Erk’s Excellent WA Adventure, 2006 (part 2)


Wednesday avro

In my last blog, I said I was going to get a haircut and a massage. That didn’t happen. I went to a second hand bookstore and brought a bio about John Laws from 1985 and went back to the motel and read it from cover to cover while watching TV. I seriously don’t know how people live in Geraldton. It is just so slow for what appears to be a major regional centre. Off to bed……

Thursday

With Geraldton thankfully in the rear view mirror, I head north to Carnarvon. I stop off for a drink and some food at Northhampton and the service station guy is very interested in my Bluetooth headset. Speaking of said headset, I’m still not used to it. Before leaving Geraldton, I was on the phone to Drue in the car. Then I went into a shop thinking that the phone was in my pocket so I kept talking with no answer from Drue. When I got into the shop, I realised that the phone was in the car and the range wasn’t good enough. Ooops.

For what is supposed to be the North Western Coastal Highway, you don’t see very much of the coast at all. While the coast looks close to the highway on maps, you hardly see the water at all. I was expecting something like the Great Ocean Road in Victoria (another thing on my to-do list) As I found on my trip to Geraldton, it is very easy to be well over the speed limit.

It’s amazing where you can find the interweb these days. Stopping at a roadhouse at Billabong (halfway between Geraldton and Carnarvon), there was an advertisement at the local caravan park that says that they have web access. While deciding what I wanted to eat, I looked through the CD’s for sale. At the same time as I was there, a tour group pulled in and I could imagine the roadhouse workers rubbing their hands together with glee. After lunch, it was time to head back on the road.

Next stop was Overlander Roadhouse for fuel. I needed some cash out of the ATM but one of the workers was trying to get it to work. I suggested kicking it. The EFTPOS worked though.

I can’t really do the scenery justice in words or photos. Isolation in every direction. Plant life somehow surviving and the food chain in action mainly thanks to road-kill. Plantation and red-dirt as far as the eye can see. And surprisingly, it isn’t 100% flat, there are some hills. It seems a bit strange to see floodway signs when the country just looks so dry. But then again, I’m not here in wet season.

And somehow miles from anywhere was a guy having a rest stop on a pushbike. Here I am in my air conditioned hire car with music playing at 11 and I feel tiredish at the end of the trip after a 5 hour car trip (with breaks) and here is this guy on a pushbike. There is always someone doing it harder than yourself.

After about 5 hours, I arrive at Carnarvon. It appears to be a very pretty coastal area. I look around the shops and go to explore some of the coast, a coastal jetty with tramway (not operating when I visited) and check into a motel. Tea is Golden Treat which I read in the paper the day before is owned by the same people who own Red Rooster. (how’s that for useless trivia!). For 1/2 chicken and chips they are charging $9 here but for 1/4 chicken and chips at Rally Australia in Gloucester Park in Perth they were charging $8!

Friday

It is amazing to look on a map and see how far I have come. I am sitting in an interweb cafe here in Carnarvon on Friday and I am now 904km from Perth. I have just had my haircut (I had to make an appointment!!) by a lovely English woman (OMG another accent! love it!). I was hoping to have a massage (yes, I know I said that the other day) but the local massage lady hasn’t got appointments until next week.

I’ve just had a nice fish and chips, a bit on the small side for $14.95 though! Tonight will be spent at the local pub having a few brewskis and hopefully meeting some of the local hotties that I have seen around. After all, what else is there to do at night here? But unlike Geraldton, Carnarvon doesn’t seem to pretend to be a major regional centre. It reminds me of Broken Hill by the sea. I don’t know why I do it but I compare other places that I and others would know.

I’ll leave here on Sunday morning and depending on how I feel, I’ll be in either Perth or Geraldton Sunday night.


Friday avro

As I said earlier, the haircut happened but the massage didn’t. Off to the pub within staggering distance of my motel room and not a lot was happening. Went for a meal next door and watched the sun set over the ocean and had pork chops. Haven’t had pork chops for ages.

Back to the pub and a small crowd had rocked up for a night of Lions Club spin-a-wheel followed by a cash jackpot prize to get people into the club which was won by the Lions Club guy. By about 9pm I’d had enough so I went off to bed with about 3 Southos under the belt.

Saturday

Up reasonably early feeling OK. Went to get the paper and Auto Action magazine that is published in Sydney and available there on Wednesday and was expected into Carnarvon on Saturday. I bet it doesn’t take that long for the chick mags to get there! But the papers were delayed somehow and weren’t expected until about 9.30. Went around town getting some shots and went out to the wharf to see the mini train not run again. Back into town, finally get the paper and read the paper overlooking the water. Get peckish so I look for some food and see that AA is now in so I get it and some People and Picture mags for old times sake – I am on holidays after all!

Back to the motel via Golden Treat and then go home to eat and read my mags. I then have a siesta. A few hours later, I get up and it is tea time.

I decide to check the action at Pub 1 within staggering distance, nothing doing there. Off to Pub 2 for a counterie as advertised by the walls of the pub, they don’t do counteries or any food anymore. Hottie barmaid from Pub 2 recommends that I go to Pub 3. Off to Pub 3 (luckily all of these pubs are within about a 4 block radius) and I enjoy a nice steak and chips at Pub 3. I finish the meal at Pub 3 and nothing is happening there, some women are having a presentation night of some sort for some sport that I have no idea what it was (I couldn’t see the little figureines on top of the trophies) so I went back to Pub 1.

Pub 1 had a hottie barmaid behind the counter as well so I sat at the bar drinking. Everytime my glass approached empty, she got me another drink. Too bad I couldn’t take her home………

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in Pub 1 minding my own business when Bob the Lions Club guy from the night before tells me that he knows me and that I was stacking shelves at the local Woolies earlier. Nice one Bob, you should try being a standup comedian! Speaking of standup, I purchased an interesting mag in Carnavron called HA which might inspire me to try a bit of standup myself. Ooops, off the track there. Anyhoo, I tell Bob that I’m not a local then he says that he saw me at Pub 1 yesterday. That much was true.

A few Southos later (I lost count), I’d had enough. Could have talked to the barmaid all night but she was busy and I was tipsy and with no other talent around (Pub 1 was experiencing a typical night so I was told), I staggered back to my motel bed. It was only 9pm again but I swear that when it comes to booze and WA, I am operating on Sydney time as it sure seemed like midnight when my head hit the pillow.

Sunday

Out of Carnarvon early enough after last night. With stops at Billabong (fuel and toilet), Geraldton (KFC, souvenirs that I didn’t get before in my rush to get out of town), Eneabba (fuel and ice-cream) and a couple of other photo stops, I arrive back at the F1 hotel at Perth where I write this blog. Compared to my trip up with the days in Geraldton in the middle and that trip taking about 10 hours F1 – Carnarvon, it took me 9 and a half hours on the way back. But then again, I did have 2 lunch breaks on the way there compared to one on the way back because I spread the trip up over 2 travelling days. Surprisingly I feel alright considering that the trip Carnarvon to here was the longest that I’d driven in a single day ever with a lot of that time being 100kph and higher. I reckon I’ve overtaken more trucks, road trains and other vehicles on single stretches of road in the past week than I have for the other 16 years of my driving career.

As with the trip on the way to Carnarvon, the landscape astounds me and I can’t do it justice in words or photos. I’m glad I went to Carnarvon, a few days doing nothing was just what I needed after a hectic 12 months or so.

Tomorrow will be an easy day, I might do a bit of window shopping in Midland and then return the hire car with who knows how many km on the odo. Perth – Carnarvon – Perth is just over 1800km on it’s own. I think I’m entitled to 1200km for the length of my hire (100km per day for 12 days of hire) so on that trip along I am 600km over. And that’s not including the Rally Australia and local stufff I’ve done. But I don’t care. I enjoyed the drive and the experience.

Tuesday will see me fly home and Wednesday will probably be spent online.

Monday

In hindsight, I’m glad that I came back to Perth in one day. Woke up around 10 and went to Midland. Did some window shopping and wasn’t feeling good. I put it down to the milkshake I’d just had.

Cleaned up the hire car and found a pub with skimpies (barmaids either topless or in lingerie, usually only happens in WA) so I thought I’d go there later that night. However, I didn’t make it. Got back to the motel around 2pm and felt worse and I knew exactly what it was. Kidney stone again. Unlike the last two times where I’d taken 3-5 days to get rid of it, it only took 5 hours of being really sick and it was gone. So needless to say I didn’t get to see any skimpies. Afterwards I decided to try to get a couple of apples around 10pm to try to eat something and settle my stomach. Had to drive the 10 or so km to the centre of Perth to get them and they didn’t help anyway!

Tuesday

After a reasonable night’s sleep considering, I got up and packed what I had to pack. Checked out the F1 and returned the hire car. Only got charged $310 for excess km when I’d budgeted $500 for it. Turns out the excess km charge was 18c/km rather than the 28c/km I thought it was. Still, lesson learned. It was the Carnarvon trip that put me other but try flying to Carnarvon for $310 and not seeing the scenery. Well worth the $310 but in hindsight, I should have got unlimited km which I normally get automatically.

Cab ride to the airport and I checked in.Got my camera dust removal consficated by security (blog soon) and basically I’d got through ok at Melbourne, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, BrisVegas and Sydney X 4 with it in there but not Perth.

Was still feeling dusty after the night before and drove the white bus in the airport. Took some Travacalm and about 30 minutes into the flight, it worked well. Because of my condition, I chose the back row to be close to the loo just in case which I thought would have been unavailable because on the flight from BrisVegas, the back row was reserved for the Virginettes. Better than that, the row opposite was empty so one of the Virginettes allowed me into the empty row so I could stretch out. So I did and I even managed a bit of sleep which I wasn’t able to do on the way over. Armed with a book (another lesson from the trip on the way over, the latest Lachlan McCulloch undercover cop book) and a bit of sleep, I felt heaps better about this flight.

Got home just after 9pm and pretty much straight off to bed. Even managed to have some ice cream and chicken (separately) without driving a white bus again. Woke up the next arvo (today) in my own bed for the first time in 3 weeks at 1.30pm. Welcome home, Erk.

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