Kevin & Vicki Bailey travelling in their restored 1935 Stinson Reliant SR-8C VH-UXL around Australia. It commenced March 25th with the crossing of the Nullabor, thru SA & in Victoria - attending the RAAF 90th Anniversary Pilgrimage, AAAA Annual fly-in at Echuca. Our plans are to see as much of Qld before turning left into Northern Territory and finally down the west coast of WA to home.
The morning dawned clear but cloudy.The rain had all but stopped by 8pm and no more was forecast however it didn’t look good.
We breakfasted in the roadhouse at 6 am with the traveling truckies and were back at the aircraft by 7.00am.The red mud had all but dried up but we were left with red soled shoes – just to prove we had been out in the “red” North West.Kev was pretty confident that the strip was firm after the rain however we checked our wheel imprints as we back tracked to the far northern end of the strip.
Her last sleep out
The girl looked lovely against the rising sun as we trudged, once again, back to the airfield.
Just as we were climbing in 2 travelling motorcyclists stopped to take photos and video us as we departed.We do hope they got good photos as we lifted off at 7.48 into the still cold morning air.
We knew we would have a headwind on this leg and sure enough our groundspeed was 76knots. L And what was there to see – Nothing – Yes again nothing.However, one can see beauty in nothing if you look hard enough.I reckon the aboriginals must see their earth from a height otherwise they wouldn’t paint dots as they do….
We climbed higher and at last achieved 90knots. Whew it was still going to be a long stretch to Geraldton.We finally arrived at 9.30am to find a blustery cold wind blowing.We quickly refueled the aircraft and joined Beth and Dave Perks for a quick coffee.We were supposed to stay with them last evening but hadn’t got there due to the bad weather.
Finding the airport all closed we had to drive into Ger-town for a cuppa.Luckily for us a Dome had recently opened on the foreshore and Beth insisted that we enjoy something to eat with our coffees.Dave ordered the big breakfast and “to keep him company” Kevin ordered the same whilst I enjoyed a muffin with my huge cappuccino.
We were getting phone calls and messages from the home front impatiently awaiting our arrival.I had given the time as between 12 and 1pm however that looked like it was to be later and later.
Finally departing Geraldton at 11.45 I amended our ETA Home to 2 pm approx.With the head wind stronger at height and quite bumpy, we elected to fly 500 ft AGL over the beaches and water, where it was much smoother.
I searched in vain for my last sighting of dolphins on this trip and only managed to view one pod through the muddy coastal waters.I also spotted the ship wreck along the beach though it was less and less visible every year.
We reached the far northern perimeters of Perth’s suburbs and I was amazed at how far it stretched from the city centre – such a vast drawn out city along the coastal plains!
I was definitely getting impatient at our groundspeed – it had gone past 2 pm and we weren’t there yet.We overflew Macca’s place and he came out to wave – Yay – Hi Macca and Di!
Then there was home in the distance – very dry and desolate of grass – but Home anyway.
We buzzed over the top to take in the lovely green mown lawns and the family eagerly awaiting our arrival.
Lexus and Ajax greeting me
Kev did a greaser of a landing and we taxied in and I jumped out nearly before the prop stopped rotating – and who was first to greet me? – Ajax No, Pixi (No – she wouldn’t even come near me) Sarah – No – she was just arriving back down the driveway. No it was Lexus – Nikki’s gorgeous dog. Then Ajax and everyone else crowded in.
What a lovely homecoming. Jude Foster was there to take photos (thanks Jude) as well as all the family including that gorgeous grandson Bailey.Kev’s Dad John and Meg arrived shortly after (they had been unwell – but made it anyway). There was lots of buns and lovely food to enjoy with our coffee and I even received some late birthday and Mother’s Day presents.
How great is it to be home from such a wonderful epic trip.