As we are now travelling people, we cannot be expected to know what day of the week it is, and whether it is a long weekend in our current location. We don’t have time for stupid details like dates and times and cutting Joe’s hair accurately. Unfortunately on our way into Perth on Friday afternoon to pick up the one and only Andrew Laery we discovered that every single skerrick of accommodation in Perth and Freo for the WA long weekend had been snaffled and all that was left was a measelly twin room at the Perth Hilton. Damn.


Luckily the A-Man was there at Perth Airport to cheer us up! I secretly think Andrew wants to be the third musketeer on this roadtrip, as he has been our only special guest star thus far – twice.


We jumped on the Rottnest Ferry on Saturday morning with the Crane Hinge fold up bike in toe, now rusty from its semi-permanent position on the car roof and cruised up the Swan River. If anything is clear about Perth its that people are ca-aasshed up. Mansions line the western side of the river and everyone was out on their super yacht or mega motor yacht enjoying the sunshine. We hired two more bikes at Rotto and the boys went straight for an overpriced sandwich (I, the thrifty travelling person went to the Supermarket for sandwich items at a quarter of the price, ha.) Then we set off around the island, the boys gracelessly clutching their surfboards whilst trying to cycle. Pathetic. We arrived at the epic surf spot, which turned out to be as flat as a pancake. So surfboards were ditched in favour of bitbat, which is only a two person sport, so I had to read and lay on the beach instead. So unfair.


The next day, after Joe had dragged me kicking and screaming from the fresh white linen and crisp clean bathroom of the Hilton, we headed north to Lancelin for ‘a wave’. There were no waves. This game was wearing me thin in a place where it’s just too windy to lie on the beach and relax. The boys kited out anyway and then we played Andrew’s favourite game, “Mince around then race against the flight’s scheduled departure time”, made all the more fun by BOB’s unwillingness to travel over 90kmph.


Mike the Yank & Melissa from Mason’s Bay very kindly let us stay in their loft for a few nights in Freo whilst we took our car to Mike’s mechanic for a service. Hard to believe we’d clocked up 15,000km’s since leaving Sydney, and BOB desperately needed some new shoes. I didn’t get any new shoes :(


We offered to help Mike clean up and stack the bricks from the demolition/renovation site at the back of his house, but after watching me swing a tomahawk he suggested we make the most of our time and check out the sights of Freo instead. Smart man.


Freo was a cool place to cruise around, fun markets, the Little Creatures Bar in the old Brewery and poring over and purchasing a few maps to help us on our travels…


Finally BOB was ready after two days in the garage, and quite a list… nothing too drastic, and most things had been done, but a few were left at Joe’s discretion, and we were burning to get back on the road after being grounded for 5 days.


At Joondalup we popped into the RAC to get our Carnet de Passage sorted. The Carnet is like a passport document for your car, which, for a fee to the Australian Automotive Association, allows you to temporarily import your car into various countries for touring purposes, with a % risk/fee depending on the country (eg, it’s more expensive for a Carnet through Iran than it is for New Zealand). The Carnet document needs to be stamped at the entry and exit checkpoints just like a passport, allowing you to avoid import taxes etc for each country provided you enter and exit according to its limitations. We gathered all the relevant information, except one rather glaring detail had been omitted. In order for the Carnet to be valid, the car needed to be registered in Australia for the entire duration of the Carnet.


Our Carnet needed to last until December, when we planned to reach the UK and make other arrangements to import the car. Our NSW rego was only valid until May, and now in WA, with modifications to the car (seats removed, new fuel tank installed etc), an inspection would be required to get the car registered here. Good grief. There was no way we were going to be able to renew the NSW rego; and with only a few weeks left before we were due to ship the car, we needed to get something sorted.


I was brutally annoyed at both of us for being so lax about such an obvious bit of admin and spent a few hours sulking over how we missed this and why we hadn’t just re-registered the car for 12 months before we left. (In my head exchange ‘we’ for ‘Joe’). But that mentality is almost counter-productive, and agonising over the past and blaming each other just makes things even more miserable. We were where we were, and where we were was stuck in Geraldton on a Friday afternoon, forking out more money to get the rego changed over to WA; a safety inspection, an immobiliser, a seatbelt gone awol and stuck here all weekend whilst everything closed. This was going to be a dark weekend.