Sunday, 22 November 2015

More Nights under canvas: Martin's Tank take 2

(Edited, January 2016)

November 7-12

Back in "Nights under canvas: part I" - Feb 2015, I spent a few days down at Site 16, Martins Tank. Having a 6 day break, I decided to return. This time, pulling the ulti out of the shed for a bit of luxury. I think I've proven myself in the swag this year. The family came down on the weekend with me. Arriving to find site 16 taken, I managed to squeeze into site 11 - just big enough for the ulti, the cars will have to go elsewhere. Like most DPaW sites, its primarily set up for tenting, meaning the ulti has to go into the car parking space. They have spent a few bucks here during the refurb last year. The camp Kitchen is pretty good with water, cooking and washing up facilities, it also has a few drop dunnies and communal firepit (which incidentally finished the weekend prior). That's about it. Nice and simple and a cost of $10 PP per night. The kitchen and its proximity to home is the reason I came back. They have set up a van/camper section, but it is a long way from the kitchen, a facility I intended on using, hjence my decision to squeeze into site 11.

So we arrived about lunchtime on the Saturday and spent the day setting up camp and generally just lazing about:

Surprisingly, there were a lot of campers here and only one other group used the kitchen. So it was a pretty peaceful night.

Come Sunday morning, I had pre arranged the night before to meet Team Ellie (Trev and co) at White Hills Rd for a beach run. We got to ground zero at the nominated time and received a call from Trev: Due to a marathon in Mandurah, lots of roads were closed and he was running late. So we decided to meet him on the beach, a few Km's South of White Hills.

Guess who forgot to put chairs in......

1/2 hour or so later, Team Ellie arrived. We spent a couple of hours giving the dog and the tin lid a run on the beach and in the water:

Although it was quite a warm day, especially in the sun, as time went by, the wind picked up and it was rather cool in the breeze. We bid farewell to Team Ellie and whilst they went back to White hills, we ventured down the Beach to Preston Beach. From there, re-inflating the tyres, we made the 10Km trek back to camp. The family left for home not too long afterwards and I spent a quiet relaxing night on my own. Most campers had now left, but one group with kids stayed Sunday night and left mid Monday.

I got a message from DX Grunt: aka Rossco that he would meet me at camp about lunchtime Monday. We had talked about catching up at some stage, but at the time he didn't have any set plans, therefore a rendezvous could not be set in concrete. Monday morning and I had a couple of coffees and generally lazed about waiting for Rossco to arrive. I did give the pop up shower tent its first ever workout. Had it about 18 months and its never been used. That's the issue camping with others around: I cant go round scaring them in the nuddie having a shower :(

Rossco arrived right on cue. Whereby he selected site 10 to empty his truck and set up his swag in the back. A few beers in the afternoon, followed by dinner, and it was lights out for Rossco about 1930. I sat with some tunes and glasses of red for another couple of hours.

Tuesday morning and Rossco decided he liked the place so much, he would stay till the Friday before heading South, catching up with other friends and doing a bit more camping. He also decided that sleeping next to the fridge in the back of the truck wasn't such a good idea. So up with the tent, throw in the swag and get all the gear out the truck. I suggested we head off down to the beach, where he could do a bit of fishing. An hour or so of flicking a lure had fulfilled his need.

From there we took a drive down to the roadhouse at Binningup for a burger for lunch. Then heading down to the desal plant for a gander. Heading back, we went for a drive down to the beach at Myallup and on the way out, onto the settlement up lake Preston Rd:

Eventually making it back to camp early afternoon where we whiled away the hours until dinner. No doubt with a beer or two. The maggies were pretty friendly:

That night I had to listen to the evil Possums in the trees above the ulti, dropping all manner of vegetation onto it. Worse still, the little bastards decided to take a leak a few times too...Grrrrr

Wednesday morning, after the coffee duties were over, I took Rossco for run around the area. first stop the Yarloop Rail Workshops.

There is so much stuff in here, I cant publish all the photos. But I can suggest if you are into rail, steam, timber or old machinery and engineering, the $8 entry fee is well worth it.



Smithing shop:

Points Levers:

Engineering shop. The shaper brings back memories of youth and apprenticeship:

More engineering shop. The wood fired heater showed it must get a bit cool in winter:

More boilers than you can poke a stick at:

Wheel Lathes:

Restored engines:

Steam driven log cutters:

And that is just a small sample of the stuff in there. Impressive.

EDIT: Jan 2016. Unfortunately on the 6th of January, a bushfire, started by a lightning strike in Lane Poole Reserve, has spread to a large area and on the evening of the 7th/morning of the 8th, Yarloop bore the brunt of the fire. Over 120 houses and buildings have been destroyed and 2 people have lost their lives in the town. The railway workshops have been destroyed. This is all so very sad, we share their pain like they do. I put together a tribute slideshow of the workshops. I just kick myself now I did not take pictures of the buildings nor the steam engines in there.

Yarloop Workshop Tribute

End Edit:

From there we headed over to the local store for lunch. A quiet little sleep town.

Moving on, I took Rossco for a loop around Logue Brook Dam. The aqua waters providing a neat, stark contrast to the red and yellow gravels of the surrounding country:

I wanted to check out the new DPaW campground here, but it is protected by pin numbered boom gates. Driving down the road, it looks like the area is huge. I would still like to drive around inside to check it out at some stage.

Taking some back roads, we then headed for Harvey Dam. I know a little track that takes you down to the waters edge:

Making our way to Harvey, I noticed a marked line on the moving map approaching. Pretty soon some powerlines come into view. At this point, Rossco starts to point and I look to the powerlines. I realise he is pointing at ground level, and by the time the eyes had moved, the Goanna on the track, in the shadows, was a goner. I was a bit pissed off about that, but consoled myself that it wasn't deliberate and I had hit the skids and steered to try to avoid it. Unfortunately the back wheel clipped its head and it didn't suffer. Still sad that fate took out a remarkable animal.

Through Harvey and I took Rossco into Belvedire campground. Certainly not as nice as Martins. Then it was back to camp for beers and dinner. More bloody Possums again tonight.

Thursday morning and its time to go home. I plod along for the next couple of hours and start thinking of the next adventure: 7 days in Esperance in 3 weeks time. Since then, fires have decimated some of the area I wish to traverse, so I will have to see how things pan out in regards to that.

Leaving Rossco to his own devices, I make the leisurely hour and a half journey home to unpack and get ready for the next nights to be had under canvas.

So, this trip gives me another 5 nights under canvas brining the running tally to 45 for the year.

Trip Stats:
6 days duration
575Km travelled
70L fuel used
for an average of  12.2L/100Km
cost of fuel $90
Camp fees $50

(noting, 260 of those Km's were towing the ulti, so the 12.2L/100 average is pretty good to my mind)

Thanks to rossco for the company. We will have to do it again sometime.


  1. Thanks for the few days in the bush. I really enjoyed it. Great therapy. I'd add a couple of pics, but I accidentally hit the 'Format' button and deleted the whole lot! Not to worry. There'll be a next time. lol. Ross

    1. Oh Rossco, you didn't did you? Glad to hear you enjoyed the therapy.