Wednesday, April 6, 2011

i try driving from melbourne to sydney

The trip was planned with precision timing. A bus, a bus, then a train, then a plane, then a bus, then a train, then a bus, then a 40 minute walk. Departing my house at 5.30am I would greet the truck carrying my beloved car (who I have named Lucille) as it drove into the gate at 11.30am. I would spend a night in Victoria then leave the next morning for Sydney.

The plan was fraught with possible problems. Although, in my head (my little, fanciful, everything-will-go-perfectly-head) I didn't consider any of them. I had made it as far as my last train ride before things started to go wrong.

The truckie rang to say he was going to be late. Six hours late. And so i spent the day amusing myself in Werribee. Yes, Werribee. For non-Victorians, Werribee is a small town halfway between Melbourne and Geelong. How can I put this delicately? It's a hole. I remember going to the Werribee Waste Treatment Plant for a school excursion once. Enough said. It was cold in Werribee and I was not dressed appropriately. The bead shop was the most interesting place in the town and I don't even like beads. Funnily enough it was having a closing down sale. I don't think I have ever spent so much time in a bead shop before. I don't think I ever will again.

So, after spending the day testing out every single cafe in Werribee I was back on the train heading to Newport (another town where I swear there is something in the air makes you feel glum). From Newport I caught a bus to Altona North and then began a forty minute walk to the depot where my car was being dropped off.

Now, I'm not a lazy person. I have been known to go on adventures that involve walking much further than forty minutes. But, I had been up since 4.30am. I had experienced enough public transport to make up for all the public transport I never took in WA. I was absolutely aching for the toilet. And, my tolerance had completely given way. I was angry. I was sick of carrying my over-night bag. I was busting for the toilet. And, as much I tried to be excited about getting my car it was just easier to be really really pissed off.

As I walked angrily down the road and rounded a bend, the footpath came to an abrupt end. I was met by a reserve of overgrown shrubbery and a creek. A creek! Why is there a creek there?! Why! I looked for a way around. I pulled out my phone to call a cab. I'm not going to lie. At this point, I was ready to break down and cry as the hold music went on and on and on. I hung up and sat down on fence post wondering what the hell I was going to do next. It was one of the few times I really didn't know what to do. I just sat there staring at the bitumen. The full sensation in my bladder was ever-present and reminding I aso needed to find a toilet. My brain was empty. I had nothing. Not even an option.

But, minutes later, an option came running by me in the form of a middle-aged man. Without even thinking I walked hastily over to him and asked him for help. He must've heard the seriously-I'm-about-to-cry-please-help-me tone in my voice. He said he owned a gym around the corner and he could drive me too my car from there.

He did. I survived. And, he was genuinely a really nice guy. Next stop: Sydney! Well, just as soon as I construct a makeshift number plate because my front number plate seems to be missing. WTF? Who does that? The lady at DPI scolded me because I said I was going to drive my car anyway. "You can't drive it!" she said. Stupid lady. I was driving to Sydney with a number plate or without. Next stop: Sydney!

The first six hours of driving were fairly easy. I discovered the luxury of cruise control and had a good sound track. I think I was just really happy to have Lucille back and have an empty bladder. The sun was beginning to set so I pulled into a little town called Gundagai for the night. Gundagai is a picturesque little town about halfway between Melbourne and Sydney. From what I gathered it is famous for three things: two old bridges and a statue of a dog on a box. Don't feel bad. I'd never heard of them either.

The next morning, in a moment of inspiration and determination, I decided to climb Mount Parnassis. It was walking distance from my motel and I figured it would be the best thing to wake me up before I continued onto Sydney. I awoke to a thick blanket of fog engulfing...well...eveything. None the less I set off to climb up the mountain anyway. When I got to the top it was...magic. I stood mesmerised. I was watching the sun rise in the distance. The tops of surrounding mountains were breaking through the thick blanket of fog that I was now above. I felt light. Everything stopped. Everything was still. It felt like there was nothing else in the world.

Unfortunately I had to get myself to Sydney so I ventured back down into the fog and headed off towards Sydney. Ha ha easier said than done when you are driving at 110km into this:

The visibility was reduced to about 50m for a good 45 minutes. It was a little scary but I was much more terrified of the Sydney toll roads. There were a lot of close calls where I just happened to be in the right lane, a lot of panicking and a lot of looking back over my shoulder wondering if I was supposed to go that way. I did make it to the northern beaches eventually. I aged a few years in the process but I did get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment