It was around four o’clock and I was on the road heading North from the majestic Buchan caves. I had looked at the map before leaving and figured I’d head for Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. It didn’t look that far and I thought I could make it before it got too late and get a cheap motel room. I just wanted to be somewhere comfortable so I could get rid of this migraine that had been haunting me all day. Not to mention I still hadn’t found a shower anywhere.
As I wound my way through the foothills, I started thinking about the food I’d purchased earlier in the day. I figured the lamb chops I got for dinner would probably last in the fridge bag til the next night. I really wasn’t in the mood for eating as I could feel my pulse throbbing in my temples like they could rupture at any moment. If I could find somewhere to stay the night I figured I could get an early start and find a nice spot somewhere to set up and cook the bacon and eggs I had for breakfast.
That’s when it hit me. I’d bought the bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes but had forgotten the eggs. I looked at the map on the GPS to see how far away the next town was. There was a string of small towns that looked close by, Murrindal, W Tree and Butchers Ridge sounded inviting. I glanced at the clock. Four thirty. I hoped I could make it as so many of these small town shops can shut early.
I continued on, winding through the country road following my little blip on the GPS screen as it got closer to the first town, Murrindal. Then I got a sinking feeling as blip passed the town and I hadn’t seen it in the real world. There was nothing. Not even any houses that I could see from the road. That’s alright, I thought, There were still a few more towns ahead... Wrong! They were all the same. Towns marked on the GPS and nothing but trees and the odd driveway in the real world.
I began to wonder if I even had enough petrol in the car to make it all the way to Jindabyne. It was at that moment I turned a corner and my eyes locked on a hand painted sign reading “Last stop for petrol 120Km”... No not that one... “Fresh Eggs!” I couldn’t believe it.
I pulled into the driveway of what I could only describe as the oddest service station I’ve ever been to. There were old cars and junk scattered all across the property that looked like the end scene in ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’. The name of the place didn’t help matters either “Seldom Seen Service Station”. In the middle was a single petrol pump, a house and the promising sight of chickens running around all over the place. Things were looking good but I couldn’t help but wonder if my car would be part of the property by the next morning.
I got out and walked up to the house just as the intimidating form of a mountain man stepped out in his jeans and flannelette shirt.
“Yeah” was all he said in a deep gruff voice...
Are you kidding me? could it be any more ‘Hills have eyes’. I said G’day and told him I was after some eggs and fuel. When he realised I wasn’t a traveling sales man, he warmed up and we got chatting. It turns out Dave was a real nice guy. He invited me inside and me stories of how he’d survived the bushfires back in 2003 and he and most of the community had lost everything. He even pulled out a photo album to show me the devastation and what the property looked like before. All of this while he was scrambling around looking for some eggs.
After getting me to sign his guest book, he told me how he was just about to close up and visit his girlfriend who “had the best tits in the county...” I swear I’m not making that up. After all that though, he didn’t have any bloody eggs, even with fifty chooks roaming around. He said they were just finishing their malt and wouldn’t start laying again for a few weeks. I told him of the glorious breakfast I had planned at which he was kind enough to give me one of his own stash that he “borrowed” from one of his neighbors. I looked around. There were no neighbors as far as the eye could see. I thanked him, wished him a good time with his girl and got back on the road.
Not far, the road split and my GPS had picked the perfect time to spaz out. I stopped to pull out the ‘old school’ map and noticed some amazing cloud formations outside and a beautiful view across the foothills. I took a moment to jump out and take a few shots. With my head feeling like it was being crushed, I didn’t stick around long to enjoy it.
The afternoon pressed on and the shadows grew longer. The road narrowed and became unsealed and my head got worse. The road twisted round and around and up and down. The constant twisting and turning got me feeling quite sick. I realised I wasn’t going to make it to Jindabyne tonight. I had to stop before I painted the dashboard.
I pulled off the road just before darkness set in and found a wonderful place to make camp. Away from the road and right next to a babbling river. Very soothing. I pulled out the fold up chair, put my jacket on (I was definitely nearing the Alpine region) and slumped down, spent of energy. I sat still for an hour in a migraine induced daze, as the mountain air worked it’s magic on me. I was amazed. This was the first time I had gotten rid of a migraine of this severity without some pretty serious drugs. Not only that, I felt totally re-energized. It wasn’t long before my appetite returned either.
I set up my gas cooktop and whipped up those delicious Lamb chops with mushroom, onion and tomato. Ummmmmmm, delicious. After eating, I kicked back and looked up at the stars with a nice cuppa tea.
A perfect way to end the day. At least until I had to clean up. Why don’t they make camping dish-washers?
I packed everything up and then spent at least another hour or so just sitting in the dark watching the stars. They didn’t do much. Just hung there twinkling. Just the way I like them.