That night we found Stephen and Rachael, Jessie and Ella at our caravan park nearby. We met them at Minilya roadhouse in the Pilbara ages ago. Three of our road contacts in the same place on the same day! Amazing. They are traveling Australia for six months with the girls before the youngest begins kindergarten.
They discovered, on the road, that Rachael is pregnant again and she thinks with twins, as her family is prone to multiples. She is ready to be home and they will be in another month. They had us for tea in their motorhome, a Winniebago brand, much like our Turtle if a bit smaller. They prepared an amazing meal is a very small kitchen: lamb chops, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and a good Pinot Noir (oakless) from the Margaret River area. We talked about Aboriginal issues, they are very supportive of reconciliation, but realistic about the problems, and listened as Jessie read us her favorite poem. Wonderful evening with a fine family. When we left the next morning the girls were catching tiny frogs in the grass. What a great trip for them. We hope to visit them in northern New South Wales. Rachael says to come anyway, even though we will probably be there just about the time she will give birth.
We took a side road into Albany and at the Youngs Siding General Store, the owners told us a story about the local weather on Christmas: Christmas Eve it was 4C (OC = freezing), Christmas afternoon it was 45C (110+f), by that night it was back down to 6C and raining buckets. We sat on the wood porch bench and had chocolate bikkies and cold drinks behind the petrol pumps. Could have been anywhere in the rural U.S. 30 years ago. We were sorry to miss the community dance coming up in a week.
At the Wellstead roadhouse, in mid day, we asked the counter lady about the next roadhouse for Camping. “There’s nothing there for you.” she said, her eyes wandering from mine. We decided to buy beans for supper and bush camp. The next day we found the Rose roadhouse at Boxwood Hills and thought we’d check on this horrible place. George greeted us with the first of many jokes, offering us 10 liters of free petrol, and continued to entertain us through several of his wife’s home made Greek pastries. His roadhouse was as well equipped and cleaner than the other, and his personality many times as nice. I wonder how that woman can live with her lies? George gave us a heartfelt blessing as we rode away.
Later that morning we stopped in the bush for some bickies and decided on a little bush root for desert. (this is to see which Australians are paying attention).
October 2. Ravensthorpe. Watched the Olympic closing ceremonies over the roast beef and veggie special at the pub. It was very glitzy, very professional, proving Australia is a modern “with it” country. Lots of fun stuff and special effects, music, artistic talent… but, it represented fair dinkum Oz culture, as we have experienced it, about as much as a visit to Las Vegas represents American culture. Sadly, for both countries, that sort of thing is how most foreigners see us. Oz is a very special, and diverse, place with 19 million good people. The Olympics showed their talent for organization, partying and sports superiority. They can be forgiven for going over the top when given the chance to show off. Very American.
Big Black Snakes, Breeding, “They’ll come after you.”
We nearly ran over a very fast black colored snake. He stopped just in the shadow of the front pannier, a few centemetres from from my foot. At Munglinup, a local said, “Stay away from the black ones. They’re breeding now. They’ll come after you.” And they are lethal.
A good sized kangaroo visited us in bush camp after tea. He sat and looked at us for a long time as if he’d never seen a human outside of a motor vehicle, which is very possible. When I got out the camera, he thump, thump, thumped away.
October 3 Esperance. Nice town of 16,000. Cool here, 19C, as opposed to 38C two days ago inland. We lost a Continental Town + Country tyre yesterday, cut sidewall, and are worried that we might have a rim problem. The local all-sports shop had few tyres but we do now have a new one and two spares. That tyre lasted only 1100 kilometers and we have 2,000 + facing us to the next city, Adelaide. The shop didn’t have any good quality pedals, and my right one is getting a bit crook. We hope for the best. Two days from here is Norseman, the beginning of the Nullarbor Plain. Depending on winds, we expect to take about four weeks to Adelaide.
This morning we had a nice brekky and tea for two overlooking the bay; showery looking clouds, sunnybreaks and a gray-green sea. Lovely town. Wish we could stay, but the Nullarbor calls.