MACHINES & A RAMSHACKLE VILLAGE

07 Dec 2020

I have fond childhood memories of hanging out on the couch with Dad, watching Peter Brock win the Bathurst 1000, and secretly dreaming of being a race car driver when I grew up. So we couldn’t leave Bathurst without checking out the Motor Sport museum. 

Without knowing anything about Motor Sports, we enjoyed exploring this collection of machines – their ingenuity and craftsmanship. I loved the 60’s and 70’s versions all colourful and boxy. One 1982 motorcycle was as small as my MTB, with glittered Australian flag styling. Ah the 80’s. There were some incredible hand made machines lovingly built and restored. And some total death-traps! They were brave to race some of these contraptions! 

 I’d hoped to see the car in which Brock won Bathurst by 6 laps, but it wasn’t to be.

It was time to hit the road and drive onto our next destination, Mudgee. Rolling through the beautiful rolling hills, I was expecting flat country on the other side of the mountains. ‘West of the sandstone curtain’ as described by a local Bathurst Photographer, Warren Lloyd.

We pulled into the charming and ramshackle village of Sofala, a remnant from the gold mining days.  Wandering through the Main Street was surreal.

“This place doesn’t look real” I said to Dave’s back as he peered into a tiny closed bookstore. Reading from the notice posed in the window “Closed because you can’t socially distance in our store”. 

Further along was a ‘Rustic Café’ and it was just as advertised. We found a table on the veranda next to the Kitchen, a lace curtain fluttered in the breeze and quiet country music. We could hear chef cooking up a burger for a lone motorcycle rider who had pulled into town just ahead of us. 

“We have to support the local economy” Dave explains to me with a smile as the waitress delivers scones with jam and cream. 

“Indeed” I agreed piling a load of cream onto half a scone. 

Half an hour out from Mudgee we passed a dam called Lake ‘Windamere’ (an Aussie pun?) 

“Do you think they ran out of ideas for naming lakes?” I scoffed, thinking this dam bared no resemblance to Lake Windermere in the Lake District, UK. 

Pulling into the picnic area to take a closer look, it was calm and beautiful, the deep green water framed by blonde grassy hills beyond. 

Dave wondered out loud about how long it would take to build the dam walls and how they would go about it. I love how he does this. He is intrigued with large scale structures and how they are built. 

With the day’s destination looming on the Sat Nav, we passed by various Mudgee Region cellar doors keen to settle into the hotel and relax, promising to visit them tomorrow. 

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