The fog is sitting heavily in the Barraba area again, just as it was ten days ago when I was last here. I only have 65km to ride to Bingara so I have time to sit out the fog. Besides, it was too cold to get out of my sleeping bag this morning so I wasn’t going to get an early start anyway.
I like Bingara immediately when I arrive. People here stop to talk to each other and to travelers. I buy a cold drink at the IGA (supermarket) and then find myself eating lunch at one of the town’s two pubs. The steak sandwich and chips goes down well and eating it slowly gives my phone time to charge on the power point. A lady mentions that there’s a football game in town this afternoon. It’s a Rugby Union game but that’s okay … I still go to watch the local team flog the visitors from nearby Armidale something like 55-5 (I don’t know how Union scoring works so my apologies if this is incorrect). I soak up the sunshine and listen to the local banter going on around me. I learn all about the sadness parents feel sending their kids off to boarding school in the city, the challenges teenagers face adjusting to city life and the fact that women in the bush can’t just go down to their local deli to buy a ready meal.
I camp down by the river in a paddock where many grey nomads have set up camp. Some are even still outside their caravans sitting around fires as the sun sets. But that is short lived and soon they are all locked away with the heating on watching the nightly news while I’m enjoying the stars above and the sounds of the bush.
I really don’t understand the whole grey nomad thing. They rush from town to town so they can get the best spot in the next free camp, gravel pit or caravan park. Then, every night by 6pm (or earlier in winter when it gets dark around 5:30pm) the grey nomads all step inside, close the door and sit at their dinner tables watching television until they go to bed. And that’s the generation who criticise “young people today” for being addicted to our smart phones. Quite honestly, I don’t see how their television addiction is any different from our use of modern technology. And if a free camp doesn’t have TV reception (they all travel with big satelite antennas), they complain on the WikiCamps AU app (an app that tells you where there are places to camp) as if it’s a hardship. *rolls eyes in amusement*