SUNDAY MAY 10 CANBERRA TO COWRA 208kms
It had been a really cold night in Canberra. The weather forecast for today was not great – strong and gusty winds, with a severe weather warning. Not what the Driver ordered. If our site was still available, we would probably have stayed another night to avoid travelling in the forecast bad weather – but it wasn’t.
Left the park at 10am and immediately went to fuel up at the servo by the caravan park. John got confused about the colour of the diesel pump. I had to argue with him! We did not want any more petrol in diesel episodes. $1.228cpl.
It was a really hard drive for John, because of the gusting wind. Side-on, Bus was about as aerodynamic as a house brick. He made an absolute hash of the turn from the Hume onto the Boorowa road – had the exhaust brake on, mashed the gears. We got an immediate very strong smell of burning rubber, which was not a great omen. However, this dissipated as we went along. John only gained his MR licence in 2006, and trained on modern vehicles, so he does not tend to use the double de-clutch technique, which would be of benefit when changing down gears in the Coaster. When I’m driving Bus, I do it, but then I got my “endorsed” licence over thirty years ago, when “crash” gearboxes were common in larger vehicles. So it comes more naturally to me.
Stopped in Boorowa for a leg stretch that turned into an early lunch, after we spotted a convenient bakery cafe. The town had a pleasant central rest area, with parking in the adjacent streets, toilets and an Information Centre (which was more of a craft sales outlet).
The nearby Superb Bakery was pretty good. Whilst John and dog waited outside, I went in and bought an egg and lettuce sandwich and a coffee that turned out to be excellent. Was tempted into also buying a chocolate eclair and a vanilla slice – tonight’s dessert. Then it was John’s turn to go in and buy a pepper pie and a sausage roll. Unfortunately, I was juggling information booklets, coffee container, sandwich, cakes and a dog that was trying to run off and find the Master, so the dessert got somewhat mashed.
Boorowa looked a very pleasant little town, perhaps worthy of a future stay and explore.
The Shamrock Hotel had beautiful wrought iron lacework. The town dates from the pre-gold rush squatting era, so lots of history there.
North of Boorowa was rolling hills and sheep country – they were all sheltering in the gullies. Who says sheep are dumb critters? There were some showers of rain. I noted lots of dead or dying gum trees – a disease, or a sign of land salting?
We drove straight through the town of Cowra and out to the Cowra Holiday Park, about 4kms to the north.
I paid $36 a night for an en-suite site, requesting one without steps, remembering that John had found those a bit of a challenge last time here. Out allocated site had no steps to the loo, but was not very level where we had been told to park the rig. John had driven Bus in frontwards, but we then decided to unhitch the car, and put Bus in the other way, on the other side of the slab. I drove while he directed. Over the years, we had gotten to be very good at parking our caravan by this method, but we sure as hell needed a lot more practice with Bus!
I solved the usual problem of Couey going crazy and barking whenever Bus starts up without her in it – by tethering her in the Terios and shutting the door. It muffled the barking! Must remember that…
So, we had an annexe slab and a great shower in the en-suite. The park featured a lot of railway memorabilia, like old seats from stations, station signs, signals on poles. It gave the place a lot of character, in a good way. The rustic camp kitchen had a campfire pit where there was happy hour every afternoon. We were told we could take Couey up to the end of the park, where there was a large grassed area, and give her ball chases. Excellent!
We set up, then relaxed in Bus for the rest of the day. The windy weather was not conducive to much else, though that eased off a bit later in the day.
I thought about going to happy hour, which looked to be well patronized, but then heard the sound of guitar music wafting down from the camp kitchen. I go to happy hours to talk to other travellers, not be a captive audience for some amateur performer. So we gave it a miss.
Tea was pork chops marinated in lemon juice and rind, with garlic and oregano. Very nice, with potato and green beans. The cakes were nice too, after I scraped them off their paper bags.
The park was by the road to Bathurst, A bit beyond it, this highway comes down a hill towards Cowra, around a bend. Outside, the engine brakes from trucks were audible at this point, but inside Bus we didn’t hear any road noise.
Park management had advised us not to drink the tap water, which came from a bore and had a high calcium level. I didn’t want to put that into our hot water service, so we didn’t hook up to park water, existing on our own tank supply. However, I did fetch hot water from the en-suite to do the dishes.
Today was Mothers Day. I received a text message from my daughter. Son and family were incommunicado on a holiday in Fiji. Also had a text from friend M, back in Broome after a superb two-week cruise around the Kimberley coast. Her Troopy had a new engine installed, to replace the one she killed on the Tanami Track. But it had just been found that a new drive shaft was needed – due to damage caused by a forklift when it had been trucked from Halls Creek to Broome. It was proving to be a very expensive trip up the Tanami! I was so looking forward to seeing her coast photos when we were all home again.