Dec 1 – 4: Inland to Canowindra

Author: Mr A

Location: Crookwell & Canowindra, NSW

Saturday: We left the gourmet delights of Berry behind, with two fridges and a freezer groaning at the seams. My trousers also seemed to have shrunk in the Berry water. It was time to head over to friends Alan and Jo at Canowindra, where we would be storing the van until February.We decided to miss the hairpin bends of the Kangaroo Valley route, and headed across the top of Moreton National Park via the Nerriga road. The small rural centre of Crookwell was our destination, and a council run caravan park that I saw had good reviews… on arrival that we felt the good reputation was completely justified. What a spotless little place!

Sunday: A much postponed day of cleaning the car and van was in order, plans for cycling shelved in the gale force winds. I had just finished giving the poor old cruiser some polishing when the dust storm hit. I was not best pleased. We then realised why the first grid connected wind farm in Australia was built on the edge of town. Blimey it can blow there.

Monday morning we set off across a series of back roads towards Canowindra, another small rural town between Orange and Cowra. It was great drive, reminding us why we love travelling in rural NSW. Empty roads and an ever changing scenery. Big sky country is such a great way to describe this part of the world. All was serene until we pulled over and I noticed we had shredded a tyre along the way! With a tandem axle it’s hard to notice a flat, and our tyre pressure monitoring system had been playing up.

So it was out with the tools and off with one of the spares. First problem, a bright spark at the first caravan repair place we used in Sydney had put a odd size nut on one of the bolts, after he cross threaded the original. Burly farmer Graham came to the rescue. We were pulled over at the end of his drive and after spotting us there half an hour earlier, he took pity on us and lent a hand. Well took over actually!What a top bloke. Again we were reminded of why we love travelling in the country amongst these genuinely friendly folk.

A stop at the Canowindra tyre shop (more friendly, helpful people) and a new tyre will be winging its way to them. Again we regret not changing the wheels on the van to match the Cruiser when we first brought it from Zone. It would have made life a lot simpler. Safety Dave, the company providing the (not-working) tyre pressure monitoring system, also got a good serve.

So finally we arrived at our next ‘drive surfing’ destination. You have heard of couch surfing? Well we have taken that to the next level and bring our whole home to driveways all round Australia. So be warned, there could be a Zone headed your way soon!This is the first time we have seen Jo and Alan’s new place. Alan was a boss of mine in our previous lives in the IT industry, and he and his wife (a former maternity nurse) have reinvented themselves as farmers. How about that for nerve! Selling their fabulous, architect designed house in Berry they purchased this 258 acre property (previously a famous horse stud) earlier this year, and are now living in the stables. They have already got one cash producing crop of lucerne under their belt and are breeding pedigree goats.Why would they do this, you might ask? The subject of many a conversation over a good red last night. Basically neither were ready to hang their respective hats up quite yet. Jo got interested in goats whilst at Berry and had real success with breeding and showing them. Alan has the ability, it seems, to turn his hands and brain to solve any challenge.When you see people starting new phases of their lives like this, you are reminded that we are only limited by our ambition and courage. We are lucky enough in Australia to have so much opportunity to explore what we are capable of, and often the means to do so.

Whether it be starting new venture on Amazon (well done the Wards – or developing properties in Newcastle (go the Molloys!), or casting off city life and moving a family to start a new life and venture in Bathurst (all power to the Cummings – I could go on…

I think the constraints of traditional thinking about how our lives should unfold are being cast aside as the notion of a ‘career’, steadily moving up the ladder in the same company, proves to be an increasingly rare occurrence for many people.

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