Next time up the Hume Highway a few months later. Drop in to see if Charlie is OK. He is surprised that we even remember him.
Give him a few health books and a mixer/blender to process the food so it is easier to digest. Still looks sick and is putting on a brave front. Says he will soon have to give it away as he is getting too old for the nightly callouts from the NRMA.
Over the next four or five times we go through Holbrook we drop in when we can and say g'day to Charlie. The Valiant Charger sits in the driveway, always looking fresh and polished.
Roll forward to just before Christmas time 2011. Went to Sydney for a few days and then on to Queensland to visit relatives. It was 4am when we went through Holbrook on the way north, and we noticed there was no car in Charlies driveway when we went past. Concerned and made a note to check on the way back.
Went to Sydney and on to Queensland and visited relatives in Bundaberg and central Queensland. End of January 2012 was caught in the floods in Emerald and had to wait for the floodwaters to subside before they would let us through.
The road was closed and water falling slowly. I heard in town the road would be opening soon. It was getting dark and there was a queue of cars waiting at the flooded creek. They were letting trucks and 4WD through. I asked when it would be OK to go through, and the traffic control bloke looked at the Subaru and said you have more clearance than an ordinary car, don't you? Yep, and he told me to tuck in behind a semi-trailer and just keep going regardless.
The wall of water made quite a wash at the front of the car, but we got through OK.
We went the New England Highway route as the Pacific Highway was blocked by floodwaters and there were floods further inland in Dubbo. They closed the highway about half an hour after we went through Tamworth (see first pic below for floodwaters lapping the highway).
After a diversion through Wagga to see friends we took the back road to join the Hume at Holbrook to see how Charlie was.
No car in the driveway and no answer at the front door.
We hope you're OK Charlie. We won't forget how you went out of your way to help us.
The town of Holbrook is being bypassed. Roadworks are well on their way to completion in mid 2013. Conlons Castle (second pic) won't be on your right as you head southbound, but on your left just before you take the first exit and should be readily visible from the new bypass. In the pic you can just make out the earthmoving equipment for the new highway behind the castle. When the bypass is opened, the entire length of the Hume highway will then be dual carriageway from Sydney to Melbourne, and the only set of traffic lights on the whole highway (the pedestrian crossing at Holbrook) will be bypassed.
HMAS Otway submarine at Holbrook in third pic.
Last edited by MeltinMan; 04-14-2012 at 12:27 PM.