Day 17 153 days to go. Distance: today 116km total 1485km. It’s 9pm Monday 23/7/2012 Longreech. Rube and I were waved off this morning by the blackest of cute Barcy (Barcaldine) chickens in backyard of the hotel. She clucked us a safe and good day and it was. The weather is so magnificent and we’re savoring Mother Nature’s good mood while it lasts. We were a bit bleary eyed this morning as the pub folk partied to the jukebox ’til late o’clock. This morning we checked out the town before heading and came across the Radio Theatre which screened silent movies from 1926 then ‘talkies’ from 1931 until it closed when TV came to town in 1974. Beautiful old building along with the rest of the town. Also really historic was a small dot called Ilfracombe. This little place was a treasure of relics including a Furphy Water Cart used in WW1 to carry water to the troops. The drivers were notoriously sources of information and gossip. As could be expected not all their news was reliable and so it was that the word ‘Furphy’ became another word for rumor.
I had two breaks today at rest stops and met truckies Ken from Wangaratta and Scott from Narangba. Both blokes were so friendly and wanting a chat. They get paid by the km and depending on the number of loads they’re pulling. We passed our first road train today carrying 4 carriages. Are they called carriages? I’ll have to sort out the lingo with the next truckie we meet. Both Rube and I have a big truck fettish and a soft spot for the lads doing the long ks. They’re so wanting to help out and call ahead letting other roadies know to look out for us which is just awesome.
We road passed a blue tongue lizard sunning himself right in the middle of the road. How he hadn’t been squished already was dam good fortune so we stopped and scurried the feisty man off the damage path. I only know blue tongues to be black but this guy was brown and thorny and prehistoric looking. There’s so much road kill mostly roos but Ive also seen pigs, foxes, rabbits, cats and hawks. This adds another dimension to the aromas on the road. Another is ‘Links’ deodorant that we 9 times out of 10 get a huge woof of when the trucks pass. It would make a great add. ‘Links…. as tough as our truckies and lasts just as long…….’ mmmm maybe not 🙂
The highlight on the road today was being passed by a group of fellas riding posty bikes and wearing colors with ‘Pelican Posties’ on the back. They each gave us a huge blast with their array of horns and a wolf whistle that put Rube’s to shame. The bikes were at full throttle and sounded like two stroke mowers.
We came into Longreech this arv and Rube wanted her picture taken outside the Hall of Fame and the Quantas museum. It looks so odd seeing a huge 747 parked downtown Longreech which is signposted the gateway to the outback. The scenery is straight out of an Australian Geographic for me and Im loving every inch of those long straight roads. The face of the outback is weathered with smile lines and tough as they come. Like Maureen said ‘it’s all guts no glory’ for the folk here but their friendly laid-backness is a unique treasure.
We found a small caravan park on the other side of town and I couldn’t believe it, also staying here were the Pelican Posties. They were well into ‘beer’ o’clock and welcomed us like old friends. I was invited to have dinner with them and they chucked in a whole bunch of donations and cheekiness. What a great bunch of lads. They are all businessmen from Ballina who are on a fundraising roadtrip to Darwin. They have already raised $50 000 dollars for The Flying Doctors with a target of $100 000. They have invited Rube and I to stay in Ballina on our way through and will set us up in a motel and do a dinner to celebrate our road soon home. This is so far down the track but what an awesome thought to help pass the hours across the Nullabor hey? We’ll definately make that one happen. I can’t thank the lads enough for their generosity, good fun and $131.75 in donations. They also gave me a t-shirt that I have to wear out in Ballina. I’ll have to accessorize it with a belt as it’s size huge and awesome!!!!! They all signed it and I think it’s the best. Thank you lads and safe full throttle to Darwin. Congratulations for your creativity, good humour and fundraising achievements as part of the Pelican Posties. Cheers!!!! I got a great group shot with the lads. Rube had the shi#s until I told her she was getting her picture taken with the bikes in the morning before they head. She’s sleeping now to look her best for the boys. She’s such a flirt.
I later met Chris and Cec who are also staying at the caravan park and they donated $10 and Cec made an oath. So that’s $279.25 cash donations and 22 oaths in 17 days. Yayayayayayaya (deep breath) yayayayayayayaya. Talk soon x