An Update Post For Twisty

This post is especially for the Twistyman (but that doesn’t mean that the rest of you can’t read too). Yep, I SHOULD send you an email, but then I’d have to do a blog post anyway… so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and put our news here. I know you read our blog. Forgive me Cuz, and feel free to call me a lazy-ass if you like ;0)

I’m sorry this update isn’t a little more personal, my friend, but I get really frustrated trying to type on this phone. For someone who is a 55+ word per minute typist, making a post on the phone really is like trying to walk a mile on my knees. And then the stupid thing tends to replace words I’ve typed with something idiotic and completely unrelated. That’s probably the main reason I haven’t added much to the blog lately. I’ll have to just stop being so easily frustrated, I think.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool little machine otherwise. And considering that it cost about a tenth of the amount a new laptop, phone, gps, camera and music player would, it was a damned bargain! But I know you miss the personal contact.

We have a saying here in Aus… ‘Take a spoonful of cement and harden the fuck up!’ I think in this case that saying applies to me… so here I am, starting to set.

Now… I’ll get on with it… ;0)

So, we left Rockhampton (yes, you obviously know that already). We left a day or two after we’d originally planned because the highway north had been cut near Ingham by flooding (yes, again). We also knew however, that the river there rises and falls pretty quickly, so figured that it would clear within a day or so. As it was, the rain stopped and we were lucky… either that or pretty clever. I’ll leave that up to you to decide ;0)

The drive up was pretty uneventful really, apart from the rest stop in Bowen. We specifically planned on stopping there because they have a public rest stop area with public toilets and because it used to be a friendly little town (note I said used to be…)

In QLD drivers are legally allowed to stop at a public rest stop for up to 20 hours to battle fatigue. It’s also considered ‘dangerous driving’ to drive whilst tired and one can be booked for doing so. But apparently some councils don’t like the idea of travellers stopping in their towns unless they’re going to spend money on accommodation.

So, a council power jockey comes along at around 8-ish and speaks to a truckie who had also stopped there. He told this fellow that he was allowed to stop for up to 20hrs (so obviously he knows the law). However he didn’t even approach our car… but he did come back and wake us up at around 2am.

‘You can’t camp here’ he says (whilst allowing truck driver to sleep blissfully in his cab). ‘I’m not going to fine you this time (terribly generous of him), but if you’re not gone by morning I will HAVE to’.

Now, I’d hate to suggest that Council Cop lied to us. It’s entirely possible that Bowen has laws unto itself that are completely contradictory to QLD law. Personally though, I choose to believe that the motel across the road takes exception to people stopping for free when they have plenty of rooms that they can charge for…

Needless to say, we left very early in the morning feeling decidedly unwelcome… and we didn’t bother spending any money there before we left either. Not even a cup of coffee and breakfast. We figured our money wasn’t good enough for them. Thanks for your hospitality, Bowen.

We first noticed the results of Tropical Cyclone Yasi around Townsville. There were quite a few trees down or damaged along the highway, and even more in the city itself. It was a bit sobering and we began to get a bit of an idea of how scary it must have been. But (without meaning to trivialise Townsville’s experience), their damage paled to insignificance in comparison to that of towns like Cardwell and Tully. They really copped the worst of it… whole forests destroyed, crops flattened, roads damaged and/or completely washed away in places, mountains that should have been covered in rainforest now sporting bare broken sticks. Many houses with no roofs, almost every second building damaged in some way… we even saw one house that was just a floor with a tarp covering what was left of their furniture etc.

It was completely overwhelming… I cried a little bit…

Anyway, finally we made it safely to Cairns. We were, as I said earlier, very lucky really. The river at Ingham was just under the bridge when we went through. A day later it started raining again and the highway was cut once again. It was nice and hot and sunny most of the time we were travelling. So much so that we both ended up sunburnt… Brad on his right side (he drove) and me on my left :0)

Once in Cairns, we lobbed at Barnesy’s place. He’s an old school friend of Brad’s, and he’s been trying to get us to come up this way for ages. He and his lovely wife Chi were happy to have us park Jimmy in their back yard for a bit. We’re very grateful for their hospitality.

Now, Barnesy is a professional fisherman, and I think he rather enjoyed having Brad go fishing with him. But Brad soon found out that he no longer has sea legs. I shouldn’t stir… ;0)

But, with the rain, the fish weren’t biting well. I’m pretty sure that Barnesy actually lost money on the two trips they made. It’s a worry, especially when he needs to fish to pay the rent. I really hope things pick up for him soon.

Now, there’s not a lot of seasonal work (fruit picking etc) in Cairns itself. It’s a huge city now… not like the sleepy little tourist town it used to be the last time either of us were there. Things change in 20yrs, I guess.

It would have been nice if we could have stayed a bit longer, but we need to support ourselves too. Barnesy suggested that we register for ‘the dole’ (unemployment benefits), but we’re proud. The dole is wonderful for those who need it, but we’re both fit and healthy… we don’t like to take advantage… not when we’re capable of working. Perhaps this pride will lessen if we can’t find work…

So, we left Cairns and travelled up the mountain to Kuranda… for two reasons. Firstly, we figured that work might be a bit easier to find… secondly because it’s a very pretty town and we wanted to look around a bit. For a little while I entertained the thought that I may be able to sell some of my art to one of the galleries there. But I was so totally blown away by the quality of what I saw that I didn’t even ask.

Now, I think you’d love Kuranda, Bob. It’s an arty, hippy place settled in the mountain rainforest. The town supports one of the most famous markets in QLD. It’s long been a hippy community, although nowadays it’s very touristy. Still beautiful though, and full of amazing freaks (stated in a very loving way). I love it. We might go back one day, the stalls at the old markets are cheap. We should be able to think of something we can sell… art, photos, maybe jewellery or tie-dyed clothes…

But the need for $$ won out in the end. We decided that we needed to move on to find some ‘now work’. Some locals suggested that Mareeba might yield a better result for us… it’s a fruit town. There’s always work there, they suggested… and they don’t mind seasonal workers stopping at their rest stop for a few days. So we bid Kuranda a fond farewell and headed off.

We pulled into this rest stop on Friday afternoon. We figured we’d stop for the night and start asking around the next morning. But… Jimmy had other ideas. The radiator was empty when Brad checked on it. At first we assumed the old thing had finally blown a hole somewhere. But then Jimmy made some horrible noises when Brad started him up… uh oh. Suddenly it became all too clear just where all that water went to… into the motor. Damn… it seemed that poor old Jimmy had found his nirvana.

But Steve, a fellow homeless traveller (Brad mentioned him yesterday) suggested that the head gasket was probably the problem. He gave us a bottle of Chemiweld (liquid metal stuff you put in the motor to patch it up). Brad drained the water out of the sump and added the stuff. Jimmy coughed a bit, but after a little while he fired up properly. You legend, Steve!

So now it appears that Jimmy has come back to life… Yay!!

Let’s see how he goes tomorrow. With any luck he’ll get us up the road a bit more. There’s a good chance we’ll get some work at a place some other travellers recommended. They worked there and said they were nice people with plenty of work. That’ll be our first stop tomorrow morning.

So, that’s about all I can tell you for now, Bob. And now I’m off… my back is sore and my head is getting fuzzy. It’s 11.30pm now… been at this since 8.30. Damn this slow typing ;0)

Take care Cuz. I promise I won’t leave it so long next time. And now it’s your turn. I expect a nice long email detailing EVERYTHING. I think you know what we want to know. Oh, and say hello to those boys for us… tell those couple of special ones to drop in and say hi. We miss you all.

Be good, my friend… and if you can’t be good, make sure that you’re damned good at it ;0)

Lots of love and kisses,
Tina and Brad



  1. twistyman said,

    March 14, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Thanks for personalized reply…

    sorry if I made you feel a tad guilty…that wasn’t my wish..

    just glad to hear something about your whereabouts and that you’re still there…
    I get the typing on cells…I can’t use them even to call…

    between voice mail and press # keys and my eyes its just not for me….

    I’m happy you got Jimmy back running…
    lets pray it holds on….

    I will get back to you soon..

    just had last 1st round treatment …*will fill you in..

    and I’ll put this up so club can read of your exploits..
    they miss you too…

    love, Bob…
    stay safe and well..

    • Tina said,

      March 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Please do tell the boys to say hello. Hard for us to get onto the club on this phone. Would love to hear from them…

      Hope your treatment is working well for you. Hope you’re looking after yourself properly too. Will wait for your update.

      Take care of you Cuz. Lots of love and big sloppy kisses. Xxxxx

  2. GOF said,

    March 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Sorry to hear about Jimmy, but it’s great that you have him running again.
    Mareeba is the best place to be in the wet season….you get away from all the crap weather nearer to the coast.
    The avocado picking season should be underway at the moment too, so hope you find some employment opportunity soon. A few dollars in the pocket is always handy.
    Sorry for your experience at Bowen. It stinks that motels and caravan parks forced local councils to move travellers on. There is a free caravan park just on the Atherton side of Rocky Creek on the MBA-AT road if you need one….but you probably have found that out already…..not sure if they have limits to how long you can stay there.

    • Tina said,

      March 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Hmmm… I’m not sure that ‘running’ is the right word. He’s still losing water. Brad thinks maybe he didn’t run it long enough to set the chemiweld properly. Two more bottles went in this morning.

      Rang the fellow who was recommended to us, but it went to msg bank. Left our number and we’re waiting to hear back. We’ll ring again tonight.

      Didn’t know about the park at Atherton, we’ll check it out. Not sure we’ll make it there though…

      Not too worried just yet. We should be able to find work. If not, Brad might have to find a street light to stand under ;0)

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