And nothing beats a cold beer and a hot sausage with the family:
Not that there is anything exciting above, its just filling in blog space. Back to work for a few days and I had 4 days to play with come the 30th. Leo decided to come along for the trip and we thought of heading down Walpole way.
Unfortunately I didn't finish work till 1530 on the Saturday and couldn't leave until 1630 at the earliest. We decided to head back to Belvedire to get a head start for the following day. Leo decided he would head down early and secure a spot.
Just as well he did, because at 1400 when he arrived, he got the last site in the place. Such a difference to when we were there early December for the start of "full on at Fish Creek". I arrived around 1800. Just enough time to squeeze the ulti into our small assigned site, get dinner on the go, swap a few xmas pressies and have a drink or two. Sorry no photo's to show here.
Come the morning, we departed for fern Hook falls, north of Walpole. I had warned leo this was a bad time of year, and finding somewhere, especially tonight, being new years eve, was going to be a challenge.
And right I was. Into Fernhook and it was chocka's. We drove out and parked up on the side of the road to discuss our options. Leo had a few sites on his map. Something called 'sweet spot" on wiki, Crystal Springs and a site a bloke at Belvedere had mentioned to me "Banksia camp". I had none of these places on my maps, nor had I ever been there, so I told him to take the lead. And it is here all went to shit.
He had mentioned turning down Ordinance Road, something I explained also wasn't on my maps, but its all good, cause I saw it on the way in and knew where it was. Leo took the lead and I had to hang back a few Km's due to the dust. Turning onto Ordinance, he mentioned over the radio he had turned down Easter Road to check out a potential site. I was told, don't come down here, the bridge is out and I wouldn't be able to turn the trailer around. fair enough. When I met Easter Road, I parked up and waited.
Leo mentioned he was chatting with a group camped there and would be finished soon. I should go back to the Highway and he would meet me there. So we did just that. 8Km of dusty gravel later, we waited, and we waited and we waited. After 20 minutes, I wondered where the hell he was. Had he done a tyre, hit a roo, run off the road?? Dunno, but I decided to head back in case something was wrong. At the very least we would pass each other.
Wrong I was. Arriving back at Easter road, I parked up again and walked to the old bridge. I saw the group he was speaking to and explained I was looking for my mate. They said he left ages ago.
Where the hell did he go??
From my map and the track drawn down ordinance road, it appeared the road would follow the river, getting ever further from the highway. So all I could do, was go back to the Highway and wait. hopefully to meet up again.
Another 1/2 hour passed, time now being 1630, New years Eve. I explained to the family, I suspect he has gone South to one of the spots he mentioned: one of the spots I had no idea where they were. So we could also go South, rooting around trying to fins these spots and him. or we could go North, back to Shannon River Campground - a site that was suggested when we had parked up.
My thoughts on the matter was that the further we go South, the closer to the coast, the busier it would become. And I had to find them once we got in the vicinity. If we went North to Shannon, we stood a higher chance of gaining a spot for the night. So North it was.
Arriving at Shannon, we found the campground deserted. Dpaw have invested huge money in this place, having over 70 individual sites, hot showers, flushing dunnies and all. Quite bizarre considering this place is literally in the middle of nowhere and has nothing to do in the vicinity. Fantastic use of taxpayer funds - Not!.
So it was around 1800 by the time we had set up and hoped leo might take the initiative and head North and we could spend new years Eve together. Unfortunately it didn't happen and we were in bed by 2300.
Next morning we packed up and headed into Walpole. On the way in, I passed Ordinance Road would you believe. It met the highway about a kilometre from bloody Easter Road (where I headed back to the highway, the long way), going by my tracklog would you believe. They mystery had been solved. I now know where he went. Pity he didn't communicate that to us!
Walpole was the first place we got phone reception back after leaving Manjimup. I sent Leo a txt telling him where we were, thinking he would be floating around the area somewhere.
I got a call back pretty quick, unfortunately, where ever he was, reception was not good. A quick convo followed, him bagging me stating "I told you we were going to go to crystal Springs", myself replying I told you I didn't know where that was, hence why I said take the lead. And that was the end of the call - also the last time I ever heard from him again.
And that was the end of our journeys together. For all I know, he is still driving around out there, because I have not heard from him since. Some 3 months after the event as I write this
There was a really good map in Walpole and I found where both Crystal Springs and Banksia Camp were located. All off Mandalay Beach Road, which I recall passing. I sent a txt stating we were now heading to Banksia Camp, he should come meet us. Well as you can imagine, that never happened.
Back at camp, more people came in and filled the campground over the afternoon. I'm surprised no one wanted to share the facilities with us. A quiet night down, we packed for home the next morning, still wondering how the hell it all went wrong - as I still do.
lets hope it's not an omen for the state of play for 2018.
Finishing up with 48 nights under canvas for 2017
with 1 night under canvas for 2018
On this Walpole trip:
160L fuel used
for an average of 14.9 L/100Km (noting the ulti was in tow)
cost of fuel $227
camp fees $17
And wrapping up 2017: