Sunday, February 08, 2004

A trip to Hedland

The weekend managed to go by without major incident, I did the few little things I had to do, which is mainly checking around and making sure everything is still in place, and it was. I also did a bit of exploring and found an old stamping battery (a thing that is used to crush the gold bearing ore so the gold can be extracted). I went and looked at the old Panorama homestead, wrecked now and been looted and set alight, there was an old bus there, that at some stage someone had turned into a mobile home thingy, sad and forlorn with the engine gone and the tyres all flat and rotting.

On Tuesday I managed to wangle a trip to Port Hedland, made sure I was well prepared, had a couple of purchase orders, one for the air con on the wagon and one for me to buy provisions to feed me at the camp. I have heaps of food here but mostly in huge quantities, like ten kilo packs of sirloin steak which I can't defrost and eat quickly enough. Made sure the wagon was full of oil water and emergency stuff, and set of about nine o clock. Down the road I went, forty kilometers on the dirt, beautiful drive through a bunch of hills with fantastic craggy hills and gorges, saw a few head of cattle and bugger all else. Out on the bitumen road and north towards Hedland, back across the Shaw river and the other creeks, got behind a road train, talked to him on the radio and he called me round him, always a good move because they pull four trailers and do about the speed limit, and it can take a couple of minutes to overtake.

I reached the Taba Taba turnoff eventually admired the mesas there as I always do, turned left on the last fifty K's to Hedland, in about twenty minutes or so I passed the airport and pulled into Dickson's for a packet of real fags and an ice coffee. This was where my troubles started, I went to the fridge and got out an iced coffee, shook it, as you do, and it went all over the place, some bugger had opened it and put it back, I took another one and gave the bloke collecting the money the opened one, paid for it and got me fags and headed down to the Auto leckies to get the air con fixed, they told me to leave the car there and come back in the afternoon and they may be able to look at it, I told them I had a few things to do, so would come back in the afternoon and buggered off to Action supermarket to get my provisions.

I wandered around there, chucking stuff in a trolley, trying to work out what I could get away with buying on the companies account, you know they might balk at smoked salmon and caviar, till I had a trolley full of meat and milk and cereal and such stuff, enough I judged to last me for a fortnight, and quite enjoyed myself. Then I got to the stage where I was ready to go through the check out, I had been told to see the woman at the customer service thingy before I went through, I did and she said Nikki or Sharon or something like that would do me on check out one.

I trundled my barrow there told her I also needed some tobacco and that was going on account as well, and she started to check things through, we was going swimmingly until we must have got about eighty per cent through when, things went a bit wobbly, a strange burning smell started to be apparent and then wallop the thing blew up. Of course all hell broke lose, people came from everywhere, and after a while they gave up and moved everything to another register, started putting it all through again till that blew up. I wandered off at this stage and had a feed in a cafe just across the way after getting some money from the eftpos machine before that blew up. I had a feed of steak and chips, the chips were all right but I have had roast beef sliced thicker, finished that and a cup of tea, wandered back to Action and was told they now had five machines down and out and would put it all in the cold room as I had to go to South Hedland and pick some stuff up.

I went over to South Hedland looking for a mike for the computer, looked in Lil's and they wanted $28 for a cheapy, so I went to the K mart and bought a better one for eight bucks and some change, whipped back to the auto leckie, he was free and pulled the air con apart only to find the bit that was broken had to come from Perth or Sydney or maybe even Tokyo, and would be a few days in coming. I went back to Action at this stage, and they had sorted everything out, so I picked it up and packed it in the eskis in the wagon, and started off for Normay. They told me that after I left, they had five checkouts go down and their eftpos machine as well, and please don't hurry back.

I drove back out of Hedland thinking I had had a trying day, stopped again at Dickson's to load up on cool drinks, and carried on up the forty K run to Taba Taba, about half way there a Japanese bloke on a push bike waved me down, now he was riding a treadly from Hedland to Broome, the temperature was 40 degrees C, he had water and food with him but was looking for a ride, I don't blame him but I was turning off in a wee while so never picked him up.

The journey from there was uneventful, but I reckon that Japanese bloke on a 600 kilometre push bike trip to Broome in the middle of summer was going to have a few days a lot worse than the one I had, arrived back at Normay, packed me food away and had a good feed, some steak a decent thickness, and went to bed.

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