Who knew our journey to Victoria’s Mallee district for a couple of nights of camping would have been so eventful? After jamming the station wagon full, Monty the dog had to travel in with Rosa. We stopped off in the small country town of Ballan to have lunch and let Monty run around. He ran – straight into the (closed) town swimming pool! We couldn’t find him for a good half hour, although I thought I could hear his barking. I stood on a mound of debris and noticed two ducks in the pool. He’s a hunting dog and he’d love to get in there, I thought. Then I saw him, paddling to the side of the pool and unable to get out. And I couldn’t get in. The wire fence was high and the padlocked gate was open just enough to let Monty in. Jo, Rosa and two kids we met in the school playground ran over to help. Monty ominously disappeared from view as the kids squeezed through the gate and started yelling. Jo thought Monty was gone and the kid’s frenzied yelling didn’t help. I did the Bionic Man after a boost from Jo and went over the fence, tearing my favourite Element T-shirt in the process. Monty wasn’t at the bottom of the pool, but he wasn’t very happy. We pulled him out and he ran to teary Jo and Rosa as I nearly broke my ankles jumping from the top of the fence. That stupid dog! We gave the kids some snake lollies for helping us out. It took us another hour to recover. We stopped at the Giant Koala to discover it for sale. A good investment property? Not sure. The location was lacking. After a six hour stop-start drive we eventually made it to Warracknabeal, one of the larger townships in the Mallee district – a district, we soon found driving from Horsham to Warracknabeal, that specialised in very flat, dry grain fields. And not much else. I think it’s good to go to parts of your state you’ve never seen. The Mallee is ours. It’s famous for drought, sheep, sun and wheat. I don’t know anyone else who’s been there – apart from those lucky souls who travel to and from Mildura up the Sunraysia Highway. Warracknabeal’s very wide streets were deserted. It was Easter Friday and the place was closed down, even the three large pubs. The caravan park was big enough for a dozen or so caravans and us. It was full of elderly semi-permanent residents who we got to know over the next couple of days. We pitched our tent in the wind and had great difficulty in hammering the pegs into the parched dirt ground. After an exhausting day we didn’t do anymore exploring. Instead we slept through a windy night with dogs yapping and the wind creeping up between the tent and the fly. Rosa fell asleep straight away and didn’t awake once – she loves the camping – even when two possums were fighting at close quarters just outside the tent door.