ALL the talk this week about a new push to get a Bells Line Expressway has made Parade reminisce about his own trips on that mountain road.
Parade used to – but not any more, mercifully – travel Bells Line about once a fortnight into the Hawkesbury region in Sydney’s north-west.
As with any road you use regularly, it quickly became thoroughly unremarkable to Parade, who spent more time cursing the lack of overtaking lanes or looking worriedly at the truck in his rear vision mirror than he did appreciating the occasional breathtaking views.
But sometimes, when the mood and the time of day or night was right, the Bells Line could still startle you with its beauty.
Parade had more than one evening when he was travelling that road after dark when he would come around a bend and see something – the lights twinkling across the way in some Great Western Highway village or the sweep of the road and the way the tree branches hung over it – that made him feel like pulling over for a minute.
Parade never did, of course. Number one, because he was always hurrying to finish the journey, and number two, because the Bells Line before the new overtaking lanes were built was generally so narrow that you would be lucky to park a bicycle beside it, let alone a car.
The other thing about the Bells Line was that, on an evening when there wasn’t much traffic, it felt like a mountain road a thousand miles from anywhere, not a western route from a city of five million.
The traffic lights and service stations and houses of the Hawkesbury could sometimes come as a bit of a shock as you descended from on high – as if the road had played a trick on you and deposited you somewhere you weren’t meant to be.
This is the year – for all of them
IT’S starting to happen.
With the Ashes over, Parade is noticing the rugby league stories are creeping into the newspaper sports sections in greater numbers.
And who would have thought it? Every side Parade reads about is having its best pre-season ever.