Final Collection Total: $107,159.85
- Days on the Road: 566 - Total KM travelled: 67,219 - Number of towns visited: 408 - NSW Total: $42,763.40
- QLD Total: $32,560.70
- NT Total: $1,345.15 - WA Total: $5,479.95
- SA Total: $4,612.80
- VIC Total: $10,283.00
- ACT Total: $10,089.90
Today was a strange day with some good parts, bad parts, disappointments and wonderful highlights. It started with a $50 donation from the South Hedland Caravan Park owners which we have put against yesterdays total to save confusion and was great as we would have had a $0 total otherwise. Today was a slightly shorter ride than many of the other days over the past few weeks and we were on our way by 8am. The landscape was a little more interesting this morning and we stopped for a quick break at Whim Creek which consisted of a pub and the Whim Creek mine. We didn`t stay long, just for a few photos and a stretch and then were back on our way again. Just after the turnoff to Karratha we came across the tiny township of Roebourne. It was quite a historic town with many old buildings like the one in the photo. While we were in Roebourne we checked our mobile phone and found that we had a message from Arthritis Western Australia telling us that GWN (Regional channel 7) in Karratha wanted to do an interview when we arrived. We returned the call to Arthritis and then once again just took some photos before continuing on to Karratha. When we arrived in town we pulled into the shopping centre to find somewhere to have a coffee after our ride. McDonalds was the obvious place which was outside the shopping mall so we parked Arthur and Martha and headed towards Macca`s. As we were walking over we received a call from Belinda the GWN reporter in Karratha and after a short conversation she said she would meet us in about half an hour outside Macca`s. We had a coffee and a burger which was something we hadn`t done for a very long time.
Back at Arthur and Martha we waited for Belinda to arrive and a lovely lady with three young girls came over and gave us a $10 donation. A good sign we thought but when we enquired about a main street apparently this was it, outside the shopping mall, once again not good for fundraising. Belinda arrived not long afterwards and after a brief discussion we agreed to follow her to what she referred to as the mud flats to record the interview. She was a lively young woman, full of energy and we had heaps of fun with her while we prepared for the interview. It took quite a while as she did everything and was the only reporter in the area. At the end of the interview she put Garry`s helmet on and did a short recording of herself on the trike which was quite funny. Another bike rider who had been watching the interview and knew Belinda as the local reporter was laughing at her and said he was going to make sure everyone watched the news tonight!! With the interview over we asked Belinda`s advice on the best place to fundraise and she suggested that we ride up the road about 20 kilometres to Dampier as the beach might be busy. Off we went for the short ride only to find yet another small town with only a shopping mall and unfortunately the beach was empty!! The lady in the information centre told us that it had been packed this morning but since the tide went out everyone had left. If we keep going like this we wouldn`t raise anything in Western Australia!! We decided once again after riding around and not finding any population to fundraise from that we would look for somewhere to spend the night. Doreen was still stressed about the web site not being up to date so another cabin or motel would be the answer. We made enquiries at a few places but the prices of motels were very expensive and they were few and far between so we went in search of a caravan park. We couldn`t find the park in Dampier and ended up back in Karratha at the Pilbara Holiday Park but cabins were expensive so we decided to just camp for tonight and try again tomorrow. It was mid afternoon by this time and quite hot and unfortunately as the park was busy our site didn`t have much shade. We put up our small awning as it only took two pegs and was much easier than putting up the entire annexe. Garry rang Aurora to ask them to connect us up to GWN on the satellite dish as we couldn`t get the channel. The girl he spoke to said it would be available in about five minutes so we waited patiently but hours later still couldn`t pick it up. Garry rang again with no luck this time so we assumed that they were located on the east coast somewhere and had finished work for the day. Resigned to not seeing the news or our interview we just sat and talked. We had forgotten to buy food earlier and as we were both a feeling rather depressed we decided to just have some cereal for dinner and have an early night. The owner of the park came over to visit us to find out what we were doing and suggested that we go up to the TV room near the office to watch the news. Seemed like a reasonable idea so Doreen went up to check it out. When she arrived the room was full of children watching cartoons so she just returned to the caravan not wanting to disturb the children`s viewing. About half an hour after she returned a gentleman came over to us saying he had just seen us interview on the news and gave us a $5 donation. A few minutes later three of the employees of the caravan park came over to talk to us and one of them was also in the 7th field squadron of engineers in the Army but must have just missed Garry as they didn`t remember each other but had plenty to talk about anyway. As we were talking Doreen noticed a couple walking across the park and she thought she could see Patriot patches on their vests. Sure enough they were members of the Patriots who had also just seen the TV interview and were searching all caravan parks in Karratha to try to find us. It was quite busy by this time as we had about half a dozen people around talking to us and then the phone rang. It was our son Paul to let us know that (his wife) Pam`s father had died last night in the early hours of the morning. We had been expecting it to happen soon but it was still a shock and it upset Doreen leaving her feeling helpless to do anything to help being so far away. Although Pam was our daughter in law she was like a daughter to us and Doreen had felt torn between the event and being there for Pam since we found out how sick her father was when we were in Emerald. After an emotional conversation with Paul and Pam, Doreen returned to the group who had continued talking to Garry while Doreen was on the phone.
After a little while the employees from the park left after making donations and buying a couple of keyrings which they thought were wonderful. This left us talking to Macca and Flash the couple that were Patriots and they invited us around to their house for a few drinks and dinner. We put everything away, locked up Arthur and Martha and joined Macca and Flash in their car. After a brief stop to the bottle shop they took us around to their house which was only a couple of streets away. We had a fantastic evening talking about all sorts of things and it cheered us up no end after a very strange day indeed. We were joined at one stage by another Patriot nominee from Dampier but he left long before we did. There were many shared stories about our lives and work and we learned some interesting things about Karratha and the locals and about Macca and Flash. Macca was disappointed that they didn`t know we were arriving as she thought that they could have raised more money for us. It was a late but very pleasant night and we eventually left at about 2am in a taxi as neither of them could drive after drinking. Garry even had a couple of drinks which is something he hasn`t done since Christmas when we were at home. Doreen had far more to drink than she usually did and we were both dead tired by the time we left. Macca organised with the taxi driver that we wouldn`t be charged for the trip and the driver agreed which was generous of her. When we arrived back at the caravan park we just unlocked Martha and crawled in and went straight to sleep.