Southport Revisited – The End

Sep 2 – I drove across the Northern Territory border, back into Queensland today, the state we started from.

Queensland/NT border

Queensland/NT border

Vandals everywhere, it seems.

NT/Queensland border

NT/Queensland border

Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. ~1,900ks to the Gold Coast to close the loop!

The scenery on the road from Three Ways Roadhouse, Northern Territory to Camooweal, Queensland, crossing the Barkly Tableland – frying pan flat in all directions, horizon to horizon.

north west Queensland

north west Queensland

Suby & TAS enjoying a breather and taking in the scenery

Suby & TAS enjoying a breather and taking in the scenery

Encountered a round-up on the drive to Mount Isa – breaking the tedium of the long drive.

cowgirls on the job

cowgirls on the job

Open ranges without fences along the highway. They call it “droving” here.
Ohighway round-up

highway round-up

Sep 6 – Arrived at Longreach for the night. I broke my rule for the 1st time and drove through dusk, into the darkness to get there. As soon as night fell, the kangaroos started to fly through the air! Mobs of them zooming across in front of me and through the grass along-side the road. White knuckle driving for the last hour into camp. I sure won’t do that again.

Sep 7 – Leaving Longreach this morning, I saw the carnage along the highway – kangaroo bodies everywhere – sister and brother, mother and daughter, father and son – bodies for miles and miles on the road out-of-town.

That afternoon, I crossed the Great Dividing Range (GDR), back onto the eastern coast heading for Emerald. I last crossed the GDR, heading west, last December when I left Bellingen for Tamworth.

After driving for a day and half across a pancake flat plain, it was a shock to hit the hills of the GDR – curves, hills, up, down and around.

Driving hard to reach Clermont, I clipped a kangaroo’s tail as it flew out of nowhere, across my ‘bow’. Just like the picture below, only from right to left. Just had time to touch the brakes – didn’t want to jack-knife. It was enough to give him time to fly past with a small smack on his tail. Couldn’t stop to see if he was OK – hope he was.

roo crossing

roo crossing

I met 4 of those monster trucks today with ‘crazy’ loads on board. I learned in Western Australia, if you see 2 point cars, then you better get your ass off the road, because there’s something humongous coming! One point car, OK, but 2, get off the road if you can. IF YOU CAN, being the key. I had negotiated several successfully today until late afternoon when 2 point cars came up out of nowhere, with the MOTHER OF ALL LOADS right on their heals, no warning. There was no time to find a place to pull the van over.

They caught me on a section of Queensland highway without a shoulder, right in front of a bridge without rails that dropped off into a deep gully. I had about 2 seconds and 30 cms to pull off the highway as best I could. I could have trashed the car and van by driving them off the bridge into the gully, but I took the gamble and just had to sit and watch this monster roar buy at high-speed, hoping it wouldn’t destroy me, the car and the van. This is cowboy bullshit!!! – Jeez Putu.

Something like this, only traveling at 80 or 90k/hour right at me.

hell on wheels

hell on wheels

I’m awarding Queensland the raspberry for the worst roads in the country. I think I’m qualified after the miles I’ve put in. In no time at all after crossing from the NT into Queensland I noticed the narrow roads and their wavy, bumpy, lumpy condition. Their crumbling edges, lack of verges – grass and bush growing up to the edge of the pavement in places. Today I went from paved highway to dirt/gravel patches on and off many, many times. This is the main highway from Longreach to Rockhampton – WTF.

Are interstate highways funded by the commonwealth government? If they are, you voters might want to check, because someone in the QLD government may be pocketing the coin instead of spending it on highway maintenance. They’re a mess compared to the rest of OZ, where the roads are mostly excellent! My beer tonight was a geyser when I opened it, so shaken up after today’s drive.

Slowly, slowly Putu.

Sept 10 – I sold TAS today! A couple from Moranbah bought her. Good old gumtree.com.au. My sweet TAS. She’s sheltered me so well for almost 11 months now. Many miles and experiences shared. Sunshine, rain, wind, dust, road trains, kangaroos, cattle, dingoes, emu, camels, the Nullarbor, mountains, plains, 300k stretches without petrol, loneliness, laughs, excitement, adventure!

Sept 14 – I left TAS in Moranbah today with Gayle and Gary. So sad to leave her behind. I know they’ll take good care of her, Laurel and Ian. They’ve been looking for a long time and knew all about the Bottaro brothers. I know she’ll be in good hands.

I made the run for the Gold Coast, stopping overnight in Rockhampton and Hervey Bay. These are places I’ve been before, but I couldn’t call my trip complete until I reached the starting point in Southport, just down the highway.

Here’s my new home after leaving TAS behind.

home now that TAS is gone

home now that TAS is gone

Sept 17 – we drove into Southport this afternoon and passed the caravan park we started from last November – no flags waving, no cars honking, no band playing – oh well … you done good Suby!

I’ve been everywhere man – Southport, Murwillumbah, Bellingen, Tamworth, Mudgee, Lithgow, Gundagai, Melbourne, Lancefield, Green’s Beach, Beauty Point (Launceston) , Seven Mile Beach (Hobart), Lake Burbury, Strahan, Burnie, Apollo Bay, Portland, Keith, Adelaide, Nuttbush Retreat (Port Augusta), Streaky Bay, Fowler’s Bay, Border Village, Fraser Range Sheep Station WA, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Albany, Big Valley Sheep Station (Margaret River), Perth, Geraldton, Cue, Tom Price, Port Hedland, Stanley, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Turkey Creek, Timber Creek, Pine Creek, Darwin, Cooinda, Batchelor, Mataranka Homestead, Three Ways, Alice Springs, Yulara, Camooweal, Mount Isa, Longreach, Clermont, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay – and all points in between!

Here’s the map (thanks Joy): Ctrl/click

http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?vps=2&ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=209198152440536352020.0004d957157c9d1f2073c

As my favourite philosopher, Forrest Gump, said “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”, like my trip to Bali. So, get out there and keep opening doors, because when you stop, well …

Folks, thanks for following and sharing your thoughts.

Thanks for the idea Nancy.

** The End **

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About durhamgjvoyageur

Retired guy, travelling and enjoying our amazing world - "Gap Year"!
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2 Responses to Southport Revisited – The End

  1. Sue says:

    It’s just the beginning now, Jer – a new box of chocolates are there for you with delicious chocolates inside I’m sure
    xxoo

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