I’m behind as usual because, well, kids.
The other weekend Andrew took a few days off of work and we road tripped with the kids to Mildura. While this is not a normal destination point we were going there for the wedding reception of our friends Liv and Rod. Rod and I worked together at the Duke of York in London and Liv befriended me when she used to come in and hang out while Rod were working. In fact, I was out with them when I met Andrew and it was through their encouragement that we spent time together that evening.
On the Thursday we left I picked up Andrew with the car loaded to go and hit the road. It took us a lot longer than expected to get where we were going which meant we had dinner in a truck stop near Yass before continuing on to Grong Grong for the night.
We stayed at the Grong Grong Motor Inn, the room itself was fine but the owners are what made it spectacular. When we arrived late at night they upgraded us to a two room family room, turned the heating on for us and even offered to help assemble the cot. John is from Holland and Sandra moved there at the age of 12. 30 or so years ago they decided to move to Australia and run a motel, they ended up in Grong Grong because the motel was for sale. They really have brought a great sense of hospitality to their motel. We had a lovely chat over breakfast and John shared with us some amazing artifacts he has collected including a bible from the 1640s. John is ex-military and owns his own plane, when I commented how much he and Dad would get along both being ex-military and pilots John offered to take Dad up flying next time they visit, I’m trying to see if I can work it in to their stay in December. It was a great stay and we would definitely stay there again.
On Friday our 4.5hr drive turned into a 7hr drive between road construction, floods and stops for the kids. It was an interesting drive though, we saw lots of flat land, emus and…well, that was about it.
Saturday morning we headed across the river into Mildura to check out a farmers market, really nice with delicious coffee, amazing looking bakery items, flowers, live music and various produces. It was located at a playground too so Ev had some fun playing around while Andrew and I had our coffee.
Following on from that we drove in to the ‘heart’ of the city to wander around some shops and see what was there. There is a pedestrian mall that goes for a few blocks and while it held generally the standard shops we found an absolute gem in Rose Harvest, if I had been shopping by myself we’d be broke by now. The city also has set up a range of large games in the middle of the pedestrian mall which Andrew and Ev enjoyed before we listened to part of a set by The Hot Pockets.
Since the reception was at 4 we had time for lunch, the kids to nap and rounded off by a splash in the pool before heading to Rod and Liv’s house.
It was so much fun getting to meet Rod and Liv’s girls, catch up with some people from London and seeing Annabella, their oldest, and Ev running around together for the evening. We barely saw Ev during the 5+ hours we were there and she certainly wanted nothing to do with you.
Sunday I really wanted to check out a coffee shop I had heard a lot about so we stopped in blk.mlk for a coffee and Nutella doughnut (it was so amazing, sorry Jess). From there we headed back to Rod and Liv’s so the girls could play a bit more and we could spend some more time with them before starting the long drive home. We drove a few hours that afternoon to the town of Hay where we had a tasty dinner of wood-fire pizza and garlic bread, even Izzy got in on the action munching down on garlic bread and a few of her sister’s chicken nuggets.
The way home from Hay we knew we had most of the day so we took our time with a few stops along the way to check out crazy full “antique” stores, I don’t know if it’s antiques or just hoarding, lunch in the dining room of a train station from the 1870s, brief stop in a chocolate factory, I mean, how do you pass that up, and a drive through the town of Jugoing an hour outside of Canberra that we’re already bookmarking to return to once the pub, The Sir George, opens.
A long, exhausting and amazing trip.