17. One For The Road

-- TOMAGO, NSW -- 2:36pm -- SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER 2016 --

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*record scratch*

*freeze frame*

Yup… that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here. It all starts nearly 3 weeks ago…

TUESDAY 30TH AUGUST... 6:40AM... MASCOT STATION... SYDNEY... 7KM from the flat

We are currently walking through a random train station in Sydney’s south as part of my genius cost saving plan. The situation is this; there is a direct train to Sydney International Airport, but due to some reasons which are too boring to mention, you have to pay $16.00 per person when you get to the airport if you get the train. Which might not seem like much, but I am thrifty (or as I have been called in some cases, a tight arse). So, in my infinite wisdom, I have developed a cunning plan to get off the train a stop early and get on a bus which goes to the airport. When I saw all the airport workers doing the same thing, I knew I’d hit the jackpot. Turns out I saved us a total of $13 each. Thrifty! Anyway, the point of all of this was that we were picking Katie’s sister Zara up from the airport as she was coming to stay with us for 3 weeks. I could have told you that earlier, but I was very proud of my plan. Its my blog, I’ll do what I want. Now, lets fastforward…

SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2016... 3.00PM... JENOLAN CAVES ROAD TURN OFF... 
BLUE MOUNTAINS... 125KM from the flat

So, the three of us are heading to the Jenolan Caves with our friends Abbie and Luis – five of us in Stu and Sue’s very kindly lended Kia. We’ve had a good day so far, involving what was dubbed as the ‘worlds best pie’ – which despite being served in a pub in 1934 (or so it felt like) was actually smashing. Also, a giant boat of proper gravy was 50 cents so on balance, worth the time travel. After this, we headed to look at some pretty views and rocks and things;

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Anyway, we then headed for our tour at the Jenolan Caves at 4pm. They’re down a very very long windy road.

As we were literally indicating to turn onto this very long and windy road, a truck had stopped infront of us, looking like it would be doing some roadworks. Someone who shall remain nameless made a joke about what a nightmare it would be if the road was closed. Wouldn’t that be funny?

Turns out, it would, sort of. The road was actually closed. And the diversion would take us 4 hours. This was why, 5 minutes later, we were sat pulled over at the side of the road considering our options. We decided to play a game I’ve always wanted to play, and I hope you’re as excited as I am… its THE BROWN SIGN GAME!

Okay so maybe its not that exciting. The premise of the game that I made up on the spot is, whenever you see a brown sign indicating an attraction, you follow it. The first sign took us to ‘Hartleys Historical Village’. I know what you’re thinking, this place has a brown sign, it must be pretty cool. When we go there we found an abandoned garage, an abandoned church, a courthouse you could pay $7 per person to go in to, a toilet and a small shop with ice creams. We went to the toilet, kept our $7 and moved on. Wisely, I think.

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Trying to find something vaguely interesting

Despite the game getting off to a horrific ‘rocky’, shall we say, start, things quickly picked up. First we drove past these guys (and I had to turn round for us to stop and get these pictures):

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The brown sign game finally came into its own at Govett’s Leap – not a suicide hotspot (I hope) but a big waterfall. After looking at the waterfall we headed on a walk into the bush and managed to take some photos that made the journey worth it:

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It was all fun and games, until we lost Abbie and Luis and ended up shouting their names through the trees as the sun began to set and darkness fell…

WEDNESDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2016... 1:30PM...SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE... SYDNEY... 
2KM from the flat

Hows that for a cliffhanger; Eastenders eat your heart out (if you go back and read that cliffhanger with the Eastenders theme tune in mind that would be cool. I’ll wait).

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Just kidding. We’re alive and guess where we made it to! As an early 21st birthday present to Zara we all climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge – the best presents are the ones you can join in with I always say. Proof that a dislocated knee (see earlier posts) won’t hold you back from anything.

SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER... 2:00PM... TOMAGO ROAD... NR NEWCASTLE (NO, NOT THAT ONE)
...167KM from the flat

So on the Thursday after the BridgeClimb, we headed up to our current location, Port Stephens – around 2 and a half hours drive north of Sydney. Stu and Sue kindly lent us their car again and after a long drive we arrived on the Thursday to our hotel. After being impressed by the a swimming pool which ran all the way around the edge of the hotel we headed to the excellently timed happy hour and had a couple of drinks.

The next day we began by successfully seeing dolphins in the wild on a very reasonably priced dolphin cruise which was just us, the 2 crew members and 50 backpackers on a tour. It was nice. We then went to a ‘Koala habitat’ to try and see some koalas in the wild and after looking very, very, very carefully we found some twigs and a branch oh and some Koala poo. The less said about the koalas the better. We later found out there were only 2 in the whole place so we did quite well to see twigs.

On Saturday we spent the morning burning by the pool before climbing a (admittedly small) mountain in the afternoon. By now (2pm) we’ve just spent a morning seeing and petting sharks and stingrays and are heading for home. Lets have a quick photo collage of the highlights while we enjoy the journey home:

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*put put put*

*put put put put*

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*put put put put put* hey whats that noise?

… *CHRSDSSDSS*

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Okay so we’re back here. We broke the car (really sorry Stu and Sue).

You know how you say we’ll look back and laugh at this moment. Well, its been a month and… not yet. So I will quickly sum up the events following this moment;

Wait by side of road, man comes to help and gives us lift to services, NRMA (like the AA) tell us we have to go back to the car, taxi back to the car, tow truck arrives, only 2 spaces for the 3 of us in the tow truck, ring taxi, get taxi to the train station, drop car off in the dark, train from Tarro (middle of nowhere) to Hamilton (north east of nowhere), train from Hamilton to Sydney, tram home, collapse into bed.

Wake up in the morning to find out we dropped the car (and its keys) at completely the wrong place.

well [CENSORED] [CENSORED] and [REALLY CENSORED] I mean [CENSORED – HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW THAT WORD] [SUPER CENSORED].

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Alex Odlin is unavailable for comment at this time. If he were I’m sure he’d tell you to read his blog from the start here: 1. The Masterplan

 

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