I wake relatively early to crisp cold air. I have work and blogging to do so stoke the fire for warmth and settle in while the sun rises in the east. It’s a bright sunrise today with radiant red light colouring the sky briefly before the white of daylight takes over. I enjoy the few hours of solitude before the day begins. Luckily Paul doesn’t mind a bit of a sleep in, especially on cold mornings. It means I can still work while he’s on holidays.
We take breakfast at the Westmar roadhouse/pub/general store. The tension between the older lady who seems to be the wife of the guy who served us last night and the younger woman employed to serve customers is thick in the air. The whole time we are there it’s obvious she can do nothing right. But the old lady shows that she is at fault when Paul tries to be helpful by taking our plates to the counter after we eat and the older woman snarls at him. Thank goodness for the shop that she is not working behind the counter or she might scare customers away. The younger woman (probably in her late 30s / early 40s) is a delight to speak to as we order out meals so I hope the older woman doesn’t scare her away (for the sake of customers and business).
Breakfast (or is it brunch when you eat at 10am) eaten we hit the road and drive east. The landscape has changed again. We are no longer in red dirt country but the road is now lined by trees. It looks like the ground here is a little rockier and rougher. This might be why there are not so many crop or grass fields.
After about an hour we stop in Moonie for a break. Moonie is an old oil town. There’s an old drill bit on display that was the first drill bit used to take oil from the ground here. There’s also an old oil mule. There’s something about oil mules that fascinates me. I think because it reminds me of a childhood road trip across the US with my parents in a campervan (RV to Americans). Dad made a huge deal about the oil donkeys / mules in Texas and all the way there I was picturing actual animals hauling something out of the ground.
After Moonie we re-enter the Darling Downs. The road jumps up quite a bit and the Great Dividing Range starts to come back into view for the first time since it dropped out of our rear vision mirror four days ago. We stop a few times to collect geocaches and this allows us time to take in the scenery.
We’re headed to Paul’s aunt’s place in Tipton, which is near Cecil Plains. It’s obvious as we drive along how Cecil Plains got it’s name.
Cecil Plains is a tiny town off the main road. There’s not much here and the town is not listed on tourist maps or itineraries. But, as Paul always says, there’s always something to do. And so it is in Cecil Plains. There’s a historic railway station complete with mural and carriages. Some huge silos typical of this part of the world and a gorgeous old Anglican Church.
It’s not far from here to Paul’s aunt’s house in the middle of nowhere.
It’s a gorgeous old Queenslander in the middle of a cotton field. Paul hasn’t seen his aunt in years so it’s a fantastic afternoon of catching up and being introduced for the first time to yet another family member. The tea flows freely and stories fill the air around the kitchen table where we sit.
She has some puppies who think that I’ve come to visit them so of course I have to pat and play with them. Well, I don’t have to but I want to.
Sunset over the fields is a stunning sight. There’s just sun and space. What more could we want for the final night on the road. Family, laughter and gorgeous sunsets. I do wish it was warmer though … The plains are the coldest place we’ve been so far and the overnight temperature will drop to about -3’C (26’F).