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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #062

Editorial

So here we are with the new "blog" format, looks just the same as the old format eh?

Now blogs are supposed to be up to date, and in the fullness of time this one may be as well, but for the moment I'll just try to move entries from my notes to here every few days and we'll see how long it take me to catch up.

We've been trying not to go to places we've been before too much in an attempt to see new places, however it's difficult to pass by a known good spot in favour of a possible good spot. So we've been doing a little of both, and although some of the new places haven't been that great some have, so our list of favourites is growing.

This means that next time we're up this way we'll just go to our favourite places and save some travelling time. If there is a next time that is.

 

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

 

Sun 3 Oct 2010

We've pulled into a truck rest area for the night, it's 41 degrees. Now that's a bit warm even for us.

Mon 4 Oct 2010

Drive to Cape Karaudren, the ranger is not at home when we enter but the sign says to get settled and he'll catch us later.

It's another 2k to the campsite and at about the half-way mark we encounter him and pay for a week. Chris does all the talking as I'm in the truck, he doesn't seem a very friendly chap.

As he's walking away Chris asks if he has a sense of humour, "I almost did once" came the reply.

We continue and find Matt & Robyn in place, along with Mandy and Linda and families who they met a few weeks ago. There's a good spot at the end of the track but that's taken, and besides we want to be reasonably close to our friends so we park at a reasonable distance from them.

Initial impressions of Cape Karaudren are good, it's very exposed which can be a problem for some campers but doesn't normally worry us much.


Somewhat exposed camp at Cape Karaudren.

Thu 7 Oct 2010

It's so windy today we might decide to pull the plug and head for quieter pastures.

Sat 9 Oct 2010

We leave Cape Karaudren. Because we paid for a week and only stayed five days we should be due for a refund. The ranger agrees readily enough but has an admin problem, and thinks he will have to ring headquarters.

He seems to think that he will have to pay us from his own pocket and doesn't understand that he can use cash from his float and reconcile the difference by writing a refund receipt or with a receipt from us. He is insistent that he can't issue a refund before HQ has returned the cash to him. Mmmm say that again!

I'm not involved thank goodness. Chris argues for some time, eventually gets our refund, and leaves the ranger to his administrative nightmare. How do such people get these jobs?

I pull into the road house outside Port Hedland, Chris has been ahead of me for some time and has continued into South Headland for a newspaper and to stock up on some fresh veggies etc.

Meanwhile I'll top up the tanks, check my email and wait. The truck isn't very thirsty, it only takes a couple of hundred bucks worth of diesel, then I move out of the way and climb into the back.

Chris arrives before long and while we're chatting there's a loud thumping on the side of the truck.

It turns out to be two blokes in Rio Tinto shirts who are interested in the truck. One of them is called Red Dog, and as you can imagine with a name like that he's a big fellow with red hair. If you can picture William Wallace's offsider in "Braveheart" dressed in high-vis mining gear you've pretty much got the idea.

Despite his intimidating look he's a pretty nice guy and we get on well, to the point where he invites us home to camp in the backyard, or rather the vacant lot behind his house. We almost never accept such invitations for various reasons, and as by this time Chris has gone into Port Headland I say I'll have to consult with her and get back to him.

When she returns we decide to take Red Dog up on his offer, and after getting lost in the five streets that make up the satellite town of South hedland we find his place. He's working until 6 but his missus shows us where to park. I get a text from Red Dog saying the bar is open and to help myself, but I'll wait until he gets home.

I don't have to wait long because at 3PM he arrives, apparently he figured you can't invite someone home then not be there yourself.

"Would you like a Budwieser?" he asks. The question is either rhetorical or he's a very bad judge of character.

The rest of the evening goes pretty well...I think. I remember eating a few snags from a BBQ, and a reliable source tells me I staggered into the truck sometime around 7 to see if Chris was happy by herself (which she always is).

Red Dog is working tomorrow so after 7 hours constant Budwiesering we call it a night and I assume I made it back to the truck because that's where I find myself next morning.

Sun 10 Oct 2010

"Oh my head. I've got a hangover something terrible"

says Chris.

I feel pretty good actually. It seems that she's got a hangover from breathing my beer-laden fumes.

So as I see it — I get to drink all night and Chris gets the headache — that's got to be a win-win situation.

I do feel a little queasy though and I'm certainly over the limit so we can't leave town until I reckon I'm down to 0% blood alcohol (as far as I know the limit when driving a truck is 0% not .05 as with a car, however I've since been told that is not the case in WA).

We leave Red Dog's at 2PM, the plan is to drive to the Yule river and camp there for a few days, however we arrive to find a lot of new bollards and boulders that stop anyone from camping along the river. There's just a car park barely big enough to turn the truck around in.

Oh well, we'll move on tomorrow.

Mon 11 Oct 2010

We arrive at Miaree pool, this is a fantastic spot about 28k south of Karratha. We stayed here 8 years ago but it's changed a bit.

For one thing the dunny has gone. We were privileged to witness the official opening ceremony of the new dunny the day we got here last time. Well when I say ceremony I really mean one of the workmen placing the first dunny roll in the holder, still it was quite moving at the time.

But the dunny has gone!

To where is anybody's guess, but my guess is that a cyclone saw it on it's way. There's probably a very nice dunny sitting somewhere over near the Canning Stock Route now, but there's nothing here at Miaree Pool.

Still there's always a silver lining isn't there? There aren't that many flat spots here but the old dunny site is one of them, and with good views of the river to boot. So that's where we park.


Some of the bird life at Miaree Pool.

Wed 13 Oct 2010

Matt and Robyn arrive (note to self, stop telling them where we are), they set up camp on the lower level right near the water. We spend the evening chatting and eating their rice crackers. We stay so long they invite us to dinner, roast beef & vegies, lovely.

They have taken a year off (well Matt quit, but Robyn has a year) but they are kind of hoping that Robyn will be made redundant before they get back east.

Matt's a mechanic so he'll have no touble getting work, truth is over here tradesmen are so hard to find that if he let his trade be known to anyone in authority he probably wouldn't be allowed to leave.

Thu 14 Oct 2010

Matt and Robyn leave, unlike us they have they have places to go and people to be. We'll just sit here with our friends and watch the constant parade of passing mine-safe hire vehicles and workers from nearby facilities drop in for lunch.

Fri 15 Oct

There's been four lads camped not far away for a few days, it seems that they can't leave bacause their car is broken. We've had no interaction with them and they've been a bit noisy but nothing untoward. Until tonight that is.

I'm working on the computer until well after midnight and they have loud music playing, I don't know what type of music it is but the central tenet seems to be repetition, not the same verses over and over, more like a record is jumping track. That probably seems like a new trick to gen Y, but to me it's just a scratched record that needs a whack on the side of the jukebox.

It's mildly annoying and makes it harder to concentrate but by and large I can ignore it. All the other campers are asleep, or at least in bed, how they are coping I'm no sure.

Anyway at about 12:30 I decide to go to bed, it's a lovely night and the moon is reflecting off the river up unto the bedroom ceiling so I can lie in bed and watch the soothing waves as the shapes flow from one form to another.

Or at least I could if that music wasn't still playing.

I try to ignore it for some time and normally I can do so and just go to sleep. But it's such a lovely night and it's being ruined by those idiots and their music.

Now normally it's Chris that confronts people while I provide moral support from behind, but she's asleep and I can feel the anger rising by the minute. I'm angry because what they are doing is adversely affecting me of course, but it's also a case of them being so insensitive to the other campers around them.

I can't stand it, something has to be done.

I get up, go out onto the landing and yell as loudly as I can,

"TURN THAT BLOODY RACKET OFF"

In the nicest possible way of course.

There's no response. I'm so wild I'm shaking now so descend the steps and start walking towards their camp. I get about half way when the music stops. I stand there bad-eyeing them in the moonlight for a few seconds then return to the truck.

It takes a few minutes to settle down, but the peace and the reflections on the bedroom roof help.

Sat 16 Oct 2010

"You could have been a bit more polite" Chris says when I relay the previous night's altercation.

Yes I could have been, but somehow that didn't quite seem appropriate at the time.

All the locals turn up today, to be expected of course being as we're at the only decent swimming hole for hundreds of miles and it's the weekend.

They're noisy as well but it is during the day and we all have a right to do our own thing within reason. Anyway it's fun doing some people watching.

Sat 23 Oct 2010

We drive into Karratha this morning. There's acres and acres of brand new houses all with 4x4s, huge boats and caravans parked in front. There's some money here that's for sure, courtesy of the mining boom one assumes.

But I'm finding the whole area a bit depressing actually, and I think it's because everyone you see is driving a mine-safe vehicle and wearing high-vis clothing.

And don't be fooled by the stories of huge wages people are getting here. Ok the money is pretty good, but you work long hours and then give most of your hard-earned to your landlord and the supermarket.

For example, one couple we spoke to pay $400 pw for a site in a caravan park. To rent a flat (if you can get one) will set you back at least $1000 pw, and a house, forget it.

The only people who rent houses share the cost with another family.

Still, having said that, if you put your head down and bum up for a couple of years you can walk away with a tidy swag.

Mon 25 Oct 2010

It's back on the road for us today, we plan to drive about 200k then finish the trip into Onslow tomorrow, but there's nowhere obvious to stay for the night so we just carry on.

We pick up some mail at the Onslow post office then head out to 3-mile which, despite the name, is about 40k from town. (It's three miles from the mouth of the Ashburton River which explains the name).

First impressions aren't good to be honest and we decide to just spend one or two nights.

Tue 26 Oct 2010

Did I say one or two days? the place is growing on us, we're overlooking the river and it's dead quiet, no generators, no loud music or general human hubbub.

I think we'll stay for a while after all.

Wed 27 Oct 2010

We have to stay for at least another four or five days because we just started a home brew.

Thu 28 Oct 2010

The TV looks like it's shat itself. There's a brief flash of the screen after applying power then nothing, my guess is that it's a power supply problem.

I couldn't much care but Chris is devastated (she likes to watch the news) and is really pissed that we will have to fork out for a new one. There is also the issue of finding one the right size to fit the space.

Fri 29 Oct 2010

Forget the TV, I blew my 1-gig data limit a few days ago which is a real pain.

Chris says I should up my plan to the next level so I get on the web and find that these days for the same price you can get 3 gig. I pick up the phone and within minutes am the proud owner of a 3-gig plan.

Meanwhile we have resurrected the old HP laptop to give Chris something to stare at in lieu of the TV. She has found the solitaire game and is happy. It keeps her out of my hair to which is good, apart from the occasional "Yay I won" it's really quiet.

Sat 30 Oct 2010

Chris has found something else she's interested in for the computer. She's downloaded a trial version of the Weekend Australian newspaper and I've got to say the offline reader is quite impressive.

We have only got a 7-day trial but I can see a full subscription in our future. At about $100 a year it's cheaper than buying the real newspaper even in the city, out here it's about half the price of a broadsheet, and a lot easier to read in the wind.

Also we are often camped somewhere where we have the internet but it's too far to drive into town for a paper.

Take where we are now for example, it's an 80k round trip into town.

We're really becoming part of the WWW (Wide Wired World).

Wed 3 Nov 2010

We started another home brew today so we'll be here for a further 4-5 days.

Wed 10 Nov 2010

Man did I dodge a bullet today. I usually keep a drink next to me on the table and if it's next to me then it's also next to the computer and Chris is always onto me about the chance of it spilling onto the keyboard.

Well that's exactly what happens, I get up and bump my beer goblet, spilling the precious fluid all over the computer.

Boy am I pissed, after all there was nearly an inch of beer in that goblet.

Of course with Windows Vista you have to get permission from the Pope to shut the system down and it takes about a fortnight. Eventually the computer is off and we try to dry the thing down.

I leave it to fester while we have dinner, then turn it on to hear a series of loud beeps. Ooo, that's not good. Better have a coffee.

After coffee I try again, more beeps but it starts to boot. Maybe it's just complaining about the cheep beer. Well if I could afford Heineken I wouldn't give it to my computer that's for sure.

Anyway eventually (Vista remember) it's up and running. I'm having trouble with some of the keys,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,for example the coma won't stop. But apart from that everything seems OK.

We are very lucky, the budget does not allow for a new computer, well not for me anyway, Chris wants one but that's another story.

I'm not particularly worried about my data, I have a pretty good backup regime in place. For example once or twice a day I do a full backup to an external drive. While I'm working I do an incremental backup every 10 minutes to the same external drive. Then every now and then (more "then" than "now" I must say though) I do a full backup to a different external drive that lives in the car.

Still, every time something like this happens I start thinking about just ditching the computer, but when I think about it everything I do requires a computer. My music is all digitised, I can take photos without a computer but need one to actually do anything with them. Obviously my "computing" hobbies need a computer. We're now getting the newspaper on a computer and are even talking about getting a Kindle or some such for books.

The only thing that doesn't need a computer is walking, and I'm not doing much of that lately.

Sat 13 Nov 2010

We run out of water this morning. We do have a backup though so I get the pump and hoses out. I upload 45 litres from the car and another 62 from the spare tank. That will last about a week and we plan to be in Exmouth in a few days so we'll be right.

In all we have 7 tanks in the truck, two banks of 3 that can be isolated from each other from the main storage. A 7th tank holds over 80 litres and is gravity fed from the other 6, it is mainly used for hand washing while outside etc. but it's also a last reserve, when we hit that it's time to really start looking for water.

I hope there's a cemetery in Exmouth.

Sun 14 Nov 2010

"So when are we leaving?" Chris asks, she needs to know a couple of days in advance so that she can defrost meat for sausage rolls which are our staple food while driving.

Oh I don't know, "Cupla daze".

Thu 18 Nov 2010

"So we're leaving on Saturday right?"

"Yeah righto"

We have to go soon we've run out of fresh fruit and veggies and are into the canned stuff.

Fri 19 Nov 2010

All day we've been hearing occasional "clunks" from the rear of the truck, it sounds like the suspension is settling but we've been here for ages so what could cause that?

I have a look around the back of the truck but see nothing.

At around 9PM I go out to bring the generator in (it's been cloudy for a while) and notice that the front off-side tyre is almost on the rim.

Ooo that's not good.

I start the motor and pump the tyre up. Chris suggests putting a jack under it but I know better, "She'll be right" I say.

At about 11PM I decide to call it a night, better just check that tyre first though. It looks pretty good and I'm about to leave it when, in the quite of the night, I hear "ssssssssssssss". I crawl under the truck and can feel air escaping from the valve stem.

There's no way that will make it through the night, I'll have to chock it up.

Fortunately these trucks have protruding hubs so you can jack from the outside (that's how I weighed the truck with bathroom scales if you remember). I get a couple of blocks and a jack out, then prop the lot under the hub.

That will stop it from going too far and I'll sort it out tomorrow.

Sat 20 Nov 2010

I have to change the wheel today and I make a start in the morning while the left side of the truck is in shade.


Flat tyre held up with the jack.

I woke this morning with a pulled muscle in my back, it seems I've done myself an injury just thinking about changing the wheel.

Actually with the system I have changing a wheel is not that big a deal, because the spare is lowered and raised vertically you don't have to struggle to lift these 140kg monsters from the horizontal position.


The spare tyre mechanism.

Just make sure you don't let one fall over.

Of course when the time comes to repair the leak that will be a different story, but I can leave that for the time being.

Sun 21 Nov 2010

I can't believe it's only a day short of four weeks since we got here. And we thought we'd only stay for a couple of days. Anyway, after a week or so of procrastination we're finally off today, but there's no hurry, after all we're just heading for a roadside rest area so we might as well sit here for half a day as on the side of the road.

I'll just make a cup of coffee.

10:00, "Another cup dear?"

10:45, "You know if we drive in the afternoon the sun will be on the driver's side" says Chris.

"Hmm, that's bad for the fridge and for us" I reply.

Of course we could leave first thing tomorrow morning.

Mon 22 Nov 2010

Right then, it's first thing tomorrow morning and we're up at the crack of 8 (ish), a quick cuppa and slice of toast and we're ready to go.

The sausage rolls (our staple diet when driving) are made so there's no turning back. We're committed. We're outta here. We're ready to go. Yes sir, can't hit that road quick enough.

Still 8:30 is hardly "first thing" is it? If you're going to do something you should do it right eh?

How long will sausage rolls keep in the fridge?


Some early-morning views of the Ashburton River.

Tue 23 Nov 2010

We're finally off, four weeks since we got to this spot we initially didn't think was that great.

After a non-eventful 7 hours and 320k of driving we pull into a rest area about 70k south of Exmouth. There's no point going into town because we want to spend most of the day there and there's nowhere to camp that we know of. So tomorrow we'll go into town, then come back out along the highway somewhere.

Wed 24 Nov 2010

We drive into Exmouth this morning. It's just a mail, gas and shopping trip as we've decided not to go to Ningaloo this time, it's getting late in the year and we probably want to be down in SW WA for the summer.

As usual there is a stuff up with the mail (albeit a small one), our mail is usually addressed to "James Robert & Chris Gray" and for the last X number of years that's worked just fine.

The Exmouth PO however reads that to be one person with the surname "Robert" and another with the surname "Gray". The fact that we have two identically-addressed items and that one is filed under "G" and the other under "R" doesn't seem at all strange to them.

While Chris is in Woollies I go to fill the gas bottles, we need 3 filled and all across the top end the prices have been unbelievable, up to $58 for a 9kg bottle. That's actually why we carry 4 of them, so we can last through these expensive places and it's working a treat. In Exmouth the price is $24 which is a pretty good price.

The same can't be said for anything else though, the food costs a fortune, 2 to 3 times what you would expect elsewhere. And it's nothing to do with transport, it's cheaper up north with twice as far for the trucks to drive.

As Exmouth is a pretty touristy town I assume that it's a case of "what the market will bear", mind you Broome is even more touristy and not as expensive, go figure.

We return to a nice rest area we spotted this morning, it's called "Termite Nests", presumably because that's about all you can see from here.


Termite mounds with new growth.


The 'Termite Nest' rest area.

Thu 25 Nov 2010

Leaving the rest area we head south and turn into the Coral Bay road. After 4k we reach the track that leads up the coast to Ningaloo Station. We pull in, park the truck, and go exploring with the car.

We're actually looking for a camp called 9-Mile. I thought it was 9 miles from Coral Bay town and when we reach a turnoff at the right point we head down it. It's quite clear that this is not 9-Mile camp and we have some trouble getting back up the sandy track.

We could go further but it's obvious we wouldn't bring the truck in unless it's a really nice spot, also we've been all through here before and don't remember anything we would classify as really nice.

Right then, next stop is 14-Mile which is on the other side of Coral Bay.

Chris goes into town to fill up and I head down the highway, pulling into the Warroora Station track when I get there.

Soon after Chris arrives and we drive into 14-Mile. This is a very nice spot and we spend some time scoping out the best campsites. #8 looks like the go, with great views up and down the coast and over the turquoise water. It's totally deserted at this time of year, but we won't stay. Maybe next season.

After another 20 or 30 k down the highway we find a decent rest area just 300 metres from the Tropic of Capricorn, this will do for the night.

Fri 26 Nov 2010

Veg out day today. We originally thought we'd make a late start but when we do this we always seem to get settled and can't be bothered moving. Such is the case today.

In the evening we see dark clouds all around and hear thunder. We don't get a single drop though.

Sun 27 Nov 2010

We drive 20 south of Carnarvon and turn up a dirt the road to Callagiddy station. Within a few hundred metres we find a flat area to camp.

Mon 28 Nov 2010

We're really on a mission now, to get to Geraldton that is. Why? Well for one thing Chris is keen to get a netbook computer to replace the tonne-weight laptop she's using. With a busted TV (and no reception most of the time anyway) she's discovered the joys of playing solitaire on the computer, plus she now has the newspaper on the computer as well and the old laptop she's using is heavy, hot, and the lid doesn't stay up so we have to organize some velcro straps to keep it at the right angle.

So there's a computer to buy, but there's also a chair.

Over a year ago we found the Jason Lazy-boy Charleston recliner chair. It was one of the most comfortable chairs we've ever found but I need something that swivels as well and the Charleston doesn't do that so we didn't get them. But Chris has been rabbiting on about the chair ever since.

Just a couple of days ago she finally said she's wants to get a Lazy-boy, and the next day I noticed that my chair has broken again and some parts are bending under my enormous weight (really most things you buy these days are such crap quality, our previous Jason recliners lasted 25 years and were still going strong, they were just too large to fit in Wothahellizat 2). It won't last much longer, but as mentioned I need a swivel chair.

So the plan is to buy Chris a Lazy-boy and for me to take her chair which is in much better condition than mine. When that eventually breaks we'll think about what to do for me.

And then there's the TV. That's crapped itself as well.

So as I said, we're on a mission to get to Geraldton on the assumption that "Gero" will be the first town large enough to have the appropriate shops and hopefully reasonable prices.

If not then all this may wait until we get to Perth, although I'm less than convinced we want to actually go into the city.

It rains tonight, not enough to clean the dust from the Jimny, but enough to turn it into mud.

Wed 1 Dec 2010

Big day today, we've bought a new TV, and pretty flash it is to. 19 inches of pure visual excitement, although to be honest something closer to 15 inches would have been better as that would fit where the old TV was.

But they don't make anything small these days, 19 inches is the smallest we can find here in Geraldton. Maybe in Perth we'd have more luck but we aren't in Perth and probably won't be for quite some time.

So 19 inches it is, hopefully I can get it to fit.

On another note, I can't believe it's December already, we thought we'd head south for the summer and camp with friends, but I don't see how we can make it in time.

No joy on the netbook front, we tried a few and they are as slow as a wet week, Chris isn't impressed so we won't be getting one of them. The iPad on the other hand looks very nice but I don't know anything about them.

Gavin and Tracy (from Hobohome) have one though and we'll be catching up with them tomorrow so we decide to leave it until we've seen one and played with it.

Thu 2 Dec 2010

We drive into town and buy some oil so I can give the truck a long overdue oil change. Then it's down to Cliff Head, about 120k south to camp with Gavin and Tracy.

Fri 3 Dec 2010

We fit the new TV today, it looks good and is a much better picture than we've been used to.

I have to remove a small shelf that held the DVD player, but the player shat itself recently and the new TV has one built in, so that's not a problem.

Sat 4 Dec 2010

My chair broke again today, not badly, just one of the cross members and I can still use it but that's not a good sign. Frankly I'm not sure it's worth repairing, we'll see.

Sun 5 Dec 2010

Ian comes down for a drink today. He owns three of the nearby shacks and is a commercial fisherman, which around here goes without saying because you have to be a commercial fisherman to own a shack here, all those owned by non-fisherman were bulldozed ages ago.

Gavin and Tracy know him well as they've been here many times. He seems like a nice bloke.

Mon 6 Dec 2010

Gavin and Tracy are going up to the beach to photograph Ian and Pete (Ian's deck hand) as they land the day's catch so I tag along.

I take a few photos then help with the offloading and weighing of the crayfish. At nearly 40kgs per crate I'm glad I don't do this every day.


The boat at it's mooring.


It's been a good catch so Ian gives the thumbs up, I thinks that's his thumb.


Unloading the crates.

Tue 7 Dec 2010

The ranger turns up today, he has a good poke around Hobohome but there's nobody home. As he leaves he asks how long we plan to stay, "How long can we stay" Chris counters.

"Supposed to be three days but I'll tolerate a week" he says then drives off.

I guess we'll be off in about a week then, Gavin and Tracy have already been here for about three weeks but they are never at home and haven't been given the word.

What did I say a few days ago about my chair? I sit in it this afternoon and BANG, it breaks in another spot, and this time there's no chance of continuing to use it without repairs being performed.

I'm not entirely convinced I want to fix it so I put it in the back of the lounge room and get out a folding camp chair.

Fri 10 Dec 2010

Well the folding chair is reasonably comfortable but I think I should fix the recliner, maybe in a day or so when I work up some energy.

Mon 13 Dec 2010

The ranger turns up, we can have 'till thursday. Thursday arrives but Chris is too sick to drive. She has been having severe dizzy spells for the past few days - spells being all day long - thinks this might have something to do with eating an unidentified fish.

Wed 15 Dec 2010

I decide to get the welder out and fix the chair.


The newly-welded chair.

Fri 17 Dec 2010

We drive for about 4 hours but only cover 150k, mostly because we poke our noses into all sorts of places looking for water and a campsite. The entire coast is littered with "No Camping" signs, and in one of the shires we drive through there's a sign on every tiny track that leads to the west (and therefore the coast). On the other side however, not a sign to be seen.

Eventually we pull into Drummonds Reserve just past the Emu Plains wind farm. This is a very nice spot and there aren't any signs.

Sat 18 Dec 2010

Once again I hear a few clunks from the suspension while sitting in the lounge room. I look out the left hand side but the tyres seem OK. I suppose I could look out the right side but the fly screen's not open on that side so that seems just a little too difficult.

At around 11 I go out to the car to check the fridge and happen to glance at the truck's right front wheel, the rim is nearly on the ground. Bugger, another flat. I quickly get a jack out and prop the wheel up to stop any further deflation. Then have a cup of coffee.

Alright, there's nothing for it, I'll have to fix the new flat and while I'm at it replace the tube in the wheel that went flat a couple of weeks ago.

The first thing to do is check the valve on the new flat, you never know your luck, I apply some spit to the valve and it's leaking like a Liberal party cabinet meeting. Yay, a two-hour job just turned into a two-minute job.

I replace the valve, inflate the tyre and it seems to be OK.

Now for the other one.

To cut a long story short, 4 hours later I've replaced the tube in the flat tyre and moved the right-hand front wheel to the back because it's been showing signs of uneven wear lately.


Fixing the tube.

And I'm knackered, a beer will be very welcome come 4 o'clock. What has been interesting is the local ticks, I can see them making their way across metres of gravel track to get to me, later I find one on my leg, fortunately I find it before it burrows in.

Thu 23 Dec 2010

Chris is still sick - and getting worried. We phone a doctor in Perth and make an appointment for next week.

Fri 24 Dec 2010

The attack of the killer bees. There are 1000s of bees around here and they like anything wet, or even vaguely damp, such as the washing on the line.


Bees on the washing.

To keep them from coming inside I place a bowl of water (with a cloth so they don't drown) just outside on the landing. Despite attracting a lot of bees this turns out to be not such a good idea as those without such a good sense of direction wind up inside anyway.

So I have to move it into the bush a few yards.


Bees in the bowl.

SPROING!, The chair breaks again. This time it's one of the steel straps that hold up the seat.

That's the last straw, when we hit Perth we're going to buy some new chairs.

Mon 27 Dec 2010

We drive into Perth. Our destination is a property belonging to John and Trish, friends of friends on the south side of the city. The drive through Perth is pretty easy these days, being almost all on freeway and we arrive after a few hours of mostly hassle-free driving.

I say "mostly" because Chris was pulled up by the cops after passing me on double lines.

They said that she overtook "that truck", to which she replied that it was just her husband and as such doesn't count.

They let her off anyway.

We also dropped into the town of Gingin, well given that we live near a town of the same name in Queensland and we were driving right by it seemed like the right thing to do.

The WA Gingin is a very nice-looking town with old buildings and a great central park with creek.

We may have to move over here.

At around 2 in the afternoon we pull into John's driveway, set up camp next to the shed, then walk over to the house to meet the family, all 13 of them.

We have a few things to buy and do here in Perth so we'll be dropping anchor for a while.

 

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