Travels with Siri
23 Aug 2017 – Wave Rock
It is the first day of my road trip. My travel companion, Valentina, had a last cup of tea and with slightly teary eyes she said goodbye to our host family who took us in for the past two weeks and whom we dearly love now. Our goodbye is hopefully more an ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ which means we do hope to see them again in the future.
We dropped Ricarda, another couchsurfer who stayed a few nights at the house too, off at the bus station in the city (of Perth) so she didn’t have to carry all her weighty belongings the whole way and then set the gps to Wave Rock near Hyden. I figured out that drive would take 3hrs 50min; it was a good 350km drive east of Perth. Our ETA would be around 2.30pm. Sounds perfect.
Now, if you had ever taken a road trip with us, you’d know that you can easily add another hour to the ETA because Valentina tends not to drive speed limit, rather below that. Sometimes much below that. I’m never in a hurry so I don’t mind. I don’t care either. I like to take in the scenery if there is one and stop here and there when there are interesting things to see. I don’t really have to do that since I have all the information, photos, and knowledge at a voice command away. Yet it’s nice to see the things ‘in person’. It’s fun to just pull up the info behind the attraction and connect the two.
Such was the case today too, of course. There was our first kangaroo road sign we had to take a photo of. Then there was this huge field of round yellow fruit that was just lying there, sometimes with a sheep herd grazing through it. Of course we had to take a picture of the fruit too. I’m pretty sure they were melons. The photo is just a bit too blurry to verify that. Valentina often tells me little stories or makes comments or remarks about something so I learn a lot about her life and views and thoughts when travelling.
“The sheep are of less interest to me, I know what sheep look like, I have seen them before. Even had some ourselves when I was a child.” Continue!
“Some sheep is an understatement. My mum,” - her mum(!)-, “had a herd of about 100 sheep at some point. She thought she could make some big bucks with the wool. No, she didn’t. But she did show us the steps to the finished wool product. She raised the sheep, sheared the wool, combed it, spun it, washed it, dyed it – all natural colours -, and finally knitted wonderful pullovers out of it. I remember one design was a sunset and another was a rainbow that stretched from the bottom side of the body to the opposite side of the arm. My mum was good!” Interesting side story there.
What’s that? Ah, the Corrigin dog cemetery. Yes, very cool. It’s basically in the middle of nowhere where a couple of dog lovers have established a cemetery for their beloved best friends. Cute and lovely at the same time. The next stop is a petrol station to make sure we have enough petrol in the tank to get to Wave Rock and back. Australia is a big country and you don’t want to run out of petrol in the middle of nowhere. Most people who drive out to country know this and have a spare canister or two in their car to fill up the tank until the next petrol station comes. I don’t think Valentina has got one yet. She should though, seriously. Especially since I know she wants to travel the outback too.
Here we go; we’ve arrived at Wave Rock. The entrance fee is $AU12. There’s a way to make money for the locals. Wave Rock is impressive. It does look like a big wave you could surf if it actually was water. But it was water that formed this rock when it washed along the rock for many thousands of years. Let me give you just a few interesting facts about this area:
Wave Rock is over 100m long and taller than a three-storey building (15m)
It is believed to have begun forming underground as much as 60 million years ago
The Wave only became a national attraction when a photograph of it won the 1963/64 Kodak International Colour Picture Competition at the New York International Fair
Noongar aboriginal people are known to have been in this area for tens of thousands of years. (Not a surprise when you consider the continent to be inhabited for almost 60.000 years)
Hand prints make up 69% of the 452 Aboriginal motifs found in Mulka’s Cave – and left hands outnumber right hands 3 to 2
Hyden, the name of the rock outcrop and the town nearby, were named after a young sandalwood cutter who camped at Hippo’s Yawn, another big rock that just looks like the open mouth of a hippo, way back in the 1920s
Not bad, ey?
Now it’s 6.14pm, Valentina is sitting in our car all cozy and snug. The drive was good, Wave Rock is cool, but the best ting today was the news we got this morning. She’s an aunt again! Her sister had a baby boy, they are all well and I know she can’t wait to see him on Skype or Facetime when the mum and the baby are home again. Welcome to the world, Vincent! Great name, by the way.
The light is fading and we’re standing on a car park next to a tyre store. I have no clue if this legal or not. I think it’s the latter because they did put up a sign that says ‘No camping’. But the sign shows a tent and we’re not in a tent. I don’t consider this camping. Valentina is simply sleeping in the car and tomorrow morning she will go and find a toilet. Since it’s dark so early and she doesn’t want to attract any attention with a light on the my car, she’s calling it a day and just listens to a bit of Bill Bryson’s ‘In a Sunburned Country’, stories about Australia. To a good night’s sleep then, mates.