Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Archive for May, 2010

Sunny days and cold nights

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on May 30, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Well we’ve set up the dish and have managed to fluke the internet again so here comes the next installment of our adventures.

Kids in Bunbury

We managed to catch up with Em and the kids in Australind on Sunday – and yep i brought my jacket but wished i’d had my scarf and beanie too.  Went out for lunch and kids played at park by the lake and had a ball.  Thanks for a great time – it was a good practice run for the next few days!

We had decided to name our caravan and a family vote was unanimous for “The Swamp”.  Not because we are messy individuals but more for the Shrek reference: We each have an alter ego from the films: Joel is Shrek (The loveable grouch) , I am Pricess Fiona (quit fitting as i am a gemini), Daniel is Donkey (incessant talking) and Wade is Puss in Boots (those eyes man get him out of trouble all the time!  Thanks to Tamara and Sue for orgainising the sticker for our van with such short notice. It looks great.
The rain was starting to get to us as normally when it

rains in Karratha we usually get out and dance in the stuff, but it was just cold and wet.  So we decided to do as much as we needed and get the hell outta town.  So we did.  We

The Swamp

left and headed north towards Karijini NP.   Originally i had wanted to go tot Steep Point (the most western point on mainland Australia) but rang the ranger there and she said they were expecting more miserable weather like Perth was having and if they got any more rain they’d be closing the roads in.  So we decided to head up the inland road as we always take the coast road when we travel to Perth usually and thought it would be nice for a change.  OMG. It was still raining when we left Perth, pouring in some parts in fact.  We just drove and drove to get away from the rain.  We stayed the first night at Jibberding Rock about 22km N of Wubin after travelling about 30kms.  Pulled up about 7pm, whipped up dinner and watched a movie with the kids and rugged up well for bed.  Woke to a chilly 2.4 degrees, whoa baby!  We jumped into the car in our PJs, and drove for about an hour and a half, stopped for brekky and change of clothes and off we went again – norhtwards to the sun.  At least it had stopped raining, -halelujah brother praise the lord!- (and yes to all our k-town friends, if i could’ve sent it up there i would have!) We saw dingoes, emus and kangaroos, all crossing the roads in front of us and luckily they jumped out of the way for us too!  We did a long day of driving today and pulled up to camp at another roadside rest area at Gascoyne River (MIddle Branch).  There were quite a few campers there already but there was heaps of room, all along the river bank, which was dry.  But being at a roadside stop meant that we could have a fire!  So as soon as the wheels stopped moving, the boys were out scoping the area for wood and they scored big-time!  We put dinner on to cook and set-to making our fire.  It was a beauty and so nice and warm.  Had a port, played some I spy, yep in the dark! and watched the stars with the kids.  Nice night!  We had a sleep in then brekky first this time as it was 3.5 degrees! and packed up and on the road. We headed into Newman for lunch and a bit of a squizz as we’d never been into the town before.  The visitors centre was amazing.  It leaves the Karratha one for dead!  It is open 7 days a week, had open and clean toilets and some great memorabilia from the pastoral and mining sectors.  The kids loved climbing on the haulpak (massive big mining truck) that was like a statue out the front.

Kids on Haulpak in Newman

Heading out of town we got a call on the UHF radio, commenting on our rig.  Good thing too cos’ we’d had some trouble with the squelch and noise on the radio so was glad to have it working again so we can chat to the truckies going past.  Kept on driving and got into Karijini NP about 4pm.  Got a nice site in Dales Camping area as we wanted the choice to use the generator if we wanted too.  Good feed of spag bol and then after clean up we played cards with the kids. First we played spoons, then we played Black Jack.  Taught the kids how to gamble with matches and scarily they knew more of the rules than me!  Spoons is a fantastic game we learnt from some friends the kids made last year on holidays in Exmouth.  You have one less spoon than people playing and each person has 5 cards, so usually use A, K, Q, J and 10 for the four of us.  Deal out all 20 cards then idea is the first to get 4 of a kind grabs a spoon from the middle of the table.  Last one to grab a spoon loses.  It is heaps of fun and never ceases to end in fits of laughter!

Kids Swimming in Weano Gorge

Today we all slept in till 7:45 and it was 11 degrees by the time we ventured outside.  We ate and packed the car and headed off to the visitors centre to find out some more info on the walks at Weano Gorge area.  We headed over to the far side of the National Park and started on the Weano Gorge walk.  We stopped at one of the pools and the kids had a dip – OMG IT’S FREEZING they said! Crazy, crazy! ‘cos the water was like ice! We walked on further and got to another pool and after taking our shoes and sox off we were wading thigh depth through when a group of guys came across from where we were going.  They said it was even deeper in the next few pools and were concerned about the boys making it through.  Wade was all keen, but as i had my new camera and didn’t feel like swimming in -10 degrees we waded back to shore and re-dressed and set off to do another walk. We went to the Oxer and Junction Pool  lookouts and saw the memorial to Jim Reagan, an SES volunteer from Newman who had sadly died whilst trying to rescue an injured walker form the gorge below us.  Very sad but sobering to remind us of how dangerous the park can be.  So for the millionth time i yelled at Wade to stop running near the edges of the walks and cliffs- my heart just couldn’t take it anymore! We headed towards Joffre Gorge and did the Gorge walk and took some pictures from the Lookout.  We had not intended to be so late back to camp but didn’t want to make the 50km drive back to this side of the park tomorrow as Joel’s back was starting to wear from all the days of driving and sitting in the car.  We didn’t pack lunch but we had juice, water, muesli bars and sultanas so we kept going and had an early dinner instead. Was well worth sacrificing lunch for.  The places here are so awesomely beautiful.  You just wouldn’t get shots like this if you didn’t do the climbs down to the bottom of the gorges.  Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! Back to the caravan and set up the sat dish so we can check emails and i can update the blog.Off to do some more walks and perhaps even a swim for me too tomorrow.  Stars are out with a late full moon rising – big and yellow. Life is very good.

Till tomorrow

Ciao.

Joffre Gorge

Karijini pool

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Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on May 24, 2010

Hi Everyone,
Well it’s funny how things pan out.  We went to a Howard’s storage shop in Cannington last Thursday evening and met Tracey, who helped us out with some drawers and other storage ideas for the van.  We got talking and found out her husband builds off-road caravans.  Long story short, we needed our table to be a bit bigger, a new drawer put in and our drain in our shower looked at.  We popped in on Friday to see Dave at Elross Caravans and he said to bring in our van on Monday morning and he would help us out.  Joel dropped off the van at 7am and sure enough, the van was ready by lunchtime.  We went to pick it up and as Dave was bringing it out on the forklift, he noticed that the jockey wheel lock was quite bent and the steel lock was fractured.  So he set to work grinding off the old lock and welding on a new one, while we were there.  Absolutely one of the nicest and friendliest blokes we’ve met and we would recommend him and his business to anyone.  Thanks heaps Dave and Tracey for putting us in touch!  While we were there we noticed that the rear wheels on the tandem wheels were both scrubbing out on the outside of the tyres.  While we had the van en-tow we stopped at Care-a-van, who underslung the axles for us in November.  They had a quick look and said to bring it in tomorrow morning to have a proper look at it on the ramps. So another early morning tomorrow to drop off the van early, will see how that progresses.

As we wanted to get the van in early to Dave, we had decided to partially unpack the van (ie mattresses, bedding, clothes, etc) into the house (Joel’s mum and dad’s) and camp out in the loving room.  Looks like we’ll be spending another night in the house.

In between all of this, Joel and I decided that we needed to get this sat dish internet working or else there’d be no point in taking the bloody thing.  So we set it up and played.  After a few breaks, to pick up the van, etc, we finally managed to get the internet to work.  It’s set up through a sat dish, with programs on the laptop to set it up but the program was giving us elevations that were off.  Once we figured that out we were in business.  There was a lot of cursing and Joel did say, several times, that this is stupid and blah, blah, blah.  Perserverance is one of my strong points (that and i couldn’t let it beat me more like it) so re-read everything and tweaked all the settings on the laptop and the actual dish and vuola` it was working.  Sounds easy but by 5pm i was ready to throw the dish like and oversized frisbee into the great beyond too!  The kids think we are Gods because we have the internet again and after we went out for tea, they had showers and went online for a little while before bed.

Joel has been busy working on the van in the last few days as well.  The kids have lights above their beds but they were put in the corner and they can’t read in bed, so Joel has replaced them with 12v moveable lights.  He also put in 12v fans at the ends of their beds and ours as we spent a night at Coronation beach some months ago, where you’re not allowed to run the generators after 9pm.  We rocked up at 8pm and took Barney down to the water so we could all have a cool off but the van was very hot and stuffy.  It will be good to try out the fans when we get further north.

Now that the sat dish is working properly, Joel wants to mount the set-top-box, the modem and router in the van and put coaxial points on the outside, so we can pull up, set up and plug in the dish and if we stay for a few days can leave it set up without it getting knicked.  So looks like we’re off to the shops again tomorrow for cable and bits’n’pieces.  It’s very handy having an electrician on site! Will keep you posted as to how that goes.

Cheers for now

Ciao

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Cold and Raining in Perth

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on May 23, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the lack of info but haven’t had internet for over a week and am just getting over the shakes from withdrawal!:]  We have finally finished packing the sea container with most of our belongings and headed off from sunny Karratha on Sunday 16th May.   A big thank-you to all our friends who helped us out with dinner invites, furniture moving, packing and generally keeping us sane during what can only be described as thoroughly tiring time.  We are taking our push bikes with us and must say a big Thank-you also to Bez Engineering who engineered a fitting for us on the back of the caravan so as to take a 4-bike-bikerack.  The bikes have travelled well and not moved at all and believe me we checked every time we pulled over for a break so they didn’t come off or worse into other traffic.

bike rack

After all the packing and sorting we finally put the van on the road out-of-town on Sunday and headed for Carnarvon.  We woke to a brisk 11 degrees on Monday morning and Michelle saying nope don’t want to get up out of bed…..Mmm if only i knew what temps lay ahead maybe we would have stayed a bit longer:). On Monday we headed off to Geraldton to stay with my friend Shelley who cooked us a culinary delight of chicken and noodles and a yummy bread and butter pudding with caramel sauce.  We felt very spoilt, thanks Shelley!  And every time i watch Man vs Wild i will remember you!! It was a cool night in Gero as well so after goodbyes the night before, as Shelley was off to work early in the morning, we headed off to Perth.  We headed down Great Northern Hwy and decided to turn off at Muchea as we needed to be in Wanneroo by early afternoon.  We had gone maybe a couple of kms when some drongo old bloke in a wagon decided to pull out from a T-intersection on the road in front of us and damn near kill us.  Luckily the ABS brakes on the car and the brakes on the van were working well and Joel’s reflexes too so we managed to avoid a collision, just – the kids have now attributed Dad with Ninja-like reflexes!!  After a few deep breaths and some blue language, we took some delight in the thought that the old man’s wife, sitting in the front seat next to him, would be making his life hell for at least the next few hours, as the look on her face was golden! Not quite sure why this font has grown somewhat but will see if can fix it.

So after that, we headed into Wanneroo to collect our sat dish, which will do both TV and internet.  We stayed with Daniel of Applied Audio Accessories and Maric RV Services for a couple of hours going through the set-up.  We set up tv the next day but the weather has been so wet that the internet is waiting till tomorrow to sort out.

We landed at Joel’s Mum and Dad’s place and are parked up on their front lawn.  We have had some extra goodies added to the car, namely a new Kenwood GPS system, which is FANTASTIC.  It does on-road and off-road GPS, has a  wicked stereo system, ipod compatible and runs DVDs.  If you are after something similar then Brian Wallis at Autotainment is the man to speak to.  He is at 289 Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood and is very passionate about his work. Oh and the system is really good – Hey Frank, we will video us using it both on-road and off and post it to you.  We are very impressed so far.  It has the Hema maps loaded onto it so we’re keen to try them out. We also had a new set of tyres put onto the car – including the 2 spares – Cooper ST.  We were very impressed as they are nowhere near as noisy on the road as we thought they might be – read- can still hear the stereo!

We have found that the shower has a blockage in the drain – and tomorrow we are taking the van over to Elross Caravans for them to have a look at it for us. They are also making a new table for us and a drawer for Joel’s bedside cupboard.  They have kindly organised to fit us in tomorrow for which we are very grateful as they are very busy:).

The kids have been busy with school work but have had a couple of days off – but little do they know we’ll be back into it tomorrow morning!

On saturday night we went our for dinner with family and close friends – thanks guys for a great night.  It is slowly starting to sink in that we won’t be back for a couple of years and even though it’s a bit sad and we will miss them all, it’s also still very exciting going on this trip.  It was Wade’s birthday on Saturday as well and we celebrated with dinner at The Last Drop Pub and Brewery and he was wrapt with his Docker’s cap and jumper and cash – I might need to hit him up for a loan sometime:).

So hoping for some sunny weather again in the next few days to get the last of the washing out-of-the-way, get the satellite internet sorted out and get back to some warmer weather.  So all going well we should be out on the road again, heading north on Wednesday or Thursday.

Thanks for all the good wishes, will be more punctual on the updates, i promise:))

Till next time

Ciao

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