We had been home 5 weeks when Chris and I worked ourselves into a Green Ginger Wine fueled internet frenzy one night, searching for exit strategies.
Buying another car and caravan… Cheap flights to Asia. Oh look, motorhomes are cheap in Germany! And there are cheap flights to China. Hang on, nope, lets not go there again! What about Canada?
It’s hot here; nearly 40 everyday. We’ve been hiding inside in the air conditioning and venturing out to beaches and parks and the river when the heat has subsided, just in time for the sunsets.
We lasted five weeks, mostly back in our old home, culling and selling and preparing it for sale. Then the itchyness got unbearable, our plans to go away camping were not firming up well enough.
One of our many options is to get a rig and travel around in Australia. So Chris suddenly decided he wanted a particular type of 60 series Toyota Land Cruiser, and hunted the country top to bottom for just the right one. We thought we’d get a funky old cruiser and a funky old caravan to tow behind it big enough to have a bathroom and beds for 7 but not longer than 24′. Hey, we said, let’s just fly to wherever we find the right car, drive it to where ever we find the right caravan, and be home in time for tea. Too easy.
So, with an uncharacteristic lack of stopping-and-thinking we bought flights to Melbourne and left two days later. Mum, who will drop anything and go anywhere, agreed to come with us, having never driven the Nullarbor before. We bought the car on the spot, in the center of Melbourne city from a barefooted bloke outside his mate’s flat.
It was nearly 10pm and we had no accommodation. I rang a few places and it was looking like a $300 night. Ouch!! Then, with only 6% left on the phone battery, we found a backpackers’ with a family room for $139. Eight of us ate the overpriced pizza and squished into the 5 beds.
We drove 300 km the next day to visit two caravans. Neither were any good. It’s a good thing we didn’t buy anything online, unseen! Its funny how rust and dirt and broken electrics don’t get metioned on ebay.
Knowing there were more caravans to see en route to Perth, we bought a roof rack on eBay the next day and spent the morning installing it onto our new car, on the footpath outside the backpackers, in inner city Melbourne. And Sparky’s wheelchair and all our bags fitted on top.
Then we began the drive home to Perth, only 3418km, and a week to do it in. Chris had to be back for jury duty, of all things.
I had been homesick for the Australian landscape in our 12 months away. Its a desolate, dry kind of beautiful. We crossed rural Victoria, with dairy cows and rivers here and there. So pretty.
We drove the great Ocean Road and saw the twelve apostles bathed in morning light.
In South Australia, things got vaster and browner, there were old stone cottages everywhere, and giant-like wind generators in wheat fields.
Then the Nullabor; 2000km of nothingness, desert, shrubs and rock. “Null Arbor” …..no trees. Not much of anything really.
We haven’t really spoken to any one yet apart from the odd friendly mum or dad at the caravan park pool. We give the cursory one finger bush wave to passing cars. Motor homers wave only at other motor homers, caravan towers wave at other caravan towers. Pettiness, the world over.
We worked our way through all the random music we have on file, the kids singing Kasey Chambers’ “Biggest Backyard in the World.” Kasey grew up right here on the Nullabor, her dad was a fox hunter, yet another extraordinary childhood which produced an extraordinary musician. We listened to Kasey all over Asia, a little of bit of home that came with us.
The children have named the new cruiser ‘Kasey’.
Here’s to raising children with big backyards, I say.