Have you ever been to Portland? I would live there if it wasn’t so far away.
Mr D and I drove to Portland towing a car trailer (we borrowed the car trailer from good friends of ours) in April 2014 to collect a cattle grid that I had found on Gumtree. It was a long way to go however a brand new cattle grid was out of our price range.
We did the whole trip over 3 days. It is not unusual for Mr D and I to get in the car and drive a long way as part of an adventure however this was probably too much. Along the way though we met some nice people and saw some fantastic scenery.
The route we was took was via Hume Highway. First stop was Benalla for lunch at the North Eastern Hotel (The Northo for short). From the outside, the place looked really drab however we were getting desperate for a place to stop (everything is complicated when you tow a car trailer). The Northo was a happy accident. This is not your ordinary pub and hosts Tony and Helen were fantastic. They treated us like old friends.
That night we stayed in Bendigo and ate very average (expensive) Chinese food. We had to be in Allestree (a beautiful part of the world as it turns out), just outside of Portland, by 8am the next morning so breakfast at the motel was out of the question however we did manage a quick bite to eat in Hamilton and to say we scraped in by the skin of our teeth time wise would be an understatement. The reason for the time deadline was that the owner of the cattle grid had organised for the neighbour and his tractor to lift the cattle grid onto the trailer. The neighbour was coming home from night shift at that time.
Anyway, while that was happening I was having a look around the property and chatting with Janelle (the daughter). The place was stunning. Green and flat however stunning. It was obvious that there had been quite a lot of rain.
The loading of the cattle grid was made less complicated by the generosity of the neighbour and his tractor. So once loaded we were headed north once more.
At this stage, it hadn’t occurred to me how close to the most southern edge of Australia we were. As we drove out, all I could see was ocean. Magnificent! We didn’t see this coming in. The people who live here probably don’t see this view anymore.
The trip home took us passed the outskirts of Melbourne. I can’t remember where we stopped for lunch that day, obviously it was not that special. Driving, driving and more driving. After driving through several towns with no accommodation available, probably something to do with it being the Easter long weekend, I started to feel really shitty and I mean 2 year old, about to throw a tantrum, type shitty. Here we were back in Benalla with no promise of a place to stay the night.
Anyway, we found ourselves driving passed the ‘Northo’ again and Mr D suggested we check out the accommodation. My response was not much more than a grunt. I told Mr D to go in as one more ‘no accommodation available’ would have resulted in me losing my shit. Would you believe that Tony saw us drive in and recognised the car and the trailer now carrying the cattle grid that we had told him about? He came out to greet Mr D and the news was good. One room available and I was happy. A shower to freshen up, a bar to have a few red wines (which helped to numb the aches and pains my body was feeling from sitting in the car for so long) and fabulous food. Fabulous food! And did I mention the bar? As I said, not your ordinary pub.
I felt renewed after a good night’s sleep and after taking these photos we were back in the car once more. The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We arrived home late afternoon.
The next challenge, of course, was getting the cattle grid off the trailer. Fortunately our friend Timmy (he has a flat bed truck with a palfinger) was available to help the next morning. Five minutes to unload and a carton of beer as a thank you, it was done.
The installation of the cattle grid is a story for another day!
Have you been on an adventure recently? Or not so recently however it was memorable.