A very long day in more ways than one, today ! After a decent night’s sleep with the wind dropping and only a couple of brief showers in the night, we decided that we’d have a roadhouse breakfast rather than face the flies again.
The first stop was at the WA border where quarantine checked the 90 over for fruit, veg, honey etc… We’d dumped the last of our fresh fruit and veg in the rubbish bins at the rest area before we set off so no problems and for a quarantine officer the one who searched the 90 was quite pleasant for a change.
We continued to Eucla and finally got some phone signal again. It seems that at some point we crossed a timeline and having arrived at Eucla at around 10am it was suddenly 8.30am again as our iPhones adjusted to local time, jumping back 1hr 45 mins. On the way we topped off the fuel tanks, the straight, flat highway may be boring at times but we did manage to set a new fuel consumption record – 30.72 MPG which is not just the highest for this trip, it’s the highest we’ve ever managed ! We’ve definitely found the “sweet spot” when it comes to the optimum cruising speed.
At Eucla we took a brief side trip to see the old Telegraph station which is gradually being covered over by a sand dune. It seems that the original telegraph network was built along the coast, presumably so the stations could be supplied by sea.
After that we started the long and fairly tedious journey towards Balladonia, a trip of over 300 miles along the, mostly straight, Eyre Highway over the Nullarbor Plain. At Calguna we crossed yet another time line, adding another 45 minutes to our day. We are now only 8 hours ahead of the UK while we were 10 hours 30 mins ahead this morning !
There were a couple of interesting wildlife sightings which broke up the journey a bit. A couple of Emus who seemed oblivious to traffic gave us a close view – previously we’ve only seen them at a distance, normally running away. We had a VERY close encounter with a Wedge Tail Eagle that was feeding on a roo carcase at the side of the road. As we approached it took off directly into our path, fortunately I managed to avoid it but we certainly got a close up view of it !
We’ve stopped at a rest area about 14k short of Belladonia for the night. Another rest area with tracks and camping areas set back from the road. Even better, there’s no wind, a clear blue sky and hardly any flies 🙂
Tomorrow we will continue to Belladonia and turn off the highway onto the unsurfaced and 4×4 track towards Esperance, hopefully having an easy(ish) day before camping at Cape Arid about half way to Esperance.
Once we get to Esperance on Wednesday we’ll need to restock our food and beer provisions and might spend a couple of nights there to recharge a bit if it’s nice.