A Detour... North..
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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'Perth? Well don't count on it, you might get stuck here yet..'
It was a bit of a decision but we ended up taking the road north. Norseman, after all is basically just a T-junction between Kalgoorlie and Esperance. The original idea was to take the road south to Esperance and follow the coastline all the way round and up through Margaret River before exploding in to Perth. Missing the booming little outback town of Kalgoorlie now would essentially mean missing it completely. There's no way we'd suddenly, somewhere down the line have a bright idea to drive the 600k's or so from Perth just to go look at 'that little gold-mining town in the outback'. Making the most of our location now made much more sense. We took the two-hour detour to Kalgoorlie.
And here we are. In 'Kal'. You could say we had an eventful (and fateful) arrival. You could say we've landed on our feet. You could even say we've struck gold. All I know is that it looks like things have panned out probably how they were meant to pan out, and if things continue to pan how they've been panning, we could be here for the foreseeable future.
The majority of Kalgoorlie closes by mid-evening. By 6.30pm accommodation options are pretty much non-existent as those providing it tend to lock up for the night, while the restaurants and watering holes allow you another few hours grace. If you want any kind of joviality around here you're best bet is to try the front bar of a hotel, though when I say hotel I'm talking about those chunky all-in-one pub/restaurant/bookies/hotel/accommodation places that you see standing majestically on almost every intersection.
Kalgoorlie was - and still very much is - a booming little gold-mining town. Apart from its faithful locals the main bustle of human traffic around here is the workers. 'The Superpit' is just up and around the corner there and provides hundreds of those hunting for the big buck an opportunity to earn it. The money here is ridiculous, and if you're prepared to sacrifice what you'd usually associate with a 'life' there's some serious dollar to be made. It's not uncommon for people to do a good stint in a mine in WA and go spend the rest of their days swinging blissfully in a hammock on a tropical beach somewhere. This is why accommodation round here is scarce and costly. We know. We had a close call ourselves when we first rolled into town. We'd been told to turn up at the The Palace Hotel on Hannan Street, where one of the railway boys we met on the Nullarbor had promised us a deal on a room through their work contract. It was all beer-talk of course and never materialised, putting us in a very tricky situation. I was proper riled - at myself, not them - and so we resorted to riding round in the dark looking for somewhere to stay. Apart from a hundred dollar per night cabin on a campground there was nothing..
..which is where our situation became a little fated. It was dark and hopeless. We'd exhausted every possibility and were just about ready to spend an uncomfortable night cramped up in the car when an old lady with a rare and magical twinkle in her eye told us to walk in the back door of a place called 'The Rec' on Burt street. By the way she said it, and the way she looked as she said it, it sounded well dodgy. But just as we were leaving she turned to us with a tilted fixed gaze. 'You might be lucky,' she added. We shot straight there.
And she wasn't wrong. We were lucky. Very lucky. In more ways than one. Following a lively introduction and a highly unexpected conversation with Laurie the proprietor, we chucked our bags into a room and got stuck in to the all-you-can-eat bistro of roast beef, roast pork, creamy pasta, chicken curry, beef stew, fish & chips, endless amounts of wood fired pizza, the bumper salad bar, the fresh fruit, the mounds of jelly and ice cream and the bottomless cups of tea and coffee. For forty minutes I was in heaven. For four hours after I was in hell. I never, ever, learn..
Kilometres eaten: 3874