I had been asked to cover on the reception desk yesterday morning, starting at 9. No worries, thought I. I'll be in Ballarat overnight, but I have access to Ian's car. I'll drive down first thing.
It usually takes about an hour and 40 minutes to get from Mount Helen to the surgery. I left at 6:45, thinking that that would give me lots of time to get there, with time to eat my stewed plums and yoghurt for breakfast and have a cup of coffee before I started.
It was a beautiful morning for a drive. Slightly on the chilly side, but a clear day and the sun wasn't shining directly in my eyes. Well, not most of the time.
I was slightly surprised when the sat nav took me off at Bacchus Marsh. Usually it takes me off at Melton, or takes me directly through down towards Melbourne before turning off. It depends entirely on the traffic. But I was only slightly surprised. It's a route that we take sometimes anyway, depending on our mood. And I knew that there were roadworks up ahead towards Melton and the road was marked red on the sat nav.
So off I came at Bacchus Marsh and headed off towards Diggers Rest, assuming that the sat nav would take me onto the Calder.
It's a pretty drive between Bacchus Marsh and Diggers Rest. The sun was still shining, and still (mostly) not shining in my eyes. There wasn't very much traffic until I approached the Calder. I was quite enjoying my journey.
I was astonished, when I got to the Calder, that my sat nav didn't say "in 500 metres turn right, then take the Calder" but "in 500 metres go straight on". My experience is that when the sat nav departs significantly from its usual patterns, there is usually a good reason for it. It had never before said to go straight on at that intersection. I decided to trust it.
So off we trundled towards Sunbury, beyond Sunbury, then turned right onto a country road that I don't remember having been along before (though I may well have; it would have been a route I might have taken when I lived in Beaufort and Ballarat and Lindsey and Ian lived in Cottles Bridge.) However, I really didn't remember it. It was a twisty, winding, narrow road with single lane bridges, hairpin bends, humps and dips - and the sun shining in my eyes when it would have been very useful to have been able to see clearly! It was apparent that everyone else's sat navs were taking them along this route too. Traffic was very heavy along a road that I suspect hasn't seen nose to tail cars ever before in its history. The route was beautiful and I would have thoroughly enjoyed the detour had it not been that my ETA had moved from 08:20 to 09:10.
Slowly, slowly, slowly we made our way to the far side of the airport, trundled around it and joined up with the Tullamarine Freeway, whereupon the traffic resolved itself and started to move freely. I got to the surgery at bang on 09:00, meeting Lindsey, who had come from East Melbourne, in the carpark.
It's just as well I trusted the sat nav, though. It bypassed the Calder because there had been a massive accident in the inbound lane, which had closed it. It didn't take me to Melton or towards the city to drop me onto the ring road because there had been two separate vehicle fires which had caused chaos. It seems it had plotted the best route to get me from where I was to where I wanted to be under the circumstances.
I might try and drive that route again when there isn't traffic chaos on the freeways and when I am not more pushed for time than I had expected!
I had my stewed plums and yoghurt as dessert after my lunch :-D