Mercedes Clubs National Rally 2022 – Day 7 White Cliffs to Sydney

We started the day in White Cliffs, after staying at the Underground Motel.  I wasn’t looking forward to the shower in the shared bathroom, but they were actually a lot better than I thought they would be.    Overall, it was a cool experience staying in the Underground Motel – I’m glad we did it.

Our drive today was to take us all the way back to Sydney.  We would go via Cobar, Nyngan, Narromine, Mudgee and Lithgow.   This would be over 1000KM, exact distance depending on each person, as the convoy was to split in Lithgow.

White Cliffs is at the end of a 95KM road from Wilcannia.   It’s sealed, but doesn’t carry a lot of of traffic.    Despite basically being in a desert, there is a lot of wildlife around, and it would not have been safe to drive our cars on this road in the dark.   Sunrise was 6:20AM, so that is when we planned to leave.

White CliffsThis was a good choice, as there were many animals on the road.   There were plenty of kangaroos, goats and black cows.  The black cows would have been invisible in the dark.  The kangaroos are the biggest worry as they are really stupid and have a habit of turing around and hopping into the path of oncoming cars.   A fact I know only too well.   I had purchased a set of kangaroo whistles to put on my car.   I have no idea if they do anything at all, but I did notice the kangaroos hopping away more as we approached.   This could have been because of the noise of four cars instead of one and nothing to do with the whistles.   In any case, we never hit a kangaroo.

While the kangaroos are more of a worry, there were more goats on the road.   They like to eat the grass that grows by the road’s edge.   They generally get out of the way and are not erratic, but sometimes need a few blows of the horn to get them moving.

After leaving the road from White Cliffs, we headed towards Cobar on the Barrier Highway.   Our first stop was Emmdale Roadhouse about 100KM from Wilcannia.   This was a much better option than that strange petrol station in Wilcannia.   After a breakfast of Bacon and egg rolls we were back on the road to Cobar, which was still another 160KM away.     As with yesterday, we had been taking advantage of petrol stations as they came.   We generally didn’t let the tanks get below half full until we got past Dubbo.

Even though were were back on the Barrier Highway, there were still goats on the road on a regular basis.  However, there were few goat carcasses on the side of the road as compared with kangaroos.   They seem much better at getting out of the way.

CobarAfter we left Cobar, our next destination was Nyngan, another 121KM away.   As we got closer we could see the scenery starting to change.   Red dirt and slow scrub started to turn into some sparse greenery and even some trees.   There were fewer goats too, even though there would have been richer pickings for them.

Passing Nyngan, on the way to our lunch stop at Narromine, the change was more drastic, it was much greener and there was far more vegetation.  The Bogan River seems a boundary between the outback and the rest of the state.  Traffic started to pick up too.   Out towards Broken Hill and Cobar,  It was rarely necessary to wait to overtake slower traffic.   Now, there was more traffic to overtake and it took much longer to find a safe spot.

It also wasn’t as hot as we ventured further east, so my car and the white 280CE had no real problems keeping the A/C on and the car in a reasonable temperature.  I was sitting in the mid 90s most of the time.   It was a different story in the other 280CE.  There were still times the heater was needed to keep the car cool.

At Narromine, they had a statue of former Australian Test Cricketer, Glenn McGrath.  I actually thought it was somebody else at first, as it didn’t look much like him and the park had a different name.   It was right by a used car dealership in the centre of town. It would also seem that the local birds are no lovers of cricket.

McGrathFrom Narromine, our next stop was Mudgee.   Mudgee was about 167KM away.   Once we got there, we had really broken the back of the trip, as Mudgee is within day trip driving from Sydney.   The roads around Mudgee were pretty rutted and potholed and there was quite a bit of traffic, making overtaking hard and slowing our progress.    In the end, we decided not to stop and continue to Lithgow.    We got to Lithgow an hour ahead of schedule and went our separate ways.

Not long from home, my car rolled over 310,000 on the odometer, signalling we had covered over 4,000KM on this trip.   Other than losing the belts, the 450SLC had performed well.  I’m glad I chose to bring it along for this trip.    I will soon be installing the new National Rally 2022 badge on the car, along with the 250,000KM badge and the MBCNSW badge.  The other choice would have been the 560SEL.  A much as I like that car, and it would have been more comfortable and fuel efficient, the SLC was still the right car for the trip.

The days driving had gone pretty well – The only one with no real issues on any of the cars.   While we had a lot of driving to do today, it was always Day 3 I was most concerned about.

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