Welcome back to New Life On The Road. We were finally ready to depart. All the required insurance and temporary registration had been obtained. We had checked and adjusted the tire pressures, fuel, oil and radiator coolant. I had also replaced the windscreen wiper rubbers. Nothing could go wrong now. Or could it?
A Taste Of Life On The Road
We departed from the south side of Batemans Bay with Geoff driving. To say I was excited was a bit of an understatement. I was as excited as a dog at a cat show. We were finally on the road, It was one of those warm clear days that you get at the start of winter and we were about to drive up through the South Coast of New South Wales where I had spent many holidays and long weekends in my younger years.
The first hour was spent driving north until we reached Ulladulla . Geoff was happy with how the bus was running. It was handling ok and the motor had a reasonable amount of power for something that was forty years old. We pulled over across from the harbour in Ulladulla so that I could have my first bus driving lesson and to also work out which of the ancient unlabeled switches worked all the headlights before it got dark.
I took the time to take in the harbour views before we set off again. It is a place that I had been to many times before. It is one of those places that I will never get tired of going back to. The view of all the fishing trawlers and yachts safely at anchor behind the protective harbour wall and surrounding cliffs, highlighted by the setting afternoon sun brings a feeling of peace to the sole that you don’t often get living in suburbia.
Another Aspect Of Life On The Road
I was about to experience another aspect of life on the road as I prepared to pull back on to the Princess Highway. Driving a bus on the open road was a first for me. I had driven haul trucks on mine sites before but those roads are quiet compared to a major public highway. I had quickly gone from excited to being slightly nervous. Moving off I found the gear changes a bit of a challenge as I had to double clutch when changing gears to stop grinding them. Geoff had made it look easy but I was finding myself to be a bit uncoordinated. My left hand and foot just couldn’t get their act together.
I continued north passing many of the old areas that I used to go camping at. Jervis Bay, Nowra (where I gave Geoff some grey hair as I came close to the curb a few times whilst getting used to how wide the bus is), Kiama and the Illawarra district before arriving in Wollongong where the bus was about to face its first real test.
We were about to climb a mountain. When heading north from the South Coast towards Sydney the only way is up one of two mountain passes. I had chosen to go up Mount Ousley. It is the longer of the two climbs but much straighter and not quiet as steep. Would we get to the top ok? Or would we overheat part way up?
You will have to wait for the next post to find out when I continue with First Taste Of Life On The Road Part 2
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New Life On The Road