Wed 6 Nov Kalgoorlie to Southern Cross
Fridge. AJ had mentioned that when he gets home he leaves his compressor fridge running off his solar panels. And he doesn't have extreme solar.
BBQs We'd originally intended to get another Weber BabyQ high top. BBQs Galore stock them, but the staff at different stores spoke more highly of the Ziggy, which is the smallest in the range of Ziegler & Brown range.
1st stop Coolgardie. The only thing open was the post office, as there was funeral on. The operator told us how the "Esperance Doctor" used to often come in from the south each evening, and even during a day in the 40°'s you could look forward to needing a jumper doing the bbq after 7p.m He said that it hasn't happened for quite a few years.
Now back in the wheat-belt. We passed a camel farm, also saw a few brahmin cattle, goats and horses.
Many of these little towns have enormous wide streets where camel trains could turn around. The side streets have now been in-filled with huge berms, usually just red dirt with occasional street-trees.
Southern Cross to stay the night
Another town from a gold strike. Still operating gold mines. Plenty of contractors staying in units by the Palace Hotel and eating and drinking there. Irish female publican. Young barman there 5wks, funny as, sounded English, his last stop Indonesia.
I've seen car-stickers at home and here with ex-servicemen's service ribbons represented. The caravan next door has upped the ante big time - he has a Vietnam Service Ribbon on his spare wheel cover and on a pennant that he flies underneath his Aussie flag. In general Aussies are far more likely to fly a flag than Kiwis.
Thurs 7 Nov Southern Cross to Merredin
Mudlarks, Wattle birds, Honeyeaters (a eucalyptus tree in flower was groaning under an assault) Noisy Miners (distinct from Indian Mynahs), 28's, and of course crows, mainly out of town - the smaller birds may drive them out. The other one that we saw for the first time were Major Mitchell Cockatoos, similar to galah colouring but having a head crest and bright pink under the wings.
At Merredin we also have ? with a topknot and bronze effects on their wings, and late afternoon the cockies arrived, screeching to each other over 100 metres or so.
My constitutional included an outdoor fitness station. They're quite big on those here, and this one was modern, clean, and under cover as part of the sports arena and S.X.F.C.
We're on the road early this morning as the forecast is for hot. After visiting Westonia we still got in to Merredin by 10.30am. That's our cheekiest arrival at a caravan park, as it should be after 2p.m. They didn't say anything, as they'd rather have you than not have you.
Power for our air-con and having a pool were the attractions.
Next morning a caravan beat our record, arriving in the berth beside us at 9a.m, before we were on the road.
Near Merredin is a wind farm of 111 turbines (in paddocks used for cropping) and a solar farm under construction. Each scheme produces enough power for about 42,000 households and its fed into the W.A grid. We saw a big solar farm not far out of town, and saw how the panels pivoted on an axle during the day. Then we came upon an enormous one still being built. The individual panels were smaller than expected, being unpacked from ply crates that looked asian.
We went out to the silos to see the graphics and then did the I-site and downtown. Besides the vertical cells, CBH make the slightly odd claim to have the longest grain storage facility in the Sthn hemisphere.
After a roundup of the town, local granite outcrop, very rough golf course, and storage dam we fuelled up and headed back to the caravan park.
When we tried to share the Fuelmap website the other evening Greg made the comment that "If you worried about fuel costs you wouldn't leave home." To us it seems very little effort to save a few dollars when time isn't pressing - it's more like not wasting something.
Temp: This afternoon wasn't as hot as forecast and we enjoyed time in and around the pool, and a lovely evening temp. Normally it's warmer inland, but the Perth forecast for Sunday is 40° and here 37°. We're planning to be reasonably close (off the Great Eastern Highway) at Bruce Rocks.
The locals and other caravan park people have been particularly friendly. The only drawback is that our site is very close to the Great Eastern Highway and road trains are pretty constant. We're hoping they'll ease off after dark and/or it'll cool down enough for us to close our lovely double-plastic windows.
Storage: One argument for not using a cover when storing the caravan outside is that it can result in crazed/scratched plastic windows. The other main one seems to be the increased chance of mildew, and the 3rd being not able to maintain your batteries with the main solar panels, though I believe there is a small, portable unit that we could end up with for the Ranger.
Fri 8 Nov Merredin to Bruce Rocks Week 12 in the caravan.
The trucks didn't keep us awake last night but there were multiple trains. I counted 5 and Lynn reckons that I missed a few.
The cockies are just as raucous this morning.
We stopped at the military museum on the way out, but it's closed, it's volunteer run, and sometimes they're unavailable.
We did Totadgin Rocks, had them to ourselves, they include a mini wave-rock formation, and as many flies as the real thing.
Bruce Rocks only has a population of 700, with a catchment of 1200 but has an enormous recreation centre that the state government helped fund. We spent time at the large modern pool and play area beside us, and are heading over to the Rec Centre for Friday Night barefoot bowls and dinner. The Pool Lady has spent a lot of time on the North Coast of W.A and was a fount of info.