Recently when Doug reminded me of meeting the old man on the Murray River in the 1950’s I questioned him about the occasion.* Apparently Doug’s Aunt and Uncle, his cousins Joe, Mabel and Oliver and their respective spouses plus one or two children, were going on a holiday. It transpired that at the last minute Doug and his Dad were invited. Old Bill and Doug were planning to go to Adelaide to see Bills daughter Nancy and here was the opportunity. Today, we googled the trip from Maryborough Victoria, to Adelaide via Mount Gambier and back through Victoria via Renmark, Mildura and Swan Hill. Continuing on to Melbourne before returning to Maryborough. Whew! To me that was not a holiday but a road trip. According to Mr Google it was well over two thousand Kilometres.
Now you may say that’s not much of a record but when I tell you that those two thousand Kilometres were travelled sitting in the back of a Ford Zephyr Utility without so much as a cushion underneath them you will understand why I think it’s pretty remarkable. They traversed many bumpy dirt roads by day and slept in the back of the Ute at night. No! He was not uncomfortable, No! he did not worry about the dust in his face or the grit in his mouth. They had a hot shower at the caravan parks at night and no! It did not rain while they slept. The whole trip was accomplished in just over a fortnight.
Apparently it was not unusual in those days to see people travelling in the back of Ute’s and even on the back of trucks. They were made of tougher stuff than I am. To me it would be an endurance test which I would have failed. I can feel the grit in my teeth and the dust on my face as I write. I am afraid I might have been moaning like the children of Israel “I’ve had enough, can I go home now? Please send me back to Egypt.” Now this would have been bad news because I might have been made to wander around in the back of Ute’s for forty years. I’m glad I live in New Testament times and my Bible Tells me that Jesus took my punishment for me. Now that makes me really thankful.
Doug at the time of the road trip.
*The occasion was when the old man told Doug of the Dingo taking the baby. (See Blog 23 Mothers Day)