Shit Box Rally – the poor people of Thargomindah

Excitement has a new name – It’s Thargomindah.

Well really Thargomindah to Cobar via Bourke or 650 miles of tarmac terror.

Remember, the old Chinese word crisis also means opportunity.  And once the crisis hit, the opportunities for your very own Weekend Australian motoring team drivers popped up to show their heroic sides. This is despite the golden rules of heroes that say:

  • If the hero is a white male and has a sidekick who comes from Byron Bay the sidekick will die, usually in an act of heroic sacrifice; and
  • Heroes can go without food or sleep with no measurable drop in physical or mental facilities for at least 72 hours.

And, it does prove that heroes become invulnerable by stripping to the waist.

Yes friends and others, the mighty Michael McMichael (so good they named him twice) and co- driver Libby McMichael’s BMW 7 Series died yesterday by a remote billabong (small water hole not an ice cream) outside the back of Bourke. There was no sign of the disaster to come when 200 what may be called cars in the world’s cheapest wrecking yards in northern China, left flood torn Thargomindah for a new flood free destination.

Despite flood waters up to the roof (lucky Jay and I had our masks and snorkels so we could see the man and woman eating crocodiles in the flood waters) …… yes despite the flood waters and the really bad food we made it to the town of Cunnamulla, ironically an Aboriginal name meaning ‘long stretch of water with one reasonable coffee shop’. US and Greek readers move on to the next paragraph. Cunnamulla hosted the very first interstate rugby league game which was between Cunnamulla and Bourke.

OK after a few soy cappuccinos, no chocolate on top, and a dozen of the very finest Cunnamulla meat pies, our group of eight headed off into the wide Australian bush. Somewhere along the way our leader in the front car decided to stop for what we call a Code Yellow (use your imagination). Seeing the driveway to a farm (farms out here are measured in the thousands of square miles) he pulled in, naturally assuming the driveway would be of a similar standard to those at any similar farm in Hampstead Heath, Mykonos, or Connecticut. But no. Following the rain that threatened to re-float the ark and bring the desert back to life, it was deep thick mud. Lemming like, all the cars headed to the farm gate where they promptly sunk like stones in black muck. Of course your drivers resisted the temptation, mainly because we were busy discussing the virtues of organic farming as pertaining to the cans of Four X Gold in one hand and the Cunnamulla pie in the other. Steering the mighty Falcon ute was by way of the knees.

When we came upon the group there was only one thing we knew you expected us to do. After we finished laughing and taking photos we pulled each of the muddied messes out of the driveway and we resumed our heroic journey. This time, Mactavish surfboard proprieties Ben Wallace replaced Michael at the wheel of the Beemer suggesting that he could show Libby how to really drive German’s finest (in 1997). Looking up from reading our copies of the Australian we saw, to our horror, that the Beemer seemed to be sinking into a huge wave of water. But no, it was a huge white wave of smoke. Ben pulled the once great beast into more mud and we approached with fire extinguishers at the ready gently suggesting to Ben and Libby that they should abandon the German Titanic before:

  1. a) it exploded and since Jay and I were the heroes they would likely perish; or
  2. b) we would cover them with deadly extinguishing foam.

Ben and Libby chose to rapidly exit the vehicle. After the fire died down we put the BMW on the back of a trailer where it was driven to the Cobar Car Hospital and declared dead on arrival.

But Ben wasn’t finished.

We were camping at the Cobar Showground and Ben decided we should stay away from the crowds and sleep overnight in a horse yard with the stables serving as our motel room. Many of us city folk didn’t realise horses are prone to do number twos (or as we call them Code Browns) and leave them to mark their territory. I don’t think we will ever forget the aroma of three week old horse code yellow mixed with similarly aged Code brown.

We will prevail