Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday, Sep 30th, Ballarat


On the way out of Hall's Gap this morning, we drove to the cave where the painting of Bunjil, Gariwerd's creation spirit, and his two helpers is found.  Easy driving, followed by a short walk, certainly contrasted with our perilous journey yesterday. 

One of this part of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions is Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum recreating the main street of Ballarat, the site of the biggest alluvial gold rush in the world.  Set in the 1850’s, Sovereign Hill is located on a 25-hectare site containing 60 historical buildings, with costumed staff and volunteers that present theater plays, conduct military ceremonies, assist in gold panning, lead mine tours, and run businesses along its streets.  An enormous amount of antique furniture, machinery, carriages, and devices is displayed throughout.  Open since 1970, the original town was consumed by fire in the 1860’s, but extensive photos taken from the top of the town hall guided its reconstruction. 

In our conversations with the coffin maker, we mentioned where we were from, and he told us that redwoods from California that were brought during the gold rush still stand in the Ballarat Botanical Park.  We’re stopping by tomorrow morning to see if we can find them.

Here are the photos we took today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, Sep 29th, Hall's Gap


Throughout these past many years, I’ve probably driven enough miles to make it all the way around the world.  Most of those miles were on highways, however well-maintained.  But a healthy amount were on backroads, as Pat and I enjoy exploring, and are willing to take risks.  Australia has quite a lot of roads which they will never bring up to the standard where they are safe at all times.  “Unsealed” is what they are called, and very often they pose serious hazards in bad weather or when fallen trees or rocks block the way.

Today, we chose to take several of those roads to circumnavigate the lower section of the park.  It was a real test of our Nissan Almera, clearly not made for rugged area driving.  The route was necessary in order to visit some caves where stone painting told the stories of local aboriginal origins.  The distances were great, and we had several maps and the Garmin. 

Pat and I have always agreed that we would check each other’s eagerness to risk a little danger in pursuit of our adventure.  I have to admit, however, the stories of travelers becoming stuck or lost in the semi-wilderness did flash in my mind as I drove out of the valley this afternoon.  

An hour earlier, on a narrow mountain road, we encountered one of those tractors you see using a large wedge blade to spread dirt across half the road when they construct highways.  He was coming toward us, and had spread dirt across half the road ahead of us, and I had no idea what we would find in a few minutes.  

Slowly, my side of the road became narrower, and the pile of dirt in the middle of the road grew higher.  Then, on a downhill grade, I could see my lane width disappear.  I chose (my decision alone) to drive across (and through too quickly) the center pile in an attempt to get into the other, wider lane.  Unfortunately, the pile contained more than dirt, and my cross took longer than expected.  Fortunately, the undercarriage of the car, and we survived the collision.  Unknown at the time, the front left tire rim didn’t.  

How we made it home in the next two hours will remain a mystery to us.  For when we parked in our spot in front of our room, we found the tire half-deflated.  Within a minute, it sat on the rim.   A post mortem by the roadside emergency service from a neighboring town’s tire shop indicated that the rim had taken a solid hit, creating a leak only when the smashed rim was at a 6 o’clock position, and stationary.  I was sure glad we didn’t stop up on the valley road. 

Tomorrow, we drive the spare over to the tire shop, pick up our repaired original, and head on the Ballarat.  Much thanks to Stephen and Peggy Odgers of Kookaburra Motor Lodge for their support.

Here is a link to the photos we took today.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, Sep 28th, Hall's Gap


I've been checking out park visitor centers along the way because Stewards is both raising funds to save the Jenner Visitor Center, and considering planning for a new visitor center at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.   The Brambuk National Park and Cultural Center in Hall's Gap is one more example of the designing a center which embodies the spirit of a place. Built like a large bird, wings spread out on the ground, the story of aboriginal life is revealed in a series of presentations as we move within.

Local shelter caves hold stone-painted right hands, animal tracks, birds, and other designs which support the belief that aboriginal peoples occupied this area for over 20,000 years.  One of the longest continuous cultures on earth, Australia's Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people are working together to preserve and protect its physical and cultural resources.  Tomorrow, we'll explore more of it.

Here are the photos we took today.
Monday, Sep 28th, Halls Gap

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday, September 27th, Portland


What a great day so far.  After some wonderful breakfast treats at Mahalia's Coffee headquarters in Robe, we took a drive out to a coastal point where the town had erected an obelisk long ago to alert passing ships.  A loop trail provided craggy cliff views, and we met some bicyclists for a stimulating conversation on New Zealand, surfing, and being Americans traveling.

Following the closest coastal route, we've begun to see animal protection signs for koalas and wombats on the side of the road.  We've yet to see either, but did nearly miss a kangaroo.

We're in Portland, just a little ways down the road from Robe.  The ocean stretch from Robe to Portland is called the Bonney Upwelling.   The winds here blow from November to March from the southeast, causing surface waters to drift away from the coast. They are replaced by cold, nutrient-rich water from deep off the coast, originating in Antarctica, which feeds phytoplankton, which feed the krill, the favorite meals for pygmy blue whales.  When Pat was last here, she took a photo of a pygmy blue whale (gorgeous wall-size shot in our closet, showing two seagulls in the whale's plume) in the harbor off Albany, surprising many onboard who had never seen one outside of this area.

I've posted several times since the last I put one up on Facebook and Google Plus.  Thought it was a bit too much to put each one up, so I waited for a while.  You can always see them all by going to the general website (  Here's a link to the photos we took today.
Sunday, Sep 27th, Portland

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday, September 26th, Robe


We have the best luck exploring the coast. Taking a scenic route which was mentioned in a guidebook, only found through Pat's great reading and insistence that we could find it, we stumbled upon a Pelican Breeding Lookout Blind.  Of course, we had to brave a half-kilometer of attacking flies, which found every open eyelid, nostril, ear, and mouth-slit until we got to the structure.  A  network of spider webs covered the windows and doors, displaying victims of past attempts to follow those who entered.  

Across the lagoon was an island, and on top of the island sat pelicans nurturing the young.  Every once in a while the parents would leave the colony and fly back across the lagoon right over our heads in search of food.

We ran over our first animal today.  I thought it would be a kangaroo, and I thought I'd be the one hitting it.  At dusk, they cross the road in great numbers, and tourists are cautioned not to drive at night. Each morning, their bodies are scattered all over.   But it was a snake, which we saw only at the last minute, and Pat had very little time to react.  We felt bad, as some of the snakes are actually endangered.    But I'm sort of glad the first one happened.  We're better prepared for the kangaroo.

The second semi-final of the Australian Rules Football League are being played right now, and it sure is exciting.  It's fast and complex and the whole country seems hooked on it.  We had dinner tonight during the first half in a local bar, and had as much fun people-watching as watching the game.  A group of guys had come from a party where they all dressed up as tennis players or golfers.  What a hoot seeing how they dressed.  They would have fit in very nicely in the 1950's.  I asked the bartender if he thought any of them had ever played either, and he thought not.

Here is a link to some photos we took today.
Saturday, September 26th, Robe

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, Sep 25th, Murray Bridge


Starting into our fifth week, we've got the next three weeks sorta planned out.  This next week, we'll be doing some flowers, beaches, mountains, and historic towns - Wait, isn't that what we've been doing?

Yes, but Australia has some spectacular examples of each in every part of the country.  On October 4th, we fly to Tasmania, pick up a rental car and explore the island for a week.  Then, Melbourne for a week, driving up to Sydney over two weeks, and a final week there.

But just so you don't think we've lost our interest in community, Australian politics are undergoing a deja vu moment.  The newest Prime Minister yesterday took the occasion of his first policy announcement to create a $100 million fund to address domestic violence prevention and response.  After raising the number of cabinet ministers from two to five, he framed the major initiative by saying he wanted to make it "Un-Australian" not to respect women.  The media is surprised by the move, and are asking the leaders of local domestic violence programs all the right questions.  And their responses seem to be arguing for most of the program and client service innovations that Pat and Donna and the DV movement brought about here in California.  Except for distributing new free cell phones to victims to avoid being cyber-stalked. That caught me by surprise.  It is refreshing, however, to listen to leaders address issues clearly and directly.  I hope it catches on back home.

The next few days will be shorter drives, more walks, and more photographs.

Here is a link to the few photographs taken today:
Friday, September 25th, Murray Bridge

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, Sep 24th, Quorn, Australia


At the suggestion of local friends, we drove north from Adelaide to Quorn.  It's about as classic a small town as you can get, with a street plan spanning 48 city blocks.  The name was given to it by Governor William Francis Drummond Jervois in 1878, whose private secretary was from the Parish of Quorndon, England.  Today, we had breakfast at a local cafe (Emily's), and we're back after a long day driving up in the Flinders Range - to upload photos through their wifi.

A few minutes later, twenty horses came down the street with riders.  Sally Brown, the owner (her sister is Emily), commented that it was a group who had come to town for a meeting. There are tourists in town, as we've seen in the two hotels where we ha dinner.  But this isn't a town where tour busses stop.  It's one of the last places to stay in a hotel before the Flinders National Park, and is a good day's drive from Adelaide if you stop frequently to look at flowers.

Flinders National Park used to be an ocean seabed.  And like a lot of national parks, it's mountains are composed of sandstone and limestone from the elements found a long time ago (500-600 million years) in the sea.   But the mountains seem unusually wave-like in design, like ripples across the landscape.

Here's what the official explanation is: The Flinders Ranges are largely composed of folded and faulted sediments of the Adelaide Geosyncline. This very thick sequence of sediments were deposited in a large basin during the Neoproterozoic on the passive margin of the ancient continent of Gondwana. During the Cambrian, about 540 million years ago, the area underwent the Delamerian orogeny where the geosynclinal sequence was folded and faulted into a large mountain range. Since this time the area has undergone erosion resulting in the relatively low ranges today.
Most of the high ground and ridgetops in the Flinders are sequences of quartzites that outcrop along strike. The high walls of Wilpena Pound are formed by the outcropping beds of the eponymous Pound Quartzite in a synclinal structure. The same formation forms many of the other high parts of the Flinders, including the high plateau of the Gammon Ranges and the Heysen Range. Cuesta forms are also very common in the Flinders.
The Ranges are particularly renowned for the Ediacara Hills, South-west of Leigh Creek. This was the site of discovery in 1946 of some of the oldest fossil evidence of animal life. Since then similar fossils have been found in many other parts of the ranges, though their locations are a closely kept secret due to the risk of sites being desecrated. In 2004 a new geological period, the Ediacaran Period was formed to mark the appearance of Ediacara biota.
That one feature described above (Wilpena Pound) which looks from the air like a collapsed volcano, is a natural amphitheater called a syncline, a folded sedimentary rock laying on its side.

It looks like this from space.  It's the main entrance at Wilpena, and the visitor center and bus ride up to near the top is great.  We. however, were going to drive for five more hours and had to get back to Quorn before the kangaroos came out - so we passed on climbing up to look into the actual amphitheater.

Further along the park road, we got to see some of the rich geology of the Flinders Ranges.  Pat and I love wild rides on roads where we really ought to have taken a big powerful jeep, and the upper section of this park contains some of those roads.   Click on Flinders Ranges to learn more about this fascinating region.

We'll head south tomorrow to Murray River, Australia's longest river, on our way to the Great South Highway.

Here are links to recent photos (not as many on long drives):
Wednesday, Sep 23rd, Quorn
Thursday, Sep 24th, Quorn

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, Adelaide


Adelaide is a great city.  It feels a little like San Francisco, mingling new transient workers and businesses serving mostly tourists in a beautiful bay environment, surrounded by hills and valleys containing upscale homes and long-time residents.  The guidebooks make a point to say the city was not built on convict labor (like Western Australia).

Well, whoever built all these parks and is paying for free buses circulating downtown among free museums has my thanks.

The Botanical Garden, Central Market, Aboriginal Culture Institute, and the Southern Australia Museum were great stops since we arrived.  Our hotel is centrally-located, and we've showered and eaten and slept well.  

We're taking a detour north to the Flinders Mountain Range on the recommendation of two friends who we were linked up with by a couple we know back home.  They invited us to dinner last night in their home in the hills, and were delightful.  We share almost every interest, and can't wait to have them stay with us when they come to California next year.

There probably won't be much wifi for the next few days, so don't look back until about Saturday. Here are the photos for the last two days.

Monday, Sep 21st, Adelaide
Tuesday, Sep 22nd, Adelaide

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 20th, Perth


Western Australia (WA) in the Spring reminds me of Provence, France.  Winegrowers, woodworkers, and dairy farmers who play and work hard, grow and serve great food, and build and live in strong villages and towns. WA is even about the same size as France, but with five percent of their population.  Even so, there are twice as many national parks, with four times as much land protected.  They’ve twice as much coastline, with warmer water and better surf. Trails and hiking and mountain-biking are very well-supported, and backpacker housing and hostels are easily found.  New caravan parks are being built, with an announcement today that twenty-nine were being equipped with wifi. 

So why not vacation there?  Recently, Asia has found out about it.  Malaysian and Chinese investments in tourism is soaring, with new airline routes being added each month.  Tours and RV rentals bringing Australians east are increasing.  But it’s a long way from anywhere.  About half-way around the world from many of you reading this.

On the negative side, there are no large wild animals.  I say negative because lots of people travel to see dangerous animals, and experience that thrill.  Feral pigs and kangaroos are the only threats to your safety, and only then if you run into them. 

Positively, whales and dolphins abound, and despite our historic slaughter, they’re very friendly.  Birds are colorful and sometimes noisy, but always unique.  This is a diving mecca, and those interested in shipwrecks and near-shore scuba adventures will not be disappointed.

But don’t try to do it quickly.  Western Australia is not for the fastfood vacationer filling every minute with high-rush opportunities.  This adventure has slow gourmet ingredients, and should be savored for lasting memories.

Friday, we rode a train out onto Western Australia's longest wooden timber jetty - to a large, submerged cannister in which we felt like we were in the aquarium - watching the sea life at the end of the pier.  

We're now sitting in the Perth Airport, having turned in our Apollo RV, and are waiting for four hours to take a flight to Adelaide.  The wifi is strong enough to check emails and post this, and we're eager to get into the second phase of this adventure.

After a few days in Adelaide, we'll use a rental car to drive via the Southern Coastal Highway to Melbourne.  Making the transition to hotels will be strange, and Pat's hoping the beds are a bit more supportive of her back.  I'm hoping they have better wifi.  And it will be different packing up our bags in and out of our rooms and car each night.  We have begun to get used to the RV life, and may consider doing it again later in the tour.

Here are some photos we took on Friday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday, September 16th, Margaret River


We’re in a farm caravan park.  The highlight of this evening was the 5pm feeding of the animals.  We passed in favor of sitting by our RV, drinking beer in our fold-out chairs, and reading.  The attraction wasn’t the RV park, but it’s location at the coast after a long day in the forests.

In the past two days, we’ve seen lots of tall trees.  Specifically, we’ve found the Tingle, Marri, and the Karri forests.  The first grows only in a 6,000 acre section of one forest, through which a treetop walkway has been constructed to view them.  

It’s actually only about a third of the way up the trees, and doesn’t connect to them in any way.  

Like a child’s erector set designed to mimic a unique local flower (tassle) and a long sharp leaf (sawgrass), the walkway was built of metal pieces that were no longer than three meters, could be lifted by two men, using a trail through them no wider than one truck’s width.  It’s a marvel to see and imagine, and even more to use.

The Karri and Marri grow over a wider area, but not much more.  There is a popular back road which can be taken (better with four-wheel drive) to the national parks which contain them.  These hardwood trees are sought after for exquisite furniture and home remodeling.  I saw one yesterday in a gallery for $11,000 that came from one of the last old-growth Karri.  Those we saw today were from seeds from the remaining trees in a logging frenzy in 1880’s, when an accidental fire took the rest.

And speaking of fire, we have seen the impact of a huge fire last year in this area.  Australian fires were well-publicized over the past decade, but it becomes real when you seem the destruction of already endangered trees.

Elsewhere, we visited other sites where parks were saved from logging, power plants, and development to become accessible, educational resources in the 1990’s.  Australians seem to have taken up the challenge to protect their floral environment in a decade of fervor.

You may have noticed a kukaburra sitting on a park sign in the photos today.  Famous for a children’s rhyme, he wasn’t laughing but did seem to be protecting his “old gum trees”.  He stayed there for enough time for me to turn around a mile up the road, drive back, and park just across from him.  Originally introduced into Tasmania in the mid-1800’s, they were re-released in 1900 from the Perth Zoo to rid the city of snakes.  Now their range is just abut the area of Western Australia we’ve just traveled.  Glad to have seen one befre we head east this weekend.

Before we do, however, I get one more look at some surf spots.  The coast north of Margaret River has some of the best breaks in Western Australia.  The warm Indian Ocean current and storm-generated swells add to the experience.  We’re checking them out tomorrow, and then heading on to our last caravan park before turning in the RV on Sunday.

We have limited wifi here, so photos will have to wait for the weekend.  UPDATED Friday! Thanks for waiting.  We're now sitting in a winery (3 Oceans) next door to our RV park, sipping their 2014 Chardonnay, and uploading these photos.   Here they are:

Tuesday, September 15th, Denmark
Wednesday, September 16th, Margaret River
Thursday, September 17th, Margaret River

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14th, Denmark, Southern Australia


Yesterday morning, we visited the ANZAC Center, on the top of the hill overlooking the Royal Princess Bay in Albany.  The Bay hosted the 1st and 2nd Convoys of ships which took over 40,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers into WWI.   The Center has been designed to tell the stories of the men and women who served in that war, and does it using the most skillful technology I have ever seen. Key local participants in the conflict are depicted on key cards received at the start triggering multimedia presentations throughout the tour, and allowing touch-screen desk and wall videos, images, and content specific to the participant to be displayed for the viewer.   Viewers are invited to interact with the content, providing additional information, and expanding the database.  If Google were giving awards for public accomplishments which pursued Google's mission "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful), this has got to win the prize.

We've been exploring the dirt beach access roads along Australia's south coastal highway.  Pat's been very patient as I push to view every possibly good surf spot.  Although the wind is keeping the waves pretty choppy, a few brave souls are paddling out to enjoy the rides.

Our home base town, Denmark, has a small luncheon restaurant at which we had pumpkin-pear-ginger and tomato-ginger soup with turkish bread.  On the walls were some of the best surf photos I've seen in a long while.  The photographer clearly knows the experience of being inside the curls - something which calls to anyone fortunate enough to have done so.

 Finally, we drove inland along a scenic stretch of rolling hill roads lined with trees and wineries. We settled on one at which we treated ourselves to Gelato ice cream.  Pat got coffee and salted caramel, mine was rum raisin and cookies and cream.
Here are the photos we took yesterday and today.
Sunday, September 13th
Monday, September 14th, Denmark


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday, Sep 12th, Albany, Southern Australia


1.3 billion years ago, when the earth was still trying to create oceans, ten huge super-hot chunks of molten earth (called Cratons) were moving around the space between Earth's core and its mantle.  They would ultimately be responsible for the movement of continents, three times forming super-continents and breaking them apart.  But in the beginning, they just bumped into each other, creating super-heated rock which cooled slowly.  

The Antarctica and the Australian Crators collided about 1.2 billion years ago, and the resulting granite forms an arc of surface boulders 200 miles wide along the coast we've been driving.

Albany is an old port city, founded when a brig “Amity” sailed into the Princess Royal Harbor with a captain and crew and 54 convicts.  We boarded a replica of the ship, displayed in front of the Western Australia Museum, and thoroughly enjoyed three hours of well-designed historical and cultural exhibits.  I have seldom seen more great content in so little space.  

The highlight of the inside exhibits is one titled “Remember Me – the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt”.  In WWI, Australia sent thousands of soldiers to fight in Europe and the Middle East.  A husband and wife in a small French town, skilled in photography, set up a makeshift studio in their barn, and captured the images of over a thousand of those soldiers.  They created postcards of the images to send back to Australia.  The war ended, and the plates were stored in an old wooden case in their barn.

Recently, they were found when the barn was being sold.  Thanks mainly to the Chairman of one of Australia's largest television networks, whose great grandfather was one of those photographed, the entire collection has been restored.  The exhibit which opened in Albany today is an amazing example of multi-media talent, from the brilliance of its creators to the dazzling technology being used now to tell the story.

We've made flight reservations for September 20th from Perth to Adelaide, and will pick up a rental car once we land and head for a hotel we've booked.  We'll turn it in on October 4th in Melbourne, before flying to Tasmania.

Here are the photos we took today.
Saturday, September 12th, Albany 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday, Sep 11th, Mt Barker, Australian Southwest


Days of driving doesn’t make for many photos.  We made it from Denham to Wave Rock in two days, and have an extra day in the area south of Perth as a result. Wave rock was interesting, but not as much as Pat wanted.  The rock was smaller and less of a geological hit than expected, but nearby Mulka’s Cave (with painted hand prints) made up for it.

We enjoyed the photographers on the rock, each trying to construct their compositions of strangely shaped granite.  I especially liked the Japanese wedding model and her director.

We drove southwest for a hundred miles this morning, and visited the Ravensthorne Wildflower Festival.  Exhibiting 700 species, and including a Devonshire tea service, the town wildflower society hosted an outstanding presentation in the town community center.  Nearby, a quilt show complemented the festival.

Our destination today was Bremer Bay.  At the western end of the Fitzgerald National Reserve, we hoped to get a space and then see what has been called the largest collection of wildflowers in Southwest Australia.  Radio commentators were predicting thundershowers, and two days of heavy rain, and our caravan park managers were cautioning trying to get into (and out of) the park tonight.  I wanted to check out some nearby coastal beaches and bays which featured little surfing icons on the map, and we had a late lunch overlooking two of them.  Taking a risk, we decided to drive to the park entrance and see if we could make it across 4-wheel drive dirt roads to a popular bay an hour away.  Taking exactly the time possible to get there and back (we jumped out of the car, took a photo, and headed back), we made it just before the park closed and the rains began.

Today, we drove to Porongorup National Park, in the Sterling Mountain Range.  The granite skyway walk was a bit too high for us, but we did see some great views from the trail, and saw some awesome karri trees and more wildflowers.  We're checked into the Mt Barker Caravan Park, stocked up on food at the local IGA Store, and are using the wifi in the town's library.   The clouds and drizzle are beginning to get more serious, and we'll probably just hang out here for a few hours.

Monday, September 7, 2015

First Week Completed, September 7th, Denham, Western Australia


It’s been a week today since we picked up the RV and headed north.  And we’ve been without wifi for several days.  We were actually in towns which were out of power (due to improvements being made).  At the most western and northern point of our trip, we have a fairly speedy wifi if we sit in a bench just outside the office before 9pm.  I’m writing this post in the RV, will cull down the photos for today (lots of sights of things that swim), and then try to get it all up to date before it shuts off.

Every day, the flowers along the road are spectacular.  We’ve got four-week passes to the National Parks, and we’ve gotten our cost back in this week.  

I’ve mastered the ability to drive fast enough to cover a reasonable daily distance, and still be slow enough to spot flowers we haven’t cataloged yet.  It easier if they are not green, as the background everywhere is a variety of green hues and textures.  The dirt is usually red, but coastal white to dark grey sand competes well.  The water is turquoise to dark blue, except in the great lagoons, where it can be deep pink to orange.  There are also large circular pans, like we saw in Africa, where everything is red.  The sky is always blue, and the sun has been hot.   We’re thinking of including sunblock in our morning regimen.

We took the advice of a visitor center volunteer in Dondaro, and detoured inland for a few hours to the Irwin River Valley, and the CoalSeam Conservation Park.  All of the literature in the small coastal town emphacized the wonders of the wildflowers there, and the fact that you could view the layers of coal in the riverbed from the fossilbed picnic area.  Geology, botany, and paleontology – all in one place!
No one mentioned the flies.

If you’ve ever had the experience of driving at night on a dark road with few oncoming cars, you may get what I’m talking about.  Driving this wide RV on narrow dirt roads feels very much like using high beams on a dark night drive on remote roads.  If you are like me, you use your high beams until a car approaches, switching them off as he passes, and then back to high beams.  Chances are they are doing the same thing.

These roads can be ragged on the edges, as are the nerves of anyone sitting in the passenger seat.  The trick to driving a wide van on a narrow road is to stay as close to the centerline as possible (maybe even crossing over a couple of inches) until another van approaches. At the very last minute, you each move back into your lane about a foot, hold your breath, and pass each other.  Again, back to the safety, and piece of mind, of the centerline. 

Our RV length is causing some problems finding places to stay.  It’s just a little too long for most RV camps.  We figured out how to describe it (8 meters), and then cringe when we hear that pause as the camp owners try to figure whether they have room for us.  You do not see the huge 40-footers here, which are common throughout the Western U.S.  Most RVs we see are either connected to tents, or are popups.  We see RVs and tour busses our size on the road, just not in the caravan parks.  Not pushing our luck, and realizing that we want to spend a full week below Perth, we’ve decided not to go as far north as we had planned, and have stayed longer at the places we have found. 

In the next three days, we’ll be heading south a bit inland from the road we came up on, aiming at a town a day or two southeast of Perth.  It’s called Hyden, famous for Wave Rock.  Geological formations meeting tourist adventures defines the town.  And it’s on the way to Esperance, which Pat is hoping we can visit.  Whether or not, we’ll swing west somewhere near the southern coast and wind our way through Albany and a myriad of other parks and towns in the region before ending back in Perth on September 20th.  Then, fly to Adelaide, rent a car, and figure out what’s next.

I’ve decided it's futile to try to write posts long after the fact for each of the days in the last week.  And I can hear Steve saying that no one is going to look at 400 photos.  Of well, view as much as you can.  I’ve tried to cut out bad shots without losing the content.  Here’s the link to the past week’s photos (I'm still uploading these, but I'm running out of wifi time on Monday evening, September 7th).  I'll finish them when I get to another caravan site which has wifi)

Friday, September 4th
Murchison River
Jake's Point

There is a video I created for Jake's Point.  Hope you enjoy it.