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My F117 RST Nullarbor Adventure - Part 11

I eased back onto the road with the lights of Pt Augusta soon glowing in the distance. I kept my speed down incase another roo jumped out in front of me. It's then that I notice 3 bright lights in my drivers side mirror, but not in the part of the mirror that I would normally see them.

I craned my head around for a quick glance and the lights immediately dimmed. They were 3 lights in a diagonal fashion, so my first thought is that's it's a regional aircraft turning on its final approach. Once again the three bright lights appeared in the mirror. I had to lean forward as far as I could to see them off to my right behind me and once again they immediately dimmed when I turned from the mirror to have a look. This happened about 4 times and I still can't explain what I saw. I'll have to check a map to see if there's a train line there, otherwise who knows…

As I entered Pt Augusta, memories of a large truck stop came to mind, but it was no longer where I expected it to be, so I continued on across the bridge wondering if there'd be one at all these days. Thankfully one appeared on my left, but it didn't look as authentic as Balladonia or Nullarbor Roadhouse. I'm thinking, is this as good as it gets here. So I pull in, there's loads of parking space and only one B Double and one silver and orange trailer and dolly. I parked between both of those, but noticed it's very bright and will need to move if I plan to stay the night. For now, it's more important to find the bathroom and order some dinner, if they have a dining room.

The place is quiet apart from the TV, which thankfully wasn't overly loud with only one other guy waiting for his dinner. The place was clean, so I wandered up and looked at the electronic menu above the counter. My heart longed for the old truck stops I stopped at the previous two nights as that was what my adventure was all about. The older worn counters, the chalk board menus and the warm cosy feel with the shelves of souvenirs surrounding the dining area. I'd been eating lightly the previous evenings, so I decided to treat myself to a t-bone with chips, gravy and salad. I grabbed a chair facing the TV and tethered my iPad to my old iPhone 4. “The Voice” was showing on TV and my cynical father came out in my thoughts about how the crowd screams before they've sung the first line and then they praise up everyone that appears. To me if their voice isn't unique enough for me to recognise them on the radio, I personally just don't see the point. It is “The Voice” after all…

I crack open my Coke Zero to have with my dinner and reflect on both the Kangaroo, the lights and just my day in general, whilst having a quick look at Facebook. It isn't long and my dinner arrives, it looks great with lots of chips, fresh salad and a generous bowl of tasty gravy on the side. It's tastes every bit as good as it looks.

After dinner I decide to have a look at what's on offer near the fuel counter. Lots of globes, additives, sealants and a few accessories. I take a mental note incase I discover anything that needs attention the next morning. I just want to move the truck out of the light to a safe spot out of direct light into the cabin, lie down in the bunk, surf around on the iPad a little more and pass out.

As I walk back to the truck, I notice the silver and orange trailer and dolly again and it reminds me of my first ever trip in a truck to Darwin some 40 years earlier when I was 12. The driver was a young bloke named Eddy Holland, he'd had a big crash not long before, had just purchased a slim line F model from John Kennelly and had it painted silver and orange. He was a fairly quiet young guy back then and I jumped at the chance to go for a trip in a semi. There was no passenger seat, the passenger window had a huge crack in it, so it couldn't be opened and we fashioned a seat out of the usual wooden crate of tinned food, sleeping bags and blankets. I was so impressed by the feel of the machine under us with the mighty 237 Maxidyne going through a 5 speed with an overdrive on the second stick. It also had jakes fitted and that just added to the experience. I knew one day I'd relive the experience in some way...

I actually took this pic way back then after washing the truck out front of Freight Brokers up in Darwin that afternoon whilst Eddy went off to the pub with his dad Hookie and a guy named Kurt Jekyll. I later gave the picture to Eddy as he liked it so much, but still have the negative somewhere. If you look closely you can spot the cracked passenger window and that the trailer is cocked up on the right front as one of the McGraths wide spread rocker bolts had broken causing the left rear to sag. I found this picture on Facebook on the F model groups page at the same time of finding the advert selling my Ol girl. Eddy’s son Buddy (who I've never met as I lost contact with Eddy in the early ‘90s) had the photo scanned by a fellow member who posted it up… Small world eh!