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.