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The holiday from hell!



It had taken a while to prepare for this trip. We had decided to head up through wildflower country in the camper trailer and as Dorothy's knee was now at least useable again, it was going to be the first big trip of the year.

We were hooking up the camper to the 4x4 when the poly block hitch split in two and there was no way would could move the trailer.

Based on how the trip turned out, we should have taken this as a sign and just given up there and then.

There was no choice but to call a towing service and get it taken down to our local towbar people (Westcoast Towbars in Rockingham) and get a new one fitted.

Despite that fact that they were busy, they managed to fit us in and got the job done the following day. That was great as we were only one day late in getting going. Still it wasn't a cheap fix with the tow and repair costing close to $500!

 

Broken poly block hitch
Broken poly hitch

 

The weather was good and we headed north up the Great Northern Highway towards our first intended campsite at Petrudor Rocks.

We had been there once before but had just missed the peak wildflower time but this time we were spot on and all reports coming in suggested that it was a bumper year for wildflowers in the mid-west.

We made good time and set up camp under some trees near the rock. It took some time to get everything done but at least without having to set up the extra annexe portion of the camper, it was quicker than during our other trips.

 

Campsite at Petrudor Rocks
Petrudor Rocks campsite

 

I made the mistake of setting the trailer a little bit too far back near a large fallen tree so using the kitchen was difficult but not impossible.

During levelling, the trailer also rolled off one of the levelling blocks and that was to cause a bit of a disturbed sleep at night due to the odd angle the trailer was sitting on.

Even so, this was the first big trip away for 2020 and on top of that, I was going to turn 60 during the trip so it was supposed to be quite an event.

Day two dawned with nice bright sunshine and we started to explore the rock for wildflowers. We have taken many pictures of our native flowers over the years and one of our main interests is finding different types or orchid.

There were supposed to be some near the rock but we quickly discovered that some fool had been out there digging the orchids out of the ground. Many people visited the rock while we were there looking for the orchids, only to be disappointed as there was nothing left to see.

 

One of the few orchids we found
One of the few orchids we found

 

I had some work to do around camp and after lunch I got the drone out to get some aerial shots of the rock and surrounding area.

No matter what I did, I just could not get the thing to work. After numerous attempts I gave up and packed everything up and strapped the box on top of the roof rack.

While coming down I slipped and there was a sudden very nasty pain in my right foot. I thought it was just a bad sprain so I got an ice pack out and sat down for a while to work on it.

The pain didn't subside much so I strapped my foot up in my walking boot and managed to hobble around but not without a lot of pain.

The thought crossed my mind, what would happen if I had broken something in my foot, how would we get camp packed up?

It was quite a worry but I decided to wait and see what things would be like after a nights rest.

Despite the increasing pain in my foot and that fact that I could hardly walk, I was determined to get a campfire started and sit and relax with a drink - just in case the second night of the trip would turn out to be the last.

By next morning I could walk a little but the pain was very bad. The weather was about to turn sour and we couldn't move anyway so the plan was to sit out the bad weather and give my foot time to rest and hopefully heal a bit.

The weather was pretty bad with a lot of rain and high wind so we just sat in the camper and waited for it all to go away.

The nights were very cold, around 4C so it was good that we had brought along one of our 12 volt electric blankets.

Attempts to cook outside using the charcoal fire pit turned out to be a disaster and the food I produced was quite awful. As the kitchen wasn't covered, cooking outside was impossible so we used the single burner cooker from the 4x4 and did our cooking inside the camper.

 

Petrudor Rocks before the weather turned nasty
Petrudor Rocks before the weather turned nasty

 

By the morning of the 4th day the weather had improved and my foot was a little better so we packed up and headed north.

Packing up the camper was taking so long that we decided to stop at a hotel/motel overnight on the way to Canna.

We ended up in Morawa and had a meal at the hotel so in comparison this was real luxury compared to the camper.

The weather stayed clear and sunny so we continued north to Canna in the hope of finding some nice displays of wildflowers. Canna didn't disappoint and the most spectacular area was at the Old Camp.

We discovered the walk behind the old church and found more wildflowers including some different types of orchid.

 

Campsite at Canna
Campsite at Canna

 

We decided to camp at the dam site and found a nice flat area to set up the trailer.

In addition to the trailer we also set up the annexe on the 4x4 as we wanted to see how that would go in combination with a pop-up tent we had bought.

This was paired with our Intex air bed and much to our surprise, it actually remained inflated overnight.

It was very comfortable and should make camping light with the 4x4 a real possibility later in the year.

 

Coleman popup tent
Coleman popup tent

 

It wasn't long before another problem popped up. This time the electrical system in the camper trailer refused to work and that meant no pump and no pump meant no water.

I had planned for this and carried a manual water pump. By splicing into the water line from one of the tanks, I managed to get some water out of the tank but it was hardly ideal.

We had only spent 2 nights at Canna when the forecast turned to rain and high winds again! We had had quite enough bad weather for one trip and packed up again before moving on to Moora and another night in a motel. We were VERY glad that we did because the weather turned into quite a violent storm that would have been completely miserable to ride out in the camper.

So a trip that should have lasted two weeks came to an end after just 9 days.

It turned out to be next to impossible to use the camper as a touring rig and I was just too old to want to continue all that hard work that was associated with it.

By the time I reached home, I had made up my mind to sell it.

I was amazed when it sold the very next day after I put up an ad in Gumtree. We had enjoyed some of the trips in the camper but the hassles with wet weather and the extra work it entailed meant that selling it was really quite a relief.

It took several weeks more to recover from what turned out to be a fractured bone in my foot but the next trip we took would at least turn out to be much easier and far more enjoyable.

 

Updated September 2020

Go to the last blog installment Go to the next blog installment

 

 

Places to see on this trip:

Petrudor Rocks

Morawa

Canna

Gutha

Moora

 

Wildflowers at Canna
Orchids we found on this trip
Orchids we found on this trip
Orchids we found on this trip

 

 

 

 

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