After packing up the annexe last night it only took us a short time to square everything away for the once more.
The hardest part was saying goodbye to our group of friends at the little Dumaresq Dam community, Roscoe, Norm, Ted and Kim, John and Helen, Alan and Linda, Jim and Bonnie.
Can you believe it – Alan and Linda actually asked us to go to the Guyra Potato Festival and sing with them and their group of Balladeers.
If anyone had ever told me we’d receive a request like that while we were travelling I’d have laughed them out of the room. I was so touched by this. We have tentatively arranged to keep in contact and we hope to meet up with Alan and Linda either near Mildura in Feb/March or Western Australia later in the year.
As we pulled out of this lovely place the water seemed to sparkle just that bit more and the green of the surrounding hills that had afforded us so much peace and tranquillity were bathed in bright sunshine. It felt like we’d left a little part of ourselves in this place and I’m sure we will visit there again someday to let the lake and the rolling hills do a work in our souls.
Even the now familiar road to Armidale lined with its rich rolling pastures and creeks and valleys made us feel like this beautiful little piece of the world would stay a part of us always.
We stopped at the familiar dump station in Armidale to empty the toilet but this time there was no need to fill the water containers – we wouldn’t be back for a long time.
Stopping at the roadhouse just outside Armidale gave us a bit of a scare as the Nissan was overheating. A phone call to the Nissan Dealer in Armidale had us turning around and heading back to check things out. We thought we need to return to Dumaresq Dam after all if the car needed attention.
After checking things out the Nissan Mechanics said there was nothing to worry about and ensured we were safe to continue so once again we were off down the road heading for Wallabadah where we would stay the night.
We’d already travelled this way a few days before when we went to Tamworth but it was still a beautiful drive passing stunning green pastures, rolling hills and spectacular valleys.
We passed Thunderbolts Rock which is where the Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt waited to ambush the mail. He was spotted by troopers and in the ensuing gunfight, Thunderbolt was shot in the back of the left knee, an injury that left a critical identifying mark that helped to identify his body after his death.
Frederick Wordsworth Ward (1835–25 May 1870) was renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island, and also for his reputation as the “gentleman bushranger” and his lengthy survival, being the longest roaming bushranger in Australian history. He crowned himself with the nickname “Captain Thunderbolt” during the Rutherford toll-bar robbery on 21 December 1863.
We once again passed through the pretty little town of Uralla and on to Tamworth. After stopping to get the gas bottle filled at BCF and making lunch we headed on to Wallabadah where we had visited the First Fleet Memorial Gardens a few days before.
The free camping area is behind the gardens and it’s a really nice place for a short stay, with good clean toilets and fresh clean water on tap. We parked overlooking the creek and were surprised to see two other travelers from Dumaresq turn up. One was a young family with three children who will be on the road for the next twelve months.
We met some nice people, Terrie and Hana, living in a motor home and they were very interested in the Aussie Wide especially after Kerrie gave them the guided tour.
It was a little strange as I settled into the chair and started playing the Ukulele and I missed the leading from Alan and Jim who made it so easy to play and sing.
A very cool night made for a wonderful deep sleep as we spent our first night away from the mood changes of beautiful Dumaresq Dam.