Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Day Two

Our leg today was from Dubbo to Balranald, not as far as yesterday’s journey, but full of variety.

It started with ice in Dubbo. Our host told me that this was the biggest frost so far this year, so as usual my timing was impeccable. There was a layer over much of the car, and a good covering on all the grass. Unlocking the trailer and hitching up in these conditions was not much fun.

Whilst I was checking out, a deputation of middle-aged women in their dressing gowns descended on the office, explaining in direct and specific terms that there was no hot water in the ablutions block. The proprietor was a wise man, and remained behind the counter whilst explaining that there was a backup set of showers in an adjacent building.

They were not happy campers, and set out to find the substitute showers with steam emanating from their ears. I left before they returned, unwilling to be a witness to a possible homicide.

Once on the road, I noticed that the real time read-out on the fuel consumption was delivering some alarming figures. I stopped to investigate, and discovered that in my haste to get back into the warm (car), I had allowed the park lock on the trailer to fall into the “on” position. The trailer brakes were dragging, and as well as increasing the fuel consumption, were heating up the hubs and axle more than somewhat. Once the lock was returned to the correct position, things settled back to normal.

The availability of lpg continues to be good (on the Newell, Midwestern and Sturt highways), and prices consistently remained half that of unleaded. The roads are great, and traffic generally light. The only hassle was a lack of EFTPOS at Hay and Balranald. Apparently there is a line out somewhere.

I’ve not ventured through this part of the world before, and enjoyed the beauty of the landscape particularly between Dubbo and Parkes. As we headed south and west, the characteristic colours and shapes of marginal saltbush country appeared, reminding me of the country between Longreach and Mount Isa.

Tomorrow is the last leg to Adelaide. It will be good to do something else other than driving for a change. I’d like to do this trip in a more leisurely fashion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Balranald eh?
Yep I used to cover that area a lot in my job. There's a truckstop just before Balranald that sells great boiled fruitcake.

Many years later me and no. 3 son (who incidently goes into the Army today)were enroute to Uluru. We crossed the Hay plain where you seem to be going uphill all the time, and I told my son about the great boiled fruitcake.

You wouldn't believe it as we pulled up, another car pulled up beside us - it was one of my mates I used to work with and I hadn't seen him for about 5 years. He liked the boiled fruitcake as well!

Looking at your pictures brought back great memories.

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