On Tuesday a few weeks ago, Mick and I were having lunch in the park in my lunch break when the phone rang.
"What are you doing on the weekend?" "Nothing planned" , was our reply. "Do you want to come up to lunch for Chooky's birthday?" "Why not!" "Just don't tell her."
So, after lamenting that we probably would not get to go anywhere with the van, we started to plan our weekend away.
It was forecast to rain on the Friday and possibly on Saturday and Sunday too, but that wasn't going to worry us.
We left home on Friday morning and travelled towards Sofala. The mist in the valley was rather beautiful.
First stop was in the park at Mudgee for morning tea. This is always a good place to stretch the legs. Yes, we had done some baking the day before in preparation.
There had been some mention on the radio in the previous week or so about the start of the installation of a new wind farm in the Crudine area and how the components were going to be trucked down. This turbine was the only part we saw, but more than we had expected to see, as we hadn't expected to be in this part of the world at all. As you can see, it was just starting to spit rain.
Next stop was Gulgong to visit "Stacks Down Under", an Aladdin's cave of a shop in the basement of a historic building. The local supermarket is housed in the upper section. We were on the hunt to replace a silicon spoon I had bought here a couple of years ago, but sadly they didn't have any in stock. They did, however, have some lovely alpaca blend yarn and a small battery operated milk frother. We have been on a quest for the best way to make cappuccino with no electricity. The frother was tested on the weekend and worked beautifully.
As we continued on our way, the countryside looked a picture, even through the rain.
There is nothing more picturesque than a paddock of canola in full bloom. We saw lots as we neared Dunedoo.
I was really looking forward to reaching Dunedoo, as the silos have only recently been painted. The subject is the jockey Hugh Bowman on the racehorse Winx. Hugh is a Dunedoo local.
We reached our destination on Friday afternoon, but headed straight for the caravan park to keep a low profile. We didn't want Chooky happening to see our ute in the street. That would have somewhat given the game away.
As we had all morning to kill, we did a bit of a wobble tour. We were somewhat surprised to see this wonderful mural down a side street, towards the silos. It was only painted in 2018.
The railway station is boarded up, but at least it hasn't been demolished.
Another surprise was this gorgeous timber church up one of the side streets. It is quite an unusual style to be seen in a country town.
The river is renowned for flowing under the sand base. Previously we have chuckled at the no fishing and no diving signs when all you see is sand and tyre tracks. It was a nice change to actually see water in the river.
Finally, it was lunch time and we rocked up to the pub. Chooky had expected to just have her immediate family attend, so was a little surprised to see a slightly larger gathering (subject to COVID rules) and us turn up. Miss Jules was also in attendance, so we had a nice catch up.
It was planned that we would leave our van in town and just drive the ute out to Chooky's to stay the night. As it turned out, that was a really good plan. There had been a storm pass through while we were at lunch, which left her road a tad damp and it gets rather sticky.
The best thing though, was the stunning rainbow we were treated to for ages as we drove along.
The wild canola looked a picture.
The scenery was in stark contrast to my last visit back in October last year, when I took Lou and Tony out.
Not only has grass grown, it has gone to seed and grown again.
Who'd have thought back then that things could have turned around so much. It just goes to show how well the country responds in the right conditions. We just need more of those right conditions.
We enjoyed a nice relaxed evening out at Chooky's. Fairy Girl cooked a nice, simple meal, which we all made short work of. It was so nice to get to visit them again. We were all in bed at a respectable hour, as we had an early start in the morning.
The early start wasn't to get on the road. No, it was much more important. Firstly, feed the lamb and then adjourn to the Chook Shed for another Zoom get together.
I've borrowed this photo from Chooky, as I forgot to take one. It was fun to actually be in the Chook Shed for a get together. I just did a bit more on my crochet shawlette.
However, we really did have to get on the road, so I only joined in for a short while before we had to head home.
There had been another shower of rain overnight, so the road was even stickier in the morning. Once we reached the caravan park Mick spent half an hour hosing mud off the ute. It was piled on the running boards and there was a thick coating under all the mud guards and chassis. I so wish I had thought to take a "before" photo. It was definitely worth taking the time to clean the worst of it off.
Our drive home was just down the main highway and rather uneventful. I did briefly join in with the Zoom get together again at lunch time, but unfortunately, the phone reception, even on the main highways out west, is still rather sketchy.
Anyway, we had a wonderful, unexpected weekend away and it was so good to catch up with good friends. Thanks for the invitation Mr Chooky.
A great weekend away in the van and so nice to surprise Chooky for her BD..
Lots of fabulous photos of your travels....
How wonderful that you are close enough to be able to "drop in" - what a lovely surprise for Chooky - I'm sure she was tickled pink! and what a change in the scenery - I'm so glad there has been some rain.
Wonderful weekend away in the caravan and a great surprise for Chooky, well organised by Mr Chooky. So good to see the change some rain can bring.
Certainly big changes to the country since last year, thank goodness. Do love travelling with you, and especially seeing Chooky's countryside. Thanks for the tour.
Such a wonderful weekend away, even better for being unexpected. I'm very impressed with all that baking!
What a great surprise for Chooky.
Wow, what a difference a little rain can make, you wouldn't know they were the same paddocks.
it was wonderful to have you come and join the surprise........
Oh that ramp was way to close on the way home.......how we missed it I do not know.......
Excellent... best reason for a road trip...
This shows how out of date I am but I knew you had a lot of interesting posts that I hadn't caught up on. I really have got behind with all the news - I didn't realise you were at Chooky's for a zoom session!!
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