Day 6 – Esperance Bound

A desire to get on the road and confused body clocks saw us setting out from Caiguna early.  The first section of road is reputed to be the longest straight road in the world, it goes 80 miles without a bend, it’s a pity the straightness was not reflected in the smoothness, by and large the SA roads were better maintained than the WA ones.  Our coffee and breakfast stop was at Balladonia, made famous when Skylab came to earth nearby.  I remember this clearly, because at the time I worked for Commonwealth Industrial Gasses (CIG), later to become part of the BOC empire, and was tasked with producing the smoke effect at the Miss Universe Pageant at the then Perth Entertainment Centre.  Skylab had caused Perth to be gripped by space fever and the American organisers had secured Skylab for centre stage at the Pageant.  I turned up on the first day to see the American organisers tell the Entertainment Centre staff to keep out of the way and they would get paid, they clearly did not want small town interference.  It was an interesting week surrounded by glitz and glamour, on the Friday the Entertainment Centre foreman carpenter told the American boss that he felt the stage was not strong enough and should be reinforced, that was responded to with a tirade of abuse.  The front page of Monday’s West Australian was a full page picture of Miss Paraguay amidst splintered timber, with her top torn off and left breast hanging out.  The official cause of the stage collapse was that the media rushed the stage and their extra weight was to blame.

Back on the Nullarbor, Balladonia did a fantastic bacon and egg sandwich and coffee, so fortified we set off towards Norseman.  About 100km east of Norseman is Fraser Station, I can recommend it to any traveler, it was a beautiful place, very clean and the couple running it were very friendly.  The old Chevy truck in the picture was there.  The last 100km went in a flash, but the temp was climbing again to the low 40’s by the time we got to Norseman, the camel street-art is on the town’s central roundabout.  The lady at the tourist centre told us to expect accommodation to be at a premium in Esperance, how right she was.

We looked at the brochure and did a shortlist, then did a drive-by, all the good places had ‘No Vacancies’ signs up.  In desperation we went to the tourist office and got the last room on their books.  The clouds were rolling in and temperature plummeting so rather than the swim we had promised ourselves we took a walk around town.  The skate park was being well used and while the maze was not, it looked like it could be a fun thing for littlies.  They also have a pontoon with a slide.

Dinner was in the Seasons Restaurant attached to our motel, the food was OK, but expensive, but the muzak eventually drove me out.  We enjoyed a walk along the jetty before some TV and bed.

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