I have just read a couple of posts by fellow bloggers I follow, and just when i thought I was about to go to bed, I have been inspired for just one more post. ( Thanks Sara in la la land and Purple Owl !!)
Both were talking about childhood experiences, and so it got me thinking about some of the travels our family did when I was a kid.
Because half our family lived in 1 major city in Australia, and the other half in another about 2000km away, we traveled quite a bit between the two. This is in the day when air travel was just too expensive for a family to fly, so every time it was a road trip.
Most of the time, we would take the “inland route” between Brisbane and Melbourne. This involved driving from Brisbane, west to a place on the NSW/QLD border called Goondiwindi ( pronounced gun-da-windy), south from there down through the western plains of NSW, into the eastern Riverina, down through the Goulburn Valley and into Melbourne. Depending on how quickly dad wanted to get there, it was either a 2 or 3 day trip.
Now, also bear in mind, this was also before tablet computers and in car DVD’s, so me and my brother would be encouraged to take in and appreciate the scenery, and we would also play games like spot the <insert colour> car first, or this other game where you would make up statements and crazy things based on the letters on an other cars registration plate. It was a lot of fun, and hey, yes we used to use bad language, but that made it all the more funny and enjoyable.
I think my love of the Australian landscape was born on these trips. Sometimes, we’d see mile after mile of sunflowers, all with their heads facing the sun. Other times it was rugged mountains, dry and desolate. Then we would be in a region that was just orchard after orchard of every fruit you could imagine.
Another thing was seeing how each landscape morphed into the next, and how when you traveled through the same place in a different season, it was almost a completely different place.
One trip we made, it had been a particularly wet year, and I vividly remember roadside drains, that were cut deep into the roadside probably between 3 and 5 feet deep, filled with water, and seeing lots of semi trailer trucks half submerged on a 45 degree angle in them, where unwary truckies had unexpectedly wandered off the road at an inopportune moment. This was a time also before truck drivers were limited on how many hours they could drive, so a lot of them were off their brains on amphetamines, and been driving for days on end. No wonder they ended up in a ditch on the side of the road.
Now, aside from those big adventures to see family in distant lands, we also used to go on weekend adventures a lot as well. We lived halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in SE Qld, so were very close to the mountains of the Hinterland. Sometimes we would go to specific places, like Springbrook, or Mt Tambourine, where we would go walking through the rainforest to wonderful waterfalls and scenic lookouts. We’d feed the lorikeets and watch the pademelon wallabies, which was always a buzz.
Sometimes we’d just go on a drive. My dad had a nickname, Never Go Back, because we would just find a road in the middle of nowhere, and drive down it to see where it went. When we came to a cross road, we’d decide to go what ever way, and on it went. Sometimes we’d be so lost that when we finally came across a place we knew, it would blow our minds as to how we ended up there !!! And as dads nickname suggests, we never went back the way we came unless we just could not go further. It was during this time that I learnt that you really don’t need a four wheel drive to go most places, you just need a car with decent clearance and know how to drive. In later years, I would find myself going past the places four wheel drives had turned around because they thought it was too hard to get through, in my trusty little Lada Cevaro front wheel drive hatchback.
I’m getting rather weary now, so I might leave it there for now, but I promise, I will tell you the story of our round Australia adventure soon. It was the early 90’s. A small hatchback. A homemade trailer filled with camping gear and supplies. 20,000km ahead of us. 2 kids and Mum and Dad. An adventure awaited. To be continued >>>>> ( I just had to put the Back To The Future reference in there !!)