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Hidden innocently enough on the main street of Gloucester is a neat little cafe called Roadies. It’s immediately obvious that the owners are bike nuts, with a couple of gorgeous oldies serving as decor alongside the tables. Not to mention the vintage signs and other prints on the walls.

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The other thing that caught my eye was the beautiful art deco ceiling work. Often ceiling plaster has a much older style like Victorian, with deco being particularly rare. The central piece with the lights would have been a good metre long!

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The food is pretty good too, nothing fancy just good quality burgers and chips. All in all well worth checking out for lunch or dinner if you’re in the area.

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If you’re ever in Newcastle and looking to kill some time, I reccomend checking out the ocean baths. It’s particularly beautiful at sunset, with the afternoon light hitting the water and starters blocks. The pools were opened in 1922, and have a really classic art deco style to them.

Here’s some pics from the last time we were in town.

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Well I’ve finally got around to sorint out some of my pics from our trip up the NSW Central Coast last year. The thing I love about trips aways is exploring for hidden country towns off the main highway, and seeing what kind of goodies you can unearth.

This house is called the Float House, and is located in the quiet town of Tea Gardens. The plaque said the owner collected most of the bits and pieces off the beach, though I’m sure the locals now donate some of their finds too. I’d love to have a backyard like this, just with some tikis, a pool and some Martin Denny playing.

If you’re ever in town I reccomend the local fish and chips too!

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One of the coolest ways to remember a great event is to have a visual reminder. So when a bunch of mates decided to head away for the Australia Day long weekend, I figured we needed some plaques to commemorate the run. Being a creative kinda dude, I had a go at making some myself, and they came up alright.

The first step was the design itself. The original design was done in Publisher. However the more I looked at it,  it was just too clinical and perfect. So using an overhead projector as a lightbox, I traced the entire design and redrew it texta, which gave it a much nicer imperfect hand drawn look. Sure designing them on a computer might be cheating, but it worked for me.

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Once the design was redrawn, it was photocopied multiple times in reverse. I then used a process referred to as photo transferring, using gel medium. There’s plenty of tutorials online as well as youtube vids like this one. You can find gel medium at decent art shops, and use the technique on timber, canvas, basically any flat surface.

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The gel medium is brushed onto both the timber as well as the front of the paper. I tried to get a nice even coverage on both surfaces, before laying the paper face down on the timber.

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I then brushed the paper smooth, using something rigid like a card or ruler. Let it dry for 24 hours.

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Using a damp washer, I brushed down the paper. You want the paper to go transparent, but not get too water logged.

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Using my fingers, I scrubbed the paper off, revealing the design underneath. I needed to go back over the design multiple times to get all the paper off.

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Here is what it looked like with all of the paper removed.

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I wanted to give the plaques a weathered look, so I gave them a light sand to weather them down a little.

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Following that, I distressed the timber using a few different tools like a screwdriver, hammer and a few other items. I then went over the plaque with a black wash of diluted paint. This picks up all the scratches and dents in the timber. The pic below shows it compared to the natural pine timber. The final step was covering the whole thing in a matte finish varnish. This protects the design but keeps it looking properly weathered.

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A close up shot showing the texture.

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And the finished plaques all lined up.

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What’s the best way to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend? I reckon you’d be hard pressed to beat heading down the coast in a bunch of old cars with some good mates. So that’s exactly what we did!

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What’s a decent roadtrip in old cars without some mechanical dramas. The ’38 Ford lost it’s brakes, and the culprit turned out to be a dodgey seamed brakeline installed by the previous owner. With a little research we managed to find Dapto Brake and Clutch. They were awesome and pieced together a new line on the spot – thanks guys! We popped the new line in (well my mate did while we hung around talking crap and making jokes at his expense), and we were on our way again.

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We were making good time, however as we were getting close to our destination, we ran into some decent rain.

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And finally we’re there. Our destination was the caravan park at Bendalong where we had a row of cabins together. It was pretty idyllic with kangaroos hopping around, possums, and walking distance to the nearby beach.

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This pic was taken from our front balcony!

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And another kangaroo hanging out behind our cabin.

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On the Sunday we headed up the road to Sussex Inlet for their local Australia Day fair and a little show and shine. For a little local show, there was a really cool variety of cars.

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While we were in the area we kept a lookout for cool mid-century holiday houses, and found this pearler. How sweet is that roofline?

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On the way home we stopped in at Gerringong, and grabbed some lunch overlooking Seven Mile Beach. All in all it was a great weekend away with mates, and I cant wait to do it all again next year.

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This was my first year at the Kustom Nats, and it was awesome. I covered our roadtrip down from Sydney in a ’40s Pontiac here. In this post I’ll cover the event itself.

The Friday arvo and night sees a great laidback show and shine at San Remo. The town is located on the mainland, at the end of the bridge to Phillip Island. With views across the passage, heaps of cool cars and some good bands, the night has a great relaxed vibe. A great way to start the weekend.

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Saturday morning sees us roll out to the grand prix circuit on the island. Somehow I don’t mind being stuck in a cue like this.

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Soon enough we’re inside and park up in the pits, where this a slow trickle of cool cars coming in. For my first trip to Victoria for a rod and custom show, it was awesome to look around and see so many cars I’ve seen in mags and online in the metal. After signing over our mortal souls, we got an armband and not too much later headed out onto the track. Man the view as you roll out of the pits onto the main straight, the road rolls away underneath you revealing an endless horizon of ocean. Wow. I’ve got to say it was one of those really special moments which will stay with me for sometime.

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The remainder of the day was basically a mix of cutting laps alongside some of the coolest cars in the country, stopping on the side of the track to get some pics, and then heading back to the pits to check the cars which were parked up.

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The main town on the island is called Cowes. For a little town, it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to good food. Saturday arvo we checked out some antique stores and then wandered down to check out the show and shine in the main street. It was neat, but seriously busy with entrants, locals, and general tourists. The best part was an array of food stalls, and some of them smelt amazing. After a while we got sick of the crowds, and retreated to a mate’s cabin for some drinks.

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Sunday we headed out to the grand prix circuit, and it was basically more of the same – checking out the parked cars, cutting some laps, stopping to get some pics and then heading back to the pits to see what different cars were there.

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And that’s pretty much it. Sunday arvo we headed back to Cowes for some gelato and took it easy. We had a few drinks back at the cabin, but given we had a 12+ hour drive home the next day we didn’t have a big one. All in all, it was one of the best weekends I’ve had with some mates and old cars, and next time I’m keen to drive my EK.

We drove over 1,000km in a ratty 1946 Pontiac, checked out the Kustom Nats, and drove home again. We had an awesome weekend, and the ol’ Poncho didn’t skip a beat.

I’ll cover the trip in two posts, one for the roadtrip, and one for the nats itself.

The Kustom Nats is one of those events I’ve been wanting to get to for ages, but always came up with excuses as to why it was too hard. Sick of making excuses, the wife and I talked a mate into making the run down from Sydney in his Pontiac. So a week out we booked accommodation and the scene was set.

We got picked up at the god forsaken time of 3am. We wanted to hit the road early and get down to Phillip Island at a decent time. About 4am somewhere in the Southern Highlands we hit fog and drizzle – great fun! Luckily traffic was light and we kept trucking till Yass for brekky.

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Hitting the border into Mexico was a great milestone, though tempered by the fact we still had 6 hours to go!

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We started to get excited when we started passing some more old cars on the way.

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Well we made it about mid-afternoon, a little tired but stoked to finally be on the island. Our accommodation was an on-site van with paper thin walls, but it was cheap and gave us a place to chill out.

The Kustom Nats were awesome, and I’ll cover that in my next post.

The drive home was a seriously long day. After a long weekend we were all pretty tired, and not looking forward to it. We left about 6am, and hit rain again.

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A misreading of the Tom Tom meant we drove right in past the Melbourne CBD. Being from Sydney, we were dreading hitting peak-hour parking lots. But it was fine. Melbourne, your freeways and traffic shit all over Sydney’s hands down.

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Not only do your freeways function better, they also look a shitload prettier too. Melbourne just does urban design well.

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Back in NSW and the weather has cleared, the V8s humming and the road is unwinding beyond us.

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Lunch at the Longtrack Pantry at Jugiong. Hands down the best food on the Hume, and again it didn’t disappoint. We didn’t take any food pics because it was wolfed down the moment it hit the table.

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The trip home was even longer than expected, as a major accident had closed the Hume at Yass and we had to divert via Canberra.

By the time we got home we’d been away 4 days, 2 of which were basically spent driving. By our estimates we clocked well over 2,000kms and spent over 30 hours in the car. And you know what? We had a blast. If you’re thinking about making a long trip in your old car, do it, it’ll definitely be a trip to remember!

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