Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brisbane Road trip - Part One

At the end of October my mate, who wishes Internet anonymity and insists on being referred to as ‘Goose’ (from Mad Max 1), and I, decided to go on a roadtrip from Canberra to Brisbane. His mate who I shall refer to as Tarzanelli, moved there a year or two ago, from Melbourne. The plan was drive up, hang out for a few days, drive back.  

I haven’t done this particular trip before, so I was keen to go. Initially we planned on taking the XF Pano, but due to ACT Registration hassles (to be documented at a later date, but seriously – is 93db really that loud?) we took the 1974 Leyland P76 V8 Super instead. Google maps initially suggested that we travel via Sydney and the Pacific Coast. I instantly recognised this was idiotic, and dragged the dots on the Google map inland, via Dubbo, Goondiwindi etc. This would make for a far more interesting trip, with far less traffic, in far less time.

It was decided on grounds of logic, that I would be doing the driving and Goose would be doing the navigating. He is a shocking navigator, but a worse driver. His list of driving sins deserves a blog of its own, but let me list his major crime - he drives a bilious blue nissan micra. His obvious lack of navigational skill asserted itself primarily in Brisbane proper, with comments like ‘Should have taken that road mate’ AFTER we had gone past it. Fortunately I had driven to Gunnedah over Easter 09 and was familiar with the greater part of outback NSW having traversed it several times over the years, so his shocking navigational skills didn’t cause too much trouble.

Here we are filling up at the Yass Junction Service Centre. When I do a long roadtrip, I like to stop after 50 or 60 Km and check everything (fluid levels, tyre pressures, look underneath for weird leaks etc). Yass Junction is roughly 60km out of Canberra, and is convenient for this. You can see my Willow 20 litre water cooler on the back seat just at the edge of the drivers seat - more on that later.

Goose navigating. He has no idea what he is looking at.

The trip to Brisbane was a two dayer, with an overnight stop in Goondiwindi. Primarily this is because I dislike driving in the outback as soon as dusk arrives. As a person who has previously collected a kangaroo with his car, I don’t fancy sharing the passenger compartment with a kangaroo, camel, horse, cow or anything else that wanders the outback. The amount of road kill we saw would indicate my policy is a sound one. I have no bull bar or a B double mass of weight on my side.

Outback servo. These are disappearing and being replaced with ‘Service Centres’ . Note that the fuel is 20 cents cheaper in the middle of GAFA than in Canberra.

This is probably a good place to mention the various approached to preparing for a long distance outback roadtrip. My approach is to take adequate water (25 litres), food (muesli bars, canned food, fruit), spares and equipment to cover possible emergencys, but also to ensure the car is prepared and up to such a trip. Another approach (Gooses) is to take a bag of muesli, a litre of organic soy milk, and a 500 ml Mt Franklin water bottle. Four or five hours into the trip, Goose runs out of water. I offer him some from my water cooler, its filled with big ice blocks and is COLD. He doesn't like that idea, how do we know its clean ? I continue drinking COOL COOL water and 90 minutes later he relents and agrees to drink the POSSIBLY CONTAMINATED BECAUSE IT DOESNT COME IN A PLASTIC BOTTLE water.

Parked outside motel room in Goondiwindi. Check out that Leyland boot space! It was while taking this shot I noticed my hand was filling with oil leaking out of the camera.

Around 4.30 PM we arrived in Goondiwindi. On roadtrips i like to stay at the most ridiculously named motel possible. Sadly, the Jolly Swagman, had no vacancies, so we stayed at some anonymous motel whose name escapes me. This is where I discovered that a litre of 15w/40 motor oil had leaked onto and into my camera. I drained as much as possible out, but some had penetrated the camera. This is not good.  This was my own fault - I like to make sure I have 5 litres of oil and 5 litres of coolant in the boot, and when I was securing the fluid bottles with ocky straps (squint and look at the spare tyre to the left in the boot) I noted one was quite low, so I filled a one litre oil bottle and grabbed a new 5 litre bottle from my garage. The bottle that leaked was the one litre bottle.

Arty shot taken when camera discovered coated in oil, and obvious oil wiped off.

Goondiwindi was a blast. After looking at the various options (a pub crawl) we settled in at the Australia Hotel. The barmaid introduced herself as the Evil Fairy. We drank much beer. We then adjourned for dinner. We then came back and drank more beer. A local called ‘Doug’ joined us. He believes that the Kevin Rudd/Penny Wong government is trying to dispossess agrarian land holders and set the ground for a quiet takeover by China. He has written NUMEROUS letters to the Brisbane Courier mail, but alas, no one is doing anything. he showed us his latest letter, on Cubby station, water rights and the Rudd/Wong conspiracy, and while reading it the Evil Fairy came over and asked if Doug was bothering us with his sad life story. We assured her he was not.

Goose standing in middle of road taking photo of sign.

I had a fairly sleepless night as when we came back from the pub, I was feeling a little schicker. I lay down on the bed and zonked out. I was then woken rudely every hour or so by Goose screaming out MAKE IT STOP or FOR GODS SAKE or WONT YOU SHUT UP etc etc. I was also assaulted by a pillow and various shoes thrown at me from the other side of the room. He claims I snore. This is a filthy horrible lie. I do not snore, if anything, its a gentle purr. In any case, EVEN IF I snore, its rude for one person who is having a ruined nights sleep to wake up the snorer in a vain attempt to make it stop. It doesnt - all it does is ruin two peoples rest. Goose is very inconsiderate.

The next day we rose fairly early and while I endured his whining about a ruined nights sleep, Goose had organic muesli with soy, and torn up cardboard, I had crumpets, froot loops and a coffee. We then packed the car.

947 km from Canberra, not bad for a days driving.

Off we went, with a short detour while Goose took photos of a quaint street sign. I also had to explain to the front desk that some motor oil had been spilt accidentally on one of the quilt covers. The lady at the front desk told me not to worry, as I wouldn’t believe some of the stains shes seen, and expressed surprise that I raised the matter as people normally leave as fast as possible when they cause some damage. I left my details in case the damage was worse than she thought, but to date they haven’t contacted me, so I guess motor oil washes out with a bit of OMO. Maybe I should have thrown my camera in with the wash ?

Goose looking at map and referring to his Google map itinerary. Note, he is looking at a map of Brisbane CBD (we were in Warwick).

We headed out of Goondiwindi fairly early, and looked forward to the relatively short trip to Brisbane. Little did I know that Gooses appalling navigational skills would prove near-disastrous.... (I'm trying for a cliffhanger effect)

End Part One - part two coming soon.


  1. Quite entertaining....but I am watching "Josie & the Pussycats" at the most things would be more enjoyable!...looking forward to more!

  2. Where is part 2 Mr Haas