From Walpole, I finally begin my way up north. The morning highway leads me through the dense gum forest, where I overtake the lumber trucks every now and again. The road dips, rises and turns left and right constantly. The thick forest is full of pockets of warm and cool air; the windshield gets misty all the time, and you can never tell whether it's from the outside or the inside. Never saw that before. Go and try to see something on the road while you're negotiating a sharp bend and the morning sun hits your eyes, and the next second the windshield is so misty that you can't see a thing, and you don't even know what to turn on to clean it: the wipers, or the air con! Very unnerving. But the road is very beautiful nonetheless.
Finally the forests are behind me, and I enter a completely European region where cozy little towns change each other rapidly, and fields between them are densely packed with cattle: cows, horses, sheep. You can almost feel the proximity of the capital city which gets closer and closer to me with every passing mile.
And here it is, finally: Perth, Western Australia. I turn on the navigator for the first time; I only used the road signs and my atlas before then. Traffic gets more and more dense. Further up Kwinana Highway it gets slower and slower, too, and I make a desperate attempt to take a detour, but the navigator stubbornly forces me back. Luckily, the jams are not that bad, and after a while I reach the CBD.
Next to the CBD Stu is waiting for me. According to the plan, Alen joins us a bit later, and with him we travel further. Time flies as I enjoy the leisurely conversation with Stu, but gradually it becomes clear that Alen is becoming delayed for far too long, leaving phone calls and texts unanswered. Tired of waiting, we hit the local pub to have lunch, and that is where Alen's call finally finds us. Turns out that due to the lack of sleep he blacked out in the airport, fell down and hit his tooth, and both the tooth and himself are now very weak and distressed. Yikes.
Well, at least now we know what's going on. After a while the Uber driver brings us the pale, black-eyed traveller. It is quite obvious now that we can't go anywhere today; and, in his infinite kindness, Stu offers us to stay at their place for the night. Thank you, Stu, and your wonderful family for your hospitality!
Today's trip turned out to be the shortest of all, and I didn't see any Perth either. Some other time, then.