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2005 10 14 Canberra->Sydney->Mittagong

(Still!) Felt good when I awoke, and packed the car with enough for a year-long trip around Australia.  Always take more for a weekend away than an overseas trip, and with no planning and unsure of the weather at Fitzroy Falls on Saturday, I thought that a kitchen sink might come in useful.  It was just about perfect driving conditions, even cloud cover where I was heading, pleasant temperature, everything.  Even the other road users were very good and sensible ~ tootling along in the left hand lane in a line with evenly set cruise controls (until the Sydney fringe hoons anyway).  It was a great bonus to be able to listen to the Super Test for the first session, after gaining a new perspective on the Sting album released last year, in the way that it is so easy to do when alone and able to adjust the sound surrounding you with impunity.

Arrived at the hospital over two hours early, but after the mix-up yesterday thought that I would check out the location and confirm that I was ‘on the list’.  There were a few things I was happy to do (so too much time was better than barely enough) as it was at Prince of Wales, near my old stomping ground at UNSW.  I was somewhat taken aback to be told to wait, as they didn’t know what order the procedures would be undertaken.  Heightened thoughts of being able to get away early were reinforced when I was called in almost immediately, leaving a full waiting room of pre-existing patients.  The paperwork was quick and straightforward, and I changed in to the funky (!huh) hospital gown.  Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

There was a silver lining though, as a tv hung from one corner with the 2nd session of the Cricket Test on.  Kerry O’Keefe on ABC was annoying me with his facile giggling, so the more measured (and hard to hear!) TV commentary was a good change.  I developed a crick in my neck from the acute angle I was holding it up and to the right, so spent the time since drinks standing up to be more ergonomic.  With hideous timing, I was called in as the decision on Michael ‘Pup’ Clarke’s dismissal was pending.  He had been playing some lovely looking shots and looked set for a good innings.

Thankfully, the Assistant Surgeon who first attended to me had been paying a great deal of attention to the TV when he passed, so I could find out the result, and we had a long chat about the series and the Australian team.  Eventually the senior surgeon arrived and we were underway.  The results need to be analysed and compared to previous results of the same procedure undertaken in 1998 and 1994, but he sounded rather more encouraging than two months ago.

A quick chat to Bob, and I hit the road.  Bloody Sydney traffic!  I was in no hurry (the same cannot be said of many of the other drivers), but it was stop-start on the M5 (and its feeders) from Randwick to near the Casula turnoff.  I know its Friday afternoon, but boy I’m glad I don’t have to cop this all the time anymore!

Threw some gear in the room at Mittagong when I arrived, and then did a bit of exploring, first on foot around the village (poetic licence, but it’s more of a village now than when the Hume was the main Sydney-Melbourne route), and up Mt Gibraltar coming back to Mittagong along the eastern side where substantial properties dotted the landscape on large land holdings.

I then drove along the infamous ‘Range Road’ and some of Macquarie Pass used as Lucky Legs long training run.  Not surprisingly, it climbed the mountain range behind Mittagong and wound it’s way through a soft, green landscape, lush with recent rains and dotted with recently milked dairy cattle looking as though they had stepped out of a cheese advertisement.  The most spectacular sun set in the west, encompassing a full third of the sky with a giant orange basketball.  I couldn’t see any of the marks that Lucky Legs had placed on the roadway, or the water tank used for refills, but was impressed with the view and the hilly and undulating nature of the route she traverses.  Turning into Macquarie Pass, the vegetation thickened into eucalypt forest with good shade.  This was great running territory, and cried out  to be cycled over soon.  The road surface was sealed and in very good condition, and there was no traffic.  

I came back through East Kangaloon and skirted the edge of the Wingecarribee Reservoir.  As an afterthought, I popped into the Carpark of McDonalds, chocka block with every Southern Highland teenager on an early Friday night, to check if they had WiFi access.  They did, and I shall probably pop by at 6:00am to collect an espresso coffee.  I may try to connect while I am there, but it depends on how I am going for time, so may wait until I get home.

Time has slipped away.  I’ll finish this cup of broth and crack open another FortiJuice.  Lay out my gear for tomorrow, hope that it’s not drizzling (as predicted when I last checked) and get to bed early.

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    December 297 km