Long journey into night

Made it to Sydney but not sure how.

I left the flat about 9:00pm and worked my way through the northern suburbs. When I joined the Hume Highway it was still cluttered with homeward bound traffic. I am amazed by how many people live in these distant satellite country suburbs. By 10:00pm the cars had dispersed and my only companions were the endless convoys of trucks. This is good. Truck drivers are disciplined and reliable. Safe. I could set cruise control and know it would stay on. No snails doing less than 110 and no wannabe creeping up at 112.

I settled in to pass the 2.5hrs to Albury. This was my first fuel and food stop. Lots of places in the main street. OMG! It has been years since I came through here. At midnight I couldnt see a thing. I kept up with the trucks and followed the road. Suddenly I was way past Albury. Where did it go? I didn’t see it. The highway now bypasses the town. The Google lady desperately tried to make me U turn. No way! I still had 180K in the fuel tank. Straight on MacDuff. Bound to pass a service centre. The kilometres whizzed past. No roadside servo. The only directions were to leave the highway and enter a bypassed town. No way!!

The tank reading was down to 50k! I give in! So 2:00am I followed the signs to a 24hr servo. A brilliant sparkling island in the dark morning. It stood in the centre of an ocean of trucks. I had stumbled upon a secret meeting place. A place where trailers were disconnected and new ones collected to continue their journey to the next town. For all the bustle outside the walls the castle was still. A country lady chef, “what can I get ya darlin’”, and an elderly, red faced, rotund attendant, mopping the floors.

I crossed my fingers and order a burger with egg, bacon and onions. Pleased don’t let it be a plastic, MacDonalds lookalike. It was exactly what I hoped for. Fresh crispy bun, real meat pattie, heaps of stringy onion, not silly chopped onion sprinkles. Sorted. Worth the diversion.

Refuelled and rested I set off. I was amazed by the number of trucks lining the highway laybys. Sleep? Yes. But what were they waiting for? A mystery for another day. Fatigue had set in Im sure. I know I was literally descending the north side of the divide but at times my mind was telling me I was plunging down a dark helter skelter, seemingly endless descent. Overtaking trucks became an exercise of self restraint and faith. Don’t panic, there really is a road ahead of you. You cant see it but it is there.

After 5:00am the empty highway began to slowly fill with work bound. The tone of the drive changed dramatically. No more sober, disciplined truckies. Now I shared the blacktop with mindless lemmings. All determined to be in front. All happy to dive across three lanes to take their exit ramps. The last thirty minutes into Luemeah was the most tiring. I pulled up in front of the house just as Meaghan returned from her morning walk. I barely had the energy to put the car in the driveway, crash on the couch and wait for the girls to wake up.

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