Heathcote to Stanley via Melbourne

Well, that’s complicated and, possibly, so would today be. Today we said goodbye to Busby II when he gets to the end oh our road trip at Maui’s Melbourne depot.

Our final leg is 90kms. Getting on the road was a little more complex than unplugging the mains supply in that we had to repack our bags. Why is it that repacking a bag makes closing it more difficult than it originally was? We’re using packing cubes which helped a little and got it done. We have Maui’s “express return” package so I had no need to empty the grey water tank or, indeed, the chemical toilet, though just as a matter of courtesy, I did empty and rinse the loo at the dump station just outside the campsite.

About an hour later we drove into the Maui depot and parked in the rental returns area. A few folks were hanging around outside, maybe waiting to collect and begin their adventure. I found a helpful chap to take our keys – finding a warm body who isn’t tied up can be a trial, sometimes. He checked our return package and all was well. He asked if we needed a taxi and phoned to arrange one. We needed to get to the Avis car rental desk at Melbourne airport for our third rental vehicle to get to Francine’s brother in Stanley, Victoria. “Make sure the next cab is going to the airport”. We waited.

Eventually a cab drove in but it was delivering another customer. He asked, “are you waiting for a taxi?”. “Yes, to the airport”, I said, questioningly. “OK”. As we were loading bags another cab drove in and it became obvious that this was the one that had been ordered for us. With apologies to cab #1, we switched our bags to the correct cab. I thought dropping someone off and then taking someone away, a fare in both directions, had been a little too organized.

The journey was about 17kms and it took us more or less an hour. We were stuck in four lanes of stop-start (mostly stop) traffic ‘cos some inconsiderate people had had a fender bender closing two lanes immediately before the airport exit. Finally we got to the Avis depot and collected our car. It was a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with a mere 12kms on the clock and had the unmistakable scent of brand new car. We asked if it had satnav. It does but you need to plug your phone in. Fortunately Francine’s phone had an eSIM from Telstra so we could navigate using Google.

It’s 290kms to Stanley and Francine’s brother along the Hume Highway. After about 100kms we pulled in for lunch. I realized I had lost my very necessary hat, my beloved Tilley. I can only think that I’d left it in the cab on the back seat in my haste to pay the driver and collect our car. “Bother!”, said Pooh, crossly.

Other than that, the journey was a doddle and we met Bro-in-law in the centre of Beechworth, the nearest small useful  town to Stanley, only 10kms away. I managed to buy a replacement bush hat to protect my scalp from the very welcome sun.

We’re here.

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Posted in 2024-01 Australia