3rd May 2020
By Jenny (Post number 200 on wiljen’s Adventures 2.0).
Cover Photo, Rodgie Dog enjoying summer at Silver Sands Beach, Mandurah, Western Australia.
Well, what a shock to our world’s system, hey? Who expected this crazy apocalypse to actually be our current reality? COVID 19. What a diabolical disaster. I hope everyone out there is doing what they have to, to stay safe, well and as happy as is viable right now. It sure has thrown a spanner in the works of normal life, hasn’t it?
So let’s back track a bit, to have a look at what our normal life has been since Will came home from Wagin, and my super knee was installed. Not really that much, but a shit load more than is currently happening. So there was Christmas, which was a quiet affair, with breakfast at my brothers, and a very quiet afternoon. The following weekend saw our grownup kids and their partners, Will’s family, and my Mum come over for our own little Christmas, and the exciting announcement from our youngest daughter, Olivia, that her and Jake were expecting their first baby. Wow, that was super great news. We’re going to be Grandparents. Huh, everyone is excited for them, and for us too. Baby due in early August, which gives us time to get away for a few months and be back in time to meet the new family member. Cool.
Breakfast at brother Johns house is always a good start to Christmas. This year I was lucky enough to score a cuddle of new family baby Brody. It was puppies for all our family last year, so Buster got a yummy pigs ear from us. Two nieces making Nanna and I look short, it’s a lovely day.
Granddaughter telling Granddad he’s going to be a Great Granddad. What a special time.
Happy New Year, with Max, Scott and En-Hui. First time we’ve been downtown for it, and it was great.
The rest of January wasn’t much, just lots of puppy training, and exercising, knee rehab, beach going, and general enjoying of the fantastic summer in Mandurah. Oh yeah, we had our niece Chelsey, come stay in the studio unit for 6 or 7 weeks, while she tried to find a place to rent. She moved over from Tasmania, where her family have lived for the past 16 years. So we did what we could to help her when she got stuck with adulting, and Rodgie enjoyed having the extra attention too.
lots of fun times exploring with Rodgie dog, Will enjoying his 50th present from sister Sue, and enjoying the summer power outage with Chelsey.
Rodgie had a catch up with siblings, Vader, Woody and Peggy. It was manic, and hilarious. Then the start of puppy training with Deb, from Allsorts Dog Training.
We did get away for a few days to Greenhead, a proper camping trip for Rodgie. Aside from the gale force winds, and Rodgie not accustomed to being tethered, it was a successful trip.
After a night at Sandy Cape, and being sand blown, we moved into town and the caravan park for one night without sand. Then into a shared house with my brother and his family. Much more pleasant with the howling wind.
Greenhead is small, and beautiful. Lots of great walking around town, and the new knee is progressing well. The other one is not . All the pups loved the huge daily walks and swims.
The drive home into the wind was slow and ended with the battery boiling just as we got home. A lucky escape, and a new one had to be installed.
By the end of January, Chelsey had found a unit to rent, she had work, and was well on the way to being sorted. Good timing, as her parents were due to arrive on their holiday, and had prebooked the “executive suite”, aka the unit. Phew, it was vacated, cleaned and ready when they arrived early February.
Massive bushfires all over the country, causing so much carnage, we joined a car and motorbike rally to raise money for the firefighters. DixieBus was the odd one out, and we did have to take a short cut to keep up, but it was all fun and for a good cause. I also got more baby practice.
Catching up with my ladies of the Mandala, is always fantastic, and being invited to add to someone else’s artwork, is rewarding. The veggie gardens are super, and Rodgie is loving herself sick in Mandurah, in summer, with so many fantastic walks.
We even enjoyed a cruise on the Swan River with the sailing crew, and again, the new knee held up a treat.
Neil and Tracey drove from Hobart to Mandurah in four days. Bloody crazy! But they had a trailer full of stuff for Chelsey, and Neil’s motorbike, so they didn’t feel happy with leaving it unattended for too long. They just wanted to get here and unload it. Which they did. Our advice to them, and absolutely everyone, is to do the sight seeing on your way to holidaying, while you are on holidays and before you begin heading home. It is our experience, on every occasion, that once you begin the journey home, your holiday is over and your mindset is to “just get home”. No fun stuff or detours will be taken. But they insisted they would sight see on their homeward journey.
Scarp Pool. All to ourselves, if you don’t count the little Blue Wrens. It was nice for a swim and for Rodgie to explore.
Now COVID 19, Corona Virus, had begun to spread throughout the world, and the mumbling and grumbling about it’s dangers were only just reaching Australian ears. So we set out with Neil and Tracey, on the motorbikes, for a few days in the South West of WA. A beautiful region, full of things to enjoy, and an area Neil and Tracey had not visited much, when they lived here. Neil and Tracey were two up on Neil’s Yamaha FJR1300, a lovely, comfortable tourer, while Will was on the Mule (Yamaha Super Tenere) and I took my Honda CB500X “Little Bubby”. Day one saw us head inland towards Boddington, then Quindanning for lunch, onto Collie, then Bridgetown. We’d booked into Ford House, which is a nice quiet, and old homestead now Bed and Breakfast. Less than 300 Kay’s, but none of us are road fit, and it felt like a big days ride to us all.
Wow, what a total shock. People totally freaking out and panic buying crazy stuff. Toilet Paper? Why? No-one bulk bought tinned soup, and practical foods, until there wasn’t anything left.
Will and Neil made the most of the nice evenings in the spa, it was too cool for me and Tracey.
Nephew Whyatt is learning to ride, so we all went for a cruise through Dwellingup, to Jarrahdale and home. Big day for a learner, but he did great.
Lunch stop in Quindanning, and Tracey is a keen photographer, so the little church is a great opportunity.
Next stop Collie, some fuel, then onto Bridgetown.
Another awesome old church, and score the lighting. Bloody Will photo bombed my first attempt. Ha ha ha.
Day two, and we took the sealed, but out of the way roads, through the forest to Walpole. It was stunning. The smells, the trees, and some easy going windy roads. By the time we got close to Walpole, it was drizzling quite a lot, but still fantastic. One of our favourite spots to stay in Walpole, is Rest Point Caravan Park. We got a three bedroom cabin, that had everything we needed, except food. So Will and Neil headed into town to buy food to cook. Neil decided to take Little Bubby for a test ride, it is a lot easier for a short shopping run, that is for sure.
A nice explore of the interesting art and trinkets around Ford House before we headed into town to investigate the Jigsaw Gallery.
Packed and heading back through town to the unusual prospect of a Jigsaw Gallery.
What a little gem. An absolute must, in Bridgetown. We all were amazed by the collection, and even if you don’t like doing them, they are great to check out.
A short break in Manjimup, and we were very impressed at some of the improvements the town is making. Great history and interesting things to check out.
Walpole is usually a little damp and cool, but always offers us a beautiful nature filled place to stop.
Tracey and I enjoyed watching the many kangaroos and magpies, out in the heavy drizzle. The boys weren’t gone very long, and came back a bit damp and giggling like children. What? What’s so funny? Apparently, Will had gone off road, while looking back to make sure Neil was still following, and got severely bogged. After trying to rock and roll himself out, with Neil watching on, eventually he had to admit defeat and get help from Neil. Together they managed to push out the big Tenere, and NOT drop it. Huh, well that should keep us going for a while, teasing Will.
Next morning, Will cooked us all Bacon, egg toasties on the BBQ, before we loaded up and headed west towards Augusta. More lovely forest riding, only a short ways to Northcliffe and a stop for coffee and morning tea, then Pemberton to check out some wood carving art gallery. Well maybe not, as it was closed, so the bakery would have to do. A pie and cool drink, then off to Augusta. We turn left onto Stewart road, which joins back onto Highway 10, saving us many, many kilometres, and it is not that interesting. Pretty straight, and nice and wide. The westerly wind was picking up, and riding was getting tougher, so we took a small detour into Alexandra Bridge. It is a little camping spot on the Blackwood river, that used to be free, but now costs a small fee. There are toilets, and it is great for swimming or kayaking.
Overcast and threatening drizzle, we had to stop at a couple of view points to admire the inlet, before cruising the forest roads to Alexandra Bridge.
You know, we’ve known about this spot for ages, stopped a few times but never camped. That is going to have to change. It is beautiful.
Our final run into Augusta was in the windy sunshine, and again, riding less than 300 kilometres felt like a massive day. Lots of stops, and intercom issues, which we’d continued to have every day, just added to our fatigue. Staying at the Augusta Hotel Motel, another one of our favourites, we checked in, had a little rest, then headed to the bar for a couple of drinks, some dinner and a beautiful view across the mouth of the Blackwood river.
Another good day on the bikes. More sunshine and good riding. A nice pub meal and a comfy bed is all that we need. Maybe a beer or two, also.
The days had been pretty good, both weather and riding, and on our final day we had prepared ourselves for some rain and wind. Getting going, after a very less than average breakfast at the Pelicans cafe, we first had to check out the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and Water Wheel. The sun shone, and made for some good pics, and a delightful ride through to Hamelin Bay.
It is a must, at the bottom, west of our state. The lighthouse is okay, but we love the little waterwheel. It is cool, and on a sunny day like this the colours are stunning. Just a beautiful area.
Always enjoyable. Make sure you get down here sometime.
Blue, blue water, white sand and lots of people watching the peaceful stingrays playing in the shallows. Another little gem, the Tassie crew had not seen before. Would have been nice to stay there for a night too, but we were on our way home.
Aah, Hamelin Bay. Another little gem we have never stayed at, but visited often. I think we are reconnoitring a future adventure.
The ride along Caves road, past a zillion wineries and breweries, arts and craft Places, and fantastic scenery, was enjoyable, as always. We did stop at Evans and Tate for a cheeky cheese and wine tasting, and of course we purchased.
Once in Dunsborough, the skies began to turn, and the wind started to change. We stopped at a new Pour House boutique bar for a burger, before deciding we’d better get going. After a short discussion, we all decided we’d just take the quickest route, to try avoid the worst of the weather. Well that was all good in theory, but old Mother Nature had other plans. By the time we were halfway between Dunsborough and Busselton, it was absolutely pissing down, we could hardly see. It continued like this through to Bunbury. Soaking wet, getting cold, and taking it very carefully, we made it to Australind, and as the rain stopped, so did we. A break, a stretch, and a release of tension was required. None of us enjoy riding in the rain.
Yuk, wet weather riding is not fun for me. Cold water pooling at your crutch, fogged up, rain splattered visors, cold wet hands, wet socks, none of that is fun. But, we are nearly home, where we can dry off, warm up and reflect on our little adventure.
From Australind to home, the weather improved, and we were almost dry on arrival at Travel Home Base. It was a very nice four days, and we got plenty of cool pics and video. Will and I are ever increasingly looking at each other and thinking we need to not travel so fast anymore. Most people would say we already travel at snails pace, but ride ride ride, sleep, repeat, isn’t as much fun as it sounds. We’d like to ride, suddenly find something interesting, stop explore, and hang around for a day or so, if we feel like it. Time schedules are not our desire.
Rodgie was happy to get home too, and destroy some more of her toys.
Things in the world were starting to get pretty bad by the time we got home, in such a short time. Wow. People were panic buying stupid things, freaking out and the world was in distress. Tasmania is an island, off an island, and things get hard there very easily. Neil and Tracey heard from home, they were already struggling to buy some staples, and we were concerned they might not make it home. It was a bit stressful for them, while they were on holiday.
Brave people that they are, Will convinced Neil and Tracey to come for a couple of “short” cycles round town (which ended up about 15kms each). The weather was perfect, hot for Tassie, and it is an awesome cycling town.
We really are spoilt for beautiful things to see, and different routes to take.
The War Memorial is a stunning destination, with views across the estuary to town, and is a very thoughtful and restful spot to enjoy.
Now, by mid March, things were getting locked down, closed off, and under pressure. Neil and Tracey had planned to take 7 – 10 days getting back to Melbourne, to catch the ferry across to Tassie on the 20th of March, but as things progressed, the pressure was on them. Remember what I said about sight seeing on your way to holidaying? Yep, the Tassie crew ended up having to race home, to get there before they closed the boarders and they’d have to be forced to quarantine at home. They made it with a few hours to spare. No sights were seen on the homeward journey, as is our experience.
Mid March was my appointment with my surgeon, who was very happy with the knee, it’s movement and lack of pain. Not as much as I am though. So he asked me what I wanted to do about the right one, and suggested I get it done now, as they believed elective surgery would be put on hold very soon, as the Covid-19 infection rate increased. Right, okay, wow, I hadn’t thought it would come up so quickly, we had discussed September, after the Grandbaby was born. After a check of the diary, we booked in for 1st April, a week and a half away. Fuck! What? Try to get my head around that.
Wow, what a stressful week. Scans, home preps, COVID numbers going up rapidly, every day changes to our living rules, isolate, social distance, stay away from your loved ones. Shit, a real world apocalypse. Jobs lost in the millions, no groceries on the shelves, and the noise of our once busy lives, gone. It was a very, very difficult and emotional time for me to try and get my head into gear with another massive surgery so soon. Two days before the day, it was cancelled, as all elective surgery had to be postponed for an unknown time. I cried. Because it was hard to think about doing it, and to be relieved to not be doing it, and to not know how long I’d have to put up with this bloody pain. Of course, after it was cancelled it started to hurt more…ha ha ha.
So we have been in isolation for five weeks, only seeing my Mum and Will’s Dad, who both live alone, are in their 70’s, and live in the same town, nearby. Will has done all the shopping, for us and his Dad, so I have not been to a shop in over 5 weeks. Things are getting better for us here in WA, with 55 active cases remaining, and the easing of a few of our restrictions. In good time too, as we’ve noticed over the last week, while walking with Rodgie, there is more traffic, more activity, and people are starting to break out.
It is a huge upheaval of the world, with many changes to our lives, that may remain for a long time. Will and I are lucky with our Travel Home Base, our veggie garden, which is thriving, and we have practiced self isolating in our own way, on cycle tours, overland travel, and by living an alternative to the norm, anyway. But it has still been difficult to be forced to do it. Being told you CANNOT do things, does spark a little rebellion in us. We have resisted though, it is the right thing to do.
Isolation is a good chance to play around making videos for you all, so go check out our Facebook page
While isolating, and being avid Youtubers, we have decided on another adventure. It is not completely our usual, and we have taken the first steps towards it. As we get through this pandemic, hopefully sooner than later, we can fulfil this new adventure later in the year. So even though it has been a shocking and devastating start, we still have a healthy family, a new baby on the way, and an adventure to look forward to. So stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive.
5th May 2020 Post Script.
Since starting this blog post, Elective surgery bans were lifted, and blow me down if I wasn’t called up 2 days later and booked in for knee number two again. So on the 29th April, Will dropped me outside the Mount Hospital, he wasn’t allowed in, they did the required pre-entry, temp and verbal checks, then I was on my own. The surgery went as planned, and I spent four days in hospital, with one nominated visitor allowed, for a couple of hours each afternoon. Will visited me on one day, to deliver my GameReady sleeve, and that was all. It was not as tough as the last one, probably due to many small factors.
So now It has been two weeks, I’m home, down to one crutch, more for security than need, the dressing is off, and I have heard the good news that the hydrotherapy pool has reopened this week. My rehab will be in full swing next week, and with COVID restrictions beginning to ease more and more, it is looking promising for our end of year adventures. Yeehaaa!