We had entered the Nullarbor Plain, a “flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country of southern Australia, located on the Great Australian Bight coast with the Great Victoria Desert to its north.” It is also, apparently, the world’s largest single piece of limestone and stretches more than 1,100 km from Western Australia into Southern Australia. It is hot, dry and dusty. Used by the nomadic Spinifex and Wanagi peoples, it was described as “a hideous anomaly, a blot on the face of Nature, the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams” by Edward John Eyre, the first European to cross the plain (1841.) The main highway through the land is named for him. I find this fact a bit sad, because while the land is harsh and unforgiving — you need to bring your own water with you — it’s got a grandeur and harsh nobility to it. It deserves a better highway than one named after a guy who hated the place.
Strangely, for a region named for its lack of trees, there sure are a lot of them. True, they’re mainly sad-looking eucalyptus bushes — which often look like broccoli sprouts with a hormone problem — but by any measure they’re trees.
Just before we left the lush wetlands of the southwest, however, I had my first run in with The Man outside Belladonna. Despite the Beast’s large size, it just wants to lunge forward when I put it in 5th gear. And so, I tend to let it have its head, and before I knew it, a cop car was approaching. As they passed me, they flashed their lights and I watched in my rearview mirror as they made a quick turn-around.