There was driving. Lots of driving. First day was Perth to Laverton and was around eleven hours worth. Laverton doesn’t have a whole lot of anything so we took a room in a very rundown motel. The ‘room’ was actually a whole house, which the owner bought as part of 22 houses once the town deteriorated.
We had a long chat with Sam and he told us some amazing stories of his life in the town, where he had lived for 32 years. The one that stood out the most, however, was the Mickleburgh Brothers.They sold a nugget, known as the ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’, to Alan Bond and later were jailed for fraud, because it was manufactured. Some years later, they claimed that they were coerced into making confessions and it had always been a true nugget. Anyway, there were a lot of ins and outs , which you can read about here but, in essence Sam knew right from the start, as did others in town, that it was fake.
Dinner that night was in the local hotel (directly opposite the police station) and was memorable not for the food but for an overheard quote of a mother to her little girl: “No, baby, you’re too small to go to the bar with Daddy. When you can say “Bundy and coke”, you’re old enough to go”.
Next day was even longer and entirely on dirt road. You have to obtain transit permits to pass through Aboriginal land and the fuel stops along the way are mostly run by local groups/communities, which means that the little stores within the roadhouses sell a lot of fast food to the locals and interesting meat items: pretty much every one offered deep frozen kangaroo tails, skin on.
One of the more interesting sights along the road that day was an elderly gentleman on a bicycle. We’d noticed this thick wavering track going back and forth across the road and wondered what had made it; it seemed to be from a bicycle but why would anybody cycle out there and were they drunk enough to sway all over the place?
About four hours into the drive a non-natural blob ahead was sighted (you can see a long way in the clear air and something about the shape and colour of any man made object almost instantly presents itself as different from the environment, no matter how far away it is; distances were very deceptive and often a huge square shape would turn out to be nothing more than a small bit of rubbish.)
This non-natural blob did resolve itself into a greybeard, riding a bike festooned with panniers. He was at least He was obviously trying to find flat bits to ride on amongst the wicked corrugations, hence the wavering track. Spoiler alert; they were pretty much non-existent. We slowed down to check he was ok (he was, after all, about 100km from any form of people) but he waved us on cheerily and we were left to speculate on the character of a person who voluntarily puts themselves through such effort.
Driving was swapped back and forth but Wayne did the lion’s share. My stupid unhealed finger made it very clear it didn’t like normal function being resumed and has taken on the look of an uncooked fat pork sausage with an acute bend, with painful attitude to match. It is pretty depressing to realise that all of those splinted weeks were a waste of time but I will persevere. I am determined that all of the cost and effort of obtaining this job will pay off and stupid failure of body parts doesn’t cut it as an excuse any longer.
I meant to write all about our trip but, as usual, I am way too verbose for it to happen in just one post. As I go out tomorrow for my first famil, I don’t know when I will have time (and online access) to update. Bear with me please.