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not only but also
Sydney antics 
20th-Oct-2009 11:14 am
Two weekends ago, I drove up to Sydney and back, primarily to attend a 70th wedding anniversary. I didn't fly because a) I hate flying; b) its a pain to drive or get driven to Tullamarine and back, combined with having to fluff about in Sydney to get to the places I wanted to go to without a car; c) I could accomplish some other goals on the way, like stopping in tiny country towns where various ancestors used to live; and d) I hadn't done it before.

So I drove up the Hume on Saturday, stayed with some lovely friends for two nights in Sydney, did the touristy walking the bridge thing, went to the anniversary celebration, and then drove back and back down by the Pacific, Snowy Mountains and Bonang highways, stayed in Orbost on Monday night with my grandmother, then drove the rest of the way home on the Tuesday.

For my own amusement and possibly to explain how I crashed and died, I randomly recorded myself blithering from time to time. Not as much as I sort of expected to, because I really enjoyed having hours and hours with no one else there and found no need to fill the car with talking. I thought I'd post it, mostly so I have a record of trip.

[is editoral or explanatory :)]

6am Pinewood
ok, its just past 6, its freezing. I didn't realise daylight savings had kicked in quite that strongly - obviously Hamish has been nice to me in the last week or so. The sun hasn't come up. Its been a very clear night. I have some bakery goods. And now I am going to get in the car.

I am hoping its going to be a very smooth run. I'm going to run up and get some petrol, and then head north as fast as possible.

6.30am Burwood East
Finally got some petrol, about to head off. Weirdly there were a bunch of petrol heads at Pinewood that clearly had been driving around in a big collection. That was a kinda strange. Sun's about to come up, which is going to be messy, but at least I have my sunglasses.

I hadn't realised that daylight savings had meant I was going to be leaving in the dark; which is good, I kinda like it.

7am, I dunno, on the ring road I think
There are balloons floating over Melbourne. They must be freezing their arse off, but it must be very pretty too. Sun's coming up behind me, they're quite some distance in the air, I dunno. You can see them in the dark because the flames from the burners keep going off.

7.10am, Thomastown?
Aaaaargh. I've timed this beautifully - I have the sun in every mirror as I am heading out towards the Hume freeway. Arrgh, my brain, its so bright. Its right on the horizon and literally in both side mirrors and the rear vision mirror, and I am about to explode. Argh. And the guy in front of me is going slow, get away from me I need to get away from this, its causing me great pain.

11am, somewhere south of Gundagai
Argh. Passing construction work on the Hume in New South Wales. They're making it all dual carriage way, it should be awesome when its done, but right now its a pain in the ass. I'm doing 50 when I'd really rather be doing 110. Um, heading for Gundagai, I think I will stop there for petrol and maybe lunch too.

I saw Pedro in Wangaratta, that was neat. Stopped there for an hour or so, chatted about stuff, mostly kids, as you'd expect. Noticing a difference in the road quality [and the sound quality as a result] but I guess they're trying to upgrade that. Its still annoying. Gundagai was going to be an hour away, now its probably an hour and a half away. ooo, nearly at 60.

11.10am, maybe a km further on
I will stop complaining about doing 50, cos I am now doing 40 due to road works. We're in.. the bicycle lane, or shoulder, everything else is closed. Ooo, 60. Not sure why because there's no one doing anything. [garbled]

11.30am, I dunno, just outside Tarcutta I think
I dunno if this is a state-related thing, but New South Wales appears to still have a lot of towns straddling the highway, who have apparerntly decided that 50km/hour through is a good idea. [garble garble] Still trying to get to Gundagai before my bladder explodes and the car runs out of petrol.

11.35am, really, driving along roadworks is boring
Another observation - New South Wales appears to have a lot less of those 'this far to X' distance signs. Victoria was getting a bit strange, there was a sign every kilometer or so. New South Wales has a lot more dead kangaroos on the side of the road. I think its the stupid random fences - the roos get stuck on them and can't get away. We saw a lot of it on the way back from Canberra in 2002 too. A sign! Gundagai, 26. Hoorah.

Around 2pm
[garbled Something about the stupid NSW radio station that was interfering with the ipod/radio thing I had. It worked brilliantly other than that, thanks tacomonkey]

Around 4pm, heading for Goulbourn
[garbled] Windscreen 400, bugs nil. I heading towards Goulbourn, maybe 40km away, and the entire ridgeline is lined with gigantic windmills. I presume its a pilot project for power generation, but they look very cool. They're all spinning like giant mercedes benz symbols.

The highway goes right between them, or at least nearby. They're very cool.. gods, they're enormous. The blades are huge; I can only assume its directly for power. Truly it is the future. Using technology from the past. Or something

Around 5pm somewhere just into the national park bit
There appears to be something wrong with the speedo, or every fucker in New South Wales speeds. I am sitting on 110, and I've been passed by 60 cars in the last 20 minutes. I've passed other people, it can't just be me... I think everyone that is passing me is an ass. There just seems to be a higher than usual number of asses.

Around 6pm, getting closer to Sydney. Also, bored.
The last twenty minutes or so, been going through bushland, uh, going through hills. Its boring. There's nothing to see, so I'm tuning out a bit. Its also nearly 6pm, so I've been driving for twelve hours. I think I just got passed by someone I passed before. Basically lots of low, crowded in trees. You can't see very far, there's nothing to see, so I found myself vaguing out.
Possibly also exhausted.

Around 6.30pm, somewhere in the middle of Sydney
Dear Sydney, you are allowed to put signs more than 3m in front of the turnoff. I have no idea which tollways I've gone down, and which ones I haven't gone down, there's no signage to the last second. The signs are confusing, North Sydney vs City North vs fuckyou.

[Two days pass]

[On Monday morning I went out via the Harbour bridge (not worth it when you're driving, walk it instead) and made the decision to go south along the coast at least to Kiama to take some photos there. I stopped in Wollongong for a break (for godsake, put some public toilets in that town) and to get lost (why am I in Illawarra Grammar School?) and then kept heading going south, finding more of the ubiquitous roadworks.

After nearly blowing the engine in Kiama (ooo, 7K revs) when the car wouldn't cooperate with going up a steep hill, I decided to keep going down the coast. I stopped at Bateman's Bay for lunch, and then cut in up to the mountains just north of Bega.

Unless you're planning to stop and look around at stuff, the Pacific highway is a bit frustrating. It takes a while to get to areas where you can do 100km/hr, and it feels like it wobbles around a lot rather than going straight down the coast. The Hume is boring, but its boring at 110km/hr]

Around 5pm Monday, in Delegate
Aha, so I made it back down to Delegate. I forgot to get the voice recorder out every time I stopped, so, haven't said much on the way back. Sydney is mad - I think because it's built on hills, and you can't see more than 30 eet in front of you at a time, so you come around a bend and there are signs saying "you have to be in the left hand lane!", you're fucked.

Delegate is very small. Church street is very small. There's a church on it tho, I just assumed it was named after someone Church. Um.. heading for Hayden's Bog.

I've been to Bombala. I came down via the coast. That was a poor choice. I should have gone via Canberra, it took much much longer, and there was a lot of idiocy and strangeness. Although it was very nice to come up the Snowy Mountain Highway, to go from sea level to 800 metres in the air in about a kilometer. Anyway, off toward Hayden's Bog.

Around 5.15pm
Cross the border, suddenly the road has a divider. This is an excellent thing, given I'm going up and down over small hills at 100, and you can't see the other side, and the road is only about 1.5 cars wide. I have the Dead Man soundtrack on, it seemed appropriate. Still heading for Hayden's Bog, hoping there's something there, hoping I haven't missed it already, cos it might be one of those small localities. We shall see.

Around 5.45pm, heading away from Bendoc
Bendoc has been visited. Ta da. I did actually miss Hayden's Bog, I think its the farmhouse I saw. I assume relatives weren't living specifically there, but somewhere nearby [when the electoral roll was done]. Now I am on the Bendoc-Orbost road, and its small as well and the lines have disappeared and now there is a big sign saying "logging trucks". If I die, I want my stuff. Ok, both hands now.

Around 6pm, near the intersection of Bendoc-Orbost Rd and Bonang Highway
Twelve kilometers of gravel road. Ah, coming down hill like Mountain Highway between Sassafrass and the Basin. Its rained earlier, so its all wet, and there are logging trucks. I might have mentioned that. So that was a little exciting. It is, however, gorgeous. So I've stopped at the bottom of the hill just before the Bonang Highway. And the Bonang River is here, so I'm going to try and take a couple of photos, without getting leeched.

Quite glad I didn't crash. There were a couple of points where I felt the car skid, um, so doing 50 most of the way. Hello river, you look very pretty. With lots of dead blackberries.

[Aaaand then, 65km of winding road. Not an exaggeration. There was a sign. It said "65km of winding road". Some of it was sealed, some of it was not, some of it was along valleys, other bits had 200m drops on one side and bits of collapsed cliff all over the road. I didn't get out of 3rd gear for over an hour. I wasn't game to record anything because I had both hands on the wheel for the whole time.

Then I stayed with my grandmother in Orbost on Monday night, and headed off again, picking up tacomonkey from Sale on the way through, and home by Tuesday 2.30.]

20th-Oct-2009 05:45 am (UTC)
One of the reason for the roadworks in NSW is to bypass all those towns that make you slow down to 50. Also, Victorians seem to stick to the speed limit a lot more than NSW or ACT drivers - I guess your cops are tougher on speeding or something. Can't wait for the road works to be done though, we've had to deal with them for the last two years driving down to Melbourne cons ;)
21st-Oct-2009 01:47 am (UTC)
There seems to be some psychological barrier where 60 would be ok, but 50 feels like I could jump out and grab a burger then jog to catch up to the car as it left the town... ;)
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