‘Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on?
As I understand it, ‘a road trip’ is a hopefully-pleasant journey to some planned or unplanned destination, and involves a sense of free-spirited liberation. Which cuts me out, I’m afraid.
Not that I have anything against any of that. Free-spirited liberation is one of my sticky goals in life. But as I drive to Sydney about once a month, I’m not likely to find it as part of a car-based adventure – although I’ve meandered around the UK by car a few times, and loved it.
These days, though, I’m forced to admit that a 1000km round trip (Sydney and back) takes more out of me than it used to, and satisfies any desire I might have to take to the open road before the next one. The sole purpose of the drive is to get me there as fast as (legally) possible, and in one piece. It doesn’t allow for scenic stops, intriguing detours or – most of all – lapses of concentration. By the time it’s over, I’m knackered.
Doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t appreciate the scenery along the way, albeit peripherally. And since I do it so often, I thought you might as well get the gist.
In December, one of the joys of the trip is this.
It’s Christmas bush, native to Australia and in great demand during the season, so these enterprising people have cultivated a plantation of it, sheltered from the wind by bamboo.
I missed it last year, though, because of the new bypass…
…which has its uses, as you can see. When it rains too much, the Macleay Valley is awash.
Of course you can’t expect panoramic views all the way, and stretches like this…
can become soporific, unless you’re careful. But when I get to the Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge, I’m always cheered by the thought that it’s so much easier than it used to be. The approach to the old bridge was a nightmare of hairpin bends, guaranteed to upset those with delicate stomachs – which fortunately isn’t me.
You might think the next shot is boring, but to me, it’s the promise of bliss.
Bulahdelah (pronounced Bulla-dealer and generally known as Bulla) is roughly the halfway point, and my regular watering hole. I stop. Get out. Stretch. Fill the car. Visit the bathroom. And then it’s…COFFEE TIME! The roadhouse has a cafe that I don’t frequent, and picnic tables on the grass – much more to my liking unless it’s raining.
From Bulla, it’s not far to the freeway, parts of which are fairly boring. But parts of it are magnificent.
And this is my destination, more or less – the street my sister lives in, no more than ten minutes from any of my kids. How good is that?