Iâ€™m going everywhere, man
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Leaving Aldershot, I drove through Childers and stopped at a rest area outside Gin Gin for lunch.
Driving along, I felt like I was channelling Geoff (Tangletongue) Mack, of Iâ€™ve Been Everywhere fame, seeing all these place names Iâ€™d heard of, but never visited before.Â On through Miriam Vale and I was headed for Boyne River rest area, which Iâ€™d found in WikiCamps, a very handy little app indeed.
Between that, my Camps Australia 8 book, and helpful hints and tips from Facebook pages like Country Pubs Welcoming Oz Nomad Camping, Rolling Solo, Chicks Camping Crew, Motorhomes Australia, Australian Caravanning/Camping Travelling with Dogs, Country Music Travelers, Iâ€™ve got heaps of information to keep me rambling along.
My first official free camp!
Boyne River rest area is not all that far out of Gladstone, but I thought as it was 2.30pm, it was probably a good time to pull over.
It appears lots of others had the same idea, as the parking area was just about full of campers, caravans and motorhomes by then.
After the girls and I went for a short walk, I was feeling a little weary, so I caught a quick nanny nap. Blow me down. When I woke up, the place was packed â€“ heaps of vehicles everywhere!
All shapes and sizes
There was one big rig parked in the paddock alongside the rest area and it was bigger than Dolly Partonâ€™s … tour bus, complete with an extra vehicle and a boat stacked on top of each other at the back!
It never ceases to amaze me the way people travel about this country, from sleeping rough in the back of a troopie or wagon, to the biggest, most luxurious motorhomes around.
Despite the proximity to the Bruce Highway, it was a reasonably quiet rest area, so I had a pretty good nightâ€™s sleep there.
The beauty of the beach
Up early the next morning, I had a banana for brekky and got on the road, headed for Tannum Sands, where Col and Sue Reynolds suggested I visit.
As the local supermarket wasnâ€™t yet open (it was 7.30am when I got there), I headed down to the beach and the girls and I went for a walk.
Despite the signage that warned of strong currents, submerged objects, crocodiles and marine stingers, the water looked extremely inviting, but I resisted.
The #motorhomingMaltesemutts didnâ€™t appear to be all that fussed on the feeling of the sand between their toes and were pretty skittish down by the waves.
Natureâ€™s beauties on show
Walking back up to the well-maintained, grassy picnic area, a loud crunching sound attracted my attention.
Over in the leaf litter under some palm trees were a group of three or four black cockatoos having a noisy old feast on seeds and other tasty cocky food.
I didnâ€™t want to alert the girls by going any closer, so I got out my Nikon and zoomed in on them. They were just beautiful.
Boyne Island a beautiful place
I dragged myself away from the beauty of the beach and visited the supermarket and grabbed some supplies, before driving on towards Boyne Island.
Not sure what it was that drew me there, but I had to smile when I started reading through Jazzerâ€™s gig diary of the Goodtime Band.
When they were playing at the Gladstone Harbour Festival in 1982, they visited people at Boyne Island, so I was subliminally following in their footsteps. I fuelled up, and drove on towards Gladstone.
Onwards to Rocky and Yeppoon
Gladstone was a little tricky finding my way around, so instead of hanging about, I kept going up the road to Rocky.
I went to a large shopping centre, found a nice, shady park and took the girls for a walk before settling them in to the van while I hunted down some purchases.
Retail therapy in Rocky
The power bank Iâ€™d bought in Big W Tamworth for my phone was less than useless, so I took it back to the Big W store in Rockhampton.
I was going to buy a dearer one, thinking if I paid a bit more I might get one that actually worked, and they didnâ€™t have any power banks for android phones â€“ only iPhones. How ridiculous.
Besides that, the woman at Big W didnâ€™t seem to know what she was talking about and tried to sell me everything but what I was looking for.
I ended up getting a store credit, bought a cordless vacuum cleaner and went to JB Hi-Fi. A lovely young man there explained the difference between all the power banks he had in store, so I bought a Cygnett charger from him â€“ and so far, it hasnâ€™t missed a beat.
That old expression is true â€“ you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Yeppoon a pleasantÂ surprise
I had a bit of a look around Rockhampton, but was told by friends that Yeppoon was so much nicer if I wanted to stay a day or two â€“ so onwards and upwards.
According to WikiCamps, the Poinciana Tourist Park at Yeppoon was pet-friendly, so I pulled in there, arriving just after lunch.
I set up the girls outside on a dog run in a cool, shady spot next to the van and settled in for the afternoon.Â The park had excellent laundry facilities so I used their washer and dryer and declared it happy hour.
Pretty nice place to chill
Staying at Yeppoon for two days was a good time for me to regroup, catch up on some writing, and chill out a bit.
Itâ€™s a pretty place, although I didnâ€™t get to see too much until a very pleasant encounter with a welcome stranger changed all that.
Discovering I needed some supplies from the supermarket, instead of unplugging and disturbing the girls, I settled them down inside, and called a cab.
The cabbie from Warialda
Halfway to the shops, this friendly lady cabbie asked where I was from. When I told her, she admitted to being a Warialda girl, maiden name Debbie Wallis (you can read about Deb elsewhere on this site under Characters).
On the way back from the supermarket, she turned off the meter and took me up to Wreck Point lookout, which offered brilliant, 360-degree views of the area. Picture perfect.
It was so cool to meet someone from so close to home (my hometown of Bingara, NSW).
Making plans â€¦ taking advice
It was while staying at Yeppoon, I heard from another mate, Rhonda Sinclair, who lives in Ayr, her hometown.Â She was keen to share with me some tips about what to see and where to go in the region that she calls home.
When I told her I was heading north towards Bowen, she said to stay there for a day or two and soak up the atmosphere.Â After all, it was where they made the movie, Australia.Â I also rang my mate, Ron Odgers, whoâ€™s also in Ayr, and he invited me to park at his place as long as I liked.
It was Census night on my second evening in Yeppoon, so I got online nice and early (about 6pm) and filled it out, no trouble.
Old friends, beautiful memories andÂ the wireless
Iâ€™d been invited by Mez Mezera to speak to a bloke on radio, Texas Dave, in Moruya. Dave dedicated his whole program as a tribute to mark one year since the passing of our beautiful Audrey Auld.
I arrived at Parkhurst, the first available place to pull over off the highway, and sent my friends, Desiree Levingston and Ken Grills, a text to say I was a little early for our planned meeting.
They were staying in Rockhampton in their motorhome but heading south. Fortunately, they had time on their side and drove up to meet me near the Yeppoon turnoff.
Youâ€™re up next, darlin’
Mez phoned just as I arrived at Parkhurst, telling me I was next up â€“ about half an hour earlier than I expected. So pleased I left the park early.
I spoke to Daveâ€™s offsider who said I had two-and-a-half minutes before my chat with Dave, so I adjourned into the back of Rambling Rose, lit a candle, poured myself a hot honey and lemon drink and waited for my turn on air.
It was nice talking to Dave about Audrey, and I explained to his listeners that Aud was one of the reasons I made such a a life-changing decision to hit the road.
I was just finishing up with Dave as Desiree and Ken pulled up in their Winnebago, so our timing couldnâ€™t have been better.
Itâ€™s so much fun to have a spontaneous meeting with mates you havenâ€™t seen in a while. We talked so much we forgot to take a photo, but you get that on big jobs.
We must have been cramming a lot in to those couple of hours by the road, so technology took second place. For once. We had things to catch up on.
Theyâ€™ve got a really good setup in their van. Itâ€™s a totally different layout to mine, so it was good to see how others travel about.
We said our farewells and took off in different directions â€“ me rambling north towards Mackay â€“ and them heading south.