On the road again with a new tent
Southern Cross, Western Australia
ON THE ROAD AGAIN! Monday 8 JULY 2013
THE MIGHTY INTREPIDS HEAD NORTH.
After riding home for Christmas 2012, Dave and I are continuing our Round Australia trip on our 2 motorcycles. Dave's riding his Honda ST 1300cc, pulling the sleek grey trailer with our camping gear, and I am riding my bright red Moto Guzzi 750cc, with all my clothes on my side panniers.(Apart from what I'm wearing; no Lady Godiva Granny here!)
We decided we needed to get back home in December 2012 and take a break from our round Oz trip for 3 reasons:
(1) Little Orlena our then 3 year old granddaughter (she's turned 4 in May) had pneumonia and this combined with her brain injury from a fall last August was a worry. The good news now is that she has become stronger and her recovery is making good progress, and Dave and I have been able to attend many of her rehabilitation therapies at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth, with her Mum. She now has a cute little wheelchair and she is slowly learning to help her left side of her body to get movement again, though we have been told she will always need assistance with walking, due to nerve damage.
On the 1st July Orlena had a cranioplasty operation, meaning her skull bone half that had been kept in storage was replaced, and she is recovering well from this procedure. Up till now she has been wearing a helmet to protect her head, but now she is busy growing her hair back to cover the replaced skull. It has been a real wrench for me to leave our gorgeous little poppet, but all will go well without us for a few months I'm sure. Of course we will be doing some Skype sessions to see for ourselves how Orlena and her other cousins are all going! We can be around to help with Orlena's therapies next year. She has been going to kindy this year, with a special teacher's aide to integrate her into a normal school environment. I am so grateful and amazed at how much help there is for children with disabilities, and my eyes have been sadly opened to how much worse off some poor little children are with various illnesses and conditions. Teaches me not to complain about my life!
(2) Late in November last year we also heard that Dave's dear little old parents Len and Verna weren't doing too well at home on their own. Both ended up in hospital in Bunbury, and Dave's Mum passed away on St Patrick's Day (March) this year. Dave has been very busy helping them and organising his dear old Dad into a very good nursing home in Gosnells, right near us in Kelmscott. (Amaroo Home). So we needed to be home to help our lovely parents.
(3) By early December we had run into the summer season, and it's too tropical and wet to go north then. So we would've come home for Christmas anyway.
But here we are now, back on the road again. We left home in Perth Kelmscott at 8.20am on 8th July, in 4 degrees temperature, so we were wearing double layers of thermals under our motorbike gear. It was too cold to get our gorgeous 2 year old granddaughter Sophie outside for a photo-shoot with our bikes, she had a nasty cold. So we saw her waving from a window as we tootled down our driveway instead.
We rode to Southern Cross for our first tent stopover for 2 nights. The weather was rather chilly, around 5 degrees through the hills till we got to Northam, then 15 degrees for the rest of the day. We had lunch at Merredin, and arrived around 2pm at the Southern Cross Caravan Park, a nice clean and tidy place.
We have bought a new tent, a Black Wolf Mojave model, which has 2 big rooms, plenty of nifty ventilation sections, and useful pockets to store small items. Our other tent which was similar but a Spinifex Dome tent became very tattered and worn after many erections, with Dave trying to repair it, but it looked like a fragile shopping bag-patched concoction in the end. We had bought a similar replacement tent in Port Pirie SA, but this was too small for happy camping long term. So we are delighted with our new Shangri-La, with better mod cons and it's easier to erect! (Erections should always be easy hey?)
We've packed the same gear, cutting down on some bits, and adding to others. E.g.; Dave has added an extra PVC storage tube to the undercarriage of the trailer to carry a charger and some basic tools that we realised we needed last year.
I've cut down on my clothing gear, realising I only need ONE scarf and beanie etc. You really have to think about what you can carry when travelling by motorbike. Less is always best.
We are staying in Southern Cross for 2 nights so we can explore this tidy little town at a slower pace. We have always dashed through this old Yilgarn town to get to Kalgoorlie in a hurry. Today we enjoyed the local museum, explored an old cemetery and got some exercise walking around the dusty dry flat town with its pretty salmon gums and gimlet trees.
I was able to do my yoga stretchies this morning underneath some trees this morning. I had stopped doing my stretchies around Christmas time for a couple of months, then realised this was a mistake, as I could hardly ride my motorbike, and the arthritis in all the joints got far worse! And it has taken about 2 months to get back to fitness again, every morning being diligent, but this has made a good health difference. I didn't want to stop riding because I had got too stiff and sore with arthritis. If you don't use it, you lose it! So I will be doing my funny range of stretchies every morning in all sorts of caravan parks, and I don't care what little kids loudly say when they see a granny doing funny moves on a blue yoga mat. (Which doubles up as a rolled up protection for our electric light tube when we are on the road.)
We are heading off to Kalgoorlie tomorrow, then further north via the inland roads up to Leonora, Laverton, Mt Magnet, Newman, Karijini National Park, then to Port Hedland, and then across all the towns, to Kakadu in the Northern Territory.
We will have to ride long distances on the same roads there and back for some times, and then we will plan to be riding home along the West Australian coast, late in October, before the tropical cyclone season starts.