May 6 It’s a Great Big Place… (Day 222)

…Full of Nothing But Space, and It’s My Happy Place!

You say your dog ran away,
And out here it can take 3 days.
I’ve heard every joke,
I’ve heard everything you say.

You think there’s not a lot goin’ on.
But look closer baby, you’re so wrong,
And that’s why you can stay so long,
When there’s not a lot goin’ on.

From the TV show “Corner Gas” set in Saskatchewan, Canada, just about as flat and expansive as the Nullabor Plain, but not as big!!
We woke up in the Nullabor…

At 6:21am we opened our blinds to the view on the bottom right! At 7:11am we repaired to the lounge car to wait for breakfast service, top right view. At 8:09am we waved to the lone person on the siding at Forrest, which looked like it consisted of a dirt airfield, power lines and no visible housing, maybe behind some trees in the distance, bottom left view. At 10:45am we crossed the WA/SA (Western Australia/South Australia) border.

After lunch at about 2:30 we stopped in the ghost town of Cook. Established in 1917 when the railway was built, it was a major center for track maintenance and locomotive and rolling stock repairs, and it supported a school and hospital. The town was effectively closed in 1997 when the Australian National Railways’ assets were sold to a private railway operating company and has a population of 4 now. Cook is the only scheduled stop on the Nullarbor Plain for our passenger train and has little other than curiosity value for us passengers strolling around while the train is replenished with water. We disembarked and strolled for about 45 minutes, learning the “Australian Wave”, flicking your hand across your face to scatter the flies buzzing around!

The largest building still standing is the old school with the now filled-in swimming pool out front!
A newspaper laying in the shade under the 2nd story deck dated from 1998 and advertised a concert with Elton John & Billy Joel for March 18 in Adelaide!

The railway line has the longest straight section of railway in the world (478 km; 297 mi)!

Robert had time to set up his drone and fly over the townsite to take a picture of the Indian Pacific in it’s entirety, dwarfed by the surrounding flat plain!

We boarded the train when the whistles blew and continued down the track and into the night, enjoying our second gourmet dinner and nightcaps in the lounge car!

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