Do I need to do a summation of the last post here? I’ve been wondering. I mean, it’s like two clicks away, something even the laziest browser can probably manage with minimal motivation. Also, I can’t think there’d be many reading this who hadn’t read the opening salvo. I was quite proud of it, especially the Cardiff bits. If you haven’t, shuffle that mouse on up to the blog title, click away and scroll down to the best textual re-enactment of a Katoomba to Adelaide road trip you’ll ever read. Probably.
So. We were off. I, behind the wheel, the others in various emotional states ranging from unbridled optimism to nervous tension. The mood was extremely positive. The music blared, the grins sparkled and the car purred.
Road trips are, on the face of it, extremely exciting endeavours. Who wouldn’t relish the idea of packing as much shite as you can into an un-insured car and pointing it in the direction of somewhere-not-here? No-one that’s who! Unless you’d been involved in some horrible car related accident possibly resulting in loss of life or limb. Then your enthusiasm might be dulled somewhat. But still. Most people would be excited by the concept of road trips. But, being honest here, the truth is…somewhat different.
Road trips involve a lot of driving. Duh. Driving in cities or off road can be intense fun equalled only by, I dunno, skydiving with your dog. Driving cross country however is probably more comparable to visiting an old folks home, accosting the nearest old dear and asking exactly what their grandchildren are up to. The roads are long, generally straight and any turns are sweeping curves that, in the right light, look pretty much the same as the straights. Hour upon hour of this build up and sooner or later you begin to understand how so many people nod off to LaLa Land and end up taking that turn-off to the great highway in the sky.
I’m blaming this phenomenon on my scant memory of the minute by minute goings on during my own experience of such things. Which is probably something you should thank me for. I have a Best Of compilation secured in the old think-engine though, the track listing of which I shall duly extoll. Bullet points? Bullet points.
– Visited a lovely seaside town and ate homemade meatball things duly prepared by Paul, my aforementioned travelling companion. They were divine.
– Took a slight sidetrip to a curious geological formation known as The Blowhole. Don’t ask.
– Took photos of random asian tourists. It was funny at the time.
– Took photos of Paul. It was funny at the time. Fuck it, it’s funny now.
– Marvelled at the fantastic blood red glow of the sun, hiding as it was behind plumes of smoke from the massive bushfires burning around us. Felt like we were part of an extremely slow paced Independence Day-like dash from destruction. We weren’t.
– Camped next to a river. Drank a stupid amount of goon. Made some extremely questionable decisions.*
– Woke to the river covered in mist, the sun shining through the clouds like something from Tales from the Riverbank.
– Went to a cheese factory. Ate a shitload.
– Made it to Melbourne. Chickened out of betting on roulette. Bought a beer.
– Great Ocean Road! It was a road besides the ocean and lo, it was great.
– The Twelve Apostles! No, not a gaggle of religious chaps extolling the virtues of kiddy fiddling but a series of jagged sandstone columns loosed from the cliffs by the passage of time. And water. Lots of water.
We emerged from the affair, and I mean this quite seriously, different. Not physically or anything. I think I lost a few pounds on some of the hairier stretches of road (flashbacks to the Death Road) but generally we were the same in appearance. Still, beside jaunts with girlfriends of the past it was the most time I’d ever spent in the company of one group of people. Constant, 24 hour a day contact. We ate together, slept together, tried unsuccessfully to hide the passing of wind together. It was a side of the trip I hadn’t considered all that closely beforehand but ended up becoming perhaps the journey’s defining feature and with the best will in the world the results were varied. Some people I came to understand better and in turn grew closer to. Others I understood better and came to realise our differences. Yet more sent my brain-box into such a nosedive it signalled the end of any meaningful friendship which is a shame but hey, it happens.
Exactly a week to the day after beginning our ride we arrived in fair Adelaide. We had driven over 3000 (possibly 1500) kilometres, drunk almost 100 litres of water, eaten at least 20 packs of crackers and drunk 32 litres of goon. Between us we just about broke even at a casino, got lost only a handful of times and somehow managed not to crash even once. We had camped twice, hosteled once and cabined thrice. Personally, I rekindled my love of sloths by almost but not quite missing International Sloth Day and finally discovered exactly how much goon I could drink before passing out, which was ignored on all but the choicest occassions.
It was fun.
Songs of the Road 2
You know what I hate? Those Top Gear branded “Music for driving” compilation albums. They’re all Rainbow and Blondie with the occasional Eagles bit in there. The aged compilers will sometimes try to court the younger crowd by sticking AVICII in there too. All rubbish. What you want, let me tell you, really want from a driving song is for everyone in the car to know said song. This is something I failed to realise as I duly blasted my companions with obscure indie nonsense. For that, my friends, I apologise. Anyway, here’s a song someone else put on that we all enjoyed. Yay!