The send off…very much a loving memory…but The First Night….Disaster!
We scrambled out of our house as quickly as possible. There is most definitely a method to this madness. Once you get renters in ….which is the last stage… you now have a “drop dead date!” Connor found his roommates- two Norweigns studying abroad. We took them in early as they were staying in a hostel. What nice roomies! I can already see Connor will have a fantastic year in our house with these two roomies. I’m so happy he will get to grow and learn by experiencing student life (most Uni students in Oz live at home while attending).
Connor, subconsciously or not so subconsciously was pushing us out the door as fasssst as possible. We had already delayed by 4 days, so I’m sure he thought… they will never leave!? Cleverly, he started helping out in a bigggg way. Connor I have 10 loads of laundry to do…shall I stay an extra day? Nope, I’ll do it. Connor, can you help us pack the car and help Dad get things ready for the Troopy…yup, I sure can. He helped tons!! And I probably pushed the bar a bit myself to add to the list of things I wanted done before leaving. At nearly 22, he did everything and more just to get us GONE!
6Pm sharp we set forth on our lap around Australia with our neighbours sending us off with such a warm, loving send off. A lump in my throat and damp eyes upon departure for sure.
After swinging by to see the grandparents, we were off at night starting our trip. Geoff got tired of driving at midnight, so we pulled into a pull-over for the night. Set up the tent…and just found he packed a 2 person tent for the 3 of us! I gave Geoff a query look… with a huh…is this your plan? Admittedly, we pick up our roof top tent and organisational gear in South Australia some 1000K’s away, so we have 2-4 weeks to improvise…but what about the sleeping arrangements meanwhile???
Nonetheless, we gave it a go and made due with what we packed. Geoff made a cozy nest for Stella in the Troopy, front seat, but after about an hour…Uhh ohh…ding..ding..she slept a few hours in the Troopy whilst traveling. Boing! Hello is it morning yet at 2am? For most people under 3 feet tall who had a huge nap…yes..but for those over 45 and have been functioning on very little sleep for weeks…Nooooo! Geoff…my hero…got up with her and slept in the front seat of the Troopy with her listening to Cover songs via violin to help her sleep. Admittedly, even though on the ground of a concrete parking lot…I had the whole tent to myself! Ahhh…such a wonderful lift off for all of us Hibble family!
Like discovering America, we found National Parks such beautiful destinations. Our entire trip was driven by National Parks. We had such great success, we thought we’d have that as our beacon of light this time too as well as word of mouth with a bit of reading all the while trying to avoid the typical tourist spots. We find through this cross referencing, we have yet to be disappointed. Our first spot Stella choose, Eulin Crossing, as it had a river to swim! It’s really not a National Park, but the setting sure looked like it. We found it on Wikkicamps as a free place to stay. Super cool spot.
We arrived in the morning and spent the entire day working and studying there. We Put up the hammocks, swam and had a lovely lunch. There was only one other family at Eulin. We later learned they too are set out for a lap around Australia for 12 months in the opposite direction! Although they did have all the comforts of a caravan, 4×4, boat and all the toys you can imagine. We are doing a more bush and minimalistic approach. They started in Nov. and gave us some quick tid-bits on what to expect. Rule #1….check out your ground first and make sure no ant hills are nearby. Rule #2 …look for the common “wee spot” and stay away; When it rains…its really bad! Ok. Noted. I went back to our spot and had a look…we got 1 out of 2 right! As we were packing up, we were parked right beside an ants’ nest. I felt a slight sting and then looked at my feet and they were covered in black ..crawling quickly. Like a scene out of the survivor. I freaked out and swatted them off. They must of then radioed “bite now” to their troops with their antennas because before I knew it, I felt bites up to my thighs. I dropped the “f” bomb and Stella was not impressed with that nor the fact I was using her T-shirt to swat them away. I got the majority of them off quickly, but still found ants on me 1 hour later riding down the road. Noted…Rule number 1 shall never be broken again!
We decided to detour through Denmark before heading to Esperance. Geoff’s Uni friend, John, lives there with his beautiful family. We try to get down to see them every couple of years as they are very much a wholesome, unique, very talented wonderful family to hang around. The children all went to a Steiner School, so they know many non-conventional things like knitting in the 2nd grade, cooking, artsy, no IT, talented musicians at a young age-all 3 are budding artists in my opinion. Very environmental friendly eco thinking family. We cooked dinners and ate together, wondered through the woods each morning, climbed huge tree houses, the children played music for us (we bribed them with S’mores). Stella didn’t do any IT at all whilst there, so it was a great example for her to see none of the 10-16 year olds had a phone, Ipad, Apple Watch or anything like that. Just a laptop to do their schoolwork. She adores Maya, the 13 year old, and always has since she was young. It was great for her to see there’s more to life then just keeping up with the Jones.
Fortunately, I also had a hockey friend, JB,recently retired in Denmark, so I was able to pop in for a hello there too. What a beautiful spot to retire-simple, clean living! We got the Tip on The Tip Shop, AND most importantly…they kindly upgraded our 2 person tent in for a 3 person tent! Problem solved!
After leaving Denmark, we took John & Silvia’s recommendation and saw Waychinicup and Bremmer Bay. Both great recommendations and two different experiences: from bush hikes to beautiful beaches with 4×4 driving on the beach.
Enroute to Esperance, we managed to stay one night at a farm’s stay. Thinking we would be the only one staying, we were surprised to find it was loaded with people who just camped in the fields with cows wondering about. Rob, the owner was very a interesting man. He was an orphan and ran away when he was 10. The orphanage kept finding him, so he went to Esperance and got a job at 15 with a butcher. He now has his own farm and does organic farming from paddock to plate and meanwhile takes travellers in for a farm stay or a pullover for the night. I didn’t see a misses around, so presumed he lived alone. What a great way to spend your later years hosting travellers and meeting people from all walks of life. The beer (which he brewed) was cold and bar always open! I enjoyed having a chin wag with him and listening to his story.
We then high-tailed it to the heart of Esperance to stay a week and get everything serviced before hitting the Nulaborough to take us through the Great Australian Bite.