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Den's Journal

Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Back in Dubbo
It rained all the way, but I didn't mind. Comfy car with good tyres made the trip easy. I took some alternative routes instead of just driving on the highway, which made things interesting.

Breakfast at Lithgow: eggs on toast and a bottomless cup of tea. I love the Bowenfells Shell Servo.

Instead of taking the highway to Bathurst, I went on the back roads via Lake Lyell and Tarana. Tarana Road (from Tarana to Oberon Rd) is narrow, winding, and so little used it has lichen grown on the asphalt surface. It loops over, under, and across the Main West rail line on brick or wooden bridges. At one point the road narrowed to a single lane sandwiched between a concrete retaining wall and the Fish River.The rail line bends and twists almost as much as the road; it's no wonder the passenger service can't go faster than 60kph along here.

It's certainly a more interesting road than the highway.

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Ahh, the Route 66 Syndrome - they punch a new highway through that's a straight line and faster, and nobody wants to go the old way anymore.

Such a pity, the interesting stuff is always on the Old Way.

Until they deliberately abandon and start ripping out sections of the road (or there's a landslide and they never bother fixing it...) to the point where you can't take it anymore - it just ends into a cliff and you have to backtrack and go around. "The Grapevine" over the hills between Sacramento and Los Angeles is one of these. To drive it all, there's a ~half-dozen "Get back on I-5 and detour around" spots.

The problem with the roads west out of Sydney is that there wasn't anywhere to build a new road, so they up-graded the old one into the new one, and made it boring. I took a few of the back roads that were never a major road, and they are much more interesting.

One of the most dangerously boring roads in the country is the Hume Freeway from Sydney to Melbourne. 8 hours of dual lane town bypasses. It's worth adding in a few extra trip hours to travel the by-ways.

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