While on our round the world in 21 days trip, my wife and I were eagerly looking forward to a reunion with an Australian exchange student who had lived with my family during our senior year in high school. Our Qantas flight was several hours late arriving in Perth and we nervously wondered whether we would be able to find the bush pilot that Trevor had arranged to fly us to his sheep and wheat ranch near Kununoppin, Western Australia. As we wearily made it through customs, we looked up and saw a pilot with a WELCOME SKIP AND JAMIE sign.
With a hearty “Good on ya, mate!”, he grabbed our bags and headed for the small tail dragger Cessna 140 parked on the ramp. We climbed in and were treated to a beautiful low level sightseeing trip across Western Australia. The pilot shouted to us that Trevor was sorry that he couldn’t make it, but there was a brush fire in the district where their ranch was and all the mates were busy helping put out the fire. Having recently read The Thorn Birds, we hoped that they got the fire under control pretty quick.
We arrived at what looked like a dirt strip far from any signs of civilization and the pilot dropped quickly to a rough landing. We didn’t see any visible signs of welcome, but there was an old battered white UTE (pickup truck for us Americans) parked at our end of the field. I crawled out of the Cessna and walked over to the UTE. On the front seat there was a note and a map. In the note, Trevor apologized for not being able to meet us as they still hadn’t gotten the fire under control. “I’ve left you a map to get to the house. See you there soon,” directed the note.
So with a little trepidation as it was rapidly getting dark, we waved good-bye to the bush pilot, threw our bags into the back of the UTE and were ready to find Trevor’s Western Australia ranch house. I turned on the overhead light, looked at the map and was quickly dismayed. Trevor had clearly marked where his house was, but there was no indication on the map as to where we were.
If you don’t know where you are or where you are going, any road will take you there.