This morning the thermometer inside the van displayed 6 degrees – you might say that things were a bit chilly! However the heater soon warmed the van, and hot showers and a hot cup of tea warmed us as well. Outside, it was another bright sunny day with a wonderful clear blue sky. The wind, unfortunately, was cutting, and very, very cold.
Packing up didn’t take long and we were soon back on the Newell Highway. Well sort of. There were major roadworks right outside the caravan park entrance which extended over the bridge across the Castlereagh River and pretty well to the junction of the Newell and Oxley Highways. We had to wait a little while at the caravan park exit but then the man with the stop sign signalled us to go and we actually got exclusive access to the road, across the bridge, and onto the Newell Highway while all other traffic had to wait. We felt very privileged!
Our stop for morning coffee was at the side of the highway in Dubbo, near the Zoo. We were sure that we could hear some of the animals!
The Newell is a busy highway with a constant stream of big trucks and oversize loads travelling in both directions. The condition of the sides of the highway and the various rest stops and truck pull-overs indicate that inadequate funds are being provided for road maintenance works. The safety implications of this lack of maintenance are very obvious to travellers.
We then continued down the Newell and at about Peak Hill we both started feeling hungry. The original plan was to have a light lunch in the van at a roadside stop somewhere along the way but we both decided that a pie and chips would be a much better option. After-all, it was cold! Fortunately we knew just the place to go.
Several kms North of Parkes we turned down Telescope Road and made our way to the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope – better known as the setting for the Australian movie “The Dish”. We knew from previous visits here that the Dish Café serves up fabulous pies and excellent coffees. The chef certainly didn’t disappoint this visit either! Our lunch left us in great form to continue our journey today.
From Parkes we continued down the Newell to Forbes where we intended to stop for a quick cup of coffee but I got distracted by the sign to McFeeters Motor Museum. We saw this place last time but had to keep driving – this year we seemed to be making good time so we stopped to have a look inside.
We arrived just in time to be taken on a guided tour by Bill McFeeter himself. Bill McFeeter is 75 years old and has been collecting cars for a very long time. His collection grew to the size where he decided that he needed to build a shed to store all his cars and the idea of making the shed a museum came to the fore. His wife Jan convinced him that his shed should be something different and it certainly is! This motor museum is a purpose built building which also houses a café, wine and local honey shops, and a tourist information area. Jan also convinced Bill that there should be carpet on the floor and that the cars should displayed with suitably dressed mannequins. Jan even changes their clothes to suit the seasons! Jan’s whole idea was to make this motor museum interesting to women as well as men and judging by comments we heard, she has succeeded!
There are 60 cars on display, most of them owned by the McFeeters and the rest on loan from various friends, neighbours, etc. There is a similar number of motorcycles, although these are all on loan. Many of the cars are still road registered and Bill takes them out for a spin regularly. The collection is incredibly diverse and he has several “only one in Australia” vehicles.
Bill is one of life’s characters who loves a chat and is clearly both passionate and knowledgeable about his car collection. After the tour we took a few photos of some of the collection.
Time got a little bit away from us and we still had to complete the last leg of our trip, this time along the Lachlan Valley Highway. Fortunately the condition of the road was very good and there wasn’t much traffic so we made very good time to our destination, Cowra Van Park. We have stayed here a couple of times before and we enjoy both the park and the town. Ann had booked ahead so even though we were a little later than we would normally be, it wasn’t a problem. Keith helped us into our site, which has a concrete slab for both the van and the awning. We did a quick set-up and unhitched the Ute as we had to make a quick dash into town to buy a new heater as the other one gave up this morning.
Then it was back to the van to settle in for the evening by the heater.