Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday 254km
I took flight out of Sydney at midday yesterday as planned. As my speed increased on the M4, so did my anxiety concerning jumpin’ joan. She handled the weight of her load, a speed of up to 110, as well as the many potholes we encountered with strength and grace however. As per my ‘agreement with self’ to not drive longer than one hour at a stretch (so I can experience the landscape from more than the windscreen alone) I stopped in Lawson and had a ‘norm burger’ with hot chips and a ginger beer. The next stretch of bitumen took me to Bathurst where I had a chance to get some money out of an ATM. It was nearing four o’clock and the brilliant sun hung just above the road ahead of me, blinding me and reducing visibility in some stretches to just meters in front of me. Of all the extras I fitted joan out with, a bull-bar just didn’t make it on and having seen three rather large dead roos on the road since Katoomba I thought it might be a good idea to start looking for a place to camp. On trips I’ve taken in the past, the first night tends to set the mood for the trip and I wanted to find a good spot to test my camping gear and acclimatise. As I drove through Blayley there was a mobile RBT unit and the coppers waved me over to the side of the road. I proudly showed them my Aussie ‘gold’ drivers licence and they asked me to count slowly to five into a machine they put in my face. I cleared the test and asked if there was a place to park my van for the night around here and one of them directed me to a caravan park up the road. I pulled in to what looked to me more like a trailer park and enquired about how much…
“need power?”
“need any hook-ups or amenities?”
“ok, that’s $18 then”
“ok thanks then, tah”There was no way I was going to pay $18 to stay in a trailer park on my first night. I started thinking how that would add up to 20% more than the rent I paid in Sydney for my little flat in Darlinghurst and my blood began to boil. As I pulled onto the mid western highway and left Blayley, I saw a sign for ‘wind farm viewing area’ and ‘dam’. I veered left and as I pulled into the dam basin I beheld a string of campsites, some occupied, many vacant. I couldn’t see a sign describing fees so I pulled into a spot on the hill and settled in. The sunset was amazing and despite the large sign next to the lake that said ‘Warning, toxic algae – may be harmful to humans and pets, no swimming, drinking or fishing’, I felt like I had found my little piece of paradise.

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