Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Saturday 15th March 2008 to Monday 17th March 2008

Saturday 15th March, 2008

We were not quite sure what the morning was like as when we rose to face it this morning, the sun had not shown his face, or even given us a glimpse at that time. As we are moving to Karratha today we tried to get an early start and we were up by around 5:45am Western Standard Time. (That sounds better than 6:45 Daylight Saving Time!).

We were partially successful as we were driving out of the caravan park by 7:45 am and started our journey, first was a few kilometres out to the Minilya - Exmouth Highway where we turned North for the next 50 kilometres before turning East and traveled the 80 kilometres to the North West Coastal Highway.

From here we turned North and set out for Karratha via Nanutarra, (110 km) Fortescue (159 km) and on to Karratha (137 km) arriving in Karratha at 12:50 pm after a journey of 520 kilometres. We stopped once about 20 kilometres past Nanutarra to fill up the Patrol with fuel from the jerry cans we were carrying on the roof rack and then a very brief pause on the Fortescue Bridge to take a photograph or two of the river.

After settling in at the caravan park 'One of Us' rang niece Nikki who lives in Karratha with Husband Gary and boys Tom and Jack. After a chat on the phone it was into the Patrol and around to visit them before dinner and we were welcomed with open arms arms. It was so great to meet up with them all again after quite some time.

After the girls had carried on their conversation for an hour or so, Gary and the 'Other One' managed to get a word in and Gary was able to show his latest purchase which is a 2004 Nissan Patrol with all the extras attached. Wow.. He now owns two Nissan Patrols... Poor old pensioners like us can only afford one! He did say that if someone comes up with $25K he will be happy to sell the 2000 model 3.0 litre Patrol to them and return to the ranks of a single Patrol owner... Eh... Single meaning one Patrol, not a single man... Don't think Nikki would agree to that!

After delaying our departure for long enough, Nikki invited us to stay for dinner and cooked up a great Rack (make that two) of Lamb and potatoes with an accompanying salad, which we really enjoyed whilst the girls continued their non stop discussion about anything and everything.

We finally returned to the caravan at around 10:pm and climbed into bed after a drive that took as a lot closer to our little grand daughter and gave us the opportunity to catch up with Nikki, Gary and boys who we really do like to see every chance we get.

'One of us is also getting excited because she has found out that there are some shops open in Karratha in the morning and there will be no holding her back from a bit of retail therapy.

The Start of the Pilbara
The start of the Pilbara

Refueling the Patrol
Refueling the Patrol north of Nanutarra

Crossing the Fortescue River
Crossing the Fortescue River

Sunday 16th March, 2008

The therapy session that 'One of Us' planned for today started a little later than anticipated, as the viewing of the sun for the first time in the morning was also some time later than usual.

We eventually drove out of the caravan park and headed off to the therapy centre in town called Karratha Shopping Centre where 'One of Us' strolled around, no maybe rushed to would be more like it, K-Mark and started the recovery process by breathing in the sights and smells of a big shop and then continued with the purchase of a book, hair brush, tic tacs some plates and drink bottles for Tom and Jack and a new pair of bathers for Pammy.

From here we made our way around the rest of the shopping centre, taking in all types of therapy before returning to Coles Supermarket where we purchased a couple of items for dinner tonight , walking out after paying the cashier over $150....

The Patrol then received a reward of almost 80 litres of diesel and Pammy lead us to a bottle shop where a bottle of classic white wine was added to the days finds.

From here it was back to the caravan park and feet up until we received a call from Nikki letting us know that Gary had opened up their camper trailer and invited us around for a look at it, which we had talked about before and we were keen to see it. So off to Nikki and Gary's place where we were welcomed and shown over the camper trailer that Gary had made.

Then came the real surprise for 'One of Us' as the 'Other One' had been talking to little Leila, well her dad actually and Travis, Lana and Little Leila made a snap decision to drive down to Karratha from South Hedland to see us and give Pammy a really big thrill. This worked a treat as they arrived at Nikki and Gary's place whilst we were in the camper trailer and first Nikki saw them walk in, then Pammy shrieked with delight and surprise as she saw who was there. Little Leila was swept up in her arms and although there was some expectation she would have forgotten Grandma.. she just grinned and was as happy as could be.

The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting with Little Leila, oh and Nikki, Gary, Travis and Lana andTom and Jack until it was time for us to return to the caravan park to prepare for a BBQ meal that we were putting on for all of us.

Travis had brought a tent with him and we had Little Leila's fold up cot so we set everything up for the evening and then Gary, Nikki and the boys turned up for a few drinks and dinner.

The evening went really well and we had a great night with everyone chatting about everything and a good range of BBQ meats including two types of sausages, chicken, lamb chops and steak, accompanied with a waldorf salad, garden salad, bread rolls and one of Nikki's delicious baked lemon cheesecake. All this with a fair quantity of beer, white and red wine. Unfortunately Gary had to go to work in the morning and Tom and Jack had school, so they had to leave early (around 10.30:pm) and Travis and Lana made their way to their tent around 12:45 am. Little Leila settled in her cot in the caravan and her grand parents were delighted to be able to look after her for the night.

A great day and night was had by us all, although er were all a little tired next morning.

Gary's home built camper trailer
Gary's home built camper trailer

Tom and Jack
Tom and Jack pay us a visit

Little Leila has a bath in the sink
Little Leila has a bath in the caravan sink

Monday 17th March 2008

Well that was our visit to Karratha and we were off to Port Hedland this morning. Our departure was perhaps a little later than would normally be the case as nothing was packed up last night as it was late before Travis and Lana went off to their tent and we settled down with little grand daughter Leila in the caravan with us around 1:30am, although Little Leila had been sleeping since around 9:pm.

After Travis and Lana came around and had a morning cup of tea with us, we all started packing up in readiness for our drive to Port Hedland and they managed to get away by around 9:15am, taking little Leila with them.

We managed to get all packed up, hooked up and were driving out of the caravan park by about 10:05am and we started heading North on the last leg of our journey to our destination of Port Hedland.

About thirty five kilometres up the road we passed through Roebourne and headed out among many red breakaway and flat top hills that changed colour from each direction they were viewed from as we passed them by. We continued to drive in and out of ranges of these red hills before we viewed Whim Creek Hotel on our right and the copper mine just behind it. Not long after that the landscape changed to flat red plains stretching out almost as far as one could see.

Around 250 kilometres after leaving Karratha, we came to the South Hedland turn off where Travis, Lana and little Leila live, however we continued on into Port Hedland and around to Cooke Point where we settled in at bay 194 in the Cooke Point Holiday Village for the next week or two.

After getting everything set up we left the caravan park and drove back out to South Hedland and visited our little grand daughter in her own home. In the course of the rest of the afternoon we enjoyed a swim with the little girl in their swimming pool and stayed there for an enjoyable bbq dinner and drinks.

Around 10:pm we finally returned to the caravan park, with 'One of Us' driving the Patrol as she had not had any alcoholic beverages and the 'Other One' had consumed a can or two of beer during the later part of the evening.

It was a weary couple of people who crawled into bed in the caravan and bid each other good night, although they didn't stay awake very long before drifting off into a long and peaceful slumber.

Little Leila swimming in her pool
Little Leila relaxing in her pool

Little Leila with Grandma in the pool
It's fun with Grandma in the pool too

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