Saturday, November 30, 2013

Esperance Road Trip - Nov 2013

Our last road trip was 6 months ago now, down to Denmark WA to enjoy the wineries and walks in the area as well as visit the in laws.

We are ready, let's go!
This trip was to involve our friends from Kalgoorlie, and their two doggies, Indy and Bella. Indy is an old red heeler cross and was friends with Bender back when we lived in Kalgoorlie. They used to wrestle and play biteyface. Apparently Indy never played with another dog after her time with Bender. Bella came later and she is some kind of poodle cross. She was found on the streets as a pup with ear infections and a belly full of worms. Now she is just a teddy bear who demands love from whoever is nearby.

heavenly Esperance, everyone wants to be there in summer!
As it is Summer now, the holiday houses in Esperance are booking up. N had to hunt around for a house that would allow all the doggies. We weren't sure if Mouse would still be with us when we booked so the possibility was 4 or 5 dogs. Our friends were only staying for two nights and we were staying for three.

N found this cute little duplex half with a grassy backyard. It was hard to tell how high the fences were from the photo. The living area was small but we were planning to be on the beach with the dogs for most of the time anyway so we figured it wouldn't matter. The only tricky bit was to introduce all of the dogs.

Bender says, hey aren't we going to have a cook up? I feel like sausages!
I took the Friday and Monday off work, as it is a long drive down there for us. We weren't completely on the ball and got caught in peak hour traffic on the way out of Perth on Friday morning. Some Esperance folk we met on the weekend said that the best time to leave Perth is about 4am. On reflection they were right of course, but getting out of town at that hour wasn't that realistic as we had to load the car right before we left.

We got to use my brand new towball bike rack that I bought from Grip Sport months ago and it was solid. I did not have a worry about the bikes at all for the 1400 kilometre round trip. We also bought down a soft crate for Mouse to sleep in so that she wouldn't bother us during the night. That concept didn't work so well as she still woke up at 4am every day and made a racket, whining and digging at her bed. The dogs had to practice a bit of give and take due to the lack of space in the car for all three of them.  Mouse always seems to get her way and has the uncanny ability to pass out and sleep in all situations, so she hogged the whole back seat for most of the trip. At one point she was even roaching, in the car! She is such a great traveller.

We had to stop and take a photo of this sign! Pity it was such a long detour to visit Bender's railway siding
Our first stop was to get a bite for breakfast at a road house. There was a park nearby so I let Bender wander around off leash, whilst we sat down with Mouse and Barbie. I had Mouse sitting politely next to me whilst I ate my ham and cheese toasted sandwich. I turned my head away from her to see what Bender was up to and heard a crisp *crunch*

I quickly turned my head back and saw Mouse daintily chewing on the corner of my sandwich that she had just bitten off!! N cracked up laughing. I couldn’t really bring myself to scold her, it was too late anyway. The whirling dervish, or sneaky white fox, struck again!

the trio at wave rock
We stopped at Wave Rock in Hyden, which is a big tourist attraction in WA. There were signs up everywhere that said 'no BMX or Mountain Bikes at any time'. I thought we should look it up on youtube, and this is the guy who made a cool video but kind of ruined everyone else's fun.

Bender's first instinct was to try and run up the rock. He didn't make it very far. The greyhounds tried to walk up the rock too, but as soon as the gradient got to a certain level they fell over sideways (I caught this on video, so make sure you check out the video in the next post).

paying our respects
We also stopped at the dog cemetary in Corrigin. It was touching to see all of the headstones people had created for their dogs.

When we got to the house in Esperance the dogs were very happy to be out of the car. we weren't there long. We unloaded our stuff, put the dogs back in the car and headed to the local beach for a quick walk. It was less than a kilometre from the house so this was the only time we drove down there. Bender was very confused that we didn’t have a ball to throw and kept looking for one. After their quick walk to the beach we went back, got everyone settled and fed them their dinner. Barbie and Bender, true to form, didn't eat much. Mouse chowed down like usual. After a bit of relaxing on their beds, the new guests arrived.

Barbie and Bella doing a doggie handshake
Bella and Indy went through the side gate and we turned our dogs out into the yard one-by-one. We tried Bender first, and it took a little while to get them all settled, because he kept trying to hump Bella. Indy protected her friend with her 'cattle dog' ways, giving him the eye and rounding him up with a series of low growls. When they settled we swapped and let Barbie out. Barbie showed very little interest in either of the dogs. Just a little sniff and she went on her way. Mouse was last. Mouse as a little bit energetic still and that scared Bella. They all got along pretty well though and settled well.

We bought them all inside and they all slept nicely on the dog beds. I was pleased.
The dogs quickly became used to each other and Mouse's shifty ways became evident. She plonked herself down on Bella and Indy's beds outside. She even lay down next to Indy - backing in and avoiding eye contact as Indy was growling. Mouse always gets her way.

princess Mouse always gets her way...
First thing every day we went back down to the local beach. We walked but Bella and Indy were chauffered as Indy has bad arthritis and can't walk very far. They were cute when they recognised each other. Mouse was a bit frustrated because she wasn't allowed off leash. At one point during her 'pork chop' antics, she landed on my leg and left a very big bruise.

Barbie exploring the rocks

On Saturday afternoon we also went to a really nice bay, which was about a 11 kilometre drive away from the house. It was a little bit rocky, but Barbie enjoyed fossicking around on the rocks. N took Mouse into the water but it was very cold so she didn't stay in long. She also did this really cute 'jumping through the water' thing which I also got on video… (stay tuned for the next blog entry for that)

Barbie cooling off
After the beach visit N & I went for a ride up the coast to that beach. There is a very hilly separated bike path the whole way along, though the climb out of town was the hardest part. It was a very pretty ride. Apparently at about 6pm Barbie started crying and whining and no distraction could stop her. I think it was because that's the time I usually get home from work and feed the dogs, so she was worried. Poor sweet girl.

After the first day of driving, a very early start (thanks Mouse), and a day of beach going with small breaks in between, Barbie and Bender were exhausted. On Sunday Bella and Indy left and Bender seemed a bit upset that they were gone. He was sniffing around the yard looking for them. To give the dogs a rest, we took them to the beach, then did non-doggie things.

We went to a local market in town and bought some local honey which was made by bees using Salmon Gum pollen. I had never tried it before and it's very different from the Karri and Marri forest honey I am used to, in a good way!

Esperance Stonehenge
After the market we drove out the Esperance's version of Stonehenge. There is a bit of a story behind it. There's a big granite quarry across the road, and  the 'Stonehenge' pieces were ordered by a really rich guy in Margaret River. It was going to cost him $250,000 to truck the stones to his property. He went broke before that happened and the landowners across the road managed to sort a deal with the quarry for the pieces. They assembled it using drawings by some Margaret River architects and a heavy duty crane from Kalgoorlie. It was pretty cool, but will get better with age. At the moment the rocks are a bit 'perfect'. It reminded me a bit of a 'Chinese' version of stonehenge - when we were in China we noticed there was a tendency to 'rebuild' ancient attractions so that they looked all shiny and new. After Stonehenge we took the mountain bikes out to the local MTB club track about 15 kilometres out of town. It was really fun and I'm glad that we did it!

me checking out the local MTB track
On the last morning Mouse did her usual 4am wake up thing, but I managed to get her to pipe down and go back to sleep. We weren't in a huge hurry to get back to Perth and if we left too early we would get caught in the afternoon peak hour traffic. On the way out we stopped again at the rocky beach. Barbie didn't do more than a trot. Bender found a discarded 1.25L coke bottle on the beach and decided it would be fun to play with. He carried it all the way up and down the beach, flattening it as he went. It was his ball substitute, but I did throw it for him a few times because it didn't go far.

what is this I have found ?? 
Bender, new ambassador for 'Clean up Australia'
We went a different way back via Kulin and came across the 'Tin Horse Highway' where the locals had made all kinds of horse sculptures out of various bits of scrap metal. It was very entertaining. We pulled over frequently to take pictures - but this one with the light plane had to be my favorite. The plane was so tiny!

the car posing with a plane on the Tin Horse Highway
As we got closer to home, out of the wheatbelt and into the Darling Scarp which is forested,  the dogs perked up. As soon as we got in the door Barbie collapsed onto a bed and went to sleep. She really doesn't sleep in the car. Mouse chased Froufrou and Bender grabbed the nearest toy to engage in a game of tug. Everything was back to normal very very quickly!

ahh how we will miss the beautiful beaches...

Stay tuned for a video version of the road trip.... 
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