Monday, 22 September 2014

Engagements, Entertainment and Sunsets

After three previous attempts, thwarted by any manner of improbable circumstance, we finally got on the road for an extended stay. This road trip which will include an engagement party, a wedding, old friends and some National Parks which will be new to us, won’t just be a stand-alone experience. It will even more importantly be our final shakedown cruise before we disappear in January for six or more months.

Day 1 - Friday 19th Sept
Campsite at Towarri NP
After a typically late departure, our journey towards Sydney along the New England Highway was shorter than planned and we spent the night at Towarri National Park, to the west of Wingen in the very furthest regions of the upper Hunter Valley. It’s a small park, with no formal tracks and has been known locally for its water holes where swimming was an escape from the summer heat. Heat wasn’t our agenda, with the night time minimum just managing to stay in the single figure positive – only just!

There were few others in the campsite and for two of the three families who had combined in the late afternoon and early evening for a fun night around the camp fire and an evening of rustic self-entertainment followed by the chance to try out their new K-Mart special sleeping bags, the thermometer spelled doom. At about 2:00am, they left – quietly, it must be said – for warmer beds. We were and suitable combination of snug and smug.

Day 2 -Saturday 20th Sept
We were done and dusted in 45 minutes, thanks to our super little Avan and on our way to Camden and a few nights with my Dad. We arrived in enough time to shower, change and drive to Penrith for the engagement party of the eldest daughter of good friends Peter and Sue Quirk. It’s always a joyous occasion when you can announce to the world that one of your own will no longer be your responsibility! Quirky gave a fine speech – one of his best – the happy couple thanked everyone, including each other, several times but not without cause. It was a splendid afternoon.

Day 3 -Sunday 21st Sept
After a morning of conversation and advice to father about iPhones, the three of us went to a musical afternoon organised by a younger inmate of the retirement village and including some very fine singers. We were surprised at the quality. The tenor did a superb version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserable and his wife sang everything from musical comedy to an aria. At $15, it was better than value for money.

Catching up with Dad is always revealing. Just 89, he still has an active brain which is thirsty for new knowledge and how to use it. I hope I can be as acutely interested in life when my tern comes to be a senior.

Sunset over Myall Lakes
Day 4 -Monday 22nd Sept

Again the slow start – what is it with us on road days?

Food shopping and general organising after leaving Dad’s led to the inevitable coffee and conversation and we weren’t really on the road until 11:30am. Despite fears to the contrary, we had a good run on the M7 through Sydney’s western suburbs, being slowed only at the off ramp onto Pennant Hills Rd, where it took twenty minutes to make the turn from the time we joined the turning lane.

We stopped at the Ourimbah interchange on the M1 on the way north and ate a late-ish lunch. The joys of owning a quickly assembled home! Others had to concern themselves with the availability of tables and chairs and shade and the like. Roof and two walls up in thirty seconds and we were eating inside four minutes.

The last leg of the journey to Myall Lakes saw us arrive at Mungo Brush camping area at half past four and a wonderful hour by the water’s edge watching the sun go to sleep. This included a remarkable panoramic shot taken with the iPhone. What amazing technology!

If this sunset is to be the standard of the next six weeks, it’s going to be a spectacular holiday!

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