The Pilbara - A sad farewell and a travel day - Wodgina to 80 Mile Beach (via Port Hedland)

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 18:00


Tuesday 6th July, 2010
80 Mile Beach Caravan Park
Western Australia

Today was always destined to be one of travel, the aim being to get as many kilometres of bitumen under our wheels as possible. The dampener on what was going to be a beautiful sunny day was seeing MJ’s troopy pull out of camp ahead of us to begin his long solo journey home. It always weighs heavily on you when you lose a member of such a close knit team. Michael had done over 7000 kilometres with us across some of the harshest and remote terrain Australia has remaining and yet we were only half way through our journey. Fate had other plans for MJ and he must now return 3500 kilometres south. He’s looking at an inland route initially hoping to save 600 kilometres. Our thoughts were with him and the family as we continued north.

For us, after a few minor repairs to the fast glass on the 80, it was onto the ribbon of bitumen north to Port Hedland. Here there was the usual flurry of activity around fuel, supplies and of course, restocking the cellar. A bit of early lunch and then we were off again, our noses pointed north east as we headed along the coast towards Broome. We had decided to make 80 Mile Beach our stopping point for the night giving us a run of just under 300 kilometres for the afternoon. Our little convoy hit the cruise control and ate up the kilometres, the monotony only broken by the need to watch for wandering stock along the roadside. We fuelled at the Sandfire Roadhouse before heading down the dusty road to the recently storm ravaged 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park. What a difference a year and a Cat 5 cyclone makes!. Just about every tree had been taken off near the ground. Many of the older salt pines had been trimmed back to about 2-3 metres but were beginning to regenerate. The usual community of winter regulars were ensconced though and enjoying the winter lifestyle despite the reduced shade. The place was well and truly bouncing back.

The afternoon was spent in domestic chores as a week or two of washing was taken care of prior to heading out into the Great Sandy. As we’d arrived early, last minute bits of maintenance were undertaken, water tanks topped off and nuts and bolts checked and tightened. The next weeks will see us heading into pretty much uncharted areas so nothing is being left to chance. Sunset was spent down on the beach as you would expect. It didn’t disappoint. Dinner was a BBQ at the camp kitchen accompanied by salad and a cold glass of white. A big day tomorrow as he head north up the highway to rendezvous with Dave and Pauline and commence the search for Dragon Tree Soak.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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