Due to our slightly different route into Perth we missed the Pinnacles in Nambung national park so we rode back out to take a look at them. It was worth the effort as they are quite spectacular, the flies were shocking though hence the reason for the head nets. The limestone columns rise eerily out of the Pinnacles desert many reaching 3 metres in height and no one is entirely sure how they got here, the area was only opened up in the 1960′s. There are a few theories about their formation, they are made from calcium deposits from seashells. The trunks of ancient trees may have formed moulds trapping the calcrete forming this science fiction like desert landscape.
Caron had emailed a few radio stations on our behalf and Curtin FM based at the local university replied. We arranged an interview date, we could have done it over the phone but felt it would be better if we were there in person. The regular presenter was on holiday so we had a stand in called Josie. We were both a little nervous beforehand as this was Karen’s first time in a radio station but Josie is a lovely lady and as soon put us at ease. It was actually easy and fun to do the conversation flowed effortlessly with Josie’s guidance. Afterward she told us most interviews don’t go much beyond 7 mins and she let ours run for 20 as she felt it was going well. She also offered us somewhere to stay and was so nice that we vowed to make time to catch up with her again. I did most of the talking as Karen was getting over a cold and trying hard not to cough. Here’s a picture of us in the studio and we will attempt to add a link to the recording in the media section of our website.
The night-scape of Perth was so captivating from the roof top that we headed back in the daylight for a comparison before we headed into town for a look around. Phil kindly allowed us to park at his building as free parking is scarce even for bikes. After we had soaked up the roof top vista we walked into town for a look around, a lot of Perth’s architecture is very English inspired and it’s a clean spacious city that’s easy to get around thanks to the free buses in the city centre. No one seemed to mind when a couple of kangaroos came in for a drink…..Our tour took in London court, the swan bell tower and Kings park via a long set of steps called Jacob’s ladder. By then it was time to be heading out of the city and “home.” I cooked dinner for Phil and us as Caron was away for the evening. There were some left over sausages so I cooked toad in the hole as no one had ever tried it out here. It disappeared fast so it must have been alright.
In between times I continued to service the bike while I had such a good workshop. It had lots of little things wrong with it and over the course of a few days I got it running better and better. Phil also had a copy of Guzzioligy a American Guzzi book which is about 3 inches thick and a mine of information. I was reading it when I noticed something that I had previously missed. It recommended setting the ignition timing on full advance (6500rpm) rather than idle and as I had access to a timing light and the neighbours were out I thought I would check to see what difference it made if any. I fitted a Lucas Rita electronic ignition to the bike before we left but I only strobed it up at idle and the difference was considerable. Over a few days I set the tappets, cleaned and balanced the carbs, re timed it, set the pickup gaps on the ignition, changed the air filter and re jetted the carbs. The difference was amazing and the bike is now running better than it has ever done, the timing made a big difference as it was running really retarded.
Chores over it was time for some more fun and we joined Theo for the Perth Christmas toy run picking up a toy to donate en route. The toy run has been running for over 36years from humble beginnings started in an effort to promote a better image of the local bikers and spread some Christmas cheer. Karen is standing with Bob one of the founder members, it has a massive turnout as you will see in the pictures. People went to lots of effort to dress up themselves and their bikes, we all had a great time and the salvos had a van full of toys to distribute for Christmas.
The finishing point was the football club at Joondalup and the bikes parked up on the pitch filling the stadium, I heard estimates of 5000 bikes which seemed quite feasible. The police were really good closing lanes and controlling traffic to ensure a steady flow and they do it all for nothing on their days off! Theo is one of Santa’s helper elves and saved us a space near the front.
On one of our computer catch up days a storm rolled in and it rained heavily nearly all day. When Caron got home she was all exited, we were confused and asked why? “it hardly ever does this” she said. Coming from England we don’t get exited about rain, were just grateful it wasn’t a day we were going out.
We are actually in the height of fire season now it’s summer and Theo had already been called to a fire in the Margaret River area which got out of control and partly destroyed a beautiful wine growing area that we have yet to go through. It’s something we need to be more aware of when we start free camping again.
Leaving Phil and Caron’s was hard we tried but there weren’t the words to express how grateful we are to them, Theo and Helen and Mario for everything they did. Phil and Caron understood as they have been hosted themselves in America and all they asked in return is that we “pass on the hospitality ” when we are settled somewhere in the future. We certainly intend to do this and as they rightly said it makes the world a better place one stop at a time.
Here are some pics. Caron had some original Aboriginal artefacts a spear, shield and two boomerangs showing the true design not the tourist inspired replicas. Also Caron demonstrates the safe way to wash up and a picture of Karen with Phil and Caron.
We still had one more stop in Perth the Sci Tech museum, this was a ‘big child’s’ adventure playground and we pressed, poked, prodded, smelt, felt and touched our way round the exhibits, a highlight being the 360deg gravity bike. After empting our pockets we were strapped on to a bicycle, our shoes securely fastened down on the pedals and on releasing the brake we peddled like fury back and forth until we raised enough momentum that we could push all the way round and go over the top….. I chose to have the brake applied when I was upside down so Karen could get a photo. We also passed through an infra red detector which just went to prove something I always knew Karen is way hotter than me!
The entrance to Sci Tech included a 180deg cinema of the night sky and it was here that we learned there was to be a lunar eclipse in a few days time.
We still weren’t leaving Perth completely as we promised to stop near Freemantle and stay with Rob and his family. We met him at the Horizon’s Unlimted meeting near Brisbane last June. We only planned to stop for the night but ended up staying for a few days. Rob is in the publicity business and helped promote our earlier fundraiser. He suggested the idea of producing calendars and photobooks and we are gratetful to him for helping us to help ourselves. Raising money on the road is extremely difficult and we have not been able to work in New Zealand or Australia as over 30′s cannot get a work visa. We spent two solid days on the computer selecting, editing and arranging them so we hope they are a success. This kind of thing does involve some risk as there are costs involved and we need to sell a certain amount before we break even let alone make a profit.
We still have a small amount put aside in the UK to see us through the Americas which we are trying not to touch but our Australia funds have been stretched to the max hence the fundraising. Here are some pictures of our stay, Christmas was just around the corner as we were constantly reminded. We went down to the dog beach with Di (Rob’s wife) one morning, she goes there every day with the dogs to swim and meet her friends, it was all very sociable. The last pictures are of the Lunar eclipse which happened at a very convenient 10pm.
Next up: Chance encounters.