Cervantes (The Pinnacles)

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 28, 2008

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Where I stayed
Tuarts Reserve

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Sunday, April 20, 2008

We set off leaving Freo to take Basil on his first big Broome-bound outing. Stopping off on the way out of Perth at Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches for two lovely walks surrounded by some serious Aussie freaks and surfer dudes!
Out of the city and onto Highway 1 passing the infamous Kangaroo sign Basil seemed very unhappy in 5th gear. Putting it down to poor kilometre conversion or something to do with the size I decided not to worry and rumbled on.
My shotgun mission support team failed to see the turning and we headed into a side road for one of my signature 75-point turns. It soon transpired Basil wasn't happy in any gear other than 4th. Helpfully I realised this once stuck crossing all lanes of a sandy dirt track facing a sizable ditch. A few minutes later someone came down the road. Possibly a little confused by the sight they asked, "You's ok?" Typically English, we replied "Yes, yes, fine thanks." "Ummm, well actually", I applied all my mechanical knowledge, detailing "something's happened to the gears".
Before I knew it Rob and this massive stocky Aussie were poking out from underneath the broken van. The problem was a simple fallen off bolt - obviously! "D'ya want me to get him outta here?" The sight of the wheels spinning and sand flying everywhere didn't fill me with confidence but we were ready to go and extremely grateful. I had to use both hands and seriously put my back into releasing the handbrake from its Aussie grip, but we set off with the rain driving down in serious drones. Mission support tells me to turn off at which point we are back to square one with the gears. Mission support, now equipped with "The Knowledge", dives to fix the problem and we're on our way again.
We drive Oz's beautiful vast roads surrounded by red bush and open land up to the horizon. Mission support successfully leads me to my "camp" for the evening. A small gutted out section of the bush. It has "no facilities", but we have Basil and deem ourselves equipped, that is until we meet Aussie Superhero Campers Mark 1. Not only can these people live off the land (they start a fire going from what looked like a pile of ash and cook calamari, turkey and pumpkin for dinner on it), but their caravans (which are off-road) could house me for years. They have 360 litre tanks, two massive diesel tanks, an indoor shower, a chainsaw and an electric drill. Obviously, they had all the necessary tools to fix Basil's health problem and most probably rebuild him twice. All fixed up, I didn't want him to get an inferiority complex surrounded by all these mammoth houses on 4WD so I made him face the bush and set him up for his daily rest.
We headed off first thing for the Nambung National Park, home to the Pinnacles Desert. Walking around the desert is a very strange experience indeed. The massive sandy plain is punctured by thousands of enormous limestone pillars, some up to 3.5 metres high and providing good hiding posts for emus. A really amazing experience!
A major mark on the map and a "great place to stock up", we fuel and water up in this rocking town (population - 1,000). I ask if the town's only shop might sell an i-Pod tape for the van. A foolish question - "It's really Perth or Geraldton you're looking at for that type of thing". Simple. The town of Cervantes could certainly be missed in a blink - one shop, two petrol pumps, one tap, no i-Pod technology or radio station. Time for mission support to provide something to talk about as Basil starts leg #3.
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