Walkingman’s 2nd week in Australia.
Hinchinbrook Island to Ayr, 5-26-2008 to 6-1, 147 miles, 17,508 Total World Walk Miles.
Over a small pass only 1.5 miles long through the Great Dividing Range, just north of
Ingham. Now I am in a much drier area with bush for Kangeroo and grazing for cattle.
They still grow sugar cane, but they have to irrigate it with water from a series of
dams on the Burdiken river.
One night as I camped in the bush between the railroad tracks and a dirt road I was
spotlighted by a passing truck with 4 big bull boer dogs behind him. He stopped and
called the dogs to the truck so they would not bother me. The first train that went by
was kind of loud, but sent a nice cool breeze through my tent.
Into Townsville where I stopped in a mall to wait for the library to open up. Helen and
Carol invited me over to their coffe stand for a free cafe latte and asked me about my
walk. Up to the library, but $8 an hour for internet for non-members was a bit steep,
so I found a place accross the street for $4 an hour. Just picked up my new Pocketmail
computer at the post office. So you can email me at walking_man_50(at
sign)pocketmail(dot)com . I spelled out the @ and . so that I might get less spammers
stealing my address and sending me spam. So please do not send me any jokes, petitions,
chain letters, or other bulk mail that spammers like to steal addresses from. You can
still click on reply to this article or email me from my website, but that goes to my
yahoo address, and I will only be checking that once a week or so.
Quite a few people said they heard about me on the ABC Radio News, so I stopped by the
station in Townsville and asked if they wanted to interview me. The link to that is on the
first week interview.
Camped one night behind a bus stop and 3 kids on bikes stopped to talk to me. One kid
asked if I were not afraid of dingoes. So I howled out to warn the dingos that I was
here and that was my territory. Almost all animals know that humans are the most
dangerous animals and they will stay away and leave you alone unless you harass them or
leave food out.
Two cops stopped by one hour later to check me out and ask a few
questions. They said one of the parents of the kids I talked to called them up about
the stranger at the bus stop. Must of been becauce of my wolf howl. Cops said no
worries mate, a very commom expresion here.
Stopped at the Aligator creek servo for some water. Looked pretty familar, I think I
stopped here 15 years ago on a short bike tour. Some smoke coming out of the hills in 7
or 8 places. Looks like an underground coal seam fire.
Finding lots of sunglasses, tools, an Ipod, and other stuff the bikers have been
dropping. I usually leave them on a picnic table if I do not need them. Something like
6000 bikers are here for a rally at townsville. Quite a few have been stopping to chat
and giving me their address to visit down south.
Real nice mural painting of Earth, wind, fire, and water with local kids, farmers and
aboriginals on the bridge supports at Rollingstone. The old bridge runs to one side and
below the new bridge So you can get a good view. No graffiti yet in this small town.
Headed south for Bowen and Mackay on the coast road. Email me at walking_man_50(at
sign)pocketmail(dot)com with questions and comments. If you click on reply or from my
website it will go to my yahoo address and it might take me a week or two to get back
to you. I-cafes and librarys are few and far between.
Walkingman’s 3rd Week in OZ
Good Day from Oz, Ayr to Airlie Beach, 6-2-2008 to 6-8, 131 miles, 17639 Total World Walk Miles.
Walking south out of Ayr I had to cross the Burdikan River bridge. Pretty narrow 2 lane with a sidewalk 5 feet below and off to one side. So I lowered my jogger down 10 steps to the metal walkway with railing on both sides. Four feet wide walkway with spiderwebs and big St. Johns Cross Spiders completely covering every inch of the railings ;and bridge supports. Normally spiders do not bother me, but these spiders were giving me the heebie-jeebies. I must have passed thousands of them just 1 foot on both sides of me. I was hoping they were not poisonous or jumpers. A couple scurried away as I approached, but most just stayed in the center of their web. Some of the biggest had grape sized abdomens with 2 to 3 inch legs. Two legs appeared over the brim of my hat and I flicked it away with my long wide sun poncho sleeves. I just kept looking straight ahead and thinking positive loving thoughts. Halfway across the bridge there was a work scaffold blocking my way, so I had to push backwards and then lug my jogger up 10 steps. Up on the main bridge road I made my way slowly across with most cars and trucks slowing down and giving me room. Millions of spiders covered the whole steel bridge structure.
Nice Lions Club picnic area and Diorama right after the bridge about the Sugar Cane fields, cane cutters, dam, river, irrigation system, and bridge. I took off my hat and sun poncho to check for spiders and cool down using the water in the fake waterfall, river, and lake built into the exhibit.
Just as the sun was setting I noticed a sign for free coffee and tea at the Inkerman Servo (gas station-store). So I stopped and had a tea and talked to a bunch of locals drinking tea and beer and chatting. Camped just across the road among a pile of gravel and sand for local road repairs. Stopped back in the morning for a free cup of coffee. The sign said free coffee if you drink it here, and $3 for take away. $3 is about the normal price for coffee and candy bars are $2.50. So I make my own instant coffee in the morning for about 5 cents and and eat lots of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread at about $4 for .750 kilogram (about 24 ounces) jar. I like it on my Ginger Nut Biscuits (ginger snap cookies) and on my Bananas.
Saw my first 2 live Kangaroos hopping off into the bush. Lots of roadkill roos, wombats, hawks, eagles, owls, and other assorted animals. Still looking for a warm fresh roadkill roo I can skin and roast over a fire.
Man in a pickup truck stopped to offer me a ride to the next town, I said no thanks. He probably wondered what I was doing out in the middle of nowhere. Lots of long stretches between towns of 40 or 50 miles with nothing but a few ranch houses. I have been carrying 9 liters of water and food for 3 days. I have gone a couple days spending no money at all, and then buying 2 or 3 days of food to last me to the next town.
One morning I woke up with ants all over my black footlocker that I bring inside my tent as my table. I left out my stove, cook pot, spoon, and some food. So I broke camp, wiped down my footlocker with bleach water and cooked outside. Later on when I dryed my tent at noon I got out the duct tape and sealed all the little holes in the floor.
Met a bunch of backpackers camped at a picnic area waiting for the harvest season to start. They were making palm frond baskets, hats, and jewelry to sell to tide them over till they could work picking fruit. Played some dice and listened to some music for a while before hitting the sack early. They all stayed up and drank till midnight. The sign said no overnight stays, but there were about 20 vans and 10 tents and maybe 50 backpackers staying there till harvest season started. Big industry over here is tourism for backpackers wanting to travel the country and work part time. All kinds of tours you can go on, backpacker hostels to stay in, and farms advertising for workers. The pay is pretty good, about $20 an hour for inside work packing fruit and a little more or less out in the fields depending on how fast you are.
While I was taking a break along the roadside a car stopped and Joe Pearce got out to video interview me for a You Tube piece. Hopefully he will send me a link for next weeks article if he gets it on You Tube. He invited me to visit him in Airlie Beach and get a home cooked meal. I think I might take a day off and go for a snorkel trip on the reef.
Headed south for Mackay on the coast road. email me at walking_man_50 (at sign) pocketmail(dot) com , if you have any questions or comments. You can also click on reply or from my website www.walkingman.org , but it might take me a week or two to get back to you depending on when I can find another I-Cafe or library.
Keep on Walking, Life is Amazing, Singing Zippity Do Dah all day long.
Gary “Walkingman” Hause.