Homeward Journey

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June 19th 2022
Published: June 19th 2022
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We took four days to drive home.. We headed off from Longreach on Wednesday, leaving about 8 am It was a sunny day, but crisp and we had no problems driving along. We started to listen to an audio version of Dracula which Sam had lent us. Fletcher had never read it and it was at least 25 years since I had. We only stopped to change drivers, get petrol and have some lunch at Tambo, where we found Fanny Mae's cafe and enjoyed a pie each and a large cup of good coffee. . We drove into Cunnamulla about 3-30 and easily found the Billabong Hotel Motel where we had booked for the night. It took a while, though, to find Reception and a friendly lady took me in the "back"way. After we had booked in we found that this was the smallest room we had had on the whole trip and had few facilities. Though she gave us a password we could not get internet in our room. She also said that the bar would be open at 4-30pm. We drove into the main street and bought some supplies for breakfast from the small grocery shop. We then went to the Warrego Hotel for a beer. In the front bar the natives were friendly and we got into conversation with a guy called John who had arrived by train that day from Brisbane. We discovered that with each drink we got a raffle ticket and if we hung around till 6pm there would be a draw for $1700! Needless to say we had another couple of drinks over the next hour or so.In the end we missed on the money but they had several draws and we ended up with a stubby holder and, a breakfast tray, consisting of 6 eggs, 4 rashers of bacon and half a tomato. The final draw saw us win a bottle of Jim Beam!! Bonus, and we had had a lot of fun with all these friendly people.

We returned to the Billabong and had an average pub meal there. When back in our room I found that the TV wasn't even tuned in to Channel 2 but one of the regulars came and tuned in for us so we could watch Charlie Pickering and Gruen. After a fitful night's sleep, we awoke early and with no internet and very average coffee, we left early, about 7am. The sun came up on another chilly but sunny day. Not too much to see and we headed towards Nyngan. On the way we stopped at Bourke, getting there about 10-30. When we had stayed on the way up the main attraction, the Back O Bourke exhibition was closed so as we had plenty of time we decided to visit. First it was breakfast of ham, tomato and cheese toasties in the cafe with good coffee. The exhibit was worth a look. We started in the theatrette with a film giving an indigenous perspective on the area and particularly about the Darling River. Then there were two exhibition halls where the pioneering history of the area and the way the river contributed to that was highlighted. The search for the Inland Sea was what first opened up the area and then wool production and the use of the river opened the area for farming. We spent a pleasant hour or so there. Then we drove to find the Percy Hobson Mural. Hobson came from Bourke and won a gold medal in the 1962 Commonwealth Games in the High Jump. Naturally, Fletcher was keen to see it. It was an example of excellent silo art!. Then it was back on the road to Nyngan.

It was only 200km to Nyngan but we had been distracted and not checked on how much petrol we had. When I changed over to drive, I saw that the light had come on. We stopped at Coolabah where there was an Ampol sign, however, they were only just installing two bowsers and there was none available. We calculated we would just have enough and there was no going back. We ran on empty for the last 34km but made it to Nyngan and the petrol station. After filling up we drove to the Big Bogan on the main road. This area is on the Bogan River and it is in Bogan Shire. We went into the Bogan Cafe and tasted the local pastry and a cup of coffee. We then checked into th Alamo Hotel which was a big improvement on the night before. We ventured out at dinner time. There was not much choice here. We went to the RSL Club but having entered the dining room we were not impressed with what was on offer. Trip Advisor recommended a Chinese Resturant in the Bowling Club. This had been a good option in Bourke, but alas the experience was not to be repeated. The Szcheuan beef was good but the Red duck curry was very gluggy and, though, the duck was OK it was in big chunks and chewy.

The next morning we had some yoghurt for breakfast and were then on the road to Broken Hill by 8-15. We were on the alert for wildlife and though we saw lots of feral goats, none ventured on to the road. We were finding Dracula interesting if rather descriptive and flowery, but that is 19th Century Gothic Literature!! We made a brief stop at Wicannia and bought a couple of sandwiches and continued driving. We entered Broken Hill about 3 and returned to the Comfort Inn Crystal where we had stayed before. We knew that this was a comfortable place from our previous experience so we rested for the rest of the afternoon. At 7pm we walked to the Old Saltbushh Restaurant looking forward to a decent meal at last! Lee and Leanne greeted us warmly and we were soon settled with the menu and a bottle of wine. This time we tried two different entrees, the Tomato Roulade and the Pork Belly. Both were excellent. Then for mains we had the Saltbush lamb rump and the chicken with sundried tomato sauce with spinach and ricotta. Both were very tasty. Again we had a cheese platter for dessert. Well sated we returned to the motel for a nightcap.

Our last day on the road was Saturday. Again we got away early, about 8am and rolled on across the open plains, again watching out for any animals who may get in the way. It was an easy run and though we encountered some road works which slowed us down , we made short work of the distance. As we came into Roseworthy, Dracula had the stake through his heart and dissolved into dust. We made a loo stop there but kept on the road as we were so close to home. We turned into our driveway about 1-15pm, the end of an enjoyable and interesting journey. We feel like real Aussies now, having been Back O Bourke, seen the Black Stump and visited Longreach for an Outback experience. As well we caught up with many Oceania friends in Mackay.

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