Leaving Broome, we (finally) turned east. Not that that direction has taken us into cooler country, the temperature is the about the same, horrible hot, but the humidity is much greater, so overall it feels so much hotter due to a lack of dry air providing a natural cooling effect evaporating the fluid you perspire. And perspire you do indeed.
Our one saving grace was driving 785 kilometres (487.1 miles) across the top of Western Australia along the Great Northern Highway in the comfort of an air-conditioned car.
I’d like to say the drive was uneventful, but it wasn’t. Just south of Fitzroy Crossing we had a little incident I’m going to call The White Cow Called Lucky and the Metal Monster that Missed and if you’d like to read more about what happened, you’ll have to click here.
But honestly, good luck and (extremely) good fortune were definitely on our side as we rounded a corner to face not one, but two cows in the middle of the road. How we missed hitting either is beyond my comprehension and I thank goodness Dean was driving.
Everything happened so quickly his heart didn’t even have time to miss a beat – Everything happened so slowly, each second of those near-fateful few keep playing over, and over in my head.
I don’t even want to think about what ‘might’ have happened if I’d been driving.
It was 8:00 am when we pulled out of the Palm Grove Holiday Resort at Cable Beach and 6:15 pm when we finally stopped for the night. We drove around and through some incredible torrential rain and one almighty thunderstorm, spotted bushfires raging in the distance (most likely started by the lightning), breathed in while road trains squeezed passed on narrow stretches of road, crawled over single lane bridges, witnessed cows behaving badly (as per The White Cow Called Lucky), were hit by flying rocks as sundry vehicles drove off in the opposite direction, were swooped by silly birds, and drove through swarms of kamikaze locus.
My stress levels were off the chart and I’m so glad Dean was driving when it counted most.
We stayed overnight at a road side rest area in the middle of nowhere. This was Location No 81.
Yet upon arriving at Halls Creek, we missed the caravan park (yes we missed it), and kept driving thinking there would be a rest area just outside town. There wasn’t. It would be another hour before we reached one and by then it was well and truly past dusk, and well and truly past time for us to be off the road. This is the first time we’ve been on the road so late.
Technically, the rest area we stayed at is called Leychester Rest Area and it was very nice, with shelters and picnic tables, toilets, and ample room for a few people to stop overnight comfortably. It was just south of the Ord River and this was first time we’ve stayed somewhere on the side of the road.
I was fine with that – until some other people arrived.
It was dark when they pulled in.
It was late when they pulled in.
It was scary thinking what I was thinking.
It didn’t help that just south of Halls Creek we’d passed the turn off to Wolf Creek.
I’m sure our overnight neighbours were very nice people, perhaps a young couple, perhaps foreign tourists driving around. But because it was pitch black out, we didn’t get to see them, we didn’t get to meet them, and my mind worked overtime thinking the most horrible of thoughts as a huge thunderstorm raged all around us.
I was still awake at midnight (and that’s very unusual for me), and can only guess I passed out sometime in the wee hours of the morning, very grateful to wake at 5:00 am to the chirping of some birds and the gentle lowing of a few cows who came to visit.
Dean and I were ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ so to speak, leaving our neighbours to snore away in their Wicked Camper.