Gibb River Hilton – Part 6 “Digital Detox … well my version of it”

Everyone is mad keen for a “digital detox” these days.  Not me … well not voluntarily anyway.  Part of Mr W. & my big adventure was an enforced digital detox on my behalf.  And let me tell you, there was not soft landing, it was straight out cold turkey.  Now you may think that this sounds easy, but remember not only am I a mad keen blogger, I also run an online jewellery business and my iphone is normally surgically attached to my body …

I mean, you’re talking to a girl, that on the 2nd June was sitting at an outback caravan park as opposed to where I would normally be … SATC2 premiere with a glass of Moet in my hand.  How life changes hey.

My first part of the detox happened straight up … 4 days at 80 Mile Beach where there is not so much as a hint of phone reception or internet access.  In fact they haven’t had any since Cyclone Lawrence ripped through last year.  I was completely cut off.  Although I did find a place to plug my laptop in so that I can write my blogs … thank goodness.  I walked up to the little “mini mart” at the caravan park and used their power.   And this actually worked out fabulous as I had a chance to talk to all the Grey Nomads … about sex and other things lol … (I’m sure you would have read my “Post Cards from 80 Mile Beach” …)

Now going cold turkey was bloody hard … ask Mr W. … he had to put up with my mood swings, sweating and shaking.  God bless his cotton socks he was still talking to me after 4 days of this … just.  Although let me tell you, he couldn’t get me to Broome quick enough.  In fact, at this point, I had decided that this whole trip was just a cruel ploy to make me detox from my entire life.  Everything I loved was gone … mobile phone, internet, music, chocolate, wine in a bottle, my mum, my hair straightners, hot showers, toilets, my hair dryer, sex … you name it, it’s wasn’t there …

And so, you can imagine that by the time I got to Broome, I was sweating at the thought of being so close to being able to plug in.  We ended up at the Roey Hotel … everyone else was out the back enjoying a beer in sun … I was at the bar, my laptop plugged in to the nearest power point uploading my latest blog and trying to upload photos to Facebook.  Yes, yes, I know it’s sad … but come on, you love my blogs don’t you?  I had a 2 hour window to post all the blogs I’d written, check 1000 emails, maintain my website and play on FB … it was a close call.

We then went to Derby, where I had it all for 2 days.  Oh how I remember those 2 glorious days.  And then … it was time for the Gibb River Road … no phone, no internet, no power.  How would I cope??  I think Mr W. just wanted to leave me in Derby with the Boab Trees and a power point.  But I was determined …

And you know what, it was actually quite refreshing (yes, I know you think I’ve been drinking that cask wine again … well only a few glasses, it’s only 11am after all).  It really was nice not to have to worry about my phone ringing or FB beeping … well for a week anyway.  For that week I swapped annoying mobile phones for a million stars in the sky, camp fires, amazing sunsets and adventures from your wildest dreams.  And I hope Mr W. is reading this, because he probably thinks that I just whinge all the time … but really I did enjoy it.  Well, almost all of it 😉

Even though I had no internet ... I still managed to do some blogging at Windjana Gorge, even though I couldn't post it ... this was the first day on the GRR ...

And so now that I’ve returned to what we call civilisation I think that I might make a few changes, after living without all these mod cons for a few weeks.  I’m not saying that I’m throwing away my Iphone … but I might only check my emails a few times a day, rather than be on it all day.  Well, I’ll try, obviously I can’t promise anything … I am a mad keen blogger after all!!!

pp xx

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Post Cards From Eighty Mile Beach – Part 2 “If It’s Rockin, Don’t Come A Knockin …”

Now, the next part of my story, is really where I found the inspiration to write this little insight into Eighty Mile Beach.  Meeting a couple of these “grey nomads” … it made me want to sit down and interview them … their views on life were just fascinating.  I was walking past one van this morning and I asked the old bloke out the front how he was.  He replied “I’m always good … and some days I’m better!”  What an awesome way to look at life!

After being stuck down in the boondocks on an unpowered site, I brought my laptop up to the shop so that I could do some “blogging” and give it a bit of charge.  An older couple (I’m not calling them elderly, but let’s say they definitely had a hell of a head start on me) saw my laptop and started talking about their hard drive that had just crashed (because he dropped it apparently, according to the wife).  They have been here for 6 months … yep that’s right they just pulled up, loved it and stayed.

Anyway, we got talking and I started telling them “my story” … how I had just moved from the city to the desert for love and the fact that we had only been together just under 3 months when we are embarking on the camping trip of a lifetime.  The old bloke said to me, “gee whiz love you and your bloke must be horny devils to move so quickly”.  This really made me giggle … it was like talking to your granddad about sex.  Anyway, his wife went on to tell me that they got married in a registry office after knowing each other for just 2 days … and are still together 43 years later.

Then her husband proceeded to tell me that everyone just gets married for the sex.  But he said you should always get married to someone you can talk to … because when the sex fades that’s all that’s left.  Good advice really.  So he told me that I should marry my best friend.  Someone I can see myself nattering away with when I’m a GN.

Just wait til Mr W. hears about this … hmmmm when the sex fades?  What if it already has.  Actually Mr W. told me last night that there is no sex for a whole month, out of respect for our camp buddies (there is no privacy when you’re camping).  Um, no one told me this when I signed up for a month in the outback.  If I had of known this, I would have stayed home!  What about my fantasies of making love under a sky full of stars and stealing 10 minutes in the sand dunes late one evening?  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, camping is not romantic!  Is this why the grey nomads like living in such close proximity to one another … they like knowing that sex is just totally out of the question?

Although, it’s obviously not like that for this GN couple.  They have a sign on their van that says “if it’s rockin, don’t come a knockin”.  Priceless.  I went and had a chat to this lovely old bloke.  He let me take a photo of his van … and his car with the funniest number plate I’ve seen, well when you think that the owner is over 60.

pp xx

Post Cards from Eighty Mile Beach … The Grey Nomads Know Where It’s At …

I had never really pondered life as a Grey Nomad (GN) until I got to Eight Mile Beach.  Now, you really have to see it to believe it (and believe me I’ve tried to capture it with the photos below).  It’s a whole other world here at Eighty Mile.  It’s filled with self proclaimed “professional retirees”.  And I can tell you, we can learn so much from the GNs.  They seem to have it going on. I mean, one look at their camp site tells you that they know where it’s at.  It seems an “Adventure in Dementia” is just what the doctor ordered.

While we have been tucked at the back of park (obviously because we are 30 years too young to be anywhere near the front), the GNs have lined the park with their “motor homes” and caravans … and some of them are too big to be called caravans.  They have lcd televisions and satellite dishes, the latest four wheel drives, washing machines, dish washers, Australian Flags, herb gardens, home-made shell mobiles.  You name it, they’ve got it.  They make our camp look amateur!

They even have golf buggies and four wheel motorbikes, for those that are not quite fit enough to wonder round the park under their own steam.  We watched yesterday as one of the old blokes did bog laps around the park on his quad bike … every 10 minutes he would come back, park up and go inside … and then before you knew it, he was back out and on the bike again.  Perhaps him and his wife were not having a good day?  Although we saw them holding hands last night, so all must be ok.

Actually turns out that it’s in your best interest to make friends with a quad bike riding GN … you see when you’re like a kilometre away from the shop and you buy 5 bags of ice to keep the beer cold … the oldies can run it back to your camp site for you.  Problem solvered!

Upon walking around the park, I noticed that they all have their names on their vans.  I asked Mr W. if this was in case they forgot who they were (well come on, you’ve seen the van, they even admit they have dementia).  No no, apparently this isn’t a friendly reminder.  It’s so they can talk to each other on their radios.  Ahhh ain’t life sweet.  They’ve even developed their own communication system!

On Wednesdays and Sundays they have a market in the little grassed area in the middle of the park, complete with their own raffle (if you have a stall, you have to donate something to the raffle).  They even have an old bloke by the name of “Denim Blue” singing old school tunes to get the party started.  Like I said, they know where the party’s at!  And if you’re really lucky, you might even see some fifty plus ladies running around in their bikinis.  Although don’t break your neck to get here for that.  It’s not as funny as it sounds.

Some of these GNs have been here for months, some of them come every year for the winter.  Like Brian and Margaret who are from Dunsborough.  At the end of April every year they pack up and head up here to Eighty Mile. They stay til September and then they go home to enjoy the summer all over again!

Like I said, they know where the party’s at.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Post Cards from Eighty Mile” …

pp xx

Gibb River Hilton – Part 2 “It’s a Steep Decline into Cask Wine”

Well … we’re on the road … and by we I mean, Mr W., me and 3 other chicks.  Yes, that’s right.  Mr W. is camping with 4 women (he will have 7 women by the time we get to Derby!).  A lucky man you may say … and you know I think that at the time he thought so too.  However now he’s actually on the road, I think perhaps his perception has changed.  Now you may ask how a good looking rooster like Mr W. ended up at Eighty Mile Beach with his gorgeous princess and 3 other lovely ladies, but that my friends is a whole other story … which I might leave for another day.

So Mr W. and I left on Tuesday and headed to Port Hedland.  We shared the disappointment at how the cheeseburgers really didn’t taste as good as we remember.  And Mr W. held me as I cried when they removed my acrylic nails.  Yes folks, you heard it here first.  It was decided that acrylic nails and camping were not a great combination … and so a lovely lady in Port Hedland removed them for me.  After not feeling my finger tips for well over 2 years, you can imagine the shock.

After a night in Port Hedland, we have ended up at Eighty Mile Beach.  A beautiful caravan park (before Cyclone Lawrence got hold of it).  It’s no longer a green oasis on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert … although the beach is still spectacular!

Now, after about 3 days of camping I really have learned a lot.  And like any good princess, I feel that it’s my duty to share these lessons with you, so that they may help you on your way, especially if you ever find yourself out here …

  • Don’t eat copious amounts of chilli prior to undertaking a four hour drive.  If you would like further details on this, please feel free to contact Mr W.  He will be only too happy to share his experiences.  It’s quite funny to see him charging through the bush like a bull that’s just seen a red rag, roll of toilet paper in his hand, holding his belly and thinking the world is about to end.
  • Spinifex hurt.  No seriously, they are very painful … especially when you are traipsing across the country side in thongs and get them stuck in your feet.  Note to self … while sneakers may not be the height of fashion, they will prevent serious injury.
  • Racehorse goannas bite!  They may look cute from a distance … but they aren’t much fun close up …especially when you see the size of their claws!
  • When travelling cask wine is a much safer option than bottles (and remember, this side of the Tropic of Capricorn, it’s all about safety).  However, it should also be noted that sometimes, you can’t buy more than 2 casks at a time (which is bad when you are heading bush for 4 days) and often, these casks can’t be purchased prior to 2pm.  Again, remember that you often end up drinking way before breakfast up here.  And even flashing certain parts of your body will not change the Bottle Shop Attendant’s mind, just in case you were wondering.
  • Leaving casks of red wine in the sun makes port.  Port made in this manner is not pleasant.
  • When camping you need to multitask.  You can use the power points in the caravan park ablution blocks to charge your laptop and camera while you shave your legs.  It’s just good time management really.  Well that and generators are not allowed in the caravan park … no matter how much you argue with the ranger.
  • Bourbon and coke is a very acceptable alternative to coffee upon waking while camping.  In fact watching the sunrise with a bourbon is something you really should put on your bucket list.
  • If you don’t have shot glasses, just have “Bush Jagers” … a swig of Jager straight from the bottle, followed by a swig of red bull … shake your head side to side to mix them together and then swallow.  Continue until there is no red bull left.  This is great fun at 10am in the morning … really sets you up for the rest of the day.
  • Camping is not romantic.  You don’t make love under the stars and snuggle up together in a sleeping bag.  You don’t sip wine and watch the sun go down, holding hands.  And you certainly don’t stay up all night getting to know each other better.  No girls, it’s really not what you thought.  Although … I’m sure that Mr W. has some romantic things planned for later in the trip … don’t you darling?
  • When the “tide guide” says high tide at 2.30am …. you can’t go fishing at 2.30am and expect to catch anything.  You need to be there approximately 3 hours before high tide.  However waking up at 2.30am for a failed fishing expedition is a great excuse to stay up drinking for the rest of the night.  There is nothing like greeting your princess in the morning with bourbon breath.
  • Ooooh and back to the cheeseburgers that weren’t as great as we remembered … well turns out that if you have leftovers, wrap them in alfoil and put them in the campfire the next morning … they actually don’t make a bad breakfast!

My stash of cask wine ... OMG!!

That's the Gibb River Hilton on the right ...

Racehorse Goanna

Amazing 80 Mile Beach Sunset

Tomorrow we are heading to Broome and then to Derby … and then the real fun begins.  After that point there are no more showers or swimming for that matter, unless you want to be eaten by a crocodile.  And so you can imagine I am just about bursting out of my crusty salty skin to get to that bit.

Until next time … keep the bourbon cold and the casks out of the sun.

pp xx

ps … I’ll be out of internet range again for about 3 days, so my next post will probably when we get to Derby on Monday or Tuesday … and lots more photos … I’m sitting in a pub with my laptop plugged in at the bar in order to post this!!   pp xx