Sunday 12th June 2011
Day 73 - Tom Price to Robe River Rest Area - 478 kms.

  • Weather: Started off cold and beautiful (No clouds or breeze) finished up warm and beautiful, probably got to low 20°s.
  • Wind: calm.
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 478 kms. Total towed this trip: 7,810 kms.
  • Next G Mobile reception at Robe River Rest Area: Yes.
  • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception with or without external aerial: Yes without aerial.
NEWSFLASH: This is the 2nd time that we had ever freecamped, the 1st was at Terry Smith Lookout on 2nd July 2008. That's not bad 2 nights out of 432 nights away.

Today, we got up about 7:30am and finished packing up and left about 9:15am
As it is Sunday and WA is closed on Sunday, we decided to drive back to Nanutarra Roadhouse and then turn right and head North to Point Samson. We stopped at Marg's favourite town Paraburdoo, she loves the name, the town doesn't do much for her, but the name does wonders, and topped up with diesel. It was 272 kms from Marg's favourite word Paraburdoo to Nanutarra RH, we stopped at 2 rest areas along the way and finally got to Nanutarra Rh about 2:20pm, well according to Harry Hema, we arrived at exactly 14:20:44 and filled up with fuel and then headed North along the North West Coastal hwy. We planned to stay at a rest area for the night, the first one was not suitable as it was on the road, we couldn't even find the 2nd one, so after 117 kms from Nanutarra RH, we arrived at Robe River Rest Area and there were already at least 10 vans there and relaxing. We found a spot basically the first rig from the road and setup camp there. Setting up camp consisted of dropping the front legs to take the weight off the mighty Navara and starting the generator. We need the generator to run the fridge in the car. I am running my 'snoring machine' using our inverter in the fiver.We are all set up.

I went for a walk around the rest area taking photos and chatting to anyone, when I came across a Dryden 5th wheeler with the old CBC Bank stickers on it, as I started my Banking career with the CBC I had to speak to the occupants, and sure enough, he was a former CBC Bank employee who I had heard of. So it is yet another small world moment. Unbelieveable.

Another remarkable 'whatever', we have full Next G at this Rest Area which is near NOWHERE.

Tis us.

This is my CBC mate's fiver.


Just before sunset. We are at the left.

Monday 13th June 2011
Day 74 - Robe River Rest Area to Point Samson - 200 kms.

  • Weather: This is the norm - Started off cold and beautiful (No clouds) finished up warm and beautiful, probably got to low 20°s.
  • Wind: 20-40kph with gusts over 60kph.
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 200 kms. Total towed this trip: 8,010 kms.
  • Next G Mobile reception at Point Samson: Yes.
  • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception with or without external aerial: Yes without aerial.
  • Telstra WiFi (MF-30) modem: Yes.
I need to relax when staying at Free Camping areas, I was up about 2am, to chain the generator to the fiver, as I forgot too. Wayne the worrier.

As you know, we stayed at a Free Camp last night - Robe River Rest Area. We haven't got our portable 12/240v fridge/freezer setup for Free camping, so I have to run our generator, which makes me feel guilty, as the noise may upset our neighbours. Last night, I did tell our neighbours that I had to run our generator to run my snoring machine (CPAP) and the fridge/freezer, they were happy that I told them. So the generator run for 10 hours on a full tank. I filled it about 6pm and it died about 4:10am, I just happened to be awake, so I laid in bed waiting for it to die. I also thought as the mornings have been cold, the fridge/freezer wouldn't warm up in a few hours of no power and it didn't. I will have to set up the fridge/freezer to run by itself, probably need another battery and somehow be able to charge it. This will be done when we get home, before next year's sojourn.

Ok, back to the rest area, we were NOT first van to leave, probably about the 8th to leave, but we only had 200kms to go, so we were in no hurry. We woke to the norm (Cloudless, blue skies) the wind was building, as it was starting to blow the dust off the gravel. We packed up, which wasn't much, only packing the generator in its storage spot in the front of the fiver.
We left camp at 8:38am (thanks Harry, he is so precise) and headed North, we stopped at 9:52 for a break, I know that it was windy, but didn't realise that it had increased so much, eg: it was a struggle to open the car doors. I comfortably sat on 85kph and the rig was rock solid. I just worked out our fuel economy, it blew out to 21.4 litres per 100kms, my average is 17.2, so the wind cost me an extra $21 for the 200kms. Tough hey!
The scenery along the way was beautiful as usual with a few mines dotted here and there, there were 2 gas operations and a couple of quarries. We stopped at Roebourne for fuel and then drove the final 20kms to The Cove CP at Point Samson. This caravan park is one of the better parks that we have stayed at. The park is setup beautifully and each site has a large slab to park your van on and nice dark gravel to park your car and/or awning. I setup the satellite dish on the gravel behind the mighty Navara.

Tuesday 14th June
Day 75 - Checking out Karratha and Dampier.

  • Weather: Yesterday it blow like buggery and if you don't know how hard 'buggery' is then it is bloody hard with gusts over 60kph. Well, the wind started increasing about 4am and as I write this the van is rockin' and Marg is nowhere near me. hehehehe.
  • Wind: Yep, heaps of it.
It is warmer closer to the coast than inland like Tom Price, I only needed 2 blankets last night.

We are currently sitting in the fiver, being rocked by the wind and will head off to Karratha and Dampier shortly. There is also a fossicking spot near Karratha we were told to check out, so that is on the agenda.

More photos to come, but I had to show you how windy it is. Check out my towel.

Well, we are back. We drove into Dampier and checked it out, the shopping centre only has 3 shops left that are open about 10 have closed. It is like a ghost town for shops, then we drove over to the North West Shelf Gas Project Visitor's Centre, this is very informative. The plant was awesome.
Heading home we drove to the shopping centre at Karratha, this was a marked difference, they have nearly every shop you wanted. Obviously, everyone in Dampier and Karratha shop here. About 30Kms from Point Samson, we went along a gravel road to visit Cleaverville, this is a lovely spot beside the beach where you allowed to camp. No power though. We arrived home about 4pm and started to pack up a few things in readiness for tomorrow's departure.

The towel is horizontal. See I said it was blowing.

It's still beautiful, just a tad windy.

This is the view from our fiver. It's hard to take. Trust me.

Dampier Port.

5 Diesels - The train was too long to photograph.

North West Shelf Gas Plant. Unreal.

Wednesday 15th June 2011
Day 76 - Point Samson to Port Hedland - 223 kms.

  • Weather: This is the norm - Started off cold and beautiful (No clouds) finished up warm and beautiful, probably got to low 20°s.
  • Wind: Light breeze.
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 223 kms. Total towed this trip: 8,233 kms.
  • Next G Mobile reception at Port Hedland: Yes.
  • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception with or without external aerial: Yes without aerial.
  • Telstra WiFi (MF-30) modem: Yes.
As we were driving only 220 odd kms, there was no need to get up early and we left about 9:15am. What's that, Harry? Ok, 9:20:04. Harry loves to be precise.
The drive was uneventful, we did stop at Whim Creek, which is an old Hotel. We arrived at Cooke Point CP in Port Hedland at 12:45pm. We set up camp without the Sat dish, we are viewing normal TV. Spent the afternoon relaxing in camp, when a 4WD drove past, it looked familiar, thinking that it was Dean who we camped beside in Kalgoorlie. Sure enough, after looking through my photos taken at Kal, there is his 4Wd with rego. Yep it was him, so I walked over and we had a chilled refresher.

Only one photo for today.

Whim Creek Pub.

Thursday 16th June
Day 77 - Visting Port and South Hedland.

  • Weather: it was a cool overnight and stayed a cloudless blue skies about 25°s.
  • Wind: Calm.
It is still cool to cold overnight, so my sleepingbag has made a return. During the day it is sunny and no wind about 25°.

We left camp about 9:30am and drove along the 'beach rd' into Port Hedland, the views were beautiful. We stopped near the Yacht Club and took some photos, then into Port Hedland Visitor Centre and I watched a video about BHP's plan to build a 4 kilometer jetty so they can load 8 ships at once. It is so huge. Next back to the wharves to take photos of the various ships being loaded. Then onto the Salt loading area, then to the Water tower lookout for some photos. Over to South Hedland, this is about 15 kilometers away, first stop was the shopping centre, we are trying to buy a spare battery for our underwater camera, but with no luck, nobody carries spares, they will order it in but it will take 7 - 10 days. The joys of being away from a Capital city. We went to Maccas for lunch and that was an experience that I have never had at Maccas before. The girl serving us could hardly speak English, I couldn't believe how bad she was. We eventually got our lunch sat outside inb the SUNSHINE and ate our lunch. After lunch, we drove back to our side of Hedland and topped up with fuel and got some food supplies, as tomorrow we are going to Eighty Mile Beach for 2 nights.

The tide goes out approx 1 kilometer.

Sunsets at our Caravan Park are pretty terrible. Maybe not.

The lights of the docks and train unloading areas.

Ships being loaded with Iron ore.

Cyril's big brother is on the loose in Port Hedland.

Our Customs boats in dock.

Salt stores.

Ok. I will give way to you. This time.

Today, there were 18 ships awaiting Iron ore.

3 ships being loaded.

Tides out. Unreal photo. Gee, I'm good.

Friday 17th June 2011
Day 78 - Port Hedland to Eighty Mile Beach - 253 kms.

  • Weather: This is the norm - Started off cold and beautiful (No clouds) finished up warm and beautiful, should have got to 26°s.
  • Wind: Light breeze.
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 253 kms. Total towed this trip: 8,486 kms.
  • Next G Mobile reception at Eighty Mile Beach: No.
  • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception with or without external aerial: No.
  • Telstra WiFi (MF-30) modem: No.
Only driving about 250 odd kms, there was no need to get up early, but for some reason or other, we did and were left by 8:13am.
Our first stop was at a road works, where I took a photo of a wideload. Next stop was at Pardoo Roadhouse, we were topped up with fuel and I also filled up with unleaded fuel for the generator. Just in case we need it at Eighty Mile Beach. It was about 102kms from the Roadhouse to our camp, so we didn't stop until we arrived at CP. The last 9 kilometeers was along a gravel road and the fiver handled it with ease, there was some corrugations, but no drama. We arrived at Eighty Mile Beach CP at 11:53am.

We setup camp, Sat dish and awning, as it was quite warm and sunny, we needed some shade. While Marg had a nanna nap, I took the mighty Navara for a spin along the beach, I drove about 1 kilometer SW and then as the sand was getting a bit soft, I turned around and headed the other waay and went about 3 kms in the other direction. It was good fun, getting in some beach drivin practice before we hit Broome.
I walked the 50 meters to the sand dunes overlooking the ocean and take various photos.

We had a few drinks with Bruce and Cheryle, our neighbours and then went inside for dinner and spent the evening watching the season ending episode of 'The Mentalist', what a great ending.

Tomorrow, Marg and I want to drive along the beach and go shell fossicking.

The wideload at the road works.

Are we there yet?

Site 50 - Eighty Mile Beach CP.

This was made by some Vietnam Vets. Very nice.

This walked past us, as we were sitting around.

Magic view.

Eighty Mile Beach CP.

Sunny over the ocean. Mid afternoon.

Beautiful sunsets.

Saturday 18th June
Day 79 - Exploring Eighty Mile Beach.

  • Weather: It was cold overnight and stayed cloudless blue skies and should get to 27°s.
  • Wind: 10 - 15 E.
It was cold overnight, so my sleepingbag has made a return. During the day it is sunny and about 27°. Pretty hard to take, but we managed.

We cleaned the inside of the fiver and then drove the mighty Navara along the beach to look for shells. The first thing we observed was the number of fishermen, they were everywhere, the tide was out and coming in. We drove 8.8kms in a Northerley direction, there were cars parked along the beach, as far as the eye could see, so we didn't hesitate to drive that distance, as there were still cars further North. We stopped about 6 times coming back to camp and looked at and collected shells. As we were driving back to camp, the tide was coming in, so we didn't have that much room to drive and with the fishos parked everywhere, you had to be 'on the ball'. We had to stop and ask the fishos to move their equipment so we could drive on, some people are so inconsiderate, they just park and spread their gear out, basically, blocking the sand where everyone drives.

The afternoon was spent watching the V8s and then we walked to the beach and out along the sandbanks as the tide was going out.

The fishos didn't catch too much, a 3ft shark, a 3ft muloway and a couple of other fish and some catfish.

The shell fossicker.

How beautiful is the scenery.

It is about 26°.

Eighty Mile Beach is just beautiful.

Isn't it??.