Believe. Strive. Achieve! This was my school motto... I didn’t expect it would pop into my head right before Bus Stop every year. I’m sure we’re not alone in having to really push to get everything done prior to Bus Stop departure and don’t get me wrong, every year has been worth it, but for us, there always seems to be more than a small hiccup. Griffith Bus Stop, we were so desperate to get there and we couldn’t have arrived in Vera without a certain engine part. That was the trip to Canberra with my sweet Mum as passenger to collect the needed part with only hours to spare before departure... but we made it. The following year we had Gracie, then 4 and Joseph at only 8 weeks old and a very long drive to Sawtell... but we made it. Most recently Stanthorpe last year, Vera had been off the road due to generator issues on our return trip from Swansea the previous year which seemed to open up a can of worms for our long trip to Stanthorpe... but we made it. (And Vera went home on a tilt tray.) Old Bar journeys have set another level of triumph for arriving. The first year we got 100ks from home before calling NRMA, getting towed back home only to unpack Vera and repack the Ute. My poor sister was waiting at the Newcastle airport for a lift on the way through for a few extra hours. Poor ol’ Paul has endured a couple of painful journeys to Old Bar. One with a terrible toothache and another with a very upset stomach, needing to stop at almost every service centre loo on the way. Both times he insisted on soldiering on. This year is no exception to drama. An extremely busy year for our farm production and Paul still a shift worker after not getting the dayshift role he was promised last year has meant very little spare time. Vera needed surgery (again) and the engine was dropped not once but twice which, if there was more free time might not have been such an issue. Vera still running rough and needing some fine tuning has been sent to a local mechanic, (who we are yet to find out how much VW knowledge he has) until Thursday. That’s not all... due to all the stationary time in the shed, a rego check was impossible until last week. Rego has run out and we needed our car club to process the historic rego papers. Finding out that Express post is a waste of time and money, our papers didn’t arrive until Monday morning. Almost begging the gentleman in charge of the car club to rush the processing, he kindly did but after discovering how useless Aus post can be, the only way to receive our papers in time to get them to RMS for registration was to go and pick them up ourselves. I told Paul it was a crazy idea and we will just have to show up in the Ute this year particularly when he is walking like a cripple thanks to lifting our elderly Labrador into the back of the car and putting his back out. He decided getting this far and not going that extra stretch just wasn’t okay, so the loony has decided to drive a 12 hour round trip to collect the papers. I can’t even make the trek with him, our early garlic variety must be in the ground before we leave and I’m on my own thanks to my co workers back injury. The scariest part is even if it all works out, we still have a very steep Talbingo mountain to climb. Alas, I hope to see you all at Mallacoota, driving in looking through the windscreen of a bright red Kombi named Vera. Believe. Strive. Achieve! (We hope...) Chrissy.