Back to the blog by: JK | Fri 28 Jan

Well, after suffering near-terminal blog-block way back in Western Australia, I’m back on the case!

When last I posted about my journey, I was in Nannup in South-west Western Australia staying with Bee & her partner Stewart.

I have since made it back to Melbourne so I will give you a brief outline of how I got here:

From Nannup I rode up through wind, rain (& hail) to Bridgetown – the talk there was disappointing in that only two people turned up but two is better than none and so the show went on. I would have perhaps been better to talk in Manjimup but hind-sight is as always good-sight.

The next day I bid Ross & Peg goodbye & rode 150km into a headwind bound for Walpole. The road was undulating which meant lots of climbing when I was expecting a slow descent! The worst bit was a 5km hill just 10km from Walpole. No talk so an early night followed by a visit to the Valley of the Giants – a tingle forest of substantial size – the next morning; worth the detour. I was due to speak in Denmark that afternoon so I couldn’t dally.

I arrived just in time to grab a quick shower before the presentation. The talk went well and was well attended. Afterwards, Bill (one of the audience) took me back to his (& Trudi) place off Scottsdale Rd. The next day the Centre for Sustainable Living, where I talked, were to visit a property that was off-grid & mains to see how it was done. I tagged along. (It turned out that this property’s owners had wanted to not compromise their standard of living at all, so no expense was spared.) Afterwards, Bill took me to see some of Denmark’s scenic beauty and beautiful it is. I have not had enough time to fully appreciate all that Australia has to offer on this journey and that is disappointing. When I retire there will hopefully be time for a more leisurely trip.

I headed off on Monday bound for Albany, the last stop before heading out of WA. I took the scenic southerly route and was rewarded with a panoramic view of the windfarm that provides 75% of Albany’s electricity needs – they will be augmenting it soon to bring this up to 90% and, hopefully, if efficiency measures are effective, perhaps allow them to become a nett exporter of energy. My hosts, Martin & Julia, offered to take me to view the windfarm “up close and personal” and, with the distance being only 15km, how could I refuse. Awesome! Energising! Humbling! What can I say. That night the mayor’s introduction was also humbling and the presentation was another good event.

In the morning I rendezvoused with a TV reporter for an interview before grabbing the bus for Perth. I rode back to Simon & Jane’s place as they had kindly offered to have me back. I managed to grab a much needed massage before dinner. We dined again on kangaroo tatake – a speciality of Simon’s and sat around chatting until late.

The next day I packed my bags again and set off to catch the Indian-Pacific bound for Pt. Augusta. This journey concluded my stay in Western Australia and it lived up to its reputation of being one of the world’s great train trips. There’s something about train travel that sets up the possibility for striking up friendships and the I-P now has a lounge car that makes this even more likely.

I will conclude my journey in a follow-up post soon but, for now, keep doing your best to use energy wisely, minimise your carbon footprint and avoid wasting your money. Cheers.

PS. Comments are welcome as always. 😉

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    2 responses to:
    Back to the blog

  1. John Harders says:

    Your journey will hopefully prompt more people to consider the outcome for humankind if we don’t curb our wastage of our finite resources, especially our current source of electric power. My wife and I designed, set-up and lived in a sizable house near Toowoomba for 10 years which was not connected to the power grid. We ran all lights, regular fridge, dishwasher, computer etc via a 48/240 volt inverter and used bottled gas for cooking. The down side was the 48 volt storage battery bank which from new began to lose its capacity after about 7 years. Eliminating the battery is desirable. I am an enthusiast for alternate power and suggest that where possible rooftop solar/grid connect should be heavily subsidised to reduce/remove the need for construction of further already subsidised poluting coal-fired electricity power stations. Our current profligate western lifestyle will prove ultimately unsustainable.

  2. JK says:

    Thanks for your comment John and I couldn’t agree more.
    Contrary to public perception, rooftop grid-connected solar actually helps to reduce the price of electricity for all users by removing the need for the most expensive generation plant to come on-line. It can also delay the need for expensive network upgrades and reduces line losses dramatically.

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