Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 1288 - Tom Tom

This is a story about a Tom Tom gone wrong

Deep Fried Fruit - on the road to nowhere
I have mixed views about GPSs because I think they make us stupid, but having said that I have in the past sung the praises of the humble Tom Tom.  Yesterday Tom Tom took us off the beaten track and into a world of forest, dirt roads, rock slides, a mountain collapse, marijuana plantations and hippies.  We have very mixed feelings about this experience. We're not sure whether to sing its praises or throw the bloody thing off the nearest cliff.




First of all, let me just tell you that the voice of our Tom Tom is Homer Simpson. He keeps us amused as we travel with phrases such as "are we there yet", "hmmmm, ice cream", "doh, toll charge!" and the very victorious "you have reached your destination and you can hold your head up high for you are a genius!"  Sometimes he says "hmmm" or "eh?" which doesn't always fill us with confidence.

We left Port Macquarie at sparrows fart for what was supposed to be about a 1.30 arrival at the Gold Coast.  We had decided to turn the predicted rainy afternoon into a Harbour Town shopping adventure when we hit Queensland.  We were excited.

As we hit Grafton and pondered as to when they might decide to by-pass this quaint country town, Homer took us through the town and out some back road.  As he was taking us on this path I strongly suggested to Derek that perhaps we should check Homer's credentials.  It might be wise to do a quick internet search to be sure this new direction was indeed the best route.  (Homer has taken us on crazy mountain adventures before.) But no, Derek trusted that Homer knew this fabulous new route that would turn us into heroes of the  travelling world.  So we embraced that theory and on we went.

Into the pouring rain, on a narrow country road that had nothing but trees either side of us and hills in the distance.  Onwards and onwards we went doing 80km an hour.  Occasionally we'd see a car.  It started to dawn on us that the cars we saw may also be the hapless victims of a misguided Tom Tom.

Deep Fried Fruit - on the road to nowhere
The harder it rained the more I felt like I was entering a Stephen King novel. It was eerie.  At one point we drove past a man on the side of the road with nothing but forest on either side of him. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, carrying an umbrella and wanting to hitch a ride? Where had he come from?  Sorry mate, we are packed to the rafters.  No room for you in here.

The Stephen King themes started to run riot in my head when we hadn't seen a car, a house or even an animal for quite some time.  Then we started to climb some hills.  I got really excited when I saw a sign for Nimbin. I had always wanted to see Nimbin! Perhaps this wasn't Stephen King at all, but a journey into Jennifer Aniston's Wanderlust.

Derek's jaw started to clench and his fidgets in the driver seat showed he was getting pissed off.  As we climbed a hill with mud and slush and fallen trees around us we felt that Homer may indeed be wrong.  As the rest of the Queensland holiday motorists were driving at 110km an hour up the Pacific Highway, we were doing 60 around a slushy mountain without safety railings.  I started to giggle.

"Well, at least it's scenic!" I said,  "Perhaps Homer felt we needed a reality check."  Husband merely grunted which made me giggle even more.  This was kind of fun, but also kind of scary.

The rain continued to hammer down.  There was no place to go but forward.  So we continued on this crazy journey of fallen rocks, pieces of mountain that had collapsed, road barriers that were put up to prevent us from falling where the earth had fallen away previously.  We even came across what seemed to be a marijuana plantation.  Then the road turned to dirt.  Are you kidding me?

Then suddenly everything broke open and we happened upon this gorgeous little township with the most eclectic general store and gardens to die for. We were in some sort of rain forest paradise! And that is when I told Homer that I appreciated his sense of humor.

Beautiful Chillingham - on our Deep Fried adventure

Gardens behind the Chillingham store

When we finally crossed the NSW/Qld border (with huge cameras taking our picture as we crossed) we looked out over the cliff to our right and saw this piece of wonder.  Wow.

The NSW/Qld border (when you take the "scenic" route


We finally arrived about an hour later than we would have had we taken the boring old highway and we still got our shopping done.  We got to see a part of the world we would NEVER have chosen to investigate.  We got to feel a bunch of emotions on our little journey to the centre of the Earth - some of which involved swearing and others which involved laughter, fear and plain old frustration.

I said to Husband "would you ever have taken this road if Homer hadn't sent us this way?"

His reply "never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever in the history of the world would I choose to take this trip."

So now I say "thank you Homer. Thanks for the memories".

Do you think if we changed the voice of Tom Tom we might get a more intelligent guide in the future?  I am thinking David Attenborough, Mr T or perhaps Darth Vader.

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