Another day of howling winds from the south – it is getting old now. Steve set off with good wishes from our new friends at Waterloo Bay Caravan Park after a rare photo of us together.
I set up to do a pen and ink sketch of…the caravan park. While there were spectacular views from the cliffs around Elliston, I just felt that it would be neither safe nor pleasant on the lonely and isolated rocky outcrops, especially with the wild winds buffeting me. I’d done that at the Scenic Outlook near Koondala, and while I got a painting out of it that I was really pleased with, I wasn’t keen to subject myself to similar (or worse) conditions quite yet.
While this meant I didn’t need to pack up and drive off to another location to set up, any time saved was lost by the many interruptions, albeit pleasant ones, of our fellow campers. It is lovely when people are interested in your art making, and I love to talk arty things, particularly young people who want to learn how to draw and paint. Kim and her young daughter were very interested in how to travel with art materials as they were planning an extended holiday for a few terms this year. I gave them some postcards, and they generously donated online later – thanks Payne family!
The lovely Bev from Esperance kindly donated some tie dye tops for us to give to our grandkids, and told me about a similar cycling fundraising trip she had done some years ago providing a few tips on getting some media coverage along the way. We also received a donation from another camping neighbour who had seen our little billboard, we really appreciate these unsolicited funds as we don’t like to hard sell.
Also of interest to many campers is the pod – quite a few came over to chat about it and discover its finer features, the guided tour doesn’t take too long! The upshot was that I didn’t get too far with my drawing by the time I needed to get on the road, so I took lots of reference photos and got on my way shortly after 10.
Hoping against hope that the wind wasn’t too bad, but knowing Steve needed high-octane fuel to keep going, I grabbed a vanilla slice and some Anzac biscuits from the bakery before heading out of town. Steve sent a text saying to drop by the shop at Sheringa, less than half way for the day (it was another longish day, 125 km) as the owner, Mark had made a donation when he stopped for a coffee.
I duly dropped in – no chance of missing it, there hadn’t been much else out of Elliston apart from rolling browned off hills with little vegetation and the occasional drystone wall. Wheat and sheep seem to be the main business out this way. Interesting little place, and early as it was, there were three blokes enjoying a beer on the verandah, including Mark. I had a bit of a chat and laugh, though as usual some sad stories came out. I guess it is a nice thing that people get the chance to talk about such things sometimes.
It was now three hours since Steve had left, but when I caught up with him he hadn’t even got to the halfway mark shesch! Where I found him was the most amazing scenery – we had come upon some shallow lakes that were salty and marshy with fantastic plant life around them, beautiful.
But he was doing it tough. “Why don’t you get in the car, call it a day?” “Yeah, ok, but drop me off at the turnoff and I’ll cycle back here with the wind behind me, and you can come back and get me when you’ve set up,” “Hmm, OK then…” And so, that is what we did!
After the lakes, which went on for quite a way, the landscape became more treed, and we even entered into some quite forested areas. We spotted a few sheep and cows (we really haven’t seen too many so far on this trip) and then in the distance – mountains! I suppose if I had thought about it, as we were heading to places that had ‘mount’ in the name, it was likely we would come across some.
After a half hour or so of driving we reached the turnoff and I bid Steve farewell, again. The road into Mount Dutton Bay proved to be a rather corrugated dirt road for about 4 km so I bumped along at less that 25 km/hr until finally reaching a better and more compacted road with a couple of km to go. I found the campsite situated next to a heritage listed stone woolshed that is also a museum, art gallery and café. Find out more here. It was deserted, but having spoken to the owner the day before, knew that it was ok to park and set up. No power, but toilets, showers and few trees to shade us, and a beautiful bay with ubiquitous jetty (every beach and bay seems to have one on the Eyre Penisular) for scenery.
I had about an hour or so before I needed to set off and get Steve so I finished my pen and ink, uploaded it to instagram (@miranda1459 if you want to see my daily offerings) and got on my way. Once I had picked Steve up (yes it was a fast trip with the wind behind him) and we got back, we set off on some sight-seeing. We wandered along the jetty meeting a semi-local who advised us where to go for ice, and places worth seeing nearby. So we hopped in the car, first stop, Coffin Bay – gorgeous! And yes, I got some oysters, of course. Then back in the other direction to check out Farm Beach and Gallipoli Beach – where they filmed Gallipoli back in the 80’s.
It was getting late with the sun dropping towards the ocean when we were heading back to the car and a four-wheel drive came up behind us. Scooter, the chap behind the wheel with his dogs stopped to chat and ended up making a very generous donation – we insisted he have a cap at least! Lovely guy down from Port Lincoln staying at his shack on the bay for a last trip with his old dog who was not long for this world.
Back at camp, Jacquie the owner had got back from town and came over with her delightful dog, Alaska and gave us a bit of a discount to support the cause. Time for dinner and bed…another day done.