Day 10: The New England Highway Hates me

Location: Sydney, New South Wales

 

Despite the sarcasm of yesterday's blog entry it was fairly accurate. I contemplated kidnapping Courtney (somehow I think she’d be entertaining on a road trip) and then drove from Brisbane, stopping only for breaks until I reached Glenn Innes where I stayed overnight. I had intended to stop at Armidale, but I had left Brisbane later than intended and didn’t want to drive in the dark.

Today was much the same, but with one crucial difference: I had no choice but to be back in Kingsgrove before five o’clock. There would be no 'eh, that’s enough’ about today’s driving schedule. I knew I had to be up and on the road by seven at the latest and that baring a few SRS stops, that I would be driving right through. For eight hours. *sigh*

My start was made all the harder by it being UNBELIEVABLY COLD. I was being completely honest when I said that I was perfectly comfortable the whole time I stayed in the van, but it was like the universe heard me and, knowing it was the last day, decided to hit me with all it had. There was nothing I wanted to do less than get out from under the covers and get dressed. In fact, I seriously considered driving home in my flannel pjs.

Last night when I pulled in to the caravan park I knew I was getting pretty low on petrol. I wasn’t too worried however – I mean I was on a main highway, it wasn’t exactly the middle of nowhere, I’d just fill up when I got going. You know when people say things like that in movies and the audience laughs and rolls their eyes? Well that was your cue to start "oh Becca’-ing me.

I pulled into the first petrol station and it was closed. Closed down, rather. Oh well, not to worry, I’ll just grab the next one. Closed. Huh. The next one - which, might I add, was a fair way down the road? Out of fuel. I’m sorry, you’re a petrol station, how can you be out of fuel? I mean... HOW? Alright, so I’m down to empty now and I’m starting to panic. I’ve never had my fuel guage on empty ever. I’m that annoying freak who turns up half an hour early to everything because they’re terrified they’re going to be late, and you’ve got me driving around in the middle of nowhere with no fuel and the world’s most pathetic petrol stations. Needless to say I was starting to get a little edgy.

Then, salvation. Just as the fuel light pops on (did you know there was a fuel light? I didn’t) I sign pops up: Petrol – 2km. I give Fish an encouraging pat. “You can do it! Only two kilometres!"

It. Was. Closed.

I may have cried a little. The situation is getting dire now, so I pop out of the car – surely the manager is inside and he just hasn’t opened yet. OH MY GOODNESS! Did I mention it was cold? I couldn’t feel my feet, I couldn’t feel my fingers. My face was tingling so much it actually hurt. I started pounding on the door as visions of the petrol guy arriving only to find a Becca shaped icicle on his doorstep fill my head. I thought I was going to freeze to death.

I run back to hide in Fish – what do I do? Do I sit here and wait, hoping someone turns up, using up precious driving time that I don’t have to waste today? Or do I head out, hoping I find another (open, stocked) petrol station before I run out and have to call the NRMA? Because we all know how that conversation would go.

“Hello? I’m out of petrol, can you please help me.”

“Certainly miss, where are you?”

“Oh ... somewhere between Glenn Innes and Armidale. There’s – there’s a cow. And a kind of squiggly tree.”

“Riight... and your name?”

“Rebecca.”

*looks up details*

“Oh yes, we know you, tell me, do you still have your keys on you?”

*headdesk*

Needless to say it wasn’t a conversation I was looking forward too. Knowing that the only person awake at that ungodly hour would be Lisa, I rang her for advice. Luckily for me (the field day she would have had with that one) she didn’t answer and I was left to venture forth on my own.

Inching forward I starting imagining that the car was driving funny – is that because it’s running only on fumes?? I dreaded each hill because I was sure I would get to the top and the engine would stop, leaving me to roll back down to my doom. You want me to drive near a cliff? ARE YOU INSANE?? Can’t you see that the fuel light is flashing?!

I have never seen anything more beautiful than the BP I finally came to. That beautiful green, shiny, open, fuel soaked BP. I ran inside to pay the man, ready to sing him songs of gratitude. But unfortunately for me, he wasn’t too impressed to hear about why he was my favourite Petrol Man ever*.

And that was basically the scary highlight of my trip home. That and standing at the sign on the state border and going, “Queensland, New South Wales, Queensland, New South Wales, Queensland...” Yeah. To all the people I rang and sang that too while I did the little dance, I’m sorry. Sorta.

Queensland_New South Wales border Queensland_New South Wales border

I made it home safe and sound (though the twenty minutes I spent circling around in Canterbury were less than pleasant – did I mention I hate city driving) despite all predictions to the contrary. I saw many places I’d never been before, and revisited some I already knew I loved (Byron Bay anyone? I’m just saying). And best of all, I had a wonderful time. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Thank you to everyone who read along with my blog, making comments. Thanks to everyone who rang every few days to make sure I was okay. Thanks to everyone who rang every few HOURS to make sure I was okay – really, I’m fine!

*You think I’m joking, I really did tell him this and explain why – he didn’t care. I was sad.

 

 


Kilometres travelled: 576 (2, 395)
Bridges crossed: 51 (235)
Number of times hitting head on campervan: 1 (12)
Number of road workers whom returned my wave: 2 (14)
Number of times James completely freaked out because he thought we were bush bashing: 2 (6)

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