One aspect of living outside a town is that you have to drive to get anywhere else. From being a one-car family with a lovely efficient Toyota Prius and several bicycles, we now have three cars, one of them a utility truck with a useful tray that we use on a daily basis.
The Prius was left behind in California because it’s difficult to drive across the Pacific Ocean, even if there wasn’t the problem of driving on the opposite side of the road in Australia.
It would do no good here, anyway, because the citified Prius doesn’t have the clearance to handle to lumps and bumps of our gravel road. Nor would it handle the Mullion Creek in minor flood. That’s what we call a bit of water over the Lizard Crossing .
A lot of water over Lizard Crossing is dangerous and we don’t mess with it, truck or not. I have a few markers, like a clump of grass near the edge of the concrete, that tell me when it’s too high or just low enough.
So we have two Subaru Foresters and a Toyota Hilux all jostling for space in the parking area by the house. At least Jessie is borrowing the Subaru for the moment, so it’s mostly at her apartment in town. One less car to reverse into when you’re in a hurry.
On the other hand, that means I have to drive the Hilux sometimes when it’s got the water pump and tank on it. The gear fits in well parked in the main street of Yass, where there are plenty of others well-used vehicles, but looks rather silly outside the trendy Hotel Hotel in Canberra.
We bought the red diesel Subaru for long trips and Craig commuting to the University. It’s more efficient on fuel than the others, and makes fewer squeaking and clanking noises. But you can tell where it’s from by the constant coating of dust over the back window. All our vehicles have this problem. Mum complains about getting in and out because if you touch the bottom of the door frame the dust and mud coats your trouser leg. Often you don’t realize until much later.
Apart from the gravel and dust, the road tends to crimp our social life at night by containing animals. It contains them in the day also but at least you can see them then. Since our neighbours have bought some certified Angus cows night driving has become a lot more exciting.
The native wildlife are also a challenge. We’ve learned the main places for wombat and kangaroo crossings. One foggy morning last year Craig was driving into work through the fog and suddenly realised that he was surrounded by leaping kangaroos all silently jumping along beside the car.
At least the trees don’t usually get up and cross the road. Yet.