Roadhouse closure brings back happy memories

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Caltex Longreach
Welcome sight ... but not for much longer! The Caltex roadhouse, Longreach is to close. PIC: ABC / Ellie Grounds

The announcement that an iconic roadhouse in Longreach in western Queensland is to close at the end of this month has left many travellers – particularly truck drivers – gnashing their teeth.

For decades, the Caltex roadhouse on Ilfracombe Road has been a much-anticipated stopping point for those who make a living on the highways and byways.

The ABC reports that while there are five petrol stations in Longreach, the Caltex Ilfracombe Road store was the only one that provided adequate parking for road trains and offered drivers hot shower facilities.

Truck driver Robert Turvey said he had stopped there almost weekly during his 36-year career.

“The roadhouse was always popular, even from back in the ‘80s … everybody stopped there,” Mr Turvey said. “You can’t park anywhere down [at the other petrol stations] and they’re not roadhouses, they’re only service stations.”

Mr Turvey said there was concern more roadhouses would be shut in favour of unstaffed, self-serve fuel pumps.

While this particular roadhouse may not necessarily be a hotbed of grey nomad activity, it does serve as a reminder of just how attached travellers can become to places they stop and how many memories they slowly accumulate.

While they may not always be the most glamourous venues, for caravanners and motorhomers who have been on the road for long hours traversing relatively featureless landscapes, they can seem an oasis in the desert.

And you never quite know what you are going to get.

Grey nomad Tony E. was pleasantly surprised when he pulled in at the Wooramel Roadhouse, approximately 120 kilometres south of Carnarvon in WA.

“I had read that they made good pasties, so decided to try them out but was quickly informed that the pasties had gone, but that a new batch would take 30 minutes, or thereabouts,” he said. “I decided to wait and watched their TV … the pasties are home made and piping hot, the bowl of chips were also piping hot, it was certainly worth the wait!”

Of course, roadhouse memories can be made for less positive reasons!

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