Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
42Trip End Apr 24, 2013
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The road from Norseman to Kalgoorlie works its way mainly through light forest and as usual is a great ride although it was cooler and cloudy, only 20C.
200Km today.Another reason to know we were in a mining town was the price of our Motel room!Kalgoorlie has seen many economic ups and downs in its short lifetime and Wally soon experienced a similar feeling when using the cash machine.
The $100 withdrawn cost £70. Last time he used a cash machine here in 2003 it cost £35!
May be the UK needs a Claude de Bernales or Alan Bond ( but only slightly straighter) to turn the UK around!
Before we found our accommodation we stopped off at the Super Pit. Unfortunately the on site tour was suspended but the visitors centre overlooking the mine was good enough to see what was going on and a traffic jam of monster Tonka toy dump trucks was unbelievable. 31 huge trucks work the mine. It's a huge operation but then it does pull in $8B pa!
We bumped into our new Harley riding pals here and it made us realise how important a reliable vehicle is. The Harley we found on the Nullarbor had to be brought back to Norseman. They then had to hire a Ute from Kalgoorlie (400km return) pick up the bike and take it north of Perth and then return the Ute (1600km) then get back home (800km)Ouch!
We spent the afternoon in the museum which was so interesting we were thrown out as they wanted to close. Yet again though only two other people were in the museum while we were there!
A worthwhile trip but the prospecting didn't prove to be fruitful and in this new age of Australian liberalism the brothels had shut as the miners had 'come out'and headed off to the Mardi Gras in Sydney along with the Cops and Military. All a bit twee here these days down under where the girls seem to have more tats than the boys!
Back on the road again for the 400km trip back to Norseman then on to the coast and Esperance. Now we are back off the Nullarbor, and in the land of the living you have to experience Oz to realise that during the course of this leg we covered the distance equivalent of Chelmsford to Manchester yet passed through only 5 villages the size of Terling ie small.
Wonderful names though like Salmon Gums. Picnic lunch by the road in the township of Grass Patch!
The Aussies pay a huge reverence to those who have served their country and there are memorials in every village but in Grass Patch it was one of the best we have found. Wally was so moved he even popped a bob or two in the donation box which is unheard of.
The feeling of 'aussieness' is very strong in the rural areas, a sense we don't feel in the cities
While having lunch one of the ore trains rumbled through. In proportion to the Tonka toys that filled it up it consisted of 4 locomotives and 154 wagons and took minutes to pass!
As we approached the coast the sky lightened and the temperature rose a few degrees to 24C just perfect as was the view of Esperance harbour.
Straight to the Info centre who soon found us a nice apartment on the Esplanade. Shock horror this place actually had decent wifi hence we have posted a few pics on line.
Here in WA it seems different to the other states we have visited so far and we can't put our finger on why. With a population of over 14000 and a self proclaimed Supertown, Esperance has one major supermarket that shuts at 6 on a Friday and as we were to find out to our cost 5 on Saturdays. As for Sunday forget it!
We felt we deserved a lie in on Saturday morning but the weather didn't encourage us to get our skates on either. Still warm at 22C but grey and overcast as we headed off on the 70km journey to the beaches at Cap Le Grande in a National Park.
Reportedly the whitest beaches in Oz and we certainly wouldn't disagree. A stunning place to camp but Wally couldn't quite get his head round the fact that 4x4 vehicles are allowed to drive on the beach and were starting to annoy when driven by dick heads which when coupled with the grey clouds put a bit of a dampener on what should have been a great day
Grey days with us pair don't last long though. When Wally spotted a roo on the beach you would of thought he had his own siren such was the squeal of delight from Jan when she was told of the sighting. Gone like a flash she was soon in deep one way conversation with the roo and its Joey.
Despite all the excitement Wally couldn't comprehend how she could have such a conversation yet was quite happy to eat a roo steak!
After using up most her memory clicking away we found more roos in the campsite entertaining the kids.The sun even started to appear and we found a quieter beach for a nice snooze.
Back in Esperance we arrived to discover the strange store opening times and had to resort to finding a convenience store for dinner followed by a bottle shop for our wine.
Our evening stroll took us into the heart of this super town and while it's certainly a nice place it's not exactly buzzing on a Saturday night.There was excitement on the local TV though as the early results of the WA state elections were coming through.
We need to find out more about the state political system as the whole thing seems well over the top to us who haven't got a clue who controls Essex. The Liberals (Conservatives) were returned to power (not sure if there is any really) with an increased majority. Some commentators questioned the poor showing of Labour and the lack of campaigning from the Federal Labour leadership. We chuckled when one hack reckoned if Gillard had shown up the landslide would have been even greater! Gillard makes our Brown look good!!
Early start on Sunday for the 500km ride to Albany. Norseman to Kalgoorlie to Esperance to Albany. One page of the map about a dozen townships on the route. Total distance approx 1000km.
Fill the bike up with gas get into top gear and hang on until the mental arithmetic tells you where to stop to refuel. The gearbox or brakes don't do a lot of work here but the senses certainly do, taking in the wonderful countryside. We had a nice chat with a couple of Triumph Rocket3 riding farmers from Geraldtown who were on our route. They helped us out with answers to a number of questions we had about the farming methods and were very envious of our trip but not for visiting Sydney!!! A bit like London they suggested and we certainly agreed.
Unfortunately the 30C with clear blue sky started to fade as we approached Albany and we arrived in the middle of a proper down pour only to find this place shuts down on a Sunday as well, so off we trundled to find another convenience store for dinner in the pouring rain.
Wally's cooking left a lot to be desired on Sunday evening and despite his protestations that it was the fault of the cookware it's probably a case of poor planning leads to piss poor results!
So Wally has been dumped by Jan in favour of her skippy friends. Here in Albany there is a family of Roos along with an Emu (not sure if it's Rod) in the Big 4 Holiday Park. The storm continued to grow and the washing on the line had a refreshing rinse when the heavens opened big time during the night.
Damp conditions halted play on Monday morning much to Wallys relief as Jan was dragging him for a treetop walk. The jury is still out whether this was to enhance his eco knowledge or to scare the living day lights!
All things considered this is the first time rain has stopped play on tour so we are off for a hike into town to check out the Brig Amity (just for Galf)Wally will be looking for evidence of his mates Abandos or will he be locked up below deck while Jan skips off into the distance with her new pals?