Day 28 142 days to go. Distance: today 131km total 2661km. It’s 7.30pm Friday 3/8/12 Barkley Homestead. I was just reading over last night’s blog with a big giggle. I love that it started off with ‘marsupial mice’ but ended in ‘for #uck’s sake #uck off’ to the plague of rats they turned out to be. After moving, it was all quiet until I got out dinner then they appeared scurrying across the dirt tracks from all directions to eat my dinner and anything that got in their way. I ended up eating my rounds of cheese and vegimite sandwiches standing in the centre of a clearing throwing rocks at the blighters as they bee lined me from the grasses. It was quite disgusting and I was eeeeking like a big chick at how desperately grose they were. So to cut a icky story short, I ended up putting the peanut paste jar and left over crusts in a plastic bag to the side of the rest area away from the super tent. Before long there was a debacle of rustling and squeeks coming from the bag but they left us alone for the rest of the night. This morning Rube, the tent, the gear bag and me were all in tact with no bits nibbled off so happy ending yay. I got a visit from the folk I met last night to wave us off and we were all squeeling at the rat stories. Terry said we should have done like the chinese do to cull the population a bit but I sadly declined in respect of my vegitariasm. I was telling them about in Laos how the villages ate everything with legs and at roadside stalls where crops grew they would be selling bunches of strung up rats. I shared the story when I was at one stall buying my bananas and bumped my head against something hanging letting out an almighty chick squeal when I turned to a face full of rat legs. I remember the stall ladies being particularly amused by it all. The folk waved us off but not before donating $50 and doing an oath each wow how incredibly generous. If we end up going the Mildura highway across Victoria I may yet see these folk again in Euchucha. They are so lovely and big cuddles before parting. They couldn’t praise us enough and wished us safe travels.
Along the road we passed a highway 66 sign and stopped for a picky. A couple of police lads pulled up behind us to make sure we were ok but I think it was to just check out what we were doing. They were ooo’ing and ahhh’ing over Rube and the girl’s been a puffed up pom pom ever since thinking coppers are pretty cool. Pretty soon after this Nathan and Bruce from ‘Top Gear’ magazine passed us heading back from Tenant Creek. They gave us a huge Chrysler beep and wave on their road trip back to Brissy. It’s a beautiful car by the way and stands out on highway 66 as something pretty spesh.
The new addition to birdlife today were flocks of bright green bush budgies. They were so vivid against the landscape. The red ant hills we’ve been seeing now for days have huge nests amongst the wee ones, the size of a backyard shed. Are they bigger ants of just big dot ant hills? Regardless they look wicked and are a real feature in the landscape.
We had our break at the 90km mark at a rest area where there were other vanners stopped for lunch or overnight. As we pulled up I saw this fella with a ‘Bridge to Brisbane finisher’ t-shirt and asked when he did the fun run. We gotto talking and he gave me a can of coke that tasted sooooooooo yummy. It was all of 30 degrees today and it went down pretty well. I’m loving the heat by the way. I’ve been in the cold now since mid January and am soaking up the warmth of the days like a lost friend. I sat with Lionel and Joy while they had lunch savoring my coke. It turns out they’re from Caloundra and Lionel is a retired Qld police officer. His daughter works at the station I was last attached to what a crazy small world. He is the most ‘up’ friendly and engaging man and would have been an awesome officer. We have a Christmas date when I get back as they’re our coastal neighbors and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again. In our hour spent they shared travel stories and jokes and photos of their trip to South Africa to watch their daughter do the annual ultra marathon in Durban. They met this Japanese fella cycling around Australia on a $60 Kmart special. He was crossing the Nullabor at the time so they travelled with him as a support crew setting up camp and sharing company in the evenings. The man’s bike broke and Lionel lent him his bike to continue his peddling until he got to Perth. The gentleman could speak little English but they made such a bond with him sharing the experience and a piece of Australia that they both now treasure. Lionel was explaining how many Japanese will cycle Australia as it looks great on their resume as far as character or it gets them back in the family’s good books if they have had a falling out. They’re heading back now to Caloundra and will be home when we finish so it’s a date to catch up for that Christmas coke fine fine folk. They generously donated $10 and Lionel made an oath.
The next 40kms to Barkley Homestead were the hardest haul we have done so far. The road was straight and inclined the whole way and could easily do your head in. I spent the time entertaining my brain with distractions and topping up with a lollie every 5kms. We were very happy to see Barkley Homestead come up yayayaya. The folk here have let us camp as a freebie to support our challenge which is awesome. It’s a really nice spot with a huge Brahma bull wondering the park like something you’d see in India. I got busy doing my washing and met a couple who has passed us now a few times and so keen to know what we’re up to. Robin and Terry and Sam from Camooweal are also staying here and I chatted a while with Robin and Sam. Terry said he would have paid our camp fees how lovely is that!!!! There is a paid phone here so I was able to call my Mum for her birthday which was lovely and a surprise for her which is cool. Happy Birthday Mops!!! For now it’s time for dinner and bed very tidey wides tonight and I can hear the sleeping bag calling. It won’t be the same without the rustling sounds of plastic bags and squeaking rats but we’ll do our best to enjoy the rest of the night 🙂 With donations and oaths from today, our total is now $554.35 with 31 oaths in 28 days. Dam fine indeedy. Talk soon x