13th February we left home heading to Adelaide (South Australia) and then west. Today marks 100 days on the road and 8, 000 kms. We’d like to say we’ve been travelling most of that time but COVID-19 had us bunkered down in Busselton, Western Australia, for seven weeks. We held our breath, used hand sanitizer and washed our hands umpteen dozen times a day. It will be good when I can stop singing Happy Birthday to myself that many times each day: I’m feeling old.
This week, four regions in this south west corner of WA were combined, which we are now free to roam. We are part of the Wheatbelt region. WA rolled out Phase 2 of 4 of the COVID recovery process on 18th May. In short up to 20 people can meet in private and public areas; cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casinos are able to offer dining for up to 20 people.
People in the state have been encouraged to return to work if possible. The 20-people rule applies to worship gatherings, community facilities and libraries. The press for people to download the COVID-Safe (tracking) app continues.
Most of the travellers bunkered down in the caravan park in which we took shelter for seven weeks, headed north to warmer weather at the first opportunity. We headed south. The main reason is that we have not seen the south coast of this state and to avoid the stampede north. Not only are stranded travellers eager to move, locals are champing at the bit to travel to holiday spots for a change of scenery.
Earlier this week we camped on the riverbanks of the Blackwood River. It was a quiet four days that we explored Augusta, read books and cast our fishing lines into the river hopeful of catching a Bream for the night’s tea. We had chicken curry for tea. But we did catch a blue swimmer crab and a baby Bream that we returned to the river.
Yesterday we packed up and over the next few hours, meandered through the most beautifully scenic countryside we have yet seen. The road through the Blackwood River Valley winds through the largest wine region in Australia, also the country’s newest vinegrowing area. The first vines were planted in 1976 but the quaint historic townships nestled amid the stunning natural surrounds of the south-west historic hinterland are testament to settlers long before then.
The climate is Mediterranean with cool winters and slightly warmer summers that helps to grow award-winning wines. We’re looking forward to visiting some of the wineries during our stay.
We checked in to the Maranup Ford campsite yesterday and will spend four nights in the heart of the Blackwood River Valley enjoying the autumn colours, campfires and bird life.
Lessons from the past 100 days
- Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. We may never have seen the beautiful Busselton if it weren’t for the pandemic. It doesn’t matter how well we may have planned our route, meals and activities the alternate route is often the more exciting adventure.
- If you go into the road trip with the idea that no matter what happens everything will be okay in the end then you’re going to enjoy the unfolding a lot more with a relaxed attitude to changes.
- No matter that we have been life companions for forty years, we continue to learn to deal with tensions before they escalate.
- There is nothing like hours in the truck and then camped in isolation to remind you that opinions differ and sometimes compromises are opportunities to learn a different perspective.
- Silence is okay. And golden – see above.
- Photo opportunities are endless.
- The GPS (aka Emily) has a sense of humour and a preference for the scenic route.
- Maps are important
- Beautiful camp spots
- Being flexible in where we go and how long we stay