We awoke the next morning, and needed to get a lot of traveling in before we stopped for the evening. Melbourne was within our sites, but still a long way down the tracks.
After driving for a couple of hours we stopped off in a bay-side town in search of some food. We parked the car near a mall and walked towards the bay, and found a nice little restaurant on the beach. We had a couple of beers and a decent rest. Ken perused the menu and seriously thought ordering the seafood pizza was a good idea. When it arrived, it was the most hideous, awful, disgusting looking thing I had ever seen. There was stuff on it I've never seen and couldn't even begin to describe. Ken went ahead and ate it, but I was shocked to find that there was no food poising or other gastro-intestinal problems as a result of said pizza. Problems or not, the road wouldn't wait, so we got back on the tracks.
We drove for hundreds of kilometers down the windy roads of southern New South Wales. We eventually stopped in a town along the way with a somewhat decent population (5,000 people) and had a look around to see if it was worthy of a stay. It definitely wasn't, so we decided to push it and do a bit of a night drive down the road to a town called Lakes Entrance.
We set off down the tracks, and because of the near-dusk timing, it was a high probability that we would see a kangaroo (as apparently kangaroos sleep during the day and by nightfall go out in search of food). We ended up seeing several roos, and trying in vain to catch pictures of them. It was quite a dangerous activity actually, several times we came to a dead halt on the highway attempting to get an elusive picture. I think Danenberg managed to catch a blurry picture of the ass-end of a kangaroo, so it was all worth it.
Ken was a driving champion on this particular evening and was flying down some crazy two-way winding roads in the New South Wales country. It was about 8:30 in the evening, we were about an hour away from our destination and we had to make it to Lakes Entrance by 9:30 to get our room to stay for the night.
With about 40 minutes left in our journey, we had a terrifically bad realization. We were nearly completely out of fuel, and we were located in the New South Wales country. We decided to pull off of the road in a rather small town and try our luck on getting some gas. Purchasing fuel in Australia is a bit different than in the states. There are not nearly as many stations with a credit card machine that will work 24 hours a day. We were worried we'd be stranded in this tiny town with no place to stay.
It was pretty high stress as we were running out of time to check into our lodgings. We drove around town searching fruitlessly for an open petrol station. There was only one in the town, and it was closed, no credit card access there, so I checked the trusty iPhone and it said there was a Shell station just down the road. We stopped and asked a local guy that was having a smoke outside of the town pub and he was pretty sure that the place took credit cards.
We headed on down the road praying they would take the card and that we had enough fuel to get there. On the way out of town, we were tearing through the roads when all of a sudden we noticed some police lights up ahead. Right in the middle of the highway three police officers were standing and waving us off the road. We pulled over and they breathalized Ken, who obviously passed, and we were told to continue on.
We finally made it to the Shell station, and I jumped out to find that their credit card machine worked flawlessly and we fueled up. We all breathed a sigh of relief and got back on the road. I called the hostel from the road let them know we were running behind, and they agreed to wait for us to get there.
We rolled into town about 9:45 and went straight to check into our hostel. The guy was really nice about it and got us all squared away on a room for the night. We hadn't eaten dinner, so we drove down to the small city center to try to find something to eat. The only had one place open and it was Maccas. Once again, we enjoyed a tasty meal at McDonald's and even though they were closing for the night, the friendly staff even let us stay a few extra minutes past close to eat our food.
After a fairly stressful day, and several strange twists and turns, we decided to call it a night.