While this year has been one to forget for tour operators, its also an opportunity to reflect on the good times from the past. One of our longest-serving Tour Drivers, Clive Harper, now retired, has done just that, when he checked in with Manager Daniel Leigh. All going well we will back out on the road in 2021.
My new boss Dan just called in to see how I was doing during the current lockdown, and I made a comment that I chose the right time to retire from tour driving. I’m still keeping my driving hand in with a local school run, but it made me think about the good times I had with all the tourists who chose Christian’s and was stuck with me as their driver.
It also made my think about our loyal friends who travelled before this awful year and the people who booked and were looking forward to trips in 2020 with a new driver but had to cancel. I hope you are all doing ok and surviving this period.
With that in mind, I thought I would put pen to paper and in no specific order throw a few things out there that have stuck in my mind about the various times I was away travelling. They are not in any order but random thoughts.
I loved touring. Sometimes things didn’t go quite right, and I would get a bit frustrated, and it must have shown as there was always someone who would quietly say,” it’s alright Clive, things will be Ok”, and in the end, it did work out. To those people thanks. But 99% of the time thing went smoothly, and that was because the person most of you didn’t get to meet, Sue, had done things properly and all flowed nicely.
Broken Hill was my favourite trip. I loved going to the Flying Doctors, and I found most of the venues at Broken Hill interesting. I guess one trip was a little more interesting when we broke a fan belt and I sweated for 24 hours till it was fixed, but due to a change in the days itinerary and getting a local coach, we did not miss any attractions. Some people on that trip will know about my discussion with a couple of policewomen, but we won’t go there.
On several trips to the Hill, we had a local guide Fred who had forgotten more than he knew about the area. He used to take us out to Menindee lakes, the township and shearing shed. One trip he said to me there is a beautiful drive along the Darling River to get to the shearing shed. I asked if it was coach suitable. Yes, he replied so we set off but what he meant was it was ok for a 22 seater, not a touring coach. That bus still had some marks on it from tree branches when it was sold some years later. The next time I said, “Fred, we are not going the scenic route this time”. He was a great guide.
I tried so hard to plan and know where I had to go, but on my first trip to Adelaide I missed a turn so grabbed my map, gave it to Glenys and said we are about here, tell me which way and what turns I have to make, and she did. I had the best passengers who always stepped up to the mark.
Cooma. A long drive to get there and back but interesting places to visit when there. Again a local guide who knew every farmer and their history in the district and you would never doze off with his commentary. A memorable time on the first trip was driving to Charlotte Pass and finding snow, and to be able to build a snowman. It was magic there having morning tea in the snowfield.
These are only a couple of things that stick in my mind, but maybe they will help you stop and think of the good things each of you remembers and the good friends we have made. It was a pleasure and privilege to be your Tour Driver. Maybe during these times we can sit down and think about this and hope that travel in the future is not too far away.
Hope to travel again soon 😉
Clive Harper – Tour Driver