Monday, 10 October 2016

THE LAST POST.

Blogspot no more...

New link to wiljen's adventures version 2.0 https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com/

A nice Spring day bike ride along the Estuary, 4 days until India !

After 232 individual posts and a very interesting 2 years this will most likely be our final blog update on wiljen.blogspot.com. The iOS Apple platform barely works with Goggle Blogger anymore. 

Google no longer supports the Blogger App on Apple iTunes's & it has now been deleted. It has become just about unusable, Jenny & I have been running an old version of the Blogger App that hasn't been updated in well over a year. You can try and access the Blogger Dashboard on Google Chrome, but it is still basically useless You definitely can't edit past posts on the Blogger Dashboard via Chrome as the page will not scroll down. The recent iOS 10.2.0 update to the iPad have made the situation even more untenable.

I know Blogger still works on Android & Windows, but when we travel we've found the mini iPads to be the best compromise for keeping in touch with the cyber world. Plus they fit nice & snug in the handle bar bags on our bikes.

So thanks to some unknown reason between Apple & Google (they don't like each other ?) 2 years of work and effort is about to be archived .  It's not a total loss, 90% of our travel notes & photos are stored in the iCloud & on our various iPads. Plus the old 1.0 Version of our Blog will remain on the internet until Goggle decide on deleting it.

Blogger has been shit anyway ! Always a struggle to manipulate & use on the mini iPads . So good riddance to it.

After a lot of investigation we have decided to go with WordPress. Probably should have used it to begin with !  It's all part of the learning curve.

The new link for wiljen's adventures 2.0 is :


https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com


Please come and visit the new site, it's going to launch with our Indian Motorcycle Adventure Tour. Two months of exploring the Sub Continent on Royal Enfield 500cc Bullets, it's going to be a blast.

To all our family, friends & readers, thanks for spending the time to follow our wiljen.blogspot.com version 1.0 , apologies for any inconvenience, but when something doesn't work you have to adapt & make the change.
Don't forget to save the new wiljenblog.wordpress.com into your favourites .

Catch you on the other side... team wiljen riding off !






Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Countdown to India, 10, 9, 8 ...


Busy with loose ends & India preps.

Written by Will.


Hi out there in Blog Land. Hope you are all travelling well ! 


Will & Jenny are as close to ready as we will ever be for our 2 month Indian Motorbike Tour !


Jen draws up a picture, we start to get our travel gear together.


9 Days until departure, our medication/first aid kit is sorted. We spent so much at Discount Warehouse Pharmacy Mandurah they even gave us an additional First Aid Kit for free.

Electronics, GoPro & Camera gear are sorted & ready. All our documents & credit cards are primed for our two wheeled assault on the Sub Continent.


We arrive at Perth HD in Cannington, the Yamaha cops a few strange looks & comments.

Jen & I have been extremely busy practicing our motorbike skills often & as best as we can. Tackling the Perth peak hours traffic, honing our lane filtering & other road skills in the rain & wind. Next weekend we borrow a couple of Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc bikes from Nevermind to go on a bike familiarisation ride around Perth.


With all the additional riding Jenny is now keen to get her BIG Bike licence (R Licence) . So we picked up a new mount for her after coming across a great deal on Gumtree (Australia's version of Craigslist), picked her up a secondhand "Big Bike" nearly a week ago. By the way Jen, happy birthday for next month & next year...etc.


We are looking for something, Low, Small, low kilometres, that will hold it's resale value. The Candy Purple Sportster XL883N Iron, MY2014 fits that brief well. 

Jenny goes for a 20 minute test ride in the heavy Perth traffic, I follow on my bike.


There are a few minor tricks to get the Sportster to start.


We negotiate a very good price with the sales man, Tony, saving about $4000 on what a new 883 Sportster would cost. This one has 1907kms on it as we roll out onto Albany Hwy. After a bit of lane filtering on the gridlocked freeway we head for one of the backroads to get home.


Sadly the practical Bike Test will have to wait until we return home. I can imagine the Assessor following Jenny & her tooting the horn at every vehicle she passes "Indian style" ha,ha,ha.


I know it goes against our philosophy of downsizing but unfortunately Jenny's legs can't even reach the ground on the Yamaha Super Tenere 1200cc, so we needed to find something a little lower for her. Once we get back from India, something will have to go !


On the House front things have been moving along ok. It's never fast enough but progress is being made.


The Reno House is nearly back at lock up & outside rendering nearly complete.


New front veranda at Mandurah Reno House.

Rendering has been started, Reno House.

Does anyone want on old Oven/Stove ? Lots of behind the scenes work has been completed, plumbing, electrical & gas.


The "home" we are living in is nearly sorted, but we are cutting it really fine. Aiming for it too be complete in 7 days.


Meanwhile more work is achieved at our current home. Patio goes up.

Concrete is laid. Some plants removed.

Alan the Concreter is now 70yo, he only does small jobs these days. Does great work.

I've made some progress out the rear, no more weeds crawling up the wall.

So that's it for now, as you can tell, we are just a little excited to be getting on the road again. India here we come....

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Meeting People.

Blog 25/09/16
By Will.

Random Happenings of Life.

What a mind bending couple of weeks Jenny & I have lived. We know more people then we realise.

My old mate Darren, we've been great friends for 34 years. Sometimes he thinks he is a bounty hunter out of Star Wars.

Firstly "Alan" Concrete Contractor we have commissioned to complete the work at the temporary go between investment house we are currently living in. Alan has done work for us 12 years before and is friends with friends of ours. He should be retired by now !?!? Great old bloke !

Then tonight at the Nevermind Adventure Tours VIP meeting at Mean Machines, Morley, Perth, WA. I meet one of the ex-Skipper Airline Charter Pilots "Mick" who use to fly me back & forth from one of the Gold Mines in the Murchison region back in the early '90's.

Entrance into Mean Machines, Morley, Perth, WA. Who will we meet tonight ?

Darren, Jenny & Delys, at the Nevermind VIP party, held at Mean Machines, Morley.

Last weekend at the HU meet, I crossed paths with Mark who still works for Pilbara Iron (formally Hamersley Iron ) in "Transport " up at Tom Price, located in the the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.

It's a small, small world. 


The exhaust looks like a double barrel Shotgun...cool !

Jenny & I have been sort of itinerant during our working lives. My longest job was 7.5 years with Hamersley Iron & Jen's was nearly 5 years at the BP Roadhouse we ended up owning/operating. 

Between us we have worked at about 35 full time jobs over 30 years. Everything from cooking, hospitality, mining, supply/logistics, automotive, transport, petroleum, education, surveying & some other weird stuff like ground crew on Airships etc.

Ideally once we finished school back in the 80's  we would have done Tertiary Education or taken on an a Apprenticeship. But coming from a background of the battling working class. We entered the work force with 17% interest rates on house mortgages & over 10% unemployment. The economy was basically in recession. So like a lot of our peers we had to live by our wits. 
The degree we earned is known as QBE !

Qualified By Experience....

Live your life and enjoy meeting the "Good People". We are all in this together!

Getting ready for a cold ride (yesterday, Saturday the 24th).

Darren came along as well, max temp for the ride was 15 degC. We did 140kms.

Over the past week we made a start with the new Carport/Patio.

Grant (green shirt) "Carpenter Extrordinaire" and Bones erect the Carport/Patio. Grant's a mate from way back, sadly I have to pay for his work. No mates rates on this one. Top Job though.

Landcruiser has a new temporary home. Next grano work & landscaping. Then it's up for sale once we can move into the Mandurah Reno House.

Even I have some soak well holes to dig.

***Next update will be our future home base, the Mandurah Reno House, then it will be full on adventure following team wiljen as they tackle India on Royal Enfield Motorcycles for 2 months....we are nervously excited.***





Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Achievable Dream.

Sunday, 18/09/16
HU Traveller's Meeting, Fairbridge, WA.

Once again leaving our comfort zone, Jenny and I went to our first ever HU get together at Fairbridge, near Pinjarra, WA.

So what is HU you may be asking, it stands for Horizons Unlimited.

Every year there is an event in Western Australia, they also have multiple gatherings all over, the world.

Horizons Unlimited was started in 1997 by Grant & Susan Johnson, a couple of Adventure Motorcyclists. Its primarily for Motorcyclists, but also used by Overlanders & Cyclists.  http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/  is full of valuable travel information & advice.



The Fairbridge event went from 12 noon Friday to 12 noon Sunday. It cost the pair of us about $150 to attend, which includes camping. I thought it was good value.

The nights were cold, we were happy to have the Kombi Camper !

There was a great turn out, huge variety of Bikes.

Most people camped in 3 man dome tents on Fairbridge oval.

During the event many different people give talks about their motor bike adventures, like Vince & Karen http://www.2upadventures.com/ who rode from London to Bangkok on their BMW GS1200.

Karen, packing up the BMW GS1200 Adventure.

There was heaps of good presentation, from a variety of amazing travellers. Jen & I were both keen to hear the talk from Damian Roper, the MD of Nevermind Adventures

That is the company we will spend our first couple of weeks with in Rajasthan, India next month, touring around on 500cc Royal Enfields.   
It also turns out that Damian will be leading our tour....cool, he is a really approachable bloke, with heaps of good info for us.

Jenny with Damian Roper of Nevermind Adventures.

We took the soft camping option & I drove old DIXYBUS, our VW Kombi. While Jenny rode her Motor Bike for the first time in nearly 2 months.

A most enjoyable weekend, we went as strangers & left as friends. Thanks to everyone who made us feel welcomed.

It was a top weekend and we really hit it off with Simon, Sue & Aaron. When I get a chance I'm looking forward to reading Simon & Sue's blog;
About their 12 months traveling around Europe on a Motor Bike.

The Horizon Unlimited motto : The Achievable Dream.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Wandering for Wildflowers

3rd Sept to 8th Sept 2016

Mandurah to Coalseam return 1200kms

Repairs to your body are a little scary and difficult, but it is the recovery that sucks. Two weeks of doing nothing, rest, recline, do Nothing.....as if that isn't hard enough! I've read 8 books, watched 5 movies, done 236 digital jigsaw puzzles and played a billion games of cards and sudoku. Then, still "Taking it easy" I've broken out to walk the neighbourhood. Well it is a bit boring, to say the least. So as we are off to India very soon, I have been on my best behaviour and if we don't get out of this house for a few days someone is going to be very sorry........Will?



This is the most exciting thing I've done in weeks, because the sun came out. Help me..


We have some family in Dongara, who we haven't seen in years, so decide to head there to start with, and see what else comes up. Day one, we take our sweet time chucking some clothes and bedding into Dixy, stop at the shops for some food and drinks, back home because we forgot our Thermos flasks, and we Cannot go anywhere without them, then hit the Freeway north. Not wanting to go too far each day, as usual, we made it just north of Jurien Bay, to Sandy Cape. It was an old camping area, just shacks and sand dunes, from our childhoods, now is owned and managed by Parks and Wildlife. Fees to pay, designated camping spots, clean Eco toilets, but still plenty of opportunity to hide in the dunes and feel isolated. 



Nice little camp at Sandy Cape, with a nice little fire.

After finding our spot, popping the top and organising our chairs and sundowners drinkies, we headed to the top of the dunes to relax over the beach views. Taking some deep, relaxing breathes, looking out to sea, I spotted a whale "Flippering". How lucky are we, amazing views and now a whale waving at us. Watching it carefully, the awe and amazement soon died, as we realised it wasn't a whale, but a boat reflecting back at us. It never moved, or disappeared.......DOH! Bloody old eyesight!

Atop the dune, enjoying the views.....is that a Whale?


It looks secluded, but behind those dunes are many hiding campers.


This trip we decided to trial a new plan for Day one of travelling.....no cooking, just buy a cooked chook, some buns and salad, so if you push too hard, arrive late, or are just plain buggered, dinner is easy. It is a good plan, and left us with plenty of chicken for tomorrow's lunch. Winner! So Will got a small fire going (we'd bought a bag of wood for this purpose) and we sat enjoying the stars, some port and a chicken roll. Doesn't get better than this.....


A tip for women! Instead of leaving filthy toilet paper to ruin the bush, take a couple of these to use as rubbish bags. Put your used paper in these, so you can cleanly store your rubbish in transit. They are scented and hygienic. Better than leaving in the bush to take 100 yrs to degrade. No one enjoys seeing your "paper streamers" fluttering at the roadside stops.


Morning one was Father's Day, so I should have got up first and sorted out a nice coffee for Will, but he needed to "go" first, so he was up and off. When he got back, he told me he had sorted coffee. Hey? When? How? Well, the caretakers of the camping area, also operated a coffee and fast food van! Huh, what a fantastic idea. So back Will goes and collects two delicious, hot coffees, for us to swig while eating our nuts and berries for breakfast.



Happy Fathers Day Willsie, Coffee?



Great thinking by the volunteer caretakers......who doesn't love an easy coffee?

Nice start to the mini adventure. Next, we drove to Port Denison, via Cliffhead, before locating The Pekaars residence, just north of Dongara. We arrived, got molested by Anne's four pooches, and headed back to Dongara, to the pub, for lunch and a catch up. It was a lovely day, and we really enjoyed chatting to Mrs P and Anne, about their new life on their little farm. We will definitely visit again, they are so welcoming and it is lovely.

The beach at Cliffhead. Childhood memories here for sure.


Port Denison....more kiddie memories, but I thought this was Dongara....


I remember playing on that foreshore.....where is the Yellow Submarine?


Viewing point at Port Denison. 



What a groovy little home on the farm.


Hello Mrs P....this is my second mum. Wonderful lady, sorry for taking so long to catch up.


Anne and Willie, some beers and a great sunset view. Very nice!


Anne is teaching herself the farm life, and loving it. She is amazing! Fixing, building, the whole lot she does!


Mrs P, is 80 and out walked me. Lesson for me....keep moving, a little bit often!


Day three saw us head inland to Walkaway, for two reasons. One, it is a much more pleasant drive to Geraldton, and two, Anne had told us about an initiative the Geraldton shire have organised, called the Art Drive. It heads south from Geraldton, then east towards Walkaway and Mingenew, then North to Mullewa, before returning west to Geraldton. Along the way, local artists have created sculptures depicting life in the region. It will also give you a good view of the wildflower season here. Here is the link, and you can download a booklet explaining the art with a map.


Nonuts.......forever a clown......



Parked at the Walkaway Museum, to check out the Art in the park.



Two of the sculptures, the sheep and Wildflowers, and the horse in the background.


This one depicting the Wildflowers. All using recycled materials. Clever and pretty.


We didn't follow the trail, but did stop and check out the art on our way past. Well worth a look. Dixy's pump tap was leaking, so we stopped in Geraldton to get a new one, and stocked up a bit of food, before heading out to Horrocks beach, west of Northampton. It is a very quiet little beach village, and having never stayed here, we thought we should. It was nice, and we managed a good bit of relaxing.


Our spot at the Horrocks Caravan Park. Had a nice view, but we don't like those trees that drip sap.


I went for a very short walk to the beach, which was quiet and empty.


The boat ramp and jetty, it was a nice afternoon, slightly windy.



Wood bug on my Hellinox chair....it's a monster!


Checking on the maps, we decided to head east on some back roads we have never done, and enjoyed a very relaxing cruise through the farming region, spotting many grey nomads following some scenic/heritage trail, checking out old halls, churches and other historical sites. There really is plenty to see out this way. Almost at Mullewa, we spotted some more of the Art Drive art, a good excuse to stop and stretch the recovering body.



Yet another interesting piece of art. Those shiny things are actually bottle tops.


What is left of a little village, shut down in 1985.



This one is a banksia, I believe.


Can't show you all of them, you'll just have to come see for yourself. It was very cute.


In Mullewa, we found it full of caravans and Nomads, making it difficult to get fuel and find the other art works in town. So we just departed, heading for Coalseam. My mum told me, we used to go there heaps as kids, but I don't remember. Good reason to check it out. Driving towards Mingenew, we found yet another art piece, before getting on the dirt, seriously corrugated, Coalseam road. "Suitable for all vehicles", the info said! Maybe you should grade the bloody thing first, before you say shit like that. Poor Dixy, she did not enjoy it one bit. We had to go super slow, as she was bumping along, rattling and shaking so much, we thought she might break. But we made it!



Dixy passed a massive train, and there were so many flowers. The pics never quite show you.


Smell that? Frickin everywhere.....


Leaving Mullewa, heading towards Mingenew.....Very cool!


This old hall would have held many a big dance in it's day. 


Last one for us, representing the community links and how the farmers hold each other up.


The good side of slow, is the amount of time we had to really enjoy the scenery. The flowers! Wow, just magnificent. Wall to wall colour and fragrance. In amongst all the farms with lush crops, there is a little breakaway, that is beautiful. The Irwin river runs through it, (well not literally, now anyway) and it is the site of the first coal mine in Western Australia. It wasn't a very successful venture, as the seam was very shallow, and not good quality. But thanks to the miners, this lovely camping area was discovered and we can all enjoy it today.


Heading down into the gorge at Coalseam.


Flowers, flowers and more flowers.......


There are a few short easy walks, some fossils to find, and a bazillion Wildflowers and birds to check out. The toilets were superb, clean, not at all smelly, and even had a little crate for book exchange. Great idea! So I found a book, I've run out of digital ones (and no phone reception to get more), and got stuck into it. No time to waste, as I didn't have a book to exchange, I felt it necessary to finish it and leave it here. 



We have a nice view of the Irwin river.....


The Irwin river bed. It was flowing very slightly,


Orange Immortelles, one of my favourite ones....really cute and bright.



Dixy enjoying the view. 


These were another of my favourites. The clusters had a range of pinks and white. Pretty.


We had a lovely evening, chatting to other campers around the communal fire, for which we donated our remaining wood, and drank More of our Port. It rained over night, and that (combined with the need to finish the borrowed book) convinced us to stay another night. So we did more relaxing, and reading, and relaxing, until the sun came out to open up the flowers. Which was almost lunch time...he he he .



Halfway through the book, don't interrupt.


Trying to cook dinner out of the wind. It was a bit cool.....


Will made me come for a short walk to check out the little mine shaft, and it was amazing to find all the different flowers out on the breakaways. This is an easy drive from the Big City, so get out here quick people, before these flowers finish.



Looking down into the very small mine shaft. Not a job I would have liked.


This was our veranda. You can also see the coal seam across the river bed.


Thursday morning came fast, with more light rain, so we packed up and headed up to the look out, before heading to Mingenew and doing the big (450km) drive to home. We took the Midlands road, through the Wheatbelt, which is more quiet and very pleasant. We only stopped for food and fuel, and arrived home about 4:30pm. It was a short but satisfying journey, and we met some more great people. Dixy has suffered a minor injury, with one of the welds on the Bullbar fracturing slightly. Nothing Will can't fix, but gave us an annoying squeak for most of the trip home. But the solar panel worked a treat, and we stayed dry and warm, with everything we needed. Thanks again Dixybus....you are a winner!



View from the lookout.....you can see the coal seam, even though it isn't clear in this pic.


A nice person put this sign up, thank you, we would have missed the tiny orchids.


Weather turning crap, but it is a beautiful spot.



View to the south, from the lookout.



Reno update, roof is on, and front patio progress......yay!


Plumber has been and put in pipe work.......things are starting to happen seriously now.

Friday is Doctor visits and cabinet selection. India is racing towards us, and we have lots to get done. It is going to be a very busy four weeks.


Coalseam, well worth a visit.