Day one – aaaaargh. It was supposed to be a simple little trip up the road to Emerald. Easy. Australia’s main highway north, west at Rocky (Rockhampton), arrive Emerald around 3:30, 4pm.
The problem, you see, is Australia’s main highway north. The Bruce Highway is a six laner out of Brisbane but well south of where we live, it dwindles down to two lanes each way, then it’s just an ordinary old, two lane suburban road. It’s still the A1. But it carries all the heavy traffic – B doubles, oversize loads etc etc – and the grey nomads and young camper vans – from Brisbane up to Cairns and beyond. Frankly, dudes, it’s a goat track. This is the A1, crawling at 50km through the town of Childers. Yes, folks, this is the main highway north.
It doesn’t help that the road was devastated by floods in the last few years. So they’re fixing it. Sort of. Fill in the holes, widen the shoulders. I reckon we spent 30 minutes and more sitting at lollipop points for something like ten sets of road works, and crawled through kilometre after kilometre of 40, 60, 80 kph speed limit stretches on a 110km road. Why they don’t bite the bullet and make it a dual carriage way right up the coast is… another issue. They spend their money in the cities where there are more cars, more voters. Don’t get me started on the road toll on the Bruce. End rant.
Hey ho. An hour and a half into our Wonderful Adventure, our brand new Pajero copped a rock in the windshield. I hoped it was going to be a gouge we could fix. Until the zip zip. Here it is. Let’s hope it lasts until we get to Broome (sigh).
This is coal country, mining. Here’s a coal train, 50 wagons between the locos, two locos up front, two in the middle, 100 wagons of coal. Dozens a day, from bloody great holes in the ground, loaded on ships and sent to China and India to help produce stuff to send to America. And the army was going home. They’d had a joint exercise with the Yanks, whose carrier group docked in Brisbane harbour the other day. USS George Washington, for those interested.
Anyway, here we are in a motel in Emerald (booked in 6:30pm). I would have posted this but the WIFI connection is pathetic. So I’ll do it when I can.
Cheers, mouseketeers. Tomorrow we’re seeing dinosaurs.