Yesterday's drive was fairly uneventful, save for my being nabbed by a speed camera. Stupidly, I'd forgotten that the Australians celebrate holidays by placing speed cameras everywhere, doubling the penalties for breaking traffic laws, and by generally getting in your face in an extremely annoying way. So, even in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere in the Western Australian wheat belts, I had to slow to 55 kph to avoid getting flashed yet again by the speed cameras. I'm really tired of the Australian national obsession with slow driving at this point - it's harder and harder to understand.
We pulled into Kalgoorlie-Boulder, aka Kal, at about one o'clock. I'd planned on getting into town in the afternoon so that I could do some shopping - you know, groceries and maybe some clothing from the Rivers discount outlet - but I didn't realize it was a holiday when I made my plans. Thing is, it was the Queen's Birthday, and, as a public holiday, it also meant that just about everything in town was closed. The only shops open were all the liquor shops, some of the fast food joints, and a gas station or two. Unfortunately, this meant no new clothing, no Coles or Woolies, and an awful lot of peanut butter sandwiches for the next few days. At least we'll get rid of the peanut butter.
I like this town OK. Being an old gold rush town, there are any number of huge, imposing stone buildings with elaborate architecture. The post office looks like it was ripped from the Stanford campus - it's got that Hoover Tower stone look, complete with a giant bell tower and huge flag. It's pretty cool. We're staying at the swank Mercure Plaza hotel, a steal at A$89 for a very comfortable room with breakfast included. It's fugly from the outside, but the rooms are pleasantly decorated in that vaguely French corporate manner some Accor hotels do so well. If only cigarette smoke were seeping in from the corridor, you might think you were in Reims or something.
Today it's off to Eucla, which is just west of the Western Australia - Southern Australia border. There's not much there save for a gas station and motel; there is an old, abandoned telegraph station south of town which we'll probably visit if we get into town before dark. Highlight of the day: the 90-mile stretch, the world's longest straight stretch of paved road!