Bringing Henry Home - Carnarvon to Geraldton to Home

Saturday, Jun 24, 2017 at 10:00

Peter Beard (WA)

Heading south the air has suddenly become much cooler. Henry is happy - cooler days means cool air on his radiator and no need for air conditioning for Pete and Ali. Leaving Carnarvon mid-morning with a coffee in hand Pete and Ali re-joined the North West Coastal Highway for the trip south to Geraldton. It was nearly a very disastrous start to the day. A car waiting to pull out of a gravel track to the left badly mistimed his entry onto the highway, only just realising at the last second that Henry was boring down on him. Pete slammed on the brakes and wrenched the wheel right, the car driver woke up and slammed on his brakes and Henry managed to swing around his front end with only metres to spare. Lucky there was nothing coming in the opposite direction. Everything in the back of Henry shifted forward a good few centimetres, Pete and Ali shakily resuming the drive with their seats now a bit more upright from the log jam in the back.

Passing Overlander they caught up with the same truck convoy they had seen at Nanutarra the day before carrying the huge Haulpaks south just about to pull out of the roadhouse. Knowing what was heading up behind it was a very quick stop for fuel and take away sandwiches at Billabong Roadhouse, don't want to get stuck behind a slow moving bunch of trucks that are impossible to pass.

The rolling sandhills are still present in the landscape along this section, but their red hue is toned back to a light pink - beach sand mixing with the red dirt, leaving the Pilbara well behind for the softer light of the Gascoyne. In the distance the ocean is a bright blue strip running parallel to the road.

By Northampton the land has changed into soft hills covered in neat, straight rows of just germinating wheat bright green against the rich soil. Sheep and lambs appear in the paddocks – WA’s mighty Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne regions are behind, time to enter the gentler climes of the Mid West. Approaching Geraldton Pete and Ali have another major scare - coming around a bend they are confronted by a 4WD overtaking a three trailer fuel tanker across double white lines. Once again Henry's brakes are put to the test as the 4WD just manages to slip back to the right missing Henry's front end by what felt like centimetres. The car behind Henry reacted a bit slower, coming perilously close to Henry's back end. Shaken Pete and Ali continue on, very glad to be stopping for the night in Geraldton before heading home to Perth in the morning.

It has now been three weeks to the day since the Shitbox Rally officially ended. First major event of the last day is the auction where Shitboxes are auctioned off to the highest bidder to add to the total fundraising. Pete and Kris opted to buy Henry back for the required sum of $250, there's still plenty of life in the old boy.

Pete, Ali, Kris (recovered but still a bit pale), Lindsay and Morgan spent a wonderful afternoon at the Hilton Cairns enjoying the Shitbox wrap up party. All up the Rally raised more than $1.6 million for the Cancer Council in 2017 – Beardies’ Bucket of Bolts contributing nearly $8,000 of that through fundraising efforts. Henry was nominated for an honourary Death Trap award by the mechanics that had to wrestle him down the twists and turns of the Atherton Tablelands the day before. It was a fabulous party, tired Shitboxers reliving hair raising moments, the camaraderie of a shared adventure palpable in the air. Next year the rally is going from Brisbane to Darwin along an as yet undisclosed route. Pete and Kris are already planning their approach. And of course Henry will be there!


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