Once more we are not in Merredin, but Trayning a small town to the North.
We left Madura pass and tonkaed along the Eyre Highway going our usual 80 kms per hour. The traffic was okay. We overnighted at another site which was very extensive with lots of available parks and shrubs separating site. Once more we set up camp and someone came and parked right next to us. We headed off the next morning to make it as far as Norseman.
I was pleased to see a huge sign which announced the 'Greater Western Woodlands' which heralded the beginning of the Mallee country which stretched over most of the area between Balladonia to Southern Cross and Norseman to Leonora. Red dirt, mallee gums and regional specialty gums such as the Salmon Gums between Salmon Gums and Coolgardie.
A lot of work has been done on the Eyre Highway and the areas bordering it. Many more areas to camp overnight have been added and some of them even now have toilet facilities. The condition of the surface is very good. We didn't see anyone playing on the longest golf course in the world. There was mobile phone access
at all but one of the service stations across the whole highway a vast improvement.
As soon as we got to Norseman we filled up at the huge BP service station and headed for the local caravan park.
All along the way we have heard from travellers they are not going back to WA anymore because it is so expensive. We were charged $38 per night for a very ordinary powered site in a park which rated about 4 out of 10. Hmmm will this continue. At least the water was lovely and hot.
It teamed with rain overnight and when we left the next morning we had to travel through a large lake to get to the exit. All the water in the park flowed to the centre and pooled all around the amenities block. Before leaving we checked the weather site and discovered that we were heading into clear weather and the storm which hit us overnight had moved through the goldfields the night before. The vegetation was looking wonderful as all the dust had been washed away and it sparkled with the water on the leaves.
We got to Boulder and went to
Mary's house and she was at work so we wandered off and caught up with a couple of friends including Mieke before returning to Mary's. After a couple of attempts we had to face the fact we could not get the van into her back yard, the lane was too narrow to allow us to swing in through the gate, and so parked it on the verge out the front.
We stayed Thursday and Friday with Mary and Saturday and Sunday with Mieke and her cat Fred who is a huge tabby male and the biggest wimp in the southern hemisphere.
Thursday night all three from Boulder went to Mieke's for home made minestrone soup and a big catch up talk, Friday we went to the Krua Thai together. Sunday night I cooked lamb shanks for Mieke's birthday dinner. Unfortunately Mary was unable to attend as she had caught the tummy wog which is sweeping through K-B. Hopefully it doesn't alight on us.
We had rung Goldfields Nissan from Norseman and they had agreed to service Brutus on Friday so we got him in early only to receive a call to say that the battery had failed
a load test and did we want it replaced. Yes $270. When I went to pay the bill I discovered that Graham had requested three other checks and instead of having a bill around $700 it was $960. Oh well the job is done.
Many business's are closed in both Kalgoorlie and Boulder and things are apparently very slow all round. What we discovered when we shopped that food is incredibly expensive in Kalgoorlie. Mieke managed to find some Bisto for us in Woolworths which was great. As an ex-pom Graham insists on Bisto not Gravox.
We managed to collect our replacement satellite phone which appears to be working just fine.
Monday morning after saying our goodbyes we headed off towards Southern Cross hoping to see some early wildflowers but nothing is yet in bloom. Southern Cross seems to have received a facelift (photos on the way back). At the Port Pirie Caravan Park we had found a brochure which talked about the Pioneer Trail through the small towns north of the Great Eastern Highway so we decided to travel along that instead of just the normal way. We also decided to commence from Southern Cross so
headed north out to Bullfinch. I remember that there was some family connection on Dad's side to Bullfinch but not who was involved. Not a memorable place to visit.
From there we headed west and overnighted at Baladjie Rock. This was a very nice camp which is listed in Camps 7. a much smaller rock than Victoria or Peak Charles and we had it all to ourselves.
We woke to a very overcast sky and as the track into Baladjie showed problems which previous mud we headed on to Mukinbudin. In Mukinbudin I wanted some bacon so we headed for the IGA. It was a little ripper. I also found more Bisto (you can never have too much) this time it was the large packets. I even managed to get some Telfast for my Hay Fever which I had run out of. All this was happening it 11am and we felt it was too early to stop for the day so we proceeded on to Trayning where we are in their newly developed Caravan Park and a storm is raging overhead. Thunder, lightening, huge winds and really heavy rain showers.
Two things which have struck us over
the past 2 days are the very poor development of the crops so far in the very marginal cropping areas to this stage of the season and the excellent condition of all the grain facilities. They are painted, clean, tidy and ready to go for harvest. This rain may help with bringing the crops on.
We were planning to spend 5 days making our way slowly through to Perth exploring these small towns, however, I have just received word that my Uncle Norm died this morning, the last of my mother's siblings I believe, so we will have to get to Perth for the funeral as soon as we know when it is to be.
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