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As I write this, TC is winging her way homewards. Veronica Viva is basking in the fact that she carried us over 3000 kilometres (close to 2000 miles) in just 12 days.

On Tuesday we left Melbourne for the longest day’s drive of the road trip aiming to put Sydney within easy striking distance yesterday. We made it to the town of Yass just after nightfall, but not before a pit stop in Gundagai.

When in Gundagai, it’s customary to visit the Dog on the Tuckerbox. Here is TC looking suitably, and politely, impressed as the sun sets behind her.

Gundagai - Dog on the Tuckerbox

Winter has been slow to arrive this year, but Yass did not disappoint yesterday morning, providing us with the first zero temperatures (Celsius) of the trip and a decent fog to drive through after breakfast before the sun burned it off.

Hume Highway - Yass to Sydney

TC’s last night was spent in Sydney, including Thai take away food and some time with my family – and packing!

It was super busy at the airport this morning, but we made time for farewells. We stacked up lots of memories on this trip, including a number of video “Carpool Karaokes” in the can for our future amusement. Because, as you know, what happens on the road stays on the road.

Sydney Int Airport - 16 June 2016 - 1

 

 

 

Today was about sustenance. A day’s driving negotiating the western edge of a huge rain system required as much. What better way to start than with a BIG breakfast in Tenterfield.

 

Big breakfast - Willow Tree Cafe - Tenterfield - 5 June 2016

And so it began. In Glen Innes, TC snagged her first kookaburra photograph.

Kookaburra - Glen Innes - TC iPhone - 5 June 2016A thermos for tea on the road - 5 June 2016

At Guyra, it was time for a cup of tea. Just as well we came prepared with a thermos as all the residents of Guyra (including the cafe operators) were being sensible on this soggy Sunday and not venturing out into the street. .

Guyra - rainy Sunday 5 June - main street

We found more sustenance further south in Walcha in the form of hot chocolate and chai latte. There is quite an affection for motor cycles and other things metal in this town.

Walcha cafe - motor bikes - 5 June 2016Walca - Antipodean Tynker - 5 June 2016

TC was working the iPhone late into the afternoon as we began to negotiate the curves around the mountain. The saturated rock faces were liberating more than the occasional small obstacles as we made our way through the Barrington Tops landscape towards tonight’s destination of Gloucester.

TC - iPhone Day 2 road trip - 1

It was definitely worth it for this late afternoon view.

Barrington Tops view - 5 June 2016

When you’ve just had the warmth blown out of your bones in the Badlands National Park, this is the kind of family-run restaurant you need to fall across off the highway.

The Sunday lunch special was broiled chicken with green peas, mashed potato and gravy. There appeared to be three generations of the family involved in this home-cooking venture. It smelled just wonderful as we entered the WARM dining room filled with locals.

We ended up opting for something lighter. I didn’t quite expect the gravy on the hot roast beef sandwich to be so generous a serving. 🙂

Jigger's RestaurantReuben sandwichRoast beef sandwich

in our wake

This is the last post in the “on the road” category until we set off on the next trip on the menu – time and destination at this point unknown.  (Please note – the blog will continue on other themes as usual).

As I watched the wake at the end of today’s boat trip, I started to reflect on what will be stored in the memory bank.  Not in any particular order, here’s a selection for deposit.

bloody van 1

resilience

moon on Wolfe Creek Crater

big skies

on top of the dune - Big Red

big dunes

Lizard Racing Track

bush entertainment

786466a6e3b211e293ab22000a9f1919_7

country pubs

derby-sand-flats-landscape-from-air-11.jpg

tides writ large from the air

deck chairs - Broome's outdoor cinema

outdoor cinema

road train on the Tanami

road trains

Freckleton's

small towns

Bitter Springs reflection 1

swimming holes

Closed sign - Fran's Teahouse

care-free attitudes

Old Derby gaol

history

Wyndham - Rusty Shed Cafe

good coffee in out-of-the-way places

Chambers Pillar 1

tall features in the desert

1 August wildflower

wildflowers

Blanche Cup

surprises

Giekie Gorge afternoon 1

gorges

Matso's Brewery

alcoholic ginger beer at Matso’s

fishing beach - Cape Leveque

white sand beaches

Freshie - Lake Argyle

wildlife

1 Aug - behind Little Merten Falls

waterfalls

Kati Thandi - Lake Eyre sunset

sunsets

mandle-candle.jpg

eating out

1 Aug - ripped tyre

evidence of road conditions

fresh tracks

over 17,000 kilometres

Flight 3

awesome aerial views

blue winged kookaburra water colour and pencil

bird life

Five Rivers Lookout 1

big landscapes

Purnululu fire place

campfire conversations

Is it just me or I am right to be wary of going on a 12 week road trip to Broome and back where half the volume on board is taken up by items (with the possible exception of insect repellent and sunscreen) aimed at being able to manage a situation AFTER the event.

Some people may consider me to be a tad risk averse and this is indeed true. The fact that Himself (the more adventurous one in the party of two) is taking great care to be prepared for the worst is not exactly adding to my anticipation of a fun time being had by all.

If it was left to me, travel preparation would go thus.

1. book plane ticket

2. tick box for insurance

3. pack camera, a few clothes with the passport

4. make way to airport

I offer this reassuring note to my friends, particularly those who laughed out loud and for a long time when I told them we were going on a LONG journey with a van and a tent.

If we do get bogged, we have a big jack, something called a winch, and copious tools and rope. If we get a flat tyre we have something that pumps it up again after it’s repaired with whatever’s in the tyre repair kit and two spare tyres. Amazingly we will be lowering the pressure of our tyres deliberately from time to time – apparently it’s a 4WD thing you need to do when going over sand.

We won’t be fishing or camping anywhere near crocodiles – and if we do, I’ll be the one up a tree a couple of kilometres away.

We have a first aid kit and I have brushed up on how to manage a snake bite. I say this seriously as – I don’t like snakes and I cannot lie.

If the engine overheats and things blow we’ve got that covered. Spare fuel containers – tick; spare water containers – tick; additional car battery – tick.

Not to mention other items meant to (let’s face it, not really) replace the usual comforts of home.

portable cubicleFront of mind, there’s this pop-up privacy structure for showering. How creative was it for someone to invent a gizmo that pumps water from a bucket using a hand held rose. The aforesaid structure will also house a portable toilet. I’m hoping it’s my imagination but I can feel my body shutting down at the mere thought. If this isn’t tied down with guy-ropes in a stiff breeze, at least there’s the basis of a funny story somewhere down the blog track.

If you’re reading this, we’re on our way. Himself might consider this something of a miracle given my expressed reluctance thus far. Still, I’m looking forward to getting where we’re going even if the method of travel is by caravan.

Hold on – what’s that Himself is saying? “Did we pack the ……?”