Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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15 August 2012 - Canberra to Canowindra
Our departure from EPIC in Canberra had to be planned. There are three exit gates but two of them are onto a road carrying a continuous line of traffic at this time of day; entering that stream with a caravan in tow would be difficult. The third gate was on to an intersection controlled by traffic lights so we went that way onto Northbourne Avenue. We turned at traffic lights onto Barton Highway and were on our way out of Canberra to join the Hume Highway near Yass.
Once clear of residential areas the Barton Highway passes through hilly grazing land with sheep, cattle and horses (mainly sheep) very much in evidence. Just for a change we passed a couple of flocks of alpacas in adjacent paddocks. The Barton Highway is a good, two-lane highway with a few dual carriageway parts but not to the standard of the Federal Highway from the Hume Highway near Goulburn past Lake George to Canberra which is nearly all duplicated carriageway. Traffic was light, mainly a few sedans and some trucks.

About half-way to the Hume Highway we heard the distinctive radio traffic associated with a wide load coming towards us. The pilot vehicle leading the way was using the same radio channel (Channel 40) to talk to the wide-load driver and to other vehicles on the road (often they use different channels and we cannot hear conversations with the wide-load driver). It was instructive to hear the pilot-vehicle driver warning oncoming traffic that the wide-loads (two halves of a demountable house) were coming while simultaneously acting as eyes for the wide-load drivers advising them of changes in the road and of traffic movements ahead. We often get mentioned by the pilot vehicle to the wide-load driver as "a caravan pulled over" although on this occasion we passed the wide loads on a section of duplicated carriageway.

The Barton Highway smoothly joins the Hume Highway but after only a few kilometres we turned off to the north on the Lachlan Valley Way (Route 81) which begins at the Hume Highway near Yass. The Lachlan Valley Way passes north through Boorowa then Cowra but different sources give different routes north of Cowra.

The road from the Hume Highway through Boorowa to Cowra was reasonably good; two lanes of bitumen through grazing land with a few paddocks under crop. Initially the land was fairly hilly but, as we went north towards Cowra the hills became more gentle and were neither as high nor as steep. We stopped in Cowra for lunch at Mcdonalds in a visitor complex including the information centre, a café, car and large vehicle parking area with a dump point nearby.

From Cowra we continued north to Canowindra where we planned to stay the night. Arriving there at lunchtime we set up in a drive-through site for a quiet afternoon. The weather all day had been sunny with a little cloud.

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