FARMERS DOWN UNDER 2006 travel blog

Happy Birthday Andrea

Our time in Melbourne has come to an end, and our next destination is Canberra, the nation's capital. We broke the drive into two parts, so tonight we are halfway between Melbourne and Canberra at Albury, in the state of New South Wales.

Driving out of the Melbourne city limits seemed to take almost as long as the highway portion of our drive. Unlike Perth, Melbourne is not ribboned with an efficient network of freeways. It was district after district of congested streets lined with "mom and pop" stores and markets. This experience was like a warning about Edmonton's bleak future if it decides to not develop its freeway system. The residential districts which we managed to glimpse appeared to be cramped, decrepit and rundown. We kept wondering when we'd pass some welcoming clean and modern neighbourhoods but never did, but surely there must be nicer neighborhoods somewhere in Melbourne.

The divided highway through the state of Victoria made up for the frustration of being stuck in the congested city streets. We were amused at all the billboards posted to warn drivers against driving tired. Here is a sampling of what we saw:

• A 15 minute powernap could save your life.

• Sore eyes? Powernap now.

• Break the drive. Stay alive.

• Tired? Powernap now.

• Only sleep cures fatigue.

• Trouble concentrating? Powernap now.

• Yawning? A microsleep can kill.

• Droopy eyes? Powernap now.

• Yawning? Take a powernap now.

• Open your eyes. Fatigue kills.

• Don't sleep and drive.

• A microsleep can kill in seconds.

We arrived at Albury at 2:30 and took the kids to a couple of different playgrounds to blow off some steam. Riley has come of age: he's completely bored of playgrounds and he's started to style his hair...with "pomade". After some time in the park, we celebrated Andrea's eighth birthday in the restaurant at our hotel.

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