Wednesday, June 23, 2010

happy winter magic...

This year's winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) on 21 June passed by with none of the usual fanfare  we are used to in the Blue Mountains.
Even so I am still  enjoying the earlier sunrises and more daylight which means getting more things done during the day (or really more time relaxing in the sun!) It means I am getting motivated, slowly, to get through unpacking all the boxes from our move.
Hopefully in another week or two I will be back on track and creating, cutting, sewing and stitching maybe some old favourites or maybe some new creations!
How did you celebrate your Winter Magic Festival?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Creative Space...

Now I have no excuses to not finish any project - I finally have my own sewing /craft room! One central location for fabric, yarn, sewing machine, overlocker, habby stash, books, patterns (and the list goes on...)

The only issue is that it looks like this...

This is what happens when you move from a house with plenty of cupboards, drawers and tables to hide things in, put things on or pack things away in.  Only arriving less than a week ago in our new home in WA my motivation for unpacking the numerous boxes is quickly fading.

Our new house has little furniture as we tried to limit what furniture we brought over with us. This decision has now has left me with a big dilemma - Do I go shopping to find some lovely pieces of pre-loved furniture that would fit perfectly in my new sewing room and ultimately allow me more time to be creative? 

What is your secret to keeping your creative stash under control in your special area?
For more creative spaces go and visit kirsty at kootoyoo

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 6 Salmon Gums - Bunbury (new home)

As I said yesterday Simo wanted to push on and get to Bunbury as quick as possible as we were so close (12 hours away). This included a "shortcut 4wd track" through the middle of nowhere but as usual (as simo says,) I got my way and we took a slight (300km) detour to Esperance to see a fantastic sunrise from the old timber jetty and munch down some beautiful pies from the local bakery which will be our last for the trip. We also met a couple of fisherman that had driven that morning from Kalgoorlie to fish which is a 5 hour drive each way (pretty keen huh?)

Sunrise at Esperance

We headed through some interesting towns including Wagin which has the Giant Ram, Lake King and Lake Grace which has produced more first grade AFL players than any other area in WA. Really don't know why they call the towns Lakes as it is a big flat sand bed with bugger all water.
Giant Ram at Wagin

And then there it was...
our first sign to Bunbury - how relieved were we!

We then pressed on seeing all the mines, mining trucks and mining towns. It really does impact the landscape. Although I reckon it would be cool to drive one of those massive dump trucks!

Simo decided to take me along the scenic route to Bunbury which included going over the mountain range at Collie and down the Ferguson Valley. Although these places are beautiful, we reached no more than 400m above sea level - we will have to get used to WA sizing, these were hills compared to the Blue Mountains.

He also showed me Brew 42, a micro brewery. After being in the car since 4.30am this morning and as Simo was driving I was "allowed" to have a few beers (how good that they came in 500ml bottles). Our favourite is the Blue Moon Lager. I was given the remaining beer in the bottle after the "tasting" to finish on the trip and we got a few for the road as well. Jack was there keeping guard of the secret brewing tips!
Jack at Brew 42

The first stop once we were in Bunbury was home. Seeing Simo had "lost" the keys to our house, we had to call past the real estate and get the spare keys! Luckily we arrived during business hours. The next stop was the Indian Ocean - Lighthouse Beach - for the dogs to have a swim. After they were fully drenched and grinning from ear to ear we headed to our home via one of Simo's mates place for a welcome beer!
The dogs first swim in the indian ocean - very happy (and wet)!

Day 6 – 945km (including a drive around Bunbury)
Total travelled for the trip – 4,380km

So we have arrived safe and sound in our new home town (on Friday afternoon - yes i was slack on the last couple of days plus internet access was barely available).
Now for a couple of days rest to recover and unpack the car... 

Day 5 Eucla - Salmon Gums WA

After breakfast and a shower (thank goodness for caravan parks) we fueled up at Eucla. It was the dearest fuel of the trip so far at $1.61 per litre for diesel but still fairly reasonable considering where we were and where it had to travel from to get here.
We headed out of the caravan park towards the coast to give the dogs a run in the dunes and check out the old telegraph station while we were there. I would tell you a bit about the place but there was no signage to tell us any more about the ruins. I think that it was this station that finally connected WA with the rest of the country when it came on line. 
The dogs had a grin from ear to ear running around in the dunes with sand everywhere!
Old Telegraph Station at Eucla

At another one of our stops we saw this flash new road train at Cocklebitty Roadhouse - it was so shiny and huge compared to NED. 

Today there was just driving and driving. We were getting a bit crazy couped up in the car for the last 5 days we just wanted to reach the west coast. To top it off we hit the longest straightest road in Australia. After the driving we have done already, this stretch of road really tested our sanity.
NED got a bit warm as well so we had to kill the air con and pull in and let him cool down for a while. The dogs were more than happy to run around and check out all the different plants we were seeing. There was also a couple of friendly coppers that passed by and gave us a wave.
We stopped at Norseman on dark to finally get some veges for dinner and fuel up again. I was planning stirfry. Simo was planning driving well into the dark. 
So we pushed on for another 77km and reached a rest stop just outside Salmon Gums (on the road to Esperance).
Yummy stirfry and a good nights sleep in a million star room.

Day 5 - 793km
Total travelled - 3,435km

Day 4 – Kyancutta (Eyre Peninsula) SA – Eucla WA

After a restless night with the dogs keeping us awake due to the surrounding wildlife  we headed into Wudinna for breakfast and a coffee.
We continued along the Eyre Highway with a detour to Streaky Bay where we found a few people collecting Razorfish. After the dogs had a run we continued through to Ceduna where we fuelled up and met Tiza, an 11 month old cattle who just wanted to play all day.

From there we hit the Nullarbor Plains and headed towards the WA border. It is flat, flat, flat.

Along the way we passed a bloke pushing a wheelchair from Perth to Sydney to raise money for children with a disability. Check out Rolling Bones. After a donation and a quick chat we left the bloke to continue his trip and we continued driving.

With a few stops throughout the day, we stretched our legs at the head of the Great Australian Bite (no whales today), cooked up a few snags for lunch which the dogs weren’t complaining about and met a couple from Portland on a 5 month trip around Australia.
We stopped at a few lookouts along the Nullarbor and checked out the unique signs - unfortunately we haven't seen any camels along our travels - just heaps of wedge-tailed eagles and a few roos.

but as the sun set we just wanted to reach the border.

We stopped in for the border control check and the officer on duty came to greet us. After checking we had nothing to declare and a quick chat, the dogs were out and saying hello. She said that there were nearly as many dogs as people in the town of Eucla so a very dog-friendly town indeed. 10 out of 10 for Eucla! She even said to let them off the leash when we check out the old telegraph station tomorrow.
We stayed the night at the Eucla Caravan Park and met quite a few travellers. There were people moving from Geraldton to Coober Pedy, Sunshine Coast – Margaret River and Tweed Heads to Perth (via the coast roads) as well as a couple taking the long way from Geelong to Brisbane via WA.
After a few beers and spaghetti bolognese we were asleep before our heads hit the pillow!

Day 4 – 797km
Total travelled – 2,642km

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 3 - Silverton/Broken Hill NSW – Kyancutta SA

After a lovely restful sleep at Penrose Park (Silverton), a refreshing hot shower and a quick check of the vehicle, we headed back into Broken Hill for diesel and the mandatory bakery stop for a pie.
Not long after we crossed the NSW/SA border and fruit fly inspection stations.

We managed to see a lot of this…

Some of these…

Not many of these…

We stopped for lunch at Peterborough – a beautiful old town with old stone buildings, train monuments in the main street and several pubs. The dogs had a run on the local AFL field while we had our sandwiches.

As we passed through the town of Orroroo, Simo saw the sign “GIANT RED GUM”. Of course we had to check it out. It was a great tree with a huge girth of over 10metres estimated to be over 500 years old.

Our next detour was Hancock’s lookout – 7km off the main road and 40km out of Port Augusta and a sight to be marvelled. This was our first sighting of the coast on this trip and a great view of the Spencer Gulf.
Our travels were blessed by the Baptist Parish Chaplin of Collie and his wife who we met at the lookout. Collie is only about 30 minutes from where we are moving to in WA.

I tend to have a slight obsession when on trips to go into Visitor Information Centres (VIC) and collecting (very necessary) brochures and maps of things to do and see on our travels. But as we have been trying to get the distances covered and with an already full vehicle, Simo has been able to avoid these until today. This afternoon I was allowed to venture into Port Augusta VIC and got a map of the Nullarbor.
After having a lovely dinner of marinated lamb chops from a roadhouse on the ouskirts of Port Augusta we drove into the night. I got the graveyard shift to drive and followed a very nice truckie who chatted to us on the UHF for a while.
We ended up putting up camp about 5kms outside of Kyancutta at a travelling rest stop on the side of the Eyre Highway. There was plenty of stars in the sky and animals in the bushes nearby which kept the dogs on alert most of the night. Thank goodness they were tied up on the swags. 

DAY 3 – 695km
Total  travelled so far – 1,845km

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 2 - Parkes - Silverton (Outback NSW)

Day 2 saw a lot of driving and driving and driving - with a few rest spots in between - when ever we stop Simo always finds someone to talk to and we exchange travel plans and share a cuppa.
Found some gravel roads that were really slippery due to the unusual amount of rain and got a mega chip in the windscreen. Simo also found time to decorate NED so everyone would know where we are going and where we are heading.
DAY 2 - Distance travelled 891km
A few pics...
the chip
Blue Mountains to Bunbury

sunset near little Topar

Simo at our campfire cooking dinner

Roadhouse for sale 150kms out of Wilcannia - Simo thought it might be a good investment - NOT!

Camp NIght 2

Day 1 Katoomba - Parkes

We started the trip in the dark with a stop at the doggy park at Bathurst to let Red and Lizzy have a run - finally made it to a rest area 10 km south of Parkes to camp the night - not much there but a few broken  park benches under a shelter - thank goodness as when I woke up at 5.30 it was raining so we had a bit of shelter to roll the swags up under!
dog park at Bathurst

DAY 1 - Distance travelled 259km (heaps to go...)