|Fortunately we were on the New England Hwy for only a short time today until we got to Bendemeer where we turned onto the Oxley Hwy and headed east toward Walcha and then south to Nowendoc and then Gloucester.
Although Nowendoc and Gloucester are not far from Taree I have never been to Nowendoc and been only once to Gloucester by road when I was a kid although passed through many times by train, especially when I was at Taechers' College.
This trip has been about taking roads we have not traversed before and this route to Taree is one of them. The trip down from Walcha was very steep and windy and consequently, slow. When I was driving I was doing 40 - 60 much of the time in 1st or 2nd gear down the steep inclines.
Gloucester has impressed us as a pretty little (2500 pop.) town with a bustling shopping centre - small but with most things, including a patchwork shop!
Today we thought we might do a drive to Barrington Tops but discovered that, from this side at least, it is 4WD only and at the moment they are advising even them not to try the road it is so bad. So, we settled for a drive to Copeland Tops instead but found no picnic area there and only long bush walks with mine sites accessible only by mine tours so we headed back and found a nice spot by a river where people were swimming and picnicking. We met up with a group of elderly Qld ladies from Monto there. We discovered there that we had to ford the river and again 3 or 4 times more before we got back to Gloucester. It was a very pretty drive through green pasture lands with the Buckets Range in the background.
When I was chatting with a lady after church this morning she informed me that we could have come through from Tamworth and Nundle without going up to Walcha and Nowendoc. We discounted that road which would have saved us about 60 kms and some very steep drops because we were told at Warialda info centre that it was not tarred all the way but this lady tells us it has been tarred for about 12 months now! O well, if we come this way again we'll know.
We have just had a game of mini golf. I won but it's pure luck as most of the time it's putting the ball on undulating cement! Anyway, Richard'll want another game later to get me back.
The caravan park here is in a lovely setting with beautiful trees giving lots of shade. The sites are spacious and all around the CP are sports fields, swimming pools, picnic areas etc. all beautifully laid out and all of Gloucester has gorgeous crepe myrtle trees in bloom.
Tomorrow we head for Taree.
Wow, a storm just blew through here like bedlam. We noticed it was getting darkish and thought we'd go for that other game of mini golf but before we picked up the clubs the rain started and then the wind. Well, we didn't get much actual rain but lots of wind and lightning and now we have no power.
I just tried to upload this and discovered we also have no internet. We have had a second fierce storm with more rain but it didn't bother us much as we were sharing sundowners with 3 other couples (2 of whom live on the road) under their bigger awning. This has probably been the friendliest park we have been in! Anyway after we went home to cook tea with still no power I also found that we also have no mobile phone cover as well as no internet cover. Apparently a main transformer or some such at Stroud has gone out and also a TV transmitter taking with it all phone and internet cover!
We were planning to leave for Taree this morning but the whole of Gloucester still had no power in the morning. Unfortunately, we had not filled up with petrol and had only a small amount left. Because of the lack of power there were no petrol pumps operating but once we ascertained that the roads were clear of fallen trees we decided to take the chance that we had enough petrol to get there. Power was not expected to be back on in Gloucester until late afternoon but Taree which also lost power about the same time yesterday was restored last night about 10 pm.
We made it to Taree safe and sound.