn’t go to the visitor centre for our permit as I didn’t feel like dealing with the traffic, but have spent the night at the Rocky Point parking area. Instead of parking just off the road in the designated bays we are actually in the parking area, which was a bit quieter overnight, once the young people stopped coming by and making lots of noise.

Before settling in for the night we drove along the coast to a beautiful lookout point. There is a national park on the coast and a big area of newer development. There was a picnic area nearby with toilets and the obligatory Norfolk Pines. The area is high off the beach, with well maintained steps down. The houses are large, but not as crass and uniform as on Perth’s northern beaches. One was a large house with wide verandah’s all around and a view of the sea. I chose it as my dream house for that location.

Norfolk Pines are planted at many Australian beaches. It can be the first sign that you are nearing a beach, even before you see the ocean.

The sunset last night wasn’t colourful due to fine cloud and haze. It was mostly still overnight with some wind gusts and this morning is cloudy. We’ve used our little sirrocco fan overnight for the last couple of nights, not really for cooling, but more to ensure we have an airflow. It works very well pointed away from us to ensure we don’t get cold. Though of course last night wasn’t as cold as in Boyup Brook, partly due to the coastal effect and partly because rain is coming later today and the temperatures everywhere are warmer.

Quite a few people are out at the moment, but thank goodness they didn’t arrive really early as would have happened if today was sunny.

Double Break: Lake Ewlyamartup

On our second evening we enjoyed being peacefully located next to the lake, but in a better location. We still had to level up a bit. As you saw from the last post we had the sculpture in front. Yesterday was unexpectedly wet. I woke up to beautiful sunshine and whilst I was reading my ipad it all changed and was grey for the rest of the day.

We found the internet very strange. At first, it seemed that having changed location we suddenly had a good signal. But, during the day it diminished to almost nothing again, but picked up in the evening. It was still windy by the evening, but we walked around to the bird hide area at one end of the lake where it was more sheltered.

One of the nicest things was that we were well prepared for the moonrise and watched it rising over the lake at about 9.15 p.m. We had just stopped our movie, saving the second half for another night.

We’ve been watching movies, etc. using the mini projector and the kitchen window blind as our screen. Although there is the oddity of the window edging in the movie it is more immersive than watching video on the ipad or even my laptop. We haven’t finished last night’s movie and will watch the rest tonight. It’s ‘The Last Duel’, which presents basically the same story from three different viewpoints. It’s very interesting and I close my eyes during the gruesome battle sequences.

Moonrise last night. We also had a great view of the Milky Way as the night was so clear.

This morning we woke up to a full mist, which gradually dissipated, leaving a pleasant sunny morning. We took our time getting ready, then drove back to Katanning to empty and fill up the tanks. Stephen took another look at the exhibition in the library and I went to the Dome for takeaway coffee and sliders to be shared with him.

Tonight we are staying at the Boyup Brook Caravan Park and find, once again, that the unpowered sites are the best. The powered sites are close together and up on a rise away from the river, but we are camped next to the river. We have tried for a spot that has plenty of sun, but don’t really know what it will be like here in the morning.

We are thinking of staying here for a second night, then having the last two nights in Bunbury. It’s easy to travel up the highway and freeway to Perth, though we will do the journey on Tuesday, not Anzac Day, to hopefully avoid most of the holiday makers returning to Perth from the south.

We plan to revisit the Dardanup Bakery on our way back to Bunbury with our expectations on good coffee and beautiful glazed donuts.

Double Break – Katanning

After the laundromat visit we had lunch bought from the cafe next door. It was tasty, but lacked variety. We drove out to a spot that was supposed to be a wetlands with boardwalk, but it has not been maintained and we gave up the idea of going there.

We stayed overnight in Katanning again. In the morning we had breakfast at the Dome (it wasn’t crowded when we went in and we wore masks most of the time), then walked to the library which has a small gallery and saw an enchanting exhibition based on a French voyage to Western Australia. It was composed of so many elements and featured a little manikin, representing the botonist, in many different situations, with movement and sound via carpentry, beautiful costumes and some video. Hard to describe in words, though we have a brochure.

We did some shopping, then headed out to the lake to stay for a couple of nights. That’s when we realised that we needed to have downloaded lots of stuff as the signal out there is so poor. It was also very busy and the spot we had decided to camp was close to the turning around area for large caravans. We were close to the water, but we had to level the van and it wasn’t entirely comfortable.

Back in town Stephen has down some shopping. He wanted to see the exhibition again, but it is closed until 1.00 p.m. I am busy doing this blog and downloading some TV shows and a movie. I also want to download a book to read. So, kind of thrashing the internet just at the moment!

Sunset at the lake

We’ve been able to get some more KN95 masks at a local pharmacy.

Double break: Katanning at last

Jayes Bridge camping area definitely looked much nicer when the sun was out, and it did come out fairly briefly at times. We walked around the edge looking at the information plaques, most were about the wildlife but one gave a history of the area, with the original white settlers being the Lee Steere family. There is farmland all around and it’s interesting that an area has been left for camping. There is even a drop toilet, but we gave it a miss and used our own. We took a short walk in the morning before driving to Kojonup. We had thought of staying there overnight, but after walking to a cafe for lunch and noticing that most of the shops, etc. were closed, we decided to push on for Katanning. We arrived in the late afternoon and had a cup of coffee and hot cross buns, our nod to the Easter holidays.

There was one other RV at the Katanning free camping area overnight. We were parked a bit close to a house with noisy occupants, so plan to stay further over if we have a choice when we go back there tonight. We were quite late getting away this morning, driving 500 metres to the laundromat. I was worried about carrying our heavy washing which is why we drove such a short distance. We are parked within sight of the laundromat, sitting in the van whilst we wait for the load to finish. We will then need to wait for the drying to finish before we can move off, however we are also near cafes so if we are hungry before leaving we can get takeaway.

We had a lovely time chatting with Matt last night. He was left alone in the office to be with us as staff were busy having their evening meal and getting residents ready for bed. Matt yells out to the them when we have finished, but as he got no response we had our meal with him watching us. He didn’t seem to mind. When the support worker came back he told us what Matt had eaten for tea, no wonder he was content as he’d had a huge roast and then cheesecake brought in by some parents. He has been through another exposure to COVID with someone working all week, then testing positive. So far he has tested negative. Staff have to wear masks and so far this has provided sufficient protection for everyone, including them, of course. Matt is definitely taking it in his stride now. They don’t have to isolate and staff were wearing normal masks, not full PPE.

Double Break – Bunbury, Dardanup and Jayes Bridge

Wylup Rocky Point, Bunbury

After some time at the Wildlife Sanctury we headed for our park up at the main beach in Bunbury. The Wildlife Sanctury was a little depressing, with some animals on their own in spaces sometimes oo small for them, especially the very large dingo. We didn’t ask for information on why these animals needed to be in a sanctury and I guess if we had I would not necessarily still be feeling very sorry for the dingo.

We were hoping for a less noisy overnight at the Wyalup Rocky Point camping. There was less traffic noise, but more human noises. Plus, we had inadvertantly parked under a streetlight that shone into the back windows of the van where we sleep. Part of the reason for going there was because it was a bit closer to the art gallery for Stephen to walk to in the afternoon. But, as the Back Beach is fairly close it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

I connected with a couple of women who were also staying at the beach, which was very nice. As well, Wyalup Rocky Point is very good for evening photos as it has rocks and pools of water, with the waves crashing into and sometimes over the rocks. It is always lovely to wake up next to the ocean and I’m still glad that we stayed there, despite noise and too much light.

There was a caravan selling coffee in the morning, another bonus of our stay.

After leaving our camping spot we travelled a little way towards Perth to a service station which has a dump point. After fuelling up and buying bread we took the key to dump point. We didn’t like to fill up with water from the same tap and hoped that the promised drinking water at our next stop would materialise. And it did, though the tap wasn’t accessible to our van and we had to fill up containers and decant them into our tank, as well as filling up our drinking water containers. We also needed our plumbers key as the top of the tap was missing.

The place was Dardanup, on our way as far as the road goes, but also chosen because it offered free overnight camping at the town hall with access to flushing toilets. There are marked bays for three RVs next to the lawn and a sign saying that sprinklers could come on overnight. Although we parked away from the kerb we were still in range of sprinklers which seemed to work for about an hour. Obviously if you stay there you should really park further away!

This morning we walked around to the Bakery hoping to buy some of the lovely German style bread which has been available for many years. Sadly, the cafe has changed and now is more of a cafe/bakery with a few white loaves of bread and lots of cakes, pies, etc. It is very popular and is obviously more successful than previously, but disappointing for us. Later in the morning I wished we had bought one of the delicious looking iced doughnuts to save for morning tea, but at the time I felt too upset to cope with the change.

Dardanup – Stephen enjoying bird watching with new binoculars

Our journey today took us through the beautiful Ferguson Valley. We stopped at Gnomesville and walked along some of the paths marvelling at this silly, but endearing tourist attraction. The forest is lovely and the cool temperature added to the feeling of being in a special place.

We arrived at Boyup Brook (we are still on our way to Katanning by the way) at about lunchtime. Stephen looked up the local attractions and wanted to visit a bug exhibition. As there is an IGA in town we went there for some supplies, including bananas, which we ran out of a couple of days ago, then I rested whilst Stephen went across the road to the Visitor Centre.

We were heading to Kojonup for the night, but as it was later in the day Stephen found this campsite on his map, and Wikicamps said it was a good place to go. It was partly on the road to Kojonupk with about 5kms of gravel taking us near to the river. We haven’t explored it yet as it was time for afternoon tea when we arrived, plus I wanted to catch up with blogging.

Jayes Bridge Blackwood River Picnic and Camping area

Double Break – next stage

We had a very busy time at home over two nights and one day. I did all of our washing and cooked a meal that gave us leftovers for a couple of nights. I took the van to Ken Peachey and they put in a new controller for our hot water/heater. It worked for me, then Stephen had a go and disabled the system somehow. I had watched the new panel being installed and knew to take the knob off. Turned out that pressing hard on the knob had caused it to become dislocated. I reset it and found the control panel as a whole is working as it should.

Stephen attended a men only reheasal for the Mackie Street Singers on Tuesday night. That was the main reason we went home overnight, though getting the heater sorted and doing a lot of washing was also useful. There were a few other errands, but everything was finished by about lunchtime on Wednesday.

We didn’t feel like going down the Great Southern Highway as we usually do, it feels that we have been going that way a lot lately. Albany Highway is to be avoided if at all possible due to angry drivers, so we opted for the Forrest Highway instead, which lead to the idea of staying on the beach at Bunbury. It’s free, but you have to have a permit from the Tourist Information Centre and we have two nights ‘booked’ and have decided to take advantage of this and stay one more night before moving on.

The basic itinerary for this second part of our trip is to mooch around the Katanning area, but having come south along the freeway/highway that’s still over 200 kms away and we don’t feel in a great hurry to get there.

This morning we have been visiting a wetlands/bird and wildlife sanctury, about 2 kms from Back Beach. We arrived at about 10.00 a.m. and there were lots of birds to see on our walk around the swamp. It was about 3.5kms with all the little diversions to bird viewing platforms.

Double Break: Avon Ascent to York, then on to Greenhills

We stayed at Avon Ascent until Friday when we packed up and went to York. Apart from the warmth during the day (30C) we found it a lovely and peaceful place to be. We arrived at York at about lunchtime and went straight to the services, water and dump point, before a bit of shopping at the IGA. We found a shady spot to park up and had lunch and a rest, then walked around town for a bit and had coffee at the Settler’s Rest before heading to Cherry’s ‘homestead’.

It’s not just a house, she has confined her chickens to a well maintained run in the yard and enclosed a verandah to accommodate her 3 cats. The third cat was unexpected, a stray, and she and the cats had to learn to live with her. There was a flat area away from trees for us to park and we had access to her spare bathroom and toilet during our stay.

sunrise at Cherry’s
our parking spot
the chickens

On the first night we had a shared meal. I cooked the mushroom curry that is my favourite at the moment and Cherry had a variety of other dishes which went well, along with steamed rice. The first evening was a chance to do some catching up. We realised that we hadn’t been to stay since just before COVID.

In the morning Cherry gave us a ride into town to the markets. I bought a dragon for Matt, it’s really a holder for mosquito coils, but beautifully done. I also bought a fat ??? for making cushions for Stephen. We booked into a hotel for our evening meal and went and had coffee at the other end of town.

We walked into town in the evening for our meal. It was very busy, but we were sitting in the outdoor area and they lit a fire and it was interesting to watch the other guests. The meal was very enjoyable as we sampled the vegetarian options, then had deserts. By then the live music had started and we enjoyed that for a while before walking home. By not driving in we didn’t have to worry about drinking, but are all quite modest in our requirements having one drink each.

At the Imperial Hotel

Today was a motorcyle festival in town. Walking through the crowds we opted for masks as it was difficult to social distance. The motorcycles were varied and very interesting, as are the people who ride them. As we were walking back we came across a jumping exhibition and marvelled at the two riders doing different things as they flew through the air. I have a bit of video of this which needs editing before adding to this blog.

just a few of the motorcycles in town

Once home Stephen and I had our cereal for lunch. Cherry had cooked us ‘coddled eggs’ for breakfast, along with sourdough bread and home made jams, with coffee and tea of our choice. The coddled eggs are cooked in a little container and stay warm whilst you are eating them. She was able to time mine to have a runny yoke and Stephen’s to be firm.

We’ve had the external solar panel out yesterday and today and it performs extremely well. My Victron app reported that we had a maximum draw of 277w from the solar panels which must have happened whilst we were away. The total possible is is 330w and given that they will never perform to the maximum I would guess that around 277 will be the most we will ever see from the combined panels.

After a rest we packed up everything and said our goodbyes, feeling a little sad to be parting of course, but we felt it had been a very good visit and catchup. Greenhills is about 16 kms from York, a very small town with a lovely old pub. As it’s COVID we decided to have an early drink of hard ginger beer and beer sitting in the beer garden. We were entertained by a film crew who were interviewing the publican, a woman, with a family recruited as the background to the filming.

Stephen has opted to have a shower for $5, which has given me time to get down to this update. He also had a shower when we were at Cherry’s place, otherwise he just has washes in the van. I am happy with my basin ‘pour over’ washes in the van, which leave me feeling as clean as if I have had a shower.

It’s been cloudy and sometimes seemed like it would rain, but nothing happened until about 5.00 p.m. tonight. We are having quite heavy rain at the moment, but as we plan to stay in for the evening we are just happy and hope it will also rain at Cherry’s.