Note on images: Most of my photos are on my camera and I forgot to bring the cable that connects it to my laptop. This post will be updated at a later date once I get that sorted.
Magpies warble and kookooburras laugh as I open my eyes. I snuggle up in my sleeping bag enjoying the luxury of Mother Nature’s alarm clock. The sun will rise in fifteen minutes so there’s no rush to get out of bed. I slept well and the Maidenwell traveller’s rest area was quiet all night.
It doesn’t take me long to pack. I don’t have to rush; I just potter away methodically fitting all my gear onto the bike. The air is cool but not cold; thanks to the blanket of grey clouds hanging low over the land. I consider leaving my wet weather gear in an easily accessible place but decide against it. It’s a decision I will come to regret later in the day but not one that I will dwell on. As the sun shines it’s orange light across the eastern sky, I ride off down the highway enjoying the muted colours of gum trees and grasslands in the overcast morning light.
I blast through Nanango and ride on to Goomeri where I stop for breakfast. I boil the billy for hot chocolate and munch on raisin bread as I watch the goings on in town. Grey nomads tow oversized caravans (rigs) with huge four wheel drive cars. This is the daily ritual for them: leave early to get the best spot at the next campsite (often just a roadside rest area). A few families turn up and stop to let their children use the bathrooms or stretch their legs. I guess they are off someplace for the school holidays, which started today. A family with a horse float stops across the road. At first I only see the appropriately horsily dressed parents but soon one child after another piles out of the truck and starts running across the grass as if to stretch their legs and rejoice in the freedom of getting out of their car.
The grey clouds come lower as I ride on to Ban Ban Springs. I can’t help but think if Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as I smell the various scents that fill the country air. There’s sweet wattle flowers and lucern hay. There’s stinky dairy cattle and road kill. There’s the occasional waft of eucalyptus. And then, as I turn east from Ban Ban Springs towards Gin Gin the heavens open and I get to experience that other side of motorcycle touring: getting wet. That decision I made this morning to put my wet weather gear away comes back to bite me. I could stop to dig it out or complain but instead I just settle in and enjoy the freedom of life on the road.
It’s almost 4pm by the time I reach my destination. I haven’t been to Baffle Creek in just over two years. But still I recognise the familiar road in with it’s sections of paperbark swamp. I feel happy and excited to be here visiting my friends K and G. They are just lovely people and we have always shared many laughs.
K is someone with whom I can talk about anything without censorship and right now I have a lot to talk about. I know K also shares a lot with me so I look forward to hearing her stories. We settle in straight away with a cup of tea and a campfire to start our catch up. For the first time I don’t have to rush off after just one or two nights so I’ll stay a few days before I move on.