21st April 2019
Well, what a month we have had! The weather has been amazing, warm and clear. We (Will and Max) have been busy piecing together our Canning Stock Route plans. I just spent time with Poppi the Dog, teaching her that she can’t just dig up everything in the garden, or bury my strawberry plants. Lots of time training her and walking her and meeting all the other family members who will love her too. She is super smart and loves to fetch and play tug. Already she has made a mark on us both. Even Max, who loves nature and all things natural, but is not a real dog person, loves her too.
Little “Fulla Beans, Houdini, Digger” otherwise known as Poppi dog.
What was next, was getting our talk finalised, for the Horizons Unlimited meet, in Collie. Only a week to go, and I knuckled down to put all the photo’s and short video snippets, Will had spent hours and hours getting off the GoPro, into a fun, light hearted look at our Lap of Oz in 2017. I think if I had sat continuously doing the PowerPoint presentation, I would have sat for three days straight (locked in our Walk in Robe/Office). It was a lot of work, but we were both happy with the result. We forced Max to sit through it, while we chatted about the stories and slides. He gave us some positive feedback, and we felt ready.
Working in the office is actually quite nice. It’s quiet, clean, and everyone forgets you are there so they leave you to it. Max spent time checking his equipment. You don’t need a catastrophic failure in the middle of nowhere.
The weekend was another great gathering of like-minded motorbike adventurers, and I would highly recommend it to anyone keen on lightweight overland travel, camping, biking or just getting together to learn about other options for adventuring. As I tell people, adventure is another word for getting out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be cave diving, base jumping or extreme sports. Whatever you do that is outside of your normal, can be an adventure. Once again, Collie threw some chilly nights and beautiful days at us, and our talk went down well. Ours was the first of the talks, and we had to battle with a few technical issues, but managed to carry on and get a few laughs. Arriving home very tired and in need of a rest, we had to keep pushing forward with the CSR preps and getting Max on the road. Time is becoming an issue.
We had a visit from Daniela, who is cycling all over the world. She is a lovely lady, and an inspiration. Max kept up the gear checking and modifying, and “Sandi” the Karate Monkey is all set and ready.
A bit of a windy ride down to Collie, but beautiful once we got there. Another cold weekend, but Russel from Yourdamung, was on top of it as usual, with plenty of wood to burn, and a great fire pit for us to mingle around and sample his home made wine. Unfortunately, it was delicious and too much was consumed.
I am getting more and more comfortable talking to strangers, and it shows. What a fantastic audience. Lots of bike riding and heaps of good information yet again. Steve Hammond, who is doing his own tour of the USA to Alaska, very soon, was there to give us some valuable info on fuels, storage, differences etc. It was way more interesting than it sounds, and very useful. You can check out his adventure on his wordpress blog “Hammo’s Travels”.
What a fantastic place this is. I would totally recommend it to you all. Russel is a fantastic guy, and his property is magic. Have a look on his website, and head down there one weekend.
So, with a few hiccups and many packages arriving daily, we still managed to launch Max only a couple of days later than our scheduled departure date. With his set up, he needed to make quite a few minor modifications, to get it all how he wanted it. Then his stove had a leaky hose, then he had too many tools, needed a tool bag that fitted on the back rack, then…well, it went on and on and on. A couple of late nights on the slops, talking ourselves up to the adventure, didn’t help get him going either. Eventually, with “The Troll” and “Zibiddy” the fully loaded trailer hooked up, he cycled out of the driveway on Wednesday 10th April 2019, headed for Perth.
Instead of getting on with our own prep, we walked inside and reclined on our, way too comfy, lounge recliners. Some deep breathing was necessary, and a bit of reality checking. Still so much to do! Tomorrow we will sit down and write down what is left to organise. This list mainly had jobs to get done around the THB and Unit Reno. What we realised, was our CSR list was pretty short. But super important. The “Old Girl”, our Landcruiser was booked in for a big service and check-up, and then we just have to unpack, and repack her with food (that I haven’t actually bought yet).
Instead of packing and sorting, we supported our community by attending a fundraising High Tea, and visiting the local bars. It’s all good, we love a last minute rush.
This was our week: Take Poppi to be spayed (part of the contract of adoption), drop Old Girl in to mechanics, and make some more progress on the Unit Refurb. Wow, we are knackered. First minor disaster phone call came from Steve the mechanic & main man at Mandurah Car and Truck. This guy has been taking care of our Old Girl, her whole life, so knows her really well. “Aah, Will, we have a problem! Ya Diff oil looks like Christmas glitter! Somethin’s bloody wrong here mate!” Oh hell! We didn’t expect any issues, we’ve not heard any funny noises, or felt any abnormal driving sensations. This could be huge. Don’t panic, it’s why she is in there, to make sure this shit doesn’t happen in the middle of the track. Luckily, it turned out to be the bearings, which were shot and fixed. She is all set for the desert. Yay!
Next issue, is the Satellite phone that Ben, kindly loaned us. I have sourced a sim and a new battery, and the sim arrived, but no battery. Then a few days ago, an email in the inbox, telling me they can’t supply the battery, and have not charged my card. What the Fuck? That was over three weeks ago, and we are leaving in a week. Where the hell am I going to get another one from? No shops in Perth stock them. Well, we decided to charge up the old battery and see what we could get out of it. How long will it actually work for? What do you know, it charged, fully, and stayed charged all day while on. Maybe we can manage with this battery after all.
Happy 50th Birthday to Willsie. It was a nice afternoon and evening, and both of us felt 50 the next day…….oh dear!
The unit refurb is all sorted out and ready to get going. All the contracts have been signed, money has changed hands, and all fittings, tiles and paint colours chosen. So now we cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t go down the same path THB place did. We have also left our youngest daughter Olivia in charge of check-ups, and progress payments. Fingers crossed she doesn’t skip town to the Bahama’s (won’t happen, she is a good girl). So many fingers crossed here, it might make driving a bit tricky.
Always important to make some time to destress. Creating is a great way to do that, especially if you can do it with a beautiful bunch of friends, known as Mandala Madness (or CC’s Club). Our daughter Olivia also came to create with me, and made the beautiful mermaid. My paper, my ink, my painting. I love it!
Last and Worst, our little Poppi dog. She was going really well after her operation and enjoyed Will’s 50th Birthday with the family and friends as much as we did. They told us to keep her calm and quiet, which turned out to be even harder than we thought. She chewed her way out of the Cone of Shame, and a Towel collar, and behaved like nothing had happened. But this week, she got sick. Firstly an Easter Thursday morning visit to the local Vet that performed the de-sexing op. “No temperature, maybe she has eaten something yuck, I’ll give her something to stop the vomiting”. Was the Vets response.
By the evening Poppi was looking much worse, Olivia & I rushed her off to the Baldivis Emergency Vet Hospital, where she spent 2 nights. Unfortunately on the Saturday she succumbed to Tetanus. Will and I are both very sad, and heartbroken to lose such a fun loving and gorgeous little doggy so soon after she joined our family. It was a very nasty thing for her to have to try and get through, and although everyone did their very best to save her, it was not possible.
Totally and utterly devastated. She was going to be an amazing little dog. So full of beans. She really filled a little hole we didn’t know we had. Big deep breath, and let the tears flow. Poor little Poppi.
What now? How do we recover? For us, it is to carry on, and get out to the desert. This trip has been a long time on our minds, and we actually have all the things we need to succeed at it. So, we will remember our little puppy, and be thankful we spent some time with her, and try to be positive. We are almost ready. Well we’d better be, we’re off tomorrow! That’s right, we are off tomorrow. Will is doing the last mods to the car, I am off to get the last of the fresh food, and then it’s on. CSR here we come. Oh yeah, Max is currently somewhere near Sandstone, heading eastward towards Wiluna. Rendezvous due sometime on the 1st May 2019. Woo hoo, look out desert, team MaxWiljen on our way!
One last motorbike ride, up to Dwellingup and the Pumpkin Festival. Dilli Delli had her tiny shop there, and it was a very nice day to be out on the cruisers. Now lets get serious, the CSR awaits.