Comedy Camping Capers

Sun. 2nd June 2019

Now what do we do?Morning arrives though you wouldn’t really know it, as our prison cell is windowless (see yesterday’s post for more description). Today is the fateful day, the one we’ve been trying not to think about too much. The tent is going to have to go up – we are camping tonight! We keep telling ourselves we’ve camped before and we’ll probably (possibly? maybe? perhaps? conceivably?) get a better night’s sleep than the one we’ve just had.

En route was a bit of this...First things first though. Breakfast! So it’s back to the onsite transport caff. Janet is overjoyed to find Coco Pops in the cereal selection. Me? I discover that Aussie Weet-Bix is not the same as our Weetabix (square corners and more compact) . The educational benefits of travel. At least we get proper coffee, so all is well with the world. We agree that whilst this isn’t the worst place we’ve ever stayed, it’s certainly on the list.

There is definitely no reason to hang around and, so, having topped the Beast up with diesel, we’re on the road by 8:45. We soon turn off Highway 1 (we’ll pick it up again in a week or so) and then the satnav instructions are straightforward – carry straight on for 285km then you can think about doing something.

...and a lot of this.This turns out to be not entirely correct. Towards the end, there is a choice to be made – 45km on unsealed (gravel) road or twice that on tarmac. All of our maps apps say that the unsealed is quicker and off we go. No point in trying to listen to the weird Audible book through the radio as our pots & cutlery set up their own percussion workshop in the back of the Beast. We soon learn that there is a magic speed that (to an extent) smooths out the corrugations. It’s not as if the road is busy, so we feel free to seek out the smoothest part of the road.

Reception / bar / restaurant at Karijini Eco Resort - All the civilisation we'll get for the next 3 days.Still, we just count down the km and then heave a big sigh of relief when we finally reach tarmac again. This gets us to the (mining) town of Tom Price – named after a mining surveyor who was appraising the area for iron ore deposits in the 1960s. Another reminder of how the mining industry has driven expansion in the country. For us, it means a chance to get some lunch and a final chance to appreciate the luxuries of civilization (e.g. Internet access) before 3 days in the middle of Karijini National Park.

After lunch, we crack on and head for the park. We’re not entirely sure as to what to expect to see whilst we’re here – it’s been on our itinerary since day 1 (of planning) and everyone we’ve met en route has said “oh, it’s lovely there”, but what? The girl on reception desk at Karijini Eco Resort starts to enlighten us and suggests some gorges for us to visit. Most are a drive away but Joffre Gorge is just a 15minute walk.

Getting there!First though, is the moment of truth. We need to get the tent up! We watched a video on how to do it whilst waiting at Britz when we picked up the Beast and there is a laminated sheet of instructions tucked up in the windscreen visor. In truth, it is pretty straightforward – undo straps and zips & remove the cover; slide in the top-rear fixing for the annex and peg out the groundsheet; use the ladder to lever open the two halves of the tent and support the outboard half; zip the other 3 sides of the annex to the underside of the tent; and peg out a couple of guy ropes. It took us about an hour and no (major) arguments or disasters (other than the two halves of the ladder separating).

Job's a good'un! Time for tea and TimtamsOnce up, we’re quite impressed. There is a mattress inside the tent and the baseboard and car make it a lot softer than the ground, the inside space is roughly the size of a large double bed and we have sheets and openable sleeping bags, so we can make it up exactly like that. All in all, it took us about an hour – not bad for a first attempt. We can definitely cope with this and celebrate by having a cup of tea and Timtams (like Penguin biscuits but more varieties of chocolate and filling).

By the time we’ve had a bit of a chat with our neighbours, we’re too late to walk down to Joffre Gorge before sunset and so make do with moving back to the reception / bar / restaurant area – the only communal area of any sort and at least it has permanent lighting. The resort brands itself as an ‘Eco’ resort. This seems to mean limited electricity and no internet. Given that it get dark around 6pm and then gets chilly, it is difficult to make progress with the blog. Still, we get some writing and photos done before we move through to the restaurant.

Not bad for first attempt at astro-photographyWalking back to the Beast around 9:30pm and contemplating an early night – too cold and dark to sit around outside and no easy way to sit up in the tent and watch anything on my tablet – when we remember Sheila’s advice. Look up! Just wow! Look at all the stars and that must be the Milky Way meandering high above us. No electricity means no light pollution so there is at least some benefit to the Eco tosh. We just have to have a go at some astrophotography. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and now seems a good time to start. I distinctly need more practice but for a first attempt this isn’t too bad and a pretty good way to end the day.

So far then, our camping capers have been not so much Keystone Kops – just as well as we’re going to have to Carry on Camping!

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