We woke to rain. I may have mentioned it was spitting the day before?
The plan, after coffee, was to hit the town of Parkes and a visit to ‘the Dish’, made famous by the movie of the same name for its part in delivering motion pictures of the Apollo 11 mission from the moon to the viewing masses. Incidentally, did you know Armstrong wasn’t the first man on the moon? No, it was Morgan, and if you haven’t yet heard this story, tall yet true, do yourself a favor.
So coffee was brewed and the thermos filled, our Aldi ski jackets to the ready, and hit the road. I only mentioned Neil Armstrong before for one reason. His lunar module landed on a surface not to dissimilar to the road from Dubbo to Parkes. The main difference was Armstrong didn’t need to contend with rain, b-double trucks and piles of dead kangaroos. You could say our trip to Parkes was more Apollo 13 than Apollo 11, but never the less, we got there.
There’s a few very small towns, almost ghost-like on that stretch of road. Abandoned houses, boarded up shops and shadows of former glory still ruminate, but there was an eery forebodence as we passed through those introverted villages on that dark, and stormy day. I tried to capture a photo or two, without much luck.It’s hard to underestimate the commitment the dudes at the CSIRO. They live literally in the sticks, their offices are these ex-mining demountables and they sit around listening to the sound of stars. Do you know what the stars sound like?
Are you sure?
Truly, they listen to these random clicking sounds, and can deduce, well, I’m not too sure what they can deduce. What I do know is they fail to confirm or deny if the moon is made of cheese. They had a list of projects on the go, and it all seemed to be about listening to more clicky sounds.
Never the less, we had a wonderful 15 minutes at the Parkes radio telescope, and after all that excitement we couldn’t wait to get back to Dubbo. Thankfully, we were blessed with more rain on the way back. Back in Dubbo, and famished from driving we stopped into the Church Street Cafe. If you’re in Dubbo, I can’t rate this place highly enough. Great service, fantastic tukka and an all round nice vibe. After a hearty lunch we headed over to the Old Dubbo Gaol. For any Yank readers, gaol is the correct way to write jail. The Old Dubbo Gaol is literally wedged between two buildings – it’s tiny! Like any old-time gaol, it’s not hard to empathise with the hard conditions of the time. The old sandstone seems to echo the cries of old, and the friendly guide was macabre in his explanation that the Old Dubbo Gaol had the most well preserved set of hangman’s nooses in the Southern Hemisphere. Despite the rain, we were having a nice time in Dubbo. It was cold, but great to get away and do new things with the children. The google weather map promised a clearing in the weather for the next two days, which would be great seeing as we had planned on hitting the Western Plains Zoo. On Wednesday night we’d booked ourself into a farmstay just outside of Mudgee, which promised to be great, pending suitable weather.
We settled in for another rainy evening, hoping, looking forward to the next days adventures at the famous Western Plains Zoo!