Trip 17, part 2 – The fuel run

What to do on day two?

The sun rising over the rock and van


Magnificent blue skies today.  Note the large puddles on top of the rock.


Nice natural rock formation and reflection


A red kangaroo soaking up the morning rays


Despite being a big animal they’re fairly nimble as some of the rock faces are pretty steep.


Managed to sneak up for a closer shot however focus was a bit out shooting with the telephoto lens


After spending 30mins or so adjusting the tyre pressures as our new Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), a recent caravan and camping show special purchase, was advising us by bleeps, that our tyres were a little low as the pressures rose by more than 4 to 6psi when hot.  We bought the SafetyDaves TPMS, after much Dr Googling, and whilst I really like the idea of them, they do make inflating and deflating your tyres a bit more difficult, that is if you choose to use the lock screws.  If you simply screw them on to the valve stems then they’re no more difficult than a dust cap.  Anyway, ts was still pretty bloody warm so we figured a drive into Mucka for a bit of morno’s and some fuel would be a good start.  Taking the back roads into town, through the now harvested wheat fields was a nice drive. Unfortunately, last night’s storm had knocked out the power to all of Mucka, and we later found out most of the towns in the wheatbelt and power wasn’t restored until around 3pm that day.  Suffice to say, there was no morno’s to be had as the café was shut and we even struggled with the fuel.  The local BP was open, they must’ve had a generator out back, however, the old biddy running the joint was as waspish as hell when I tried to self serve, running out of her bat cave to inform me with as much derision as she could conjure that she was on fuel restrictions and that I could only buy twenty bucks worth..  I’d already pumped in $23 worth so managed to convince her to let me round it out to a whopping $25 worth of fuel, which at $1.42/lt meant I just gained about a 100kms of extra driving distance, whoopda bloody do.  A quick car conference later and Jules and I decided to head down to Merredin, which is only 70kms or so away, and being a much bigger town we assumed it’d have plenty of fuel.  Again, taking the back roads between Mucka and Merredin, we came upon what most have been a much more severe storm path, with branches dropped and tree’s down all over the place.  Some of these trees were huge so the wind must have been howling.

A grain silo out in the field on the way out to Merredin


Storm damage.


Storm damage.


Storm damage.


We got lucky at Merredin, there was enough fuel for us to refill, and it seemed every man and his dog was doing the same thing, and they were filling both their cars and jerry cans, we assume to either run chainsaws for clean-up operations or generators for power.  We managed to grab a decent hamburger at the local café which had just had their power restored, before heading back towards Mucka, back along the route of devastation.  As is our want, to make things interesting en-route home, we stopped in at the Eaglestone Rock camping area, on the foreshore of the salt lake, Lake Brown.  Another nice free camping location we’ve marked for a potential future visit.

The foreshore of Lake Brown, a large salt lake, bordered by Eaglestone rock.


The foreshore of Lake Brown, a large salt lake, bordered by Eaglestone rock.


Eaglestone rock, note the amazing wind and water sculptured rock formations.


Then it was off to the Mangowine Homestead I’d seen a Wheatbelt Way sign for.  Using our offline enabled WikiCamps, Jules had predetermined that our homestead host was Bob, a retiree caretaker of this piece of history.  In addition to offering $12.50/night camping, which include power, water and toilets, for $2 a head, Bob opens up the old homestead and takes you through.  Aside from the now tin roof and support beams, the buildings are original, a combination of either rock and mud, or mud brick, and you can still view the round timber rafters holding the roof up (the roofs used to be thatch).  Situated on what was the original Toodyay to Southern Cross road, Mangowine homestead was fed by a local freshwater spring and ran a small pub to the travellers who were mostly walking, or using horse and cart, to reach the old goldfields around Westonia.  Whilst not the best historical building we’ve visited, it is certainly worth a visit just to have a chat with Bob and to get a sense of the love he has for the place and region.  Showing what a small world it is, we were relating our previous trip through Sandstone when we mentioned the Sandstone publican’s name, Scruffy, who Bob informed us was his mate and who had a house in Mucka, and that they’d often go prospecting together.

An old car rusting away at Mangowine Homestead.


An old water barrel at Mangowine, check out the advertising


From Mangowine, we then took a short detour to the old Wattoning townsite, of which all that is left is the old well and a tiny cemetery of three graves.  Reading the info board at the grave site provides some insight into how tough it must have been making a living in the wheatbelt in the late 1800’s.

A recently tilled wheat field, ready for the next crop.


A sad little headstone to a short life.  The info board states little Darcy died of dysentery at 13months old.


The very informative but sad info sign stating how the 3 graves came to be.  It may be impossible to read in this pic but the story about Sheila Richenda Hall is amazing and sad at the same time.


Back at our rock, it was a lot cooler tonight so the campfire was lit, the full moon rising was watched, another bottle of red was mysteriously emptied of its magic and a lovely roast leg of lamb and veggies were demolished.  Rather domestically, we had a normal, hot water shower, out the back of the van tonight as the storms had all gone.

What more could you ask for?  Check out the sunset colours.  Nice fire and a glass of red.


Playing around with a shot of the Easter, rising full moon lighting up some clouds


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