Week 1-6 - March 12, 2018 - April 29, 2018

This is the beginning of a fantastic journey down under, or perhaps, up over, depending upon your perspective.  And, isn't that what travelling is all about - gaining new perspective of the world we live in, the world we are embraced by, the world we try to make for ourselves?  So, what may be 'down under' for some of us may actually be thought of as 'up over' by some other people.


This adventure came about in a matter of minutes after I read a note from my cousin, Eleanor Campbell, through Facebook.  She mentioned that her grandparents were going to travel from Manchester, England to Perth, Australia to visit the family and that they would be arriving in a matter of weeks.  Adrian and Christine (Chris is my 2nd cousin on my mum's side) have a daughter, Jane (my 3rd cousin) and Jane and her husband Stuart, emigrated to Perth (with son James and daughter, Ellie) some 10 years ago. 

Gerson and I had been talking about making another visit to see Adrian and Chris (see http://www.solsearch.us/uk-diary-page-2.htm for our 2009 visit) as well as wanting to visit Jane and family.  When I heard they were all going to be in one place, it sparked an idea and in my usual fashion, I  popped into our living room, asked Gerson, "Do you want to go to Australia?" and his answer can be deducted from our being in Australia three weeks later.  Somewhere between his immediate "Yes!" and our arrival, we concocted our latest scheme and that was to buy an older motorhome and drive around the country. 

Thus, Cinderoo came into our lives and we have had a wonderful visit with Chris and Adrian and will continue to have visits with Jane, Stuart, James and Ellie.

I have included our first six weeks in Perth in one Diary page due to most of the time was concentrated on Cinderoo.  As we were jokingly and truthfully told, Perth, Western Australia (Perth, W.A.) means Perth - Wait Awhile and hence, we waited, and waited for parts and work on Cindoo. 

The time we had with my cousins was not wasted as we enjoyed bar-b-ques, tea (dinner) out, a trip down the Swan River and an early birthday surprise celebration.

   We prepared for the trip with any books on Australia                   Weird looking, but great tasting grapes

   Meet the cousins:  Adrian, Jane, James, Gerson, Stuart,               Dinner is served
             Ellie, Louise and Chris.

   Sunset near Perth   

We were able to fit in a wonderful boat trip down the Swan River with all the cousins and it was just a lovely day.  During the boat excursion, we learned an interesting tidbit about why Perth is called the 'City Of Lights' (no relation to the imposter Paris). 

    On February 20, 1962, Astronaut John Glenn was in the midst of his being the first American to orbit the Earth (in the Friendship VII spacecraft).
    Whilst crossing Australia, the Perth City Council wanted to mark the occasion and asked its residents to turn on their lights so Glenn could
    see Perth (considered one of the most remote cities in the world).  Residents turned on their house lights, car lights and even lit torches and waved
    as Glenn floated past prompting him to 'thank' the residents for the display and thus, introducing Perth to the world as the "City Of Lights".
    Thirty-six years later, as John Glenn was riding in the Space Shuttle Discovery and passing once again over Perth, the City lit itself up in
    remembrance of Glenn's earlier flight.  It is rumored that John Glenn humorously said "OK guys, you can turn them off now".


   Perth view from the Swan River

   Enjoying our boat ride along Perth                                               Ellie and Gerson on the Swan River

   Photo was supposed to be of Chris and me and Ellie                   Gerson and Adrian especially liked the wine tasting onboard     
              photo bombed with her big beautiful smile

We made sure to have some BBQ time, encorporating a bit of Brazilian and experiencing a bit of the English with bacon and egg butties.
Adrian's birthday was close enough for an excuse to have a bit of a surprise party at the beach.  A very cool thing around Perth is that the 'councils' have installed gas grills/bbqs along the beaches and in the parks that are free to use by anyone.  For Adrian's party, Stuart whipped up some bacon, egg and sausage 'butties' (sandwiches), enhanced by mimosas and we were mere yards (meters) away from the Indian Ocean.  Now that is how you celebrate a birthday!

   Ellie and me - no doubt we are related                                        Gerson and James

   Gerson, Louise, Adrian, James, Jane, Stu, Chris, Ellie               Louise with Adrian and Chris (Chris was like my mum's sister growing up)

   Adrian and his daughter, Jane - lots of love there                       I just loved this picture of Adrian reading his card, very moving

   Gerson and Stu doing their 'butty' best                                      Gerson and Stu taking a well-deserved dip in the Indian Ocean
                                                                                                                          (Hawaii, you have nothing on the beaches of Western Australia)

We did manage to enjoy a few other fun things in and around working on Cinderoo.  One of the best places we visited was King's Park in Perth.
This magnificent 1,000 acre park consists of grassed parkland, botanical gardens, natural bushland and a war memorial on Mount Eliza and is one of the largest central parks in the world.  We only spent a couple of hours and were astonished by the views, the grounds and the vast size of the park.  It will be another visit when we have the proper time to appreciate all of the park.

   Lovely King's Park view to the Swan River                            Strange flower - Woolly Orange Banksa

   Gerson and Stu taking in the view                                          View to Perth from King's Park

As I said earlier, we spent most our time looking for Cindoo and then renovating her so that she could endure the trip around Australia.  In the process, we met some terrific people that helped us out in various ways.  We even stayed a night camped out in the back lot of an auto electric repair place (with the parents of the owner who live in their caravan on the property) and then three weeks on a beautiful property owned by an RV mechanic that helped us considerably.  We even met quite a character while looking at his vehicle for sale (but just not what we wanted).  All in all, the experience of looking for, buying and renovating Cinderoo was quite memorable, albeit, a bit stressful.  But in the end, the friendships made it all worthwhile.

   Franz - owner of a vehicle we looked at but did not buy.               Cindoo getting a lift for her new tyres, shocks and springs
             Ironically, he had two young Brazilian students staying
             with him and his wife.  Quite the character and a lot of fun.

   Michael and Gerson - we stayed a night in the parking lot            Michael cooked steak and eggs for us while we all camped at the shop

  Gerson taking advantage of time to tighten the plumbing               Just a pretty Galah hanging out


Most of our time fitting out Cindoo was spent in a town near Perth called Maida Vale and on a large property owned by Glenn and his wife, Julie.  The property came with three useless dogs and numerous birds (magpies, 23's, 28's, lorikeets, cookabarras, parrots,).  We fell in love with this area and found many similarities to rural areas in Southern California.

   Gerson and Glenn discussing our trip                                           Gerson working on the solar panels

   My audience - Jessie, Sarah and LouLou                                       Did someone say "treats"?

   Dinner with Glenn and Julie (and Jessie)                                     Gorgeous birds:  Rainbow Lorikeet and Australian Ringneck (28 Parrot)


Just a few jaunts in between scouting up parts and doing laundry. 

   Enjoying a time out at the Fremantle Market.              Why did the Blue Tongued Skink cross the road?

   Beautful view to Penguin Island                                              View to Perth from the Mundy Regional Park


So we end this period of time at the end of April and spent a total of six weeks readying for our Australian driveabout.  We did not anticipate the amount of time to get ready nor did we anticipate the terrific people we would meet along the way.  We would not change a thing.

Off we go...



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