Day 4 – Coonabarabran to Orange

One thing I have to say when it comes to staying in Motels….. the walls are way to thin…. from screaming children, snoring, being able to hear the conversations and the couple next door going hard at it. Lack of sleep is bound to happen. With the lack of sleep I’m off to a slow start this morning and planning a way shorter day.

It felt long a long drive today, even though it was probably one of the shortest days i’ve had… open roads with just trees, dirt and plenty of dead animals along the way. Dry country in much need of water. As I get closer to my destination I can feel the change in temperature, the rains falling, gently hitting the windscreen and the heat does actually work in the car. Very excited about that.

Dubbo… I walked the main street of Dubbo, explored the Old Goal, creepy, eerie sensation, I wouldn’t like to be there at night. They had displayed the hangman’s equipment, talked about how people were executed, and the life within the goal; it was horrible.

Moving on to the Shoyoen Japanese Gardens…beautifully done. The fish were amazing, as they reach the surface, expecting a feed, mouths wide open as if they were speaking to you; I’m sure if I had listened closely I may have been able to hear them. The colours of the plants, trees and flowers were amazing – the colours of autumn were all around Dubbo and not just in the garden.

A quick stop at Big W to buy a thicker jumper and some thermal socks. And finally a Chai Latte. Nice and warm, warming my very core.

Onwards to Orange…. the country of wines. As you drive into Orange, the first thing I noticed was the amazing colours of the autumn leaves all around. Oranges, Reds, Yellow and browns – so much colour. I found myself at one of the many Art Gallery’s here in Orange – a little bit of culture never hurt anyone. Some fantastic work and others looked like any child could do it. The use of colour and lines were the main focus of one artist, interesting. The bright oranges, reds and aqua were what drew me in.

Time for some wine tasting, so I headed out towards the mountains, where less than an hour ago it was snowing. So bummed that I missed it – hence the icy cold winds. So I visited this gorgeous winery and did some taste testing , I found only a couple of the wines I actually enjoyed and walked away with a bottle of their Cherry Liquor. Visited the local lake on the way back into the main street to find accommodation for the night.

Day 3 – Kempsey to Coonanbarabran

On my travels I have meet a few different women, who I have been able to share parts of my story with… each one of them has walked away feeling inspired, hopeful and looked forward to the changes that they themselves could make in each of their own lives. That in itself was encouraging to me, as I never saw myself as being an inspiration to others, just by following my own heart and changing my life; completely starting over with nothing other than what I could fit into the hired car. It felt good.

As I journeyed to Port Macquarie at 5.30am I could see the sun on the horizon, it was in different hues of pink, blue and orange, so beautiful. I knew I needed to get to the beach to watch it continue to rise. It was well worth it, as the sky grew brighter and brighter – i got colder and colder, the scarf and beanie came out along with an extra jumper. It was a magnificent view all around, walking up to the lookout watching the waves crush against the rocks below, not sure as to what direction to look as it was breath-taking.

I decided that i would go inland to Tamworth which turned out to be a very long drive. I drove through Wauchope to Walcha – and what a journey that was. It took me through Cottan-Bimbang National Park which was 60km of tortuous bends and curves. There are over four hundred plus bends along this section. The scenery however was spectacular.

Finally arriving in Walcha, I noticed numerous sculptures on the streets, from human forms to a phoenix, and other forms of art. That was the highlight for me in this small town.

At Tamworth I visited the Big Golden Guitar where I had the opportunity to speak to one of the volunteers. She kindly shared her life story with me and how her strength and courage allowed her to leave her abusive husband – Inspirational Women. Through the encouragement of this women I then visited the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame…

I am enjoying every aspect of this journey, the driving, the exploring, meeting new people, singing loudly and rather badly, allowing the wind to blow through my hair (as it is no longer, long enough to get knotty) and the beautiful countryside, which is in much need of rain. The hills and mountains, the open paddocks, horses, cows, sheep, goats and even a few llamas, so much to see and take in. The roadworks however was disappointing as its everywhere, a plague that seems to spread from one state to the next. Frustrating to say the least.

Coonabarabran is one of those smaller towns that turn out to be a surprise, full of little treasures. Crystal Kingdom – a museum of gems and fossils found throughout Australia, some beautiful pieces on display. A great place to end a rather long day, even my fingers are complaining as they begin to swell. Taking a stroll down the main street where I discovered this gorgeous park full of color, some historical buildings, the clock tower and that there were no coffee shops left open (I’m going to have to wait for that chai latte until tomorrow).


A Day Before My Road Trip

Wow what a Thursday it’s been – I was up and out of the door at 7am. My journey to the Sunshine Coast was rather smooth, not too much traffic, a bright sunshiny day and all is well. I met some friends (all of which I’d like to say are a part of my soul family) at my favorite café in Landsborough – Henry & Co. Hugs all around, great company and time to leave…… time to say goodbye. Little emotion going around however no tears… so that’s fabulous, no wiping the mascara off that may have provided the look of a couple of black eyes.

Next I head to Burpengary to drop off my car- it’s time to say goodbye. She did me a great service over the last 4 years, she saw me cry many a time, laugh, scream and then there were my moments of frustration and calm. For a car that cost me $200, she was a real blessing. A little sad to see her go.

Time to pick up my rental – this is where the fun begins – 12noon was my pick-up time, only the car was not ready, wasn’t even in the system, so some phone calls and yelling from the receptionist its ready to go. To my surprise in was a little hatchback, a Getz (I thought I was picking up a sedan of some sort), so I hop into the car…freak a manual (I haven’t driven one of those in almost 20 years) and the smell…. Oh my God, it’s horrible, not good; smells like someone released all they had in their stomach – vomit. Oh really, so the car …is a little disappointing. Oh but wait it only gets better….. So I slowly drive off, with a few little hiccups trying to adjust to a clutch, wow a manual. Oh I forgot to tell you – it’s on empty. Hahaha….. Oh my goodness. Waiting at the lights, about to take off and the cars not moving, OK it’s not in gear, so we put it in first and keep going only to have the little hatchback to slip out of gear as I’m driving and here I thought I forgot to put it into gear, Nope.. It’s slipping as I drive and to top it all of…. The radio does not work!!!!! Nor does the air conditioner or cigarette lighter (guess I’m not plugging in a charger anytime soon).

However, I’m still grateful for this little car that is going to get me to where I need to go – Melbourne. And that it’s not costing me a cent (to which I now understand completely as to why!)

My next stop…. Optometrist. In October before leaving the Sunshine Coast I decided it was time to get my eyes checked. I picked up my glasses; however something was not quite right. You see when I put on my sunnies; I felt like I was standing extremely high, and when I took a step, I missed the step. My reading glasses I couldn’t even see the computer screen clearly; I had to move in closer. So I decided I needed to go back to see my Optometrist of 20 years. And sure enough the prescription was too strong. It seems my right eye doesn’t want to cooperate with my left, it needs a little retraining. So…. new script on its way.

Beaudesert… my next appointment with my job search provider, running a little behind time, however all is running smoothly. Now Rachel has been absolutely fantastic…. With fuel cards in my hand, and awaiting approval for accommodation and food expenses, I’m making my way home to find some way of removing the stink from the car. I found an upholstery cleaner I had sitting around, so I sprayed… everything within the car. Now it’s a waiting game till morning. Fingers crossed; otherwise my essential oils will be unpacked and used extensively.

Dad has just left to pick my mother up to come for dinner… oh yeah. She’s emotional, sad, and everything I don’t want to be around right now, I want to enjoy the moments of happiness and excitement of stepping into something unknown and new. I would once feel guilty over her reaction and her emotions, taking the responsibility as my own, but now… freak that… she can have her shit all to herself. I am not responsible for her emotional upheaval, or reactions or anybody else’s. I am only responsible for my own.

7pm and I’m ready for bed, nodding off at the table is a big give-away that I’m a little tired. Still lots to do, however tomorrow is just around the corner, so I leave anything else for then. So today I will pack up the car (taking less than I anticipated to) and begin my journey to Melbourne. Byron Bay will be my first stop.