Our goal when leaving Exmouth was to do a relatively short drive to Barradale Rest Area for an overnight stay before pushing on with a longer drive to Dampier. However, when we got to the rest area and had a quick-lunch, the kids were given a choice to stay put or head on and they chose to head on (note – they will not always be given a choice!). The boys are lucky enough to be able to read in the car as we drive, allowing time to pass quickly and Emma, if not singing, playing DS games, chewing our ears off or generally annoying her brothers will announce that she is going to have a sleep and will promptly drop off, just like that!
In all, we drove 377km until we reached the Robe River free campsite. There is camping on either sides of the road, along the river and there were already quite a few vans already there.
After setting up we all took off for a look around and the boys were rapt to find a rope swing under the bridge. There was no talking the boys out of having a turn although Emma was able to listen to my voice of reason (along with the joker from another caravan mentioning crocs!) and settled for a bit of rock climbing instead.
We proceeded under the bridge and met some great folks from NSW who were travelling in a convoy of 4 caravans. They had an open fire over which they were cooking a stew, well that’s all very nice and all but hardly compares to our fish fingers cooked under the grill! One of the gents had set up a fish trap and took some time out to explain to the kids how it worked and encouraged them to throw in some bread to entice the fish over. We have met some great people on the road so far and I really think it that helps make this whole experience so wonderful. Generally people have been so very friendly and we have picked up tit bits of info here and there on a multitude of things. On the way back to our site, Paul commented to a fellow about the solar screens he had on his car windows, within minutes the man came over with all the details of where he purchased them, prices, email addresses and phone numbers! Awesome!
On the way to Robe River we were able to help out others as well. Some poor people had had a blowout on one of the tyres on their caravan. Paul was able to lend jacks, wooden planks, big muscles etc so they could get back on the road. Although as it turned out, that wasn’t the end of their woes. We ran into them the next day and found out they had another tyre blowout a few km further up from where we left them. Poor buggers – I hope it got easier for them!
After a slow start, including some schoolwork, we set off for the last 120km to Dampier. It wasn’t long before we spied our first Sturt Desert Pea and drove through hundreds of wild budgies. Prior to leaving Perth Paul contacted some friends living in Dampier who so very kindly offered for us to park our van in their driveway for a while. This has been a godsend and we are so grateful to the lovely Michelle & Peter for letting us lob up. The kids just about burst when we arrived, they couldn’t believe it, there was a …………….TV!
Guess where they spent their first couple of hours in Dampier?
We thought there was a fair chance of picking up working in the Pilbara so on the first day here Paul made some phone calls and by the afternoon had landed himself a job! I think he was quite pleased with himself on one hand but not quite ready to return to work so soon on the other. Since we were going to be staying put for a couple of weeks I offhandedly suggested to the kids that maybe they would like to go to school. Well, I was a bit miffed when they ALL jumped at the chance! What’s wrong with spending all day, every day in a caravan with me?
We took them down to Dampier Primary School to have a look around and they were all still keen so the next day we met the Principal who said he would be happy to have them while we were in town and that was that! It is a lovely little school with approx. 165 students. The kids were a trifle embarrassed when they were introduced to the whole school at assembly but I think they are enjoying it and am still marvelling at how brave they are at being the ‘new’ kids. The boys have even been riding to school!
Now, don’t think I have become a lady of leisure because I must have whined a little too much about being all by myself and have been put to good use. I will write more about that in the next few posts.
Since being here, we have had a look around at a few places including; visiting the historical town of Cossack, having THE best fish and chips at Point Samson, going out to the Burrup Penninsula and seeing our first sign warning of croc sightings at Hearson’s Cove. More details and photos to come.
This long weekend we are rolling out the tent and going camping at Karijini National Park. Funnily enough, that wasn’t part of our original plans either! I have just checked the local weather forecast and had to chuckle when reading that scattered thunderstorms are expected!
That’d be right!