800 KMS TO ESPERANCE ON SOUTHERN OCEAN
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Perth, Jarradale, Wandering, Pingelly, Narrogin, Wagin, Lake Grace, Ravensthorpe, Esperance- 800 kms
WEATHER: Warm and sunny, high 20's to low 30's and cooler at night.
Our last day in Perth was busier than expected so we were unable to leave the city until 4pm. Our GPS was instructed to take us to Armadale where we intended staying overnight but Kath discovered that the caravan park was full and so was our alternative so we just drove to what we thought would be Amadale but we ended up close to Jarradale and after some searching we located a Camp 5 free camping spot "Frank Lupino Park".
There was just one caravan parked there down a service road and we wondered if it would be a safe spot so we called out to the resident of the caravan, an older man with front teeth missing and he seemed harmless enough. Just as we were making a final decision another campervan drove in and told us they were staying so that was it. Quite a nice spot with tables and benches! Incidently by morning we noticed another 6 vehicles had camped here.
Kath's mum had told us that she had lived in Pingelly in the 1920's during her primary school years so we decided to check out the town when we noticed that it was only a minor detour to travel there. We passed through the historic town of Jarradale which had been the centre of timber milling during that era and Kath knew that her grandfather had been a timber worker on the family's arrival in WA from Britain.
Pingelly was first settled in 1889 and there are some impressive heritage buildings that have been well preserved. We took photos of the school that Nell would have attended and the pub where her dad may have spent his hard earned wages on alcohol! We sent Nell a greeting card from the post office with a Pengelly post mark!
The town is situated in an area tagged as "Wheatbelt South, Land of Plenty" but sadly the worst drought in recent memory has devastated any chance of "plenty". We heard on the radio today that 900,000 sheep and cattle have been transported to eastern Australia where heavy rains have benefitted farmers who are restocking their farms with these animals. Sad and when and how will the WA farmers restock their farms and stations when the drought finishes? Wheat production of course is very low as well. And as we travel the area everything is so dry!
On the way to our night stop we checked out Lake Dumbleyung where in 1964, Donald Campbell broke the world speed record by travelling at 442 kms ph in his boat "Bluebird". The lake is dry and the exposed salt glimmers in the sun!
We reached Lake Grace Caravan Park late afternoon and at $16 pn was probably the least expensive caravan park we had stayed at. It was only half full and we noticed what looked like temporary workers were our neighbours and we had a lovely outlook across a field of hay with a rare patch of green lawn behind us. Addie the owner for the last 12 years seemed very old and slow but the facilities were very clean and quite modern. It was a clear dark night and cool enough to sleep under blankets. Again there were some interesting old buildings to view as we wandered the town
Thursday was all about listening to the radio broadcast of the Ashes between Australia and England- it's the cricket for our overseas readers and a huge event! Hat trick by Peter Siddle on his birthday had us screaming aloud in the van.
Lake King seemed just a dot of a town but the salt dried lake was quite startling and we drove straight through it. On a bright sunny day the white was soooooo.. white!
A lunch stop at Ravensthorpe with a home baked pie from a little cafe there and then after a journey of 800 kms we reached Esperance.