Woke up at five in the morning, moaned, eventually fell asleep again.
Woke up at eight in the morning, moaned, eventually forced myself to move.
Bumped into Ben and had a long chat with him and his dad. Ben's a good bloke and reminds me a lot of the sorts of people I used to meet droving. I don't have a lot in common with him, in many ways, but he's someone I'm happy to yak with at length.
Headed off around eleven to the Nullarbor roadhouse. The weather was insane. Torrential downpours followed by sunshine, followed by spitting, more sunshine, a downpour, spitting, a downpour, sunshine, downpour, an earthquake, Cthulhu, some showers, and the Mighty Duck of Doom.
And more rain.
I hadn't planned on stopping at any of the rest points that overlooked the Great Australian Bight, but on an urge suddenly went bugger it and took one. The car parking area was like a lake. There was a van there and as I got out of it, the owner, a large, hefty guy with several missing teeth, and a straggly blonde goatee, appeared walking back to his vehicle. He would not have looked out of place in some of the rougher pubs I've been in.
His name was Craig and he'd been travelling Australian for twelve years. With him was his dog, Rosie, and his cat, Winston. It seems to have been the trip for me to meet people that I take an immediate liking to. The best way for me to describe him is as an absolute sweetie. Seriously, just a big, gentle, lovely guy.
We talked about travelling and traded info on good camping sites. It started to piss down so we then sat in his van and talked for a good while. He does palmistry. We chatted about it, (no, I didn't get my palm read, not a believer) and the places that call to us in Australia. He talked about past life stuff and said that he's sure we must have known each other in past lives, either been friends, fought in wars together, something. It's another thing I don't believe, but as an explanation of how we connected so well right from the get-go, it worked for him and I wasn't bothered by it.
I rather like the idea that I was introduced to recently that past life experiences don't exist, except as stories in a familiar framework that our subconscious is using to teach us lessons. So if you think you were some great monarch in a previous life, who eventually had his people rebel against him and was hung, drawn and quartered by them, don't sit there thinking about how cool it was that you were a monarch. Instead, sit there and start to look at the things you did that caused your downfall, because that's the lesson your subconscious is trying to teach you - Dude, right now you're pissing people off and it's all going to end badly.
We grabbed a photo of each other, I let him know that if he was in Canberra I'd love to catch up, and we said goodbye. And then this big guy came forward and gave me a huge hug, and I melted. He was big and gentle and I hadn't been hugged in over a week. It was lovely.
Hung around, took a pic or two, then headed off to Nullarbor, where I had a milkshake, bought myself some playing cards and bought a little present for a friend. I was feeling pretty tired, and the rain was very heavy, so I wasn't sure I'd make it to Penong, but I got on my way again.
And I just drove. Stopped for the occasional break, and a brief detour to Fowler's Bay, and reached Penong, only to realise I didn't want to stop there, so I kept going. Got into Ceduna, had nine SMSes arrive, got petrol, and stopped to answer a couple of messages and to ring Sharon and Kali. Was feeling pulled along though, feeling the need to keep moving.
So I drove some more.
Eventually stopped 60km west of Minnipa, where I wanted to spend a full day the next day, and crashed out in the back of the car.
Woke up at 3am. Was still awake at 4. Climbed over into the front and drove to Minnipa, went through the town and parked at the ***Tcharchulat*** rock, climbed into the back of the car, went to sleep. Woke up around 8, got moving around 9-ish and went for a brief walk on the rock, checked out the shepard's hut, noted that I was feeling a strong urge to keep moving in a particular direction, ignored it, then headed into town to book my room for the night.
And discovered that the hotel was booked solid. There was a wedding, a 40th, and an 18th birthday all in town that day. I asked about staying in the shepard's hut. People can stay there, it even has a useable fireplace, it would have suited me nicely. That's where the 18th was going to be.
I left town. I wanted to stay in Minnipa, but it was going to be full of noisy people and I wasn't up for that. So I drove, then following the feeling I'd had earlier, turned right and headed down through Lock, towards Port Lincoln. Was tempted to stay in Lock, but decided to keep going. Nearly turned off to Cowles at one point, but kept going. Eventually reached Port Lincoln, decided that this would be a good area to stop in.
And I had reception! Rang Shaz and asked if she could look up hotels in the area and get back to me. When she eventually did, I had a room booked at the Hilton, for $79 - $4 more than the room at Minnipa would have cost. I actually would have preferred to stay in Minnipa, but did appreciate the irony.
Checked in, ate a little, had a really lovely shower and watched Top Gear, which I am firmly addicted to. Then bed.