Leaving Albany

Mineral Springs, Gnowangerup

The above photos are from our evening walk on Tuesday. I’ve taken quite a few photos on my phone on our travelling day yesterday, but unfortunately my phone is back at the van and we are in the Katanning Dome, feeling satisfied after sharing a cooked breakfast.

We had a late checkout booked yesterday morning. It was fortunate that it was cloudy and a bit chilly in the wind, which made it easier to say goodbye to Albany and start our journey home. When we were young we drove from Albany to Perth in a day. Later on it went to one overnight on the journey. Now, we take three days. two overnights. Will there come a time when it takes a week!

We drove up past the Porongorups and through the Stirlings on Chester Pass Road, stopping on the way to take in the views from a rest area. We had lunch at the entrance to the Bluff Knoll road. We had hoped the cafe would be open, but it still meant that we had a lovely spot to have lunch and a short rest.

We stopped at Gnowangerup for a cup of tea and found a good spot with mineral springs. The original swimming pool for the town was fed by the springs until the 60s when they realised it was likely toxic. The town now has a conventional swimming pool, but one of the springs is quite fast flowing (a litre a minute) and leads to a small creek and large wetlands.

We pushed on to Katanning with the thought of a nice breakfast in the morning, but it might have been a mistake. We were parking up and I though Stephen was getting into the van to use our level, and started fiddling with the level on my phone. I happened to look up and noticed Stephen standing still and getting further away. I had used the handbreak, but was still in reverse, having not put the car in park, and it was rolling back. If I hadn’t looked up we would have hit the poles at the side of the parking area. Obviously I wasn’t operating all that well due to tiredness. Anyway, nothing bad happened, but it was a warning.

Today it’s onwards and upwards, with an overnight at Pingelly. Possibly in a caravan park as we might be getting into the heat. Katanning was quite cold overnight, and it was a good opportunity to run the diesel heater for a little while. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s suggested that it be operated about once a month. Albany was going to be windy for a few days and that was part of the incentive to leave, but Katanning is windy too.

Later on Thursday: we really enjoyed our breakfast at the Dome and did a little shopping on the way back to the van. Then set off. We took a break at a little Cultural Walk, we’ve been passing it so often and always wondered what it was about. The walk can be quite long, taking in several small salt lakes, but there are a number of parking areas to choose from and you could take a shorter walk.

Then on to Wagin where we went to a cafe for refreshments. Back at the Sherwood we noticed people admiring our setup and got into conversation with them. For the first time in ages we found ourselves talking with someone who was trying to avoid getting COVID, due to a chronic illness that he felt would make him very vulnerable. Nice people, they appeared to be on the road permanently, with a 4WD vehicle and largish caravan.

Our next stop was at Highbury where we had a second breakfast of fruit, yogurt and cereal at about 2.30 p.m. I felt very sleepy so had a long nap. By the time we were heading off again it was after 5.00. The Pingelly Caravan Park is council run and the phone number is at a shop, so no answer when we rang.

To avoid any problems we decided to take an earlier option and check out the Laze Away Holiday Farm in Poppanyining. It isn’t fancy, but we are in a nice area with trees and there are walks around the farm. This place is for sale, I think the owners are getting older and want to retire. It would be nicer in winter we think. But, we like that it’s not busy, with just a few guests and possibly some more permanent residents in various camp/caravan setups to the rear.

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