Much like "tourist drive", "scenic route" usually means poorly maintained, inadequately proportioned, hairpin-bend-infested, white-knuckle terror. So I often use a camera as a kind of psychological airbag.
Mick and I went on a trip today. Peter, a mate from Sydney, wrenched us out of bed at 11 this morning to ask us to meet him at the Wollombi Tavern, 40km or so away.
So off we went along Wollombi Road, which will forever in my mind be associated with the disturbing scarecrow competition that we drove through just before we moved in last year:
The scenery's pretty, I admit, and you don't often get equestrians and wombats on the same pole (that's like a triple word score!):
Anyway, after we passed many pubs, including the still-handsome Bellbird Hotel:
... the Wollombi Tavern was welcoming, perhaps overly so (keep in mind this sign leads to the toilets):
It was also heaving, largely with bikers.
Not bikies – bikers. A subtle but important distinction.
I say this because I noticed that, while these blokes' outfits were bespattered with mud:
... all the bikes were gleaming:
I'm not suggesting those particular men owned those wheels, but it does illustrate what seemed to be a lot of Sydney fly-ins (ride-ins?); one was talking about Whistler – the ski resort, not the painter. It was just like trying to get my daily flat white from Bar Coluzzi on Victoria St when the cyclists descend upon the outdoor area like shiny fashion-forward locusts with degrees and way too much time and money spent on leg-waxing.
The drive home, along the Great Northern Road (wrong on at least one count; another is debatable) was fun, if occasionally unnerving.
There were animals, real and imagined (fake rhino, live wallabies):
Plus the odd bony cow on a stony hill (someone with a banjo write a song now):
And several bridges simply not built for modern traffic:
Still, I regularly put my hands out of the car (camera firmly strapped, Dad, don't worry) in the hope of capturing a sense of Barrington Tops, the closest thing we have to mountains nearby:
This unfortunately leads to noticing sinister little buildings in the middle of nowhere:
Minimalism or meth lab?