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Coolgardie and the Road to Perth.

Road Trip Day 17: 8th June 2007

West of Coolgardie is the Eastern end of the Great Eastern Highway. The road to Perth, Western Australia. When Rose and I turned into our motel last night the car headlights had picked out some curious characters across the road. Before heading off the next morning we just had to investigate.

Rose and I have been sticking with Central Standard Time (rather than change to Western Standard Time) in order to get earlier starts. This meant we had plenty of time to have a quick wander around, what turned out to be 'Ben Prior's Park', an outdoor museum featuring many historical machines and characters from the early gold rush days of the Coolgardie region.

One such character was this prospector, A.P. Brophy and his camel 'Misery'. Brophy is remembered for claiming the world record for riding his camel 600 miles without giving it a single drink back in 1895.

There are other characters in this museum but the majority of the display is old steam engines, wagons, farming tools, cars and more. All of which form a part of a collection owned by the late Ben Prior who was a long time resident of the town.

One particular character, who must surely be out of place, is this likeness of 'Ned Kelly' the famous Australian Bush ranger (unless Coolgardie had a copy cat bush ranger?). I suspect (though I'm only speculating) that this Ned Kelly may have been used at the BP service station across the road before being replaced by the Ned Kelly that is proudly displayed on the roof (see photo below) - there is something of a likeness in their construction.

The rest of our day was taken with driving. We had somewhere around 590 kilometres to get through so the only stop we made was to have lunch at a roadhouse in Merredin.

Since this is my last post about driving there are one or two things I like to rant about:

1. If you're a truck driver being over taken by a car using a lane specifically designated as an overtaking lane. If that car is more than two thirds past you and the overtaking lane is running out, try easing up on the accelerator just a bit. Seriously. Would it kill you to slow down just a touch so the car can finish passing safely? I know it's not that hard to slow down vehicle's that large. I should 'cause I've followed behind road trains long enough to know exactly how much time is needed to slow down just a few kilometres per hour. It's not that long at all.

2. If you're a truck driver being over taken by a car, where there is no overtaking lane and the road is narrow and has rough edges, would it kill you to slow down a bit? Especially if your rig is being bumped around by strong cross winds, would it kill you?

3. If you're a truck driver stop pushing car drivers into unsafe practices simply because you have to travel at the maximum speed for trucks at all times regardless when hauling goods long distances. Would it kill you to slow down a bit?

4. If you're a truck driver, don't go commenting on my above rants. All car drivers are reckless, dangerous and should be banned from driving. I know - you don't need to list all the stupid things we do. Just slow down a bit and maybe next time I won't nearly crash into the side of your damn truck!

The only other thing I wanted to mention was that there is a heck of a lot of 'roadkill' on the WA side of Eyre Highway. Maybe it's just because it's such a large stretch of natural wilderness? Dead kangaroos were most common but I also saw a dingo and maybe a few other animals too (couldn't tell what they were after they'd been hit. Too small to be roos though).

The sea gulls of the desert (crows) were a bit of a worry too. All along the highway there were crows on the side of the road waiting for free lunch.

Rose and I finally got to Perth and pulled into her home just as the sun was going down. It was definitely good to finally be finished travelling for a while. I'll be staying in Perth for about a week before catching a plane back to South Australia.

The trip isn't quite over yet.

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