Before leaving Griffith I had to visit another popular eating establishment – Limone – and once again I had a very social visit. Not only did I speak to the staff and owner (plus one of the owner’s friends) but a woman I had met the night before walked in. “Hi Liz, this is my husband. He wanted to meet you last night (and invite you to have dinner with us) but I told him not to disturb you.” Also, just like everyone else I had met in Griffith, the owner had Veneto connections!
Great omelette and the coffee was the best of the trip. The cup felt really Italian to me (similar to ones I drank out of in Italy), so once again I felt as if I had a mini trip to Italy.
My journey west continued and once again it was a flat and straight drive. However this time most of the drive towards Hay was across a saltbush plain which meant that there were very few trees! The reason for this is that the rainfall is not enough and/or the soil does not contain enough moisture to sustain trees or large shrubs.
I took a minor detour to visit a historic timber bridge at Carrathool. My friend Aimee (who I had spent the day with in Henty) is a timber bridge expert and as a result of a brief bridge conversation I added three bridges to my ‘must-sketch’ itinerary.
On arrival in Hay, I visited the Visitor Info Centre (and worked out if there were any JimmyB buildings in town) and then had a quick lunch before heading to the main attraction in town – Shear Outback.
… and managed a few quick sketches. Mike (or was it Mick?) was a real character and it was interesting to hear about what a hard job it is to be a shearer and how there is a real shortage of them in Australia.
Just outside Shear Outback was a truck stop… and I was excited that there was a road train parked!
Over the last week I have seen a few road trains each day (the most I counted was 5), but apart from the empty one in Narromine (see here) I have not been behind one ie. I have not needed to overtake one. Thankful for that!
The last photo in town that I took was of the courthouse. This was designed by Walter Vernon (if you haven’t already realised nearly all NSW courthouses were designed by either Barnet or Vernon – or both). This is a really interesting building but it was late in the day so no sketch of it this time.
Before I share my last adventure in Hay with you I need to add a little note about the current terrible mouse plague in NSW (see this article for more).
I’ve been travelling through areas that currently have lots of mice. I have spoken to locals about them, heard of the constant demand for mouse traps, met a couple who had mice in their campervan and heard of mice chewing through cables in a car engine (I can’t remember exactly what cables but they were difficult to replace).
But apart from a little scratching in the walls one night (I was staying in a room next to a garage) I have not come across any. Another thing to be thankful for!
My heart goes out to all the communities that are struggling with them at the moment.
One of the most important places I wanted to visit this trip was the Sunset Viewing area 17km north of Hay. I took Esther Semmens here on our road trip in 2006 (I wanted to show her nothing) so it was fun to revisit this spot.
But since then there is a platform with some chairs and a table (photo later). I also realised this time that this spot was indeed in a reasonable location. It was not until 17km north of town that the trees disappeared leaving nothing but the saltbush and grasses of the Hay Plain.
But it was fun and this page in my sketchbook makes me very happy because it’s a great record of the event and location. I’ve realised that I really love the Hay Plain! (More about this in the next article.)
Well apart from the fact that there were two other groups there!
Here is the table and chairs at the spot. This was the last photo I took (10 minutes after the sun dropped below the horizon) before jumping in the car and driving back into town before it was dark. Thankfully no sign of kangaroos or emus!
I had such a great afternoon in Hay… but the biggest day of my trip was coming up next!