We were awoken at half past two by the perishing cold. I left the inadequacy of our one sheet and one blanket to accompany Tiki to the toilet block. The ‘Saucepan’ and the ‘Southern Cross’ were both clearly visible in the night sky.
Tiki began to cry and grunt as she dreamed of having both of her arms cut off. There was little we could do other than to huddle together in an effort to generate some warmth. It was twenty past seven when we awoke for the last time. Aches had invaded my frozen joints, therefore, I headed off to have a warm shower and “thaw out” in the spotlessly clean amenities.
We left at a quarter past eight and drove into town in search of a hotel that served breakfast. When we couldn’t locate one, I mentioned the fruit that we had left over from last night. It was then that Tiki remembered that we had left it on the fridge in the caravan for which I received the blame, of course!
I drove us back to retrieve it and when the quiet, bespectacled, rustic gentleman of slightly less than average height observed our reappearance he came towards us to learn of the reason for our return. We placed a large bottle of ‘Tresca’ and another of ‘Tab’ together with the bags of fruit, in the car prior to our departure for a second time.
Tiki drove through the centre of Bendigo and out its other side so that she might see Lake Neangar, which was marked on our tourist map. It appeared to be about one-tenth as impressive as Lake Weeroona. Thence, we travelled via the Calder Highway to Kangaroo Flat where we stopped at a B.P. service station to purchase petrol to the value of three dollars. I was going to take a photograph of the ‘Fuckeye Creek’ sign which we had passed on our inward journey yesterday only to find that its first name had been removed by way of a hacksaw. When the woman at the Tourist Authority had said that she would take care of it, she obviously wasn’t kidding!
Having driven through Kyneton, we progressed to Woodend. It proved to be cooler than Bendigo, at nineteen degrees Celsius with an expectant maximum of twenty-eight forecast. Macedon and Mount Macedon came next. Athol Guy, formerly a member of The Seekers, was married at the latter about six months to a year ago. The area is wooded and secluded.
We returned to Woodend and branched off to observe the unusual hill at Hanging Rock. The rugged landscape is the subject of the film, “Picnic At Hanging Rock”. In spite of the film depicting it as a place where people can allegedly disappear, there was no shortage of climbers on it today!
As it would have cost us eighty cents to take our car into the area at its base, we pressed onwards through Newham and Lancefield to Kilmore, where we arrived at half past eleven. There I saw the post office where, six years ago, I mailed off cartridges from my ‘Instamatic’ camera to Kodak so that the photographs they contained could be developed on to slides.
I also pointed out to Tiki, the corner, at the end of the somewhat modernised main street, from whence I had obtained the long lift to Wodonga; in the company of a gentleman who drove a white Triumph sedan. We entered the milk bar-cum-bakery and bought two finger buns and two cups of coffee at a cost that amounted to ninety cents. Although the shop was supposed to be a takeaway, the lady cleared the only table in the shop so that we could use it. Perhaps, she thought that we appeared in need of a rest!
Along the street, we entered the restaurant at the B.P. service station. However, when we noticed its list of prices, for example three dollars for a T-bone steak, we departed choosing to eat, instead, at the Red Lion Hotel. At noon, we ordered two small glasses of lemon squash priced at thirty cents each, a mixed meat salad for Tiki, at a dollar and sixty cents, while my T-bone steak cost a dollar eighty. The meal was most satisfying.
I took a wrong turn and became angry at Tiki over her failure to navigate me to Broadford. Nonetheless, once there, I proceeded to make another wrongful turning, which was due entirely to the roads being so poorly signposted.
Our next port of call was Kinglake West via Strath Creek. We strayed from the main road for some three kilometres in order to reach the commencement of the Kinglake National Park, where we partook of a drink of warm ‘Tresca’ beneath a shady tree.
We pushed on through Toolangi, along a road that is in possession of tall trees and ferns on either side, to Healesville. I couldn’t locate the guesthouse at which I’d stayed three years ago during a driving holiday, nor anything much to remind me that I had even visited the town previously.
Woori Yallock came before Yarra Junction. There we branched off bound for Powelltown and the remote settlement of Noojee. We hurried along the gravel road between the two in order to stay ahead of an orange ‘Kombi’ and not receive the dust that it was creating. Noojee marks a dead-end in the road and it really was a waste of time in bothering to go there.
By twenty minutes past four we had reached Warragul, which is set amid the beautiful countryside that typifies Gippsland. I parked the ‘Galant’ outside the police station and, in the warm sunshine, deposited two cents in the appropriate parking meter to extend its validity from twenty minutes to that of forty.
Having failed in our endeavour to locate an office of tourist information, we resorted to stopping a pipe-smoker of some forty years of age, who was smartly attired in a green shirt and trousers. He was most helpful and directed us to a caravan park, which was located on the southern side of the Prince’s Highway and towards the hospital. Tiki drove there only for me to be informed by a gentleman, who had introduced himself as Gordon, that it possessed no on-site vans.
Gordon proceeded to direct me to Prices’ caravan park on the Prince’s Highway at Drouin; five miles to the west towards Melbourne. Tiki, again, waited in the car as it slowly began to dawn on her that she had been to this caravan park four years ago with her parents and Wendy on their way back to Sydney as their five months’ trip around Australia had been nearing its conclusion.
I entered the fairly new house, complete with pool table, at Mrs. Price’s request and she handed me two old blankets should we need them. I paid her eleven dollars. This consisted of ten dollars for our on-site van and a refundable deposit of one dollar on its key.
To our disappointment and abhorrence our caravan is filthy inside and its fridge doesn’t work. Adding to our displeasure was the fact that coarse, rowdy children were using the swimming pool which is situated alongside us. At a quarter past five I left to shower in facilities that could only be described as insanitary.
It is now twenty-minutes to ten, which is our bedtime. We have unwisely drunk the soft drink, ‘Tab’, despite knowing that it had spent the day in our car without refrigeration.
If my memory serves me correctly, Drouin is the home town of the former world champion at boxing, Lionel Rose.
When we noticed the sign advertising the solicitor, Ian B. Still, in Kilmore today, it brought a smile to our faces.