Erk’s Excellent WA Adventure, 2006 (part 1)


Wednesday (Day 1) – GC > BrisVegas > Perth

Travelled up from the GC to BrisVegas. Had ages to wait for my flight. There is only one direct flight that the Virgins offer from BrisVegas to Perth that leaves BV at nearly 2000 and then it forms a red-eye service. The other options were via Sydney or Melbourne. So I thought I’d get onto the direct flight and transit in BV.

Went for a short train ride after lunch and then to the interweb cafe to check emails and finish my GC blog. Sat around for a while watching what BV calls peak hour before heading to the airport.

The flight was very very very long. Left BV @ 2000, arrive Perth 0130 EST or 2330 local. The flight felt like it was never going to end. As it was mainly a night flight with lots of lucky people who could sleep on the plane (something that this big unit could not manage) I couldn’t read or do much else except make several walks up and down the plane and peel off dead skin post Indy (which is still happening as I type this a few days later). I even went down to talk to the Virginettes at the back of the plane. Had to laugh at a tabbard they put over the back row of seats saying “for flight attendant use only” – I was thinking of placing it on my chest and seeing what would happen but in these days of people without a sense of humour, I’d be blogging about the inside of Perth Watch House about now. So I mentioned about how long the flight appeared to be taking and Antoniella the Virginette told me to look forward to the end of the flight as the wait will be worth it. And yes Antoniella (that is such a HOT name!), you were right. The wait was worth it and now that the rally has finished (another blog coming soon), I am going to rest up for a couple of days and then head north.

By the time that we got off the plane (the easy bit after the long long long bit) and waited 30 minutes for our bags (the long bit that didn’t seem that long compared to the flight) it was close to midnight and by the time I got a shuttle to my accommodation and checked in and settled, it was 1am local time, 3am Eastern.

Monday

I feel heaps better after Rally Oz compared to how I felt after Indy. Maybe the fact that I’m not sunburnt as much and that I am looser after those two excellent GC massages helped.

I headed north to have a look at the railway in the middle of the Mitchell Freeway. If only the NSW Government had some brains we could have a similar arrangement especially to the North-West. Then I went to check out the under-construction line to Mandurah. Here in WA, they are actually trying to send the public transport to where the people are and expand it. They aren’t doing a bad job at all, especially considering that in the 1980’s, the then government wanted to close the suburban rail system down entirely.

In the arvo I decided to go for a drive, partly to help decide in which direction I headed for the final week of my WA stay. I was tossing up between Geraldton (north), Albany (south-west) and Kalgoolrie (east) so I headed east (a novelty in itself to drive that far east) to Northam, about 100km east of Perth. It was a pleasant drive and Northam reminds me somewhat of Lithgow but without the cold. It’s a nice place to visit but for me not a place I’d like to live, it’s too quiet for me. I’m used to the city. I’ve decided I’m heading north.

Tuesday

I decide to head north at the last minute, again I was thinking of heading east. However, north it is. I spotted some landmarks from my previous trip in this direction to the Pinnacles and did a fair bit of over-taking. Despite the fact that I am in a hired Hyundai Getz, I still have to watch my speed as it is still possible for the speedo to climb easily above the limit of 110. I think of the Northern Territory’s open speed limit policy and talk that I read about while on the GC saying that the Territory’s Government are thinking of changing the open speed limit policy because of drink driving and people running red lights. Now unless I’m very much mistaken, traffic lights in the areas with no speed limit do not exist.

I’m starting to feel a bit sleepy before lunch so I stop at the halfway point between Perth and Geraldton. The name of this place escapes me at the moment but there isn’t much to the town and it astounds me that people choose to live in such isolation. But then again, travelling people like me need someone to cook me some food for them and a place to get fuel etc etc. I had a picture of what the local newspaper would be like: “And in Insert Town Name *here* last week, f**k all happened.”

I went to the roadhouse and ordered some fish and chips. The guy behind the counter seemed really happy when he announced to the kitchen “we have an order”, pretty much delivered in the same way as the famous “Houston, we have a problem” quote. I’m guessing they don’t get too many orders for fish and chips (which was quite nice, by the way).

Feeling refreshed after lunch, I made it to Geraldton about about 5 hours on the road. I drove around town which sort of reminded me of Wollongong. It seems to be a place where people use it for a convenient stop-over point while heading further north. I thought I’d be able to spend the next few days here but after seeing the sights already, figure that 2 nights would be enough and then head north to Carnavaron via Monkey Mia. I might as well keep going while I am here, remembering that I should overnight in Perth on Monday for my Tuesday flight.

It’s funny, two mates have seemingly forgotten that I am still not in Sydney. Pete wanted to me have some drinks with him on Friday and Troy was wondering if I’d be interested in 3 days firefighting at Warragamba Dam. A couple of quick phone calls later and I’m still here in Geraldton.

Getting some accommodation was difficult. At one place, they could only have me for one night instead of the two I wanted. The next place had no one at reception and I booked into the third place into a budget room. As long as the TV works, the shower is good and the bed is comfy, I don’t care if the walls need a paint. I watch a bit of TV and finally caught up with that improv show “Thank God You Are Here” which I enjoyed, partly due to the appearance of Bob Franklin, better known to me as being in Bad Eggs and Boytown. I might have do some Googling………..

Wednesday

Bugger all to do. I decide to walk to town (5 minute walk) and walk around the shops. There are quite a few empty shops. I will get a massage and a haircut later but I’m about to write an article for my car club magazine. Tomorrow I’ll depart and head north.

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Filed under Motor Sport, Photo Stories, Rally

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