Monday, December 8, 2014

4/12/14. Albany to Augusta, with a diversion in the middle.

4/12/14. Albany to Augusta.
And the time is 6:45 . . . . . . . Jeez! That's the middle of the night for me! It's not even 7 o'clock yet! 
And we're on our way to Denmark, the first stop on the road to Augusta. Will check out Walpole and Pemberton along the way, but I think we will end up in Augusta for the night. 
We decided to take the scenic route to Denmark. 

The road is very scary to me. It's making me very nervous. It's very narrow, quite often with a drop from the bitumen to the gravel of 3-6 inches and no room for error should you run off into that dirt. Big trees, much as I love the, growing very close to the road. Sometimes the road curves around them!  Most of the vehicles coming the other way seem to be hugging the center double lines and don't want to get over till the last min. Beautiful scenery, lots of trees, but scaring the crap out of me, really badly.

On the road from Denmark to Augusta we notice a variety of business enterprises. Lots of signs, simple and elaborate advertising local property's products. Here's a list: Licensed chocolate lounge, that had us wondering, but it's not open yet, Ice creameries, toffee makers, meaderies,  cheese factories, wineries, leather works, glass, pottery, wood turning and carving studios, Maron farm, lamb, deer, alpacas, olives. Beads. Truffles. Chestnuts and daffodil farm. 
We had another Bacon and Egg breakfast at the Walpole Bakery. Once again some very nice locally made sausages.

The sun comes and goes with drizzle but it's not too bad. A recently met friend, from an Internet caravanning group, Gerrit, suggested we visit the Valley of the Giants, Tree Top Walk. As you can see, Beryl insisted on seeing this, where she comes from there's not many trees, but Plukka stayed in the van, he's too much trouble. We got there ahead of opening and jumped the chain to find some shelter down at the kiosk, so we were first on to the walk. Pleased we were because we were nearly finished before a very noisy bus group started their walk. Spoiled the magic. 

 Oh my! How gobsmackingly beautiful. 

Most of them are tingle trees which they think means red in the local aboriginal dialect. Most of the trees have split trunks at the point they enter the ground which would provide great hideyholes for man or beast. 

The walkway is very well built but still wobbles a bit as you walk along it. Made me feel quite uneasy even tho I knew I was safe. I kept loosing my balance, a most unsettling feeling.  Beryl begged me to hold on most of the way. It's the first treetop walkway built in Australia and recently had its 18th birthday. All other similar walkways are based on this one. It's quite an engineering feat. Beautiful in itself.

The walk at its highest point is 40 meters high and the trees still tower above you. Beryl gazes upwards in awe! 

It is listed as Wheelchair accessible but I think you would skin your knuckles very easily if your chair was any thing wider than usual. And I imagine some big mobility scooters would not make it.

10:00 am. raining again.

I am not having a good day. As I said before, the road has scared the shit out of me and I got the wobbles on the walkway. 
Then I get a message on the iPad telling me if I do not report to Center Link today I will loose my Jobsearch payment. This worries me as I thought I had this sorted out before we left Dubbo. So, we stop in Pemberton to see if they have a CL where I can report. Nope, we'll have to go to Manjimup, where we didn't go to before because we turned off to Pemberton before we got there. Back tracking, into Manjimup. We find the CL office but it's just an agency. Three women are working there. One of them listens to what I'm trying to explain and puts me in front of a computer terminal that I know nothing about and tells me "you'll be right mate" and things can only get worse, and they do. I still don't know if I'll write the story of My Manjimup Meltdown. But, those three women left me wondering how some people manage to dress themselves of a morning. Surely they feel guilty for collecting a wage for a job they don't do because they don't know what they are doing? Anyway, Cutting a loooooong story short, nearly two hours later, I finally get it all sorted (by phone) and still upset, say to Rod, "get me to a loo and lets get out of this f hick town". He's been patiently waiting in the car for me all this time filling up his soduku book. 
As we pull away from curb, I'm looking in the mirrors to see how we're going clearing a lamp post, looks good to me, when I see that side of the van go up, sway toward the road and then go down and sways back the other way towards the footpath and you guessed it,. . . .It hits the lamppost.  When we get out to see what the damage is, I spot a big lump of roadway pushed up in the gutter, we have missed it with the car wheels on coming into the parallel parking but the van wheel has run up and down it on pulling out. Result, we have riped off the awning strut and opened up some of the crimping along the seam of the left corner of the caravan. 
In hindsight if I'd been thinking a bit clearer, I should have taken a photo to add to our claim or maybe sued Manjimup for repairs. 

We put the strut into the van, grab some rope and tie the end of the awning roller up so it doesn't come unrolled and duct tape the 'wound'. I rang CIL our van insurers and the very helpful lady there gives me good advice and repairer contacts in Bussleton and calms me down with her being so nice and all. We are both very upset but relieved that it doesn't look too major and a solution to possible repairs is just up the road so to speak. So we head to the public loos. In a park, very nice setting.
I'm in urgent need by now so I hurry into the first loo and have a wee, only to find no paper. Should have known I thought. I usually check and the first time I don't there's none. So I do the flick and wiggle and head to the basin to wash my hands, push the button on the soap dispenser,  . . . Nothing, push a bit harder,  . . . . . and soap goes squirting all over the place, up the wall, down the wall, sideways across the bench! Giggling, I daintily wipe some off the wall and go to turn on the tap,  . . . . . . and the handle comes off in my hand! By now I'm laughing hysterically and looking around for the hidden camera, sure I'm the star in a prank video. Rod finds it difficult to understand me cause I'm coughing choking so much with laughter. From crying with frustration to laughing hysterically in a matter of mins is very very tiring and I yawn the rest of the way into Augusta. All in all, the trip from Albany to Augusta has taken us more than five hours. 
We book in for two nights at another Wikicamps choice, Turner's Caravan Park. It's a very nice grassy setting right on the river with acess to the river walk and a boat ramp from the park. Not an orderly tourist park like in Albany. We like both types of parks. And this is nice.

Lots of shrubbery and gardens breaking up the sites, a few permanent residents. Both human and feathered variety. These two let me get fairly close to their combined broods before warning me off very nicely. Gotta remember to scrape your shoes before getting in the van. Lots of duck poop around, no wonder the gardens are so lush! 

The Turner's Caravan Park Consultation Committee, inspect and discuss our damage at length. And since I vented to The Internet group EVERYTHING CARAVANNING AND CAMPING shortly after the accident, we are getting lots of advice, and sympathy. A few people on both sides speak well of a certain Caravan Doctor in Bussleton, so I think we will be paying him a visit, when we get there. He's very popular and has a good reputation. Meanwhile it's decided that it's not too serious, and we could probably finish our journey before we get it fixed. This is a relief. 
Went for dinner, at the local pub, nice view, but both of us are so tired we are barely able to finish our meal and we are back at the van and in bed by 7:30 pm . 
Both needed a cuddle after that day. 

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