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22 September 2003

Fortunately, yesterday was a travel day; it was not a day conducive to doing much sightseeing.

As we got up and began packing the car, the skies kept getting darker and darker. Rain had been predicted and for once the weather persons got it right. It didn't rain continually, but it rained enough that this was not a day we were going to meander off the road and wander into fields to take pictures of anything, dead or alive.

We didn't even make a real rest stop. Peggy had packed up a thermos of coffee and the sausages from the previous night's barbecue and we pulled off at one point, trying to balance all on our knees, making sandwiches out of the sausages, drink our coffee, and get back on the road again. We made record time back into Geraldton.

We had called ahead to the place where we stayed on our way up. We had been so pleased with our accommodations in unit 22 that we decided to go back and requested the same suite--two bedrooms, kitchenette, living room, great internet connection, etc.

When we arrived, we were told that the folks in 22 loved it so much they'd decided to stay, so they'd put us in a different room. And since it "wasn't quite as large," they'd knock $2 off the price.

They should have knocked $20 off the price, for what we got. But still it had that great ocean view, which we could almost see through the torrential downpour which began shortly after we got the car unloaded. But that was OK, because the footy game was about to begin, so we settled in and watched Subiaco get destroyed by W. Perth, by which time the rain had subsided enough that we could think about what to eat for dinner.

With no kitchenette in which to fix anything, we opted for take-away and went to "Chicken Treat," where we got chicken, chips, and fried pineapple rings--with cheesecake for dessert. We ate our entire week's allotment of grease and fat in one meal (I came home, weighed myself and discovered I lost 2 kg on this trip--Peggy kept me away from food and on my feet walking and climbing all over Western Australia).

After dinner, we settled in to read, and both found ourselves dozing off at 7:30, so we both ended up going to sleep at that time. That meant, of course, that we were awake long before dawn and had our first up of coffee at 3:30 a.m., after which we read some more, dozed some more, and finally got up and going around 6, packing the car and on the road by 7:30.

The original plan was to drive down to the town of Jurian, find some place to spend the night, and then visit The Pinnacles Desert, part of Naumbung National Park. I had seen postcards of The Pinnacles, and Peggy (who had never been there) had, of course, heard about The Pinnacles. But with the weather looking as bad as it was, we decided to skip it and just head back to Perth.

However, as we drove along, we hit patches of blue and we checked the map and decided we could do both--see The Pinnacles and get home in time for dinner. We turned our wheels toward Jurien.

Despite our familiarity with the place through photos, we weren't prepared for just how impressive it actually is. It consists of thousands of limestone monoliths rising up out of the sandy plain, looking--I can't help but continue to make showbiz references--like the set for some weird science fiction movie.

We drove the loop around the stones and stopped several places to take photos, climbed up to the overlook where you could see the stones, the sand dunes beyond, and the ocean beyond that. We were very glad we'd come, though we were windblown, had sand in our teeth, and it was about to rain again.

We briefly considered staying in Jurian after all, but decided that when we hit the bakery for steak and mushroom pie and the coffee shop for cappucino, which we enjoyed in the car, overlooking the beach, we had pretty much seen the high points of Jurian, and "dog soup" was sounding awfully good for dinner, so we got back on the highway and arrived back in Padbury around 3:30.

We've had everybody come around to see us since we've been home. The little girl next door was here within half an hour; Janne and Chris (who had been taking care of the dogs) stopped by for coffee; and Monty and Carolynn were here to pick up Monty's laptop and get Peggy's computer hooked back up again.

Now the storm is raging outside once again, the furnace is turned up, and sleep is sounding mighty good right about now. Tomorrow I suspect we're going to be washing, vacuuming, unpacking, and getting back to normal until the next adventure.

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