When talk of state borders closing started we were in Kalgoorlie (Western Australia). Pretty much a desert town that exists around the mining industry; not somewhere to be for any length of time. At the campground, we gathered in clusters of threes and fours to exchange ideas of the best place to bunker down for however long it took for COVID-19 to run its course. Some headed north to warmer temperatures, others decided to try and get home. Having recently crossed the Nullarbor Plain we wanted to keep moving.
If we were to remain in one spot for any length of time we needed to be by the sea. With this in mind, and that Esperance had been on Basil’s list of places to visit, we headed south to the seaside port of Esperance.
We were ill-prepared for how quickly things shut down: barricades erected and public areas roped off. In normal times Esperance would have been an ideal spot, but again we found ourselves in clusters pondering next moves. Our story was similar to many others embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. This was to be the final trip around Australia before settling into the twilight years.
The mood in Esperance was not good and I was to remain positive and not become Basil’s travelling Eeyore, we needed to move on. But where?
By this time the Premiere of Western Australia (WA) advised all regional borders within WA close at midnight Tuesday. With news of COVID-19 outbreaks in pockets around the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, closing WA borders was a responsible measure. Wherever in WA you were at midnight on Tuesday is where you remained until the viral threat was over.
But that decision left us two choices: either cross three state borders to return home and face six weeks of self-isolation – two weeks isolation at each border crossing; or push on amidst the rising angst of locals towards those trapped far from home. Their fear was we would be a burden to their already stretched medical facilities and I understand that.
2020 was unfolding like a Steven King script and to put ourselves through six weeks of isolation after having lived through devastating bushfires, followed by floods and now this, was too much. We decided to push on and accept the consequences. We packed up and drove away from Esperance headed for the west coast of WA and the town of Busselton, where we hoped things were less grim.
The 700 km trip was not without its issues. We got stuck in red mud after an overnight deluge that caught us by surprise and we ran out of diesel. I hear you. Silly things to be caught by, but when you feel like a refugee on the run your mind isn’t always where it should be. We pulled through and I’m sure in years to come we’ll relive those situations with humour. Not so much now though.
Busselton is a larger town with a well-developed infrastructure that supports good retail. The campground is superb, possibly the best we have encountered on our travels (it now pips Shelly Beach Holiday Park in Ceduna). So the Mandalay Holiday Park and Resort is our home for the foreseeable future.
No gloom here only a sense of we’re in this together and together we’ll see the other side. The atmosphere and feel is very different from that of where we camped at Esperance and with forty other sets of campers this is our home until restrictions are lifted.
If home is defined as a shelter that is the usual residence of a person … in which one’s domestic affections are centered … then we are home. And home for now is the Coddiwomple parked up in the South West corner of Western Australia (WA).
There are moments I cannot imagine how much “fun” this will be in a month’s time and then I remind myself to live in the moment and not get too far ahead of today. As our Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) mentioned in passing that we ought to get used to things as they are, this could go on for six months. Heavens above, I’m feeling light-headed, someone pour me a gin!
- That we extricated ourselves from the mud and found diesel without too much hassle
- That we are in such beautiful surroundings for the duration
- That we found a COVID-19 home away from home
2020 is the eleventh year – and my fifth year – in which thousands of bloggers participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge during April. I am combining this post as part of that challenge and a continuation of recording the 2nd Stage of our Oz Road Trip.