Hua Hin, Thailand: "Driving Lessons"

Hua Hin
March 26, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

I am well and back at the Hua Hin beach resort where I am relaxing, reading and preparing for a sixty day journey. Yesterday I had a brainstorm. So, today, I began a three -day three-hour course in driving!

My knuckles are white and my shirt and pants are "soaked." I have practiced parallel parking, driving in reverse and highway driving. Tomorrow I switch vehicles - from automatic to manual transmission!!

Perth to Cue: The Outback


Western Australia

April 6, 2005


I am at the Queen of The Murchison Bed and Breakfast, sitting on the second floor terrace, potted plants all around the perimeter and many more hanging from the edge of the angled roof that protects me from the afternoon sun. The Great Northern Highway bisects this town called Cue, pop.300 - nearby gold mines and mining town architecture.

Basically, I am in the middle of nowhere.

Newman: Radio Hill Lookout

Radio Hill Lookout

Newman, WA

April 8, 2005

5:00 pm

G'day mates,

How ya goin'?

I'm just out of town, up on Radio Hill Lookout and I'm looking down at wee Newman below (pop 3600). In actual fact, Newman does have one 18 hole golf course.

Newman is the capital city of Pilbara Shire (county), purportedly the largest shire in the world. Considering that Pilbara is the largest shire in WA, and WA is the largest state covering about one-third of the land mass of Australia, this place is BIG!

Karijini National Park to Tom Price

Kalbarri, WA

April 16, 2005

5:45 pm

Breezy, cool, "fine"

G'day mates, 

I began writing this letter two days ago, in Denham, at the Heritage Resort, sitting on my second floor balcony watching the sun set on Shark Bay - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today I am in Kalbarri at the Lola-Rose Bed & Breakfast, again sitting on a very broad second floor balcony watching the very same sun set into Gantheaume Bay at the mouth of the Murchison River.  The river begins its winding journey 750kms east of here in the Robinson Ranges and flows through the Outback, eventually slicing deeply into the brittle red granite to the Bay and the Indian Ocean.

Cape Peron: Exmouth, Carnarvon, Monkey Mia

April 18, 2005


The mind-numbing drive to the coast was endless and flat. I do mean flat. Three other travelers I met have confirmed this notion: "The landscape is so flat, the sky so bright, the horizon so distant and so black, that you reckon you can see the curvature of the earth."

Finally, Exmouth (pop 2500) on the North West Cape.

Exmouth rhymes not with Plymouth, Falmouth or Weymouth, but with "Pak Wan."  That's what the Thai girls call me when I try to say something nice to them. "Pak Wan" means Sweet Mouth. Exmouth.

Kalbarri: Murchison River Gorges


Western Australia


April 21, 2005

Heading south now to Kalbarri and the Lola-Rose Bed & Breakfast.

If pushed to name just one place it would be Kalbarri. Kalbarri has it all. Swimming beach. Boating. Excellent Restaurant. "The familiar arid bushland, impressive gorges and rugged coastal cliffs."

Outside Kalbarri is the Loop and Nature's Window - a rock arch - two meter round window carved by the wind. Lots of tourists posing for photos. I started to trek the 1.5 hour Loop - a rocky trail on a hillside above the Murchison River gorges. I was alone. It was hot. I had only a little water. I had trouble finding the trail. The footing was rocky with loose stones. If I slipped, it was a long way down. So after about 10 minutes I turned back. Next time I will do it with a partner. Any volunteers?