Part Three June
01/06/00 Seaforth ( 4454/129254) Diesel @129350 182L $150
We arrived at Seaforth which is about 30k north of MacKay, found a very nice spot right on the coast under palm tree's. The temperature had increased during the day to a comfortable 22-24 but the nights were still down around 5. That night we herd our passenger again and we had not herd him for a few days so assumed he had gone to a spot in heaven, or better still fallen underneath 9 tons of bus. But it was not to be.
Net day with determination to find the little ...... we emptied the whole storage area out, and went through every box. Now that we had removed his food, he was eating plastic, wood, outside chairs anything and everything. The more we took out the worse it was looking. With everything outside and the water tank breathers covered we shut all the bins and filled the storage area with a can of fly spray. But sill no signs. Loading back up again I noted water leaking from the tank area's and it was apparent that he had chewed his way through our water tank hoses, and we were now losing our fresh water. I sent a few of my best messages up to he who controls all, and explained what I would do if this did not stop. But as always when one constructs one of these messages, there was no response, and the water continued to fall on beach.
Heading for a caravan park just around the corner we eventually negotiated the drive which in itself was no mean feet. Over the next day or so I removed everything, including the water tanks. Like any good sailor I was well equipped and had sufficient new hose to replace the two longest ones ( naturally) and the most inaccessible ones. Having still not located the little sh....I was reluctant to put them back. It had now eaten a whole packet of bait, which I decided it must have been enjoying. Whilst sitting there with JB in hand another camper advised me that the bait is like the drugs the give the elderly to thin their blood only stronger and it basically turns their blood to water, and also cause them to go looking for water. It seems it can take a week maybe to kill them.
That night I set up a bird trap in true Magieva style with a shoe a couple of mouse traps, and more bait including some of his favorite dog food. But lucky for him he did show up for the next two days. The following day I returned the water tanks and everything else, and we began the waiting game.
07/06/2000 Midge Point (4567/129367)
Departing after a piece full night with no extraneous sounds we arrived at Midge Point Caravan park. We were looking for a place to settle for some time as the needed to get stuck into some work. To date there have been other hold ups which have not caused any problems, but now I needed to find somewhere which had cellular access, power etc. On edge of range I walked around the park holding the mobile phone in my hand looking like I was blessing the grounds, a blimp appeared and I pronounced this spot mine. But after all that it turned out to be a waste of time. The park itself was and the people were great but we could not stay, as the call for work was getting stronger, and it had no bearing at all on the need for money.
05/06/2000 Airlie Beach Shute Harbour ( 4651/129451)
Departing after a yet another peaceful night without extraneous sounds we arrived at Airlie beach. The eyes of Gipsy began to light up at thought of shops, real lart'e coffe, dinner, clothes, and I could see them all whizzing around. The temperature was improving non to soon and not enough for me, but getting there. Taking up two parking spots we stepped from home into the shops. Tania bought a swim suit, and tried to talk me into going sailing or chartering a yatch. The cost was one factor but at the end of the day it was the lack of warm nights, and cooler breeze which put me off. Parking for night on the reserve just in front of yatch club and in walking distance to a very nice outside dinning area we dinned out that night. We noted the locals wearing track suits etc and felt perhaps we were out of place with far lighter close . There were obviously some people from Melbourne present as they had even less on than we did, and we watched the outside fire with coals supplied burning. I guess it was about degree's 19 C. The Gipsy being sick for last (oh to bloody long) had not had a drink due to the antibiotics, and tonight was her last tablet. So with first sip of a "Beach Comber" cocktail she proclaimed being tispy. The night progressed , the eyes got heavy, and my partner in crime had, had enough. I called Nic for reinforcements or moral support but to no avail, she was probably getting ready for another 2:00am phone call to us. as we returned we noted we were not the only one ignoring the $500 fine for camping overnight.
06/06/2000 Bowen (4771/129571)
Still on the prowl for a place to stay for awhile we found a caravan park, Harbour Lights. Settling in and embarking full steam ahead on work, I was soon reminded why we were doing this. I spent the best part of the next morning trying to make technology do what i wanted it to do. we can put a man on the moon but OWA combined with RAS over a mobile network, and system called "Times" was enough to send the Gipsy looking for cover. The dog cringed and the sky which was already dark was now turning blue like the air. They say an electrician has the worst power, power points, and plumber the the worst plumbing. After a dose of Caffeine nicotine and moving away from systems I had no control over, sanity began to return and I was in the swing of constructive work, reminding myself why I was here
There were a couple of other buses in the same park, all who had some good stories to tell. One couple left as we have for about a year, and went around Oz About 6 months after getting back home his wife said why are we here lets go back to the bus I'm bored and miss the new people and different places etc. I hate the house work, and the cold (living in Melbourne I don't blame her) So anyway for this and other reasons they decided to move back to bus and have been on the road as it were for some 3 years now. Most people seem to say this that we meat that's probably because the others have gone back to work I guess. Who know
12/06/2000 Townsvile (5008/129808) diesel @ 1288865
Heading off looking for better weather we arrived n Townsvile. This place too has been through substantial foreshore upgrade and once again the natural beauty has been lost in many respects. We found a spot down the very end just about 10k outside of Townsvile which was very nice . Parked about 10m from the beach with a BBQ behind us we settled in and watched the rain come down. What ever happened to "Beautiful one day perfect the next" I don't think so. We have had about 3 weeks now of very little sun and more rain and cold than we expected.. Still I managed a walk and Bourbon on the beach between the raindrops. I couldn't quite convince Tania to venture out though. The next few days were a bit better but not much. We took a look through the Townsivile center and of course through the shops. Miss fine ( sorry the Gipsy) did here bit of shopping.
4-15/06/2000 Cardwel (5278/130078)
Moving further north looking for the better climate and the so called "Perfect the next" we arrived at a place called Cardwell. Its right on the coast and we found a very nice spot. Each trip north warmed up a few degrees both during the day and at night. We managed to sit outside, and probably could have had a swim but didn't. Coconuts fell from the trees and were soon picked up by local council workers before we had even got up in the morning. The fisherman locals, were down on the beach in the morning with there rods, and I watched expecting them to catch nothing. But it wasn't long before there were a couple of fish in the bucket both which were a reasonable size. The park was dedicated to a girl that had gone out on the water and never came back. A yapping dog was all that shattered the piece and picture of this place. I pondered removing its head as the owner took his wife home leaving the mutt yapping on the beach, there friends embarrassed at about the dog they were now looking after. These people are what give dog owners a bad name. Just as I was about to decapitate it the friends decided they had better go and take the mutt with them sensing it was about to become dog food for Kapone. The picture was restored.
Approaching the bank we found a sign saying it was only open a couple of hours during 2 days a week, the diminishing rural services is true, and the local shops, pub petrol station etc, have to hold on to there money for three and four days, as this was the only bank. Never mind who needs money when you have coconuts, and fresh fish, himmmmm.
We weren't intending going as far as Cairns but were just chasing the sun a bit further north and looking for swim and some more sun where the Gipsy could get sun tan and stop scaring the sun away with her bright white reflection. Rolling down the road we approach a sign pointing to Mission Bay, and we decided to take a look. A short trip through a tropical rain forest (complete with rain) we arrived at would would be a very nice spot if the weather was right. Lots of nice places hidden in the bush and right on the beach. Not to big, not to small, eat out places set in the bush and the beach. We were very taken with this place. We got to see a Cassorair, and in all our travels seeing warning signs we have never seen one in the wild. The fact that it stood about 1m high and lept in front of the bus had nothing to do with us seeing it. You can buy a 1/2 acre on the beach for around $200k, and I mean on the beach, not this salesman's bull shit where you have sea views if you stand on the toilet and poke your head out of the window, with a pair of binoculars. I mean 20-40m and your feet are wet. Or $400k and you get a house with 4 bedrooms, rumpus, pool, Double Garage, plus granny flat etc. Coffe under the under the tropical rainforest and still raining we decided to continue on and departed heading towards Cairns we found a small spot around Gordonvale. We settled in among some other campers and I preceded to setup a fire. There was a couple of other what looked like permanent campers in this free spot. One older guy living out of his car at a guess with a three legged dog, and another fisherman, on holidays, plus some nice caravans. My fire making skills seem to be getting worse, but I satisfied my self by blaming the wood like any good workman, it must be to wet. Even with the help of paraffin oil it was not to be. I need Kylie, but don't know if I could afford the alcohol; content, the wind she bought to the fire, and persistence was what was missing I think. About 11:30Pm the piece was shattered and dog fight was on out side, with much barking howling, yelping, growling. As we scrambled to our feet and leapt outside the three legged dog had Kapone in his Jaws behind his neck in a potentially fatal position. The old fart who owned the other dog had previously had his dog on a lead, as we did, but obviously had let him off. He was tugging at his dogs collar yelling for someone to get water, and probably by that time Kapone would have been dead. A server boot from me didn't do much and my own advise to other about dog attacks was fast coming to mind. Basically you part there front legs which opens them up like open heart surgery. In hind site I probably should have taken my own advice but instead I inserted my hands in his moth and prized his teeth open through him against the tree as he struggled to let go and Kapone headed for the bus at a great rate of knots. A stand up argument now commenced between myself and the dog owner as I carefully explained what I intended to do to his dog if I saw it off its lead again. The exchange of words cant be put here as they included you silly old f... from the gipsy, and some relocations words about his anatomy from the sailor, but the net result was I extracted by baton (softball bat) and we prepared to depart. Every night before we turn in we prepare for an urgent departure and tonight was probably the only exception, with dishes and things still out. I had decided to depart due to the possibility of further reprisals and figured it was the safest approach. Heading off we arrived at Cairns, and drove straight through to the out skirts where we settled in for the remainder of the night. A closer inspection of my hands revealed I had come off with only a blood blister under one nail which he had obviously achieved during my surgery.
17-19/06/2000 Port Douglas (5642/130442)
Port Douglas was a place we had stopped once before many years ago, and we had fond memories of this place. Fortunately not a whole lot had changed and we still have great memories to take away with us. Its a small place which has the beach, with or without lots of people, you can chose to walk down the long beach and get away from everyone, or you can join the masses. It has a little of Sydney night life, and some of Manly water front eat out type atmosphere. There are markets on Sundays for the "Miss Fine" in us, and old fashion buggy rides for the nostalgic. The local pub puts on an excellent nights entertainment. We would most definitely come back.
The first night we arrived the Gipsy had one of her long term head aches, and I was looking forward to dinner out etc. At the end of the day the Gipsy turned in early and I went across to a night club/restaurant out side under the stars and the long paraffin lights burnt on bamboo poles under the stars accompanied with competing bands on ether side of the street. From where I sat I could see our home, parked in a near buy car park adjacent a park. The food was good, music was better, and Bourbons were excellent. A walk up a near buy mountain got by blood pumping, and gave an excellent view.
The next day we awoke to local markets in full swing and a full car park. The gipsy of course could not resist so after a stroll around the markets and the main street, the bands were beginning to start up again. Dumping the camera's back in the bus, the sound coming across from the club and the atmosphere of people singing with the band was something not to be missed. Eventually we forced our way inside and found some backpackers from the UK who had some interesting tails. With some fine weather for a change, and the sun streaming down, the atmosphere was helped with an extravert band Bourbons by the schooner and we all got a little carried away. It only took one call from the band for some backup vocals, and before I new it the Gipsy was on stage in front of some 250 odd people singing. It started off as backing only and soon moved on from there. The band also got a bit involved with "You can leave your hat on" and that's just what the lead singer, with Guitar in one hand and hat in the other that was all he could leave on. As the sun set across the water and the band played on ( played for about 6 hours) the night concluded with everyone very happy (not too tispy) and very tied. We noted through the night that tomorrow night was a live Blues simultaneous broadcast that we could not resist. The next morning the local ranger approached us and said we could not stay in the car park, and moved us on along with a number of others who weren't camping just resting. We moved around to the beach and all went for a swim returning latter that night to a near buy park where we set the alarm to depart before the Ranger returned the next morning. We headed across to our haunt again and had another great night staggering our way home exhausted after dinner and plenty of music.
20/06/2000 Cape Tribulation (5783/130583)
Setting off for the Daintree and Cape Tribulation we found that again the camping had been removed in most spots that we had stopped at before. There is a car ferry which crosses the Daintree river for $14.00 return. There was no problem with the size or weight of the bus but getting on and off of these fairies is extremely difficult if your not on high tide. Arriving at the ferry not long after high tide we inched our way on taking with us a part of the road as the back of the bus dragged its bum across the road. Heading up this road I had forgotten the narrow gravel unforgiving nature of this road, and we soon found our self at facing river/creek/ford crossings and on very narrow one lane gravel roads. The beauty of the place has been retained and it was still as nice as we remembered it, but the places to stop overnight had diminished. Heading through some of the most beautiful scenery we had seen we arrived at Cape Tribulation which is as far North as we could go on this road in anything other than a four wheel drive.
As we slowly back tracked we found a spot, still posted with no camping but a nice spot that we decided to risk. The beach and scenery was great, and as we squeezed our way in one of the many eye's you need when maneuvering this size vehicle missed a small very solid pole, and unfortunately the bus didn't miss it. Fortunately it was mostly superficial but it would require some work to fix soon. We decided at the last minute after a ride on the beach, catching some rays, and playing photographer that perhaps we wouldn't stay here. At the time of making this decision I had forgotten that the worst of the road was still ahead of us. So as the Gipsy reminded me of Nimbin we headed back up through the narrow, climbing, gravel roads, returning to the ferry to wait for high tide. We got back to the ferry around 18:00 and waited till around 23:30 which was the top of the tide. As we spoke to the ferry driver he cautioned us ( due to the dog) on the 3m crock which lived only meters from the ferry parking bay. With a few interesting stories of people's ignorance and lack of local knowledge we were soon in lightened. For example most people that are taken usually have some sort of pattern which the Crocks cotton onto waiting for a tasty snack, which they wouldn't get in our case anyway. Once across the other side we stopped the night in the car park.
21/06/2000 Mossman. (5824/130624)
Heading back towards Port Douglas we stopped at beach just outside of Mossman, where we found the water just too inviting. As we swam in the ocean there was a sudden tendency which seemed to come over the Gipsy requiring cuddles so she could keep her feet of the ground, some how I think the Stone fish had something to do with this urge.
It didn't take long before the chairs, music, bourbon, and paraffin lanterns were out. The Gipsy found that she was falling out of her seat even though these chairs are well designed ( She declares the chairs are not well designed). Another camper van turned up and joined our celebrations. As the night progressed the local council turned up and low and behold it was the same guy who asked us to move from Port Douglas. He said I hope you'll not be staying the night, to which I held up the glass and pointed at the empties, and asked when he would be back in the morning as we will be moving on then. 6:30 he said and we had better be gone, and I replied, sorry I will still be sleeping we will be gone before 10:00. A promises of a ticket and notifying the authorities had the desired effect on our gests but as we departed around 10:30 for Cook Town the next morning there was no sign of him or any papers left behind. Our camper friends again from the UK had traveled much the same path as we had except they had done in 4 weeks what we have taken some 3 months to do.
22/06/2000 Lakeend. (6022/130822)
We were not sure if we would make Cook Town in one trip and we were unsure of the 80k's of unsealed road which leads into Cook Town, but figured we would see what it was like. Climbing up Mount Molly would have been a great lookout had it not been cloudy. This was the first time I had been forced to change down to third due to the steepness of the climb, and it is said to be the steepest road in Australia according to the sign. As we drove into Mount Carbine it was clear we were not going to make it, in the daylight hours and I was not about to embark on unsealed roads, with live stock Kangaroos, and everything else to look out for so we stopped at Lakeend which was a Road House at the end of the sealed road. The manager there was very nice and after purchasing some chips to go with the chicken and champagne, along with a couple of video's we spent the night at the Road House.
23/06/2000 CookTown. (6178/130978) (@131178 226L $190)
I had asked about the quality of this road before we embarked and a number of people had said it was ok. There are other large vehicles which travel up there including petrol tankers, and other coaches so I decided it couldn't be too bad. It was said that there weren't many corrugations and no water crossings, and only one spot which was not very good. Well in my opinion this road would have to be close to if not the worst I have seen, with wholes 30cm (1 foot) deep and in places as it crosses the mountain range 3m (9 foot) wide with drops of 200 feet and on coming semi trailers. Pausing at Black mountain we had already found that the bus traveled better on reasonable gravel roads at higher speeds (80k), and it seem to avoid the oscillation of the corrugations which weren't supposed to be there. Traveling at less than 50k was far to hard on the vehicle and if you were going to travel slowly it had to be at less than 20k and with 80k in front of us this was not an option. So roaring down this one or one and half lane gravel road with dust ditches, live stock unfenced, semi trailers, graders, four wheel drives had us all on the edge of our seats. With sweat pouring off me and the on coming traffic approaching, we managed to not berry the bus in ditch in the middle of no where. As we climbed the hill which looked like it could slide away at any time, and signs that it had done this in the past I blew the horn at every corner over the mountain. In spots even with the huge bus wheels it was millimeters from bottoming out in places. How this could be called a road I have no idea, we have been on sandy tracks that are better.
Arriving, shaken and frazzled we stopped at the edge of Endeavor river for a much needed coffee. The out side of the bus was difficult to see what colour it was, and the inside had a layer as well. After coffee and composure we headed off for a look around. The main street was probably about 200 meters in length and at least 50% of the business have gone broke or are empty shells. The other 40% were closed due to canceled Cook Town races, even during business hours and the last 10% I wouldn't kennel the dog in. The bank only opens 3 days a week. While the main street is a sealed road nothing else is. The Local beaches all 2 of them are not accessible without about a 1 k walk or a four wheel drive. Having seen Captain Cooks docking history we decided to head for a beach for the night before departing the next day. We had been told by 2 locals that there was one further out 30k ( Archer Point) which was accessible in our vehicle but had about 12 k of Gravel road which we could go down. Traveling back down the main road, we turned on to this gravel road which soon ran into a goat track, and then we approached river crossing and floodways. We crossed two and each of them we inched across slowly as the overhang of back of the bus dragged on the skids, and the Gipsy is lying on the gravel watching we don't rip the sump of the bottom. As we approached the third of these a four wheel drive came past us and said the next ones are worse, so we were faced with trying to turn 34 foot around in about 12 feet of road. With the bus on precarious leans I was now visualizing us tipping over, and contemplating my first action. I was thankful that we had a full water tank and the one ton of water we carried was below axel level. The Gipsy was a sight in her dress, and dust from top to bottom, and a pair of doc martin type hiking boots. I could not take a picture sorry I had other things on my mind and even if I did I would not have been allowed to put it up for public viewing. After we had turned around we got stuck going back across one of the ditches and found our self with the sump on the bottom. After about an hour of gently moving back and forth moving in every possible spot we got across the last of these and headed back for Cook Town and a Caravan Park. Settling in the Park and and a much needed shower and Bourbon the wind began to blow, and the Gipsy envisaged cyclones. The wind must have approached 80k as bullets of wind roared through the park, and the bus rocked even though we were behind a fence and some tree's. We could not get out of this whole quick enough.
24/06/2000 Kurander (near buy-LeeWah) (6512/131312)
We couldn't leave this place soon enough and for the life of me I cant understand why anyone would go more than once, or live there. Facing another battle as we headed back we shuddered across the road again. After our trip out to Cook Town and the bottoming of the bus with the Archer Point attempted I had inspected the bottom of the bus and could see no signs of permanent damage. While traveling back a long the road leaving Cook Town and roaring 10 ton across the gavel we struck a series of corrugation which sent the bus into a violent corrugation oscillation. I had herd other heavy vehicle drivers talk of this but had no idea what it was like. You may have seen TV programs about bridges which have collapsed as they get into an oscillation which then perpetuates itself. Well this is what happened and I was sure something was going to break as everything shuddered and leapt around inside and the front windscreen nearly came out. Eventually pulling up I felt sure I would pay for this in some way. I was pleased that of my building work all had held together except for a small finishing piece over the kitchen which had come unstuck at one end and the Gipsy was now holding up to save the rest of it, and not game to say anything until we got off the dirt road and her arms became tired, as she had wedged herself between the cupbaord and the fridge.
We rolled on towards Kurander in silence dodging cows that strolled out in front of you, and dead ones which had not been so lucky.
Kurrander is solely a tourist spot and survives only for this reason. Its on the Atherton Table Lands and is the end stop of the controversial Skyway which goes across the Daintree. Our purpose was basically to see the bird and butterfly aviaries which are purported to be one of the best in the world. Finding a spot outside the small ( about the size of our house) pub we gained permission to stay the night and in return bought dinner and drinks and we would set of early to the Kurrander sights.
In the morning we joined the tourist throng and and viewed many different species of butter flies and birds. I had not realized that some moths in Australia have a wing span the size of my laptop screen and could easily be mistaken for birds in poor light, or tispy state.
Of course we there were markets and naturally we had to go through them. But ah we could here the odd scream and the promises of free falling 14 stories. Well this was just too inviting and the Gipsy and she had to have a go at Australia's biggest swing. Basically if you think of a normal swing which you might pull you son or daughter on and when you pull it back, the back of the swing is 14 stories of the ground, then let it go. Of course you add a few safety devices and don't sit in a chair. After a number of remarks made by the commentator about the husband not supporting his wife and being a wimp etc Tania was soon swinging. The photo does not do the whole thing justice as I was trying to work the video and the Digital camera, so the net result is both don't capture it very well
25/06/2000 Ravenshoe. (6669/131469)
Arriving at this free park having climbed up through the mountains and the Atherton tablelands we had intended to go to the "Crystal Caves" in Atherton. When we arrived and asked at the local information we were told that these are under a shop in the main street and while it is underground, and you do have a hard hat and water etc its all simulated and fake. More poetic license, so we didn't stop.
The Ravenshoe stop was simply and overnight stopping spot. When we arrived there would have been about 15 or so other campers, all real campers, on extended trips. Of the ones we spoke to they had been going 22, and 28 months and we gathered some local information and directions to the hot springs. They also told us that the locals at Cook Town took a vote not to upgrade the road so as to keep the tourist out, and I will do everything I can to help them achieve this. This stop bought back memories of where Kapone got attached, but as I saw it these were real campers not the homeless posing as campers, and there were toddlers about which I'm sure would be better to chew on.
Having moved in land and down to the south we were back to heating the bus again at night as the temperature outside dropped to approximately 10%
26/06/2000 Mount Surprise (6827/131627)
Shortly after departing Ravenshoe we spotted a small sign pointing to the hot springs which are located in Innot. As a Kiwi the hot springs in NZ are exceptional by comparison, but not to take away from these, they were in a river bed which flows cold then across the thermal activity and cools as it flows on down the river. Gently sticking my toe in it seemed only slightly warm, but as we looked up the river we could see the steam coming up further up. As we walked up the river only a few steps and our feet sunk in the sand it wasn't long before we were both yelping and heading for the cooler sands. Eventually we found a small spot which was just right and we slunk in the sand in the hot sand and water. It wasn't long before we had a few more wrinkles than when we got in, and therefore time to get out. Next stop was the Lava Caves at Undara.
The road was still one lane in most parts, but at least sealed. As on coming traffic approached you move off onto the edge, and as 10 tons of bus falls of the tar road edge you begin to realize what these Road Train drivers feel and fight with, and perhaps why they don't move over when you approach in a car. As time progressed I to decided not to move over for cars, unless they were towing. If you don't move over basically that means the on coming vehicle must move all the way off.
We arrived at the turn off to the Lava Caves which is a National Park and no dogs aloud. Further down the road at Mount Surprise we found a camp and someone to look after the dog, allowing us to do the trip back and have a look at the Lava Caves.
26/06/2000 Normington (7351/132151) (@ 131736 Diesel 162L $146.20)
In the morning we were up early to have the dog sitter take care of Kapone for a few hours. Sure enough Terry turned up on time to take Kapone away and we were off, back 40K then up a gravel road for 16K. We were told before hand that there was an inspector on the gate checking you in and out. So this is why we didn't take the dog with us and just leave him in the bus. We done this before and so long as there is shade, windows open etc, he's fine. The road to the caves was not to bad, it was better in most spots than the highway to Cooktown.
Undara was private land, or long leave land that was handed/taken back by the government from the lease holder when the caves were discovered. As compensation for tenant when the government took over they let him retain the income for another 20 years to offset the setup costs, of the train carriages etc which are set up as restaurant, dinners, accommodation etc.
Shortly after another coffee we were off in a "Coaster " (Small bus) then walking to the Lava Tubes, they are not caves, I have been corrected, again. We got a lesson on fires regeneration etc from our parks and wild life tour guide, which was good, spotted a bit of the local wild life etc, then off into the "Tubes". They were most interesting, and it is difficult to cover what was covered on the tour so you better go yourself. But this might be of interest. The lava tubes traveled some 100Km from there origin, and probably only dropped 4 degree in its travel, most of this travel was underground, and is not very different to the film "Vocano" made in LA. My new found friends are Bats who consume something in the order of 1 Million mosquitoes per day. It was worth the $12.00 each. After a couple of hours we had walked talked, shot photos, of walls, bats, wholes in the ground, roots underground, and bones, so coffee was the order of the day. Oh yes no smoking of course, and I couldn't help notice those chewing on all sorts.
We picked up the dog who was tired and a bit red from the dust and chasing other dogs, and headed off. The road map shows some gravel, but the computer shows none, so we shall see. The road was narrow and effectively one lane of tar with 1/2 a lane on either side fro both to move over to pass each other. Most of the road was like this. The Road trains to us, are like cars to our bus. I don't move over for cars, they are small enough and have greater and quicker simpler control, well this attitude of course moves up in size, and the Road Trains don't move for us either. Twice now I have closed my eyes as I bring the bus as far to the left as possible and as near to a stop as possible, I have closed my eyes, expecting the my right mirror to be shattered, and be sprayed with glass. This last one on a hill, and a blind corner where we meet two road trains, and I could do nothing but wait and hope. If it had of been just the risk of soft road and undergrowth I would have moved further over and gladly taken the risk, but this time we were on the outside edge of hill, with about 10 cm between us and the edge. The photo is an example of the room often there is not room for me to move right over off the road, and also the road trains don't often move over.
The terrain on such trips is usually quite boring and about every now and again you spot interesting things. Unfortunately for the Gipsy driving tends to send her off to sleep after a few hours, so she often misses the little things, Dingo's running across the road, and like.
We arrived at Normington late as there was nowhere really to stop that I was happy with. Normington has nothing to mention, and was simply a place to sleep, accompanied with the the "All life is sacred tour" who were camped near in the local spots stadium we turned in, only to be woken at some ungodly hour by their chanting.
There is not much at Normington, lots of dogs, red dirt, very little grass, and a purple pub which has some history to it. It seems that in the 1974 floods they tied there boats to the front rail and its a 100 + years old. Apart from that I don't think your missing much
27-29/06/2000 Karumba (7450/132250)
We arrived in Karumba at approximately 11.30am. The town of Karumba is situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is the only Queensland port in the Gulf, the town is know as Outback by the Sea, it is the only stretch of beach in the Central Savannah accessible by road. Karumba is one of Australia's largest prawn processing centres.
When we arrived we decided to stay in a caravan park at point Karumba so we could get some of the washing done (4 weeks worth) needless to say we were running out of cloths. Fortunately we couldn't fit in any of the caravan parks, we were sent to their recreation park which was not as squishy as the caravan parks and to our surprise there was another bus staying here too. The park supplies power, water and toilets, no showers though. There's a pub and restaurant (I think its actually the golf club) lots of birds black cockatoos, eagles, hawks and heaps of other parrot type birds.
The real Gipsy
We decided to rest for the first afternoon. The next day we spent a lazy morning lying around then got into washing the bus. I volunteered to go up the ladder (because Al gets sever shaking knee syndrome when he is a few inches off the ground) thinking that I would go up the ladder wash a bit then move the ladder on and do the next bit, But no I was informed you go up the ladder and then get on top of the bus and wash the roof.... That's ok I can do that no worries.... Then once up there I was informed that I could only walk on the seams this was not ok because they're not very wide. Anyway armed with the broom and hose the roof was washed along with the rest of the bus, it is now red and white again instead of red and red dirt.
Yesterday we went to Karumba Point to watch the sunset its the happening place for both tourist and locals every man and his dog goes to the pub to watch the sunset, it was the first time I had seen the sun set over water, it was quite beautiful. We drank bourbon and watch the sky turn from gold to a rich dark crimson.