Sometimes we know that the kids are enjoying a place, because they don’t want to leave. Robe was like this. Beautiful location and beaches, lovely community, great caravan park hosting us. It’s not easy for us to drag the kids away, but they keep enjoying the adventures each day brings.
By the way, for those NOT following us on our Facebook page, we are posting little videos where we can, till we have the internet access we require for Paul to upload some of our proper footage.
At Meningie’s Lake Albert Caravan Park, we were spoiled with an overnight lake front site, beautifully grassy and shaded, with lovely amenities across the road. The kids marvelled at the small sail boats and paddle boaters on the water, and kept pointing out pelicans to Mum, knowing full well she doesn’t like these birds, whose beaks can hold more than their belly-can. It’s a long story, and one of those involving a sight that can’t be unseen or forgotten, so don’t ask!
From Meningie we rounded the coast to Cape Jervis, with it’s lovely seaside towns en route, and very hilly and curvy sections of road. It’s always interesting towing a camper in these areas! The big hill and straight road on approach into Cape Jervis really is an encouragement for drivers to test the limits of their own skills, and their cars, but in a few of these areas, we did spot the local gendarmerie in side roads waiting for drivers giving in to their daredevil aspirations.
Cape Jervis Accommodation and Camp Ground had offered us a powered site for four nights, and we were able to choose our own, rather than the usual allocated type. For the first time ever on this trip, we were partially set and trying to level the camper, before we realised that even our usual “tub step-up” system for sloping ground, was not going to be enough. Our mistake? Looking at the stunning view down the paddock to the ocean, and across to Kangaroo Island. We wanted to be able to wake up and look straight out at the view. We put Practicality back at the fore front of our minds, and moved to an alternate site.
It was very windy with gusts measuring, as it turned out, nearly 60km/hr. We put out the awning, which was an adventure in itself, and pegged it down. We even put ratchet straps to hold the camper in place, so strong were the winds. No sooner had we strapped the camper, than we decided that we needed to take down the awning before the wind did it for us, damaging the Cub in its wake. This time, we loosened all the ropes, and simply unzipped it, which we’ve never done before. The noise difference and effect on the camper was instant. It was still a rough night, with winds pushing against us from all sides, but in the morning, it was still.
We put in a lot of driving time at the Cape, visiting Normanville and Yangalilla, Rapid Bay and Port Lincoln. The Legend was always turning heads, and the kids waving at everyone, put a smile on the faces of passersby. Definitely a feelgood moment for people! Seeing the dolphins at Rapid Bay had all of us grinning all the way home too.
Despite the wind, and challenging terrain (which some people drove with careless abandon, crossing onto the wrong side of the road with their trailers and caravans..frightening the heck out of us!), the elemental nature of Cape Jervis needs to be experienced. The wind some days will try with all its might to blow you from the mainland, yet the magnificent sunset over the Southern Ocean will nevertheless hold you transfixed. In some locations, you realise how very human you are, and how small in the grand scheme of things. Mother Nature’s elemental forces are not to be reckoned with, however in those same moments where She demonstrates her power, She also offers you sights, such as those sunsets which hold your gaze, and these are akin to finding calm in the eye of a storm.
Perhaps it affected Paul on a subconscious level, the gusting and relentless Wind being a metaphor for the torment of his PTSD, and the Sunset a diminishing moment of sublime peace midst the tempest, a moment we fervently hope to attain greater hold of. Perhaps it was for this reason that a simple beard trim, turned into a momentous moment of shaving his cheeks clear of a beard for the first time in over 12 months, and clean of ANY facial hair for the first time in seven years.
Something changed for Paul on this part of the journey. Kirstine would like nothing better than to state unequivocally that he is “better”, but realistically she can’t. What she CAN do, is rejoice and take comfort in the fact that HUGE steps forward have been made. There will always be steps backwards in the battle with mental illness, but every success is a reason to keep hoping and trying.