We left Perth around 3pm, having had to finish the last of the cleaning of Tiki's ex-house. I'm going to miss writing on that porch, but at least she's bringing the couch to Melbourne. I'll be able to lob around her place whenever I want and use it to write on.
And no, she has no say in that.
After leaving a special gift of potato chips and vitamin C on Simon Oxwell's letter box, we headed for Barna Mia, in the Dryandra Woodlands. Barna Mia has nighttime tours where they take you around with a big red torch and show you the nocturnal animals. We got there just in time for the tour to start and John, the guy doing the tour, gave a little talk about the sanctuary and what they're doing. The project they are part of has taken three animals off the endangered species list. Yay!
I didn't take my camera on the walk. It would have taken shots in the light of the red torch, but I was tired enough that I didn't trust myself to deactivate the flash properly. Some of the animals we saw were the bilby (native name dalgyte), western barred bandicoot (marl), the burrowing bettong (boodie), banded hare wallaby (mernine) and the rufous hare-wallaby (wurrup). We also got to see some possums (pests).
The mernine was their only one, the others having been taken out by predators. She was a little nervous and doesn't come out too often, so it was nice to see her.
There were various bored children on the walk, and several adults who were very interested and wanted their offspring to be. It wasn't working for most of 'em. I didn't get to hurt any children, but I wanted to. Oh well, maybe next time.
After hanging back and yakking to John for a bit, we headed off to the Congelin campground for the night, set up our tent and crashed out. We had set the tent up without the fly that makes it waterproof, preferring instead to sleep almost under the stars, except for the walls made of netting to stop the mozzies having a feed. At one point before we dropped off, some small local animal wandered by, but I couldn't tell what it was in the dark.
Next morning at around 7:30, Tiki woke me and pointed out the rainclouds above us, saying the sky had been blue minutes before. We quickly rolled up the mattresses, stuffed our sleeping bags away and packed up our tent. Then as we readied ourselves for brekky, the sun came out.
After brekky, we went for a walk on one of the trails that followed an old disused railway line. We passed the old stockyards, water tower, engine pit and dam while wandering about. It was nice. There will be a picture or two in the next post.
From there we headed off again and stopped for a brief walk along the Ochre Trail. We didn't do the whole thing, preferring instead a short wander through the native bushland, filled with lots of poisonous bushes. Sadly, we didn't get to eat any.
Some time later we got to Narrogin, where I bought a garlic loaf from the same bread shop that did me a lovely one last time. This one wasn't as yummy, but hey, it had garlic, so I don't really care.
On the way out of town, Tiki and I spotted a huge mass of industrial piping. We couldn't pass that up, so went and had a look. It turned out to be Western Power's Intergrated Wood Processing Demo Plant. It's basically about getting power from mallee trees, both the oil and the biomass. Very cool.
Heading from there towards Tiki's family farm at Albany, we passed through Piesseville. It rates a mention because of a private building we simply couldn't pass without taking a piccie or three of. Old style, falling down and moth eaten, but still with someone living out the back. I love finding these sorts of places throughout Australia, but rarely photograph them because I'm too busy getting to Point B. There will be a piccie in the next post.
Shortly after that we stopped in Wagin. Why? They have a giant ram. Okay, it's not as big as Satan's Merino in Goulburn, but it's still a decent size, 9 metres high. And it took eight months to build (I'm guessing the scrotum alone took a couple of weeks) and is kind of nifty. Pic in the next post.
Just outside of Wagin we stopped at Lake Parkeyerring for a look. The lake itself is starting to suffer from salinity, which I have noticed is becoming more of a problem right across the country just from my limited travels. One of the other things I noticed in the area was that there were quite a lot of antlion pits. Antlions (damsel fly larvae) have pits that are shaped like an inverted cone. Wandering ants get stuck and then the antlion pulls them underground to show them episodes of Enterprise until the poor ant is left weak and insensible, then the antlion eats it. Nature ways are often cruel.
Next stop was the All Ages Playground at Katanning. Play equipment that adults can enjoy! A slide four-five times taller than me! Tiki climbed up one and then remembered she didn't like heights. It's all rather cool. Pics yadda yadda yadda.
As we reached Mount Barker, found a car and trailer stuck by the side of the road. Apparently his clutch had croaked, he knew this because he was a mechanic. He obviously wasn't a genius though because he and three small boys were trying to push the car and trailer uphill because he figured the speed they'd get would help them get the rest of the 14km's to MB. We suggested that we ring him a tow truck from town and send it back for him. He agreed. We got to town, did our good deed and then realigned the karmic balance by kicking a young boy on a scooter at the petrol station. I felt good. He didn't. No pictures, no evidence, you can't prove anything.
The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for a smell at one point. It reminded me of the smell you get when you've cut off a cow's horns and cleaned all the meat out of them. No matter how old they are, they tend to retain that very distinct odour. Tiki said it smelt like German sausages. Remind me never to eat in Germany.
And then we reached the farm. And now I'm going to bed. Night night.