Monday, April 01, 2002

BERT! (Big Easter Road Trip)

Canberra, Easter Sunday, 2002: Three young adults with independent incomes decide to see a new part of their country; this is their story...


A phone rings

"Hey, it's me. Are we still going?"
"Yeah, I'll call Tyson"

Hangs up and dials number
"The Vodaphone you are trying to call is switched off, please call again later"


"Hey, I'm here"
"Come up, I haven't had a shower yet."
"What? What have you been doing all morning?"
"Watching Ghandi. By the way, I can't get in touch with Tyson, I think he had a big one last night."
"Ok. Have a shower, I'll go get petrol & come back"


"I'm here"
"OK, be down in a minute"


Cin unfolds a map
"Are we going to go to Sydney or the coast?"
"The coast."
They drive north.
"We'll go up to his house and drag him out of bed. He better not pike out, I hate when people pike at the last minute."
"Moods change, deal with it"


"Doesn't look like anyone's home"
"Knock louder"
"That's his room isn't it"
"Yep, try banging on the glass"
"Tyson! Wake up!"
"That's done it, I hear movement"
The door opens.
"Good morning"
"Hehehe, someone had a big night. Get in the shower, we'll make you some breakfast"
"What time is it?"
"Almost eleven, hurry up"


He showers, they make raisin toast, pour juice & coffee.
He comes into the kitchen showered & dressed, eats.



"So where are we going?"

Format Change!*

It was a crisp clear day, Cin and I had gotten Tyson up and partially functional and we were on the road. The plan was to head south to Cooma and then cut across to Bega and then the coast at Tathra, drive back up the coast to Bateman's Bay and then back home.

The first leg of the day-trip took us from Canberra to Cooma. We stopped for a snack around lunchtime (we'd agreed to have a proper lunch on the coast) at the slowest KFC in the southern hemisphere. There were two cars in front of us in the drive-through and maybe one family eating-in and we still had to wait 15 minutes. We pulled into the carpark to eat, then around to the Mobil for supplies: the Weekend Australian, 3 x 1.5l water bottles, 3 x Frosty Fruits, 1 x sunscreen, 1 x one-use camera. Soundtrack leg one: Triple J, ABC Classic FM, then SnowFM when we lost Canberra radio. SnowFM's promo "the sound of snow" made me wonder if they finish off every Top 10 with "The Sounds of Silence".

From Cooma we continued south to Nimmitabel then east to Bega, with a stop along the way to take in the view from the loo at Pipers Lookout. Bega (with dairy being the primary industry of the region) provided the inspiration for a wad of smeg jokes, none of which I'll repeat here. Cin likened the place to being "small, like Queanbeyan, but nicer". On arrival in Tathra, Tyson & I walked across someones front yard to get some panoramic shots of the beach while Cin ran into the pub for a pit-stop. After finding a park on an extremely steep street, we walked down to the wharf for some coastal fish & chips. We talked about the merit of fishing as a hobby and the contrasts of fishing locals with leather clad japanese tourists. Obligatory bait fridge photo, check. Obligatory giant penguin photo, check. Soundtrack leg two: SnowFM, then PowerFM.

On the road again after about an hour or so, heading north to Bermagui, where it appeared everyone in Canberra with a boat had headed. Cin had wanted to take a drive along the coast, but soon regretted that decision when we discovered, and then confirmed with closer inspection of the road map, that half of the 35km road between Tathra and Bermagui was unsealed, so the little red Barina got a good coat of regional aussie dust. Just before we hit the town proper, we stopped for some rock-hopping and watched porpoises feeding just off the point. In town, we stopped into the BP for fresh supplies: $20 worth of petrol and 3 x Berty Banana ice creams. Soundtrack leg three: more average commercial pop with PowerFM.

Back on the road for the final leg home, we headed north to Batemans Bay, took a left at the roundabout and headed northwest, back to Canberra. It got dark sooner than we had calculated, because daylight-savings-time had ended and we'd miscalculated, so Cin had to gather up all of her driving wits, have a short D&M with the Barina and faced the windy road home in the dark. Up in the hills we again lost radio reception, so channel surfed for a while on the AM band as it was the only way we could get anything to listen to. At first we were subjected to 'Hits of the 70's', then static. We opted to switch off. When we made another attempt we encountered a free-for-all talkback and music show. The back-announce told us we'd just missed a Fleetwood Mac classic, but were just in time to hear from Justin who'd called into the station wanting to talk about Easter and how everybody should be nice to each other, especially the government with respect to the asylum seekers. The DJ was polite, and when Justin had finished his piece she thanked him for calling, offered him a request, let him say hello to some friends, then offered to put his name in the draw for an all expenses paid holiday in Europe. "No, I don't think so, it's all a bit dangerous over there isn't it." "Uh," The announcer was momentarily stunned; who ever turns down a competition? "Well Justin, things aren't that bad." "All the same I'd rather not." "Ok, we'll be back after this song with something a bit lighter"... We tried calling to tell Justin off, but instead the announcer took a call from Janice who liked Easter, but didn't like the diet that followed (but always ate all the chocolate she was given)... The lights of Queanbeyan and Canberra were welcome sights, the three day-travellers were weary from their adventure-and-food-filled jaunt around southeastern NSW. Soundtrack home leg: PowerFM, ABC Classic FM's Jazz show, Radio National, crazy talkback station, Triple J

I was dropped home at around 9, showered and crashed into bed around 9.30.

Things I learnt:
1. Road trips are fun, even if they're short.
2. Water and cameras might seem necessary, but toilet stops are more necessary.
3. A whole lot of swearing, farting and personal disclosure can take place in a 10 hour road trip.
4. When consulting road maps, take note of areas marked 'Unsealed'.
5. While bad, Canberra radio beats smaller regional radio.
6. Small country towns would make great weekend getaway destinations.
7. Variations on the "Get a helmet" joke can amuse for hours and are infinitely adaptable.

Next time, we're heading north.

* - I've always wanted to write up one of my stories in play/screenplay format, but this one would've been too darn long. Perhaps another time.

Posted by Dean @ 4/01/2002 03:52:00 pm

...Survey says...


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