SaturdayOur departure day last year was marked by a lashing southerly wet wind blowing out of the Antarctic fridge, forcing us to huddle our farewells to Joy before hitting the road and sliding up the greasy track out of here. No such day to day. A gorgeous sunny, mild morning greets us. Rod has sorted most of the kitchen last evening so we have a head start this morning. Everyone is packed surprisingly quickly, Frank arrives when he said he would and we start rushing about to be finished by nine. The promise is a “shoot” if we are done by then.At 0855 the cleanup is complete – which makes me wonder if I should not have said “be done by 0830!” And they have done a great job. The place is empty, swept, mopped, and in a better state than when we found it. Franko then supervised some time on the tin can range. Funny how that works. Set up a proper paper target alongside a bunch of tin cans and the boys will have a crack at the tin cans every time. An hour later and we were done. Franko took the Quorn lads to pick up a trailer load of that sheep manure we have been working with over the last couple of days and we headed for the highway with our L-Platers at the wheel. I had called ahead to Cobar earlier and arranged some cheap accommodation – we needed to break the trip back since we did not have enough adult drivers to do the run to Sydney in one hit. But apart from that the break dragged out the experience just that little bit more. We, myself included, are reluctant to break the magic of the week and an overnight in a small country town pleases everybody – parents included but they are pleased for other reasons.I am a little startled at how much longer it takes for us to reach Broken Hill but the three car owners all commented on how pleased they were at the small fuel bill at the bowser when we topped up. But the drive put some solid hours in the log books. We topped up at Maccas then faced down the longest haul of the trip – five and a half hours across a featureless countryside. We stopped at Wilcannia for the obligatory “pit stop”, a lap around my car (running) then back into it. We rolled into Cobar at 8pm after leaving the farm shortly after 10am. That is a good days driving.Dinner was courtesy of Eagle Boys, which we consumed in the local park, followed up with some obligatory tom-foolery thanks to Andrew and Dannie. But by 10pm the light was out and nine boys were quickly off to sleep with barely a murmur of protest. Not sure how the girls went next door but given they were all driving today I bet they conked out pretty quickly as well.
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