Rens turn for a blog! Helping out at the Laarger and off to Newman....

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 14:30


We hit the tarmac at Wiluna and got a few supplies and trundled down the Gunbarrel Highway yet again. As I think we have said before, it felt like we were coming home. Dropped into to let Mal know we were back only to find out that the boss (i.e. his wife Gill) had to go to yet another funeral. This one being her son in law. Goodness they had had a bad run of late.

A couple we had met during the EO gathering happened to be from Morawa (where Mal’s son in-law was from) and had decided to move their caravan closer to the office in order to help Mal out. One would be surprised what it takes to keep a travellers rest in the middle of nowhere running! But with Graham on the 4wd MULE and Di on housekeeping duties, Mal was able to carry on with whatever it is that he does.

We decided to move the camper to what I thought was an “out of the way” location but ended up being directly behind a bunch of Victorians/Grey Power about to do the CSR. After a bit of excitement seeing the Chamberlin Tractors roll in, Graham, Lee and Ev collected a few loads off fire wood for the mob that had arrived, and once the chores were done, Ev built a massive fire for the night and insisted on what I am thinking of calling his catch phrase “Now that’s a Fire!” .

With the boy (Lee, not Ev) in bed, Ev and I started to enjoy a few quite bevies. Ev suggested that we move over to the Vicco’s fire and make some conversation, but, me lacking my yippee bean prescription chose not to socialise, and am glad for that option as it was not before too long and the old Grey nomads, just starting on their holiday and in ‘happy go lucky mode” allowed the conversation to flow freely. And freely it did….plenty of talk about menopause, how to get ones undies clean and the worst of all…sex! Lots of innuendo’s which I will not go into now, but the beauty of it being that, they where obviously accustomed to an early rise and promptly retired to bed after their fun was spent and insisted on snoring through the night!

The next morning dawned, Ev had exited the nest early to perform his usual morning routine (inclusive of his ‘me’ time) of building a fire (UGGG, CoARRR) and enjoy a coffee before Lee and I surfaced from the den. Graham and Di who were staying on to give Mal a hand adopted both Ev and Lee, so after breaky it was onto Laarger duties. Ev and Lee went with Graham to empty the bins and bring back firewood in the 4WD MULE. I helped Di with making beds, supplying towels and facial soap, and tormenting the “Weirdo Couple” from Victoria who had had car trouble and were stuck at the Laarger for at least 8 days!

Lee ended up on “bestie terms” with Graeme to the point that when the communal TV suddenly went awire (thanks to Lee turning off the satellite remote), Graham pulled him aside and told another older kid to “STOP PLAYING WITH THE REMOTE!!!” in the only way that an ex-farmer could!

Next day, it was time for Graeme and Di to head off. We exchanged contacts, said our good byes, and knew that chores had to be done so after a “shower in a can” we set about the daily duties. There was Mandarins (30kg) to pick, rubbish to drop off, washing and firewood to collect, amazing how the most basic of chores is fun when you are on holidays!! A stop at the tyre dump (special place for Ev) and metal tip yard for a fossick and our chores were done in time to meet yet another few folks from Victoria. ‘

Found them quite amusing as the girls, a Mum and daughter had had the full beauty therapy….boobs sitting surgically aloft and brows n lashes fully lacquered. We Stuck up a conversation and found out the family were about to embark on the CSR with a bleep load of can peaches, two kids, and not too much else that I could see. We ended up having a bevvie with them in the late arvo when they said with glee…”yeah, we’ve never been 4WDriving before! It seemed crazy, after Ev being so serious for our prep with regard to travelling the CSR, that these guys were so unprepared! But we wished them well and the next morn they were on their way!

A few days later we found out that a travelling group could not find their way along the CSR route and I did have a quite chuckle to myself!!

Another couple of days at the Laarger went by with not too much to say except we settled right in…enjoyed the sunrise, made complete with morning cuddles and giggles from Lee except for the day he slept in until 8.30am. The night before Ev had stayed up until 3.30 am trying to finish his blogs, so it was my turn to get up and start the fire.

The day passed and we got to the arvo when beer o clock milled around and we started packing stuff up.

Came to the morning where Ev and I sprung outta bed in anticipation of being on the road and heading to a new destination, mind you, we have only had a few pangs of excitement when it comes to actually being on holidays….

A chat with Gill who had now arrived home, while Ev filled our water tanks and I enjoyed a quick shower…, two big cuddles from Mal and an argument about him trying to give us a hundred bucks for fuel (Ev and Lee settled for a few hats n stubbie coolers), Lee had a swing off a ghost Gum and we left the Gunbarrel Laarger.

We stopped in at Wiluna to get an Ice coffee, Lemonade Icypole for Lee, fuel and to check the tyre pressures. Before too long we were heading up Wiluna North Rd on the dirt towards Great Northern Highway, Ev and I were both giddy awaiting for us to pass by the turn off to the CSR as after that we were heading into “Virgin territory”.

Lee passed the time playing with his tag books, sight seeing and talking. He asked for a Wee break and luck would have it that a ‘Dragon’ had made his home in the discarded tyres on the side of the road. I attempted to catch the little bugger but am a little out of practice. The boy was happy enough for the dragon to go back into his hidey hole and they sat and watched each other until the dragon got fed up, and scuttled away.

We passed through a few sections of boggy road, including a “surprise Dip”, that I exclaimed while the mud hit the windscreen…SURPRISE!!! in a high pitched voice to which after no talking for about an hour Ev turned to me and said “Mmm, I did not like that”. Checking that the ‘Moving Map’ on Ozi Explorer was still OK, we managed to get to the highway. We hung a right, and headed north praying for warmer nights above the tropic of Capricorn!

We cursed a few caravans and managed to overtake an “over width” convoy (which excluded my butt!) and stopped for refreshments at the Kumarina Roadhouse…two ginger beers and an egg sandwich…$19 bucks…, Cha Ching $$$! Quick scoff of precooked steaks and a hefty piece of choccy, and we were back on the road. I offered to drive but Ev was n cruise mode. Again on the tarmac and I was getting bored… to my surprise we had only 160k’s until Newman and looking out the window the landscape started to change.

The Collier Ranges were a subtle change in the landscape and then we headed into territory that ebbed and flowed with rock formations…came across more than a few Wedgies with their ‘chaps’ on, and in the last 100 k’s to Newman we passed a lot of road kill or as we like to call it, Jerky or Fluff depending on which animal has snuffed it. Unfortunately we missed a photo op for the crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn and even though Ev was bummed, I assured him that we would get it on “the other side”,… of Oz that is.

Five thirty and we pulled into Kalgan’s Rest, Newman. After being asleep for hours, Lee piped up and said “Now that’s what I’m talking about Man!!!” Farny!! Grassed areas, a digger bucket at the front entrance and a swimming pool had the little fella in a frenzy. We parked, set up camp and headed into town for some dinner. The Purple pub put on a hearty feed, and the local boys n girls alike were dressed in their best for the Saturday night! Actually enjoyed not giving a toss about aesthetic appearances and settled into the surrounding landscaping of the beer garden that made me think of Bali.

We had a met a couple from Cowaramup when setting up camp in Newman and both vowed to have a nightcap after we had got back from dinner, but both parties retired early listening to the motocross wane from over yonder.

The morning saw Lee begin his play date with Jake, who was visiting his Grand parents at the caravan park. It was Sunday, and no shops open, so we left Lee to play with Jake and headed for Visitors centre. The rest of the day was spent hanging around talking to the various groups parked up around us, and the boy played, and played and played until the time came when Jake had to go home. To quell Lee’s hyper activity, I managed to secure a tub (AKA Bath) for Cutes, inclusive of bubbles!

The next day was shopping day. The boys dropped me at Woolies, and proceeded to go exploring whilst I was left in piece to restock the cupboards for my 2 eating machines that are Ev and Lee! The boys arrived back after a couple of hrs, Lee was full of excitement after seeing heaps of machinery and seeing the mine from the lookout at the top of town! They helped me finish of the shopping and after burning a hole in the cash card, we would soon be stocked up for the next month! Now, it was back to the caravan park to unpack and cryovac the meat and get it into the freezer.

The remainder of the day saw us finish packing the food, and prepping everything for an early exit tomorrow. Dinner was done, grubby boys were bathed, and a couple of quiet beers saw us retire early.
We were headed for Karijini, and we were all buzzing with excitement. Hopefully our plan to hang off and wait for school holidays to finish would pay off, and see us experience Karijini without the crowds!
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