June 24, 2022
By this date in 2013 I had reached a point between Kalgoorlie and Norseman in WA. The traffic was becoming more sparse and the landscape had moved from farming to scrubby forest with many dry lakes. The video from the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse is enlightening. And I was only a day away from starting the 1200 km leg between Norseman and Ceduna, with nothing but roadhouses and small villages in between.
We now have two world runners/walkers traversing Australia. Besides Lootie (https://lootie-run.com/blog/), who has just reached the Eyre Peninsula, Tony Mangan (https://www.facebook.com/tony.mangan.14) has just recommenced his world walk from Darwin. He walked from Perth to Sydney and up to Darwin in 2016/17, and is now aiming to complete a lap of Australia by walking from Darwin to Perth. He has been off the road since the start of Covid, having had to stop his walk at that time in Oman.
June 21, 2013
Distance today = 38.45 km; Total distance = 21,888.01 km; Location = Kalgoorlie – 30 45.052’ S, 121 28.137′ E; Start time = 0815, Finish time = 1432
After the effort of three consecutive 60 km days, it was nice to have a short one. I ran from the Gold Rush Motel in Coolgardie to the Midas Motel in Kalgoorlie, a total of just over 38 km. Both motels have been very generous in providing us with accommodation free of cost.
Both towns owe their existence to gold mining. Coolgardie was the original boom town, but was soon overshadowed by Kalgoorlie, and still is to this day. Both still boast productive reserves of gold. There are numerous mines between the two towns, as I found out today. I also found several coins on the side of the road, one of them a 2 cent coin. These haven’t been in circulation for years.
I was met by a small team from the local Kalgoorlie newspaper on my arrival in the town, conducting a short interview before I reached the motel. Arriving early, I indulged in the luxury of an afternoon nap.
Grace flies home in the morning. It has been great having her along. She has totalled over 40 km with me on the road. This places her fifth on the list of most kilometres run with me, behind Chook, Barry, Dave, and The Hud. We’ll be dropping Grace at the airport tomorrow, and I’ll then start heading out of Kalgoorlie. The Nullarbor beckons.
June 22, 2013
Distance today = 54.29 km; Total distance = 21,942.30 km; Location = Kambalda – 31 10.780’ S, 121 38.593′ E; Start time = 0744, Finish time = 1652
We waved goodbye to Grace at Kalgoorlie Airport this morning. It was sad to see her go, as it will be nearly three months before we’re home and able to catch up with Hannah and Grace again. But it will pass quickly. It was almost a year ago that we waved goodbye to Hannah at Memphis Airport. A few years ago, I never would have believed that we’d be saying goodbye to the girls from airports like Memphis and Kalgoorlie.
We had a final dinner last night, opposite the hotel where Herbert Hoover stayed when he lived in Kalgoorlie. For those who don’t know, Hoover was a young mining engineer in the region in the last years of the 19th century, who went on to become US President between 1929 and 1933. I was surprised to find out that his first home in Australia was in Coolgardie.
I ran out of Kalgoorlie this morning under cloudless blue skies. After about 10 km, I heard Grace’s plane taking off, and turned to see it rising in the sky. I watched it until it became a dot, finally disappearing.
About half way through the day, as I approached where Carmel had pulled over, a car stopped and guy got out. He’d passed me and realised I was the guy he’d seen on the Today Show. Brendan was from south of Dunedin in NZ, but now works in Kambalda. He had his young daughter, Iris, with him. We talked for a while before heading on.
It was a good day overall, and I finished strongly. We don’t have any heating in the room tonight, so I hope these blankets do their job.
PS Early this morning, I glanced at the time and distance on my Garmin. A little later I did the same again. Twelve minutes had elapsed, but the device said I’d only covered about 500 metres. What the …..? That’s 24 minutes per km. It was easy to remeasure the distance with Google Maps – just over 1.5 km. That was much more like it. Somehow, the Garmin has lost 1.05 km of distance. Luckily I had noticed it. This seems to happen every so often. A couple of weeks back, it had credited me with 22 km that I hadn’t run (and subsequently subtracted from my total). Today it debited me 1.05 km that I had run. Anyhow, I’ve added this back in. I guess it has something to do with glitches in the satellites.
June 23, 2013
Distance today = 54.22 km; Total distance = 21,996.52 km; Location = Widgiemooltha (10 km south of) – 31 34.089’ S, 121 36.303′ E; Start time = 0752, Finish time = 1639
The perfect weather continued today – blue skies, a light breeze, and temperatures around 18C. While the traffic was quite heavy between Kalgoorlie and Kambalda yesterday, it was much lighter today as I headed toward Norseman, and the start of the Nullarbor. I estimate an average of about one vehicle per minute.
For more than 500 km, from near Perth to Kalgoorlie, I had the great Coolgardie Water Pipeline to keep me company. Now I have just a road with trees alongside. It’s tranquil, but there’s not much variety in the landscape.
The day was, once again, without incident. I did get to meet a group of older bikies, who were out for a Sunday ride, but, other than that, it was very quiet. We are staying at the classically named Widgiemooltha tonight – essentially a roadhouse with basic accommodation. Once again, the mining boom has pushed up prices beyond what most people would consider reasonable. It’s hitting the budget hard.
Jun 24, 2013
Distance today = 53.89 km; Total distance = 22,050.41 km; Location = Norseman (26 km north of) – 32 00.281’ S, 121 39.980′ E; Start time = 0749, Finish time = 1621
I knocked over another 54 km today, running through eucalypt forests, with not a town in sight. As you can imagine, it was a day without incident.
One noticeable exception was a massive oversize load. A normal oversize load simply has signs on the truck, indicating as much. If it’s a bit bigger, there’s an escort vehicle driving ahead of the truck. However, if the load takes up both sides of the road, then there are two escort vehicles, as well as a police escort driving down the wrong side of the road, forcing the oncoming traffic to pull over until the oversize load passes. This is what happened today, with two enormous mining diggers being transported north.
The other unusual issue here in WA is the road trains. I have seen numerous two, three, and four carriage road trains. The latter are often 53.5 metres long – more than half the length of a football field. Cars overtaking these behemoths had better make sure they have plenty of time to complete the manoeuvre.
I am now just 26 km north of Norseman. Tomorrow I will run into town, then start eastward, officially beginning my run across the Nullarbor.