THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER LEONORA TO BALLADONIA ROADHOUSE 610kms
We slept slightly later than yesterday, but it was still a pretty early departure, by our usual standards.
Again, the day got hot, quickly.
North of Kalgoorlie, John became sleepy and decided to have a short nap – fittingly – at a rest area.
I had a very welcome walk around while he snoozed. My legs were beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable from long days of just sitting in the heat and confines of Truck.
We were compelled to have a longer break at Kalgoorlie. John had been concerned that the spare tyre on Truck was very worn. It had come off the back of the van, earlier on. The van sported an an almost new one. We hadn’t really had an option to replace the spare until now – he hadn’t thought to do it in the very busy period of our last few days at RV1. This was the chance to do so, before tackling the long stretches of the Nullarbor crossing.
Unhitched the van in a safe looking side street, took Truck to get a new tyre fitted, rotating the new tyre with an older one that now became the spare. That cost $299. Back to the van and hitched up again.
I visited the Information Centre to pick up material about the Nullarbor, just so I had up to date information. All my detailed maps and books about it were, of course, snug at home. I had not anticipated needing my WA material when we left, nine months ago, for NW Qld!
John bought a pie for lunch. I bought a bread roll and ate that plain.
Refuelled Truck on the way out of town. $1.28cpl.
South to Norseman, where the fuel was topped up again – $1.32cpl. Then we pointed our noses eastwards. Home – that-a-way.
Coming south from Kalgoorlie, could see a lot of bushfire smoke to the east, and heard reports of fires on the radio, with some suggestions that roads could be closed if they got much worse. We hoped not. By doing the long days, and not spending time visiting places, we had ensured some wiggle room on the trip, but really did not want to be stranded in these parts by fires.
As we started across the Nullarbor route, could see smoke plumes in the distance and continued to do so for the rest of the day.
It was exceedingly hot and the travel uncomfortable and tiring. This was really not the recommended time to be driving this road. Last time we’d gone west to east this way was at a similar time of the year, in 2000 – and had also not been what we’d planned to be doing at that time. But it had not been as hot, that year.
By the time we reached Balladonia Roadhouse, we’d had enough for the day. Actually, I’d happily have stopped at Norseman! It was getting late enough in the day for it to be time to be off the road.
Refuelled Truck – $1.68cpl. Ouch!
Got a powered site – $21-90 – in the caravan park off to one side of the roadhouse. We were able to find a site with some shade from trees, which was a bonus. Not too bad, out here.
The welcome shower was coin operated – an inducement not to linger, for sure. But understandable in a place where water was such a scarce commodity. Only one coin could be inserted at a time. When that expired, after a couple of minutes, one had to get out to put in another coin, if more time was needed – and of course the coin machine was outside the cubicle. Easier to give up and dry off.
Another early night.