Yeppoon. The Big Send Off.


We did a couple of trips to Yeppoon next. The first one was for about a week – a treat to be on the beach and to just get away brought to me by my wonderful man. We stayed in a park recommended by a friend at Derek’s gym. The second time, because we loved it so much, we went for a golf trip for Derek. We stayed in a park we picked out while staying there the first time, for almost 2 weeks. There was a reason for that, grab your popcorn and sit down and let me start at the beginning.

I love Yeppoon and Emu Park.

To get there, we had to travel primarily on the Bruce Highway, which is never our first choice. The Bruce Highway is pretty much THE highway to take you up the coast of Queensland and you would think it would be the finest highway ever. But, not unlike many countries, it is a highway with heavy usage, many problems, and in a constant state of being updated – this time majorly. The Bruce Highway covers some beautiful areas and it provides a pleasant visual drive and is the fastest way to get somewhere (except on holidays or rush hour times near larger centres). There are 3 things that create huge problems. You can send your thanks or money donations for my having analyzed the situation to my home address. One has to do something on the long, long drive.

“Why No-one Likes Bruce.” by Aria Appleford

1. It is still just a single lane highway through too many areas, with only the occasional overtaking lane to allow you any chance of getting past a slow moving vehicle.
2. The highway still winds its way through many small towns, meaning you are constantly speeding up and slowing down.
3. Because the trucks use it and the heat being what it is, the road turns to this malleable mush and is moulded by the weight of those trucks into huge waves that can really pull on a vehicle trying to navigate them.

Of course, I have not addressed the stupidity of P platers. P platers are those who have just obtained their license but have to attach a big P to their vehicle to warn everyone they don’t really yet know how to drive. Most P platers take that designation seriously and will repeatedly demonstrate how to not drive properly. Nor have I addressed the fact far too many people are unable to operate their vehicle at any speed approaching reasonable for a main highway. They drive 10 – 20 km’s under the speed at all times, braking often, except for when they hit a passing lane, then they speed up to about 5 – 10 km OVER the speed limit so that in order to pass them, people will have to speed. Anyway there is plenty more to discuss regarding the matter, but this is about Fluffy, right?

We generally choose to drive off the Bruce Highway when possible for all the reasons I mentioned and because we do not want to be caught up in the hurry, nor do we want to slow down others.

The packing for the first trip to Yeppoon went like a charm. I did all the interior over a few days and I planned the meals, did a lot of prep work and cooking, and packed everything.

Derek was in charge of the outside things – like the water.

Also, our list of things we have to take with us is growing. Having a caravan involves a lot of shopping. As we use it, we find out about some things and then others, people tell us about things we will absolutely need on our big trip. People with caravans LOVE to tell you things. It is kind of like when a woman is expecting a baby for the first time and everyone wants to share. You have the nice ladies who encourage you and probably leave out certain facts, making it all sound nice … and then you have the other ones. Those are the ones that tell you every gory detail, bring out the video and basically promise you that is you don’t die, you have not done it right. So you find yourself making lists. The first list is of the things you will need. The second list is of people that you want to avoid ever talking to again, so you not only get their names, you draw pictures.

A lot of things are boring, like a generator, extra tires, blah blah men’s stuff. People should be clear, buying the caravan in just the initial cash outlay. There are so many more things that you have to get to be able to use the caravan, and then there are all the things you would like to have to make it more enjoyable. Derek has taught me that nice wine glasses never trump things like an extra battery. Either way, it is a constant cash outlay. This is a hobby and like any hobby, you have to keep putting money into it.

I really excelled at the prep this time around, I was even getting the hookup thing right. I took valium an hour before the big moment, was breathing deeply, imaging pink clouds and unicorns and was listening to the gentle forest sounds with Zamfir flute music overlayed so that I was nice and calm. I was confident of my hand signals to guide Derek back to line up the truck with the trailer hitch. The most impressive part was that this time, none of the signals ended with the middle finger signal because Derek could not understand me and had to keep getting out of the truck to check on where he was, ignoring my hand signals and me. (Please feel free to clap for me here.) We got the trailer hitched and I turned to go back into the house to do the once over before we left. I got down the hall and heard a huge boom followed by a bunch of swearing.

I sent the unicorns back to the barn and ran outside. It took me awhile to extract words to form sentences amidst all the bad words, but I eventually learned that the brakes had locked and the whole trailer had pulled off the truck and was now ass up, hitch in the dirt, on an impossible angle for the truck to line up with. The trailer itself was draped across our driveway and looked like just a couple of flies landing on my side could tip it over and send it crashing into the house. I slipped into full “I am Woman” mode.

I started to cry.

Derek was running around looking at everything, getting down on his hands and knees, checking under the caravan and all I could think of was that he would get hurt. The caravan was broken, he would try to fix it on his own, it would roll and the house would get smashed, I would get crushed and our bodies would be pulled from the wreckage. The whole thing would make the evening news, 2 killed … death by “FluffY” the caravan. Our children would cry, everyone would miss us. This should have been my first clue that I was not totally grounded. I could hear what everyone would say …. Fluffy had seemed like such a nice caravan. She had clearly just been grooming us. It was the shower … she enticed us in with that awesome shower, and we fell for it.

In hindsight, I may have taken too much valium or perhaps I was a savant at imaging things in my mind. Maybe I did get a bit carried away. After all, I did pass Meditation – The Advanced Class, with honours.

Meanwhile. a young neighbour, big into body building and health, drove by. I asked Derek if he wanted me to run screaming down the road after him to see if he would help.


I asked if we should call roadside assistance.


Some kind of crane to lift it up?


I begged him not to do it on his own.

He got out this tiny little plastic looking jack and put it under the caravan and started to jack it up.

Forget the flies, a rose petal could have sent it rolling. The angle got worse and worse. Slowly Fluffy was raised out of the dirt and suddenly … a miracle!! She was actually at a level that the truck could back up to. My screaming was starting to lessen in pitch and volume as I watched. Derek got in the truck and backed in and had it hooked up again in no time. It was only then, as he started to check all the attachments to figure out what had happened, that I realized several neighbours were watching me from behind the safety of their inside blinds. I suddenly felt a little self-conscious, as if they were judging me.

Derek said one of the plugins had seized and so he fiddled with it and taped something around it and assured me we would be good until he could get to Yeppoon where we could buy a replacement piece. I nodded as if I understood. I think it makes Derek feel better if I nod and he thinks someone understands him. I have no idea what he was talking about. I was not convinced but my hubby just did what seemed impossible, all by himself and well, he might not have had the tights or the cape, but I knew the truth. I sleep with Superman.

Clark dusted himself off, did his last walk around and checked all the connections … and we were off.

The first part of the trip consisted of the usual lecture on how I shouldn’t scream and cry and carry on because he had it. He reminded me of our deal. He would let me know when I needed to be worried, otherwise, I should know, he will handle it. He assured me that at no time during that horrific nightmare, was he ever worried.

The day he turns to me and gives me the signal me that it is a go on the worry bit and I should commence screaming and crying and carrying on … I will probably pee my pants and just freeze. I think we will probably, pretty much, be dead.