So I'm back in Dubbo ("Red Earth") after my little trip to Wagga Wagga ("Many Crows")* It was mostly successful, apart from failing the final exam. I can re-sit it in the near future for a mere $35, but I'll study counting on 16 fingers and subnets a little before then.
The motel was nice, or nicer than Spud's Roadhouse, moderately priced and came with a fridge, telly, electric blankets, toaster, coffee and a real bathroom with a door. I only had to buy bread, margarine and vegemite and Breaky was all set. The motel was an overnight stop for coaches full of Old Age Pensioners, so me being in the dining room at dinner time brought the average age down to 75 years or so. OAPs are bloody noisy and it's always someone's birthday. The room would be plunged into darkness, a cake with candles would appear, everyone would sing Happy Birthday badly, and the speach would be a variation of "You shouldn't have! How did you find out?"while I'm stabbing at my Fishaman's Basket in the dark and wondering if I got a scallop or calamari ring. Seafood and Toohey's Old. mmmmmmm.
So having done all the Cisco things I could do (82% average on the theory, 100% on the hardware, but still failed the final, bugger it.) I kicked off from Wagga at 8.30. There is no point hanging around. Wagga is marginally larger than Dubbo, but with an army base instead of a zoo I found it considerably less interesting. There is a vinyard just north of Wagga. I don't think they'll be making Cuiver Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wagga Wagga, but I think it's worth mentioning the vinyard is in the town of Brucedale. I didn't make that up.
What I found much more intersting was the aviation museum at Temora, which I had to drive past to get home. I called in.
They have a Canberra Bomber, Gloucestor Meteor, Vampire, Tiger Moth, Mk8 Spitfire, Cessna 02, 2 x Cessna Dragonflies, a Wirraway, a Ryan and a Hudson bomber. It doesn't sound a lot except for this: All these planes are still flyable. Every 2 months they have an air show and fire up all the old planes. The next one is in June.
The Meteor is the last flying single-seater and saw combat in Korea, and the Vampire is the last still flying in Australia. The Dragonflies were captured by the North Vietnamese and used in their air force until they sold them off (an Aussie consortium bought 10 of the little jets.) They still have their multi-barrelled canon which could fire 6000rpm. The 02 saw 4000 combat hours as a Forward Air Control spotter in Viet Nam. The Spitfire never saw action, but it is kitted out with 4 Browning .303 and 2 x 20mm canon unlike the Battle Of Britain Spitfires which only had 6 x .303s.
After joyfully wasting a couple of hours I hit the road again. It is dreadfully boring; not as bad as driving across the Hay Plain or from Albury to Melbourne, but it's close. I broke my journey again by stopping in at The Dish Cafe for lunch. Fresh coffee, curry pie baked on site, and a view of a 64m radio telescope tracking binary pulsars. That is one excellent road-side stop. They've recently installed FREE gas BBQs for anyone to use.
And so I'm back in Dubbo, only to discover some bored doggies have tried to dig to China. How can I BADDOG a pup who is so happy to see me?
*I'm glad I don't live in Condobolin ("The shit at this place.")