DAY FOURNannup is my kind of country town. It is small, pretty and functional. You don't sense that it is handing it's soul over to day-trippers, although you can get some great food. The name means 'meeting place' and back in the 1850's it was where people tended to cross the river to get to the coast. These days it seems more of a mix between an old timber town and a service centre for the cattle industry. Nannup does flutter with drawing the tourist dollar into the area with a tulip festival and a music festival and there are some lovely gardens in town.
|A glimpse of the bridge that leads into town|
|A bit of the main drag|
|A close-up of the park bench|
My desire to be active faded as the temperature rose. I found myself an old-fashioned cafe and under a rickety pergola, shaded by glorious wisteria I indulged in an ice-cold banana milkshake. That's all I miss when I'm camping, cold drinks and dairy products.
As the coach wasn't due until 7pm, I had time to enjoy a lovely dinner of salt and pepper squid with a fab salad at Nannup Bridge Cafe. The service was so helpful and friendly and the spot very tranquil as I watched the afternoon sun turn to dusk, then darkness, with the lights from the pub down the road beginning to twinkle. Perfect.
On route to Pemberton it became quickly apparent that there was a good bit of controlled burning going on (I had heard it mentioned that morning). The surroundings looked quite festive in the dark with the small, red flames licking through the verges and scrub. But, I can pretty much guarantee that I would have been cursing trying to cycle through the smoke and smell, so, for a while, I was feeling just a little smug about my lazy decision.
I began to realize that the coach seemed to be occupying the wrong side of the road. I was sitting quite close to the front (spoilt for choice as there were only 2 of us on the entire coach) and, at first, assumed it was an optical illusion. After quietly stepping into the aisle I knocked that theory on the head. Then I thought maybe the coach needed to swing wide for corners and that the driver must know what he was doing. After all, he had on a uniform and I'm still of that generation that trusts authority. Then we hit a straight bit for a while and, at about the same time I realised the bushes were closer on the wrong side of the road, I noted the driver's head bobbing gently. Oh, Dear!! I suddenly found myself overtaken by a noisy coughing fit and, sure enough, his head came up and the coach headed back to the correct lane. Two more coughing fits got us safely to Pemberton.
I was put down in the main street and realised that I had rather banked on there being streetlights. I checked my map by my bike light, loaded my panniers by touch and got to the campground at 9pm. The 'Peapod' is so easy to put up, even in the dark, that I was snugged up in my sleeping bag within minutes.
I woke by the side of a little creek with the forest tucked around me. Pemberton has some incredibly beautiful walk trails along the river and a person could spend days and days bushwalking here. But, I was a little restless after the coach trip the day before and had spent time in the area on a number of occasions in the past, so I decided that I was off on the bike to Northcliffe that very day.
|A cup of coffe before stirring|
It was a lovely day's cycling, once I'd dealt with the hill heading out of Pemberton. Some green farmland, but, mainly tall forest with dappled sunlight and the road curling through hills. This was one of the days when I failed to catch the beauty around me on film. What I enjoyed the most, which was being missed by the very few motorists I encountered, was the constant cacophony of birdsong. At one stage I was startled by a crashing in the bush, catching sight of an emu briefly. It lacked a certain amount of grace seeming to barrel through the bush rather than weave past obstacles. It was a definite improvement on the poor emu roadkill I'd seen the night before, it's feathery bottom stuck up in the air as a last obscene gesture to motorized transport.
The ride opened out onto farmland and I began to realize exactly how hot it was. I do not normally burn easily and had taken the added precaution of applying SPF30, but, within a short time I was looking pinkish and could feel a real bite to the sun as it dried the salt on my skin. This was much hotter than I had hoped for this month and I suddenly started yearning to be down on the south coast (an area I've yet to explore). As I rode into Northcliffe (which is little more than a hamlet) I noticed the Visitor's Centre was a TransWA agent. It was another 100km to Walpole and my first touch of sea breeze. So, rather sheepishly, and completely on impulse, I made the final chop to my cycling days and booked a coach for the next day.
|Caught backing out of my grocery bag.|
|One (err, two?) of half a dozen roo poo culprits relaxing at dusk.|