Left Munglinup just East of Ravensthorpe early hours in calm but cold conditions. Two hours into the ride it was hard yakker from then on to Esperance as a 20km head wind picked up and down came the occasional patch of rain which I thought would turn into sleet due to the temperature being 7 degrees.
The local spring flowers seem to bloom quite well this time of year regardless of the climate and believe it or not I still have the demeanor in the freezing conditions to look around at the landscape, foreground scrubbers, bushes and flowers which are quite in contrast to what I've seen over the last 3 months - palms, coconut trees, virgin jungle and rubber trees and cactus on the Vietnam coast.
I was fascinated in a private memorial honouring our WW 1 heroes in the main entrance of someone's property on a lonely stretch of road near Munglinup which I couldn't help but notice as I was labouring along. Great to see patriotic Australians, particularly in this case as they've gone to a lot of effort with some local improvisation to honour our WW 1 heroes. Fantastic !!!!
A lot of caravans in convoys passing the long ride home team at present. The word is out about the ride amongst what I am told, the grey nomads crossing Australia. Juvy is also in constant contact by CB radio with the Truckies as they have been putting a lot of radio traffic out there asking about the long ride home.
Arrived in Esperance to another welcomed discount by Esperance Seafront & Caravan Park Managers, Paul and Lee-Anne Grant. Thank you Paul & Lee-Anne and to a couple of donors who were forthcoming with kind donations as we were setting up camp.
Thank you very much from myself and the long ride home team.
Esperance is a town in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, on the Southern Ocean coastline approximately 720 kilometres (450 mi) east-southeast of the state capital, Perth. Esperance is home to 9,919 people (2011 census). Its major industries are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. The Shire of Esperance is home to 13,477 people.
European history of the region dates back to 1627 when the Dutch vessel Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by François Thijssen, passed through waters off the Esperance coast and continuing across the Great Australian Bight.
French explorers are credited with making the first landfall near the present day town, naming it and other local landmarks whilst sheltering from a storm in this area in 1792. The town itself was named after a French ship, the Espérance, commanded by Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec. Espérance, is French for 'hope'.
In 1802, British navigator Matthew Flinders sailed the Bay of Isles, discovering and naming places such as Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove. Whalers, sealers and pirates followed, as did pastoralists and miners, keen to exploit the free land and cash in on the gold boom in the gold fields to the north.
The area of the Esperance townsite was first settled by the Dempsters, a pioneer family of Scottish descent, in the 1870s. A telegraph station was opened in 1876, although the formal gazettal of the townsite did not occur until 1893.
The town jetty was also built through the 1890s, following the discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields region.
The population of the town was 985 (623 males and 362 females) in 1898.
A railway line between Coolgradie and Esperance was completed in 1927.
The mallee area approximately 100 km (62 mi) north of the town began grain production in the 1920s, and by 1935 the construction of a second jetty, tankers jetty, was completed.
Agriculture was introduced to the Esperance sand plain by an American syndicate, in partnership with the state government, in the 1960s following the discovery that adding superphosphate fertilisers containing trace elements to the poor soils made them suitable for cropping and pastoral activity.Despite early difficulties, the project eventually became a success and large areas of land were cleared during this time.
The population of the town in 1968 was approximately 2,700.
In 1979, pieces of the space station Skylabcrashed onto Esperance after the craft broke up over the Indian Ocean. The municipality fined the United States $400 for littering. The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners, and paid the fine on behalf of NASA. Skylab's demise was an international media event, with merchandising, wagering on time and place of re-entry, and nightly news reports. The San Francisco Examiner offered a $10,000 prize for the first piece of Skylab to be delivered to their offices. 17-year-old Stan Thornton scooped a few pieces of Skylab off the roof of his home in Esperance, caught the first flight to San Francisco, and collected the prize.
In January 2007, the national media claimed that Esperance experienced "the perfect storm" with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h (68 mph) which brought 155 mm (6 in) of rainfall within 24 hours, causing significant flooding. More than 100 homes were damaged, several boats were destroyed, trees were felled, 35 m (115 ft) of bridge on the South Coast Highway, (the main road linking Esperance to Perth), was washed away, and power was cut from thousands of homes. The Western Australian Government declared the area a "natural disaster zone". At least 37,000 sheep were killed in the storm.
I'm now at the 6,563 km point having broken the back of the 10,000 km long ride home, but also keeping in mind and as always I'm not becoming too complacent as there's still a long way to go.
In the mean time, I will enjoy the two rest days in Esperance, stay warm in my sleeping bag and enjoy Gunney and Juvy's great company. I promised I'd tell all that Gunney is a fantastic chef and that he is looking after the Truck to the inch degree.
Good on you again lads !!!
Truck, Juvy and Gunney
On the long ride home and on our rest days off in Esperance WA.
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