It genuinely felt like I was carting bricks as I carried my backpack to the train station… Definitely the heaviest it has ever been I couldn't even fit the most important things (cider and Nutella!) inside of it!! Heading north, with clouds hanging over the hills, the sandstone, tree lined route enveloped me in a green, lake filled landscape. Rolling me into Gosford, I met up with my Belgian Northern Territory made friend, Ben. Given the use of a 4 wheel drive that he proudly informed me has travelled the equivalent of one and a half times round the world then onto the moon, he has spent the last few weeks converting it to run on veggie oil…! A relatively inexpensive way to drive round the country, I believe it has been a bit of a greasy undertaking…! 😉 After a day of organising and sorting, I relaxed down on the sofa with beer, a BBQ, Cold Chisel and good chat with his farm companions.
Leaving the next afternoon, with a plan to head north up to Coffs Harbour at a relatively easy pace, our first stop along the way was Wollombi. Tourist centric, we found a statue sitting on the toilet (yes really), an ant covered car, a weird horse, a freaky looking death eater come ring wraith and a funky scarecrow made from cups of wishes. I quite liked this one :-).
Onto Cessnock, we wandered and felt we had walked into a 1990s time warp… Weird window displays, too many china dolls, a sewing emporium (?!) and a beauty parlour called the house of wax, they perhaps did not catch the movie of the same name… Finding it a bit random we did find a Pizza Hut and enjoyed three pizzas for a relatively cheap $14. My new fact of the day, Ben told me that mussels should only be eaten in Belgium during months containing the letter 'I'. I sat and thought for a moment. I could only think of April. He said there were lots… We realised we were having a lost in translation moment and we were talking Dutch… 😉 Then taught the months of the year in Flemish, January to August is the best time if you happen to be sourcing mussels in Belgium! It was at this point incidentally that I realised Cessnock had been host to another technological related incident… Yes I know. Now I have dropped my phone many a time on my travels… Apparently this was one time too many and at just the wrong angle… A broken screen and rendered unusable, losing all my numbers acquired after February last year I am now back to using my old phone that magically started to work after I replaced it in Hamilton last year… We'll see how long it lasts… I never thought I would miss that Nokia…! Hmmmm. Jane. Not good.
Rolling into Cessnock's campground at 7pm we were surprised to find the office shut… We had to phone the out of hours number to book a campsite. Both Ben and I can't believe what happened next… We got asked our rego (licence plate for all those back home) and did not know it… To put this in context, both of us have worked in roadhouses with campgrounds and have previously discussed the amount of time spent serving people unaware of their rego's, giving half rego's or sending their husband/wife/other to check and been bemused by this situation… Genuinely neither of us had a clue. Ben had to look…! We can't believe we became these people we talked about! It is obviously hard to remember…! Assigned a spot next to some grapevines, we set up camp and finished the night with forward planning, beer and good chat :-).