Today was the rainy day we had to have!
We went to bed last night with the sound of rain on Bertha’s roof. By the time we woke up the rain had stopped but it was obvious that a lot of rain had fallen overnight. Today was the first day in many months that I put on long pants, although a tee shirt was adequate otherwise. Despite getting an earlier start than we usually manage, most of our overnight neighbours had already gone!
The first section of our drive along the Newell Highway was almost boring. The sky was overcast, the road was generally flat and straight, and there was a certain monotonousness to the vegetation.
Our first stop for coffee was at the Pilliga Rest Area, which clearly showed the extent of the overnight rain. Light drizzle started just as we were leaving the rest stop, giving us a taste of what was to come.
After the coffee stop the terrain changed and became more hilly and the road more winding, with water along the road sides and lying in paddocks.
At Coonabarabran we crossed the Castlereagh River which was very full, and stopped at Neilson Park for lunch. We usually stop here as there is space for large vehicles, there are tables and benches, a good toilet block, playground equipment for the kids and paths for some quite nice bush walks. It’s also an easy walk into town and a number of very nice cafes and bakeries. But not today! The ground was waterlogged and it was raining heavily, so we had lunch in Bertha.
On the way out of Coonabarabran through the city centre the extent of the rain was obvious. On the TV news later we heard that this area had received up to 70 mm of rain in the last 24 hours. No wonder it looked so wet!
As we progressed along the Newell Highway, the paddocks appeared to get even wetter, views were obstructed by rain and mist, and there was water over the road – yes – water over the Newell Highway!
We would have usually planned on staying at Gilgandra but the caravan park just looked too low and too wet so we continued through Gilgandra to look for somewhere to stay on higher ground.
A couple of ‘phone calls later and we made an executive decision to stay somewhere on the high side in Dubbo. When we arrived in Dubbo the Macquarie River was flowing very strongly and there was water everywhere.
The GPS took us to the Westview Caravan Park and a long, bitumen drive through site. The rain even stopped just as we arrived so I could hook up power and water but restarted immediately and it has continued raining since we arrived. As I write this we are experiencing strong winds and heavy rain.
Today has been quite a tiring day, even though we haven’t travelled a huge distance. Driving through rain and trying to avoid major puddles, pot-holes and trucks requires constant concentration, and trying to anticipate what some drivers want to do, even in heavy rain, takes a real effort.
But, today has highlighted one of the major advantages of travelling in a motorhome. Whenever we need to stop, all we have to do is swivel our seats and we have immediate access to kitchen, dining and bathroom facilities – without getting wet.
Still enjoying the motorhome experience!