You know that lovely fuzzy feel you wake up to on the mornings of a longed-for holiday? So it was on my second morning waking in the tent at Condobolin, New South Wales, on Easter Saturday.
First, it was the corellas calling and for a second or two I thought I was in Mortlake visiting my daughter. A kookaburra laughs and I remember that I am in Condobolin – affectionately known as Condo – and am visiting my brother. And then the sound of engines begin and I know it is 6:30am and the Condo750 rally has begun.
I put on the kettle and harness the dog before unzipping the tent. We have been spoiled for camping since we began using powered sites. We have one of those ‘Eurobeds’ and plugging it into the power for the inflation and deflation was a delight. Comfy but, like all airbeds, so cold. We came prepared for that, this time, with ample underlays and warm nightwear. It’s lovely to have power to make toast and boil the kettle. Sure beats having to get up and get the campfire going before getting any caffeine into the system. We left the microwave at home, but did consider bringing it!
The Condo 750 off-road rally has been around since 1988, and the date seems moveable according to other local events. We didn’t know it was on until we arrived. This year, the event used the sporting reserve across the road from us. We didn’t actually go in to the event, though on Sunday we thought we would have a look and buy a proper coffee. We walked across, but I let the signs banning dogs sway me. Only later, when we visited another park on the other side of the river, I saw lots of dogs in there, anyway. I wasn’t that keen to go in.
The river is at our backs when facing the road, but it sweeps around on our left and skirts the sports ground.
We drank our coffee and watched the participants leave – the cars going one direction and the bikes going the other. The circuits are mostly on private property and the farmers have moved stock out of the way for the weekend. There were quad bikes, motorbikes, 4WDs and buggies. They returned to the sports ground for lunch and between laps. It is a navigational race and you need skill for that. Some of the tracks through the properties can barely be seen so it must be harder for the first ones through – have to hope someone has dragged a tyre over the worse bits to give a bit of definition to the course, and hope wild goats haven’t eaten any marker tape left on bushes.
The race attracts some Dakar Rally and the Australasian Safari which are both extreme off-road rallies. On Sunday, the ‘motos’ and ‘autos’ swap tracks, but we were blessed with a slightly later start time. Because the caravan park is set well back from the road, the noise wasn’t a nuisance, but then again, I am fairly deaf.
The sun rose and my interest soon moved to capturing the orange morning sunlight and shadow.
I’m sorry that I was too lazy to get some great closeups of the rally vehicles. I was content to watch from afar amid this glorious wooded setting.
After our toast and coffee, we took turns minding the dog while the other showered. I investigated the dog show section at the caravan park.
To be continued …