Micko's Mum celebrated her 70th birthday this weekend... We took an early mark Friday arv and headed up to prepare for the party. Jude was stoked... She was surrounded by friends while we prepared, cooked and served them plate after plate of food, making sure the grog was flowing. She had an absolute ball!
Billy got to meet Piper, Ned and Gidget for the first time... While it was love at first sight with Piper, for poor old Neddy it was a harrowing experience! Billy jumped up to say G'day and Ned fell back into one of the chairs that didn't have it's seat cover on... Thump! He fell straight through and along with some scratches on his back, came a scar that might take a little longer to heal (lets just say it might take him some time to warm completely to Bill).
We had a great weekend! It's always awesome to spend quality time with Micko's family... Jack and Lu are awesome cooks so the food is always more than wonderful. Not to mention, the beers, wine and champas are always flowing - as is the conversation!
Sunday arvo, we packed up to head off... As we headed towards Grafton, we noticed a sign that said Pacific Hwy closed at Valla due to an accident. We were still an hour and a half away so didn't take too much notice. Once we reached Coffs, in the first of a string of what would prove a perfect blend of good luck and coincidence, we past the last petrol station on our side of the road... We were almost on empty and really needed to fill up. I said to Micko, since we'd accidently passed the fuel stop, that perhaps it would be a good opportunity for us to head down to the jetty and get some Cold Rock (I've never had it before and had been talking with Micko's sister Lu about it during the weekend). There is a petrol station on the way back up to the highway so we could fill up there.
We then headed the long way back to the highway, drove through Urunga and noticed another sign that said the Pac Hwy was closed... Traffic seemed to be flowing both ways, so onwards bound. All of a sudden we see cars coming towards us flashing their lights... Uh Oh! We slow down and come to a stop behind the k's of traffic at a standstill. Just as we do, a guy drives past, slows down and lets us know there is a minimum 4 hour wait! Micko and I look at each other and in unison say 'Faaaark orf!' And in one stroke of good fortune, we hear an older woman yell out, ' We know a short cut, follow us', as they quickly turned off down what looks like a driveway.
We wind on down this dirt and gravel road, follow this man who is driving his Ford like he's in some kind of off road rally. The dust is flying up in front of us, like a thick fog in the middle of winter and we can all but see 10 metres in front of us. Oblivious to our plight, as he was in front and the dust that swirled around encompassing us in a blanket of white dirt was not an issue, he forged on rapidly.... Leaving us chasing behind him, not knowing where we were going or what bumps and dips lay ahead on the road, but merely following the trail of dirt plumes.
CRUUUUCNH!!!! The car bottoms out and lets out a massive, chringe worthy grinding, crunching, scratching kind of sound - the exact sound you don't want to hear while in the middle of nowhere with zero phone coverage and a bunch of cars following you. I felt my entire body tense up... similar to when I'm in a car with speeding, tailgating girlfriend. Micko says, 'Don't worry... Things that hit the bottom of the car always sound worse than they are'. And I'm thinking, you know he's right! It's not the first time I've heard the car bottom out like that. But, each time we accelerate the car makes this very strange vibrating, weird sound - like the muffler has fallen off and is scraping along the ground. I start to picture us broken down, quite literally in the middle of nowhere, blocking the road for all the people following us... No phone service to call NRMA and no place for the people behind us, or heading towards us, to turn around.
Then we all come to an abrupt halt... There, on this barely driveway width road, is a massive four wheeler with a bloody huge boat attached to the back. Hmmmm... This could be interesting! We all start to pull off into the bush to try to let him though. Micko takes the opportunity to jump out and check the belly of the car - nothing dangling so we'll worry about it later. After around 10 minutes, the guys work out a way and we all safely squeeze past the man and the boat (and the 10 to 20 cars behind him).
So, we press on, chasing the retired rally car driver through the bends, bumps, dips and dirt until we reach the highway - then homeward bound! I'd really love to buy that poor bastard a beer to thank him. He actually lives in Valla and couldn't have made it home with the traffic at a stand still but took us through regardless - what a champ!
Oh and on the car front... All seems fine! Although the shitbomb does make a weird sound when accelerating up hills. I'm seriously considering upgrading for the long journey down to Melbs for Chrissy. My old wagon has seen much better days! She goes though and I'll be quite heartbroken when you leaves me for junkyard heaven.
When we arrive home, crack open a beer and light a durrie, Micko and I talk about the endless coincidences and stroke of luck that got us through... Had we not left Lennox at that time, nearly run out of fuel, missed the last petrol station then taken a detour for a Cold Rock stop, driven the long way round and reached the stand still traffic at that exact moment, we could have been: 1. In the accident! or 2. Still sitting on the highway, with Billy in the back and me busting for a shit.
Sometimes the universe works exactly the way it should... and in those times Micko and I like to thank our lucky stars! Karma is a bitch, but she can also show you the way home...