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Published: March 27th 2019
Once again Littleflower and Morningbird have spruced up the Freedom Machine, packed all our goods and chattels and have hit the track, bound for Tocumwal and Tassie, for our latest adventure. Late night departure drinks found us tired and hungover come sunrise. Bleary eyed and muddleheaded we set off early arvo, much too late to make any decent miles on day 1. We decided to rediscover our route to Melbourne in 2015, a memorable trip that we have fond memories of. Waving cheery bye to Joey and Rayme as we drove up the back lane to set off for Casino and down to Grafton. Through Casino on the Grafton road, some little niggling thought prompted me do a check that something important wasn't left behind at home. Sure enough shoulderbag with wallet and other essentials, not located. Pulled up on the side of the road to do a thorough check, No bloody Bag! So we ring home to learn said bag is in the dining room. Joey kindly agreed to bring it to Casino for a rendezvous at Good old Aldi's.
Backtracking to Casino we only had a short wait until little red car of Joeys enters the car park
with my shoulder bag, and another hug to fare us well. Now we are really late and very much behind the 8 Ball. Looks like our first night will be spent in Grafton. We rocked up at the showgrounds for night one to discover that the circus was coming to town. The advance party had arrived to set up the big top. We set up camp far from the madding crowd in case lions and tigers would arrive to terrorise us. It was great to be on the road again fraternising with the travelling fraternity. The obligatory back packer van with colorful crass graffiti was camped nearby.
A pleasant nights sleep found us bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the days travel, needs to be a big one to make up the lost ks from yesterday. The Caretaker of the showgrounds hadn't made his rounds with his collection tin for the nights stay and we weren't about to bother him. Making our way through the morning peak hour hustle and bustle of Grafton soon saw us on the tranquil Nymboida road, heading for Armidale. Majestic wet schlerophyll and rainforest trees tower over the road in a magnificent verdant
canopy. The Nymboida to Armidale road is truly one of the best iconic forest drives one could ever discover. The forest road steadily climbs to the high country of Ebor, where fresh mountain air and high plain vistas are an absolute delight to the senses. Motoring along well and making good time, we decided to break for morning coffee, bikkies and the obligatory port at Ebor Waterfalls. With recent rain the falls were putting on a spectacular display amidst the high mountain backdrop. We set up the awning table and chairs in the falls carpark and enjoyed our morning ritual, whilst trading travel tales with fellow sojourners. A short walk to the top falls, a few snaps, before we headed off for the steep descent to the falls below. Mindful of the many ks to make up, we turned back soon after our descent, but not before we checked out the alpine daisies and other little wildflowers blooming after the recent rains. We even scored a little bucket of blackberries to add to the next breakfast.
we exited the carpark and were soon on our way, happy little travellers until we came upon the big man with stop and
slow sign showing us the red side of his powerful stick, that all must obey. It is never a good sign when there is only one car behind the sign and the on coming traffic is yet to come through. A couple of cars are pulling up behind us and then there is an almighty roar of 20 Harley Davidsons making their way to the front. Led by the "elsupremo" sergeant at Arms, these menacing Bikies are not happy trapped on the tarmac. Its already been 20 minutes and still no sign of the sign turning friendly yellow. The steam billowing out of their bikie helmuts was ominous. "We could be here for quite awhile", I remarked, Littleflower replied "You better go up there and find out what the delay is", the engine had been turned off for some time as I mingled my way through the big tough men in leather jackets to the fat controller with the sign. "How much longer before you turn the sign and will we be the first ones to go through, I asked. The man with the head full of self importance pointed to some steam rising up in the distance saying "they
are resurfacing the road with fresh asphalt, and the westerners will be coming through first". the Sergeant at arms, unfolded his arms, at which point I suggested to the fat controller, probably not a good idea to hold these angry bikers up any longer. but the man with the power stick held his ground, as finally the oncomers were making their way through. I am sure I saw more than one angry biker "Flip the bird" to the fat controller as they were on their way.
Soon after we arrived at Armidale, where we set to find Jody's organic shop, the Food Shed, where we had a quick HiBye and hit the road again. Now on the New England highway we were eagerly looking for a rest area for the night, preferably with a long drop dunny for the nights deposit. Caught between Captain Thunderbolts rock and a hard place, we kept on pressing on for a nights camp. Little Flower was dreading the Moonbi drop, a massive descent down the range to the western plains of NSW, Pleased to say no brake failures as we made our way down Moonbi 1 and 2, to the little village of
Moonbi. a quick chat to the friendly proprietor of the everything store, revealed a great little rest area with modern flush toilets, drinking water and picnic tables. On chefs menu were Thai tuna wraps washed down with fine chateau cardboard. Pretty tired after a long days drive we soon turned in for a restful nights sleep.( There are more photos below the ads
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