Day 89 – Sunday, 21 August 2022

We left South Hedland at 8:55am. By 9:20am we had left the Great Northern Highway and turned onto our new pathway, the West Coast Highway, which become the A1. The Great Northern Highway becomes the Route 95, and it heads inland on a much straighter path south,

cutting off hundreds of kilometres to Perth into the bargain. The scenery is also a lot different to the coastal route we are taking.

We passed through areas of green spinifex plains, dotted with small trees. At times throughout the day we veered from our south-westerly direction and headed west, and north-west. It seems strange but that’s the way the road takes us. I began to think we couldn’t go much further west without falling into the sea.

We stopped to stretch our legs by the roadside today and found several patches of wildflowers, including the Sturt Desert Pea. It is such a pretty, but unusual, flower.

The further south we went the more prolific the patches of colour on the roadside verges.

We were surprised to water in the Sherlock River when we crossed over the bridge. So many of the rivers and creeks have been dry.

About 10kilometres south-east of Karratha (yes, I know it doesn’t sound right, but it is – we did a big loop around), the vegetation started to get very green with patches of wildflowers clearly visible in amongst the grasses.

We arrived at the AAOK Karratha Caravan Park just before midday. When I went into the office and said we had a booking for three days the lady asked me to repeat my surname while she searched the computer.

I was able to tell her that I had called on 15 July and spoken with Levi who took the booking. She replied that Levi was not working there anymore, and I sensed trouble.

I was right! Levi did not make the booking into the records, and it was apparent that we were not the first people who had rocked up with a booking that didn’t exist.

She and her husband have only just taken over management of the park three weeks ago, and there have been upheavals galore in that short period of time.

The park has had a series of dongas especially for the mining workers and it was decided to move the dongas from the park about the same time they took over the management.

Both husband and wife remained very professional but very frazzled and discussed the best place to fir us in to honour the booking. Although the removal of the dongas has made a lot more room for caravans, there hasn’t been enough time to hook them up permanently with power and water safely.

The husband walked us down to the almost empty row (some tents in places) and we could clearly see they were in the process of re-numbering the rows.

To cut a long story short, we are parked on site 90 with power and water, and a very frazzled and hot Russell, who had little room to manoeuvre due to the sites across the way already being used by others. We had to watch out for copper piping sticking up from the ground, and water outlets on the way.

Once we were on the site it didn’t take us very long to set up and have lunch before I logged onto Kayo (yes, 2 different earphones – one in the computer, one in the phone) with great trepidation and was ready to watch the Pies play against Carlton, our long-time foes.

I swear the way our guys are playing they are going to deliver a heart attack to some poor supporter. We won, by 1 point!!!!!

We called mum at 5:00pm our time – 7:00pm her time – and had a good chat. She has not received any letters for the last week so it now two journal entries short of where we are. At least when they arrive she can enjoy her coffee with plenty to read.

Hopefully the mail will start to arrive more quickly the further south we go, and the closer we get to Perth.