Travels with Raleigh - continued

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Yes, I said a hurricane. But more on that later. First we have to get to Carnarvon, which is where I'm scheduled to stay the night. 

After leaving Geraldton and all the wife-carrying excitement behind, Raleigh and I head north, through some of the mind-numbingly boringest scenery you'd ever see. 40 km out of Geraldton is Northampton. Past there is a sign "NEXT SERVICE 180 KM". That would be in Billabong, which is nothing more than a roadhouse. We opted to keep going another 50 km to Overlander before we stopped. Why the difference? Because somewhere between the two is the halfway point between Geraldton and Carnarvon. And I'd rather have more distance. Behind me than in front of me when I stopped. 

If my recount so far is boring, that's because the drive itself was boring and you can't polish a turd. But don't worry, things pick up in the last segment. 

First, I pass a sign that says "26TH PARALLEL - WELCOME TO THE NORTHWEST". It should say "Welcome to the tax breaks" because people who live in remote areas get certain incentives to get them to live there. Not soon after, I had my first water crossing. 

You see, Australia, as Crocodile Dundee taught all Americans, is a terribly dry country. So the roads are built over creek beds that are usually dry. I say usually because sometimes after heavy rain, they fill up. And flow over the road. Now, I'm in a four-wheel drive, but driving over water makes me nervous. Luckily, there was a road train (an 18-wheeler with another trailer hooked on to the back of it, so a 32-wheeler) coming in the other direction. So I just waited and watched him come through, then followed the path he took. Crossing successfully negotiated. 

I say it was lucky that there was a road train coming at the exact moment I was there, because did I mention that for the last 140 km of the trip from Geraldton to Overlander, I didn't come across any other cars? I know it was a holiday, but still!

What else? How about cows on the side of the road? About 70 km outside of Carnarvon. The area is a big agricultural region, but no fences. Hence, about five or six cows just sitting right on the road side, happily munching away. Thankfully they were too busy eating to move. But that's the sort of stuff you'll find when traveling along Australian highways. 

So we pull into town, and check in at our campsite, which is very nice. After a bit of rest, I go back into town for some food and to fill up the fuel tank since we'll be leaving early in the morning. After a conversation with the guy at the gas station, and telling him where I was going, he told me "Well you're probably not going anywhere because they've closed the highway"

Now, I knew there was a hurricane (or cyclone as they're called here) off of the coast. I had even looked at the forecast maps on my phone when I got to the campsite. But the storm was expected to stay off shore, and, barring some wind and rain, I thought we'd cross paths before I got to the coast. But on my way back to the campsite, just past the turnoff, there I saw it. The newly-installed electronic sign:


I got back to the campsite and went to the office. 

"I think I'm going to need to stay an extra night."

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