Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
220Trip End Jun 17, 2009
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Anyone like music? How about Abba? The one that goes "Another town, Another train". Yep, we're going playing trains today - again. To link Lithgow, at the top of a hill, with the rail line out of Sydney at the bottom, in the late 1800's they built a zig zag. This is in the shape of a 'Z' with each leg sloping and the track zig-zagging down the hillside. When they developed better construction methods, a new longer track was cut through several tunnels to replace the zig zag
The line was then abandoned until in the 1970's local enthusiasts reopened the line, complete with steam engines and it now runs as a major attraction, 'The Lithgow Zig Zag Railway". It's a narrower gauge (42") as opposed to the standard (56") track. We arrived early and sat in the sunshine until the train pulled in. The intriguing trip lasted an hour and a half and was a great morning.
We set off again heading north but missed the turning. My trusty navigator spotted another route on the map to get us back on track and we took it. Through 'Portland' and then the signposts stopped. There were road names to districts, so we chose one in the right direction and followed it.
The next road junction was two road names only, so we used the compass and chose one. The narrow road eventually ran into a wide, newly laid gravel road, leading to a fire emergency centre and which after 6 miles ran into a country, rough gravel track. The new gravel had several small kangaroos, 'joeys', the sad roadkill victims at the side of the road. We 'progressed' slowly round hills, through cattle grids and over a few tiny creeks. The hillsides were very brown and dry and it was hard to see how they were supporting the few cattle and sheep that we saw
After 18 miles we spotted a signpost which confirmed (at last) that we were heading in the right direction, an alternative route was to take the 'Mount Horrible Road", we declined! Two more miles and we came to another junction which gave us the two towns we wanted - it also told us that the roads were advised to be for 4 wheel drive vehicles only!!!!
Aardvarks!!!! Now they tell us. There had been no other junctions and no warning that the destinations required a 4wd vehicle to arrive there! I chose the shortest road and had gone only a couple of hundred yards when we reached a creek that had mud, over 8 inches deep, all across it. Now I'm getting to be quite adventurous, but not foolhardy. If we got stuck in that, we would more than likely be out here at least overnight, goodness knows how much longer. Engage brain. We turned round and returned all the way back to the end of the gravel roads and then found the road to 'Bathurst'.
This lesson in Australian road directions lost us well over two hours and it was now too late to move any further northwards
Our analysis of the afternoon's adventure was that we don't accept 'an alternative route' but stay with a (hopefully) signposted road and also that the Aussie way is, that on other minor roads everyone knows where they are going, which is why they are on that road. If you don't know then why are you on this road? Simple logic.
For supper we went to a local 'RSL' centre, which is the Australian Retired Servicemen's League', the equivalent of the British Legion, except that here anyone can be signed in and get a meal. It was a very organized centre with a restaurant, bar, activity hall, etc.. After a good meal we returned to the motel for an internet session and an easy night.
Distance driven 174 Km 108 miles
Monday 30th June
A comfortably warm night but still a very frosty morning with a scattering of cloud
"You're going to do WHAT !!!!! "........................Part 7
..............................and Motor Racing Circuit'.
Yep, straight off the street, no gates or permits and onto the track!
Norah had always wanted to drive a racing car, her Mercedes fetish came from this and so we decided to swop places and she would drive round this race track. OK - so the only downer is that you're limited to 60 kph (or approx 40 mph) but when the world and his dog can use it for free that's fair enough. It also gives the joggers on the track (I kid you not), a fighting chance to get out of the way.
The 5 km track started flat and ran uphill and round twists and bends, with great views over the city and surrounding countryside, although I'm not sure the real racing drivers get to admire it! After a practice lap Norah Hamilton decided to turn the car round and go the other way (hence the change of direction on the videos).
Having, even if only briefly, got this "need for speed" out of her system it was time to drag her away from the track and set off again.
In town we called for some cash and the cards were rejected - no, don't tell me! I tried another bank and this time was succesful. Heart beat back to normal we left town.