The long drive to Tom Price

by Petra Bucheli

Wednesday 21st March, 2012

Already very early in the morning I got waken by the parrots. They started to make big noise shortly after 3am. In between I could sleep again, but it was not very recreative. At 5:45am the alarm rung as there is a long day awaiting us. We enjoyed a bit the morning atmosphere and started just before sunrise. Our first stop was a termite mound to which a sign pointed. Here we watched it from close. Then we continued driving and had to care that we did not hit any sheep as they were grazing at the side of the road. Our journey was accompanied also by emus and a few cows. We also made a few picture stops in the outback. I realized that Australia is not really flat as we were passing a wonderful hill landscape. The area got greener and greener and yellow and red shades made it very interesting. A cyclone had passed last week and there has been a lot of rain. The last 70 km to Tom Price are gravel road. After we passed the 50 km the sound of our vehicle changed immediately. We immediately found our problem: in the back the left tire was completely broken. We were looking for the spare tire and prepared for a long waiting as we did not have mobile phone reception. But very soon two friendly Australians passed and stopped. They helped us to change the tire and we were very thankful. They told us that they are checking the road for damage made by the cyclone. With the spare tire we drove to Tom Price and looked there for a mechanic. He explained that a new one will be 300 dollars. Or he could look if he has an used one. We called Apollo and they wanted a new one which we should have to pay. Sandra explained that we also did not have new tires on the camper. The answer as always: the car was checked for damage. We know this saying already too good. As the mechanic talked to Apollo, he demanded them to pay. Let's see how this resolves, but first we enjoy our vacation. During dinner preparation we talked to an Australian who told us that all gravel roads in the Karijini National Park are closed. The main road is tarred and can be used. We should go to the visitor center and inform us about the road situation. We will do that and hope to see something from the National Park. She told us also that the parrots are so noisy because they feed their chicks and this all around the clock. I just hope they do this not anymore beside our camper.