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The REAL adventure begins - Part 2 of Leonie’s Travelling Retreat
Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:00
Member - Lee & Arrabella A'Van
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Lunchtime, Friday 15 June 2012
Soft breezes from the north east are blowing in Arrabella’s window as I type this latest epistle.
I am camped right on the edge of the rocks at 40 Mile Beach 50km south of
Life has been interesting and good to me so far….although not without its challenges!
I seem to have a reasonably efficient packing up routine for the mornings now. I don’t like to disturb the other campers but want to be
on the road
by first light.
So this means limiting the number of times that you close car doors… I have already been warned about the dislike of ‘door slammers’ in general by a representative of the
Nomad set… minimising the amount of equipment that needs to be packed away and ensuring that you have everything ready to go the night before.
I can now wake, get dressed, boil the billy for my
on the road
milo, fill the thermos , have breakfast, pack away the drainage bucket , see to the hitches and stabilisers on Arrabella and be
on the road
all within 30 mins.
There is a certain something about driving in the early morning
Wednesday was always going to be a bit of a haul so off we left at 7.00 am on the dot.
Driving in the early morning light is always wonderful.
Of course you have to keep a good eye out for stray cattle, roos and the occasional goat… but there is a certain quality of the light, that with the dawning of the new day and all of its potential that imbues a certain hopefulness for the day ahead into those first few hours.
I had a few chores to do in
. Mayonnaise was high on that list.
You see I have acquired a taste for Praise Mayonnaise (and it has to be Praise) when making my
on the road
lunches. I picked up this habit from my Eric when we camped - he would have his Best brand Mayonnaise and I my Praise.
When you are dealing with multi-day old bread or rolls…well they tend to be a little dry. So a wonderful dribble of mayonnaise adds a certain moistness and a definite richness to the midday repast.
Of course I would never eat mayonnaise on a daily basis at home… all those calories! But when
on the road
you just need just a few little luxuries to know that you are out there and having fun. It just makes this time even more special.
I go… on the list Water (campers are always looking to top up their water supplies- it’s the one commodity we just can’t do without), the aforementioned mayonnaise, fresh longer life bread – you know the stuff that is baked in the city and you know will last 5 times longer than the local bakery bread), petrol and off course time to access the internet to send of updates, emails and pay bills.
I had planned on leaving within 45 minutes of arrival. Of course this was optimistic… I made it out after just on 2 hours!
is in the middle of main street road upgrades and has detours all over the place. So finding the Visitors Centre – the first stop for any traveller to a new town- was a challenge.
Campervans and the Parking Angels
Parking a camper van and 4 wd is also an adventure and a lesson in human nature….especially when you are just a learner.
Oh the scowls you get when trying to back into a small space and you just can’t seem to get it right…well I really do think there should be L plates for new caravanners…so a little more understanding and compassion is shown. Never mind I am learning fast!
Back to the human nature part… you’ll get the scowlers of course…but then there is always some kindly person.. often a fellow female traveller… who will volunteer to ‘
’ for you.
I have been ever so grateful to these wonderful women. I am sure it is a role that they play often for their male partners… a thankless part, I must say, from what I have seen. The abuse and the curses I have heard coming from the male drivers when being expertly directed by these parking angels are an embarrassment and far from deserved…. At least in my humble opinion that is.
So after finding the Visitor’s Centre and locating the water tap to top up Arrabella it was off to the local Woolworths for the said Mayonnaise and Bread plus a little fresh fruit. Then it was time to do battle with the internet whilst parked with the air conditioning on… did I mention that it was getting warm… I was in the
With computer perched on my lap, mouse being controlled on the dash, mobile phone tethered to the USB port it seemed to take ages to download the 100 plus emails that had accumulated in the previous 24 hours. It did.
Then it was a quick call to the bank to organise some information for the accountant and off to get diesel. Of course I had to pick the one service station that had only one diesel pump working… the slow one and a queue several cars long.
So much for the quick visit to
I wanted to get some kilometres under my belt before calling it a day so drove on to a good little 24 hour stop over at Barradale (approx. 280 km north of
). This sprawling camp area had a pit toilet, picnic tables, shade and at 4.00 pm already 35 to 40 vans set up for the night.
I picked a
at the back of the camp site where I could drive in …and out… without any backing or positioning required.
All set up with a cold drink in hand, chair and table positioned to catch the sunset just right, within 6 minutes. I felt very proud of myself.
I wandered over a couple of caravans up from me to introduce myself and ask about a good
to spend the next night and ended up staying for most of the evening.
Seasoned travellers were Val and Bob…done many a mile in their
nomadding career they had. I learnt a lot from them…plus got to share my first campfire for the trip. It was wonderful.
When asked about a good
to spend a day or two they mentioned the Old
town site on the Ashburton River. It sounded wonderful…but didn’t have any mobile coverage - so I’ll reserve that
for next time when I have at least
to back me up.
The next candidate was 40 Mile Beach… now while I live on the beach I have not been a beach kinda camping gal. You see I love to have access to fresh water and the sea just doesn’t provide that. But I couldn’t pass up a good campsite AND internet access… so 40 Mile it was to be.
Good bye cloud bank
It was away early again…dead on 7.00am as I pulled out onto the North West Coastal Highway. And again I felt that wonderful peace of the morning descend on me …just me…Disco, Arrabella and the road ahead. We could go anywhere we wanted.
Sipping warm chocolaty milo I watch the ever present impenetrable, low clouds (well present since setting out the week before from down south) occasionally let in a little blue sky. Then as I passed Nanutarra Roadhouse ( an unloved and desolate place that I just drove in and out of without stopping) I saw the edge of the cloud bank for the first time. And there at the edge the blue sky started and didn’t let up – all the way to the horizon.
I knew that I was finally hitting the true north west. The warmer weather was upon me and I knew that I was about to be able to bare my white wintery body to the sun. I even had to turn on the air conditioner to keep comfortable in my three quarter jeans.
The Sheer Pleasure of a Shower
It had been some days since I had had a real shower.
A soapy face cloth run about all the important bits can only do so much for personal hygiene and my hair was beginning to have a true life of its’ own. This is where an oasis called the Fortescue River Roadhouse came into view. Of course I did find the $185.9 cents a litre for diesel to be a little off-putting…but I had been warned and I only topped up enough to get me through.
My Barradale friends had suggested that I ask at the roadhouses if they had showers available. While it might cost a couple of dollars, the facilities were usually up to scratch and better than having to go to a caravan park to do the essentials.
So when paying for the fuel I asked the
attendant….and was directed to the back of the road house to the shower/toilet block. Well a whole bank of showers awaited me. With litres of hot, steamy and soul cleansing water I scrubbed everything pink then started on my hair and finished with the undies…. Of which I was down to my last clean pair.
What bliss… and soul restoring.
Newly clean I hit the road again, this time headed for 40 Mile Beach some 55 km away.
Now I had been told on reliable authority that 40 Mile was a ‘good
’ and that many long term campers would be there so it may be hard to find a campsite with all the right amenities. By amenities we mean good view, good neighbours, good beach access and most importantly the right orientation for the sun and wind.
I was advised to get there early. And so I did.
Which Way- Left or Right?
40 Mile Beach
At 11.55am I arrived at the turnoff and was faced with a decision… left or right. I went right….for several kilometres along some fairly demanding 4wd tracks. I passed several camp spots which already had tenants and then there were a number of definitely sandy “let your tyres down” tracks over the dunes to other spots …but they were remote and not what I was looking for. I passed mangroves complete with swamps, dried clay baked lake beds and areas of tall reeds and mosquito breeding grounds. This was not what I was lead to believe was a good camping
. So finally I decided that perhaps I was on the wrong track. Yes I know it takes a while for it all to sink in sometimes. But turning a camper around on a narrow track is not what I really wanted to do. So I drove a bit more and a bit further and even further again until I found a space I could safely turn around.
40 Mile Beach
Back to the intersection it was , off to the left on a wide, open gravel road. And there ahead, not 3 kms down the road this vista of caravans, rigs, 5th wheelers, buses and all manner of transient habitats opened up before me. Each perched overlooking a sweeping ocean. Ahh this was 40 mile beach…. And I could see why it was popular.
To be continued…
Members Blog Index
Just when you are packing the camper...it doesn't just rain ...it pours
Food Offerings, Parking Angels and Other Assorted Friends - Part 3 of Leonie’s Travelling Retreat
Lee & Arrabella A'van - the adventure wagon
A new era of adventure - tavelling solo uncovering the wonders of this land a little at a time.
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