DR Bobla’s busy schedule includes a couple of long fortnightly commutes each month from his home in Perth to a remote mine site, inland but roughly in line with Shark Bay, in WA’s Gascoyne region.

He’s observed a few changes since the COVID-19 bug took hold of the world.

Driving 900km to work can become a philosophical experience.

Why does that tree have 600 pairs of thongs stuck to it?

Oh wait, there’s another one a kilometre down the road . . . perhaps it’s a species? 

Well, there must be many a similar species of that tree in Brazil, as they have the world’s largest thong-making company.

Maybe it’s a Havaiana tree?

After all, the iconic Brazilian flip-flop has made a name for itself as the planet’s number one rubber sandal, even though it was inspired by Japanese Zori footwear. 

Perhaps a variety of Sandalwood?

The amount of rubbish on the side of the Great Northern Highway is another thing that marks various towns.

A burnt-out vehicle, or a tarpaulin entwined in a tree signalling a good tea stop five kilometres up the road on the stretch between Paynes Find and Mt Magnet. 

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It’s the little things you see on the way that make a journey.

The numbers of recreational vehicles traversing the state has increased exponentially since Bali flights were cancelled because of COVID. 

One positive thing during the weekly notations along the trip is the lack of any new garbage by the roadside. 

For what it is worth, well done Perthites for not being a bunch of tossers. Keep it up and keep the state clean in all aspects.

With camping supplies all but non-existent since the spread of the virus, it has been interesting seeing the various forms of travel configurations rolling around. 

From big black Ford Rangers with a rooftop tent pulling a trailer laden with offroad motorcycles, and varieties of such, to an ’84 Toyota Tercel with twin kayaks and a gas bottle strapped to the roof racks.

The obligatory Britz ‘Winnerbagel’ style camper vans doing 30km/h uder the national limit is always a sure find on the trip. 

And then there’s the grand daddy of doing it right crowd, lugging a caravan. 

Caravans are not the lightest things on wheels, and they can put a strain on many things, among them the tow vehicle, fuel range, family relationships, bladder wall pressure and the patience of drivers trying to get past — to name a few.

The Great Northern Highway servicing the mining and wheat belt is a major force and lifeline in the country’s economy. 

Trucking will not  be replaced in our lifetime with anything more efficient, and they need to arrive at their destination at a prescribed time, so please while exploring, have the presence of mind to check the mirrors and yield so vehicles behind can overtake safely. 

Positive communication can save lives and travelling around our vast state can leave you without mobile coverage.

So some investment in a two-way radio can again be the difference between being a champion or a muppet for the measly price of as little as a hundred dollars.

Enjoy the wildflower season — it’s really spectacular —  get out there and remember to be a champion, not a tosser. 

 

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.
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