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Trains are not good travel devices for Kathi's. The thump-a-bump-a-thump-a-bump got to be rather much. I had a great seat partner though, an small slender elderly man, who's name I was going to remember.... but didn't. He was a wheat farmer east of Perth near Merredin I think. He kept a separate house in Perth's swan valley where his wife lived, because she refused to live "in the middle of nowhere". His kids/grandkids were doing most of the farming these days. We chatted about how they pipe water out across the desert for all the towns along the train line. About how Australia is experimenting with the no-plow reseeding (he said it's working well). About "tree-chaff", though I think this would be called silage here? He tried to describe "chaff" to me, and it didn't sound like the dried wheat parts, though it was being fed to the animals as supplement feed. Anyway, these particular trees are being replanted in areas they used to grow to draw salt out of the soil, and their bark I think, is being fed to the critters. He'd had an interesting variety of odd jobs over the years, sometimes to supplement farming, sometimes before he got into that. He'd worked in the big mines, and done plastic welding, odd jobs. He said he traveled by train frequently as his "concession" (senior discount) made it cheaper than other travel meathods for him, so early on he traded seats so I could be by the window and see all the things along the way that he tried to point out.

The train stopped... alot... it'd pull onto sidings and wait for freight trains. It'd just stop sometimes. At one point they made an announcement saying there was too much air in the brake lines and they were braking without meaning too. At another point there was a definite burned brake smell. And of course, it stopped at all the places anyone might get on, as well as the two stops we were allowed to get off and walk around.

Kalgoorlie's a big mining town.. it was dead as a doornail at 2am, though apparently the big pit mining operation goes 'round the clock. Cook was in the middle of ... o_O Australia's version of Harney County. It's not sage brush, but you sure could fool the camera.



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