We left Townsville completely sodden! When you live in a camper trailer, there is little more depressing than having everything wet. Bedding, clothes, food and even the smell of damp in the car – all competing to ruin the spirits and ‘dampen’ our enthusiasm.
We wandered around Charters Towers for a few hours, showing the children the historical significance of the formerly huge town. Stopping on the side of the road for a quick overnight camp did little to boost our spirits, as we were parked beside the highway. The light spattering of rain became the least of our miseries. At about 3am, a refrigerated truck stopped to rest for 4-5 hours, with the refrigeration unit running the whole time! Honestly! We have been very respectful towards truck drivers, they manage quite a difficult task – walking the somewhat blurry line between transport regulations and demanding company schedules, most of them retain something of their sanity and sensibility, mixed with a little cynicism. But by daybreak, we had had enough. We moved as quickly as we could……
At lunchtime, the we stopped and admired the extremely large Van Gogh painting in Emerald before continuing south to Injune, to meet with Daniels’ sister, Naomi, her husband John, and Geoffrey, their exuberant 14 year old. On the road, evidence of an enormous amount of rain throughout western Queensland was beginning to unfold. Grass was laid flat beside every creek and watercourse we passed, with debris plastered on the surrounding trees up to several metres above the road. It appeared as though most of the water had subsided, leaving only the remnants of a recent flood. Incidentally, after Naomi and John went to Townsville, they tried to return along this same route, and were denied due to the roads being closed (again) with flooding. This was less than 2 weeks later!
It was fantastic to spend a night with Naomi, John and Geoffrey. They were on their way to Townsville to see Mum and Sir, whom we had just left! John is a bit of a gadget man, and he showed us one of his latest. On his phone (of course) he has an application called Starmap. When you point the phone into the sky, it shows you the names of the stars you are looking towards. You can also search for stars, planets, constellations etc. This is amazing! With some of the sites we have camped, we have been a LONG way from city lights, and the stars become brighter and more vivid than ever. It would be awesome to have this available when you can see forever. Maybe on my next phone….. Karen was up to her usual tricks, encouraging Geoffrey to “Go ahead and eat this tin of baked beans” for dinner, whilst were hung out around the first campfire we had managed for a few weeks. Never mind that he would spend the entire next day cooped up in the car with his luckless parents!
As we moved further south, the weather seemed to clear, and our sprits began to rise again. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything would dry out again and all would be well. We may even get the wet clothes and bedding dry. And so, we managed to sneak into Maleny and spend a couple of relaxing days with Barry and Carol (Karens’ parents). It rained.
Fortunately we were staying in their house, and the camper was set up to dry under the shed. Getting the washing done can be an arduous task when you travel, so having access to a washing machine and dryer is always a blessing. We made the most of our time there, having not seen Barry and Carol for almost a year.
Our final destination was the Lones Scout annual group camp, held in Samford (western Brisbane) each year. You can read about this on the Scouts section of this blog. This page may be still under construction.
After the scout camp, Daniel had 2 weeks work on the Sunshine Coast with his old boss from last year. So we were looking forward to spending some time there, to rest and refresh. We arrived feeling depleted emotionally, spiritually and financially. We needed a little time to recharge in the loving care of our friends and church family.
As I re-read through this blog article, it appeared to be a little bleak. I was going to work it over a bit more, but suddenly realised that I didn’t need to. Sometimes our journey can be difficult, wearing, and stressful. Occasionally, I think people overestimate the awe of a journey like ours, and underestimate the cost. We often hear “What a great way to live” or “What an experience for your children.” Whilst I cannot deny that this is true, it can also be very demanding, living in close quarters and trying to make ends meet. I trust that the reader will understand.
Sunrise over Lake Cootharaba, Boreen Point