On the road to Gundagai

“There’s a track winding back to an o-old fashioned shack, along the road to Gundagai” – Slim Dusty

Look, I’m no fan of Slim Dusty, but it certainly is dusty in Gundagai, the town more famous for the Dog on the Tuckerbox. There was a dog beside the bag of tucker at the Hungry Jack’s this evening.

It’s was over forty degrees celcius when we arrived at six-thirty PM, according to the car’s thermometer. There were reminders of the fires as we drove through the Southern Highlands and then in Gundagai itself. As I walked Kita around the motel yard I watched a convoy of rural fire brigade trucks, red and blue lights flashing, heading up towards the fires around Batlow and the Snowys. The Fires Near Me app’s icon has changed to the red of an Emergency Warning for the fire, the closest to our current location.

The air here is smoky and very dusty. I have to wear my sunglasses in the dimmed evening light as the wind whipped whipped up the dry soil. Kita darts here and there finding new smells in the hard cracked soils, golden stalks of dead grass mix in with the dead grey weeds and prickles.

Welcome to the climate apocalypse that is Australia.

It’s only Kita’s second holiday with us away from home. I think he’s a bit overwhelmed with all the changes and new smells. A new food bowl, bed, seat harness, everything really. At least the drive wasn’t to the kennels or the vet.

The Bushman’s Retreat motel is bare and basic, but it allows pets and we have stayed here before. Across the road is the Hungry Jack’s and the Shell petrol station. There is more to see here, but we are just passing through on the way to Victoria.

We stopped at a rest point to let Kita do his business. We’ll see how he goes on tomorrow’s longer drive. Rest points are good. We also need to see if the roads are open anywhere.

There is another couple here with their dog, down from Batlow, escaping the fires. They say their house is okay, but there is no power there. Refugees from the fires, the drought, from the fossil fuel addiction that is killing us like the cigarettes they smoke.

When you drive through Australia it’s easy to understand where all those post-apocalyptic tales came from. On the road from Gundagai.