Day 1 – Friday 19th August
The day finally dawned, the day our road trip was to begin. All week we had been working towards this goal armed with lists and more lists. Everything was running smoothly until the morning before when PC announced that the shower water smelt of….”Rat!” (I didn’t tell him I thought he perhaps had an over-sensitive nose) He investigated and came back to announce he saw….ahem….. tufts of hair in the downpipe above the tank!!!! eww!!!!!!! As he rushed off to work he admonished us to not use that tank that day (we certainly had no inclination to do so!) and he would deal with the problem that night. That evening and the next morning saw PC and Michelangelo flushing the gutters determined to find the… ahem… body! They found not only one but two mice! and I shall stop right there;)
The result of all this sleuthing meant I lost my oldest three boys to the bowels of the tank on the final day, as they had to empty and scrub the tank clean. The fervent hope was we would return to a full tank of fresh water, deliciously clean to drink. (50ml of rain fell whilst we were away and we returned to an overflowing tank:) ). So finalising packing and loading the van, a huge engineering feat (we didn’t take the trailer) largely fell on the shoulders of our indefatigable Anna Maria. (PC had to go to work that morning) The lack of water also meant the dishwasher had to be unloaded and washed by hand, with water bucketed from another tank and boiled for heat. Just adding layers of complexity to our finally tuned balance.
Despite obstacles we farewelled home only an hour later than intended. The beginning of the trip did not bode well, Bass was not happy and we had a few unplanned stops. We pulled into Tenterfield (population 3000) for tea to discover that enthusiastic helpers had packed away all shoes (at the bottom of the van) and we were inadequately prepared without jumpers to hand. Road Trip Lesson 1# Always have a bag of jackets/jumpers separately and leave out shoes for everyone. So we trooped down the main street of Tenterfield (851m-2789ft above sea level), shoeless and jacketless and it was freezing! We wrapped ourselves in blankets, however the locals were in short sleeves, so perhaps it was just that we had not acclimatised to the cold mountain air on top of the Great Dividing Range.
With a few more unplanned stops for Bass, we arrived at our first destination Toowoomba (pop. 93,000) at 10pm. We were warmly welcomed by our host Mrs B, who had generously offered to host 11 complete strangers! Thank you Mrs B:)