May 24, 2010

Safety Bay WA

The last two weeks being at home base have been ticking along, i spent the 1st week cleaning up the F250, Toyota and Bushtracker. I have had the Effy advertised in the Sunday paper and today it went to it's new home, Weststate Motor Auctions, they gave me what i wanted and it will end up being bought by some silly bugger who could have got themselves the deal of the year had they bought direct from us. I have fitted the electric brake controller & neccesary trailer plugs to the Toyota and had a new set of tyres fitted, next i have to get the ute's rego transferred to WA and have our NIKNOFF plates fitted.

We have also sold our tinny complete with outboard & collapsable trailer and having a change of direction by buying another Hobie Kayak to play & fish in. Not so great for the Croc country but it certainly saves us some weight and the hassle of carting & unloading a boat and associated gear. I can always hire or pay a charter to go out those times when the Kayak wouldn't be suitable, as with every decision we make time will tell how things pan out.

Whilst home i have also had to arrange the purchase of a new recliner chair & mobility scooter for Vickie's Dad, with all that done i was foolishly thinking we could head off early to catch up with Vickie's sister & bro in law, Jo & Dave who are camped at Ningaloo but i have been told we have to stay an extra few days and watch our 5 year old granddaughter Millana's Ballet concert.

I am looking forward to when we do hit the road with our 'new' rig, stay tuned.

May 11, 2010

Streaky Bay SA - Safety Bay WA

Friday 7th May we caught up with Lloyd & Heather at their home in Streaky Bay, they are Bushtracker owners as well as owing a nicely set up new V8 Toyota ute, we have met them previously and we looked forward to catching up again and comparing news on the towing ability of the ute's. Lloyd & Heather were leaving for WA to visit one of their daughters and that evening had planned on visiting long time friends Glen & Libby who have a 4000 acre farm out at Wirrulla, we were invited to come along and it was suggested we all leave the next day and travel together to WA. That was fine by us as i was keen to see how their new ute travelled towing their Bushtracker.

Dog Fence Road

It was a 40klm drive along a corrugated dirt road before we arrived at the farm, we met Glen & Libby and their son Jack and settled down and had a few drinks before Lloyd & Glen got into shucking dozens of big juicy Streaky Bay Oysters. We must admit we were not fans of Oysters, I thought when in Rome do what the Romans do and give it a go, i had previously tried Au-Natural and Kilpatrick and i certainly wasn't a fan of them straight out of the shell, BUT i did give it a go and Eeeeww yuk! It was everything i remembered but i did swallow it followed by a big drink to wash away the flavour. Vickie wasn't game to give it a go but said she would try some cooked, Heather & Libby got a few dozen and did 1/2 as kilpatrick with cheese & bacon and the others they did as sweet chilli flavour, cooked in a home built professional looking stainless steel BBQ that Glen had 'knocked' up the smell was very tantalising. We both tried a few and must admit we quite liked the chilli flavoured oysters, enough so that Lloyd & Heather made up another batch for us when we were camped along the Great Australian Bight, but that is getting ahead of myself.

Libby, Lloyd, Heather & Glen and young Jack

We had a lovely night and the biggest surprise was a cake that came out with some birthday candles ..... Yes it was my Birthday and Vickie had got sneaky with Heather and bought a cake when they went to the shops at Streaky Bay, it was a lovely surprise, thanks Babe. Dinner was lovely with huge steaks & snaggers and a few more drinks before Vickie & i hit the sack. The next morning we had a look around the machinery sheds where they have a huge John Deere Tractor / Harvester, big machinery for big properties! They are also going through a mouse plague and there was evidence of thousands of mice, Glen kicked a compressor that was covered in a hessian sack and dozens of mice scattered everywhere, the sand was littered with millions of tiny foot marks, i'd hate to fall asleep drunk as i think you would literally be carried away and eaten ...

A quick look at Harris Scarfe ....... the dump where all old machinery and plant go to die revealed some old treasures, and it was interesting looking around at the history of the place.

Old Relics of the past

It was time to head off, so we said our goodbye's and hit the track, we passed though an old siding at Nunjikompita and had a look around and continued on to meet up with the Eyre Highway and head West. The trip was very relaxed with Vickie generally out in front driving our 'new' Toyota Ute, me behind towing our van with the F250 and tail end charlie was Lloyd & Heather, with the three of us doing different speeds it was interesting to see that when we stopped their wasn't much of a time difference in everyone's travel.

Silo's at Nunjikompita

Our 1st day we drove through to the Great Australian Bight and a scenic lookout at the 133klm Peg, [CAW5 #669] We stopped in the parking area along with a few other caravaners and i quickly got the 'Kimble' pot out and got it fired up whilst Lloyd & Heather got a few more Oysters cooking in their Weber Baby Q. A few drinks and chat with some other campers and we hit the sack after a long day. Up early the next morning to greet the sunrise and get some photo's, it was freezing cold but a lovely view looking over a relatively calm sea.

Camped along the Bight

Pulling into the Eucla Quarantine check point i was annoyed that we got the treatment with just about every cupboard being checked whereas Lloyd & Heather were waved through without so much as a glance. Vickie and i have been through the check points dozens of times and knew what we could and could not take through and already had a small bag with some honey and a banana to hand over, I had already eaten two other banana's and an apple and wasn't worried about eating a 3rd. We just got out of the check point and next we were pulled over for a licence & breathalyser check, all ok there so we finally got away and headed further West, stopping along the way for coffee breaks we spent that night at Domblegabby Rest area [CAW5 #16] where we had another nice camp fire and lovely sunset & sunrise the next morning.

Domblegabby Rest Area, & Evening Sky

Our 3rd night out we stayed at the Gorge just out from Coolgardie, it is a lovely spot far enough off the road to be quiet and a large lake with plenty of Bird life, Heather was in her element as she is a keen Orthamologist and her bird book is well covered in notes of where she has spotted different species of birds throughout Australia. Another camp fire and Heather treated us with a beautiful Lemon Merangue Pie for desert, Yum these people can travel with us anytime!

Nature's Artist, another stunning Sunset

We stopped at Merriden for lunch at the Bakery and our last coffee stop was at Meckering where we said our goodbyes as they were soon heading to the North of Perth and we were going South. With Vickie in front i just cruised along behind but we soon got seperated with Vickie scooting up the hills and around trucks all i could do was watch and hear her dissapear into the distance, gosh that Ute sounds lovely with it's 3" exhaust! Everything went well as i listened to my Ipod untill i got onto the Roe Highway it was starting to get busy and by the time i was near the Kwinana Freeway turnoff i was down to a bare crawl. There had been a traffic accident along the freeway and it was a frustrating snails pace as i stop started inching along. After 45 mins or so i got passed the accident and speed back up the freeway limit. Soon i was back at Safety Bay and greeted by our Daughter and Granddaughters, It's lovely seeing them again.

Now i have to get the F250 cleaned up and get it advertised for sale, hopefully it sells quickly so we can then depart and head to one of our favourite places in Australia, along the coast at Ningaloo Homestead, between Coral Bay & Exmouth.

May 3, 2010

Glenelg - Streaky Bay

We spent the week with our youngest daughter Erin and her boyfriend Scott, some of the neighbours know us well with all our comings and going's, Charlie & Rita the next door neighbours are also caravanners and were getting ready themselves for a trip to WA & Broome. We love the Adelaide markets & China Town, we have the best Hainenese Chicken & Rice there at a very reasonable price of $7.50. We went there twice whilst we were in town, the rest of the time was spent catching up with some shopping & washing the rig to remove all the locust guts that had plastered themselves everywhere. Vickie's Dr's appointment was all good news with the Dr very pleased with her eye and could see no evidence of a further bleed, he explained it could be the jelly like substance behind the eye breaking off and causing the flashes she occasionally see's. The next visit was not required for another 12 months so we were very pleased with that, not that her eye will ever recover but it's heartening to know that it has stabilised and no worse.

As soon as we got the good news we were back at the Van and hooking it up, we had decided to head on down the Eyre Penninsula again and spend a few days at Lipson Cove, but prior to getting there we had a call from some friends Rosco & Chris who told us they were camped just out of Whyalla along with another couple Nev & Linda whom we also have met previously, so it was decided to call in and spend the afternoon & night with them. The camp is listed in the CAW book's but gives very little directions, Rosco's directions were clearer but i still stuffed up and turned when i should have stayed straight, this dirt track took us down along a fence line and onto a large open clay pan, I was unsure what to do and tried phoning Rosco again to find out if i was heading in the right direction. No answer on the phone meant i had to make a decision and of course it was the wrong one! I could see wheel tracks going across the clay pan and foolishly i decided to follow them, realisation soon set in when the 8 tons of rig started to loose traction and sink in the mud.

Luckily we had the MIGHTY Toyota Ute with us, as there is no way i would have got the F250 & BT out of the quagmire, I backed the Toyota up as close as i could get without getting it stuck and hooked on a rope to the rear of the Bushtracker, with Vickie then driving the ute in 4WD and myself reversing the rig we were able to get back onto solid ground again, relief as the sun by this time was setting and soon to be dark. I thought about taking some photo's but i was too concerned in getting out than gettting any Un-happy Snaps. I did take some photo's of my shoe's though and this was just stepping out on to the mud and walking a few steps before i took them off and went bare feet.

After that stuff up we arrived at the camp to find the others settled in to happy hour and we were only to eager to join them and drown some of the recent stress away. We had a chatty night discussing everything to the criminal life of Underbelly to Rosco's funny stories about stowing away on a ship many years ago, we also found out that Neville has a 'thing' for Sailors !! lol No wonder this lot like travelling togther, :-))

Everyone was leaving camp this morning and we headed off to Lipson Cove, the head winds were shocking with fuel economy plummeting to new low's. The weather is threatening rain and gusty winds but we have made camp in a nice spot with views of the ocean. Last time we were here we had a great bunch of people camped around us, and the weather was very hot, there were a few people camped down on the flats but if they were here today they would be under water as the beach is flooded.

Not sure how long we will stay, at least a couple of nights and then make our way to Streaky Bay and catch up with some more Caravanning friends Lloyd & Heather, they have recently bought a new Toyota Ute as well and we are keen to have a show & tell, they are travelling to WA very soon so hopefully we get to spend a few nights togther along the way.