Shirley & Dennis

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Grey nomads to upgrade caravan
Shirley and Dennis plan to upgrade their van soon

Flying seaweed and suicidal cows can’t put Shirley K, 61, and husband Dennis, 66, off the grey nomad lifestyle

What rig do you have?
We have had a Jayco 14.6 Ex­pander for the past three years. However, we pick up a new van in December that has an ensuite and island bed … so we will soon have a few more luxuries.

How long do you travel for?
This is our second big three-month trip and it’s been great. Our last trip took us to Darwin and back through the Centre. However, I flew back to Sydney after five weeks to work for one week. I am a hairdresser and had to look after my very patient clients before flying back to continue our journey! I did the same this year but, this time, I flew home from Perth. We have been doing the west coast.

Where do you stay?
We tend to stay in caravan parks, mainly because we don’t have a shower in our van. I do love free camps and bush camps though, as you tend to meet more people and I love sitting around the fire.

Likes of the lifestyle?
We love the freedom of not having to be anywhere in particular, and never knowing where you are going to end up, or who you are going to meet.

Are you a campfire cook?
Yes! My favourite was when I tried a chicken tenderloin dish cooked on an open fire. Tenderloins dipped in egg sea­soned with a bit of garlic and herbs, then rolled in cornflake crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese. It sat on a trivet and cooked. I guess it could have been crispier … but it was still yummy!

Hobbies of the road?
I read and also make jewellery. Last year I took all my beads and tools but found I had to carry too much stuff. I have also done a few haircuts along the way. If we stay with people we have met, offering a haircut is my way of saying thanks.

Favourite place?
We loved Uluru as it is such a spiritual place. We also loved Ningaloo Reef and Mount Remarkable National Park.

Any scary experiences?
We stayed at a free camp called Port Parham right on the beach north of Adelaide. The beach is tidal and is cov­ered with lots of seaweed. We had just set up when out of the blue we were hit with 90 km/h winds. We had our awning out just far enough to cover our Weber when the winds took hold. Both Dennis and I were trying to hold on to it but the wind ripped the awning half off. It was very frightening, and it looked like a snow storm with the wind blowing all the seaweed in the air! We also had a close shave when a cow came running out onto the road in front of us as we drove towards Karijini.

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