Back on the road, heading down the West Coast
Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
92Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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It started in the trees, rushing through the branches, we heard the wind long before we felt it. Then came the rain, not too much but driven in by the strong wind, the thunder and lightning were the worst. From midnight until 8am the storm raged outside, the thunder was continuous never giving up, lighting lit up the sky in every direction only stopping to let the thunder suddenly boom out and shake the van so hard the glass bottles in the cupboard jingled and you felt it vibrate in your chest. About 2am the power went off and with it the fan......the heat hits you quickly when there nothing moving the air around.....still it would have been worse for the ones in air-conditioning. It took half an hour before someone woke the campsite manager up (how he was sleeping in this storm I don't know) to turn the generator on....ahh cool air again. We slept on and off through the storm but by 6am we realised we were not going to be doing an eight hour drive today and would stay one more night. We actually booked in for four more nights, simple so we could make use of the weekly rate which was a saving of over $5 a day plus we are enjoying ourselves here and are not really ready to leave yet.
With the van all filled up with food and the pair of us completely exhausted from lack of sleep, we opted for a lazy day....never a hard decision. It was still raining outside and it felt good lounging around in the van, watching TV and eating the mounds of egg mayonnaise I had premade the day before for sandwiches. When we got too hot we went for a swim in the pool, life is good.
Tuesday 11th January 2011
Seeing as we had booked ourselves in for four more days Gary phone up a mechanic to service the van as it has done over 176000km and was due one. We had arranged to drop the van off at 8.30am at a garage about 5km down the road. We didn’t really plan our day very well, the idea was to drop the van off then ride back and sit round the pool until it was ready. The first part went fine, we found the garage easily and dropped the van off, jumped on our bikes a rode back to the campsite. We set up round the pool and jumped in the pool for a swim and cool off from our ride. We have taken all our worldly goods out the van just in case, laptop, passports, money, phone, camera, satnav.....yes and put them all in one bag, I know what you’re going to say but what else could we do. However theft wasn’t our first concern, rain was about to ruin everything. We were happily splashing around in the water when we noticed it had started to drizzle. Although the pool is shady the sail shades are not water proof so when the rain went from a shower to a full monsoon downpour we had to act fast. We had put the small tarpaulin on the washing line to dry before we left, so Gary ran and grabbed and wrapped the bag in it. We thought we would wait the rain out in the pool, but it didn’t let up, so with nowhere to shelter we headed for the laundry room...there are always magazines to read in there. We dried off and read a few Take a Break type mags but we still had a couple of hours to kill and standing in the laundry room was getting us funny looks, so we walked over to the camp kitchen where there are tables and chairs and we made camp there for the remainder of our wait playing computer chess. Eventually the mechanic called and we rode over to collect our baby. Expecting a huge bill, the mechanic said she was in good condition for her age and she didn’t need any work doing so just charged us for a basic oil and filter change.
We had been lucky the only time it stopped raining all day was the two times we went out on our bikes. The rest of the day we spent in the van reading and watching the rain come down. We had new neighbours today who have a Ute with a tent on the roof. It looked lots of fun, that was until the wind got up again in the evening and blew through the campsite at a rate of not’s....then I was glad we were a bit more earth bound.
Wednesday 12th January 2011
Cable Beach makes you stop and stare every time you see it, the beautiful Jade coloured sea and white sand is mesmerising. We climbed over the rocks and on to the other beach, there are lots of 4WD’s down here and tracks go on for miles. This end of the beach is 17km long.....we won’t be walking all of it. The nudist beach is the first part then it turns into Dog Beach where the 4WDers can take their dogs for a run. To Gary’s disappointment there was only one naturist on the beach a rather chunky man with his 4WD....we said g’day as we walked past.
After our long walk down the beach we went back to the campsite for a swim and cool off. Cable Beach has a lovely breeze but the second you leave the seafront that breeze goes and the heat kicks in. This heat would be unbearable in the van if it wasn’t for the trees which cover the campground and leave it very cool and shaded.
After our Webcam experience we set a blanket down on the grass and tucked into our sunset picnic of cheese, crackers and wine.....very civilised. It was lovely sitting talking about our time in Broome and watching the sunset. As darkness draw in we packed up our bits and walk slowly back to the van, it had been a lovely day.
Thursday 13th January 2011
We need to do another shop before we hit the highway again, stock up on water and basics. We drove into town and went to Coles this time...only because they have UK made Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, the Aussie stuff just doesn’t taste the same, it’s a luxury item at $7 a jar. We also had lunch in McDonald’s for old time sake. We spent our last day catching up on emails and checking road and weather reports for tomorrow’s journey. Steak and salad for dinner, walked over to the camp kitchen to use the BBQ’s and got chatting to two Aussie girls with a little boy and a guy from New Zealand looking for work.
Friday 14th January 2011
The weather looked gray and overcast as we left Broom and the clouds got steadily darker the further down the highway we drove. There was a big black cloud right in our path and there was no way of avoiding the soaking we were going to get. The rain hammered down on the van, you could just about see the road in front but what was foremost in our mind was the road would flood and we would be stranded. Thirty minutes later we emerged out the other side unscathed and into clear blue skies.
The scenery is unchanged for this part of the country still very red soil and scrub lands as far as the eye can see. Gary’s new driving game is avoiding the lizards that are using the Highway and their byway, playing chicken across the road. These lizards range from 2cm long to 1metre long and Gary keeps swinging all over the road to avoid them.....good job the roads are so empty or I think he would have killed us by now.
Weather 34 degrees sea breezy
We were up and back on the unsealed road doing some early morning off roading, the poor van she doesn’t like the rough stuff. There were a number of wallabies running across the road but we were no danger to them, not going the speed we were going....in fact most of them just stopped and stared at us.....sniggering I think!! We finally reached the end of the red track and stopped the check the bikes. We had a bit of a predicament with the bike rack yesterday. We thought perhaps we could take the whole bike rack off with the bikes still attached and then just put it back on again in the morning....the conclusion was that we bent one of the bike clamps and the bike doesn’t sit in it properly anymore, luckily the bike holder is for three bikes so all was not lost but we won’t be trying that again.
Weather 36 degrees breezy
Arrived at Karratha and pulled straight into the shopping centre, we wanted a little look round and it was only 2pm so we had plenty of time to kill. It’s very hot today, we did most of the journey with aircon on and that’s not like us. So the walk from the car to the shopping centre felt like walking into a hairdryer. We bought a few bits in Kmart, Coles and the bottle shop and went back to the van with four bags and a new laptop tray so I can type on the road.
The campsite was very expensive, another Big4 but we expected something special for the money and we were a bit disappointed. It was clean and tidy but lacked the VIP feeling that comes with the price tag. We cooked stuffed peppers with left over Chow Mein and beef pot noodle.....tasted great.
We have a lot of ground to cover today so it was up early and get the snags on the BBQ for Sausage butties, we picked up a top tip from an Ozzie girl, if you put grease proof paper down on the Barbie first, the food cooks through it and you have no mess to clean up....just throw the paper away....do I need to state that obviously this will only work for hotplate BBQ’s??
Our journey today took about seven hours and didn’t involve me getting behind the wheel once, I think after yesterdays 'Issues’ Gary had lost faith in my driving!! We did drive through some lovely scenery today, over hills that when you arrive at the crest the whole world is mapped out in front of you and all you can say is ‘wow’! We said ‘wow’ a lot on this drive, we also said ‘Grid’ a colossal amount of times....it’s a habit we have got into when we see a cattle grid sign we shout ‘Gggrrriiiddd’ it passes the time and lets the other person know you are about to go over one as they make a bit of a racket when you hit them at 100km/h. This highway however had an unusually large amount of grids.
Petrol is still expensive and the roadhouses are getting further apart, so you are forced to fill up or run out. We did however meet a nice chap today who came out, filled the tank up for us, clean the windows, had a bit of friendly advice on where we were heading and kept us updated on the news in Queensland....good old fashion service.
Weather 36 degrees Hot hot hot
*referrers to having a bladder the size of a walnut, therefore needing to pee a lot.