Day Six, 21Dec16
Another day yet again along the Nullabor Plain. Our Eucla caravan park emerged from the grey, cool morning early – I imagine this early stir was due in part to the fact Eucla sat nowhere near another large town, requiring those traveling west to begin a long day of travel early, and secondly because Eucla sat in the oddest of timezones no passers-through would be acquainted with.
Two small coffees in our center console we set due west for our nine hour drive. In the early morning we managed to see a handful of animals – roos scouring the scrub brush, and a mother emu guarding her brood of four chicks each a foot tall.
I took over the drive for Australia’s longest straight stretch of road: Eyre Highway. The stretch of the A1 runs rigid without curve save the mirage one may see in the heat’s distance for 146.6 km. After this segment of the drive Josh returned behind the wheel and we snacked on pastry-rolled cheese kranskys.
Each stop today warned the lack of water in this part of Australia. To reinforce this truth roadhouses and gas stations charge beyond $5 for a small bottle of water, soda or juice. Thankful for our 24 pack of bottled water in the trailer we chugged along with the only expensive gas denting our pockets.
We made it to Norseman after 7 hours of desert driving, the first instance in 48 hours that Josh and I had phone service. We turned south here towards Esperance, and happily towards a differentiation in the terrain as we drew nearer to the ocean yet again.
The land was flat here, just as it had been the past few days along the Nullabor, but in place of the sagebrush we were surrounded by fields of crops. In between these crops were brilliantly white salt flats. The bright blue water centered in these flats could deceive one to think the water welcoming or safe – unfortunately not.
Eventually we pulled into the small coastal town of Esperance. The wind bellowed tonight thick with the sweetness salt water. I felt for a moment as if I were in Santa Cruz, the salty air and tightly-packed family campsite recalling memories of summers camping with my mom and Andrew.
Josh and I strolled along the blustery oceanfront, a clear path was created to accomplish such. The wind was warm enough, but the water was rough and white caped waves flung sea mist clear from the ocean up over the sand dunes and to our pathway. Four story tall dark, proud firs lined the path, cutting the wall of mist from the main road. We continued along turning inwards toward the town when our stomachs grumbled peckish.
The lady at the campsite recommended the nearby fish and chips shop for dinner, and Josh and I were immensely happy we obliged. The small “hole in the wall” as we’d refer to the place set in a strip mall in the US, was clean and freshly opened for evening meal. We ordered the Hawaiian family pack much to our delight: fried fish, squid, chips, gravy and deep fried pineapple fritters. We happily consumed the final dinner of our trip after returning to our campsite. A fantastic last evening to our cross-country adventure.