Tuesday, 30 April 2013

# 34 to Broome, via Pt Hedland and a roadhouse…

I must admit that even though we drive long distances with not much in between we are always amazed at how not boring it is - certainly if you are looking for birds the whole time it's not - and the road out of the park was the same…

John - I don't think you washed this container well enough!

We passed a million "road trains" (transports/tractor-trailers) with FOUR trailers behind them (& 86 tires according to mr. joe-math-dafoe) - full of iron ore or empty on their way back to fill up with ore.  (Not a lot of railways our here!) 

86 tires here!
I met one of the drivers at a roadhouse when I sympathised with him that he had to go to work (& I didn't) and he said it was OK he got $40/hr for doing nothing!  I told him that I thought driving one of those things was a lot more than nothing and he explained that all he had to do was sit there and steer!  Well I was really happy each time they passed me that we didn't collide, so I told him I was very grateful that he could steer so well.  $40/hr eh?

Then there were the cows!  We knew we had to watch out for kangaroos but nobody mentioned the cows - forget roo-bars  - we need moo-bars!  So many cows!  So many dead cows on the side of the road.  I wanted to take a photo so people could understand but some of them were so repulsive I couldn't bring myself to look at them long enough to take a photo. At one point as we neared Pt. Headland we noticed them walking in lines; lines and lines  - and we couldn't figure out where they were going.  

Where are they going ?
Maybe there were going to the mountain (of salt?)

They were also a hazard driving, especially as it was getting darker and we had to slow down a few times with groups on the side of the road. At one spot we thought there was a beautiful large white rock on the side of the road but as we slowed down we realized it was a friggin' huge Brahman BULL sitting there - and he watched us go by.

At Pt. Hedland we spent a fruitless, frustrating few hours trying to print a file and fax papers for a house rental application.  You can print at the library - if you can find the library.  You should be able to fax at the library but it "doesn't always work" and it didn't this Friday. But you can fax at the Post Office - it's just a few kilometers away in the middle of town. Yes you can fax the pages for $5 for the first page!! and $1.50 for the next three!! - after you fill out the ridiculous cover page. OMG - beauracracy!!  After the pages finally went through I found out that I was supposed to include photocopies of my three pieces of ID - urgh! That meant going back to the library, so we said forget it… sad because it would have been a really nice house!

So now we are behind schedule and it's too far to Broome so we need to stop somewhere overnight.  Two choices - 80 mile beach which is really nice but it's 10kms on a dirt, bumpy road or a roadhouse (& attached caravan park) just a bit further on.  We wanted to go to the beach but bumpy dirt roads are very hard on the van.  We did it to go to Cactus beach (on the nulabor) because we had heard so much about it from the Fritsch's, but it was 22kms (there and back) of jarring washboard, that while absolutely worth it, loosed a few things as well.  So we reluctantly stayed at the roadhouse which was literally in the middle of nowhere - the view out our backdoor was the void that is the outback… and they had joint male/fermale toilet/showers. Yuk!
The only interesting thing at the roadhouse!

The drive next day to Broome was long, uneventful, and full of stops to check for birds - some successful - like the one where we saw the Red Shouldered Parrot. Unlike the real birder I was able to open my door and not even leave the van and had a great view!  The birder always needs to leave the van.

We crossed the edge of the Little Sandy dessert but we couldn't see any sand dunes.  There was the now ever-present red sand/dirt but it was always covered in bushes, plants, small trees or cows!  So that was a tad disappointing. But then we turned left towards the coast and Broome and all of a sudden it became just that bit more tropical and just that bit more hot!!

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