Day 2. Big Australian Trek – Heading North.

on the road 2

Here is where we were at 9:00 this morning – somewhere on the Burnett Hwy, north of Monto. Our morning drive revealed many extra lakes, gifts of the recent flooding but very effectively created. Trees in water creates a sort of haunted feeling, overlaid with sadness. It always speaks to me with that sense of feeling to it. I have no idea why.   Please comment with your thoughts and suggestions below.

We had a big drive ahead of us – it was somewhere around 450 km to make it to Emerald. Yes, we stayed there before on our trip to Longreach, so why the hurry you ask? Golf. Duh.

Derek wanted to play Saturday and Sunday. He instructed me on the woes of the upcoming days where the likelihood of there being any courses in the small towns was practically non-existent. He was already giving up his daily gym, golf too was just too much to ask.

We had decided we would not do long stints of driving on this trip. “We” decided that because we wanted to be checked in and comfortable long before spots become difficult to find and so that we could have relaxing evenings instead of that urgent rush where we had to get parked, get dinner, clean up and go to bed. Derek plotted the trip so we would only have a couple of days where we had to travel for longer hours and Day two was one of them.  That is what he told me.  I heard it, now all of you have read it.  I have a legal defense should anything untoward happen to Derek during this trip.

I was greatly refreshed and invigorated after my exciting evening the night before. You cannot buy the kind of energy high you get from making a complete ass of yourself.  Like liquid cocaine it is.  (as if I have any idea what I am talking about but please feel free to nod and admire my comparison)  My vertigo was a bit better and I announced to Derek that he could relax, I would not have to just close my eyes and sleep away the hours in the car to give my “unlikely flu-like minor symptoms” a chance to calm down. Surprisingly, my symptoms were even better when I didn’t have to make the bed. So Derek did it for me.  (insert my face smiling and giving a little wink)  I may have been wrong, but I sensed something that felt like disappointment, when I told Derek that I would be awake for the whole trip.

Of course, like all our trips, we started out with some “minor difficulties.” I have noted that each trip appears to have a kind of theme. This one goes along the line of “unlikely, minor problems that really will not be a big deal.” If you have any questions about the scope of these “unlikely problems,” please read my previous post. So, first of all, Derek remembered he had not shut down his computer. What ensued was a lively discussion about whether the computer eventually turns itself off, or whether it would remain in sleep mode for a year. We talked about thunderstorms and fires and how that was just an “unlikely situation.” About the time that he decided we had come too far to turn back we started bolstering our thoughts with, “it will be fine,” “nothing to worry about,” and that any possible problem would be “minor” and highly “unlikely.”

Then there was the part where we had no water from the taps, even though the tanks are both full. THAT has to be fixed before we go any further because we will rely on that water at some point. I am not drinking from some pond in the middle of nowhere where I am instructed to “just ignore the taste, move that scummy looking fur stuff out of the way or strain it through your teeth, trust me, it is fine.” Again Derek assured me that it was highly “unlikely” that the problem would be anything major.

Next “we” had forgotten the key that unlocks the chain holding the jerry cans. Derek proudly produced a hack saw and cut the chain open. I added “a new lock” to our shopping list, which also included “ice” because Derek attempted to bring our entire double-sided fridge freezer worth of food to shove into our much smaller caravan fridge. No room for ice. Please email my children for details on the importance of ice in my life. I am Canadian. I. Must. Have. Ice. Also on the list of things we needed was the toilet bowl chemicals. Someone forgot to pick up more before we left. What did I forget? Nothing.

Also, none of our electronics worked. We thought it was just something “minor” like possibly not having enough push in the electrical to actually charge them. (all these highly technical terms are my own) I have a new laptop and it was fully charged and working fine when we left home. Derek promised he would take it into to a computer place as soon as we got to Emerald and assured me they would be able to fix it because it had to be just something “minor.” I reminded him, without that computer, I lost all ability to write, do my blogs, do the pictures, talk to my kids … basically that without it, he would probably die from all my whining about it.

Can you see where I am going here with the whole “minor, highly unlikely, nothing to worry about” theme?

We drove and drove and I was happy to chat away and keep Derek company. He did not say anything, but I could tell by his face, he really appreciated it.  His eyes kept looking at each other and then rolling into the back of his head, almost exactly like when you go “wheeeeeee” riding an awesome ride at the theme park.  It was almost the same thing except that neither of us threw up when I was done.  I promised him that we would be solving a lot of world problems by the time we finished this trip. I talked to him about how people disciplined their children, the theory behind colour choices for rooms and how it impacts spending and people’s moods, and whether the person who invented the bra ever got full credit and if his family still gets royalties or something every time a bra is sold.  If they don’t they should.  I talked about that too.  I questioned if Obama was still actively engaged in undermining the Trump administration and how people could be so caught up on looks that they completely missed that Trudeau was ruining his country. I asked about trees that I saw and strange businesses in small towns. I covered so many topics it would take me forever to write them all down here. The important thing you need to understand is that I talk really fast, my mind scans the information in my mind (and everywhere else including other people’s minds) with lightning speed and I must discuss all of it. I think it may have contributed to why my childhood was often a lonely one. Who could be quiet around the kindergarten table when there was so much going on in the world that needed to be discussed? I don’t care what kind of candy bar they offered for silence.

Derek frequently promised me that we would NOT be doing many of these long days. He said it was just too hard on both of us and he worried about me most of all. He again suggested I should probably nap for awhile.

We made it to Emerald. Along the way, we chugged up the hills. We were thrilled though that the extra weight made us actually travel smoother – not as much swaying like we had in the past with the torn up roads due to the trucks. We waved at a million caravanners and laughed about some of the strange contraptions people drive in. We saw a couple dead snakes and one that stopped just short of our tires and looked up at us. Lots of eagles, cows, and some horses graced our way. We overtook an oversized semi that made it as difficult as he could for us to do so. We won. We had one close call with an oncoming idiot passing a truck. It was an uneventful day but lots of beautiful scenery along the way. We were in mining country and the traffic was surprisingly heavy.

Once in Emerald, we chose the fairgrounds again as they are much cheaper and have hook-ups and showers etc. Of course, there was a circus going on at one end. We drove to where we were to park, dutifully phoned the attendant and were told to go ahead and park and he would be right over. He was the same fellow who last time asked us how long we had the caravan because he could tell we were new by how badly Derek parked – AND in the wrong position. Derek was primed, he had practiced. He was an expert now. He had to show him.

Derek pulled up and backed in, got out, pulled up, backed in, turned some more, got out, pulled up … It goes on and on and on from here – just read the sentence over and over again and you will get the gist of my afternoon. I quietly asked, “why don’t you just drive around on the road and then drive right through the spot, saves you having to back in at all?” It was not until the guy, standing there watching his efforts, suggested it, that Derek admitted defeat. I tried to help by telling the guy he should not be persuaded by the evidence of what he just witnessed that Derek had no business driving a caravan anywhere.  I shared what a great parker Derek had become and how in one park, they gave him a standing ovation, but the guy just nodded and smiled at me in that way people smile at children that they are tolerating but secretly think are obnoxious idiots. I was playing the role of the obnoxious idiot. We did eventually manage to park Fluffy but only after Derek had finished a whole demonstration of how OCD can really take over your life in unhealthy ways. Gosh knows the caravan had to be perfectly straight.  Not MY kind of straight, PERFECTLY DEREK straight.  The wheels had to be all lined up with the writing legible, on and on, blah blah, my eyes were bleeding from watching him. Without much time to lose before the malls closed, we went into town with our shopping list, forgetting the jerry cans that needed to be filled.   Derek headed straight for the golf course and booked himself in for games Saturday and Sunday.  They accepted him.  He was a very happy young man.

He told me I could use the quiet time to sleep … a lot.

What is it with this constant, “get some sleep” crap?

We decided on pasta for dinner, as he had cooked up about 4 container’s worth full of meat sauce which had to go in the fridge because the freezer was full. I can’t tell you how much food we now have to quickly eat before it goes off. Yay!! Dinner would have been quick and easy, except we could not find the spaghetti. I packed the inside of the caravan with my fail-proof system of organization. But there I was, trying to answer a comment on my blog and Derek was in the middle of cooking dinner, opening and closing cupboards, beating his chest and impatiently bellowing something about where the hell the spaghetti was.  “No,” he kept assuring me, “he was not upset.”  Because he had opened all the cupboards and found nothing he wanted me to let him get to the cupboards underneath the seat foams.  Let me explain.  Only the food we had in surplus was packed under the seat covers – the hardest cupboard to access, with removing the seat covers being a royal pain. But, after going through every other cupboard (Derek insisted on his looking while I was busy panicking and freaking out insisting I had packed the pasta and it should be in the cupboard under the stove) and not finding it, we had no choice. We had to check under the seats.

Caravan seat foams are like a Tetris puzzle that you then must twist and lean on, jumping up and down and swearing, pushing and sliding one piece while lifting and holding the back piece that is stationary.  Then you must somehow manage to wedge the last cushion to contain itself behind the board the holds it all in and serves to cut off circulation in either your bum of your knee when you try to stand up.  Trying to position yourself up and over it to avoid contact has been responsible for destroying many a couple’s chances of ever having children.   I did NOT want to pull the seat cushions out to check for the spaghetti.  Only the food we had in surplus was packed under the seat covers.  I was sure of that.  But then … Derek.  Derek made me question myself . . . to have deep doubts . . .  and I gave in and checked.  While Derek pulled everything apart and checked I was swearing and insisting I had packed the pasta and it should be in the cupboard under the stove.  I could not understand what was happening. In the end, we did the round through all the cupboards about 3 times. We tore out the cushions and put them back, 4 times. I had to keep telling Derek I would never have put any food in the bathroom cupboards or the clothes cupboards but he kept looking there anyway.   Like the previous night, the quiet of the after dinner calm was punctuated with screams.  They came in the form of a deep male voice shouting out repeatedly. “Calm down woman!” “Just calm down.” I really hoped no-one from the previous night was anywhere in the campground because this was really starting to sound bad and I could see where people might be getting strange ideas about who we were and what we were doing at night. Derek finally said he would go and buy some pasta. He turned off the stove, picked up the keys, got in the truck and roared off.

Ya, so that was happening and meanwhile I was performing the age-old routine performed by countless women all over the world after just such an incident where a male family member searches for hours for something and is unable to find it.  I did the routine better known as “finding.”  I found the spaghetti.  It was in the cupboard under the stove.   I got down on my knees, opened the cupboard, made a thrusting motion with my hand into the cupboard, past the cans and grabbed hold of the plastic container that holds the spaghetti.  I pulled it out.  I set it down on the floor, right at the door of the caravan so Derek could share in my special moment, as soon as he got back.

Today’s lesson, “Never doubt your own mind Aria, you know what you are doing. You are not wrong. It is him.”

As we lay in bed, the cool night breezes felt so good on our faces compared to our toasty warm selves cocooned in the luxury of our decadent doona.   And then,  the cows in the nearby stockyard mooed. They mooed and mooed. It was clearly going to be an all night mooing type of event. The sounds of the circus joined in. I pulled a pillow over my ears and tried to sleep. It was everything I had imagined when one imagines an exotic holiday off into the beautiful wilds of one of the most incredible countries ever …

Moo.  Send in the Clowns.

the birds