Sunday, December 18, 2011

What A Year 2011 Was

Usually when I haven't posted for a while, it's because I've been out of range, but this most recent gap is quite simply because I haven't been doing anything interesting.

I stayed at Wannamal for a couple of days and headed down to Perth and booked in to the Kenlon Caravan Park in Kewdale. It is a pretty scungy park but it is cheap which is what I want for any extended stay and it's convenient - close to shopping and Services with which I am familiar. I have a number of  personal issues to sort out while I'm here so I booked in for 4 weeks which will take me up to just before Xmas.

What a year it has been. One year ago today (18th December) was when the rain started bucketing down in Queensland's South Burnett and stranded me over Christmas. Then down to Brisbane and the Brisbane/Toowoomba/Grantham floods which stranded me in Brisbane. Down through Tenterfield and Tamworth heading for Broken Hill and marks of flood damage everywhere. Close to Broken Hill and I couldn't move off the main highway, because all of the side roads to anywhere else were all either under water or badly flood-damaged.

Down to the Flinders Ranges and got there just after the floods - some of the gorges were still closed. By now it's April so up through Leigh Creek and I got flooded in at Farina, then had to go back to Leigh Creek and sit there until the Oodnadatta Track re-opened. No chance of doing the Strezlecki or Birdsville tracks, they're both under water. There was still plenty of water around and I was actually able to wade knee-deep in Lake Eyre, I can't see that happening again anytime soon. More rain near Oodnadatta, which made the road very boggy, but finally made it through to the bitumen at Marla and on to the Alice. By now it is May and I have done what I really didn't want to do - camp in the Red Centre in winter. Admittedly, it's better than winter down south, but boy! it can get cold and the wide-open spaces allow the chilly winds to get a good run-up.

Up the Tanami Track to Hall's Creek. The reports from the Gibb River Road weren't encouraging, but the chance to do it again was irresistible. To Derby and down to Broome in August and finally getting some good weather. Inland through Marble Bar to Newman and then across through Wittenoom to Karratha. Then down the coast to Carnarvon and inland to Gascoyne Junction which had been absolutely devastated in the floods at the beginning of the year. South to Murchison and Mullewa and so on to Perth, just over two years since I left.

In to the Doctor's to have a skin cancer cut out of my nose (got the lot, thank Ghu), new springs for the van (I had flattened the original ones so badly, the axle was sitting on the bumpers on the frame, In to the dentist to get my teeth fixed up (I lost a couple during the year and my plate won't stay in anymore) and here we are again, almost Xmas. I must admit, I have been going through one of my "can't be bothered" phases when I am content to just sit on my bum and read rather than getting out and about. Fancy that, having a "sickie" when you are retired????

To my family, my friends old and new, and to any who happen across the blog by accident - Merry Christmas and a Healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

The year in review:
Totals so far, 1,101 days on the road and I have covered 58,251 kms since leaving Perth on 13 Dec 2008. This year, since Jan 1, I have travelled a bit over 11,800 kms which averages out to just under 34 kms per day. Now that's a nice sensible pace with plenty of time to smell the roses. This year, I think will be even more relaxed. I want to do the "Granite and Woodlands Way" from Hyden to Norseman again this year - the last time I tried it was thunderstorms all the way. In addition, I want to have a go at the Northern section of the Holland Track and the Cave Hill track from Coolgardie. Also I want to spend some time down on the south coast of WA and I haven't decided yet where I want to go for the winter when I head north again.

I am going to sit here in Perth until the New Year and refreshed and re-invigorated, head for the Great Southern for the start of summer.

See you in 2012.