Peter Kinlyside’s Outback Trip-Part 3

Day 28 – Geraldton to Kalbarri

Started off very fresh in the morning. Refilled the water tank, then off to Midwest Windscreens for 3 hours. While there, took a long walk to Bunnings, Repco, SCA, and didn’t buy ANYTHING – first time ever methinks. Midwest Windscreens did a great job, and finished on-time – well recommended if you need a windscreen around Geraldton.

Off to Kalbarri, and stopped at Northampton for quick lunch – quaint little town in nice countryside. Set up at Tudor CP in Kalbarri, and immediately had to show some fellow Victorians (Bendigo) through the CT, actually while we were setting up. Photos at Red Bluff and nearby beach for sunset. Gilgai Tavern for dinner – good pub tucker, but missed out on the SES meat raffle.

Day 29 – Kalbarri NP

woman sitting on red rocks outback

Roads were mostly open to public (yea), so drove up to the Window and walked in – nice views. Then down to the Z-bend, and walked in there as well. That’s enough exercise for one trip, then. Back to town for lunch, then up to the Rainbow Jungle – Parrot breeding centre – for a look at some mighty colourful plumages.

Rest day tomorrow (Day 30) before the hard slog of heading back east. Check the truck over, etc. Will see if I can find that annoying rattle around 2000RPM – might be exhaust on a handbrake cable or something similar.

creek in the outback

Day 31 – Kalbarri to Mt Magnet

A few lookouts in Kalbarri NP on the way out – nice views of the Murchison River.

australian bushland

Then on a few dirt roads to cut across to Mullewa and Yalgoo (both of those looked like abandoned towns – all boarded up, nice neighborhood – kinda reminded me of Bamboo Crt on a bad day).

Had lunch on the side of the road, not at a Parking bay – they are all pigsties. Why people have to leave bottles, cans, papers, and crap (literally) by the side of the road is just beyond me.

spiky object in the road

Came across an echidna crossing the road in the middle of nowhere. As soon as he heard/felt the truck coming, he hunkered down. Gave him a bit of a shove with the boot to get him off the road, but stubborn bugger wouldn’t budge. Left him there.

Day 32 – Mt Magnet to Leonora

Started about 9am, a little later than planned – SWMBO must have her morning coffee…

Had a quick look at the London bridge at Sandstone.

On to Leinster for a small break, and to pick up some sangas for lunch. Made it to Leonora on 1 tank of ULP – 93.29 litres, with 20.85L/100 – fairly good. Checked over the truck, and still losing some coolant. Found top hose joint to radiator a bit “leaky” so adjusted clamp. If it’s down again tomorrow. I’ll put a new hose and/or new clamp on it. Tyres on CT are at 38PSI (possibly still warm), so will check again in the morning (when dead cold) and pump them up to at least 42. Running 46 back and 42 front on the truck when towing.

Will need to start early tomorrow – 637 km run through Kal and  Norseman to Balladonia. Might not make it that far (certain person snoring keeps me awake, so a bit sleep deprived), so may have to free camp along the way. With that in mind, have moved two empty Jerries to the back of the truck, which will allow me to store some firewood in the Jerry holders on the trailer.

Have driven 9433 km so far.

Day 33 – Leonora to Balladonia

Long run down through Kalgoorlie, Kambalda, refueled at Norseman, then on to Balladonia. Stayed at the roadhouse CP, and met up with several couples from all over, round a campfire. Had to go into the bush to find a few decent lying-dead branches. Very pleasant evening, with the gents hunting and gathering (hamburgers from the roadhouse café), while the better-halves gained their 10,000 WPD. Shared many stories, and the Tim Tams. Radiator still leaking a bit out of the top hose area. Purchased a hose clamp and fitted it.

Day 34 – Balladonia to Mundrabilla.

Relatively easy run – fairly boring across that long stretch of straight road. Stopped at the Mundrabilla roadhouse and CP – good experience last time. It absolutely bucketed down as soon as we got the CT set up, and latecomers set up in the rain. Had dessert in the “restaurant”.

Day 35 – Mundrabilla to Fowlers Bay

Heard from the group at Balladonia that Fowlers Bay was a nice small out-of-the-way CP, so headed there instead of Ceduna. Got there at who knows what time (watches, clocks phones all say different times). Nice place, with very pleasant manager – rode his treadly round to show us the site, and gave a general run-down on Fowlers Bay. After a quick setup of the CT (no annex), we let the tyres down and tried some big dune driving, but almost got stuck so thought better of it, better than trying to attempt a recovery near dusk. So went in search of the Mexican Hat Rock instead. Reckon we found it, but looks nothing like a sombrero. Had a few drinks around the communal campfire, but both pretty tired, so had an early dinner.

Day 36 – Fowlers Bay to Kimba

Late start – damn time zones. Packed up wet, and headed to Ceduna for shopping, fuel and lunch. Then onto Kimba. Set up to dry out, do some laundry, and showed another person through the CT. Bought SWMBO 3 nice bottles of red at Ceduna, hoping I got it right. Weather is crap again – windy, some rain, and getting colder by the day.

Day 37 – Kimba to Waikerie

Packed up very wet. 500-odd kilometres today, via Port Augusta, Peterborough (lunch, and motion lotion) and Burra. At last, hills and curves, but nobody seems to wave at me any more…

Peterborough is a nice old town, well kept, clean and great old buildings. Evidently there’s a steam train museum there, but if I wanted to see it, I’d just have to ask Linz, and he tell me all about it – matter of fact I wouldn’t even have to ask him – he’d tell me anyway, provide pictures, and a running commentary. Didn’t realise we had to use a ferry to cross the Murray at Waikerie – simple, easy and quick, but don’t understand why there isn’t a bridge.

Threw 2 litres of water in the radiator. Still leaking slightly.

Nice CP at Waikerie.

Day 38 – Waikerie to Hay

Looonnnggg drive, again with the long straight roads. Interesting to actually notice the difference in the state of the roads so quickly. SA- not too bad, VIC – good, NSW – absolute rubbish. Now I know why I procured an off-road CT – to handle the ridiculous NSW roads. I reckon they just stick tar over the road kill.

CP at Hay was good, with a pub right across the road (South Hay Hotel). Excellent food, nice fire, and had to try my hand at sticking $5 note on the ceiling for CanKids. Drawing pin and a 50c piece – job done 2nd go.

Day 39 – Hay to Bathurst

Another 520 km drive today, after packing up wet yet again. Started out with long flat straight roads, but this time had fog! Then into the hills and curves – yippee! Rained at various time throughout the day, and got to Bathurst around 3:30 pm, to be greeted by the fabulous Maria of Lochinvar luxury cottages – SWMBO is very happy (indoor plumbing!). These really are 5 star, with everything laid on. Staying here a couple of days, hopefully to catch up with Doug and family. Heading back to Melbourne on Friday (755Km trek), then will have to find somewhere to dry out the CT tentage.

Day 40-41 Bathurst

Seemed a sunny but cool day Wednesday, so opened up the canvas on the CT to dry it out – job done by the afternoon. Went to SCA in the morning to pick up some red juice for radiator – Graham (owner of the cottages) let me park around near his shed to fix the radiator hose. Doug came around to the cottage for lunch, so had a good chat for a couple of hours. Also Courtney and Nyrie (Laura’s mates from Whistler) were able to come round for a catch up – lovely to see them both. Went to the Mt Panorama Motor Museum in the afternoon.  Thursday, went over to Kelso to have a quick cuppa with Paula, then over to see Tom and Rachel and Lucy. Toured the Mineral and Fossil Collection, then had lunch at Country Coffee.

Day 42 – Bathurst to Melbourne.

Started a bit late, as had issues connecting the truck and CT – had to use the hi-lift again, in the rain. Long run of 755Km – took 9.5 hours to get home, raining most of the way. Bit tired when we got home, so left the CT out the front for a wash in the morning, unpacked the essentials, and checked out the newly painted (inside) house.

Total distance = 13,770 Km’s over 6 weeks. Very happy with CT, but next trip will be in warmer/drier months, and each stop will be 3 days minimum.

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