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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - November 2009


Beer, bikes, leather and fishing stories , Cliff Head, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Beer, bikes, leather and fishing
stories , Cliff Head, WA

We picked up Little Kim (not the singer) from her hotel on the 25th of last month and headed north of Perth hoping that it would not get too hot. Normally we would be heading south of Perth at this time of the year but we decided to show her the coast north of Perth.

The first plan to be spoiled by the weather was the sunset visit to the Pinnacles. Rain and wind kept us away - oh well, we can always try again on the way back down. We decided to head for one of our favourite spots just south of Dongera. The fishing and snorkelling is always good there - that is if the weather is ok ... it wasn't! The wind blew like crazy from the south for the first few days - this makes the water brown and not good for snorkelling.

When the southerly finally stopped, our old friend the easterly arrived. Now if you have not been on the coast north of Perth when the wind is blowing easterly at this time of the year, you will have no idea how unpleasant it can be. Easterly winds come from the desert - they are hot and dry and bring with them about a billion flies. The flies became so think that for a good part of the day we were not able to go outside. To make this a little less bearable, the temperature inside the bus climbs by the hour.
This time next year we will go south of Perth!

Little Kim lines up with the big gun, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Little Kim lines up with the big
gun, WA

The evenings are really nice - they are warm and the flies go elsewhere (where do they go?). We also got to catch up with our friend Ian the fisherman.

It's a clean hit - the roll of toilet paper is dead for sure!, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
It's a clean hit - the
roll of toilet paper is
dead for sure!, WA

Ian very kindly offered to take the three of us shooting on a nearby station one evening. This was heaps of fun and we all had a great time...

The station rabbits had less of a good time. Tracey could not seem to hit anything with Ian's little 22 and many rabbits hopped off never knowing that they had just dodged a bullet. Ian took pity on Tracey and produced a small shotgun (410?) - surly this will make the bunnies fall over. Well maybe not ... after five shots with a shotgun at a rabbit less that 20 meters away she was heard to ask Ian if he had remembered to put the shot into the cartages! One shot from Ian left no doubt about the gun or the ammo.
Oh well - perhaps she was just being kind to the bunny population!

Little Kim had a shoot with Ian's big gun (I can't remember what it is - but it goes off like a bazooka and whatever it was pointing at ceases to exist). Kim was aiming for a target ... well an unsuspecting roll of toilet paper. Much to everyone's surprise, Kim did not fall over and even more surprisingly, the bog-roll was "wiped" out of existence. Toilet paper all over the country now quivers in fear whenever Little Kim approaches.

The following day the wind finally dropped enough for us to go out on the water and we had a wonderful snorkel around a little reef. This part of the coast is well known as a breeding ground for crayfish and there were thousands of them. Every rock, ledge and crack was packed with small crayfish all waiting for the season to open. We did warn them that we would be back once we are allowed to take a few for our table.

We left Cliff Head on the 4th in 38 degrees of dry heat. About 500 million flies waved us goodbye as we headed south. We stopped in Jurian Bay to pickup some water and while there a storm arrived. The outside temperature dropped from 38 to 18 degrees in less than 10 minutes. The cool wind was very welcome indeed.


Burn her ... burn her! , Bretts 50th - Perth , WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Burn her ... burn her!
, Bretts 50th - Perth ,

Perth - what to say. Well I guess as far as cities go Perth is not bad. Compared to camping up at a beach and fishing and snorkelling ... Perth sucks!

It looks like we are going to be hanging around the Perth area for a few weeks as we take care of some appointments and sort out a few minor issues.

As always I have things to do on the bus - yesterday it was time to replace the exhaust manifold gasket (not an easy job on a turbocharged engine). Today I decided to fix a few little bodywork issues (the busses, not mine). A few weeks ago we drove down a narrow bush track to have a look for a suitable camping spot. The track was a little narrower than I thought. We ended up pushing a panel or two on the left side of the bus. After a little bit of persuasion with a hydraulic jack and some new paint it looks as good as new.

I also fixed the broken fibreglass on the back right of the bus where a small altercation with a bollard had resulted in the rear bumper punching a hole.

The live show - Bretts 50th -  Perth , WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
The live show - Bretts 50th - Perth
, WA

Last Friday evening we went to a 50th birthday party in Perth for Tracey's cousin. This turned out to be a very entertaining evening - the family has roots in theatre and television and so we were treated to a great live show staring the birthday boy! As the date was the Friday the 13th, it was very appropriate that the party was a fancy dress horror theme. We were able to park the bus in the car park meaning there was no driving to be done and a short stumble from the door of the hall got us home to bed. We hope to get an invite to the 60th!


The pituitary gland - [Click for a Larger Image]
The pituitary gland

Well this update finds us unexpectedly back in Auckland ... just when we thought we were done with the flying for a while.


Life sure does like to toss grenades. Tracey has been diagnosed with a tumour on her pituitary gland (in her brain) - this was causing a loss of eyesight and almost constant headaches. After meeting with a number of specialists in Perth to discuss options, we decided that our best course of action was to fly back to Auckland on the first available flight and have the issue dealt with in New Zealand. As you can imagine, this has happened very quickly and we are feeling like Dorothy still inside the tornado.


The really good news is that the team at Auckland hospital has been fantastic and Tracey has a date with an operating table and a team of surgeons on Thursday this week. While it is far from a routine operation, it is one that the team at Auckland Hospital has considerable expertise with and we are very confident of a positive outcome. We have wonderful support from friends and family and it is now just a matter of waiting. The recovery time is not known at this stage - but we are planning on being here in Auckland for at least a month.

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