"Perth? Are you serious?"
"...Well jump in Son...I am going to take you as far as I can go today and when you get back be sure to give me a call."
Holding my cardboard sign up I had only been standing there for less than 30 seconds. I was on my way. By night fall I'd had three lifts and arrived in Narranderra, NSW Austrlia.
The beginning of the Hay Plains...a long stretch of wheatbelt towns, river flats and lot of other flat with little in there but sun and sand. It was dusk, it was cold and I was tired. Feeling worried I bought a can of Coke and waited at the exit to the service station. A panel van stopped and two surfie looking dudes said "...jump in."
I knew them from the Shire. God knows why they were driving to Adelaide but off we went, smoke billowing from both the tyres and our mouths. A daybreak I got out of the car just on the very outskirts of Adelaide. Penniless.
A truck pulled up. I got into the cab.
"...In the glovebox son."
I opened it gingerly. A pipe. A tin. I packed a cone and before I'd had time to know what had hit me I was back on the edge of the roadside. Now wasted....and penniless. So I walked and finally got a lift with a couple into the city.
Fell asleep on the pedestrian island waiting for the lights to change. In the back of a police paddy-wagon. As a vagrant with no fixed place of address, no money, I was arrested and spent the night in the police cells. I recall the wailing at night of prisoners being transferred and also the stench of urine in the lockup.
By daybreak I was showered, fed and dropped off on the outskirts of town. This time I wrote 'Augusta' on the cardboard sign. Picked up by a family squashed into a Datsun 180B. With a birdcage on my lap I got out thankfully in one piece in Augusta. Tough little place.
"...Ok....so keep talking and dont stop...and if you stop I chuck you out." The Viet Vet truck driver had commandeered his four wagons to a stop to pick me up. For the 18 hours we drove at an average of 140 kms an hour....on Duramines. Break the tablet. Transfer from hand to hand until the powder is all blown away. Wash down the crystals with a Coke from the central mini-refrigerator.
Hair standing on end I have no idea what I was talking about but I didnt stop talking for two days straight. Which is what he asked for. Apart from the occasional truckies-drop kip we made it into Kalgoorlie. End to end we played tag with the CB radio and tried desperately to keep the snake of a road train on the asphalt most of the time.
Out I hopped into another truck going south. To Esperance, Western Australia.
Oh my god...what a beautiful place it is, beaches, aquamarine ocean...fell in love. Worked with a farmer for three days stringing fences. Paid my board and moved onto Walpole via a tourist flotilla of hippy vans. Fruit picking. Painting. Odd jobs....I ended up in Augusta East....sitting up Peppermint Trees, grubby, exhausted and hardly able to breath. Little did I know how allergic I am to that pollen.
Heading north I ended up seated at dawn on the front steps of the Margaret River Hotel. Town of 125 residents and a thousand tourists per minute.
" ....You dont look like your a local so why are you blocking the stairs son?"
I looked up at an American Indian looking guy who grinned. "...want some work for the day?" I ended up working with him renovating his house. Frequenting between the Boranup Commune, Witchcliffe township and the local tip scavenging timber and wire.
I knew my destination was a few hours north so I stuck my sign up again.
A few lifts later I ended up in Bunbury. Met my prospective father-In-Law...
A quick reveal of our situation had him in hospital with heart attack. Out, I was given the ultimatum.
"...Under no circumstance is my Daughter having a child....hardly out of being a child herself."
The rest is a bit murky but in essence my girlfriend and I ended up on a bus heading due east. Back to old Sydney town. A couple of bags as possessions.
Four days later we stumbled down for the last time those damned bus stairs and kissed the ground. The morning sickness was already kicking in. I recall the faint feeling of not knowing where we were going, what would happen next. We survived four weeks with my Parents and knew it was time to setup our own abode.
Berala, close to Bankstown, NSW Australia.
'B' is for baby.