Yep – or Mike is without a navigator!
In high spirits, we left the spacious campsite on the Perth side of Norseman for the last long stretch home. Many more trucks on the road with their oversize loads requiring us to park off the side of the road, and many more loads of hay going east to hungry stock.
It is not long before we start seeing the wildflowers by the sides of the road for which Western Australia is famous for, areas of salt lakes and the odd car wreck to remind drivers of driving drunk, tired or with speed. We passed through areas where fire has ravaged the bush and dead tree branches reach to the sky over the thick new growth and smaller, new trees.
The old familiar pipeline that pumps water from Perth to the Goldfields, appeared on one side of the road and then the other, accompanying us like an old friend, towards home.
For those who aren’t Sandgropers (from Western Australia): This pipeline was started in 1898 under the direction of engineer C.Y O’Connor who worked out how to pump water 390.metres upwards over the Darling Escarpment and 500.kms from Mundaring, on the Helena River near Perth, to the Goldfields of Western Australia. Some considered the expense too great for such a foolhardy scheme that wouldn’t work. The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme was officially opened on 22.January 1903. Tragically, O’Connor took his life in March 1902, unable to cope any longer with the stress of the enduring criticism of the project and worrying it would be a failure.
At our stop at Merredin, we discovered the jolting along the roads has caused a weld to fail on the bracket holding our spare tyre for the caddy. We were lucky to have discovered it before the tyre fell. If it had fallen it may have dropped in the path of left wheel of the caddy.
We called in to Forrestfield, a suburb of Perth, to fill up with ‘cheap’ fuel. On leaving the station, turning right on to a street, Mike felt the caddy jolt and stopped immediately, the motorhome blocking one lane of the road. The Suzuki had moved somehow on the caddy and with some difficulty because the motorhome and caddy/Suzuki were in the curve of a turn, had to get the ramps out to unload the Suzuki and re-load it on to the caddy. So close to home!