TIME for our annual trip to one of the world's best truck shows at Koroit in Victoria's Western District.
From Hooterville it's a pleasant run over the hills, around the Western Ring Road, down past Geelong and along the Princes Highway through Warrnambool.
As we've moved to MooTown, I thought it may be wise to ask the NavGods the best way to go. Big mistake!
Sitting out on the back patio, I ask Miss Google and she obligingly shows me a map which would take us cross-country in a seemingly straight line. With Giddy-Up, our beloved caravan, all hooked up I fed our destination into Emma, our personal NavGod (even though she's now a Garmin).
Blithely following her instructions we get a few kilometres out of town when I realise that she has different ideas to Miss Google. Seems she wants to take us down via Geelong still. Maybe she can't get over old habits.
"Not happening!” says I, and we turn back and take Google's route. Emma of course argues with us for 30-odd kilometres.
Then - and on reflection I'm sure I could hear her thinking - she changed her mind.
"OK, if that's the way you want it; if after all these years you no longer trust me - your faithful and unwavering servant - I'll take you on the Google route. And I'll add a few variations to boot, you sicko, over inflated, egotistical smart-arse!”
Have you ever travelled somewhere and felt that time was standing still? Mile after sodding mile we drove and didn't seem to be getting anywhere at all. It was like we were travelling in a loop-the-loop all the way.
"Are you sure we're not going in circles?” asked Rita on numerous occasions.
"No, of course not,” I replied with less and less conviction. The further we went, the narrower and tighter and rougher the roads became until we ended up on some back road where the blacktop was so narrow that the caravan wheels struggled to stay on it.
Jagged edges were mixed with small sharp rises that forced us to slow to 40km/h as we approached, in case someone was tearing up in the other direction. Car and caravan - and my nerves - were most unhappy when we had to get onto the rough, potholed road shoulder to avoid oncoming vehicles.
Thank the Lord we didn't have to face any big rigs whose NavGods may have taken them on that road!
We passed through small hamlets and towns whose names I won't mention for fear of reprisal. No one was home in any of them.
We didn't see people, we didn't see the mandatory stray dog, we didn't see cars driving around, we didn't see a servo which in itself was starting to become a problem.
We passed through a dozen or more of these towns which we'd never seen before and we will NEVER see again!
With the fuel tank starting to wheeze we finally came to a town that appeared bigger than those we'd passed through, but not a service station in sight. I asked Emma to help out and she did.
She took us to a servo designed to fill Mini Minors - or so it appeared to our frazzled brains. It was a feat any semi driver would have been proud of, to get in there and out again with a caravan hooked on the back.
As I looked beseechingly at Emma I could swear that she was grinning right back at me with evil intent.
"Didn't tell me you had a van hooked up. Ha, ha, ha!”
The five hour, 10 minute trip took us seven hours. Which way did we come home you may ask? Along The Princes Highway through lovely towns such as Warrnambool, Terang, Camperdown and Colac.
Along roads that all have numbers beginning with the letter "A”. I'll swear that on the trip down we travelled along "F” roads. The trip home took us precisely the five hours and 14 minutes that Emma promised us... EXCEPT 20 kilometres from home the car died and we spent an hour in 39 degree heat waiting for the RACV to turn up.
I reckon Emma had something to do with that as well. A final warning to never, ever disobey her again.
Does anyone know of a NavGod that takes account of a caravan being towed?
Take care of you.