TUESDAY MAY 26 GILGANDRA TO WEST WYALONG 325kms
Woke to a cool morning. There had been a heavy dew, so we managed to track a lot of leaf litter inside Bus.
Left at 9.50. Southwards on the Newell, yet again.
There did not seem to be too much truck traffic – something to be thankful for. However, a bit north of Dubbo, a truck with a wide load pulled in from the side. He was some distance in front of us, but we thought he might have waited until we were past. We stayed behind him for ages. He was bowling along at 95kmh – just a bit too slow for John’s preference. The road was winding and when we came to overtaking lanes, we did not have enough revs to pass him safely in the distance provided. But it was interesting watching how oncoming traffic dealt with him. He was only 4.5 metres wide – had an escort vehicle in front. Most oncoming vehicles pulled much further to their left than they needed to – some even getting right over into the gravel sides. Trucks were much better at judging the width and not going too far over.
We trailed this wide load for a long way…
I wondered whether the magic GPS would be smart enough to have a truck route around Dubbo to give us, coming from the north, that would avoid the dreaded roundabouts in town. But no detours were offered, and John managed the roundabouts beautifully – much better than me. I guessed the river to the west of town precluded other routes to that side. Our over-dimensional travelling companion didn’t seem to have any issues, either.
I was surprised to see a very active looking mine near Tomingley, a little place north of Peak Hill. Knew the Peak Hill open cut mine had ceased operating a few years ago, but it looked like there had been a revival of mining in the area. Gold? I didn’t remember this from our last time through, in 2013.
For several years, I had wanted to overnight at the caravan park in Peak Hill, and have a little explore of the area, but to date, our stages hadn’t fitted in a stop here. No change today – John wanted to press on.
We needed a brief stop just north of Parkes, as the phone rang, and the lady on the other end wanted to speak to John. We were able to pull over. The Baker IDI Research Institute was trying to get John to take part in a diabetes medication trial and the call was about that. The biggest problem with agreeing to do something like that – apart from having to often drive from home to wherever in Melbourne – was that it would tie us to home for regular appointments. Now that I was starting to feel a bit liberated from the constraints caused by leg ulcers, I was not sure we needed another tie.
We had to stop again, soon after, as a long goods train crossed the highway in front of us. Then the same damned train held us up again, a bit further on.
North of Forbes, the heavy vehicle inspection point was working – on both sides of the highway. “Our” wide load had disappeared into the distance while John took his phone call, but here he was again, pulled into the check point and being inspected. It looked like they were pulling over all trucks. I wondered if that was why there seemed to be a lot fewer on the road – were some going another route?
We stopped for lunch at Forbes. Were almost through the place when spotted a bakery by the highway, just north of the Orange road corner. Looked like it was part of the Services Club. It was a good place to get lunch because we were able to park on a side street and walk back. John had his usual bakery items, I had a very nice cheese and salad roll and an excellent coffee. Future lunch point noted! The side road was nice and wide for us to be able to turn around in, too – always a consideration when reversing is a no-no.
Our oversized friend trundled by while we were eating lunch, so he had passed inspection, presumably.
Roadworks south of Forbes – yet another stop.
Refuelled at West Wyalong. $1.379cpl.
Proceeded to the Ace Caravan Park, where I managed to direct us in the “out” way. It was a bit complicated there. Our en-suite site cost $37 for the night.
West Wyalong site
We had stayed at this park when it was fairly new, some years ago, and were really impressed with it then. The young owners who were setting it up were catering well to the overnight trade, with long drive through sites – less common then than they are now – with planted beds separating sites. They had scattered interesting old pieces of machinery about, set up a seat overlooking the canal, and the place had been very neat and clean.
Unfortunately, we felt rather let down on this visit. The place looked tired, as if more energy and upkeep was needed. The garden bed edging beside our site was broken, the plantings between the sites was sparse, as if a lot had died off from lack of water. Some previous grotty occupant had left a bag of rubbish in the garden of our site, and birds had broken it open. So I had to pick up the rubbish before Couey went investigating. There were not bins by every site, but they were not far away. Just laziness.
The en-suite was portable style, but at least it was fine – and clean.
After set up, took Couey for a walk around the park. I was annoyed to see lots and lots of dog poo on the otherwise attractive grassed area that was the tent camping section. There was far too much of it, and too recent, to have been left by just incidental travellers like ourselves. A large van set up, opposite the grassed area, with a couple of large dogs, was clearly a long-stay resident, and it was odds-on that the dog mess came from there. Some people are really gross.
Grassy area in distance once was a pleasant tent camp site…
When we’d booked in, there had been no “rules” or information given out at all, which is unusual. If it is not stressed what is expected of guests, then some assume there are no rules at all. It seemed to me that the impressions given by appearance, staff attitude and the like, translated into the way the customers treated the place.
So, it was a let-down, and we were unlikely to return.