The Long Road South v.1

In the spirit of mixing it up, I decided to actually write about my recent trip south, split into days based on the photos I took. I normally travel with 4 or 5 different cameras and never know quite what to do with each of the different formats upon returning. This time I stuck mainly to my trusty Nikon FM, loaded with fresh 100 speed Kodak Ektachrome, straight from B&H in New York. I've used this film a lot in the past, but only just caught onto the fact that when cross-processing it generally over-exposes and the shots need a good step down to compensate. I still ended up with plenty of over-exposure, but in a way I appreciate rather than end up frustrated by.

The trip was 10 days driving from home in Thirroul, NSW to Victor Harbour, SA and back, at least a 3,000km round trip. Our goal was the Christian Surfers National Gathering, held in over the Easter long weekend in Victor Harbour, but we were hoping for a good bit of time exploring on the road.

On day one we were Chris Kennedy, high school teacher and leader of CS Stanwell Park; Janie Bay, singer-songwriter visiting from South Africa for the Gathering; and myself. The first morning set the pace for the trip, supposed to leave from my house at 7:30 (so we didn't have to get up too early), Kenno arrived somewhere around 8:30, with us leaving by drive a few hundred metres down the road to get coffee. Once that most important part of the day was achieved, we ambled off on the long drive to Torquay, VIC. Thankfully I am a firm believer in taking time on the road to stop and enjoy, because Kenno most certainly is as well.

We managed to make it an hour into the drive before the first stop for some food and petrol, which was all well and good, except for the fact that we then drove half-an-hour backwards after getting back on the freeway headed in the road direction.

Once we had set ourselves straight we made good time across the epic inland plains of the Southern Highlands and beyond through to Gundagai, where we stopped at the national monument to end all national monuments, the Dog on the Tuckerbox. If you haven't visited or are unsure of what it is, I can't explain it, it must be visited. Whilst there we met a lovely older couple after I became fascinated by the man's hat. He had an epic collection of buttons filling it, and, as he was a through and through Aussie, I assumed they were from different places around the country. As soon as he started showing me however, I realised they were all from different parts of the U.S. Turns out in the last few years they've travelled a good deal in the States and while there people loved his traditional Aussie hat so much they started giving him pins to put on it and as more collected, more were given. So he gave us a quick tour of America as we talked and parted with the recommendation to make sure and travel north through Townsville and Cairns. Next time.

As we continued on, the conversation, which was largely centred around the reality of life in South Africa for the first half of the day, slowly gave way to louder road tunes which kept us going through to a late arrival in Torquay with a notable stop at the always enjoyable Holbrook - an inland town with a submarine in the centre, another one I'll never figure out.

More photos and story coming over the next few days...