What happens on tour is supposed to stay on tour. So a lifetime of roaming Australia's bumpiest roads was a natural course for Bryan and Rina Casey, whose love first blossomed on a 12-day Pilbara bus tour in 1974 . . . and on tour they have stayed ever since.
But while 40 years have passed since Mr Casey started what is now WA's longest-running coach tour business in 1973, his memory of finding his life partner the following year is far from faded.
"I thought she was lovely, absolutely beautiful," Mr Casey recalled.
"But: 'She's not going to be riding in the back seat next to this randy young bloke, I'll have her sitting in the front seat with me'. So that's where she was allocated and we became friendly over the course of the tour.
"She washed my socks and I thought that was very good."
Rina, who admitted she still washed his socks, had come across the camping tour in a newspaper advertisement. She initially thought she had been duped for her money when couldn't find the departure address on Stirling Highway, before finding Bryan and his mum waiting at the front of their house with a cup of tea.
So it was off on tour, but on the last day, the bus broke down, leaving them stranded near the former gold-town settlement, Paynes Find. A hire car was commissioned from 430km away in Perth, as well as a station wagon to tow the stricken coaster.
A taxi for the four remaining passengers also came, but the driver was given strict instruction not to take Rina. She was to accompany Bryan back privately on the long trip back to his mother's house.
"A romance blossomed," Mrs Casey admitted. "But I wasn't sure because I just thought on the next bus trip, there will be another girl sitting in the front. Then I realised he needed a cook on the tours starting the next year so we had to get married."
Mr Casey had made a surprise picnic proposal at Lake Leschenaultia just three months after they had met and despite a delayed positive response, they were married in February the next year. Mrs Casey was even delivered to the church in the same bus that took her on that first tour.
Their first of four boys was then born a year later in 1976 and the foundation for their life partnership on and off the road with Casey Australia Tours was set.
Mr Casey had once worked for the Bank of NSW, but it was a stint in the army which started to develop both his love of heavy vehicles and the Australian bush.
"I fought in north Queensland and kept the country free," he joked.
He then tried life in a tyre business, sold life insurance, travelled overseas and even had a crack at university, studying politics and economics.
"I liked the generality of it, but not the specifics so much," he said.
But Bryan's future became clearer one night while lying in bed listening to a radio interview about how a man aimed to start a double-decker bus route from Sydney to Perth. Bryan thought the man's plan was ill-conceived.
"The interviewer said 'What are you going to do if the bus breaks down'," Bryan recalled. The man replied that the passengers would have to wait until the bus was fixed. "I just thought 'This character hasn't got a clue what he's doing'."
So his pensioner mother Norah guaranteed a bank loan of $4000 so he could buy a Volkswagen Kombi to hire out to camping hopefuls and make an easy dollar.
"That was way ahead of it's time," he said of the vehicle for the business purpose.
"In fact, I doubt whether the time has come yet for that sort of thing. She guaranteed the loan thinking her not-well-put-together, 25-year-old son was going to make a complete shambles of it.
"So when that idea of hiring it out failed, I had to do something because I had this loan to pay."
Mr Casey then placed his own newspaper advertisements offering a tour across the Nullarbor, up to Darwin and back down the WA coast in a "Western Half Tour" the company still runs. With a canoe, mini-bikes, food and tents on the roof-rack, the journey began.
"The first tour went off on August 24,1973, with five gallant, unsuspecting passengers and a very excited, but naive (operator) unaware of the problems that could occur," he said.
"I had this flimsy roof-rack because I didn't know any better. It was lurching around . . . and all the things went straight into the mud on the middle of the Nullarbor.
"When I went to bed that night, I thought I loved the bush and loved the idea, but my reflection was that this was not going to be an easy career path. That has proven to be so.
"We had five people on the first tour, four people on the next tour and then two people on the next tour. So we weren't going in the right direction. I think my mother was somewhat worried about the business plan . . . there wasn't really a business plan.
"The business plan was to keep surviving."
But the many shattered windscreens did not shatter his dreams.
A summer job later that year with Brambles helped him secure vital cash-flow to fund his tour business. The next year, he dropped the price of all tours by a third and bought a bigger Datsun bus, which he described as "a dreadful vehicle" for coach tours.
The front engine had an exhaust running close to the floor, making it so hot that passengers had to sit with their feet up in the air.
And the size of a "big wet", the likes of which would not be seen again for more than three decades, meant that there was suddenly "mud and slush all over Australia" as grading on dirt roads created trenches for rivers to form.
A move into coaster buses then gave the business momentum enough for Mr Casey to sell it with his family expanding and he bought a Melville supermarket.
"I was the worst supermarket operator God ever created," he said.
"I was short of money, I ran the stock down a little bit and I really didn't like it. I used to say I was two cents dearer on everything than Charlie Carters."
Two years of agony later, he realised a newspaper advertisement looking for a camping tour business buyer was for the one he had sold - and he bought it back.
"I was very relieved to get it back, but I was bloody relieved to get out of the supermarket," he said.
But he was left with a vehicle that was so slow, at best it would travel, "80km/h downhill with a tail-wind".
"If it saw a hill it overheated," he said of the vehicle he ran for four years as he again watched his business flounder.
He then hit a point in 1990 where he had to choose between quitting for good and buying a decent vehicle at a time when Australia was having the recession it had to have.
Undaunted, the Caseys borrowed $300,000 in an eight-year loan from the then Commonwealth Development Bank at 19 per cent interest to buy an Austral Tourmaster by the name of Ernest Giles, named after the mid-1800s explorer who led three major expeditions in central Australia.
The vehicle finally provided the foundation for a successful tour business, meaning its recent sale was met with an emotional send-off.
"Ernest set us up, really," he said. "It was very reliable for a number of years, about eight years, and never gave us any trouble whatsoever. Ernest has been sort of the rock support of the business all the way for 26 years . . . it's like losing a member of the family.
"But the (sale) cheque may compensate for that."
Ernest was the first of many named buses in the Casey fleet that has also included Banjo Patterson, C.Y. O'Connor, Edward John Eyre and Augustus Gregory.
Aside from their own, the Caseys' business has been the conduit for two other marriages among staff and half a dozen more among passengers. But Mr Casey said he was unsure how many divorces.
Casey Tours Australia seek adventure in Cape York, WA's North-West, the Gibson Desert, Alice Springs, the Nullarbor and Tasmania. An Iconic Towns Tour from Cairns to Adelaide, also picks up "off the beaten track" places such as Longreach, Cloncurrie and Burke.
Mr Casey is particularly fond of the beautiful gorges found in Karijini National Park in the State's north, which he believed were under-sold as prized WA tourism destinations.
"Without doubt, as a country to live in, Australia is the best. You get some beautiful nights out there in the bush and to sleep under the stars in the bush is a lovely experience. I love remote areas and I love the remote towns, small little towns and pretty unsophisticated little towns. There are characters, they're full of characters and the buildings are characters.
"People are increasingly just sort of going to what you would probably call the touristy places, the resorts and all these sorts of things. For me, they don't appeal to me one scrap. Give me the outback any day of the week."
Despite decades in the industry and many miles on the road, Mr Casey, a fan of music legends Slim Dusty and John Williamson, still covets new frontiers such as four-wheel driving along WA's famous Canning Stock Route.
But one thing is a given and that is the pride in his family's business which has given others what is often the experience of a lifetime.
"I look back and it's been a job worth doing," he said.
"I think it's given people a lot of pleasure and a lot of people who travel on buses are really not capable of driving long distances by themselves.
"The tours have helped with my self-identity I think . . . I feel quite proud of them."
Mr Casey is close to finishing a book titled, Never Dull On Tour, following his trials and tribulations in the business.
Given his eccentric past, he was not yet willing to predict what the final chapter will reveal.
·Casey Australia Tours, now run by the Caseys' son Tim and his wife Jacinta, will run 56 tours next year.
·For information and bookings, see caseytours.com.au.