All over for another year. We managed to go from the South Australian border to Leongatha without seeing one police car – nobody wanted to talk to us. The absence of cars was really apparent today when we left Charlton. Pretty much all the traffic were work vehicles until we hit the city. Even then there was only light traffic on the freeways so we managed to reach Leongatha without any further trouble with the motorhome (although travelling through the city with the threat of a vehicle failure comes with its own level of stress).
We covered 13,442 kms, using nearly 1800 litres of fuel, at a running fuel consumption at around 13.4l/100kms – I’m happy with that.
So we’re back to reality – pizza for dinner in front of the heater and the TV. Oh how quickly things get back to “normal”. Guess we’ve just got to get back into the Lockdown mode.
Well sort of. We’ve crossed the border back into Victoria after spending last night at Renmark. Before we left town, we nipped into the Renmark Patisserie to buy a vanilla slice to remember our dear mate Bob Bentley. I don’t know how Bob used to manage to eat one of these delicious slices without getting his fingers sticky (well actually I do – we used to watch him, fascinated at the way he could manoeuvre a vanilla slice so that nothing stayed on his fingers) but Jenny and I certainly failed – we only had half each and we needed a baby wipe to clean ourselves up.
It was windy again today and we have found that we can limit the misbehaviour of the motorhome if we stick to driving without cruise control and sitting on 80 km/h. We made the whole journey to Charlton with no problems, only stopping for meal breaks and to refuel at Wycheproof. Funny, we have spent a whole day in Victoria and have only had direct contact with four people between us. The highway to Mildura was virtually empty of cars and we only saw about six caravans travelling our way all day. Just a relatively short drive home tomorrow. Our current tally is just over 13,000 kms with just a few hundred to go tomorrow.
Well not quite. Sitting on the banks of the Murray River at Renmark getting ready to cross into Victoria tomorrow. We had a relatively easy days travel down to Crystal Brook then across to Spalding, Morgan then here. The lockdowns are having a clear effect on travel, not nearly so many caravans and motorhomes as normal. I know its winter but even the Riverfront Caravan Park at Renmark is largely empty, just a few vehicles and people in cabins.
The wind shifted around to the South West today and not quite as strong but it certainly has been a holiday with a lot of strong wind!
The question was how do you get good fuel economy in a mobile black of flats – just have the 45+ kmh winds blowing in your back left hand quarter. The only trouble then is where do you camp, with the answer being in the same location as every other caravan, camper and motorhome heading this way – Port Augusta Caravan Park. I asked Jenny if she would like to stay the night at Horrock’s Pass Freecamp but she rejected my offer.
Looks like another blustery night with some rain thrown in. The temperature is mild so its not entirely uncomfortable. We will press on to Renmark tomorrow staying in the caravan park there.
No exciting happenings today. We went for a stroll around the CBD of Ceduna which we completed in about an hour. Still, we managed to spend some money at the camping shop and we had takeaway for lunch. Jenny went for a stroll down the pier while I had a rest in camp before replenishing our water supply and getting ready for the onward journey tomorrow. Sorry to hear Victoria is back in lockdown again – makes it hard for everyone but we know that that system works.
We intend heading almost to Port Augusta tomorrow, then onto Morgan before heading back into Victoria and home.
A long day’s drive today. We have our permit to cross into South Australia today and as we have used up all our fresh fruit and vegetables we needed to be in Ceduna for a grocery shop to replenish the larder. We left camp at a reasonable hour and refuelled at Eucla before pushing onto Nullarbor Roadhouse (fuel $1.99/litre). We had refuelled at Eucla and planned to refuel at Nundroo Roadhouse as we have been stung before at Nullarbor so it was a pastie and a sausage roll for lunch. Sure enough fuel at Nundroo was $1.509/litre.
We had to travel all the way to Ceduna before we had phone service so we could login to South Australia, but at least we were able to do it this time. We booked into the caravan park then went for a walk up the street to do our grocery shopping. Then its back to bureaucracy, applying for a green zone permit to re-enter Victoria. All secured for the 24th August with a 14 day permit duration.
It seems the internet gods are watching – I’m having trouble posting this day’s happenings.
No rest for the wicked (or us for that matter). We are booked to enter SA tomorrow (but we have a couple of months grace if we need it) but as I’ve said before, we’ve seen most of this neck of the woods. We pushed on doing another 400 kms before reaching Jallah Rockhole Freecamp, one that we haven’t been to before and certainly a toilet setup that has to be seen (and heard) to appreciate the finer things in life.
Needless to say, we followed the rules. I’m pretty sure the immaculately dressed couple in the shiny new caravan that stopped for a toilet break may not have anticipated this.
The camp itself was quite pleasant and another thunderstorm rolled in just as I was dishing up dinner so we had to retreat inside for dinner and desert (Old Tawny and chocolate, the decadence)
An oldie but a goodie from Canned Heat. In any case we are back on the bitumen. We spent most of the morning running alongside the Kalgoorlie Water Pipe until we reached Coolgardie where we headed south east to Norseman. It’s pretty much a case of been there done that (reminiscing about previous trips, missed coffee breaks and the like)
The most momentous thing that happened today was the motorhome clocked up 100,000 kms. Most of these have been filled with fun and frivolity with a few rough trots thrown in for good measure (Silent Grove, The Bungles, Cape York, Roper River and Kingoonya all roads that reminded us of the fragility of man-made items) Despite not being on her best behaviour at the moment, the Sprinter has served us well.
We arrived at Woorblah Homestead Freecamp just in time to cook dinner before a thunderstorm passed over us but without too much inconvenience. It just reminds us of how good this Nullarbor Plains crossing can be.
Had a lovely campfire out with the stars last night. Very early this morning the heavens opened and we had a downpour on and off until just after daybreak. We still managed to cook breakfast outside but we had to wait a little longer for the Firepit bag to dry before we could pack up and leave. Cadoux is situated in one of those strange little areas that doesn’t have direct access to anywhere which meant a lot of zigging and zagging to work our way down toward the main drag. We stopped for morning tea at Wyalkatchem (I just love that name) neat and tidy town largely devoid of actual residents. We moved along to Merredin where we had lunch then onto Southern Cross and ended up at the Boorabbin Rest Area (traditional lands of the Kalaamaya people) about 120 kms west of Coolgardie.
We have applied (and received approval) for a permit to enter South Australia which means that we can’t get in there before Friday. According to their strange setup we should receive an email on the day that we are to enter and we click on the link to say we’ve arrived. One slight problem, how do we get internet service after we leave Norseman or even at Eucla so we can tick the box. Guess we’ll be growled at again.
What’s with the West Coast. Awoke this morning to the worst winds we’ve had all trip, struggled to cook breakfast outside and struggled to keep the motorhome on the bitumen! We had no great plans for today, just thought we would go down to New Norcia which advertises itself as Australia’s only Monastic Town. We arrived there in time for lunch but the next available tour wasn’t until 1.30 p.m. and in the meantime we could do a self guided tour of the exteriors of the buildings.
I’ll admit up front I’m not a fan of grand church buildings, it always appears to be a contradiction of the faith. As we moved between buildings and read the little guided history plaques outside I’m afraid I lost any will to pay for a tour to help defray the costs of maintaining these buildings. A line from the Boys School plaque read “Originally run by the Marist Brothers” – a washing of guilt from the hands of the Benedectines? Or further on the “Orphanage” where young aboriginal girls were brought to be “educated” – by physical and sexual abuse.
Amazingly, in the grounds of the Monastic Church, there is a “Shrine” to recognise the physical and sexual abuse that occurred at New Norcia, but it is hidden away in an area that can only be seen if you walk inside the church grounds and your interest in an unusual rock takes you to that point. Here’s a suggestion – take some of your tour money and relocate that “Shrine” into the car park where the town plan and toilets are located. Oh and even, perhaps, have some means for people to donate to the care of those victims that are still alive.
From New Norcia we travelled another 100 kms to set up camp at the Cadoux Sporting Complex, where our ten dollars goes to the maintenance and improvement of the town’s sporting facilities.