Elephant Cove, Denmark, Western Australia.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wanda is Awandering....

Without me.  How sad is that!

Daughter has borrowed it for awhile as hers is in the garage but she *needed* one as she was moving house.  Now my baby is hours away and I only have a vague idea of where.   I don't know where the van is either.

I have no contact with either, it is all a bit worrying but I am a Mum, and a van owner, and that is what I do.   I'm sure they are both fine.

Both are due back here in a week or two.

Then it will be my turn.  Really!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Adventure....To Gnomesville

My planned 2 day adventure was a bit of a fizzle.  I had managed getting the car battery out and recharged and back in the van and she started fine on the Wed so I didn't need a new battery after all.  Early Thursday I started the car again and it started right away, no worries...the adventure was going to be a goer.

I loaded it up, thinking I'd be gone for 2 days, one night so I packed enough for a week.
It was getting close to leaving time when I heard the calf out the back mooing for it's mother.  Found it in the dam paddock but after trying for ages to get the silly thing out I finally gave up and left it there.  Went and got ready to leave, jump in the car, turn the key and ....Nothing.  The damn thing wouldn't start.  I had left the ignition on and 2 doors open from earlier when I started it so the 4 hours must have been enough to drain it enough not to fire.  Never mind I had jumper leads and another car...But no, I couldn't get the jumper lead clamp onto the battery clamp so that was a no-go.

Cursed a bit but it was already an hour later than I wanted to leave so I rang the daughter, told her I was taking the blue car did she want to come....No, so I said I'd pick up her daughter and we'd go for the day.

The original idea was to go for the day and meet up with family at the Donnybrook playground so I went back to that with the thought of a small adventure with the grandaughter on the way home.

On the way home I went looking for Gnomesville.  I knew it was east of Dardenup and I have been here before, many, many years ago but it was a lot further than I remembered and seemed to take forever but we eventually got there. 

There are hundreds of different gnomes at this place, all left by different people, some local, some from Australian states and some from other countries.

 Some are in little box like houses...

Some are alongside the paths and there have beem lots of paths made through the bush and it takes a bit of looking to see some of the hiding ones.

 Some have even climbed the trees to see what they can see...
                                                            There are families of Gnomes.

It's a great place so if you are ever in the area take the pleasant 20km drive and see what you think
Maybe even leave a gnome of your own.  Or maybe you already have.  Let me know if you have and next time I am there I will say hello to it for you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vrrrooommmm, vrrrooommm

Yes I did it, and all by myself.  I know that it's kinda sad to be thinking 'yay Me" but I took battery out, I found the correct charger and connected it all and this morning I put the battery back in the van, connected to dicky terminals and it's a goer.  If husband had of been home he would have done it for me and any other time I would have waited for him to get home but he rang and said he'd be another couple of days and I was thinking about an Adventure soooo, I tried it myself and succeeded. 

My thinking was if I couldn't get it going then I wasn't suposed to go on this adventure and I'd just take the other car and come back the same day.  IF I could get the van going then It meant that I was suposed to stay away overnight somewhere.  The Universe was talking to me and I have to listen to her don't I. 

I am off tomorrow and Hubby is due home tomorrow so I don't have to worry about the chooks so it will be good.  

The place I have picked out looks easy enough to get to, it's off the main road but still close enough to walk to help if I need to.  I'm thinking there will be other people there though.  Maybe.  Dunno.  I'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Feeling Flat.

Well all my fellow Intrepid Adventurers...Guess what I discovered.

If you don't go on Adventures then when you need to use the van for something else it wont start as the battery has given up the ghost.  
It wont start anyway and it sounds like a flat battery and though I know this happens with cars and I know they are like us people and need to do some moving on a regular basis to stay fit and healthy...I treated my beloved like I treat myself.  And now we are both flat and don't want to move at all.  We both need recharging...

We need an Adventure!!

The battery will be recharged and I am making a list of day trips that I can undertake, fortnightly at least, and hang the last post about saving the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Save The World Or Drive More?

After I had finished one of the three sooking sessions while going through Perth last week  and I wasn't the one driving!,  Hubby said that it might be easier if I drove more often in areas that I didn't know and built up some confidence that way.  He suggested that I just get in the van and drive.  Anywhere.  He may be right.  BUT!  I am in two minds.  I want to live simply and frugally and do my bit to *save the world*   Cutting down on petrol usage is a big part of that.  I stay home more than anyone I know and driving just for the sake of it goes against how I think.  But I do want to see more of the state I live in and I do want some *adventures*

I believe that I am a good driver but I see too many idiots on the roads and a couple of them have come quite close to hitting me.  We won't mention that 1 time I nearly wiped someone out on that stupid roundabout  The more often I am on the road then the more chances they will have.

This country is huge and I know that I will never come close to seeing it all but my little corner of the world?  I'd like to see a lot more of that.  And of course that means driving which means using petrol, or diesel in the case of Wanda.   So maybe I should push my conscience aside for a year or two and get out there exploring while I can.  Or I could just look at pictures on the web.  You know, be a watcher and not a doer.  That would save money, fossil fuel and tears.

So do I drive more and use more of the Worlds resource for no real good reason or do I stay home and just do a few one off  trips to places I really want to see.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking For Gold.

We were going to have most of Saturday to amuse ourselves while the workers were at work so a couple of them offered to take us to a spot where the soil samples had showed gold.  They showed us how to use their detector, gave us a GPS with directions to get back to the road, then left...

It was still early, before 7am and COLD.  So cold.  Hubby had first go while I had breakfast.  I had added hot water to some oats in a thermal mug when we had coffee back at camp and it was still nice and warm an hour later.    

With the sun up and a full belly it was soon my turn.  The machine sounds like a mozzie buzzing around and you walk for ages moving it over the ground and you get tired and your arms are sore, your back hurts but then you get a real loud BZZZZ as you go over a spot.  Gold!  Come dig it up for me Dear.  But no such luck, it was just a tiny tiny piece of metal..  Start walking and moving the detector again and 40minutes later ...another loud BZZZ...another piece of something not gold.  Three hours later we decide to head out but with plans to stop and have a play in a spot on the way.

The spot we tried on the way out was covered in stones, most of it quartz so even if we didn't find gold I could collect some pretty stones.  No gold but the detector went off as it went over a tiny bullet head.   It makes you wonder how these things get out there where no-one has lived and not many people know about. 

And the way out is...that way.

We need to head South towards the power lines and turn left when we reach the gravel road.  There are trees and stumps all over the place and Hubby had to twist and turn so as to not put a stake through a tyre and eventually thought he'd just check the GPS to make sure we were still going the right way.  I didn't have it.  He didn't have it.  It wasn't in the car.   A call to D to ask if he had it and it turns out that he did, we didn't, and though we knew what direction we needed to go we had no way of knowing what direction we were actually going.    He said one way, I thought another.  The sun has gone and it was cloudy so he couldn't tell that way...It started to rain...Really, we were lost.   Out in the middle of nowhere and apart from 3 scraggly looking station cows there was no living soul for miles. 
Rang D again and they said they would be on the way back soon and they would find us but might lose reception and the UHF only had a range of 3km.  They were at least 6km away before we left where we first started so it would be awhile.  We parked up, had something to eat, looked around a bit, stood on the roof of the car looking for the powerlines...Had a call from D,  they were back on the road where we were supposed to be heading so they hadn't found us...We lit a fire but they couldn't see the smoke...Eventually D rang back and there was talk of mountains, we could see 2 ranges but didn't know if they were east or south or west so that wasn't much help.  Clouds!  They talked of the clouds, shape and colour and  eventually both parties fixed on the same cloud and D says that was blowing South so we followed the clouds.  Came to a deep ditch that no-one could tell us about so they still didn't know where we were...We got out and walked around looking for a way over and found an old road.  Got onto that, went through the ditch and not long after came onto the road we needed but about 3km away from where we went in.  Called D and told him we were at the gate and five minutes later they were with us.
So we had a real adventure.  And it turns out that Hubby was, more or less, heading in the right direction all along and if I had of shutup and left him to it we might have been out a lot sooner. 

We had been told of people coming up and staying on the station and prospecting and finding small amounts.  And some quite large nuggets too but  D had been talking about a couple of people that were in the area prospecting as a hobby and took us to see them. 
From the talking I had a mental picture in my head of an elderly couple digging a smallish hole and looking for gold. 
The reality of these 2 people was a lot different.  Their hole was HUGE and they were using machinery to dig  and break up the rocks before going over it with a metal detector. One guy was retired and the other owned a business in Perth and this was their hobby.  They came up every couple of weeks, stayed for a couple of weeks and dug and looked.  And found.  Went home for a bit then came back again and so on.  They have been doing this, on this site, for a couple of years.

Below is a picture of their rockbreaker and the dozer.   It all looked like a lot of hard work but they were finding gold.  And a lot of it if the stories were true.

We didn't find any gold but we had fun looking and it was all a great experience.  We will do it again if we get up that way as the gold is there and people are finding it on this station and in the areas around the place.

Thanks D for giving me the opportunity to try this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Doolgunna Station Trip. Days 4 and 5

Day 4 and it's Sunday, the truck is loaded and we are off, heading back the way we came, aiming for New Norcia which is a couple of hours north of Perth.  We'll stop for food, toilet break, smoke break.  Hopefully these will all be at the one stop as we want to get to New Norcia before dark.  We're not too long into the drive when the clouds come over and soon it was raining.  And it didn't stop.

There was also a lot more traffic on the road today, a lot of roadtrains and trucks taking up machinery for the mines.  We saw 2 trucks, each carrying 2 tyres.  Mind you, they were BIG tyres...A truck with a massive scraper and another with the body part.  Put the pieces together and build yourself a haulpac to use in the mines.  We had to slow down and pull over for the wider loads, add in the slow driving due to the heavy rain and we lost quite a bit of time.  We saw a lot more eagles on the way home as there was a lot more roadkill and the properties are not fenced up here so you need to be careful of cattle on the roads as well.  At least with the radio on we were forewarned of any upcoming hazards like water over the road...
 And oncoming oversized loads..


Hubby drove and kept driving.  I looked at the scenery, read a bit, had a bit of a sleep...all the stuff I do on long distance trips when I am not the driver.

We had to unload the truck in Perth on the Monday and if Hubby had been by himself he would have pulled over somewhere and slept but because I was with him and I really wanted to see a bit of New Norcia we planned to stop off there on the Sundy night and had booked a room.  I was hoping to see a bit of the town before night but it was a lot later than we wanted it to be by the time we came close to New Norcia.   It was wet, dark, cold...not exploring weather and after being on the road all day all I wanted was a hot shower, hotter coffee and a warm bed.

Driving up the road to the hotel I was keeping an eye out for it but it was a pleasant surprise when I finally realised which building it was.

The above photo was taken from the web but the one to the left is one I took on Monday morning.  It's a bit dark because it was overcast and still raining.  It is the top balcony, each room had doors opening onto this but I didn't see anyone else out there the whole time we were there.

This hotel is old and a bit worn but I loved it. 

Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived, it rained all night and it was still raining the next morning so I didn't get to explore the town like I had  planned.  Still, that gives me a reason to come back and if I can overcome my stupid fear of driving near Perth I will come back in the van.  We did don a raincoat so I could go and visit my rellies in the cemetery but then we left for the seemingly short trip into Perth for the drop-off.

That was achieved with no trouble so we drove back to Byford to finish unloading and to refuel then home.

I enjoyed the whole trip and look forward to going again. 

Doolgunna Station Trip. Days 2 and 3.

We had a long way to go so there wasn't time for seeing any more of Dalwallinu than I had with my morning walk so after loading the freezers back onto the truck we were back on the road heading North.  The plan was to make as few stops as possible and get to Doolgunna around 4pm. 

So we drove.  And drove.  And drove.  Well Hubby did, I was the passenger so I got to look at the scenery and point out the herds of wild goats, the emu, the eagle...Things like that.  I also got to read a bit.  I think this could be a long boring drive for the drivers and there are people who do it all the time. In trucks a lot bigger and slower than the one we were in.  

We passed through a few towns, Wubin, Paynes Find, Mt Magnet, Cue...but didn't have time to stop at any of them except we had to stop at Meekatharra to refuel but from there we didn't have very far to go.  Just another couple of hours.
One day we will do a proper road trip and go back to all these places and take time to explore the area. 

We finally turned off the highway and into the dirt road that led to Doolgunna Homestead.  Now that was a rough ride in the truck.  We had to take it real slow but it still rattled everything.

Then we were there.  D was the bloke in charge of the camp and a mate of ours so we reported to him and he gave us a choice of places to stay.  In a tent at their camp area or in the accommodation area 100metres away.  The rooms would be warmer, they were close to a kitchen.  The bathrooms were there...Hard choice but we chose a room.

Below is their camp area.  The Geologist sleeps in the mobile home and the other workers have a room in the shed.  They cook in the MH and one end of the shed has a room with a TV and, now, the lounge and the 2 freezers that we took up.  They have electricity from a generator that runs on petrol and they refill each morning.  They seem to have unlimited power though with 4 laptops, a fridge, a freezer, now 2 Engels, lights etc. 
These people work for a mining company and their job is to take samples of the dirt in different areas to see if it is worth the mine drilling for gold. There is a team and they take it in turns to fly in and fly out.  There were 4 men there while we were there but 1 was a temporary, a young bloke there for a month to see if he wants to become a geo.

The homestead house has it's own power supply coming from solar panels and a wind turbine and doesn't have much to do with the mine blokes.

There were 8 or 10 rooms in the accommodation block, 4, or 5, running down each side of the building and a bathroom was at one end. The bathroom had a toilet and shower for the women and another lot for the men with a communal room in between with troughs in.   There was a kitchen room at the other end.  
A few of the rooms on the other side had workers in them from a different camp to the one we were involved with but we had our side to ourselves.  These rooms are also let out to the prospectors that come up to the  station to hunt for gold.  There were 2 caravans here and 1 lot had been there for 6 months.  They had found a bit of gold but come up here regularly.
We were told that the rooms were $10 a night but I am not sure if that is per person or per room as we didn't pay, it was covered by the mine we were doing the pickup for.

The walls were cement bricks with different rock embedded in them.  Absolutely beautiful.  And thick so they made the rooms quite warm.  I think we would have been cold if we had of chosen the tent!
Below are just a few photos of the walls.
 I loved the look.

These rooms are also let out to the prospectors that come up to the  station to hunt for gold.  There were 2 caravans here and 1 lot sometimes stays for up to 6 months.  They had found a bit of gold and come up here regularly.
After we were settled in and I set up my coffee making area we went back over to their camp and talked about the load we were picking up and made plans for the next day, Saturday.  We didn't have to worry about cooking as these blokes were going to look after us while we were there.  And they sure did,  We had a couple of lovely evening meals made by N..  After he had finished his day out in the field he would come back, shower and cook.  Brilliant meals, fish one night, marinated chicken the next, made with some of the meat that was in the Engels that we took up and vegies they had in their other freezer.  It seems like they eat pretty good even though they are miles from civilization.
We were in bed by 8 as we needed to be ready to leave here at 6am on Saturday so they could show us a spot to do a bit of metal detecting ourselves.
Most of Saturday was spent looking for gold, getting lost, watching other people look for gold.  Another early night and up early early on Sunday to load the truck before we left.

These bags are full of smaller bags that are full of dirt.  They are taken to Perth and tested to see if the area that they came from has gold in it.  There was a pile of other stuff that we had to load by hand as it too needed to be taken back to Perth but we were on the road by 9am.

These Sturt Desert Peas were growing near one of the sheds.

 These are Pink and Grey Galahs.  They came in in the evening and camped out in the trees.  I thought that as I walked towards them that they would all fly up in the air and it would look real cool but they didn't.  They must be used to people coming and going as they didn't seem fussed at all.

We didn't get to check out a lot of the area so I am hoping that I can come back on another trip.  There are 3 drivers that will be doing these trips though so I will only be able to go if Hubby does the drive over a few days when I am not working.  
That might be next week or it might be months away.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Doolgunna Station Trip.

Doolgunna Station is *a long way*  from here, last time Hubby did this trip it took him 11 hours, from Perth.  Mind you, he was in a truck so doing it in a car it probably wouldn't take as long but, for us, it is a long way from home.

The reason for the trip was to pick up bags of soil samples and take them back to Perth for testing.  There are people on this station, and lots of other stations in the North of our state, looking for gold, copper and probably other minerals but on this station they are drilling for gold.

The blokes doing the soil-sample pickup run usually drive up one day and load up and leave the next.  But I wanted to go and see a bit of the country up that way again so talked Hubby into letting me go along with him and doing the 2 day trip over 5.  The lovely man agreed even though it added a lot to his work and meant a couple of days being away with no pay.  But he had me for company and that would have made up for it.  That's what I kept telling him anyway.  And I might be allowed to go again...Anyway...

Thursday.  I was supposed to work and we were going to leave after that but I had a bonus day off so that gave us the chance to leave early and have more time to stop and look on the way.  In theory anyway.  The truck was supposed to be loaded so we could leave straight away, with no stops in Perth...But...it wasn't fully loaded so we lost time there.  We had to do a drop-off and a pickup in Perth so that added more time so any time we made up by leaving early was already lost.  HoHum...It meant that we wouldn't have time to stop anywhere as we wanted to be in Dalwallinu before dark.  We had booked a room here so we weren't driving through the dark and because I was with him it wasn't possible to pull over and sleep whenever.  
We stayed in a motel unit behind the pub and though it was clean(ish) with plenty of hot water it was old and basic.  I had been quoted $85 and we were told the same when we picked up the key but when Hubby went over to get something to eat and pay for the room he was charged $70.  A much better price.
Our unit is the one with the open door.

 One of the things that we had to load onto the truck in Perth to take up with us was 2 big Engel freezers.  Full of meat.  So Hubby had to half empty them to lift them onto the truck in Perth then refill them.  Half empty them to lift off the truck here so we could put them in the unit and get them running again and then do the same the next morning before we left.  And they were heavy even with half the stuff taken out, I know cause I helped carry them, so not sure what the thinking was in expecting him to do that.  We had an early night so I was up early Friday, had a coffee but still had to wait an hour for it to get light enough to see before I went walking the streets and seeing what the town was like.

 I liked the  stone wall in front of this building.

My main impression of Dallwallinu was that the main street was clean and tidy and nice looking.  All the houses and shops were tidy, the gardens were all neat and tidy.   Then I walked back to the hotel and walked behind it to get to the units...and the place was a dump.  Mess everywhere, untidy buildings, old junk laying around.  It was so noticeable after walking through the main street and such a pity that it wasn't tidy as well.
We left Dalwallinu around 8am, knowing there was a long drive ahead.
The area around here is good for wheat growing and as we were leaving there was this sign that I thought was clever.

And after a bit... Six hours to go...
To be continued...

I'm Ba aack

We are home, safe and sound, from our work trip but so much to do.  I need to help clean out the truck, washing from away and stuff from before we went.  Get the house back in order, HoHum, it doesn't take me long to mess things up...Anyway, lots to do before I can start putting *finger to keyboard* but first another coffee before going out and letting the chooks out so I best be off.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Five Day's Away.

My next *adventure* starts sometime on Thursday leaving here to drive to Perth to pick up the truck first.

I have an unexpected day off so we'll be able to leave earlier and take it slower so I'll get to see more.   We'll drive 5 or so hours and stop at Dalwallinu for the night, leave there early Friday and get to Doolgunna Station ...when we get there.   Stay there Saturday, maybe get some gold prospecting in, leave there early Sunday and stop at New Norcia on the way back.  That will give me a few hours on Monday morning to have a look around before we need to get into Perth to unload.  Home late afternoon sometime ready for work on Tuesday.  Sounds like a plan.

Hubby has done this trip once before, drove all day to get there and back the next.  He slept in the truck.  With me going with him this trip and wanting to see a bit of some places as we go things will be different.  He is a buy crap when refuelling eater, me...not so much.    So I need to take stuff I can munch on every few hours...but the fridge in the truck doesn't work.  My job today is to pack a few clothes, some food.  I then need to tidy the house ready for L staying here.  I need to clean out the chook house so she doesn't think I'm a bad chook mummy.  Washing so I have something to take.  Find me Whizz in case I need it.  Clean out the fridge so she doesn't think I'm a bad fridge mummy...And all the other stuff that I haven't done since I heard I'd be going away and that needs doing.   HoHum...

Best be off here and adoing.