After what seemed like an eternity of packing and getting organised, the first day of our holiday finally arrived. We left extra biccies in the cats’ bowls, kissed them goodbye and left sometime after 7am on the 27th of November. The plan was to drive a couple of hours and stop for breakfast somewhere along the way. We enjoyed our picnic of fried rice and a thermos of hot tea at a lovely spot called Regan’s Ford, which is somewhere in between Perth and Eneabba.
It was really nice sitting at a wooden bench, munching and sipping, surrounded by nature. I even took a picture of a bob-tail as it slowly shuffled along the edge of the river.
As we left Regan’s Ford and got back on the Brand Highway we realised we were driving through a locust swarm. There was no way to avoid them as we drove – they were just flying all the way across the road. Many of the locusts flew over or around the car, but a great number flew right into the windscreen and went SPLAT! It was pretty disgusting to witness the splattering of locusts right before your eyes. A few got caught in the windscreen wipers, and bits of locust legs, wings and bodies flapped in the wind, semi-trapped under the wipers. I took the photo below on the right at the beginning of the onslaught as we drove along the dusty path out of Regan’s Ford – the beige spots are flying locusts.
When we stopped sometime later at the Badgingarra Roadhouse for a loo break, we surveyed the carnage. It was pretty gross. I was too squeamish to pick out the wedged locusts (well, a lot of them were actually partial locust bodies – legless/headless bodies or bodyless legs), but I used a stick to dig them out of the radiator. No matter what parts were missing, the locust bits always twitched when they hit the ground. Ewwwww. I don’t like insects very much, so it was a rather skin-crawly experience for me. We had completely forgotten that we might be driving through locust country, and so obviously we hadn’t taken the precaution of installing some sort of screen over the radiator. The good thing at least is that the locusts which killed themselves on our car won’t be able to eat any farmers’ crops. Anyway, we picked/dug out as many locusts as we could, and Jac gave the windscreen a quick clean. We didn’t clean the crusty splodges off the car body though – we figured we’d do that when we arrived in Geraldton – chances were we’d be driving through more locusts along the way.
And regarding the loo break, it was quite funny actually – we bought a couple of cold drinks and Jac asked for the key to the toilet. The woman at the counter pointed at the key sitting on the counter, and asked in a nice way, chuckling, “How could you miss it?” When we saw it, we also had to laugh. It was pretty hard to miss, but somehow, we both did.
Later on, we had another break to stretch our legs, when we were approximately 20km south of Dongara. Yeah, there wasn’t a lot to see out there but land, trees and sky. It was a nice change from computer monitor, TV and (shudder) thesis.
Upon our arrival at the holiday unit in Geraldton, we checked in and unloaded our bags from the poor locust-spattered car. The first thing I noticed as soon as I got out of the car was the salty smell of the sea and the constant sound of waves crashing – the place we were staying at was literally across the road from the beach. After six or so hours of driving, Jac was absolutely dying to get barefoot on the sand, and so we got into our boardies and took to the beach. Family and friends can see many photos of Jac walking on the beach in Flickr.
Yeah, I’m sure you have noticed I really got into taking sky photos. I’m sure it’s a strictly holiday thing. :)
I featured a photo of the sunset from our first evening in my previous post. This is another view, also taken while standing on my tippy-toes. I don’t usually pay attention to sunsets, but it was just right there and I was compelled to take photos. Actually, I must confess I didn’t pay attention to this one either, but Jac, who had been sitting on the little patio area having a beer told me I should come outside and take a look. I’m glad I did.
Lots more coming up. And yeah there’s food on the way.