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Published: July 19th 2014
Hurrah, it’s Friday 11 July and we both had a day off booked from work, Thursday night was a flurry of putting our gear in Gypsy, making sure, batteries were charged, tyres inflated to the correct pressure, diesel tanks full and plenty of warm clothes ready for what we expected to be a pretty cold weekend.
We were off into the central wheatbelt this weekend to the little town of Dowerin which is about 220 Kilometres from Perth.
Why? Well that’s simple; we were attending the gathering of 28 four wheel drive clubs coming together under the banner of the WA4WD Association. (Western Australia 4 Wheel Drive Association) which I sit on the delegate committee and as a member of our new four wheel drive club, TLCCWA (Toyota Landcruiser Club of Western Australia, we decided we would be active members who made a contribution to our club and would offer to organise and run trips and this was our first one.
Phew!! Got all that drivel out of the way.
We are 2/3rd
of our way through winter, fortunately in Perth a winters day can be up around 18+
degrees and the days are generally gorgeous, mornings and evenings are still decidedly chilly, we must have acclimatised as we both really feel the fluctuations in temperature.
The other reason why I (Andy) was looking forwards to getting away was simple, I have fitted a new HF (High Frequency) radio to the truck and wanted to give it a test, this radio has a range of around 3000 Kilometres depending on whether condition, which will be good when we go outback again.
Not wanting to get caught in rush hour traffic and no need to leave at the crack of dawn, we set off around 10.30 am and were soon driving down the Great Eastern Highway, towards Dowerin.
The scenery is very rural, the days is warming up nicely and we are both looking forwards to our change of scenery, we have be too long in one place and are both suffering from Itchy Feet Syndrome
, the thought of being in rural Australia is just what we need, and the thought of sleeping in Gypsy is really exciting as the last time feels such a long time ago!! A blog we have not done yet, which was
And his new HF setup
our Awareness Weekend, down in Harvey, So feel free to remind us about that one if you don’t see that soon!!
We stopped in the town of Northam for coffee and a break and Caroline wanted to have a drive, which is always encouraged, as its good practice, not because she doesn’t like to, oh no, but we look at our strengths, Caroline is such an amesome navigator, so I do most of the driving whilst Caroline navigates.
If it was left up to me, I just get in the passenger seat and nod off to sleep, and I then don’t navigate!! So it’s self-defeating really, Caroline ends up having to memorise the route so she doesn’t have to rely on me.
Yep, the last leg of our journey there, was only about 70k’s, Northam to Dowerin, and like I said as soon as Caroline took the wheel, I fell asleep and the next thing I knew we were just on the outskirts of town, and we were looking for the shires exhibition compound where they hold the Dowerin field day.
We soon found it and the only trouble was no one had said
where we could set up, so we rocked up to the administration area and asked them, amazingly they didn’t know either and suggested we phoned the shire, so we decided this was a little too complicated and went off to sort it out ourselves.
It was evident that each individual club was grouped together, naturally, so with a massive amount of space we selected where we were going to set up, and set about doing so.
As you are aware, Gypsy is all set up in about 2 minutes, the awning takes about 3 minutes, so it wasn’t long before we were going back in to town to have a nose about.
Eventually back at camp people from our club had started to arrive, not to many, I think most sensible people are wary of the cold weather and out here in the wheat belt, it was going to be fresh.
Angela and Mark arrived, with their brand new off road camper, which is a real cutie, it was its first time out and Angela and Mark were excited to spend their first night in it.
Now strategically we had decided as this was our
Trevor and Peta
Winners of the Blind Driving Comp
first time out of a while and as the weather was cold, we were not going to cook, we must be going soft, so instead had booked a table at the local pub for Friday and Saturday night, it was just so much easier and no doubt warmer!
Other members had turned up and we soon convened in the pub and had our evening meals on order, we like to support local industry, I don’t think it’s really fair, if your go to these places and buy all your food and fuel at your home destination and don’t spend any money locally.
Great pub food, nothing fancy, just good honest food at a fair price and the beer was cold, the girls were looking at the wine list, so the landlord invited them to look through the vast array of wines they had and pick a bottle, this made me giggle.
When its cold outside and you have two hot water bottles warming the bed, you are tired and you are excited about sleeping in your favourite camper trailer the only thing left to do is go to bed.
With our two single Doona’s (Quilts) our
Jack and Gypsy
Jack showing off his new HF Antenna
double Donna, teddy rug and blanket on the bed, you can appreciate how cold we expected it to be, Caroline had even brought her thermal jimjams with her.
We slept soundly, all toasty in our nest, I do not even remember Caroline getting into bed, I think as soon as my head touched the pillow I must have gone out like a light.
The morning was beautiful, cold, but the weather looked promising, we lay around in our bed still warm from our hotties.
The only food we had really taken with us was bacon and eggs, and when you’re away, it’s expected that you can have a decent breakfast.
Once breakfast, the washing up and showers were all done and dusted we all decided to have a drive in to town to go and have a coffee at the local bakery, which amazingly was being kept open a couple of hours longer, so it could hopefully benefit from the increased trade with the introductions of a 100+ 4 wheel drive vehicles coming in to town and spending their money.
The coffee was great and the array of cakes was superb, there was
a cake, like an iced bun that was the size of Brazil it was huge and for some reason it just fascinated me, it was nice and warm in the bakery and we all just sat and watch the morning go by.
We did walk through town and just had to walk around the hardware store, these country towns always have good hardware store that sell everything and this was no exception.
We get back to the camp site, the test track is in full swing, the local shire in conjunction with the Western Australian 4 wheel drive Association have constructed a test track that you could drive your vehicle over.
I have to just say this, what amazes me are these guys and gals desperate to put their four wheel drive on these test tracks, they try to go flying around these tracks and wonder why they have done serious damage to their trucks Duh!!
We watch some spectacular attempts to get around the track, the best were two young guys in a tray top ute who made it look easy.
I have to just say, we called Helen, on our favourite farm in
Wagga as it was her birthday, so it was great to make a call and wish Helen a Very Happy Birthday for her special day.
They also had another track where you were blind folded and your navigator has to give your directions on how to navigate the course, then when you complete it going forwards, you have to do it all again in reverse.
The day again vanished in the blink on an eye and again we all hit the local pub and ordered our evening meal, tonight the pub really started to fill up and the food was even better than the night before, once again the girls had access to the “wine cellar” to look for a suitable accompaniment to dinner.
We had to be back at camp as soon as our dinner was done as there was a big bonfire and prize giving evening, so with our coats and beanies on we took our chairs to the huge and welcoming camp fire and got comfortable, even more comfortable when Mark pulled out a bottle of port.
Raffle tickets were $5.00 each and prizes equalled about $6000, donated by some big companies in
WA, sadly no one in our group won a thing, except for a competition prize, Trevor, Peta and the kids and their dog Diesel had won first prize for the blindfold driving course which was great. Well done guys, it was great to see the kids parading the trophy around to all the other clubs.
It was another cold evening and it was a pleasure to get in to our warm bed and very soon it was morning again.
Sunday was about packing up and going home, a hearty bacon roll from the SIDS for KIDS stand and a coffee from the onsite van, we chatted some more, relaxed and then we headed back to Perth via Toodyay where we split from our convoy with Mark and Angela.
Finally Tin Dog Creek
is a small watercourse in Dowerin, Western Australia
The name is said to have come from gold miners
travelling to the Yilgarn
goldfields who called their tinned beef "tinned dog" and would discard tins at the creek.
Back at home mid-afternoon, it was time to get ourselves ready for another working week ahead.
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