I’ve been driving back to Brisbane from my former home town Melbourne and there are some things I’ve noticed. Firstly, once out of the city, truckies are almost always fantastic drivers, calm, careful, and they stick to the left. They don’t speed, either. Car drivers are, conversely, pretty ordinary around trucks. They tend to speed past the truckies on the right, then cut back in front of the hapless truckie, not leaving enough space for the truckie to stop in case of an accident. And then the car slows down. Ghastly.
Also, I’ve noticed I like to stay away from other drivers. I like to feel I am traveling alone on the road. Sometimes I speed past in order to get away from other drivers, but I also prefer to use cruise control and the drivers I hate are those who don’t use it. They’re too erratic in speed.
Another thing I’ve noticed is I love love love the New England Highway. Singleton to Tamworth is SO beautiful, rolling green hills and dark forests. I’m looking forward to the final leg of the journey when I drive through Armidale, Glen Innes and Strathmore and down through the granite belt to Brisbane. I feel like I’m on the top of the world on this road.
Poppy the groodle is an awesome traveller. She knows the process of travel and sleeps or lies still in the back on her sheepskin rug. During breaks she knows to get down off her rug, toilet herself and drink some water, after which I walk her about for a bit, then she places her front paws on her rug, waiting for me to lift her up into the car (a small SUV). She rarely complains, never barks or pees in the car, and at night she is so tired she sleeps all night, quietly. I love travelling with her.
The other thing I’m enjoying is listening to regional radio. Today I learned about cowboy songsters, heard the news, and sang loudly and badly along to 20 top hits from 1983. I knew every song. It was a big year for me music-wise. 3XY lives on in my memory!
Other things: Singleton and Scone each have lovely i centres with manicured gardens and good toilets but Muswellbrook’s is shite, with no toilets and the nearest rest stop a rather horrible wasteland. Public toilets are often awful. There is no need in this day and age to have stainless steel toilets irregularly cleaned, with poor lighting and dreary decor. Take pride in one’s public amenities, people!
I have renewed respect for truckies, whose stamina for long haul trips must be phenomenal. I’ve driven in real terms about 7 hours a day and I’m exhausted. Imagine doing this for 16 hours a day.
But the last thing I’ve learned is that I love this trip. I love driving with my dog in the back seat, and the radio up loud, and feeling for just a moment like I know about and belong in this wide brown land Australia.