(Semi) Grey Nomads

After spending two weeks in ‘Busso’ we felt practically local (read: we could drive to places without asking Google). Prinney had been checked, packed and was ready for her big adventure. We had seen the sights, tasted the water and caught up with people we hadn’t seen in years. We were ready to hit the road, but first it was time to celebrate Ireen’s birthday. Whilst I was deliberating whether to go and buy some decorations, Tracy surprised me by pulling out an old package of balloons faster than I could say K-mart! Just how old they were we discovered whilst trying to blow them up, which about half of them did… straight in our faces! 

After this explosive start to the morning we drove down to ‘Margs’ and had birthday breakfast in a restaurant with a spectacular view overlooking the ocean and beach. On the way back we stopped by the Giniversery to taste some award winning local gin, before stopping by the local work depot of my old employer Parks & Wildlife, where Piet was in 7th heaven checking out all the “Taaatuuus” (translation: fire trucks). That afternoon we had a quick catch up with our good friends ‘the Dutchies’ , who had just completed the epic drive from Adelaide to Perth. We finished the evening very contently, enjoying some live music with a glass of wine, watching Piet entertain the crowd. He is such a charmer! 

The next morning we hooked Prinney up, said farewell to our extraordinary host Tracy and headed Southeast towards the town of Denmark. We were in awe of the forests around Nannup and Walpole and were keen to explore the Tree Top Walk, but the weather and time were not on our side. As we drove towards our destination the rain was falling relentlessly and the temperature plummeted to 12 degrees. We began to wonder if the town of Denmark was named after the northern European nation because of its matching weather. Arriving at our destination there was just enough of a break in the weather to set Prinney up, but as soon as she was the rain returned with a vengeance. Let’s just say that swapping the comforts of a house with a fireplace for a muddy patch of grass and single digit temperatures took some getting used to…

Luckily the wet weather cleared up overnight, so in the morning we drove back to ‘the valley of the giants’ to explore the forests around Pemberton, where the trees took on an enormous fairytale like size. As per usual Piet charmed the socks of the ladies at the counter and even secured us free access to the Tree Top Walk (my 7 years working for the department did help a wee bit too). As we slowly made our way up into the canopy of these gigantic Red Tingle eucalypts we realized that this walkway was constructed to function like a hanging bridge, naturally swaying back and forth and moving up and down. Piet and Ireen happy dangled away 40 metres above the ground, but my nerves got a bit red and tingly as I’m not the biggest fan of heights. That afternoon we drove to Albany for a bit of a shop and onwards to Bremer Bay to visit some more ex-Kunununurrians. 

It was really nice to see some familiar faces in Bremer Bay, though the differences couldn’t have been more profound. I last saw Becca 9 years ago, when she was in her mid twenties, happily single and working in a pub. She since married a very relaxed and gentle local farmer and was now a mother of three gorgeous and cheeky boys. My mate Damo on the other hand had not changed an inch! Still as crazy as ever and of course he was down at the pub having ‘just one pint’. In his absence his partner summed it up as follows: we’ve been together for two years, but sometimes it feels more like ten! Hahaha, I could very much imagine that. After another rainy night we caught up with him the next morning. He reckoned I hadn’t aged a bit, I protested that the grey hairs on my head told a different story. 

The skies were finally blue, the sun was out and it was actually kinda warm, so we took the opportunity to explore some of the many stunning local beaches. Piet absolutely loves the beach, climbing up and down the rocks and shouting out “beeeaaach…mehr beach!” That afternoon the clouds returned, the wind picked up and then began blowing a gale. Trying to sleep in Prinney that night was absolutely ridiculous, akin to sitting in a tiny plane, stuck in a never ending bout of turbulence. The sides that fold out and make up our beds was blown all over the shop, flapping around, shaking the beds up and down. We hardly slept a wink!! The breakfast we had the morning of departure at the cafe Damo was working at was genuinely delicious (best hollandaise I’ve had for years, great tang!) It was topped off by our first sighting of a Dugite…a very very venomous snake. I’ve missed my snakes…

Driving to Esperance that morning, sitting on about 90 km/h we were overtaken by basically everybody, except other people with caravans. I used to get really annoyed at these slow coaches, but now I understood their plight… it’s called fuel consumption, especially with the current price of diesel in this country. And anyhow, we really weren’t in any sort of hurry, we were enjoying our journey, including the drive! So, it was official; we had joined the ranks of thousands of senior Australians that drive around this vast continent every year in search of the warmth of the sun, the so called grey Nomads. Well…semi grey in my case (cuz Ireen reckons she hasn’t got any!).

You could feel it coming, couldn’t you? This episode screams “On the Road Again – Willie Nelson” 

Ps. We are still ‘brainfogged’…we forgot our big water bottle and Piet’s drinking cup on a bench, during one of our breaks, cuz I was too busy making sure Prinney’s handbrake was off! (…sigh…) 

exploring the stunning beaches around Bremer Bay ©️ Jasper Kruse

1 thought on “(Semi) Grey Nomads

  1. Kim and Helen

    Great to hear you exploring these wonderful WA places. So familiar to us but just as spectacular. Yes Kim had the same attitude towards Grey Nomads until he became one and the load on the engine determined your speed. By now you’ll be appreciating the varying environments and range of landscapes so far, all within the same vast state of WA. We can picture everywhere you’ve been like taking the journey with you. And yes, living in a mobile tin can isn’t quite as appealing when when it’s cold, wet, and windy. Keep well, and love every minute of your adventure. We’re thinking of you often. xxxx


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