I left the Nullarbor Roadhouse about 8.00 in the morning – and there was already some warmth in the desert sun – to drive to Cocklebiddy.
Got to the WA border where they are very strict about checking the vehicles for bringing in unwanted products that could introduce or spread disease. Saw the guy in front of me have his couple of jars of honey taken away. The cars are checked quite thoroughly and we had to stop our engines and open all the car doors – in my case the back door had to be open as well for inspection in my Esky. Reminded me a lot of when going through Europe all those years ago and having to stop at the borders. Seems strange to be doing that here in Australia.
I am constantly reminded of the vastness of this country and the wide, wide open spaces where there is virtually nothing except varied forms of desert landscape.
Someone said to me before I left Melbourne that driving across the Nullarbor can “close in on you a bit”. I can understand how it could get to you but I have driven so many hours without listening to music or talk, just being in the moment with my thoughts and feelings and I think I begin to understand why people embark on these solitary journeys.
Recently read a book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer about a young man who ventured into the wilds of Alaska his own, seeking peace and solitude and perhaps escaping from the reality of everyday living. I don’t feel that this is what I am doing but I take note that it could be possible to develop a real liking for the ‘aloneness’ one experiences when going on these journeys.
I’ve been told I am an adventurer and that it takes guts to do this journey. I think what people mean is that they couldn’t see themselves doing this alone. And it’s so true, for I couldn’t have done this without first spending much time alone, getting to know myself and enjoying the challenge of being alone for long periods of time.
There wasn’t much to see at Eucla, so continued on to Cocklebiddy Roadhouse. Stopped at Madura to re-fuel as petrol was getting pretty low. $1.83 a litre here. Was greeted by a burly male who said with a dour face “Another day in Paradise” and didn’t register a smile. I replied with my usual ‘Well, we’re lucky to be here aren’t we? And he made some negative comment about people always wanting something. Not very cheery!
Arrived at Cocklebiddy where I had booked a motel room. A couple who had been at Nullarbor Roadhouse occupied the unit next to mine. Had a meal in the restaurant – the guy who took my order advised me not have the beef and vegie casserole as the meat was a bit tough so I opted for the meat loaf – and received a truckie size meal complete with two enormous dollops of mashed potato. The meat loaf was very nice and I gobbled up the vegies but didn’t touch the mash – there was soooo much of it. Chatted briefly to a couple from Exmouth who were now living in north Queensland. Seems the coral there is beautiful and I mustn’t miss it.
The time change is getting to me as the clocks are now nearly two hours behind Melbourne though in Cocklebiddy they are on a different time zone from Perth, strangely enough.
As I think I have mentioned, you meet some real characters out here, and you tend to see people again at various tourist attractions along the way. It’s a long time since I’ve had a man doff his hat to me – thought that was peculiarly old-fashioned but memorable.
Next stop – Norseman