Two days ago we dropped our dog, Mr Tilly, off at our daughters in Perth where he’ll stay for the next two months. Being retired, Tills is usually with us almost 24/7. He sits beside us on the sofa at night, and he sleeps between us on our bed. When one of us is out of the house he sits on the bed where he can watch out for the return of the car and with it, the absent member of his pack. He’s very loyal, and great company, but he does get anxious when his pack isn’t all together. It broke our heart to leave him, but I believe he’s settling in now. My daughter has two small older dogs, so they’ll be good company for him, and all three dogs are welcome on the sofa in the evening, and sleep on the main bed at night.
We’ve loved our caravanning life, but Mr Tilly has struggled with it. He came into our home when he was only seven weeks old and has been caravanning with us ever since. We did all our homework before we got him and knew our road trips wouldn’t be as free as they’d always been. We realised National Parks would no longer be an option, but there were still plenty of other options available. The one thing we didn’t factor in was that perhaps he wouldn’t love it. He’s now almost five years old though, and it’s clear he’s not faking it – caravanning turns him into one very anxious little dog, so much so that he’s often physically ill when we’re away. It’s become clear he’s not going to get used to these travelling escapades no matter how much time we give him, and his stress effects our enjoyment. We haven’t been enjoying our caravanning trips as much as we ought to be.
Of course, leaving him with our daughter is always an option, however, we prefer longer trips of two plus months than short 2 – 3 week breaks away, and we don’t think it’s fair to either our daughter, or to Mr Tilly to leave him for months at a time. So we’ve made the decision to make this our last caravan trip, our last hurrah!
There are a few more reasons for our decision though. There’s the cost of the fuel, the increasing cost of caravan park fees, and last but not least, the crowds now on the road. With so many people now on the roads there is no room for spontaneity any more. Without advance bookings it’s almost impossible to get a spot anywhere without bookings made months in advance. In 2014 when we took to the road full time the only times you had to book long advance was during school holidays. Out of school holidays we’d turn up at caravan parks and were usually offered a choice of sites. It’s just not like it used to be.
On top of that, our move into our retirement lifestyle village has totally changed our lives. Our lives at home are so busy now, bowls, golf, bridge, walks, dinners – so much so that long trips away are no longer as tempting. So, whilst we’re laying the blame at Mr Tilly’s feet, there’s really much more to it than that. The truth is we don’t enjoy being away from our home for long periods of time any more. There’s just to much going on all the time on the home front.
We’ve left Mr Tilly behind this time and are going to make the most of this, our last hurrah. On the itinerary for this trip is hiking in Kalbarri national park, a walk on the Kalbarri skywalk, and dinner at the famous Finlay’s Fish restaurant. Then we’re heading on to Coral Bay for four nights. Coral Bay has always been a favourite place of ours, but with dogs not allowed on the main beach there, we’ve been by-passing it for the past five years. It’s fitting that it should be included in our last hurrah.
Between Coral Bay and Broome we’ll include a few days at Pt Samson, and will stay a few nights at Eighty Mile Beach, the most strategic stopping point on the home stretch into Broome. The owner at Eighty Mile Beach apparently tried to seperate two vicious dogs several years ago and was mauled badly in the process. Dogs have been banned there ever since. Then we have four lovely weeks in Broome, and our son and daughter-in-law are coming down from Darwin to meet us there. We’re looking forward to being able to do justice to sharing time with them including dining out at the local eateries and pubs. Hopefully this last hurrah will get us that illusive photo we’ve been trying to capture of a bat as it flies across the face of the full moon. Goodness knows there’s lots of opportunities for the photo, but snapping it at just the right moment is the trick yet to be mastered.
Come early September we’ll return home with a couple of nights at Karijini National Park on the way. Then we’ll be advertising our little van and a new era of shorter overseas holidays will begin. In the meantime, watch this space. I’m sure I’m going to have some lovely photos to share with you, hopefully even that one that has so far alluded us of a bat silhouetted against a full moon.