Day 4 – Yerdani Well to Kalgoorlie

Not a very long journey today, just under 100 kms. We stopped briefly in Coolgardie, just long enough for Stephen to go out with the Gopro and do his thing.

In Kalgoorlie we wanted to go to the Visitors Centre first thing. We took in a cafe for hot drinks and a shared toastie as it was midday and I was hungry. At the Visitors Centre we were able to confirm that many things had opened just this week. She showed us the local attractions on a town map and gave us a brochure. I bought a glasses case which I can attach to my camera bag strap to facilitate swapping between normal and sun glasses.

Our next stop was Coles where we stocked up on fresh bread, rolls, vegetables and fruit. Then on to dump our toilet cassette and fill up some containers of drinking water. We went to the 24hr Rest Stop – quite a nice location a little out of town where we had a rest. Stephen wanted to go to a bushland reserve and we drove there to have afternoon tea. I needed another rest, so Stephen set off on the paths with his Gopro in hand. After resting I went out as well, though missed the path he was on and we met up back near the gate at sunset. I enjoyed taking photos of the bushland at sunset.

We had asked the person at the Visitor Centre about Chinese restaurants and chose one of her recommendations for our evening meal. On the way there we filled up with fuel at a Puma station where we get an RAC discount. We will be in Kalgoorlie for at least a couple more days as there is far more here than just the super pit and other mines. There are many old and interesting buildings in the town centre, plus driving through the streets there are some very old houses.

Stephen has his WASO Zoom session this evening, a good thing we had an early dinner at the restaurant. It was a relief to have the meal over and done with, no dishes or mess. The food was quite nice, eat in food for the price of takeaway in the city. We liked that they served main meat meals with lots of vegetables included. The restaurant takeaway section was very busy.

It was a short drive back to our camping area.

My Adobe apps are updating and I can’t process any of the photos from today until it all finishes. Raw, unedited photos instead!

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Yerdani Well this morning
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Yerdani Well. It was very cold in the van this morning and as you can see we weren’t parked directly in the sun. Having a wash was a bit challenging.
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Kalgoorlie Bushland Park (not it’s proper name) this evening. Trees are the same, but we didn’t have the smoke bush.
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From my evening walk.

Our overnight spot should have good sun in the morning. The weather forecast is for another cold start to the day and we hope to not only have sunlight for recharging the batteries, but also have the warmth.

 

Day 3 – Westonia to Yerdani Well

The adventure continues. We woke up to a cold and sunny morning. It became a bit grey by late morning, but it looks like fine weather here at Yerdani Well, which means we are in for another cold night. Our level 3 doona is just right for these temperatures, we were too warm the first night.

Stephen noticed a bit of metal in the front driver’s side tyre. We didn’t know if it would cause a slow leak or what. We woke up early and were on our way by about 9.30, but still had to drive to the dump point and then to a water point to fill up our tank and water bottles. Stephen became attached to the Gopro and has done quite a lot of video today, which we will put into a movie at some stage. I recorded some video first thing to capture bird sounds.

 

At Southern Cross we found a tyre and automotive shop. After a 20 minute wait we were attended to by a young woman (Joyce we think her name is) who inspected the problem and applied some soapy water to confirm there was no leak. We then drove close to the workshop so that she could pull out the metal. It confirmed that it had not actually penetrated very far at all. I’d been getting notifications about checking our oil, so we asked her to show us how to do it.

We consulted the manual on how to get the hood unlocked, the manual was useful, but it is for a left hand drive vehicle, so it was actually on the opposite side from the picture. She confirmed that we needed oil and we opted to buy the whole container after she had filled up for us. It was a great experience to have a young woman as our mechanic, althoug she was slightly flummoxed by the Adria name, she hadn’t realised the vehicle is a Fiat.

She wore gloves to protect her hands whilst checking the oil, but her gear was suitably dirty, as you would expect working as a mechanic. She was pretty, with her hair worn long and tied back. We enjoyed the experience and were thankful she was thrown by the vehicle type and had to look up a suitable oil on her computer so that we didn’t feel too embarrassed about being relatively clueless ourselves. A good learning experience overall.

Having this done meant we were quite delayed. We drove down the road to try to find a nice place for lunch. We eventually settled on opposite the Yellowdine Roadhouse, handy for buying some no sugar coke (our evening treat instead of alcohol). Although Stephen’s laying on of hands did completely take away my tension headache I don’t feel like taking any risks just yet.

Our plan had been to make it to Coolgardie, but we have settled on this place, about 60 kms away. We will easily make it to Kalgoorlie tomorrow, where we plan to spend at least two nights to allow time to explore the town.

The Well in Yerdani Well is on the other side of the road from this campground. Just in case you are wondering why we don’t have a photo of it.

 

 

Day 2: Meckering to Westonia

We didn’t make it very far today as we made a late start. It wasn’t a plan, but writing the blog slowed things down and we were a bit disorganised. We had morning tea on the way to enable us to have a late lunch. It was after 3.00 pm when we got underway after lunch and the clouds made it seem even later.

Our plan was to get as far as Southern Cross, but Westonia was closer and has a very nice free camping area. So, here we are.

We have 4 bars of 3G Telstra which should work for a FaceTime session with Matt.

I’ve put our towels in the picnic shelter as they still need to dry. It was sunny when we left Meckering this morning, but has been cloudy most of afternoon.

Day 1: Victoria Park to Meckering

As predicted, we left at about 11.30 a.m. after a long morning of getting ready. We didn’t feel the best physically and only the relatively short journey ahead kept us going. I developed a headache before we left and had to hold off on panadol until we arrived in Meckering. Nevertheless, we were in good spirits and keen to get on the road.

At Mundaring we stopped to go to the bakery for lunch. Pies at the best bakery, of course. There is a parking area across the road from the shopping area. As we were crossing the busy highway Stephen accelerated and I joined him in a run for the final bit. I wasn’t watching my feet and did a rather spectacular fall. I even had time to realise I must roll immediately, which prevented any damage, though left me in a bit of a shock. A young man raced over to help and he and Stephen set me on my feet. It could have been a disaster, instead we were left feeling thankful that I hadn ‘t injured myself.

At the bakery we queued with other people eager to have their delicious food. Only three people were allowed in the shop at a time. People were mindful of social distancing. We waited about 10 minutes for our turn. We took our pies and hot drinks back to the van as they had not reinstated their outdoor seating. Probably because lots of room was needed for the queues!

We had a short rest, then continued on. Stephen took the wheel just after Northam after a photo stop.

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He enjoys examining trees and vegetation whereever we are.

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The view

We arrived in Meckering just after 3.00 p.m. My calculation of the distance travelled was out by about 20 kms, but didn’t matter. We had a cuppa and I took some Panadol and had a lie down. We relaxed for the rest of the day and evening. It was cloudy, but we didn’t have much rain overnight. Our evening meal consisted of leftover chicken and vegetables with a bit of lettuce thrown in. Followed by fruit and yogurt with a little chocolate sauce.

In the night my headache returned. It has been the sort that originates in the neck and I associate it with stress. Sometimes it gets better if Stephen puts his hand on my neck for about 10 minutes. We tried that, as well as more Panadol. The thing about the Stephen method is that the headache shouldn’t return once the Panadol wears off. We shall see.

Stephen is pottering around having his wash and getting his breakfast ready as I am writing. I should get active as well.

in our usual spot, but not as big (1 of 1)
in our usual spot at Meckering

Our noisy neighbours. It’s quieter this morning.

Our next adventure

We’ve had a busy few weeks with choir singing on Zoom, French classes on Zoom, and a FaceTime meet up with the Writing Group. We’ve had Matt over to lunch a couple,of times as well as visits to Mum. We are still feeling a bit cautious about meeting with people, but ventured out to lunch at a cafe in Mandurah last Sunday. Under the new social distancing rules, of course.

We were in Mandurah because Robyne, my younger sister, has moved there to be closer to her daughter. Naturally she has found the move extremely stressful and tiring. Marie and myself, plus husbands, also got involved. Stephen and I put some extra stuff that the removalist didn’t take into our van and followed the others down to the new house (Robyne’s Nest). We helped a bit with unpacking though her daughter and husband did the most, and managed to ensure that she was comfortable for the first night, with everything she needed.

We had a late start the day after and Robyne did not feel like getting into more unpacking. Stephen and I had a walk to the Serpentine River nearby, then we all went to have lunch at a local cafe. The photo at the top was taken on our walk near the river.

The cafe

There is a marina on the inlet near the cafe, plus an attractive park and walkway.

Stephen and then drove to my older sister’s house where we stayed the night. We had a plan to clean Robyne’s Villa on Monday morning and their place is much closer than ours. The settlement was on Wednesday and she moved on the weekend before so that her daughter could help with the move. So, we had lots of time to clean and between the four of us did quite a good job. Usually, when moving out there isn’t time to do a thorough cleaning. We felt quite virtuous.

Both nights were spent in our little Campervan and it was a treat as well as hopefully being helpful for Robyne.

Our next adventure, beginning tomorrow, is to go to Lake Ballard to see the sculptures. It will also give me an opportunity to visit Kalgoorlie. We’ve been across the Nullabour three times without going a few extra kilometres from Coolgardie. When we checked on the map we can do a circuit, continuing after Lake Ballard to Leonora, then Mt Magnet, before turning homewards. It is only about 350 kilomtres more than going back the way we came. We estimate being away for about two weeks, but it may be a little longer.

I saw my mother today and she seems well. She loves the beautiful tree outside her window, it’s almost like it has become her good friend. I sat next to her on her bed and could see that the tree fills the window and is indeed very lovely. She said she likes her room and being looked after by the staff.

We’ve spent this afternoon and evening doing some packing. Our first stop tomorrow is Meckering, which is only just over 100 kms away. Our plan is to get ready in the morning and leave by about 11.30. That means we are not in a rush and shouldn’t forget things.

Kulin in trouble?

By a strange coincidence Kulin was in the news last night. Barley is one of its main farm products and is being hit by the China administration’s impost of an 80% tariff. Thank you Morrison for sounding like you were echoing Trump last week!

China, when approached by an international body, has now agreed to participate in a review of the worldwide response to the pandemic. A little diplomacy and waiting for support from the international community would have avoided causing all of these problems for our exports to China.

We are too small a country to use bullying tactics and the whole point of the art of diplomacy is to get your point across in international relations without being overtly insulting. It never works to bully other countries, even if you are a very powerful country like the US. Other countries may have to bend to your will in the short term, but will get back at you as soon as possible. Countries like China, which the Western powers bullied for years with impunity, have long memories of previous injustices and exploitation and never want to be in that position again.

Here’s hoping that Morrison finds a way out of this without our country having to lose face as well. At the moment we are clearly in trouble, especially if they go after iron ore.

We arrived home yesterday before the storm

It was quite windy on the drive home and we had a few spots of rain, but the main body of the storm came in the afternoon. Our house is so sheltered that we have to read news reports to get a feel for how bad it is. The van’s parking bay has brick walls around it and it is safe from anything except flying debris.

We stopped for coffee and Anzac bickies on the way home. It is so nice being able to use small kitchen appliances in the van. We are still using our gas cooktop for most things, but it saves switching the gas on when we just want a hot drink on the road.

I ordered an ordinary electric one burner cooktop after finding our induction cooktop didn’t work off the inverter. The new cooker has a ceramic top with red light underneath. (my mother had that sort of cooktop in her house at Kingswood Street). It heats up quickly and takes quite a while to cool down, so is a good source of heating for the van. However, it does draw a lot of power and we would only want to have it on for about 20 minutes.

How did our new power system go? Really well. We still need to monitor our use of the inverter with kitchen appliances, but we can do all of our charging and use lights as much as we want without significant draw on the batteries. Our adventures in free camping will continue in much more comfort.

We found we didn’t need to use the heater. Even though we had temperatures down to about 3 degrees overnight the little van heats up enough from cooking and two person body warmth to keep us reasonably comfortable. We try to park where we get maximum morning sun for the solar system and that also helps with warming the van.

Day 2 – off to Kulin

We knew about Kulin because Heather Ewart has done a Backroads programme about the town. From Gorge Rock you take the road towards Kondinin, then turn left onto the Tin Horse Highway. They have a bush race meeting each year and the Tin Horse competition became quite a thing. We didn’t see the rest of it on the other side of Kulin, but felt we knew it a bit because that was the way Heather came to the town.

Tin horses playing cricket.

The town free campsite is located centrally, screened behind bushes and trees from the Main Street. There are toilets and free 3 minute showers, water and a dump point. And a charging point for electric cars. But, that’s not the coolest camping option. How about a caravan park where you choose what to pay, depending on how happy you are.

We stayed in the free camp by preference and bought some groceries at the local IGA after walking around the town this morning as our way of giving thanks. The woman on the checkout looked and sounded like the bride in the Backroads programme, but I was too shy to ask if it was she.

We arrived just a little before sunset last night, so didn’t get a chance to go for a walk. This morning we explored the Main Street and a couple of the town’s famous landmarks, the swimming pool slide and the big recreation centre. A local farmer died and left a million dollars to the town. They got together and decided on what they wanted. The children wanted a water slide and they purchased one second hand and volunteers trucked it from Queensland. Sport is important in the town and the big recreation centre with a clubhouse was what people wanted.

Kulin town has a good water supply as they have been able to capture storm water. This allows them to have the swimming pool and water slide as well as offer travellers free water.

She wouldn’t look at me, though allowed me to pet her. She seems to have a beautiful temperament.

We were adopted by this dog, who was quite friendly. As we walked along she would go ahead, then look back to make sure we were following. She is tagged, so we knew she wasn’t a stray. When we got back to where she picked us up her owner whistled and she ran joyfully to him.

The shower block for the free campsite.

After our walk we filled up with water and dumped our cassette before heading off to have lunch in Kondinin. We just wanted to see what the town was like.

We shared the drive back as far as Brookton where we are spending our last night for this trip. Our plan is to drive home in the morning, hoping to be there before the worst of the promised ‘once in a decade’ storm. The weather has been warm and sunny during the day with quite cold nights and there is no sign that the weather is about to change.

Trip to the Wheatbelt

WordPress has done an odd thing and deleted most of my post from yesterday. I don’t have time to do anything much at the moment, but will rewrite the rest and post photos when I can. I used my laptop yesterday to write the post, then was working on my iPad this morning which had the original draft. It got confused. Anyway, Kulin, where we spent,last night, deserves it own post.

Yesterday we finished packing up (did our main preparations the day before) and set off for Gorge Rock, about 19 kms from Narrogin. Stephen had a doctor’s visit at 9.30 am, so we couldn’t leave early, which meant pretty solid driving in order to arrive in Narrogin in time for the St John of God Choir meeting on Zoom. They are meeting each week, but this was only my second time. There were a few issues with getting everyone on, then we spent time doing exercises in preparation for singing. Stephen went to the IGA to get us some extra drinking water, biscuits and Minties.

With the choir we are all muted whilst Bernard sings and plays guitar. When Stephen joined we had the nice experience of singing as a foursome, with Bernard and Eleanor on one iPad and us on another. We only had about 10 singers, partly I think as some had difficulty accessing the meeting.

Towards the end we waved goodbye and set off for our overnight spot at Gorge Rock. We enjoyed the views over farmland as the sun was setting on the drive. There were two other camper groups here and they waved to us as we arrived. We wandered around a bit before settling in for the night. I cooked a simple one pot meal with vegetables and meatballs. Stephen chopped up the veggies. Then we had fresh fruit and icecream. We shared a beer as well.

On the first night in the van it’s always a bit difficult to work out our systems, especially at the ‘pinch point’ where we have to make way for each other. We love our new smaller van so much that we don’t mind at all. Although it was two years old when we bought it and had driven across Australia it feels almost brand new.

This morning we walked out to the rock, then climbed up. We were very glad of our fly nets as there were lots of little flies. I enjoyed frustrating them as they walked around on the outside of the netting. They also walked around on my hands whilst I was taking photos, only slightly annoying as they were so small.

Gorge Rock used to be the local swimming pool until an Olympic sized swimming pool was built in town. It was a meeting place for the whole community. The rain water in the rock pool was sanitised during the summer and drained before the winter rains so that it could fill with fresh water. There was a hall and other facilities here. Now there are some picnic tables and fire pits. We would have liked to have markers on the rock itself as we could see a second rock summit with a cairn on top, but couldn’t work out how to get there.

Back at the van we’ve had morning coffees and Anzac biscuits and are relaxing at the moment. The plan is to spend the next night at Kulin, which is about 30 kms away. It has more facilities and we don’t have enough drinking water to stay another night here. We are also hoping for better Telstra reception so that we can watch online TV programs. We have a bit of a signal, but the internet is slow and rather patchy, dropping out completely at times. At Kulin we will still be at a bush camp but it is located in the township.

We have a very chatty neighbour, Stephen found it interesting for a while but was glad to escape for morning tea. A workman dropped in for ‘smoko’ in a big machine and she spent his entire visit talking to him as well. I don’t know if he had quite the break from work that he was hoping for.