We headed up the coast working our way to our most northerly stop at Cape Range National Park and Exmouth, so we had a day that we were just going to stop over in a town called Canarvon.
There wasn’t much to see except the red dirt along the flat landscape and some scrub along the way.
Kangaroos are like deer for us back home. They are everywhere, and aren’t that afraid of you unless you get really close. They also like to adopt the deer in headlights mentality of deer as well, but kangaroo in headlights doesn’t roll off the tongue as nice. So, for most of our trip up north, we saw more dead kangaroos than alive. Poor buggers. Poor cars, as they probably do the same amount of damage that a deer does.
We would often need to put a death grip on the steering wheel as one of the many road trains passed us in the opposite direction which caused a blast of air to our moving house. The speed limit is 110kph in most places that we would consider an 80kph road back home.
This area is well known for its fruits and vegetables, but mainly fruits. And it was harvest time! That means lots of fresh fruits and veggies around to enjoy that you could pick up at the road side “honour” stands (you are honourable that you will put the right amount of cash in the lock box that was sitting there).
We had freshly picked watermelon, melon, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes. Oh, and of course the famous Canarvon banana that for some reason is sweeter than most bananas out there.
Watermelons were also a speciality of the area which were seedless (bonus!) and super sweet!
We stayed at a lovely campground called Winterfun, which we thought was appropriate since everyone back home was getting wholloped by snow. Not us. It was a bit windy, but warm during the day. Maybe it got a little cool at night.
When we drove up to check in, the staff were incredibly friendly, and asked if the our kids liked movies. Ummmm, ya! Would they be interested in seeing the Incredibles 2 on a big screen that evening? Ummmm, ya! And would we like to participate in their Spud Night, where they make baked potatoes and load them up with every imaginable topping…most people can’t finish their plate…would we? Ummmm, ya! Plus they had a small pool and a playground, and the kids were fortunate enough to find two other kids who were their age to play with and they got along, which meant that they were gone from the minute we arrived.
We did some necessary cleaning up of the trailer, which gets pretty dirty and sandy with the dry dusty environment up here. We stocked our shelves with the food we had bought at their pretty robust grocery store in town. We were worried that food prices would go up as we came up north, but if you shopped at a big chain like Woolworths, they are mandated not to change their price from store to store, which is great. The only thing that goes up is the cost of gas…174c per litre at a couple of spots!
Laundry was hung out on the line, and we were in a bit of chill mode for the night.
We had a great conversation with another mom that was travelling with her kids around Australia for several months at a time, the same kids that had befriended our kids.
Canarvon was supposed to be just an overnight stop for all of us and then head north, but we did have a flex day built into the schedule up north.
The next day we headed off to the Science and Technology Museum (yes, Andy….this is the first one we have gone to….and it was awesome!). Canarvon is the polar opposite location to Cape Canaveral in Florida which makes it an ideal location for space exploration.
In fact, the Canarvon station was a major tracking centre that was involved in the Apollo missions that eventually went to the moon. When the spacecraft came to this side of the earth, the Cape Canaveral communications switched over to this location, and then back to Florida when it went to the opposite side of the world.
This was going to be physics for the day, and it was a bonus that Wilson’s class was working on simple systems, work, and energy back home.
A Tracking Station basically, as you could guess, tracks and commuicates with the spacecraft up in the sky. It also helps determine the path that it is going to take, and when/how it should re-enter the atmosphere.
They also used this site to monitor the health of the astronauts, and ensured that all of their vital signs were in check.
Of course they also made sure that the rocket and all of its parts were in good order too, but the main role was communications.
They played a vital role in helping re-establish communications with Apollo 13 when it was having its technical issues when it went around to the dark side of the moon.
We all climbed into a lunar module simulator that simulated the Apollo 11 blasting off and the first 5 minutes as they went into space. It was pretty realistic, and the museum guide told us that when Buzz Aldrin visited, he vouched for its validity.
There is a couple of very large USB antennas (satellite dish), which was critical for the Apollo lunar module to land on the moon as well as determining where re-entry should take place.
The space centre had lots of movies playing going over the past, the present, and the future of space travel. They also had a great interactive “kids” play area that taught them lots about orbits, electromagnetic propulsion, sound transmission and communications.
We also all had the chance to land the space shuttle in their simulator. Several times as we were pretty much the only people in the museum.
We had only planned on spending two or three hours in the museum, but at the end of it all we spent most of the day at the museum, so we weren’t going anywhere and the kids were fine with that.
We grabbed some fish and chips from a recommended restaurant and headed off to bed to get ready as we pushed further north. A quiet night, but we needed it after the exciting day we had!!