Like glassy-eyed, purple zombies we shuffled in unison, silently, towards the glowing green light that promised sustenance.
It was 3.30am, which seemed a reasonable time for coffee, but the roadhouse manager was having none of it.
"You've got to be kidding me. I'm not turning the coffee machine on at this time," he said.
Too tired to argue, we shuffled back and resumed our positions on the bus - our home for the next 48 hours.
Only Margaret Bloom, the 76-year-old Fremantle foundation member from Busselton, could summon up a single "we're off to the MCG" chant as she boarded.
Someone then tried singing "the wheels on the bus" chant, which also fell flat.
But two hours later, the silence was punctuated by a shriek: "Look, it's the sun!"
And so it was. The bright golden orb was rising from the horizon to reveal never-ending bush framing a straight highway and - more importantly - a sign: "Cappucino: 1km."
We had survived our first night aboard the Freo Express and it was cappuccinos and toasted sandwiches all round as we stopped in Balladonia, 940km down the road from Freo, to stretch our legs.
As the coffee kicked in, conversation resumed and, naturally, it involved the Dockers and their prospects this weekend.
Mark Janzekovic rushed to the phone box to call his wife, who is the reason he and son Jakob ended up on the bus.
They got tickets in the ballot but after the cost of flights rocketed, they gave up hope of getting to the game.
"But then my missus found out about the bus and booked us on it, so I pulled my son out of school and he has been on cloud nine ever since," Mr Janzekovic said.
"It's not every day you get a chance like this, so we've got to make the most of it."
Frances Finch, 27, who dyed her hair purple for the occasion, and boyfriend Andrew Dean avoided the stress of the ballot by upgrading to grand final package memberships for this season.
"Everyone was laughing at us at the start of the year but not now," Mr Dean said.
"I've been having heart palpitations all week," Ms Finch said. "They had better win or it's going to be a very depressing ride home."
The bus rolled on with the wide-awake mob now happy to cheer and laugh.
Even the highway police are Dockers fans on the Nullarbor, as we found when they pulled us over and climbed aboard - only to cheer us on.
They also promised to pull over any Hawthorn supporters.
We reached the WA-South Australia border, 1800km from home, where thirsty passengers enjoyed a beer at Border Village.
Then it was back on the road with another 28 hours stretched before us - as we all found our own ways to be amused.
Some read books or chatted with neighbours while for this crew it was TV shows on the iPad and a family-size packet of M&Ms, which disappointingly ended up tipping upside down and rolling down the aisle.But, as we've learnt, there is always another roadhouse and so, in the meantime, we stare out the window at the vast, beautiful landscape and daydream about that last Saturday in September.