Today Stephen felt somewhat better and we enjoyed an evening walk along the beach to our favourite spot, a bench looking over a cove with small islands. It was less windy today and a bit warmer this evening.
Unfortunately Stephen has had a headache all day and we haven’t done very much. The good thing is that it gave me time to process this little video of bird sounds on the morning that I woke up early. I couldn’t adjust the magenta cast in Final Cut Pro despite fiddling with the colour settings. Clearly it can be done, I just need to learn how.
Tuesday 3rd January, 2023
So, it was an interesting night. We weren’t accosted and told to move on, so we didn’t. We felt a bit exposed as there were no other vans staying the night.
We went for a walk down to the entertainment area on the harbour yesterday evening. There is a walkway from the street, but an extra set of stairs from our level. It was cloudy, somewhat windy with a very light drizzle at times, very Albany in fact.
Stephen picked up our dinner from the Chinese restaurant. We found it a bit disappointing from the point of view of being just one food, beef, rather than a beef and vegetable dish. However, the meat was very tender and it tasted delicious – beef in plum sauce and spring rolls, with steamed rice.
We felt tired and went to bed quite early. As we were on a sideways lean I suggested that we sleep upwards at the other end of the bed, which meant Stephen had to sleep on the inner side of the bed. That probably contributed to us to not sleeping well. That and the noise of goods trains, road trains, and an early morning visit from the street sweeping truck. After annoying us by going up and down the whole area it came perilously close to ramming us, just sweeping past at the last moment. Although it was still very early, not long after 5.00 a.m., we decided a cup of tea was needed to calm us down.
Stephen has had a headache today, slowing him down just a little. I went out for a flat white first thing, and we made use of the nearby toilets for normal toilet stuff and I was able to use their electricity to blow dry my hair.
After the usual filling up and letting out of watery stuff we headed out for Cosy Corner East. We arrive at around 10.00 a.m. and had a choice of a number of bays. We’ve chosen one on the side fence, well away from the entrance. We had to adjust for a slope, but at least we could do that, not like our ‘stealth’ camping in town.
After setting up, putting out our chairs and folding table, and rearranging stuff inside, we are very comfortable and look forward to a better night’s sleep. I have something easy planned for tea, just heating up really.
Now that we have to pay for camping I was hoping for simple swiping motion on a machine. It turns out we use a parking app and it had me so bamboozled that it wasn’t until late afternoon that I clicked on the option to log in using my Apple ID and we were in. We had the option to have a concessional rate of $10 per night and it included putting in our vehicle registration. Like my other parking app, you spin a wheel on the screen to choose length of stay.
I need to do some washing, but didn’t fancy spending time at a laundromat this morning. Instead I will do a little handwashing here at our campsite, and we’ve booked a caravan park at Emu Point for Friday night to get the washing done. We love Emu Point as a location for walks, etc. and we have stayed at the Rose Garden Caravan Park a number of times over the years. With our membership discount it is fairly inexpensive for Albany peak time and as it’s quite basic, no jumping pillow, etc. it feels like our kind of place.
Stephen has felt too unwell to go out for a walk and I must admit to feeling a bit lazy, so no walk for me either. The fact that we will have two full days here means I’m not worried about missing out.
January 2nd, 2023 Monday
We did very little for the rest of the day at Lake Nunijup. A walk in the evening, then a Facetime call with Matt were the highlights.
This morning I woke up at around 4.30 a.m. and noticed some red light on a van nearby. It was the pre dawn light and I couldn’t resist getting out of the van to take some photos. It was chilly, but I didn’t really notice. I took a few clips of video as well, which have the wonderful sounds of the birds.
Unfortunately the colour in the photos and videos was really off. I’m not sure why but the iphone often does this as well. I’ve managed to adjust the colours in the photos above to be closer to what I actually saw.
When we woke up later we had a leisurely time, gradually packing up everything and leaving the lake at about 11.30 a.m. Our trip down to Mt Barker was succesful on most counts, getting water, emptying the toilet cassette and doing some shopping at the IGA. We even managed to snare a fly swat. Its been on our shopping list for a while, but shops don’t have them in stock or we forget. The only failure was at the famous bakery, it was just too busy so we had rolls and bananas ‘at home’ before setting off for Albany.
It was about 3.30 p.m. by the time we arrived. Our arrival was not guaranteed as I swear that a lot of the drivers on Albany Highway had a death wish and wanted to take us with them. However, we are safely here now.
We are parked up near the bus station and IGA, hoping we can get away with staying here overnight. Tomorrow we will try to get a camping spot at Cosy Corner, but it seemed too late in the day for our luck to be in. Plus I wanted a flat white and we were just in time for the cafe next door to the IGA to still be serving coffees. We used our new keep cups, a present from Matt, and the girl in the cafe asked me which was which when I asked for a flat white and a moccha, so she knew that they were for particular people. Stephen’s has music notation on it and mine has leaves.
Stephen has been wandering around and checked to see if our nearby Chinese restaurant was open tonight. It is, so we will be able to have takeaway. Even if we get moved on we’ve been able to take advantage of the cafe and restaurant.
Saturday 31st December, 2022 and Sunday 1st January, 2023
We packed up and left a little late from our camp at Kendenup. They have a water tap where you can fill up your tank and drinking water containers and we took advantage of that before heading off. Stephen had been doing some research in the area and found a couple of lakeside camping spots. We’ve chosen the nearest one for our New Years Eve overnight.
It’s about 24kms from Kendenup, so it only took us about 20 minutes to get here. We looked around and took what we thought was a good spot with views of the lake. Later, we began to be surrounded by other campers, some chatting noisily, so moved over to the other side of the campground. We still have views of the lake, but just from further away.
We took a little walk along a road/firebreak in the evening and were pleased to find that it had lake views, as far as we went anyway. There were a few wildflowers.
We had two evening meals of leftover curried mince which we enjoyed at Narrogin and Kenderton. Last night was the first actual cooking and I took advantage of our big 3 burner stove top to cook vegetarian chicken schnitzels and mashed potato. We had salad and some small loaf ends. We watched the ABC news and some other videos whilst having grapes, herbal teas and chocolate. Perfect!
It turned out to be a really smart to move as some young people congregated close to the toilets, all talking/shouting at each other. We were far enough away that it was a dull sound, rather than annoying.
This morning Stephen reported that he heard the countdown to midnight, but I was asleep at the time. When you consider how many people were here last night the noise level wasn’t too bad.
The last couple of days have been overcast, but we are not complaining as the temperature is cool and pleasant. I’ve taken some photos, but still not feeling that I’m getting good shots, just documenting things.
We don’t have much drinking water left, but I used a chemical sanitiser for our tank water before we left home, it is supposed to render the water safe to drink and we therefore think we can extend our stay another night as we have enough food. We have flushing toilets here, which relieves pressure on our toilet and it will be good for another night, given that we mostly don’t use it during the day.
Friday 30th December, 2022
Yesterday we did quite a long day of driving after visiting the centenary park in Narrogin. The main aim was to get out the heat. We made a few stops along the way, using public toilets, etc. just to break it up. Stephen did not feel up to doing any driving, so it was all up to me.
In Katanning we got fuel and bought some lunch to take out to Lake Ewlymartup. Our thinking was that the wind might be coming off the lake and therefore a bit cooler. But no, it was even hotter. We had a rest after lunch, parked in the shade with the engine running and the air conditioner on. It’s surprising to us how well the house cools down, given that the cold air has to travel through the opening from the dashboard to the rear.
Eventually as we were approaching Cranbrook it began to cool down, dropping by 1 degree at a time, then a more dramatic drop by Cranbrook. We felt we had driven far enough south and after a bit of a diversion to Sukey’s Lookout we made it to Kendenup Nature Based Camp. We stayed here last year and already knew that there was only a $5 difference between powered and unpowered site costs, so opted for powered. It think we didn’t quite trust that the weather was cool.
I felt tired when we arrived and made a coffee and relaxed for awhile until dinner time. Stephen got caught up with a neighbour who wanted a long chat. He had a bit of a rant about people who have a university education. I asked Stephen if he had disclosed his educational status and he said he did, so the neighbour made an exception in his case.
We used 4WD for the first time on the gravel road to Sukey’s Lookout. It made us feel safer, but I can’t say I felt a noticeable difference. I remembered to take it out of 4WD before getting back on the paved road.
We were told we were sharing a space with a campervan and it came home very noisily just after we went to bed. They parked just in front of us, there was plenty of room behind, but their power cord might have been a bit short. Anyway, they left early and I was able to see that it was a rather beaten up old van.
There are nicer places to camp here if you don’t need power, so we plan to take that option if we come back here again. Unless we need power for some reason.
Thursday 29th and Friday 30th December, 2022
Packing for this trip has been quite a business. We can’t leave the basics in the Sherwood due to the heat, so we had to pack everything. Then deciding how much food to bring was difficult too. But, eventually we got there and set off. We had something to drop off at Marie and Geoff’s, so that was our first port of call. They kindly invited us to lunch and we sat around the table having a good discussion until Stephen and I thought we should get on our way.
It was forecast to be quite hot, but was pretty nice up in Roleystone, especially as they have evaporative airconditioning. It works well on a day with a breeze and not too hot.
We made it to Brookton by about 4.00 p.m., but decided to just have coffee, then keep going. The sun is still quite high at that time of day and it was still very warm. We thought about stopping at Pingelly, but the same applied, it felt too warm and we weren’t tired. We rang the caravan park in Narrogin, just to make sure we could get in and arrived at around 6.00 p.m. It is one of the council caravan parks, $35 per night, everything you need and nothing you don’t. We had the air conditioning going until about 8.00 p.m.
I liked the showers, they had been freshly done with nice tiling, a good bench for all of the stuff you have to bring, and no mould. I had my evening and morning showers there.
We were assigned a bay that was in the sun, but there was plenty of room so we chose another spot which had shade.
This morning Stephen wanted to stay here and explore the town, but it looks like it will be another hot afternoon/evening here and I don’t much fancy just sitting in air conditioning. A compromise is that we will spend most of the morning here whilst it is still fairly mild, then travel during the hot part of the day. We are not quite sure how far south we have to go to get cooler weather. The BOM says Denmark, but then the weather station is at Albany Airport, so could it be true?
The main thing is that we would be able to get into a caravan park for the night if it is still hot when we arrive at wherever we decide to stay tonight. By 3.00 a.m. this morning it was cool enough for us to need the doona over us even though today is very hot.
I keep meaning to write this up, then getting lazy.
On Thursday last week (15th December, 2022) Stephen was singing with The Real Sing at Rockingham shopping centre. We decided to have a mini break, staying overnight in the area. A new ‘camping’ site had popped up on Google Maps in Naval Base on the beach. We drove down early enough in the afternoon to have a look at it on our way down to Rockingham. It’s clearly most informal, just parking on the edge of a no through road next to the railway, but looked nice enough that we felt we could stay.
The singing went well. The choir were being paid and sang with small breaks from 6.00 to 8.00 p.m. By the end they sounded a bit tired and the shoppers mostly just pushed through as they were wanting to get home. But, the early part went very well and it showed what a good choir can do, given that they had no accompaniment.
Stephen and I had some food before he started singing. Later I noticed that there were a couple of clothing shops nearby and ducked in to get presents for Stephen and Matt. I felt pleased that it was so easy, given that we were there for two hours anyway.
We then drove north to our camping spot and easily got a slot between two vans. There was even a truck parked overnight along the same fence. As we arrived a freight train was moving nearby, very noisy, but we didn’t hear any overnight.
The morning was sunny and bright and we took our time showering and having breakfast before doing a small walk. Then we drove up to South Beach. It was busy, but we still got a spot away from the cafe where we had a view of the sea. We had hot drinks and a shared French toast. Afterwards we sat on the lawn in the shade until the wind changed to a south westerly and got too cold.
Then it was time to get ready and head to Matt’s place for the annual christmas party. We thought it would be our visit with Matt for the weekend, but as we mostly chatted with other parents (so nice to catch up) we felt a bit guilty. On Sunday we were feeling well rested and I organised taxis so he could come for tea.
On Saturday morning there was a bushfire in the same area where we camped. Although it is fairly industrial there is also quite a lot of bushland, some of which is a national park. How lucky were we that it didn’t happen when we were there!
On Monday when I went to review the camping area it has disappeared off Wikicamps. Vanished! This can happen with informal camping spots. I think we could still stay there, just that it is no longer sort of endorsed by Wikicamps. We’ve been worried that free and cheap sites might disappear due to Wikicamps being now owned by a major caravan park company. But I also think that it is probably wise to keep it discreet. There are a lot of places on Perth beaches where it’s possible to stay overnight where there are no houses overlooking car parks. The rangers seem to tacitly accept it. But, if the sites are advertised they might have to crack down.
We’ve been coping well with the hotter weather so far. When the nights are over 20 degrees we leave the airconditioning on the ‘dehumidify’ setting and are able to sleep under a sheet and cotton blanket. We open up in the morning for fresh air, then put the airconditioning on again when it’s hot. But I’ve also found I’m not bothered too much by spending a bit of time outside in the heat, even the easterlys don’t seem to be really hot and we are getting south westerly breezes in the afternoons.
We just got our new storage box for the back of the van yesterday. It was ready about a month earlier than promised. Unfortunately we probably won’t get it put on in time for our Albany trip. It’s quite tiny compared with the other illegal one but it can hold some essentials. We tested this as soon as we got it home. I rang Ken Peachey Caravans, but they are on leave from today until about the 9th January. We will be on our way fairly soon after Christmas, so it will have to wait until we get back.
Stephen was up early this morning getting ready for some tasks. He seems much better, perhaps just needing a sense of purpose to get going. He is planning his first singing engagement tomorrow – the WASO Chorus are singing at the Children’s Hospital. There were no rehearsals for this, but they do it each year and we would expect it to go well. I’m surprised that they are allowed to sing in a hospital, given mask rules, but they only go to the main foyer.
We are going to the last Mackie Street Singers tonight. There are quite a few more singing engagements for Stephen before Christmas and he plans to do most of them. I need a planner like my sister has for her son!