Jerry and Trudy
Two other caravaners, Jerry and Trudy, have become special to us. Three days last week, they were waiting roadside with coffee and cake for us around 10am, tea time. We stood around talking for an hour sometimes, hearing about children and caravanning and life in Canberra where they live. We have also camped twice with them at roadside rests with other caravaners. The places are usually a bit off the road and have fire rings and several caravans are there. They are not so good for tenting, dusty, but the company is good. Caravaners are very friendly, just like in the States and we are interacting with them more and more.
I suspect we will try and visit Jerry and Trudy when we get around their way. There have been hugs all around when we left them the last couple of times, sort of like having grandparents watching after us on the road.
August 29. Coral Bay, Western Australia.
Three months and one day since we left Cairns.; 6687 kilometers. We had rain last night, first time in two and a half months since Normanton. We expect more as we are heading south into the waning weeks of winter and early weeks of spring.
We are about to leave the outback, in the next fortnight or so (two weeks). We have particularly loved the last fortnight in the Pilbara and the Hamersly ranges. The landscape is very familiar to us; red dirt, widely spaced mountain ranges, red rock gorges and isolated water sources, big dark skies with bright stars and silence; the Southwestern US, and the Kimberly (between Katherine and Broome).
September 2, Carnarvon, Western Australia. Grand Final day in Australian Rules football; The Bombers of Essendon (a suburb of Melbourne) and the Demons of Melbourne. We went to the Gascoyne Hotel to watch the game and have an EB (Emu Bitter). It was a quiet crowd, perhaps because all their WA (Western Australia) teams were eliminated early in the playoffs. I was a bit disappointed, expecting lots of noise, betting, maybe a tiff or two. Oh well. We left at the half, being unable to safely consume enough Emu Bitters to hold our stools at the bar. We do love the game however. Claire was barracking for the Kangaroos (because of their cute mascot, or perhaps the tight yellow stubbies (shorts) the players wear, but they were eliminated early. The game is very fast, with none of the constant whistle blowing and time outs so prevalent in American gridiron (they don’t dignify it with the name football here!). Sooner or later, they will learn that the real game of football is about making money; they will have to find a way to stop the game every 90 seconds for a 60 second commercial.
Sept. 3. Carnarvon. The replacement rim for rear wheel arrived from Sydney at the all-sports store, and we had a chance to yarn with the owner. He is a rabid Reba McIntire fan. For those who don’t know her (us included), she is a star American country music singer. He has an autographed picture of him with her, hanging above his desk, and most of her CDs and albums. He mounts and frames all the posters for concerts he can get his hands on. He traveled with his wife to Nashville, Gatlinburg, Las Vegas and Disneyland. How often have I heard about these places and other icons of greed and the cult of celebrity, and not at all representative of our country. They are the places foreigners most want to see in our country; and they go home believing they have seen America. We are lucky enough to have the time to see the real Australia, I only wish they could experience America like we are experiencing Australia. The man is so obsessed with Reba and American country music, that he laments that it will cost him $10,000 to get a satellite system so he can pick up the Nashville country music channel (I forget the name). And we are Americans who almost never listen to modern country music. We do enjoy some of the Australian country music, but it is not so modern sounding, has more of the flavour of folk music, and the images of real country life.
On September 3, we rode the regular Sunday duffer ride (hoping the rim would hold) of the local bike club, to Munro’s Banana Plantation just outside of Carnarvon. We had a banana mango Smoothie, out of this world, and listened to the honeyeaters (birds) busying themselves among the blossoms of the lush tropical foliage overhead. Good company and a lazy day in the sun.
As a Wheel Builder, He Was A Great Sheep Shearer
On Monday the rim came in and I changed it over. John, a very nice retired sheep shearer, and casual bicyclist, gave generous advise over my shoulder as I sat cross legged in the parking lot. As a wheel builder he was a great sheep shearer. I did forget to put any dish in the wheel; Zippy is a few millimetres lopsided and reminds me of many West Virginia cars of my youth that had been involved in accidents but the frame left bent. They sort of crabbed down the road, the rear tires not tracking the same as the front. With four wheels it presents a problem of wearing out tyres quickly, but not so with two I believe. I hope to get it rectified in Perth when I find someone with a wheel building stand and a dishing tool; they will be the first such tools available in the last 4500 kilometres. Imagine.