The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

going for gold

yozzause's picture

going for gold

I have just returned from a gold prospecting trip here in Western Australia, the trip was organized by my good mate Bob,and it was to be a 2 week away jaunt.

There were two vehicles and a trailer and 4 guys along with my SOUR DOUGH culture setting off from Perth on a saturday morning, we had some rain overnight but the spirits weren't dampend as we picked up the two hire detectors (minelab 4500's).

The drive took us up the Great Northern Highway which is the main route used by trucks going to the North West servicing the Mining Industry, Iron Ore being the biggest along with gold, gas and a multitude of other minerals our state is blessed with.

Everything here is big and it is not long before you are sharing the road with road trains , huge trucks pulling 3 trailers, we had our 2 way radio on and could here the colourfull truckie lingo from time to time, and very handy to let these guys know that you are ready for them to come past if they are in a hurry or if you catch them on a hill and are going past, most of thes guys are real pros.

There is also a large number of grey nomads heading north for the winter warmth and they are usually the truckies nightmare as their speed is quite a lot lower, they are often elderly and can be oblivious to faster trucks trying to earn their living. The air displacement of a truck passing can also upset caravans quite easily. How ever if trucks loose there momentum and have to slow to 80 klm it takes them a long time to build it up again.

We did come up behind an escorted load of two dump truck bodies on low loader that according to the escort vehicles were 8 and a half metres wide so therefore took up the whole of the paved roadway.

The lead vehicle travels a good way ahead with flashing lights advising over the two way the size of the following load giving traffic in the opposite direstion time to pull of to the gravel shoulder of the road this is followed by a police escort vehicle that ensures the traffic is off to the side then come the outsize load followed by tail end charlie that advises of following traffic. We were treated to the site of a triple road train passing the two dump truck bodies at about 80 klms an hour.

It started with calls between tail end charlie and the truck and then the lead escort identifying a floodway further up the road as a passing point , The Overtaker then drops back a bit and winds up ready for the manouver, it seems to take for ever. but safely past we are the called to come past as the dumpers have lost a bit of omph, but the road way is not as wide as in the floodway and we have 2 wheels in the dirt and most of the dump tray over us with various attaching items sticking out at you with dayglow flags flapping almost in your face we were baulked half way past as the roadmarkers were in danger of being flattened.The truck driver barks encourgement to go for it. Bob thought we would have a yellow mark on the side of the Prado we were that close, although he did think that it could match the brown mark on his side. Anyway our second vehicle got past unscathed and we made our first nights stop at Cue. Two of Bobs friends were joining us here and had been kind enough toput us up for the night in two of their caravans.

I was able to feed my sour dough here as i intended baking bread in the campfire oven when we were set up in camp.                          (to be continued)


ananda's picture

Hi Derek,

I'd been wondering what you were up to.   In your absence Ross has been posting about his current bread difficulty.   There's a week's worth of reading for you on that thread alone!

Yes, it's really hard to get your head around how "big" your part of the world is.   It's remote, vast tracts of land and countryside, meaning those huge trucks must be covering 000s of miles at a time.   Coming from tiny UK, with 60m population, I couldn't believe just how big Australia really is.   And I visited the most populous part.

I'm really looking forward to reading about the rest of your adventure.   Are you a wealthy man now?   It could be your ticket out of the College environment!!!

All good wishes


yozzause's picture

Hi Andy i did spend some time catching up on TFL when i got back and i did see where Ross was having a spot of bother and i am looking forward to see how he is going with that. Perth has just had its coldest May in fifteen years, and could be playing a small part in his proving times.

 I do think the exercise of a dough being made into a number of test pieces  and given a score card as to how you think that dough is going for proof and when you bake it off and the resulting bread that is produced. The persons estimation of close to full proof followed by 30 minutes later  and further  30 minute intervals and of course photos can be of great benefit to refer back to too.

I do remember  doing some test baking leaving out different ingredients at the baking Technical college that was  very usefull in diagnosing or recognising problems as well as the effects and the parts they all play in the whole process.

Part 2 of the GOLD adventure is coming hopefully with some pictures

kind regards Derek     

LindyD's picture

And looking forward to reading the next installment!

I've got a soft spot for Perth - you all did a very nice thing back in the 60s, lighting up your town for John Glen's space travels above your fair city.

yozzause's picture

Ah yes LindyD PERTH the city of light and crash landing site for skylab, pieces nearly as valuable as gold and just about as easy to find too. And lets not forget the home of the Americas cup for a short time too.

LindyD's picture

Australia II, John Bertrand, and the America's Cup - I watched parts of the races (although it was televised in the middle of the night here).  Great sailing.

Amidst the lousy sportsmanship exhibited by some here, I wrote a letter to the editor of a major newspaper commending the Aussies on winning the Cup fair and square - with a reminder of how the people of Perth had turned on all their lights for John Glen.

The good old days of sailing.  

yozzause's picture

It certainly did a lot for Fremantle, it got all spruced up and has never looked back but the poor old cup has certainly taken a bit of a battering in the presige stakes i think. I have only just sold my van that had the slogan WA- HOME OF THE AMERICAS CUP.

Fremantle / Perth is rated as being one of the top stop overs for the American navy fleet for R+R where the beer is cold and the natives friendly.

I have a yacht a 21 foot HARTLEY  trailer sailer that we use on the Swan river, cant get the crew to come out on the Indian Ocean!