15-Jun-2002 -- Distance is not always measured in straight lines. Convenience and where-you-were-going-anyway are much more important. That explains why the nearest unvisited confluence to John, living in England, was in the south-west of Australia.
The trip was planned in December 2001, when Melissa came to visit. John was planning to come back home to Perth sometime in 2002, and we decided that a road trip would be fun. After picking out our route, we noticed an unclaimed confluence almost on our path.
So on Thursday the 13th of June, we headed off from Perth with Teik at the wheel. After lunch in Mandurah, we stopped in Kirup to buy some of the infamous "Kirup Syrup". I don't know what's in it, and I don't want to.
The next day was cold, windy, and wet. Perfect beach weather, so that's where we headed. Melissa very sensibly stayed in the car while John and Teik walked about taking photos and admiring the scenery.
That night we stayed in a small cottage near the Porongorups (a range of what passes for mountains in Western Australia). For the price we paid, we were not expecting to have to make our own beds. And where's the TV? What do you mean we have to pay extra for it? But the Thai meal was great. A good Thai restaurant run by a Swedish man and his Asian wife is the last thing you'd expect in an area like this, but there it was.
And now we finally get to the point. The confluence was only 80km or so away. Of course, we'd forgotten to bring a decent map, so it was a matter of following the roads until the GPS was directing us at right angles to the road.
We headed along the road from the Stirling Range to just east of Gnowangerup, then found a dirt road that went in roughly the right direction. Only 6km to go. Then we discovered the first of many intelligence tests. The locals call them "gates" - farmers are quite creative with mechanisms for keeping gates closed. After a dozen or so, we were starting to get good at them.
Following the paths in approximately the right direction turned out to be a good plan. We managed to get the car about 300m away from the confluence. Fortunately, there was no crop in that field - just the evidence of sheep (we were to meet the sheep themselves later).
A short walk, following the GPS, and we were there! It's not meant to be that easy, is it? As expected, there's not much to see from the point itself, but there was a sheep skeleton only a few metres away.
Rather than go back the way we came (6km and many gates), we decided to keep going. It looked like there was a road not far away. The first gate led us into a field full of sheep, but luckily they had the sense to keep well away from the car. Two or three gates later and we were on the road again, and on our way back to Perth.
That was fun. We must do it again some day.