Nov 02

Flower power

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Following the tourist maps to partake of nature we found ourselves again heading north inland to Perenjori. The wildflowers seem to be a little thin on the ground at this point but the tourist info centre assures us there is much yet to come. Certainly there’s another Monsignor Hawes church …

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in which I’m sure you’ll note that the stripes are back. But what wildflowers we saw from here back to the coast were not new and were certainly few and far between. This part of the journey felt a little deficient in the excitement stakes. It may be better earlier or later in the season or even after better rains but we weren’t moved to the snapshot fever we previously experienced (look back).

So, next stop Dongara, by the sea shore yet again. Lots and lots of k’s looking for flowers but they proved elusive. Dongara, like all of the coastal towns, has some history but nothing enticingly new. Maybe we are becoming a little blasé but there are some great similarities to all of the places we’ve seen before in this trip. Nevertheless, see what you think….

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the courthouse, a 200 yo peppercorn tree, a gaol for dummies, a nice old rich persons house, ye olde flower mill (now a bloody motel), the monastery and the priory (now a pub) and somebody news’ take on an old house. A nice enough little seaside resort town but the same as many others along the way.

We’re not that far north of Perth at this point so decided to continue down the coast road to a point west of Gin Gin then head inland to the Great Northern Highway and then on into Midlands, George and Inas’ near suburb east of Perth. On the way we passed through three shires or council areas along the coast, one of which had great signs offering free camping opportunities, the next promising prosecution if you did and the third somewhat ambivalent. Twas within the third we espied a ‘free camp’ just north of Jurien Bay  and decided it was the best opportunity to camp up for the night – next day we would be in Perth. This spot, not only popular, turned out to be most pleasant – but the six kays in were a bit demanding which of course also meant that the return journey would be equally uncomfortable. But we made it and paid just $15.00 to ‘free camp’…..

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(how about that sand dune)

Lovely spot and the small seaside township of Jurien Bay the next day also proved to be  a typical seaside resort town but also very pretty. On to Gingin for lunch and again a really nice little township with beautiful parklands and a non-Monsignor Hawes church…..

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from which I was ejected by a very unchristian electrician who happened to be working inside the church. However lunch in the café over looking the gardens was most pleasant.

From here its into Perth or more specifically George and Ina’s back yard. And so we spent a couple of weeks just enjoying their company, doing little. Thank you Webbers once again for your magnanimous hospitality. It was bloody nice to take a break after a busy 5 months on the road.

It was also timely to rest up for the return trip eastward. I like the Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor but this is now the third crossing and there are no apparent diversions that we haven’t already experienced. Thought though that we might again experience whales at the Head of Bight but no, not a whale to be seen. At least the caretakers are honest enough to not take your money before they tell you there’s nothing to see. The cross journey, Perth to Adelaide is about 2800 km. We had a headwind most of the way and this makes for a very tiring drive – about 700 km per day was the target but for all sorts of reasons not the least of which was sociability  we only managed a couple of hundred on day one (Wednesday). Planned to be watching Bathurst with Justin on Sunday but by Saturday night had only made Kimba, a couple of 100 short of Port Augusta and found that we had limited TV reception. So we made an early morning dash to Port Augusta and sat out the day (and night) in a caravan park where we did have TV coverage of ‘da big event’.

Finally made Adelaide on Monday. Fuel consumption, despite it all being flat, went up a bit to 19.3l/100km. This is still good. Last year was 21.8, so not only was consumption down but so was the average price of fuel – around $1.6o to $1.80 last year. So fuel this trip has not been our biggest expense – by far and away the cost of tourist attractions has been the biggest. Although repairs to the Winnie come in a close second but more on that subject when we get back and I can work out where all the money has in fact gone.

So far there have been a few highlights but one that does take very top billing is our newest addition to the family – little Edith. Now 6 months old and a real personality. We have spent 7 days with Jane, Justin and Edith and every one of them has been a joy. Can’t wait to see them again with the rest of the Payne/Winder/Monk family on the Gold Coast in November.

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