Day 25 of 55 - New Year's Day in Australia

Today was our first full day in possession of "Mum's Taxi." A previously owned 1983 Ford Falcon station wagon we bought from our Dutch friends, Jeroen and Ottine. It’s the same car we rode in from Exmouth to Perth. That's the same distance as driving from the Oregon/California border to Los Angeles. Before this trip, I didn't know Ford made and sold cars in Oz.

We said good-bye to our friends for the last time, and left the city limits of Perth to cross the Nullarbor Plain, a 3-day drive through the southern outback in the heat of summer without the benefit of a/c. We were told that if we did break down, it was best if we crawled under the car and stayed in the shade to wait for another car to come by. “Don’t even try to walk anywhere. You’ll never make it," was the strong warning.

We arrived before sunset, and before the kangaroos started migrating through the night, in the old gold rush town called Coolgardie, Gateway to the Nullarbor Plain, where many travelers stop to prepare for the long road ahead. We topped off the gas tank, the water bottles, bought some peanut butter and jelly, and booked a room at the Coolgardie Gold Rush Lodge. Below is a picture of our car parked in front of the lodge. Just look for the red one on the end.

Below is the town of Coolgardie. It was once a thriving city with 50,000 people, 12 banks, 3 breweries, 2 stock exchanges, 7 newspapers, and 26 hotels. Now, with its wide streets, it resembles a ghost town.