WEDNESDAY JULY 15 HOME TO CHARLTON 380kms
Early start today, getting up around 7am. John was surprised that I willingly did so, and even beat him into the shower. Definitely keen to go…
Had a very calm final packing, and hitch up of car to Bus, out in the street. This was mainly because we left dog in the house until all was done. Then I went and collected her, and locked up. By now, Couey was so anxious not to be left behind that she bolted into the Bus. Score one to me!
So it was a 9.15am departure. Just about a record for us, in recent years at least. The day was grey, damp, cloudy, cold. Normal Melbourne in July. Later, we had occasional small patches of blue sky.
Had the customary stop in Yea at the old station rest area.
Rest area made around old railway station at Yea
It was too early for bakery food, so we did not need to park near there. Gave Couey a bit of a run on the open, grassy area of the old rail line area.
Great for a dog run
Just after we got going again, and turned onto the Seymour road, John realized his dash cam wasn’t working, so pulled into a parking space at the kerb to re-set it. We were all set to move on again, when a works truck pulled up beside us, blocking us from being able to drive away.
Two men got out and began removing temporary signs from nearby poles. It was obvious we were about to move – the engine was going – but they took no notice. Eventually, after several minutes, one got in and moved their truck just far enough forward for us to be able to get out. John opened his window and said to the nearest man “Did you enjoy that?” He got a grin in return.
Why not park there in the first place?
A routine run, after that, to Heathcote, where we stopped for a toilet break – for all three of us! There is usually plenty of parking down the side street, next to the park and oval – good place for dogs!
Stopped at Heathcote for a break
I went to the well-known bakery and bought us both coffees, and a scroll for John, who’d asked for “a cake”. Don’t think the scroll was the sinful, cream-filled confection he’d had in mind, judging by the look on his face when he opened the bag.
Near Axedale, could see glimpses of the waters of Lake Eppalock, to the south. This was a novelty worthy of comment. The drought years were still so recent that we were not used to seeing water there.
Trusted the GPS to guide us through Bendigo on the truck route, to the Calder Highway. There was some traffic, and a few sets of lights on this route, but it was not too bad. I’d earlier had a text from daughter to be careful, as there had been black ice in town and several resulting traffic bingles, but the ice had melted by the time we were going through.
We were not stopping in Bendigo, as we’d just had grandson staying in the school holidays and had seen daughter then.
Once clear of Bendigo and able to see whether John was OK to continue, I phoned the hotel at Charlton to book us a place at the Travellers Rest there. Was told they no longer handled bookings as there was an on site manager and they gave me his number. I then played phone tag with Phil, and we were almost to Charlton before I managed to confirm a spot for us.
We reached there at 2.15pm and after minimal set up, ate the sandwiches I’d made this morning for our lunch.
Our en-suite, with power, at the Travellers Rest, cost $28. It was better than a lot of caravan parks we have stayed at.
Travellers Rest Camp Area Charlton
We had a patch of grass between Bus and the en-suite. There were two buildings with four of the parking bays and en-suites each. One lines up in marked spots on the asphalt. The bathroom was spotless. There was a large glass door on the shower. There were heaters as part of the light fitting. Even the toilet paper was good quality.
We could tether Couey to the Bus bull bar, with room for her to move about, and walk her across the nearby footbridge over the Avoca River, to an area where she could free range.
Footbridge over the Avoca River
All very good. The community was to be congratulated for the work they had done on establishing this facility.
Across the footbridge, there was a fairly basic caravan park and this and the Travellers Rest were now run together.
Much had been done to make the area attractive to travellers, with landscaping and a kitchen herb garden.
Kitchen herb garden
There was a free camping area at the back, and cheaper powered sites at the caravan park.
There were some lovely old river red gums lining the small river. We read on a signboard that there were plans to make a walking path along the river, to a weir. That would be an added attraction.
The manager was pleasant and helpful. He gave us a booklet – think he’d had a hand in its preparation – about things there were to do in the area. Obviously making the most of what there is. We decided that, next time coming through this way, we would stay a few days and explore the area. Having the manager in his office in the daytime would mean that the parked rig would be secure while we travelled out and about.
In between rain squalls, we gave dog a walk and run. She was obviously very tempted by the river and plotting a way to catch us off guard, but we headed that off.
Ventured to the main street and walked up and down it. Some interesting older buildings, including the theatre, which had an art deco air about it.
By nightfall, there were only four other rigs at the Travellers Rest – two caravans, two camper trailers.
Tea was the usual cold chicken marylands, that I’d cooked at home, and coleslaw.
We watched a little TV, then turned in.
The rain clouds cleared to make for a really cold night.