The big road trip had begun. For some very strange reason (influenced by an overload of partying) we decided to drive at night. But after a few hours of driving we pulled over at a servo (service station) so Mark could knock back some iced coffee to stay awake. “We won’t be driving much longer” he said. Fair enough, we all looked a bit worn out from the last week. Not too long after, we came across a little place called Bunbury. Too tired to find a proper camping spot, we pulled up on a cinema parking-lot. As Dick an I were getting ready to sleep on the comfy mattress, Mark prepared for a night sleeping in the front. I felt bad. The guy is huge and there was no way I could see him sleeping there. I even offered to share the mattress with the two of them or sleep in the front myself. But he insisted on sleeping there, horizontally, poke sticking in his bum and everything.
Waking up early by the sun is amazing…well, in most cases. Whilst sitting in the sun and writing in my diary a bit on the pavement, people started to arrive at what seemed to be a little shopping centre nest to the cinema. After a few strange looks from shoppers my way, I knew it was time to get a move on. I woke up the guys and got ready to go. All good, until it became clear that the van didn’t want to start… at all. Ok, I do have to admit, our van looked pretty old and beaten up. It was cheap as chips to buy but seemed in great state. Apart from that every so often the engine would throw out a loud bang every so often. We didn’t really know what to do about it and just ignored it after a while. (I know what you are thinking) We thought pushing it might help start it up again. For about half an hour we ran up and down the parking lot pushing the van all over the place, without any success. Thankfully, some guy named Digby came over with his Ute and offered to help us with his jumper leads. Friendly old guy with a very strong accent and didn’t seem hassled at all by our misfortune. Our van started again straight away. We thanked him and he invited us to stay at his farm in Manjimup. Who knew, we might need help again in the future and I took his number. We kept the motor running and drove as far as we could. Fingers crossed that it would continue working now.
Alright, off to Margaret river again, which is more of a challenge that you can imagine. At least, for us it was. Somehow we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up driving inland instead of along the coast. Turned out better than we thought. Beautiful forests with enormous trees and the most stunning views all around. No other passing cars in sight for miles and my first experience of how deafening silence can be. We made some extra stops enjoying our wrong turn, our ears ringing from the silence, while looking out over incredible landscapes. Augusta was going to be our next stop for the night. We found a perfect little grassy patch next to the beach to set up the tent. I remember chatting for ages and stargazing till we fell asleep.
Waking up this time was a bit of a different story. The sea on your doorstep is an incredible experience. But the beauty of it all faded a bit when I woke up in excruciating pain, thinking all I needed was a pee, badly. Finding a nice shrub and squatting down… as you do, to get it over with before the guys would wake up. Crying in pain and biting down on the toilet roll, something seemed off. (For anyone planning a road trip like this: How sophisticated you might be, when you gotta go, you gotta go! I was still getting used to this strange, slightly embarrassing outdoor ritual myself.) But this wasn’t the solution, in fact it got worse. By the time we had breakfast, I was white as a ghost begging for painkillers. Trying to sit still and calm myself with deeply focussed breathing. Augusta is tiny. If you were driving and blinked your eyes, you’d have missed it. Luckily no matter how small towns are, they usually do have a doctor. The guys found one for me in a matter of minutes. I thought it would be more complicated, being a foreigner and not having Australian healthcare. But all I had to do was fill in a form with some details and a doctor was with me in no-time. Happy to find out it only did take a few minutes, I was ready to strangle someone if it had taken longer. Apparently everything can be fixed with antibiotics and by the end of the day I was feeling back to normal again.
Later that day we finally arrived in Margaret river. A small town famous for it’s winery’s. And celebrities! We ran into the Brazilian, world record-holding lady of the most body piercings. Hardly recognisable face from all the steel, she was very kind and interested in our trip. And as annoying but amazed passers-by we simply had to ask her for a photo. She told us that she was used to it and loved the interest in her passion.
I had been messaging Ben for the last few days and a few people from the Perth hostel and himself just arrived in Margaret river too. Great news for all of us, as they are such a fun bunch to hang out with. It was getting a little late and after Mark made us some spaghetti on our little compact stove for dinner in the park, we figured it was time for a shower. But where? Well, Mark and Dick have been doing this backpacker thing for a while now and they basically did what they always do: Break into a caravan park, have a shower and then run. It had been a few days and who am I to complain about what’s right or wrong? It had gotten dark already and we snuck into one of the camp-sites with a closed reception desk. Usually reception closes around 7 or 8, so there are no questions asked when you walk in. After not having any form of personal hygiene for a while, a shower is better than anything. We all took our time refreshing. Well, time, 15 minutes after I had finished my ridiculously long shower, I was still waiting on the guys. (What do they do in there?!) At this point one of the owners came over and had figured out what was going on. She started yelling at me and telling me to get out straight away or she would call the police. Oooohh shit..The thing is, I don’t have a drivers license. I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted! I tried to explain this while giggling to myself, but it only infuriated her more. When the guys came out we ignored her yelling, jumped in the car and raced of laughing but clean. I know, not very polite of us, but we got what we came for.
That night I stayed at the hostel with Ben and the guys found a spot to stay somewhere without too many people around. An amazing sleep after such a hectic day. Tomorrow would just be beach and relaxing,..I hope.