2006-08-01

Being in Griffith (part 1)

I left Newcastle on Saturday 29 July for Griffith. I had just two days to get used to the manual transmission of the car some friends lent me, but the trip was reasonably uneventful.

I left at around 9.00am and arrived around 5.30pm. I travelled over 700 kilometres in total from the Shell Service Station in Mayfield to arrive in East Griffith.

Some thoughts about the trip:

1. The McDonalds El Maco burger is not that wonderful. It's not bad but it's not good either.
2. I made some hilarious mistakes using the manual transmission. Often I would intend to shift down from 5th to 4th, but manage to go too far and shift it into 2nd. When you're travelling at around 90kph that's not a good feeling. In order to compensate I then tried to shift it back, only to shift it into reverse, which is not nice either (don't worry, the noise warned me before I took my foot off the clutch). It was also funny trying to shift from 1st into 2nd, but miss 2nd and go into 4th directly. I stalled the car 3-4 times in car parks doing that.
3. The Burley Griffin Way is a clayton's highway that goes from Yass directly into the centre of Griffith - a distance of over 250km. It is a single laned road but it was surprisingly free of traffic during that time. I only got caught behind one slow moving car but overtaking it was a cinch. I think I went past one East-bound car every 10-15 minutes as I headed West, and only once had someone overtake me. Pretty good for 250+km of driving.
4. The M7 in Sydney has to be one of the best bypass ever invented for anyone who wishes to bypass Sydney. Travelling from Newcastle I had to endure only about 5km of Sydney traffic (from the Newcastle Freeway to the M2 entrance in Pennant Hills), before having a luxurious, if circular, trip out west. I have an Etag which means that I could use the M7 (there are no toll collecting booths and they have cameras that take pictures of non-Etag equipped cars and send you fines).
5. As a result of the M7, I drove non-stop from Newcastle to the Pheasant's Nest Mobil near Camden for a bathroom break. Another 100km later and I was munching El Macos at Sutton Forest. A few hours later I stopped for 15 minutes for a rest at Harden (where I watched a League match) and another 10 minute rest about 40km out of Griffith.
6. When I arrived in Griffith it took only a few minutes to find my place of residence - I'm living with another teacher (a single bloke) until the wife and kids come down. That night, both of us went to my head teacher's house where I had my first taste of Griffith cuisine - Pizza, Pasta and Red Wine. All three of which went down very, very well. Griffith has a history of Italian migrants stretching back to its foundation and the Italian restaurants and take-aways here are very good. I'm not a pizza man, but the stuff they cook here is wonderful.

I'm typing this insde the school Staffroom - it's Tuesday. I'll let you know soon about how things are going at the school, but I will say that, so far, it's been good.

6 comments:

CraigS said...

Great news Neil - sounds like a great adventure. I look forward to hearing more details, and especially about the church you end up attending.

Theteak said...

You don't like pizza?

One Salient Oversight said...

I like the Pizza here. Eagle Boys was sort of okay in Newcastle but here it just tastes like real food.

Theteak said...

I'm totally with you on the El Maco burger.
Hope your day is working out well.

Dave Lankshear said...

Good stuff mate.

apodeictic said...

Yeah the M7's pretty good -- apart from the missing link from the M2 to to the F3 and also having to pay the toll on the M2 which is far too expensive compared to he M7 toll. I drove it just after it opened (when it was still toll free apart from the M2 bit).

I'm coming back again for another visit in December/January. Do you think you'll still be in Griffith then or is it too early to say at this stage?

And as far as I know you can't get El Maco burgers in Oxford. But from the sound of things I'm not missing much anyway.