Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Canberra shenanigans, Part 1

At 9.15 on Friday morning, Paulie and I loaded up his car and set off for Canberra. I was slightly apprehensive about it, as Paulie has a...somewhat limited?...attention span at times, and I once told him that I'd never EVER set foot on a plane with him. Which of course he reminded me of as we headed for the Hume Highway and the seven hour drive to the ACT...

But with the help of Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone and a number of stops, we managed to avoid killing each other. We saw all FOUR of the sights the Hume has to offer between Melbourne and Canberra:

1. The chicken tree just past the exit to Clonbinane:

2. The giant-ish fibreglass Ned Kelly statue at Glenrowan:

3. The HMAS Otway in Holbrook (which is at least 2 hours drive from the ocean):

4. The Dog on the Tuckerbox outside Gundagai:

Holbrook is also home to three of my favourite things about the drive from Melbourne to Canberra.
1. The Holbrook Bakery, which features many tasty noms.
2. This sign:
3. A clothing shop with the following range:

Basically? You need to stop in Holbrook, because it's AWESOME.

We also had a few little incidents with Sparkles, the GPS. Sure, you don't really need a GPS to get from Melbourne to Canberra (get on the Hume, drive straight for 600 kilometres, turn off at the Barton Highway), but it was fun to watch Sparkles have little "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???? YOU'RE DRIVING IN A PADDOCK AT 110 KPH!!!" panic attacks when her software didn't know that the Tarcutta bypass had been opened.

The trip itself was fairly uneventful, with the exception of hitting an ENORMOUS locust, which created a delightful splatter of lumpy bug guts half way up the windscreen, and which felt the need to hang out on the windscreen wiper for a little while so we could appreciate what it had once been. We then spent the next hour of the drive marvelling at how disgusting its remnants were. I'll spare you the photos.

As we came down the Barton Highway, it started to pour with rain. And just outside Murrumbateman (spell check options for Murrumbateman? Guatemalan, masturbation and Northumberland. WHAT.), the rain reached a level of ridiculous where we couldn't even see the road any more.

And of course, that was right about the point where some moron decided he needed to overtake us. Fun times!

Thankfully, we made it into Canberra and to Em and Matt's without any dramas. Although I suspect if Sparkles had said "Continue straight through the roundabout" one more time, she would have been thrown out the window!

I spent Saturday morning making an epic mess Fruit Tingles icing for Matt's birthday cake. But it was so very VERY worth it:

(If you want to make your own Fruit Tingles cake, the recipe is here) The cake disappeared in about five minutes flat after the obligatory Happy Birthdays had been sung, so I guess everyone thought it was pretty good! (Let's just ignore the fact that half the population of Canberra will now develop diabetes thanks to my cake...)

As people were leaving the party that night, a bunch of us ended up standing outside watching a cloud in the distance. There was no rain from it, and you couldn't hear any thunder. But there was CONSTANT lightning, which was very cool indeed. And so of course, this happened:
Guest 1: Wow, look at all the lightning in that cloud!
Guest 2: That's pretty impressive.
Me: I know, right?! It reminds me of that scene in Serenity when the Reaver ships appear out of the ion cloud.
*crickets chirping*
Me: Crap. That was too nerdy, wasn't it?
Guest 1: I've seen Star Wars, does that help?

Look out for my book, How To Avoid Making Friends Through Nerdy Comments, soon to be available in all good bookstores! (Okay, not really. But I'm definitely a subject matter expert on that topic...)

Part 2 of the Canberra trip coming soon. If I tried to cram it all into one post, you'd all die of Kirstiisreallylongwindeditis! And we can't have THAT, now can we?

How was everyone else's weekend? (Also, please tell me that SOMEONE knows what I'm talking about with the whole Reavers/ion cloud thing??)

K xx


  1. I think i've seen serenity...but I can't remember. I'm sorry. Very sorry. I probably would've been wondering about the science of the cloud and that kind of thing. That's my type of nerdy. No wonder we're friends :)

    1. It's okay, I'll forgive you for not remembering if you've seen it. I too wondered about the science of the cloud, and then got frustrated at my camera's inability to capture images of said cloud. SIGH.

  2. Oh my gosh I love you and hate you all at once. I am SO SO SO glad that someone else notices the chicken tree. I always point this out to peeps when I am driving into or out of Melbourne. Yay for Chicken Tree!!!


    Your blog really should carry a "NSFPWSP" label - "Not Safe for People with Submarine Phobias". I was so excited at this moment we were sharing over chicken tree and then BAM! I go into shock as that nasty piece of Holbrook leaps out at me. Argh! (OK i don't really hate you, just Holbrook. And not really Holbrook, just that piece of Holbrook). The bakery next to the servo makes a cracking pie by the way.

    1. There used to be a group on Facebook called "Hume Highway Tree Ornithologists" or something that was dedicated to the chicken tree. Apparently some people think it looks more like a squirrel. They're bonkers, obviously.

      Submarine phobia?? That's a new one for me (I'm not judging - I'm terrified of butterflies!). Is it the whole being underwater but still being able to breathe thing? Because that makes total sense to me!

  3. I'm 'proud' to say I know. SJ is a big Firefly fan so since Christmas I have watched the whole season plus Serenity. Are you pleased? :-)

    Love your road trip tales though, I've driven bits of this drive on repeat (did a lot of work around Holbrook and flew into Albury and out of Canberra) but will be doing it again to head to Canberra for Easter. Fun times.

    1. This makes me very happy indeed! And I don't envy you the drive. It really is one of the most boring drives on the planet. There are a bunch of TAC billboards up at the moment that say "Lift your right foot". We decided it would be far more fun if they were part of a bizarre version of the Hokey Pokey, and spent a chunk of time coming up with other things you can lift in a car.

      You really do have to make your own fun on the Hume...

  4. Chicken Hill! That's one of my favourite landmarks on the trip up to my parents' place. It's pretty much the only landmark, really, now I think of it.

    The fruit tingle cake looks completely awesome. I'm not surprised it vanished so quickly.

    1. It really is the only exciting landmark between Melbourne and...pretty much anywhere on the Hume, really! I managed to convince myself that I saw a tree that looked like a T rex somewhere along the way, but I wouldn't be able to find it again. Shame...

      And I really think I need to make the fruit tingles cake again soon. It was AMAZING.

  5. I can't take Gundagai seriously. Every time I hear the name - a song goes through my head, the song about Gundagai. We had to sing it in Primary school for music lessons, we must have been working on it for WEEKS and it still haunts me to this day.

    Beautiful photos and yummy looking cake!

    1. I hear you on the music. You know they actually play the song through loudspeakers at the cafe that's right next to the Dog on the Tuckerbox statue? *cringe forever*

  6. I really want a memorial torpedo now.

    1. Don't we all???? I'm astonished every time I see it.

  7. I LOVE FIREFLY. So, yes, I know exactly what you speak of which either means you are being harsh on yourself and we are truly the coolest people of the earth OR I could write a chapter in your book.


    1. I love that you love Firefly. We really are the coolest people on earth. OBVIOUSLY. <3


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