We asked our neighbours in the campsite last night about the bars across the front of most vehicles we see in Oz. They explained that they were used to protect the front of their vehicles from being damaged by hitting the kangaroos that stray out onto the roads at night. They call them ‘roobars.’ Although we tourists see the kangaroos as exotic and sweet, the locals view them as a virtually uncontrollable pest. We haven’t seen that many live ones, but dead ones litter the sides of the roads over here the way that racoons do in south-west Ontario in the spring.

We finished our drive north again to Perth through some pretty dry wheat country, stopping for tea in the picturesque little town of York. We intended to come into Perth through Toodyay, but the road was closed due to a major fire in the area that had already destroyed twenty homes. Fire and the lack of water are a constant backdrop in this arid country, and really impact the way they see the environment in Oz. They recognize that it is fragile, and take pretty good care of it. We have been impressed with the cleanliness of the countryside and the abundance of parks and nature preserves, all well-managed and cared for.

We toured the vineyards of the Swan valley and had a picnic supper in park down by the river in Guildwood. After a lengthy and circuitous drive through the north end of the city we did manage to find Scarborough Beach, too late to see the sun descend into the ocean, but not too late to admire the view and say goodbye to the fabulous Australian coastline. There are countries in the world with longer coastlines – Canada, for one – but none that have such almost endless and fantastic beaches.

We had passed a self-serve carwash on the way to the beach, and returned to give the van a good hose down before we turned it in tomorrow. The camper was a wise choice for this trip, allowing us to see almost all that we had wanted to see, at our own pace, and with a good supply of creature comforts. Given the cost of accommodation in Oz, the camper made sense, some sites being as cheap as $18 for the night, and most of them around $25 to $30. Even a cheap hotel room is four times that.

Back in our site we went online to find that Steve’s Mom – who turned 90 this past year – has had a fall and been admitted to hospital with a broken hip. We are uncertain what the prognosis is at the moment, but that is certainly not happy news to hear as the year draws to a close. However, knowing my Mom, that will not be the end of her story. She has been a fighter her whole life, and I expect she will soon be scolding both nurses and doctors with her imperious manner, bless her. At least I hope so.

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