More Travels with Raleigh

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

7:00 am: He knows something is up. Usually, when we pack up the car, he's not allowed outside because he's not coming. This time, however, the car is full of stuff, much more than usual, and he's darting in and out, usually in the car, sometimes running around it, with a big smile on his face.

Our year here in Derby is done, and we're heading back home. Originally we were planning on staying here for two years, but circumstances (a dream job coming up) and other things meant we're coming home now. And that means another three-day car trip with my dog, Raleigh, and this time, also my wife. It'll be nice to share the driving duties.

7:35 am: we were down a quart of oil, so we pull into the town service station to get that sorted. Who do we see? The one kid from my class that I don't really want to see. The type of kid who eats paste. Raleigh was a good boy - he didn't bite the paste eater. Although I wish he would have. ;)

7:45 am: All ready to hit the road. My wife is taking the first shift.

8:15 am: When driving around country Australia, it's a lot different then a long-distance drive in the States. It's more like how drives used to be, before Interstate highways. The main roads are two lanes, and services, particularly in remote areas, are sparse. Every 200 - 300 kilometers you'll find a roadhouse - a place to fill up, grab a sandwich and a drink, and, if it's time to stop, pitch a tent or park your RV. There's one such roadhouse 60 km out of Derby - it's where I usually stop to get a chocolate milk. Not today, though - it's big picture time. With a 2700 km drive ahead of us, we can't be stopping 60 km in. Sorry, Willard Roadhouse!

8:30 am:'s time for our first pit stop! I spent most of it trying to keep Raleigh away from a barbed-wire fence that apparently looked tasty.

9:15 am: We've reached the turnoff on the main road for Broome and Port Hedland. With the exception of one time when we went camping about 60 km from this spot, I haven't turned left to go to Port Hedland for a year. Yet, that is what we need to do now to head home. Even though, geographically, it's not true, by turning left and putting that stretch of road behind us, it feels like we're leaving Derby and the Kimberley behind.

10:00 am: Another pit stop. This time, Raleigh apparently mistook the side of the road for an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Lots of tasty looking grasses. I have taken the wheel, and will be driving the rest of the way today.

10:30 am: I have a terrible sense of distance, but an inborn compass and always know where I am in relation to landmarks, etc. When you're traveling the highways here, there are distance markers every 10 km toward the next town (or roadhouse). It's really not hard to know where you're at. All you have to do it's make note of a marker, note the time and the speed you're traveling, and do the math. My wife, however, fails to grasp this concept, and always guesses at least 20 km off. She thinks we'll get to Sandfire (the next roadhouse, where we're stopping for lunch) at 12:30. But, since we're 180 km out at I've got the cruise control set at 120, there's no way. Barring an excessive number of pit stops, we'll get there by noon, easy. Probably a couple of minutes before.

11:58 am: We pull into Sandfire. Wife not pleased with smug look on my face.

12:00 pm: Lunch is just what I needed. I had a Mountain Dew to drink with my sandwich, then cracked open a Red Bull when I started driving again. I feel like an alcoholic mixing his hard liquors.

Raleigh enjoyed his lunch - water. Don't feel sorry for the pooch, though. For the last two weeks, we've been trying to eat down our fridge. We didn't quite make it, though, so Raleigh got a special treat for dinner last night - a whole steak! It was either that or through it in the bin. So he can afford to have just water now. Besides, he doesn't eat lunch.

12:20 pm: Back on the road. Raleigh has finally started laying down on the back seat instead of sitting up and looking through the window. I guess the excitement of the long card ride is starting to wear off.

12:30 pm: Whoops, I spoke too soon. He's back up.

1:30 pm: We've reached another roadhouse, which means another pit stop. This time it's Pardoo, which is where Raleigh and I stayed on the second night of our trip up. This time, he whined and whimpered the whole time my wife was inside, and wouldn't go for a walk until she came out. He's such a momma's boy.

This 300 km stretch between Sandfire and Port Hedland is pretty easy, which also means it's pretty boring.

3:00 pm: We arrive in Port Hedland, right on schedule. I like having the short first day so we can relax. After going to the shops for some groceries (my wife and Raleigh go for a walk while I'm shopping, Raleigh got squirted by a fountain), we check into the campsite, pitch the tent, and go to the beach. Raleigh has earned a run-around and a swim.

4:30 pm: The place we were directed to go by the campsite manager, Pretty Pools, is a great spot. It's sandy tidal pools with lots of families and some other dogs. Raleigh is a good swimmer, but he can be apprehensive at times, and usually only goes into the water to follow his brother, Charlie (who is owned by my in-laws). There was another family next to us, but the kid (and wife) weren't too keen on dogs, so we kept having to keep calling Raleigh back to us.

At one point, I look up and see the father of that group has wandered quite a ways around the edge o the pool. And then I see Raleigh, swimming over there trying to get to him. I'm wearing regular clothes, so I'm not going to swim after him. He's back on dry land now, so I call him. He goes running, then swimming, then he reaches a sandbar, so he's running again, then...SPLASH! The water was deeper then he was expecting. But his little head pops right back up and there he is, dog-paddling his way back to us. Very cute. But not so cute when he got out and started rolling around in the sand. He looked like a crumbed sausage.

5:00 pm: Guess who got a bath before we got back in the car?!?

6:30 pm: Dinner time! Remember that steak I told you about? Well someone thinks that the steak sandwiches we're pan frying on the camp stove are for him. Nice try, Raleigh. Have some dog food instead.

8:20 pm: As I write this, Raleigh and my wife are asleep in tent and I'm about to join them. The first time he and I camped, he wouldn't sleep on the air mattress. He slept all around it on the floor of the tent, but wouldn't get on. But now that my wife's here as well, he's sleeping on the mattress.

Like I said, he's such a mamma's boy. :)

Big, long day tomorrow. The end point is Carnarvon, the town where Raleigh and I were trapped by the cyclone (hurricane) on the way up to Derby. If there are going to be any tricky water crossings on the highway this trip, tomorrow's the day we'll get them. It's a cloudless, starry night, though.

Until tomorrow...

Comments (2)

    Saw this on the blogg-o-dex this morning and could hardly wait to get home to read it.

    Welcome back to the road, glad Raleigh is traveling well. My four girls do equally as well when we go cross-country here in the states. Hoping you guys sleep well, travel safe... and pat Raleigh on the heaad for me and my girls...

    Saw your 4th post of the month and had to come back to read this one first. Nice to see you back!

    I'll be holding my end of the year contest before too long...