Middle of nowhere

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, November 30, 2006

[The travel brochures tell me that the Indian Pacific is the last remaining trans-continental train journey. This amazing train traverses Australia from cost to coast, between the sparkling waters of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, a distance of 4352 kilometres.  Of course I was only going about half that way, to Adelaide, but no other journey in the world crosses so many different terrains in one country.  Across the world's longest length of straight railway track, 478 kilometres through the stark and desolate Nullarbor Plain, through the Red outback and past Australia's first inland Outposts and mining towns.  We saw unique and spectacular landscapes unfold and spotted a fascinating array of wildlife from the comfort of the lounge or your cabin.
All along the Indian Pacific route, we kept an eye out for a sighting of the magnificent Australian wedge tailed eagle, the symbol of this great train. Its' massive wingspan of up to two metres made it easy to spot in a clear desert sky. And we did spot a few souring lonely against the most marvelous skies.  During the journey, the train made stops to refuel and take on provisions, and presented an ideal opportunity to take one of the optional off-train tours at Kalgourlie which I had already seen). A brief stop to re-water at the tiny outpost of Cook in the barren Nullarbor Plain allowed us to explore a very hot and lonely place.]
The trip was punctuated by lovely sleeps in my little trundle bed.  Mostly this was a trip of almost 3 days where I simply kicked back and watched the land roll by.  Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were adequate and so was the beer.  I retain impressions of red, red earth, rocks of varying sizes, grey, green bushes and plant life, arid, occasional trees, occasional farm trucks, kangaroos, emu - even saw a camel near a station called Forrest - not a lot out there, blue, blue sky, hot, barren yet beautiful landscape. 
To sleep one simply pulled the bed down from the wall and locked it in to the opposite seat.  It was very narrow but quite adequate.  Wash basin also flipped out of the wall and could be used other than when one was in the station "Passengers will please refrain, etc".  Got into my narrow little cot and felt the train rocking me back and forth, forward and back until I fell asleep.
The first night one of the passengers became ill and they had to call in the flying doctor plane to take her off at a little station called Rawlinna.  While they were doing that the crew came through the plane on a good will mission and on introducing myself to one, he noted my RFDS t shirt and we had photos taken of us.  What a hit. 

 Day two we stopped at a place which bills itself as "the middle of nowhere", a place called Cook, where we got out in the incredible heat to stretch our legs.  Has, I think 4 population and runs a souvenir shop with rather tacky stuff in it.   "Any arsehole that steals from this camp will be gut shot and left for the eagles to feed on", a large rock outside two small buildings which has painted on it "Cook Jail House Rock" and things like that.
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