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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus
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Motorhome Travels - June 2009

01/06/2009

Geared up and ready to jump! - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Geared up and ready to jump!

Ok, so we have not headed north yet. We have been busy getting things done. The last of the new tires has been fitted - we now have six brand new tires on the bus.

Number two daughter Samantha turned 21 a couple of months back. We decided to give her a free-fall sky dive from 14,000ft for her birthday. I decided that it might be cool to do the training and the jump with her. So we both started our course on Tuesday with instructor Don from Skydiving Express. The course continued on the Thursday and the final training was completed on the Saturday morning at the Jump Zone at York (120 kms east of Perth).

Sam getting ready to deploy her parachute near 5000ft - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Sam getting ready to deploy her
parachute near 5000ft

It was a busy day at the jump zone and Sam was finally scheduled to jump at about 3:45pm. One final practice and she was stuffed into the plane (with about 12 others) and she was off.

To everyone's relief, the jump went without a hitch and after exiting the plane at 14,000ft, free falling to 5000ft she deployed her chute and made an (almost) perfect landing. 

My night landing! - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
My night landing!

Then it was my turn. It was starting to get a bit on the dark side when I exited the plane. Free falling was an amazing feeling once my stomach settled (about two seconds). I was not really aware of the ground rushing up towards me nor of the two instructors firmly hanging onto me. I was so wound up in the experience that I almost forgot what to do at 6000ft, but finally came to my senses and deployed my chute. The flight to the ground was great. I was fairly convinced that I was going to land well away from target as I could not see the arrow that was supposed to be directing me due to the approaching darkness. However as I got closer to the ground, I managed to steer close to the arrow and along with voice guidance on the two-way-radio, I landed right on target. What a great day .... I'm never doing that again!

 

After saying goodbye to Sam and Mark at York, we have made our way towards Toodyay to have a look at a specialist archery shop near the town. From there we will be heading back to Perth for a short appointment on Thursday ... THEN we will be heading north to warmer weather!

 

 

03/06/2009

We both work on the bus(sometimes) - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
We both work on the bus(sometimes)

In the past few weeks we have run into quite a few people who have been following our travels on the site. It is always great to get feedback from people who enjoy reading our ramblings. It is interesting to note the number of people who make comments along the lines of "You guys have had a bad run with the bus of late - seems that you have had lots of thing go wrong". Hearing these type of comments three or four times in the same week got me thinking ... do we really have a bad run with the bus? From where we see things, the bus is great and we really have very few issues with it. I guess it may seem that in every update I am fixing this or improving that or perhaps spending large quantities of money on tires or gearboxes. The reality is far from this ... the bus has been a picture of reliability. Only once in 6 years has it ever stopped (and that turned out to be a very simple fuel filter issue).

I do spend quite a bit of time looking over and checking things - but this is purely precautionary. A few weeks ago I was doing my normal array of checks around and under the bus when I found a suspension bolt that was slowly making its way out of the spring shackle. This is a simple thing to sort UNTIL it comes out completely, at this point it becomes a major issue. So once again, half an hour spent under the bus once a fortnight is time well spent.

In most cases when I do carry out work on the bus, it is entirely voluntary, I actually enjoy working on the bus, making improvements and making things less likely to cause an issue. We travel to some very remote places along some awful roads and tracks so the bus gets it's share of abuse and we ask a lot from it - we need to be confident that it will not let us down. With this in mind, I am very happy to spend time keeping everything 100%.

 

We have been parked up in a state forest not far from Toodyay for the last couple of days. We are some distance from the road and it is very quiet here, a narrow winding track brought us to a nice clearing surrounded by tall gum trees - I am sure that this is not an official camp and does not appear in any publication - perhaps that is why it is so quiet here!

 

 

13/06/2009

Our camp on the coast near Dongara,WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Our camp on the coast near
Dongara,WA

There are many great places to camp in WA. Right now we are camped at one of our favourites, it is a little beach-side reserve just south of Dongara called Cliff Head. What makes it so nice? Well it has lots of space, it is right on the beach with bush on the other sides, some nice shady trees and the fishing and diving are both pretty good. What more could you ask for? Even the locals are friendly - Ian, our local cray fisherman (who also happens to be a great cook) lives in a little shack not far from the camp during the fishing season (with his dogs Jessie and Ernie). Ernie while not ever likely to take out a prize in the "WA's most handsome dog" competition, is very faithful, and they both do a great job of protecting the shack from all potential intruders.

 

Ernie - (Dingoson?) - [Click for a Larger Image]
Ernie - (Dingoson?)


Ernie's Limerick
There was a man from Cliff Head,
who's dog was ugly it's said.
The mother named Jess
was heard to confess,
that she'd taken a dingo to bed.

 

 

While we have been here (a week so far), I have been slowly crossing off tasks from the list attached to the fridge. Nothing major, just the normal array of maintenance jobs to be done. If I got stuck in, I could probably cross them all off in one day - but then what would I do the following day (between snorkelling and fishing).

Ian took us out fox shooting last night. Foxes look like cute cuddly animals in the photos, but when you see ewes hovering over the remains of their new born lambs, ripped apart by foxes, you can quickly see why station owners happily welcome skilled shooters like Ian onto their property. Ian shoots with an almost bazooka sized weapon that can cleanly eliminate a fox from what seems like kilometres away.


We have had quite a bit of rain since we arrived here, and the water collection system has performed very well. It is quite surprising just how much water can be collected in a short burst of rain.

The plan is to stop here for another week (by then I should have most of the maintenance tasks done) before heading up the coast towards Coral Bay and another of our favourite camps.

Motorhome Map and Track

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