Saturday, June 16, 2012

Doing the loop!

Not long ago my brother-in-law Gordon, (Rhonda's brother), lost his wife. She was quite ill but to him her death was still unexpected.

Avid caravan tourers, they had made several treks into the interior of Australia. They had always talked about "doing the loop" - the big trip around Australia which would take them from the Pacific Ocean of the east to the Indian Ocean of the west and then north to the Arafura Sea before heading east again to the Coral Sea and home again. 

After his wife died Gordon kept his promise and "did the loop", crossing that great Nullabor Plain from east to west to Perth where one of his daughters lived - 2,555 klm (the Nullabor crossing takes a leisurely 2-3 days of driving).

(Note: While many photos of his trip were supplied to me by my brother-in-law he was a very lax photographer. I've had to search the web for some images of places he described about his journey to add a pictorial element to this story!)

About half way across the Nullabor. Nundroo is 1,014 west of Adelaide
and Norseman is 726klm East of Perth - Gordon's Photo

Across the Nullabor - Gordon's Photo

The "Gun Barrel Highway" - quite a lot do not stick to the 110kph speed limit. - Gordon's Photo

The 'Road Trains' certainly do not slow down - Gordon's Photo

A fuel hauling 'Road Train' - Wikipaedia

Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes. The majority are between 80 and 120 tonnes.

Stray animals hardly make an impression on those 'Road Train' behemoths -- Gordon's Photo

Norseman WA - You consider yourself to have 'made
 the crossing' when you reach Norseman - Wikipaedia

The whole trip from his home to Perth was 3,742 klm and took five days. he had a mate who went with him as far as Perth.

On the way across they went through Kalgoorlie and had to stop for the BIG HOLE at Kalgoorlie/Boulder.

The Big Hole, Kalgoorlie - - Gordon's Photo

Like ants, huge ore trucks toil up and down the excavation  - Gordon's Photo

 All the mining leases of the Golden Mile were joined (bought up) by Packer or Bond (can't remember) and made into one which allowed for the operation to go open cut. It is almost 500 metres deep at this stage and over 1 kilometre long.

RAAF Vengence (Aerobatic team) formation over "The Big Hole", Kalgoorlie.

At Perth, Gordon's friend left the tour and flew back home. Gordon's daughter, Tracey, joined him for a trip up to Port Hedland - Red Dog country. They stopped at the Shark Bay Marine Park and visited Monkey Mia, where they fed the dolphins.

The daily feeding of bottlenose Dolphins. Monkey Mia Photograph

From Port Hedland Tracey then flew back to Perth while Gordon continued on alone on his journey up to Broome and started eastward again, through Arnhem Land over to Darwin and the Arafura Sea.

Map of Western Australia - Wikipaedia source

Nanydjaka Cape Arnhem Coast - Kakadu Coast - Darwin Tourism Photograph

From Darwin, he wasted no time crossing to the east coast to Mackay, Queensland, where another of his daughters, Wendy, had flown in to join him.

Brampton Islands National Park - BINP Promotional Photograph

A spot of fishing off the Bugatti Reef off the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea.

A group of fellow happy 'fishers' out for a day of fun and fishing.
(Image supplied by Nomad Fishing Charters)

Then it was south to Brisbane.

The Brisbane skyline from Kangaroo Point - Wikipaedia

From Brisbane the journey continued south down into New South Wales and home, 1,157klm, and the round trip of over 13000 klm had been completed in just under five weeks. Besides the casual fellow travellers along the way, Gordon had kept his promise to Leonie to take her on the "Big Adventure" that many Australians plan in their retirement and they had completed the round trip of Australia - what we colloquially refer to as "doing the big loop"!

Back home, the Toyota Kluger was sold last week and the Caravan will be sold today, Saturday. 

Having kept his promise to take Leonie around Australia, the urn containing  Leonie's remains can now be distributed in the town that was her home for nearly forty years!


Susan Heather said...

What an amazing trip and, as you say, Leonie can now be laid to rest.

Jo said...

That would be a great trip! One day ....

Jo said...

What an amazing trip! One day ...

JohnD said...

Just do it now, Jo - It's at your peril to wait for "one day....."

JohnD said...

See comment above.

North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

A wonderful tribute to one's soul mate !

JohnD said...

Yes! Even when I spoke to him on the phone this morning he was still choking back the emotions!

AstridsSoapbox said...

That's a trip I always wanted to make but in my youth I never had a car that I trusted to make the trip with me. Too late now, she cried :)

JohnD said...

Today, the main highways are good enough to drive a tri-cycle around - its the overnight camping that gets a bit sparse lol!