Like a lot of the world during COVID, I’m embracing the old-fashioned road trip and have taken a few weekends away post lock down. I’m also hopefully having a longer 2-week trip coming up in October 2020.
I fondly remember hopping in the car in the dark early hours of the morning and sleeping head to toe with my twin sister in the back of my Mum Dad’s Holden Torana. We would pack the area where our feet should go with luggage and pop a mattress across the backseat buckle in and crash out.
Growing up my parents ran cattle on a property in the Widden Valley, which is out the back of Muswellbrook NSW. Back in the day Mum would collect us straight from school at 3:00pm and we would drive to a north shore train line, like Gordon and pick up dad and off we went, arriving late on the Friday night after a quick stop for a burger on the way. It felt like took it took forever but was really only 4-5 hours depending on the traffic.
These weekends were crazy fun for my sister and I, and our 2 cousins. From rounding up the cattle out in the bush, to seeing snakes being killed by Granny or Gramps who owned the farm, and then being dragged down a hole that was a bull ant nest by 100’s of bull ants, to having and have rabbit for dinner.
Those farm days sure were fun, and so many memories come flooding back, like my dislike for boiled chicken, or farm baths – they were always interesting when there was limited water and you were the 2nd youngest…. It was more like swamp water! It’s also where I first heard the word Vinnies, as in St Vincent De Paul, the 2nd hand clothing store. We loved a good dress up at the farm! And I can still remember finding a pair of buttercup yellow dungarees……
We often camped in our camper trailer out the front in the homestead paddock in summer and slept in the house through winter.
We were pretty much free range and would head off to the river to cook sausages on the open fire, nearly killing each other once when the heat from the open fire, had the river pebbles exploding and splitting like shrapnel.
I learnt to drive a tractor before a car and then when I did learn to drive a car, it was an old crank starter……. I only stalled it once and couldn’t get it started.
We had fun picking peas, collecting seasonal pumpkins or watermelons and load them into the trailer for 1 cent each so we could buy our own poddy calf and of course that 1 calf became several as the years went on. Cattle entrepreneurs NOT!
Our other holidays like most families we often to the same places each year. A week to Sussex Inlet on the South Coast fishing with my Nana and 10 days to Coolangatta, usually with the cousins.
Back in 1977 my parents took my sister and I on a 6-week trip at the end of our year 10 in high school.
We travelled down the south coast into Victoria all the way around the edge to South Australia and then back up the guts to the Junction where NSW, Victoria and South Australia sort of meet in a dog leg kind of way!
At the time I thought it was hot and horrible, we were 16 and just wanting to be with our friends but looking back now it was the trip of a lifetime and I remember my dad letting us taste wine in the beautiful South Australian town of Hardorf.
Having 4 kids of my own we travelled a little in Australia and a lot overseas as their dad is British and a lot of his family were in England and Wales. As they got older, we too had regular school holiday trips to Port Stephens and Noosa. Although they don’t mind a trip when their mum is holding 5 passports!
Now in the prime of my life, when I don’t have to listen to kids whining that it’s their turn in the front, or that someone was looking at them the wrong way or have to leave before sun up early to get the best spot to get the tent set up, I’m happy to leave after the school zones and cruise along.
The road trip has not really changed much over the years. The car is still packed to the rafters, the lollies give you a sugar high for a while and then a tummy ache and there is always that sneaky fly that somehow gets in the car!
I miss the old school maps and have recently bought a couple. The apple car-play only shows the immediate destination, and I love looking ahead and as most of my friends know I can always get us back from where we have been, however if you said which way is North I would really struggle.
Country towns really are the best, slowing down to drive through the main drag if there isn’t a bypass. Grab a quick sausage roll or milk shake and onto the next town.
No matter where you go, adventures in your own back yard are a wonderful way to experience travel at its best!
I know we are all struggling with lock down and social distancing, so I have grabbed this opportunity to get out and about while we can and for those of you who can’t currently travel, I hope this brings back a nice memory for you to virtually travel!
Mrs Wong x