"On the road again." Dxenion's Profile
22 July 2008
Welcome to my upcoming travelogue.
In just a couple of weeks time, I will be starting Phase 2 of our move from Melbourne to Perth, a 3540 km (2200 miles) road trip with four dogs - I must be mad!
I'll be updating this page each night with the day's events.
After a quick trip to Gundagai NSW to get a photo of the dogs in front of the 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' statue, I'll be driving from Melbourne, through Adelaide, across the Nullarbor, and into Perth via Coolgardie.
Having just completed Phase 1 of the move, driving another car across the same route in 3 days, I am hoping this one goes just as smoothly, but without the gale force head winds, dust storms and constant rain!
01 August 2008
Well it's now just 7 days before I head out. Thanks for all your emails - please keep the suggestions coming. I'll now be on the lookout for Australia's biggest Koala, sending Odin down the giant slide in Nhill as well as looking for a gnome farm and a windmill farm in SA - all in the first few days!
Day 1 - Melbourne to Tumut
After a short 6 1/2 hour drive to Tumut (approx 33 kms from Gundagai), we found a motel that would let us book a room for the night as long as the dogs didn't go inside.
My partner volunteered to sleep in the car with the dogs until I came out to relieve him at 2:30 am. I swear I didn't hear my alarm go off!
Day 2 - Talbingo
The receptionist at the motel told us that there had been snow falling within an hour's drive of Tumut so we decided to make a short detour (in the opposite direction of our planned heading) to find it. The dogs had already been to the hottest town in Australia (Marble Bar WA) and we now had the opportunity to introduce them to snow.
Only 15 minutes up the road just past Talbingo, suddenly the rain we were driving through turned to snow. The swift transformation was as surprising as it was beautiful. Within 10 minutes everything was covered in a silent soft blanket of white.
We pulled over off the Snowy Mountain Highway and let the dogs out. The surprise on their face was priceless. They discovered that, unlike other toys, snowballs crumble in their mouth and then disappear. They learned the joy of sliding (however unintended!) on a snow covered road. Our friend's Cocker Spaniel headed for the car as soon as the snow started falling heavily, but our lot were unstoppable in their new-found winter wonderland. Only the sound of the car starting brought them back to their senses!
We couldn't stay long as the tyres were low on tread, the snow was building up fast and we didn't have snow chains.
Day 2 - Gundagai
Between bouts of rain, we managed to get this photo of our German Shepherds and our friend's Cocker Spaniel in front of the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
Moments after we finished, the dogs bolted back to the warmth of the car!
After returning our friend's dog and saying goodbye to my partner, I headed off to Adelaide with the dogs.
I found the giant koala that another VT member asked me to look for. Kinda hard to miss!
Thanks to another VT member, I also located the slide at Nhill and Odin was happy to try it out. I've posted a video under the 'Videos' tab.
We headed out of Adelaide through Gawler to Port Augusta via Claire. We encountered pockets of fog as thick as pea soup the whole way. The fog was even the talk of all the talk-back radio stations throughout the morning which means either there was nothing news worthy happening in the world (Olympics notwithstanding) or it was a highly unusual event.
We reached Kimba which is officially half way across Australia (east to west). Couldn't pass up this photo opportunity. Another of Australia's big things is here too - the big Galah.
Having reached the Nullabor, we decided to press on and attempt something most would say is pretty crazy - crossing the Nullabor at night.
Not only do you have kangaroos to contend with, in this area there's also emus, dingos, wombats, stray cattle and wild camels to keep you on your toes.
So, by keeping my eyes peeled, placing a lot of faith in my newly purchased Roo-Shus (supposed to literally shoo away roos) and driving 40kms under the speed limit to increase reaction times - we made it through!
We passed through the SA/WA border quarantine checkpoint and turned back our clock 45 minutes. Most Australians are not aware that we actually have 4 time zones. The little known fourth zone extends west from the SA/WA border, until a further 45 minute zone change bringing it into line with the Perth time zone. I have yet to discover why this zone only extends part of way north and doesn't include all of the state of WA.
The next morning saw us tackling Australia's longest straight bit of road - The 90 Mile Straight(146.6 kms) starting at Caiguna.
Would you belive that it's possible to get lost whilst following a GPS?
Those who know me wouldn't be surprised - I'm famous for my ability to get lost in a carpark!
Having crossed the Nullabor and reached Norseman, I headed north to Coolgardie as there is no highway joining Norseman to Perth. You either have to loop north through Coolgardie or south through Esperence. Logic will prevail one day in a highway directly joining the two.
Things were going well until a change of plans had me heading to Geraldton (4 hours north of Perth) for a few days. That's when my GPS unit decided to take me on a night mystery tour, wanting me to turn at a road that didn't exist and deciding that the fastest route was through a windy state forest road speed limited to 40 kph! I drove through towns that looked like they were last occupied when Sydney was being settled. The 'highway" I was on didn't even have a centre line painted - I guess that's because it was barely more than 1 car width wide!
Approximately 22kms from the turnoff to the Great Northern Highway, I met Australia's dumbest kangaroo. I was crawling along the road doing approx 50 kms under the speed limit when a 'roo jumped out of the bushes and headed off down the middle of the road, with me doing my best controlled panic emergency straight line braking behind him. That's when he decided to turn around and jump straight into the car! I was stunned that a 'roo could be that stupid!
After driving forward a few metres (a hurt 'roo is a mad 'roo), I got out to discover that the kamacazee 'roo had disappeared, leaving me with only two blown indicator globes, a broken fog light and minor damage to the edge of the front quarter panel - way to go Jeep! I've seen cars written off from encounters with 'roos so I'm counting myself very lucky.
Some 4 hours later than my originally planned arrival thanks to the GPS's scenic (but apparently fastest) route, I rolled into Geraldton at 4am and collapsed into bed.
Up and rolling by 5 am with fingers crossed that I wouldn't meet any more 'roos, I headed off down the driveway and nearly ran into one that was taking a shortcut between paddocks!
Ok, so now that I was wide awake, I headed to Perth for the final leg of this road trip.
Having seen no more 'roos or any other animals with a distinct lack of road sense, and only collecting one stone chip on the windscreen from a passing road train, I made it to Perth Airport in 5 hours where I picked up my partner. Now I know why he elected to fly - he got to achieve in a four hour flight what took me seven days to drive!
Last stop - Kings Park to get a happy snap with the Perth skyline and the Swan River for a backdrop. Then it was a relatively short drive to our new home where we gave the Jeep a well earned rest...........until the next road trip!
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