Monday 16th April
We woke to another fine sunny day with a cool breeze making the shade briskly cold.
Apart from home duties I spent much of the day reading maps, NSW Parks and Wildlife Booklets, Camps 3 and the 2011 copy of the Wanderers Mate. The last two mentioned items are books providing information about camp sites and dump points. They are useful tools when planning a camping trip. Or, planning an escape strategy. We have been at Culcairn too long and it is time to escape.
Tuesday 17th April.
With the co-pilot day off today we planned a drive to Albury for some shopping. I needed a new “fly” cable from the F-connector wall socket to the standard TV connector. The cable would be the last item in trying to solve our TV reception woes. I am pleased to report we now have excellent TV reception with clear digital HD picture on all channels once more.
While preparing for our departure this morning we heard a strange train whistle. Hmmm! What was that all about? We missed an historic train journey from Sydney to Melbourne which also passed through Culcairn and stopped at Albury. On 16th April, a new train, the Southern Aurora made the historic journey from Melbourne to Sydney on the new common gauge railway line. Until that date, all train journeys terminated at Albury and passengers changed trains. Rail gauges in Victoria and NSW were of different sizes. The new common gauge opened up the nation like never before. See https://www.google.com.au/search?q=the+southern+arura&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
To-day was an historic 50th anniversary of the original journey. The train was brought out of retirement for this occasion including silver service in the dining rooms. We knew nothing about this event until we heard on the news as we were pulling in to Albury but the train had already moved on. We did see a great many tourist coaches at the station as we passed. This is how it was promoted locally, http://www.visitalburywodonga.com/event/glistening-southern-aurora-returns-to-albury-station we would have loved to have been on board or even up at the station to see it arrive had we known beforehand. Albury streets seemed busier than normal today.
Wednesday 18th April
The CO-PILOT and I spent the day fixing and tidying WWWGO. It is all part of the exit strategy.
I also started to display the symptoms of a head cold. Uh Oh. Not good when we are in the final few days of our time at Culcairn.
Thursday 19th April.
The CO-PILOT is back at work again today although before she left we washed many loads of washing and cleaned mats and anything else we thought needed cleaning. It was a good thing we used the morning constructively. After Donnis left for work the clouds rolled in and by 5pm a thunder lightning rain and with wind. After battening down the hatches and scrambling inside to get out of the heavy rain, it stopped. An hour later another storm rolled in with the same heavy rain which stopped after a few minutes. In all, four storms hit during the evening.
Before the storms arrived I walked to Culcairn Railway Station as the Southern Aurora was due to pass through. I set up at the bottom of the platform and waited. At first the train headlights seemed a long way off and moving slowly. Suddenly the train was hurtling at me. Luckily I had set the camera to shoot multiple frames as long as I kept the button down. Then the train was zooming past almost blowing me off the platform and suddenly I was looking at an out of focus back of the train.
It was all over in a few moments. I watched the neon fluorescent blue name disappearing as it headed north to Wagga Wagga and western NSW before looping to reach the Hunter Valley and follow the coastal track to Brisbane where it will be turned about to follow the same route back to Sydney.
The cost for the 11 day historical journey is $6,500 per person with no shortage of passengers willing to pay the price. Sigh!
The head cold includes sore throat and runny nose. More sighs!
Friday 20th April
After a few morning showers, the clouds drifted away and gave way to a bright blue sky. We continued washing and packing things away. The CO-PILOT went to night shift, her 2nd last shift of the final contract.
The cold has me in its grip so a couple of Panadol every 6 hours or so is keeping the worst of the aches and general feeling of malaise under control. I woke during the night with sweat soaked pyjamas. That could be a good sign as I believe it to be a turning point.
Our washing machine is all packed away so I will need to use the camp washer in the morning.
Saturday 21st April
Woke to blue sky and the promise of fine weather. The CO-PILOT arrived home and was in bed asleep before I had finished breakfast.
This is our last day in Culcairn. The sun was shining and the puffy clouds hinted at cooler days and more rain to come. Two weeks ago I was indifferent if we left or stayed for another contract. Last week I felt ready to leave. The last two days I have been impatient to leave but took my time packing WWWGO. We are both ready to leave. We will not miss the trains at all hours of the day and night. We will not miss the trucks who ply the highway at all hours. We will not miss the burrs growing all over the park. Burrs which have the ability to jump onto socks and clothes and sticking uncomfortably to the skin.
The cold which latched onto me a few days ago seemed to loosen overnight, plaguing me with post nasal drip. At times like this I think I should have shares in Kleenex.
As well, there are roses in their last days of glory. They call out to me as I walk past each day “take our photo frankeeg”. So I did.
The roses nodded their appreciation. The trees shuddered their thanks and dropped more leaves.
Tomorrow, oh tomorrow, we leave Culcairn and bid a her/him/it a fond adieu. I have a vague plan in my mind where I would like to be tomorrow night. I expect the universe has other plans for us so we will see where the destination lottery takes us.
We are 90% packed, the awning is rolled away so we are not delayed by heavy dew which would take hours to evaporate.
I am eager, nay anxious, to be away.
Sunday 22nd April.
Oh What a day!
Woke to heavy overcast and the showers began as I was eating breakfast. The CO-PILOT arrived and we finished the packing and hitching TERIOS and were away from Culcairn by 9.45. The CO-PILOT went to bed and I drove. (yeah yeah, I know, it is illegal to do that) She slept for 2 hours. We drove through Morven, Holbrook and turned onto the Hume Highway. After an hour we turned onto the Snowy Mountains Highway, passing through Adelong and arriving in Tumut where we had a coffee and snack at Macca’s. We did a grocery shop at Woolworths and were soon on our way again.
I must say that being behind the wheel of WWWGO once more was relaxing, especially once we were on the Snowy Mountains Highway. The roadside signs captured my imagination. – Snowfields ahead, Steep Winding Road, Chains must be carried between June to September, Be prepared for sudden weather condition changes, snow can fall at any time, Welcome to the New South Wales High Country. Aaah. The high country!
Twenty nine klms after Tumut we came upon the Yachting Point campsite within the Kosciuszko National Park. The campsite overlooks Lake Blowering which was formed when Blowering Dam wall was built on Blowering Creek. The sun had come out from behind the clouds when we left Tumut and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon in camp.
During the afternoon we saw lots of Kangaroos, Yellow Rumped Black Cockatoos, Pied Currawongs, Australian King Parrots and lots of Grass Wrens. We saw lots of ducks.
The day was topped off with a bit of social intercourse, sitting around a campfire and talking with 6 strangers. I made a zucchini pie for dinner and we talked about our plans for tomorrow when we want to get into the high, high country.
Our new adventure begins.