Saturday, 24 September 2011

Going Down South - Day 1

You don't have to have travelled much to know that things seldom run smoothly to a plan. There are always those things that happen which throw the schedule out, sometimes by minutes, sometimes hours and sometimes out the window entirely.

Despite having the car packed last night, despite needing only an hour to leave town this morning, the gremlins set in. First I couldn't find a head small enough to drive the screws into the aluminium frames of the windows to make them impossible to open and the back up screw driver was packed under the luggage in a rare act of genius that couldn't be blamed on anyone else. Next, a fifty cent bolt wouldn't screw into place to lock the towing tongue and prevent vibration. After exhausting all the possibilities for replacement and several phone calls, I discovered a suitable nut in my toolbox ... as opposed to the one searching. Of course, initial to all of this, I hadn't had enough sleep due to an aching knee and the human hoover that is Sue's snoring.

Regardless, we were finally leaving Tamworth at 9:45, nearly two hours past the advertised flight time but it was a beautiful day and the road stretched out across the plains in that sort of endless way which occupies the time of hopeless romantics, truckers and country songwriters.

We stopped at Muswellbrook at the Cheese Factory Cafe, on the right immediately as you enter Muswellbrook. Sue had mentioned it as a potential coffee stop on every trip along this road since Adam was  lad and in one of those acts of generosity for which I am famous with women and condemned by men, we pulled in. They may sell cheese - there although I didn't see any - and they sell wine, meals and coffee. The service was prompt, the facilities two and a half stars, although I rate the toilets lower. The mocha I had was bland, too milky and almost devoid of chocolate. When we left, I had to turn right across the New England Highway, with limited vision in both directions. Apart from that, I'd recommend it.

Lunch was taken at the sporting fields beside Cessnock High School. This was pleasant ... well the bit after the gas stove caught fire, threatening to blevy the gas bottle or burn the trailer or both, that bit was pleasant. Sue coped well with the crisis whilst I put up her chair and wondered about her back support. Nice sandwiches but no tea.

The overcast conditions turned nastier as we pasted the Twins, now on the F3 and just as pregnancy eventually becomes a baby, so the clouds gave way to rain. Still, the traffic was light and our run into Sydney fairly comfortable. Needing to travel to our daughter's flat at Dulwich Hill in the inner Western Suburbs, I had foolishly imagined the GPS would bring us over the Coathanger and then over the Anzac Bridge. I said foolishly and for once I was right. If only I had backed my instinct. Instead, we took the tunnel, left the Eastern Distributor at the Kings Cross exit, headed up Oxford St toward the cross, into a suburb starting with E - possibly Edgecliff but we didn't fall off anything or see any upset called Cliff - before the GPS suggested we become Kiwis and make a U turn. This turned out to be a correct assessment as we were routed into the Cross City tunnel and ended up at Darling Harbour and then the Anzac Bridge. The Anzac Bridge ... so I was right all along. At least GPS and Peter were finally in agreement and we had created value for Fatty O'Barrel by supporting just about all the tollways in Sydney.

We were are Sarah's soon after and my parking wizard ways received further gasping reinforcement as I found a park for car and trailer in busy Yule St. I was only blocking two driveways and three other cars couldn't move, two of them because their driver side doors couldn't be opened. Strangely, I said a quick hello goodbye to Sarah and left Sue with her dorta whilst I continued on after a friendly threatening and mild abuse which I blocked out as locked the car door.

I drove the remaining 60 kilometres to my Dad's at Camden in more rain, arriving in the late afternoon. We had a pleasant dinner, caught up on life and then watched Gary Cooper and Princess Grace in High Noon. Dad loves a good western and this is a very good western. Can't believe it was made 60 years ago.

All of which leaves me reflect on what an uneventful day its been.

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