Today is the first day of my much awaited Broulee road trip. After the devastating bushfires hit Australia and my son and his young family being caught up in it I have hanging to get up to Broulee to spend some time with them. Up until a few days ago the roads have been closed and it wasn't going to happen. But the main road is now open so this morning I headed off from home around 8.00am knowing I would get a fair bit of peak hour traffic, which I did. But seeing I expected it all was ok. After a couple of hours my first stop was in Traralgon to see my cousin Sue and drop off a couple of things to her. Next was onto Bairnsdale for a bit of lunch and then back on the road for the last leg of today's journey to the coastal town of Lakes Entrance. All up, my drive took me around five hours. Even though the township of Lakes Entrance had no damage from the fires it was terribly affected with thousands of holiday makers being evacuated. It was a huge blow for all the businesses as that was their busiest time. I booked into the RSL Glenara Motel which is clean, comfy and great value. After settling in I went for a wander down the street and noticed a lot of businesses closed, which I presume is a result of the downturn in business due to our devastating Summer. Talking to one of the locals she was saying how lucky the town was that the forest behind the town didn't catch fire. If it had the town could have been gone. She was also saying just much damage the fires and resulting evacuation did to local businesses. The motels faired ok as all the emergency personal that were in the area needed some where to lay their heads but lots of small businesses just had to shut up shop in the first few weeks of 2020. One of my aims on this road trip was to buy anything I need in the local shops, because if we all do this while visiting these towns they have more of a chance of surviving. Driving up and going for a walk today there was constant drizzly rain which was an inconvenience while walking but is great to saturate the ground so all vegetation can regrow. All of a sudden at around 3.30pm in rolled a heavy fog the ocean. It was a very eerie feel.
I didn't have to travel far for dinner as the motel has a good restaurant that has pretty good Chinese meals.
So it was a yummy meal before back into my room for a quiet night in front of the TV before having an early night for another day of driving tomorrow. I expect tomorrow's drive to take a bit longer than normal as I will be heading through areas that were devastated but the bushfires and there will still be lots of roadworks happening.