‘Thank goodness for those Aldi jackets’ I mused, wishing I perhaps bought one. Warm and waterproof were two things I wanted to be. I consulted with my travelling companions on the plan for the day – the zoo, and contingency plans as the outlook predicted rain. You see, we had plans to leave Dubbo this afternoon for a farmstay in nearby Mudgee.
Now, I don’t know about you, but two days stuck inside a farm while it’s raining outside might sound ideal. Actually, if I didn’t have the children, and I had a 4WD and a suitable cache of liquor and books, it would be very, very pleasant indeed. In this instance, however, I had kids, a Camry, an empty carton and no books. You could imagine my trepidation about the farmstay.
“Hello?” I answered cautiously
“Gwen here, from McDonalds Farmstay. Listen, it’s raining here, and there’s not much to do”
“I suppose it would be selfish for me to pray for sunshine?” I quipped
“I suppose it would be selfish for me to slash your tires if God came through with sunshine?” Gwen fired back
I suspected she was serious, and after an awkward pause, I thanked the Lord for rain, and thanked Gwen for calling, and made arrangements to visit later in the year when there may not be as much rain.
The morning was sorted – but what would we do on our spare Thursday and Friday ? We were due in Port Macquarie on Friday afternoon to meet up with family, and the originally we would go there straight after the farmstay. I put ‘the word’ out to friends and family in Sydney, and within minutes my very kind uncle and aunty offered us, humble Queensland travellers, to stay at their place for the next two nights. It was especially kind, considering it was State of Origin night, but more about that later.
Day two at the Dubbo Zoo was much better than day one, for the simple reason is we ditched those horrible bikes and elected to drive around the zoo. We saw all the animals in half the time PLUS I avoided a coronary! You could say we all won. Once again, the zoo was fantastic. The pictures were the same as yesterday, so I won’t double them up.
After lunch (and I must say, four days on the road and I’m really over bought food), it was time to hit the road to Sydney!
Unlike days previous, we travelled in relative sunshine, through rolling hills, quaint towns and past miles of farms. Quite lovely. Dinner for the kids was (three guesses) Maccas at Lithgow, the western gateway to the Blue Mountains. Lithgow didn’t get the memo that sunshine meant a bit of warmth, and we froze through 5oC. It was cold. Really cold. From there, we were ready to hit the Blue Mountains. I was prepping myself for a drive not too dissimilar to the slow, yet short drive up the range to Toowoomba, then down into Sydney. It was only about 150kms to my uncle and aunts, and I was thinking ‘1 1/2 hours, no sweat’. So, after driving around the 110km/h mark for a week, anything under 80km/h was slow. Tediously slow. Then, I got to Pennant Hills Road. Why there are not more homicides in the Hills district is anyones guess. I thought Brisbane’s one way streets were annoying, but driving through the Hills is pure murder. After some questionable u-turns, creative double line crossings and hard breaking, we managed to arrive at Thompson’s corner for some Thai and to find a suitable bottle-o that would cure my longing for a Queensland brew. From there, it was literally only another 3 illegal u-turns, interesting right turns and four polite toots of the horn that we arrived, safe and sound at my uncle and aunts.
As fate would have it, we arrived and unpacked just before the kick-off for State of Origin. He didn’t say it, but I know my uncle was ever so pleased I brought a sixer of XXXX Gold (and I know what you’re thinking, but the bottle-o didn’t sell XXXX Bitter). In fact, he was so pleased, after one beer he offered to keep the rest for safe-keeping, and got something that was a little more chilled (the Goldies had warmed slightly in the traverse from Thompson’s Corner to their place). I told him he’s welcome to keep them, and enjoy them later.Well, Maroon jersey donned, I was very gracious in victory.