Posts Tagged ‘driving’

When things go badly wrong

State Regional Surfing Camp was this last weekend.
It was a long weekend, and running one of Perth’s clubs who were invited to attend, meant a long drive ahead.

The problem was Soundwave was on this weekend on the Monday. Initially I was going to go to Soundwave, and some of the groms were too. So even though the camp finishes on Monday, we would leave on Sunday.

I later decided not to attend Soundwave (as predicted temperature was late thirties), but did score a ticket to The Get Up Kids on the Sunday night, which started at 8. So we were aiming to get back by 6pm.

Back to the beginning. Friday.

It’s normally a 5 1/2 hour drive on a good day to get to Geraldton. Friday was an exception because there was a HUGE fire. So an hour and a half additional detour driving was added on.
The fire looked like the hour from LOTR.
It was red, below and in the sky, burning. HUGE.

We eventually arrived at the campsite which was this school.

8.5 hectares of land. NO POWER.

Had to set up our tents in the dark, realised I’d left my swag poles behind. the joys.

The Saturday.
The day filled with amazing drama.

Got up at 5am to go surf at headbutts about 30km south of Geraldton and a fair 4wd drive along the beach.

Some real good waves, annoying to paddle out. Some awesome barrels. Good formation.
It was RD Boz, Caleb, Local boys Shane and Tim, and myself and my grom Daniel.

Headed back about 9ish and the plan was to get breakfast, but had only enough time to pile the girls in the car, before heading out to the spot.
This was access via Greenoch Rivermouth, and required some 4wd.
Turns out, Shane decided to take his little red Daewoo on the trail, and got bogged. There was a 4wd car in between us, and I had to reverse out of the trail about 1km.

I got to the flat hard beach, and my clutch was feeling shoddy.
Drove a little and it died. We figured it had overheated and needed some resting so we went for a surf.
Some real fun ones out. Took the ol film waterproof camera out.
Nearly lost it in a huge wave. Caught a wave in an attempt to catch floating away camera. Grabbed it with one hand, but didn’t have time to steer out of the way from riding straight into grom Daniel. ha ha ha.
The look of fear on the poor boys face.

Gave the girls some lessons on duck diving.
Caleb got some body surfs in.
Good run.

Then we proceeded back to the car. It’s now 47/48 degrees celcius, and we are on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Closest town is Gero which is a good half an hour away.
The car starts, but the wheels won’t turn.
The clutch has burnt out.
We wait… and wait… and wait…..

Time passes. I’ve run out of water.
We wait some more.

I spot a 4wd and flag them down. I convince them to tow us to the rivermouth. They do this.
I then leave the kids with caleb in my broken down car, and hitch a ride with said strangers to a call booth in the middle of nowhere.
All I have is a wallet with bankcards and a dollar fifty in change, and my mobile phone which has no reception.

The call box is broken and won’t take coins, only cards. I have none.
I try reverse call charging the few people I know who are also on the surf trip in Gero.
They are all out of reception and surfing.
I try roadside assisstance. NOTHING.
Insurance place is closed.
My towing place won’t pick up and I can’t get hold of anything.
2 hours later… and there is finally a light.

Some familiar faces arrive with some warm water for us.
I pull my calf muscle.
We eventually manage to tow our car to where we are staying. Roadside assistance still nowhere to be found.

So now we are 6 hours north of where we live, with no car, and I had to have the groms back in Perth by 6pm on Sunday.
Every other person was heading back on Monday, so we couldn’t even hitch a ride.
By now it’s after 4pm on a long weekend, and I’m in a country town trying to hire a car.
I have no idea what rental companies are even up here, and attempt to call all sorts.
Everywhere I call sounds like this… “Thank you for calling, we are open between 9 and 5 eastern standard time, please call during office hours”. It was about 7 stupid EST.
At around 4:15, I get through to the Gero Airport Avis, and get the answering machine.. I leave a distressed message about urgently needing a car…
At 4:45, I’m still trying to call places, and I get a call back.
It’s avis.

Here’s my miracle.
Apparently all car rental places in Gero close at 2 on Saturday. This lady however for some reason checked her voicemail and called me. Even though she was at home, and had been for almost three hours already.
She drove to the airport, to meet me at 5:10 (I hitched another ride), and opened up the ENTIRE AIRPORT, just so she could rent the car to me. The airport also closes at 2pm on a Saturday.

It cost me 600 all up. YUCK. But at least we could now get home.
Nothing like a suped up 6 litre Ford Falcon in black to drive the 600kms.

Now does anyone remember the red Daewoo??
Well… it was bogged, so the owner Shane, left it there, and jumped into a 4wd to go surf the spot.
He managed to dislocate his shoulder whilst surfing, and it took friends 15 minutes to get the screaming Shane and his board, back to shore. Big waves and reef ensured this was tough.
Two guys had to pop his shoulder back in, and they drove him back to his lil red car.
Someone had smashed in the rear window and stolen his skateboard, his shoes, his backpack and more.

So the next day, is the trip back for my car.
I discover I have heat stroke. I can barely keep my eyes open, want to throw up, have a raging migraine and have to drive for 6 hours. No, make that 7, because that raging fire we had to detour on the way up, was still uncontainable, and now 3 times the size.

We then run into a traffic jam somewhere near the swan valley, and were travelling at 5 km an hour for 20 minutes.
Let’s just say if I’d be wearing a moodring, it would have been black.

Lots of detours later, I get back to my house just before 8.
Still need to shower, and unload luggage and get rid of headache, and print out ticket for the Get Up Kids headlining show which starts in the city at 8.
I live nowhere near the city.

Mad rush, lots of stress, uncertainty about how I was going to return the rental that night and somehow get home was worrying me. I hadn’t showered since Friday, didn’t know what to wear, or where anything was.
I also covered melted lollies into the back seat compliments of the groms – which I cannot scrub out. UGH!

I hurry, and have to drive along the freeway with all the windows down so my hair can dry, on the way to the city.
I get there for the end of Set Your Goals.
My hair is semi dry and slightly wild.

Show review in another post. 🙂

Now it’s after midnight, I have to return the car to the airport (a 40 min drive from my house), and figure out how I’m going to get home.
Eventually suss a ride at bout 1pm. Drive to the airport, return car, and sleep in my bed for the first time since Thursday.
AH. Bliss.

Could anything more go wrong?

Stay tuned!


Campsite 2.

We then proceeded round the tip of the peninsula and headed west, about an hours drive away. We would now be camping at the National Park up there.

The deal to secure a campsite, is one needs to line up really really early. They allocate vacant campsites on a first come serve basis.

HOWEVER we sweet talked the DEC guys and managed to secure.. wait for it…. THE RANGERS RESIDENCE.



We were now authorised to go down little roads that said – No entry, Authorised vehicles only. Go Us.

Not knowing what to expect we ventured along this long neverending road, in search of this certain tiny tree we had to look out for, to let us know that our special driveway was coming up. Hardly obvious, we somehow managed to find it.


Our campsite was more than what we expected. It was a two room shed, with water that we couldn’t use, and lights which were without a generator. We did however have our very own long drop – complete with instructions on how to use it. I know right?



Temporary Home

It was 100m from the beach, but to get there, you had to walk up this hill riddled with snake tracks. So unbelievably scary. I counted at least 7 different specimens of snake trails. Some of them were HUGE.


We stayed here 3 nights I think. We were miles away from anyone. We were alone.
We were women of the bush. We were not able to shower and unfortunately on our second day at this camp site, we all got completely burnt. No shade is a killer.




View of the lighthouse from the beach



So Walkabout, Pocket and myself decided to venture off for a day on our own. We wanted to explore. We wanted to venture.. Walkabout wanted to walk.

We drove to this completely other part of this national park where we were told there was a trail that went up through the mountain range and you could look down into the canyon.


My car decided to take a trip of our own

Sadly when we got there, there was a sign that said DANGER, do not cross – dangerous track ahead, loose stone and rocks.

So we did what most idiots would do, and ventured forward. The trail was dangerous and very difficult. We treked for quite sometime until we realised it was only getting worse, and this was pretty much suicidal. So gutted.


About to embark.





So we started turning back. Meanwhile two other vehicles had arrived, and they all watched us climb over the fence which we were prohibited to cross, and had to face the smart alecks remarks about how crazy we were.

On the drive home, I spotted a sign that said “Pebble Beach”. Thought it sounded really cute and reminded me of MarioKart, so down we headed. Turns out it was a beach you could 4wd on. YES! My first chance to let it rip in my new car. I was so excited I didn’t bother letting the tyres down. You do the maths.

We finally got bogged, right in front of a group of locals having beers on the beach.
It’s okay, cos we got it unstuck within a few minutes, from my awesome support crew and my excellent driving skills.


Pebble Beach



It was a beautiful ride and the sun was setting, and Pocket filmed the views as we drove along the coast line. I have yet to obtain the video!


Shaz and Steph





Well there was a massive amount of pebbles on the beach, which prompted all of us to try our hand at skimming. Even though I’m pretty crap, I was somehow the best, with 5 skips.



Back to the campsite we headed, for a quality kitchen experience.


Dinner cooking!


Our kitchen.

Are we there yet?

We are driving, we we are driving…

We are driving again, we are driving.

This is pretty much Day 1.

I had two people I’d never met before in my 1 month old Forester and were about to undertake on an epic adventure. We left Perth about 7am (already an hour behind schedule) and the plan was to drive straight to Gero where we would have a quick lunch and do some food shopping.

I was hoping to see some new friends from the cs camp there.
Let’s just say due to faffing of some people, it took more than an hour and a half for food shopping to be completed. I then had to eat lunch whilst driving.

Running after some wild goats whilst someone was taking a pee break

Running after some wild goats whilst someone was taking a pee break

We were definitely behind schedule.
In the other car, we had a member of our team with a pea sized bladder, with our procession having to stop EVERY hour for this member to pee on the side of the road (in service stations and truck stops too).

Sunset in the Middle of Nowhere

Sunset in the Middle of Nowhere

Sponsored - Heck Yes.

Sponsored - Heck Yes.

Being a poser

Being a poser


My Amazing Car

My Amazing Car

Some wierdo's I shared my life with for 2 weeks.

Some wierdo's I shared my life with for 2 weeks.

It must have been about 9pm when we eventually pulled into a service station in Carnavaron.
We were warned of the danger of cows on the road.
I bought a coffee (this is a pretty big deal, being my 4th coffee ever).
Little did I know that it was the coffee that was going to save us.

Cows were not the problem. It was the Roos. Literally hundreds of them, suicidal too.
Charging towards our cars at lightning speeds. I have never breaked so much in my entire life, and have been dubbed “Dodge” ever since then.

I managed to miss every single one of the buggers, no one knows how, although 4 actually touched my fully emergency braked car. By 11:59pm we were still some 160km away from exmouth, and it was near impossible to proceed quicker than 40km/h with the influx of yet more roos.

The only choice was to pull over and sleep on the side of the road. Wow, we’re classy broads.
17 hours on the road and we still couldn’t make our destination.

Our home on the side of the road. 6am the next morning

Our home on the side of the road. 6am the next morning

An arty shot of our "1st camp"


Honk of you think we're hot!

Honk of you think we're hot!

This is an entry about skateboarding.

On saturday night, I nearly killed a skateboarder.
Thinking back, I still don’t know I missed him.

It was dark, about ten o clock in the evening, and I was driving 70km down the road, as this was the speed limit.
I was approaching the traffic light which was green, and was the only car going in through this particular intersection.

Suddenly out of nowhere, a skateboarder, decides to run the red light from the other way and crosses directly in front my my car.

I knew that brakes would not save him, so my first instinct was to sweve. I literally missed this idiot by centimetres, and the middle island traffic light by about a meter.

If I had hit him, he would have died, if I had hit the traffic light, I would probably be severely hurt and my poor car Trevor would be lost to me.

Seriously, when did skaters these days become so stupid. Honestly, what the HELL was he thinking.

Now, I’m not having a go at skateboarding at all. I love it, and up until that fateful night a few years ago, I skated myself. I kinda wish I still did – but I have to mentally get over everything that happened the night that my uncle died.

My skateboard

This was the last board I ever rode, and I haven’t stood on it since. This is the board that I fractured my bones on. This is the board that reminds me of my deceased uncle, and being in an emotional black hole.
This board still sits in my room, waiting for my return one day.

I’ve since been given another one, from an old Newcastle friend – to try and start afresh – but I have yet to equip it with some much needed pieces.

If you have ever seen my left shoulder, and wondered why there was a skeleton skateboarder grinding a tomb stone on my back, you now know that this is a reminder about the night I gave up skateboarding, broke some bones and that I lost one of my family members to suicide.

Currently listening to Weaver at the loom

Some People

need to seriously improve their driving.

Last night, with two passengers in my car – I nearly got wiped out.

Just driving casually going 70 along the road as you do.. in the left lane… some silly lady decides to try and avoid a turning car in her lane by cutting into mine going like 10km/h with no indication.

If I hadn’t slammed on brakes and veered violently onto the curb with a huge crunching sounds –  we might not have gotten out uninjured.
My poor car though – definitely needs a service and some fixing.
The silly lady drove off.  



Today heading into the city with a family member (they were driving), they ran a red light – and was aware they were doing it at the time. Why did this irk me a little? Because last month they ran a red light and was going to lose their licence completely (they got flashed) and would have had to redo all the tests again – if i hadn’t pretended that I was the driver and taken the demerit points on their behalf.

You’d think it would have been a case of “lesson learnt”. I am afraid not.

Worn Out

8 Cycle Shops
5 Hours of Driving
1 Felafal Kebab

and still no new fixed gear bike for me.

 Turns out only two shops in Perth are any good with exactly what I want. Since the economic crisis is freaking so many people out, the US has postponed shipping of the model bike I want to Perth for a while. So it could be at least a month’s wait. 

So i went back to a different store for my second choice, only to miss closing time by 5 minutes. The sly things never told me they close at 3. So maybe on Monday, I will have a new baby.


Here is hoping.
I’ll have to ride my old bike till then.

 Currently listening to Joy Division and Reel Big Fish

Victory is Mine

For once, Immigration rules. I just got back from the city to see them.

They have just granted me a travel visa from now until early January. This means I get to go home for Christmas. AND SEE MY PARENTS!! Last time was in 2002, 6 looooong years ago.

I am the happiest person alive right now.

So Christmas looks like this. I will be going here.

Doing my Christmas Shopping here


Eating at places like this

Remembering to drive on the other side of the road, and following road signs such as this.

Realising once again that this is the only green grass (and only grass really at all) in the country

Visiting our pet camel

And ahem… trying to remember all the arabic which I used to speak 6 years ago.

I can’t wait and had to share.