To me, road-trips are the best part of travelling. Getting lost or stuck is just part of the fun, even if it doesn’t seem to be that funny at the time. My last road-trip was with a friend through France and Spain in 2006. I had then insisted on sleeping in hotels with a 3 meals a day buffet and having the ocean no further than a 200 meter walk. My good friend Tim had tried to convince me to go camping, but just the idea of it made me shiver. I used to be the girl who would take 5 different kinds of shampoo along with her on a midweek holiday. You never know… Or would never leave the house without looking like I had a red carpet event to go to.
Now, here I was lying in the back of a van that did not ensure my life safety, stuck in between various sized backpacks, a stolen duvet and a few surfboards. Trying to lie as still as I could to avoid more sweating and prevent even more flies from attempting to fly into my ears and nostrils. Flies are the worst thing on the west coast, they are absolutely everywhere and will not leave you alone for a second. No more red-carpet-event-looks here, I couldn’t even remember, or care for that matter, how long it had been since I had changed my clothes. It had all come down to the simple sniff-test in the morning. Welcome to the real world.
A long drive from Albany to Perth and beyond was on the agenda today and I drew the shortest straw to ride in the back. We all took turns as it was the worst place to be while driving long distances. No air-conditioning, even with the front windows down, we could hardly feel the breeze. Putting up with this heat made all the pit-stops more worth it. We made it all the way to Lancelin, a small surf-town just past Perth. Watching windsurfers in action and dolphins swimming past with the sun setting on the horizon, quickly made me forget about the sweaty trip up. From there we found a little pizza place stating they had ‘The best pizza in Australia’. Haha sure they were.. It had been a long day of driving over endlessly long roads and nobody could really be arsed to do any cooking. So why not try it out? It was great pizza, but I doubt they were the best in the country;)
Sleeping that night was a whole different story. It took us ages to find a good place to sleep. We drove around bushy, gravel roads just outside of Lancelin, trying to find somewhere where we wouldn’t be discovered by local rangers, but without any luck. All we did was get lost because it was too dark to see where we were going or where we came from. Eventually we pulled over and got out to get and idea of our whereabouts, when Mark spotted a scorpion. The thing was no larger than my hand and I still wonder to this day how he managed to see it in the dark. None of us had ever seen one before so it was really exciting. I can imagine not everyone gets excited about seeing a scorpion, as they’re not the cuddliest creatures, but still, a scorpion! Guys don’t always lose their childhood instincts in the process of growing up and neither did Mark, Dick and Ben. Before I knew it they were poking it with sticks to see how angry it would get. Really angry, surprisingly. Barefoot they jumped around, avoiding this menace trying to sting them. It was sort of entertaining, but I really had to put a stop to it when they caught it in a bucket and wanted to keep it. Seriously guys? Great idea, until we hit a bump, the bucket tips over and we have a scorpion on the loose in the van. It took some convincing, but eventually they let it go. Boys..*rolling eyes*
We ended up on a lay-by next to the highway. I will not complain, because at the end of the day, all we needed was to sleep but this night made me beg for a proper bed. The gravel that pierced through the foam mattress that we slept on wasn’t our worst concern. The strong wind was our real enemy. It was so bad that the side of the tent kept hitting our faces. We tried to stop it by stacking all our belongings against the side of the tent but the wind became so strong, that the whole thing almost went flying. The only thing keeping the tent in place was the weight of our bodies. Annoyed and getting very tired we tried our best to ignore the situation and sleep. Unfortunately ignoring it was impossible. We grunted and yelled at the wind hoping it would lessen soon, pulling the covers over our heads to block out the noisy bully. It wasn’t till 4 am, that we got the very clever idea to move the tent behind the van and use it as a windshield. Very clever indeed. It actually helped a lot and we got a little bit of sleep in the end. Mark and Dick had not noticed a thing…
The next day was the only time I actually enjoyed lying in the back. Even Ben joined me to catch up on sleep. A blissful 297 km’s to go till Geraldton to go.