It was a bit of a windy night, and the noise from the trains slowly heaving up the mountain could be loud - they didn't ever wake me up, but a couple of times I was already awake and heard them go past. The morning was beautiful and fresh, with the sun rising and lighting up the trees across the grass from us.
There wasn't a lot to do to pack up and it went pretty smoothly (although the wind made it slightly difficult at times and I also had trouble with the zip on the trailer cover). My friend from the night before came past at one point, she was walking to Springwood and it was cool to see her one more time.
We continued to drive through the Blue Mountains, and saw the new Hydro Majestic Hotel and it's majestic view. We stopped for petrol in Medlow Bath, and then approached Victoria Pass, which I had been anxious about for almost a week. The grade here is 14% in some parts, and I knew it was a tricky, steep road. My friend's husband had given me some tips the night before, so I put the car in 2nd gear and just took it very slow. The speed limit for trucks was 40, and I went slower than that - it was fine, I didn't feel the trailer pushing me at all at that speed. There were a few tight bends in between the 2 steep parts, and I managed them fine and got to the bottom feeling very relieved and a great sense of achievement!
I would have liked to stop in Hartley and have a look around but we already had enough stops planned for these last few days of driving. Tony rang us when we were near Lithgow so I pulled over and we all had a chat to him on his birthday. We kept going and turned off to find my friend's place - a friend from my BHP days. We parked the trailer in front of her shed, and then drove in to Bathurst to meet her at her daughter's school, which was having a Highland Gathering.
We found her watching the bagpipe display (her daughter was competing) and sat on the grass and watched that and the strong man competition. We were all hot and exhausted and I sent the kids to get themselves an ice block. Amelie accidentally got the wrong one so I sent her to get a 2nd one - it was hot and windy and it was much more bearable if we all felt happy. After their ice blocks the kids went for a walk to look at the games and rides. I stayed and talked with my friend for a while, it was so good to see her. She and her youngest son decided to go home for a while, so I went and found the kids and saw Caitlin and Liam competing by running attached to a bungee cord and trying to put blocks as far away from their starting point as they could. Caitlin's long arms and legs and speed made this a lot easier for her. Amelie got her face painted (a cat on one side of her face, it was really well done) and the others played some skill games (throwing or shooting balls at things). We had a bit more of a wander around and then discovered that the meat pies were half price as it was nearly the end of the day, so we had one each.
We headed back to my friend's place. I hadn't been to her house before, it was huge and spacious - she and her husband had designed and built it 15 years ago and I loved it. We had a bit of a look around, and went down to feed bread to the sheep and the very old (30 years) horse. Her boys were riding their motorbikes, and the 15 year old took Liam then Caitlin on a ride - they loved it. The kids played on the trampoline and the swing, and Caitlin helped feed the horse, then we went inside while my friend cooked dinner. We chatted and the kids played and we had a delicious lamb roast with her and her kids. We had ice cream and blueberries for dessert and then sat in the lounge for a cup of tea. It was relaxing and easy to be there and I'm so glad we detoured inland to see her.
The girls slept in the bunk beds in the youngest son's room (he slept in my friend's room) and Liam and I slept in single beds in the spare room. It was really dark once all the lights went out - no street lights this far out of town and they turned all the lights off before they went to bed.