All work and no play


As the saying goes – all work and no play makes Charlie a dull boy.

I have been doing some fun stuff, but:

a. Its been too hot (no really – 40C+ – ugh)
b. I’ve been too lazy (see a)
c. I’ve been busy with other not so interesting stuff.

Anyway, if I have anyone left still reading this blog – here’s some words and pictures from the last month!

I keep saying that you only have to drive a few minutes from here and suburbia runs out and solitude is not too far away.  Whilst that is still very much true,  sadly, suburbia is always encroaching on the farms and bushland.  For example, when I moved here only 4 1/2 years ago, there were some new houses going up in a village called Baldivis.  It was still surrounded by farms and forests and bush, so open fields and whatnot – it looked pretty nice and rural.

Now, it’s probably 4 or 5 times the size – heading towards a big town in its own right.  Literally thousands, perhaps more multiple thousands, of houses have been sprung up and that rural landscape is definitely no more.   There are one two little farms and things left, but in another 5 years, they will almost certainly have cashed in to developers.

In the meantime, some of it still looks like this.

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Pete and I went on a little jaunt on our bikes one Sunday morning up to Fremantle and then up the coast for breakfast in Scarborough.  Not quite the same Scarbs as the on the NW coast of the UK though – there are one or two teeny differences!

First – Fremantle – we watched a huge container ship being escorted out of the harbour by two tiny tugs.

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A bit further up from Freo is Scarborough and the Indiana tea rooms.  Perfect!

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It had been a little whilst since I taken the bike out somewhere new with the camera.  The girls were with Pete this weekend and Jay wanted to draw and paint, so I made the most of the opportunity (despite the heat – was 35C), fuelled up and headed out over the hills to Dwellingup, a tiny old sawmill town in the middle of the forest.  It’s not too far from here, maybe 70 km or so – but that’s further than I’ve ever ridden on my little bike before, so I’m classing this as a bona fide adventure.

First up, I stopped at the North Dandalup dam – one of Perth’s main drinking water catchment reservoirs. It’s in the middle of nowhere and was totally deserted at the top.  It’s beautiful really, totally surrounded by forest, but just close enough to the highway to have decent ish roads to it.

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That’s the Indian Ocean and probably Mandurah in the far distance..

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I walked over to the other side of the dam wall and there’s a picnic area by the river and weir at the bottom – and yes – lots of people having fun, swimming and kayaking in the water.  Awesome!

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I headed off up the hills towards Dwellingup – its a nice 25km ride through the unspoiled forest down small bendy roads, but sadly I got stuck behind a slow car and there is really no decent overtaking as my bike it too puny to power past up hills.  Only 9 months to go until I can take my next test, then that should be less of a problem.   The 5km of unsealed road was interesting on my little bike – I have no idea at all how much grip I have on dirt – probably none whatsoever – but there’s no way to slow to a crawl, I just had to suck it up and ride on at a reasonable clip.

I made the most of it – relaxing and enjoying the forest.  There’s no pictures and there’s nowhere to pull over and take them!  Coming into Dwellingup, theres a turn off to the South Dandalup dam, so I thought I’d check it out.

It’s not as picturesque as the North dam and the water levels are shockingly low 😦  I hope we get some decent rain this winter – the last few years have been a little sporadic.

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I didn’t have long in Dwellingup as the day was running away already.  I totally forgot to take pictures!  D’oh!

It’s a very small town that caters for camping, 4×4-ing, kayaking, walking (it’s a stop on the long distance Bibbulmun Track walking path) and also railway enthusiasts – the Hotham Valley Railway makes its way here from Pinjarra (see here for a post with some pictures of the trains in Pinjarra).  Plus there’s a very nice cafe right in the centre that I need to explore next time!

Heading home, I took a side road that crosses over some of the Alcoa bauxite mine workings that are out this way. There’s a few places along the scarp that overlook the heavy conveyers and also the refinery itself.  Whatever they tell you about minimising environmental impact, there is no doubt that heavy industry like this really leaves a mark.

At the bottom of the scarp, you can see the flat coastal plain stretching away towards Mandurah and the ocean, and also the massive tailing ponds that surround the Alcoa site.  I’d like to get better pictures to how how brutal an additional it is to the landscape.  You should see the state of the forest where they mine the bauxite.  It’s not pretty.

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Thats the Peel Inlet and Indian Ocean south of Mandurah glinting in the distance.

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All that aside – it’s still a very beautiful landscape.

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Even if some of the locals come off second best.

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And that’s it from me and the Ninja for another week – I did more than 200km, used 1/2 a tank of petrol and my back was not impressed when I got home!  Bring on the bigger bikes next year!

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2 Comments on “All work and no play

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