Stretching from Ceduna in SA to Norseman in WA, there aren’t really any towns along the highway. At various intervals there are roadhouses, with a transient community of bikers, travellers and truckers. Caravans were scattered about, with people washing or drying their clothes. It could almost seem settled. Only a few people live at the roadhouses, and I imagine almost all of them don’t live there forever.
The Nullarbor roadhouse felt like a pivotal stop, almost as though it was halfway. In truth, it was only day two, with two more days of long travel to get to Perth.
It was windy, dust and sand blowing all over. A ream of tissue paper, the big roll they supply for filling petrol, had broken free and huge strands of tissue paper danced in the wind.
I was struck by the sight of a whale, and a plane nearby. They perform whale spotting flights – the roadhouse is actually very close to the Australian Bight.
It was hot, probably about 40C, but relatively empty. The inside of the roadhouse looked barren, with bits and pieces for sale you might need urgently, mainly cosmetic and hygiene.
Like all roadhouses the smell of deep fried food permeated. I probably just got a soft drink and a sandwich. I hung around for a little while to take some photos. I couldn’t really escape from the barren landscape. Lots of people find it dull, but I enjoy it. There’s an opportunity to roam in my mind, and fill in the space myself. Perfect thinking territory, particularly with so little traffic and undemanding straight roads.
As I pulled away I thought I would like to come back, see it again. Little did I know it would be five years before I would come back this way, making another great journey of a different kind.