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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #061

Editorial

Yay finally back in WA (West Australia) after too many years, it's good to be back.

Now WA also stands for Wait Awhile because it takes so long to get stuff over here, but I now have another expansion to the acronym, Windy All the time.

Man can it be windy here, and that does to some extent take some of the fun out of camping in these great places, but we'll struggle on through, and it's good to be back.


And in other news...I've decided to change the chronicle format a bit, specifically to make it a more "blog" style whereby I add short entries on a regular basis, rather than the entire thing at once.

I've done this before and swapped back again but times have changed, it seems that I'm just too busy with other things to format a full chronicle every month or so and therefore it's not getting done (as I'm sure you've noticed).

I actually dislike the normal "bottom up" blog format because the flow is disjointed, so the look will stay the same (ie you read from top to bottom) and there will be links to take you straight to the latest entries.

So how will the mailing list work? I'm not sure yet, maybe I'll send a notification when I wrap up an issue and start a new one. Maybe I should set up an RSS feed, some people have asked for that although I'm not sure I have the time to figure out how to do that.

All comments welcome.

 

 

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

 

Mon 23 Aug 2010

Drive through Kununurra and camp at the toilet paper ridden rest area 12k to the west of town. This is a very popular spot with the backpackers, it's deserted through the day but late afternoon (presumably after work) we are surrounded by campervans of every description.

Tue 24 Aug 2010

We spend just about all day shopping and packing what we buy into every nook and cranny. We've just spent about $900 on food and have four fridges (three in the truck and one in the car) running to handle all the meat, fruit and veggies. Even our solar system can't keep up with this so we'll have to run the generator a bit until stocks diminish and we can start turning fridges off.

Wed 25 Aug 2010

My it's warm, 39°C and 85% humidity. We don't mind, that's a bit over the top but about right for us, but the fridges are struggling.

We spend half our time juggling stuff between the fridges in an attempt to get the main freezer down to the right temp.

Naturally with about $400 worth of meat we have an interest in getting things cold, but of more importance is the beer, and I'm happy to report that I still manage to partake of a cold beverage in the evening.

Thu 26 Aug 2010

We pull into a lookout overlooking the Carr Boyd Range on an old section of the highway just north of the Doon Doon roadhouse.


Our campsite at the lookout.


The Carr Boyd range at sunset

Note the solar panel next to the car, that's helping to keep the car's fridge running.

Sat 28 Aug 2010

It's off to the Ord River today,where we'll camp for a couple of days. This is the take off point for the Bungle Bungles and originally I planned to go into the national park for a week or so with the car.

But now I'm here I couldn't be bothered. I have been in there twice before after all.


Ord River campsite.

Tue 31 Aug 2010

While having breakfast I see an old guy wondering around but don;t take much notice. As we leave the camp though I drive past him and his old caravan and he looks vaguely familiar. I stop and ask if I know him.

"Maybe" he answers.

"Then who are you?"

It turns out he's John Webb, a bloke we've camped with a couple of times over the years but he's sold "Old Yella" (his motorhome) and bought a caravan.

He's a nice old bloke and we chat for a while but then it's off on the road.

It's only 100k into Halls Creek and a further 15 out to Carolyn Pool where we plan to camp. The 100k goes well and we're in town in no time, then it takes over an hour to do the last 15k.

The road is so badly corrugated that I spend most of the trip at around 10kph wondering if the local council can afford a grader. And then I see two, blades up and heading for town like a dog shot in the arse. It must be getting close to lunch time.


Carolyn Pool campsite.

Fri 3 Sep 2010

It's our anniversary today, no not our wedding anniversary that's on the...actually I'm not sure, it's the first anniversary of being back on the road in Wothahellizat Mk2.

Yep, this time last year we were heading down the track from our land at Gin Gin, 7317 kilometres away. Today we're heading off from Carolyn Pool and out of Halls Creek.

But before we leave town there's the matter of getting some water and as the cemetery is on the way into town that's the first place to look.

Sure enough there's a tap (there usually is in cemeteries) so we fill up.

We leave town but only get as far as the Tanami road turnoff about 10k out of town. That will do for today.

Late at night it rains and I fall asleep listening to the patter on the roof. How good is that?

Tue 7 Sep 2010

I awake to Chris's howls of anguish. It seems that the rain found its way inside due to one of the rainwater collection pipes being blocked.

And of course the water came in directly over the linen closet.

Result, every stitch of clothing and bedding we own is saturated. And the weather still looks foul so how on earth are we going to dry everything?

We're not sure but make a start anyway. Fortunately within an hour or so the sun comes out and a stiff breeze pops up, perfect drying conditions.

I rig up some clothes lines and we get the mangle out.

10 hours later we're done, everything is washed dried and put away. What a drama and a waste of a day, thank goodness we have the mangle (ringer), it's been a Godsend over the years and never more so than today.

Fri 10 Sep 2010

We planned to go into the RAAF quarry to camp but the road is so terrible we pack it in and drive another 50k along the highway to "The Lake".

We've been here before but Chris doesn't remember so it's like a new place (for her at least). Last time though we camped outside the fence and therefore not very close to the water. This time we drive through one of the gates and park right next to the lake (really just a dam).

Tue 14 Sep 2010

We've just heard that there's no water in the RAAF quarry, so are we glad we didn't persevere on the crappy road to get there.

We heard this from Matt and Robyn, a nice couple camping across the other side of the lake.

Matt is an old-army-truck freak and apparently he spotted Wothahellizat outside Kununurra a few weeks ago but couldn't turn around so he was rapt to see it parked here when he arrived.

Two truckies drop in as well today. They've been delivering gravel to the nearby road works and saw the truck from the highway. "There's got to be someone interesting in that" they said and dropped in to see.

They were wrong but we talked for some time over a few beers anyway.


Some of the locals.


Don't you hate it when you just can't quite reach?


Friar birds I think.

Fri 17 Sep 2010

We drive into Derby today and realise that it's exactly 8 years since we were here the first time, to the day.

After shopping and refueling we drive out to the cemetery to fill up with water.

This done we leave, but instead of turning left to retrace our steps Chris turns right and heads down the dirt road. It soon becomes obvious that this is a sandy track to nowhere so she goes ahead to see what gives.

She finds a track leading to the right, it's narrow and even sandier but at least it's heading in the direction of the highway. After some pruning of the local vegetation the truck pops out in a semi-rural area of houses. We continue on the road until meeting a T-intersection at which point we turn left and head down the highway, looking for a camp site.

Before long we find a good spot and pull in. Once settled we get the maps out, things just don't quite seem right, for example we're facing west and parallel with the road, but the road should be running north-south.

Also we've done enough kilometres to have passed the prison boab tree but there's been no sign of it, an aboriginal community was on the left where it should have been on the right, plus there isn't much traffic for a main highway.

No matter, this is a nice spot with a small lake and a rock feature, we'll stay for a few days.

Sat 18 Sep 2010

Chris goes into town to buy a newspaper. She returns with the answer to yesterday's mystery, we're on the Gibb River Road, It runs east-west and that explains all the things we couldn't figure out yesterday.

Somehow while negotiating the sandy tracks we lost track of things (it was overcast at the time so couldn't get an idea of direction from the sun).

Tue 21 Sep 2010

What a pleasant spot, at sunset we have 15 wallabies around the lake and in front of the truck. Plus the spoonbills and other wading birds.

Fri 24 Sep 2010

We drive into Broome, we don't have anything to do here except pick up our mail so I leave the truck on the highway and we scoot into town with the car.

The mail is not there, bummer, now what will we do? It's a long weekend so there's no chance of it arriving until at least Tuesday but even then I wouldn't hold my breath.

We move out to a rest area on the southern side of the Roebuck plain for the night to decide what to do.

At about 3:30AM there's a hell of a racket, some idiots are doing donuts in the gravel. It doesn't affect us but there's campers on either side that are getting showered with dust and presumably stones.

More importantly if the idiots lose control they could easily run over one of the tents. I guess we were all young louts at some stage, but why does the human race have to have so many morons?

Sat 25 Sep 2010

We've decided to go down to Barn Hill, we planned to stay there anyway and if we have to wait for mail that's about as good a place as one can imagine to do so.

We'll just have to drive back up to Broome (240k round trip) when the mail finally arrives.

We pull into the office area and someone yells out from a caravan, "Have those panels fallen off yet?".

It seems he was camping here 8 years ago (in fact every year for the last 18 years) and we talked at length about the VHB double-sided tape I used for the aluminium panels.

Things are pretty much the same around here, they've extended the bush camping area a bit and put in a new dunny block but that's about it.


Our site at Barn Hill.


Th ehot water system for and shower block.

Sun 26 Sep 2010

We find a fantastic bug in the lounge room. He has really neat colours and fans his backside out to frighten us off if we get too close.


Check out the colours on this little fellow.


Ooo, I'm scared.

Late in the afternoon I go for a wander along the cliffs then down onto the beach.


There are some really nice rock formations around here.

There's a lot of tracks in the sand, mostly from fellow campers but some from another species that travels with its home. Hermit crabs.


Hermit crab tracks.


Sunset.

Tue 28 Sep 2010

This afternoon I go back down to the beach to photograph the hermit crabs. What cute little critters, if I poke them a bit they retreat into their shell, only to re-emerge few seconds later.


Hiding.


Has he gone yet?

Thu 30 Sep 2010

For days now we've been trying to track the registered mail that was supposed to be in Broome last Friday. The Aus Post tracking system is pretty useless for this purpose because the items don't get scanned until they arrive.

Finally this morning I see that the parcel has landed, according to the AP web site that is. But with a 240k drive in store I don't trust that so I ring them. Yep it's there I'm told, but I don't trust that either and ask them to get in touch with the post office and have someone actually pick it up and tell me the sender's address.

Five minutes later I have confirmation, we shut up shop and head into town.

On arrival I front the counter. The woman appears flustered probably because this particular post office deals with about 10,000 tourists a day asking for mail.

She checks the computer, "Nope, it's not here. Next!"

Not so bloody fast, I've been told that someone here actually sighted the item. Who? I didn't ask (note to self, next time ask), but I'm not leaving the room without my parcel.

She looks pissed but tough luck. To be fair she probably handles a dozen people every day who insist their article is here just because "it should be", but someone here as sighted my item and I plan to have it.

Two minutes later she returns with my parcel and a smile on her face.

Sat 2 Oct 2010

Matt and Robyn (the couple we met at The Lake) have been here for a couple of days but they are off today. We should be as well but have a slack attack. We'll leave tomorrow.

 

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