Sunday, May 1, 2011

Silver City Sojourn - Day 1 - Campbelltown to West Wyalong Via Temora

We're onto the Hume Highway from the Narellan Road on ramp by about 11:30 and headed south.
First stop was at the Mundoonan rest area, which is near the turn of for Jerrawa, something like 20 kms or so before Yass. There is a stop, revive, survive site set up. Free tea or coffee and a little catering pack of biscuits, and as a bonus sausage sangas $2 for a local charity organization.  Sponsored by Bushells, Arnotts, CSR.  It is doing a roaring trade and the rest area itself is very large with stacks of parking and a substantial toilet block.  Covered picnic tables also.  All you have to do is watch out for snakes – or so the signage warns us. We had been going to have sandwiches for lunch but decide to support the sausage sizzle and maybe have our own sandwiches for dinner instead.
We turned off to Bowning just past Yass and had a quick look at a really cute little cafĂ© in a slab hut. I little research reveals this is the Rollonin Cafe.  Very cute and looks popular. We didn’t have time to stop today but this is definitely somewhere I would like to return to. 
We’re striking distance from Canberra and it is clear as we travel along the way to Binalong and Harden in the prosperous appearance of everything. There are heaps of things to explore, signs to museums or other attractions and it’s very pretty to drive through.
We stopped to fill up in Harden at the BP, where we note the petrol is cheaper than it was in Sydney today.  Sydneysiders get rorted something shocking with fuel prices at holiday weekends. We were served by a lovely, friendly young woman.  Harden and its twin city Murrumburrah are tidy, pretty small towns and well presented.
I wish we have more time as we skim over more pretty villages. At Stockingbingal they have called their local store Stock Up, which I thought rather clever.
We stopped in Temora to get some cash. Temora is really nice and quite a large town which surprised me because you don’t really hear about Temora.  It is a nice streetscape and quite busy with lots of cars parked along the main street.
As we passed through Barmedman we made the slight detour for a squizz at the mineral pools.  They appeared to be shut and not in the best of repair. Not enticing really. 
We arrived in West Wyalong at about 5:15pm and went to the IGA before it shuts. The IGA was doing huge business, which is not surprising given the extra long weekend.  We pick up just a couple of little things and we head off to find a bed for the night.  
First we tried the Ardeanal motel sniffing several of their rooms but the rooms were overwhelmingly fragrant and we had to go elsewhere.  I found it offensive that the lady tried to blame some Asian guests for the need to spray scent everywhere.  She reckoned they had cooked in the room though she’d requested them not to.  Then she showed another room. Same. We start to head off then she thinks again and suggests I sniff a room that wasn’t used last night so not serviced today.  Same.  The cooking in the room clearly had nothing to do with it.  The ethnicity of the guests even less.
We drive over to the Mayfair across the road. They have a couple of rooms still available.  The host shows us the bigger of his remaining rooms. The whole complex is non-smoking but this room had had someone smoking in it.  I ask to see the other available room and it was fine. I make mum comfortable with her essentials from the car and head over to check us in.  We will need to share the queen bed, but that’s no problem.  
The Mayfair is excellent value and very clean with fittings, fixtures and bedding that seems very new.  Not at all bad for $65 a double.  Excellent value.  The room has a small microwave, a kettle and toaster. A nice tea tray. Flat screen TV and air conditioner. Two seater leather sofa.  Iron, ironing board.  All the appliances have been tested and tagged.  A common misconception about the OHS regulations, these sorts of appliances do not require testing and tagging, but there are companies out there who go around telling people they do.  At any rate, it is very good to see the operators of the motel take their responsibilities seriously.  There are a couple of chairs. One stored in the cupboard to keep clutter down and I guess most guests probably don’t need it.  Extra pillow and blanket.  The pillows look brand new.  The sheets are high thread count and the only down side to that is that they rustle a lot when you move. No biggie. Outside the room there is a small table and a couple of chairs.  The room layout is similar to the motel where we stayed in Waikerie in 2009 with the shower in a room of its own and the toilet similar with a sink between the two.  Good for a quick getaway for guests in the morning. The only slight disappointment is that the fridge is a tiny tiny bar fridge that fits almost nothing in it.  Freezer only big enough for an ice tray (if you had one – it doesn’t).  So I can’t refreeze my small water bottles over night or anything like that.  Over the course of the night mum has some issues with not shutting the fridge door properly but I rearrange the contents and it’s OK.  I find the size of the fridge an irritation, but for $65 a night I can pay the $4 or whatever at a servo and buy some ice. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Mayfair again. Definitely the best of the motels I’ve tried in or around West Wyalong. We pay in full on check in. Tomorrow is good Friday and the operators are hoping to have a sleep in. Fair enough too.
Shortly before arriving in West Wyalong, we realized that our simple dinner plan of sangas is seriously flawed. Mum can’t eat yeast bread late in the day. It plays havoc with her innards.  A new scheme is called for.  After the procrastination of the fatigued traveler, we settled on take away from the local Chinese Restaurant. Adventurous we go for Pork with sweet and sour sauce and chicken chow min with a large rice and some prawn chips.  All this will be $35. I really don’t want to eat in anywhere so we ring and order.  The lady serving was nice.  I drove in to pick the food up which is quite a way along the road.  I ordered a side of prawn chips and they gave us a huge paper bag full of them.  The food was in generous proportions. The take away containers they use are twice the size you would get in Sydney.  The food was so so. The sauce had been cooking too long and the vegetables were over cooked with the brocolli being rather unappetising. Still, it was better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.
As we waited to go and collect our food we watched the local news reports. Very interesting and naturally they cover all sorts of issues of particular interest to the local audience. Research on feeds for dairy cows to increase the level in the milk of things that block cholesterol absorption.  At one point the weather man exclaims – "fair dinkum!  .....and don’t worry about the cloud symbols it’s only a 30% chance of rain and even then, only 1 mm".  You wonder why they bother putting the cloud thingys up on the map in the first place.
After our meal we chill in the room watching Insight about the defence force culture and women fighting on the front line.  Then a knock at the door. I hear a couple of blokes outside. One says something to the other and I’m feeling a little uneasy. As I open the door I hear the most forward one saying “no, I’ll do it”.  I open to find a very attractive very well dressed young Aboriginal man who has clearly been at the club or a celebration of some sort given his presentation.  “Is that your car?”  “Yes.”  “Your lights are on.”  We mustn't have shut a door properly and one of the interior lights has remained on.  I thank the young man most sincerely for letting me know.  As he said you don’t want to wake up in the morning to find the battery dead.
We switch the tele off in favour of my being able to hear myself think.  Mum likes the tele very loud. Mum does her nebulising and then it’s a book and sleep for me.  Lets hope it’s a good night.