After some frosty personal times in the Highrise, the in car atmosphere warmed as we headed north to near Echuca to stay a night with my step mother and her partner. It has been around nine months since we saw her, although we have briefly chatted on the phone and emailed. We had discussed whether to wash the car before we went and my advice that it was pointless was later proved. Last visit we stopped at Kilsyth I think for lunch. This time it was Heathcoat and it was a good bakery that made us a salad sandwich. We took a walk along the street to exercise our legs and check out the shops. Step mother cooked us a nice dinner and we had a good chat. We were forced to endure two hours of some commercial singing talent show, relieved only by seeing the rapidly porking up Anthony Callea, but I was happy to watch All Saints. There was a cold wind blowing between Rochester and Echuca.
Partner showed us his new dam he has just had dug. He has had to sell his yearlings as he did not get a irrigation water allocation. Partner is a great talker of the country style and he always had a variety of 'little mates' or 'good mates' to punctuate all his tales. He was hobbling around with a case of gout and had a optometrist appointment in the morning. He was also going to buy a can of cherries to cure his gout. No, not to rub on, but to consume. He said it will cure his gout in two days. (Just verified via net that cherries work for gout). Partner suggested a route to Mildura that would save twenty minutes by avoiding Echuca.
Next morning we headed off for Mildura via Swan Hill, Robinvale and where so many were recently killed in a bad train/truck accident, Kerang. I don't think we used 'that level crossing' but my thoughts were of the accident while going over the one we did cross.
I am afraid McDonalds is just so easy when travelling and we indulged at Swan Hill. We only drove down the main street but it was an attractive enough town. It has been described as very homophobic in the past, but no one attacked us, let down our tyres or rounded up their children and put them in their car. There was a cold wind blowing. Dame M's boarders friend with breast cancer comes from there. She is doing ok but has to start chemo next week. See 'the hair dresser in the cast list. Her mother still lives there and just managed to avoid the train disaster.
You may be able take the straight out of gay guy but you cannot take away the pig headedness out of any guy about cheap petrol. We were getting close to empty, although I was sure we could make it to Mildura, but I know how stressed some partners can get when the gauge gets near empty so I turned off the main road at Tooleybuc to find some. None was obvious.
We pressed on towards Boundary Bend. I did not expect to encounter dust storms and rain but we did. There was petrol at Boundary Bend but not so cheap. Never mind. It was a spooky place in the middle of a dust storm, quite dark although only the middle of the day and a couple of groups of men stood around yarning. I was getting the heebie jeebies and an on/off/on/off large overhead fluoro light was not helping. I was recalling a movie scene. Did the Motel light in Physco go on/off? The car was getting seriously dirty and still the cold wind blew.
We had our last decent cup of coffee for a week at Robinvale at a place that would be ok by Melbourne standards. It was a curious town. The were dark skinned people around the streets but I am not sure if they were black fellas or Malays. There was a Vietnamese grocer similar to one in our Victoria Street, Richmond. A lot of Vietnamese writing and little English, but apart from those working in the shop, we did not see any Vietnamese looking people. There was a cold wind blowing.
We arrived in Mildura mid afternoon.