We’re back at our Oxley home, having driven this morning from Coffs Harbour, where we enjoyed some nice accommodation right on the beach – chance to unwind for a few days.
We got back just before 2 this afternoon, the Apollo motorhome having travelled close on 16 000 km since 26 September. Our share in that was the last 4000+. I can tell you, it felt like 4000+.
With some sadness, we farewelled, Diana, Tom, Dan and BJ about 6.30 Monday morning, Dan pleasingly getting the ‘battleship’ up to street level in inner-city Sydney. From there, with the help of the trusty Navman GPS unit and Dale, we managed to get out of Sydney unscathed. A few hours into our northward travels we decided to press on (600 km in the day) to Coffs Harbour, a place where we’ve holidayed in the past and enjoyed. It proved a good choice.
The battleship/motorhome is no easy vehicle to drive. The wheel alignment/balancing is out (sorry, I don’t know the difference, so hedging my bets!) and it starts to shudder when it approaches 100 kph. Anyhow we made it, though it required really firm hands on the wheel throughout, especially in windy conditions. Bill Lawry’s “soft hands” might work with a cricket bat with not with this VW motorhome monster.
In tandem Dale (in Yaris) and I drove to the Apollo depot at Nudgee … there by 3.40.
Didn’t leave the place until almost 4.40, anyway … it was nice to drive, the small, comfortable, quiet, smooth-riding Yaris home to Oxley.
Spending the better part of a week with some family has definitely helped me get to know them better … what makes them tick and what challenges them. Mind you, I’m sure it gave them a deeper insight into yours truly. I hope I came out OK!!
It also helped me know and appreciate the vastness and beauty of this country of mine, Australia. I’ve been privileged to have travelled extensively overseas – USA (umpteen times), Canada, Mexico, Singapore, England, Scotland, Bali, Spain, New Zealand, Israel, Palestine, Jordan. However, something was missing in my travels. While I had driven much of east-coast Australia and inland Australia, I had never gone to the likes of Uluru. This final part of our long service leave travels kind of started balancing the travels ledger a bit.
I also gained a fresh love of Australia’s rivers – from the dried up Todd in the Alice, to the beautiful Murray and Murrumbidgee to the wide rivers of NSW like the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed.
So … five days time I’m back on deck at Oxley-Darra UC. I was last in ‘active duty’ there on 25 August – seems a long time ago. It is. Interesting times lie ahead, for I officially finish up there in just over 3 months, commencing at Wellers-Hill Tarragindi UC here in Brisbane in February.
I’ll be heading back into ministry refreshed, and I thank God for that!!
Of course, just to spice up the times ahead, Dale’s brother Dan and wife BJ will be with us for about 5 days from this coming Tuesday. It will be great having some more time with them, before they head back to the States.
So … to kind of sum up the last two months, I thought I’d highlight this extended time of leave like this:
most amazing sights
… dead heat between Uluru, Australia and Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
most peaceful time
… sitting by the Murray River at Renmark on a Friday morning
most enriching time
… the Charleville/Frontier Services connect mission trip
most satisfying time
… Sydney Harbour walk & cruise with Dale’s folks
most privileged time
… officiating at Mark & Maria’s wedding in Pennsylvania
most inspirational times
everything to do with John Flynn, Frontier Services & the Royal Flying Doctor Service
most pampered time
… everything about the cruise … including time with Glenn & Jan
most needed time
… a time during our Gold Coast week when wonderful friends prayed for us and our family
most poignant time
… driving back to Alice from Standley Chasm and listening to John Williamson sing Eric Bogle’s Shelter
most unusual time
… everything about Coober Pedy
most important time
… the 11 days with “Dad” (Herb) Butrick
most disappointing time
… not writing any new song over this period … but that’s another story … and anyhow, who knows what God has in store around the next corner!