Submitted by: Tony Mangan
Week 4….Airlie Beach to Iibibie, 6-9-2008 to 6-15, 146 miles, 17,785 Total World Walk Miles.
Days are getting shorter and cooler now , light at 6.30 and dark at 5.40 , so about 11 hours of daylight. One more week till the winter solstice on June 21st and then the days start getting longer.
Couple cold mornings where I had to start with wool pants, light jacket, ski mask, and gloves. Once the sun comes out it warms up fast. One hour later I am usually down to shorts and short sleeve shirt, then by 10 or 11am hot enough for white bed-sheet sun poncho.
The McPhearson family stopped to chat and gave me a bottle of coke and invited me to visit them in Mackay for a home cooked meal. A couple days later I called them up from the local shopping center and they came and picked me up to take me to their home. Nice hot shower, computer time, and a home cooked dinner of spaghetti bolonaise with papaya for dessert. Nice breakfast of fresh eggs from their chicken coop in back and I walked the kids to school. They usually ride their bikes so I wrote a note for them to the teacher on why they were a little late.
Channel 7 TV news stopped me on the road into Mackay and interviewed me for their news show. Couple days later as I was coming into the city all kinds of cars were beeping and waving at me. One truck behind me beeped and I just causally waved. One second later he roared past me about 6 inches away. He was passing another truck and was warning me, forgot to look in my rear view mirror, closest I have came to getting hit. Big trucks here with 2 trailers behind and 34 wheels. The rear trailer kind of sways out wide too. Lots of people stopping to offer me food and water and a couple autograph seekers and photo takers.
As I passed the Hampden State School in Kutinbul I noticed about 60 school kids in green and blue shirts lined up at the fence waving at me. So I went over and gave a short talk about my world walk and answered questions for a little while. Some of the teachers took photos and said they would email them. So maybe I will include one in a future article. The principal said all the students had seen the TV news about me and wanted to see me pass, so he let them outside. The principal gave me a school pen and when I told the students that the New Zealand students sang a song for me they sang the school fight song. I read in one book that 50 to 100 years ago students had to pedal a bicycle electrical generator to power a radio to listen to school lessons when they lived on a ranch in the outback. That would work good for American kids that watch to much TV, video games, and computer time if they had to pedal a generator to power up.
As I came out of the library in Mackay my baby jogger was surrounded by 20 students from the Marian State School on a field trip. So I gave another short talk and answered questions about my walk.
My Pocketmail computer broke, and the company is mailing me another one down the road a week or so. So I will be a little behind on returning email for a while. In a very rural part of Oz with 60 miles between some small towns with no libraries.
One month so far from Cairns to just past Mackay, second month to Brisbane, third month to Sydney, fourth month to Melbourne, fifth month to Aidalade, then sixth month either west to Ceduna or maybe take the ferry to Tasmania and walk there for a couple weeks before I fly home to USA from Melbourne.
Week 5….Iibibieto to Yaamba, 5-16-2008 to 5-22, 153 miles, 17,938 Total World Walk Miles.
Amazing how time flies when you are having fun, getting lots of physical exercise, mental exercise, fresh air, and an adventure. 717 miles walked across Oz in 5 weeks so far and 5 more months to go. Every morning I wake up after 8 hours sleep invigorated and raring to walk another 20 to 25 miles. Everyday I am seeing amazing animals, birds, (live and roadkill) insects, people, trees, mountains, flowers, rivers, stars, and the moon. I see lots of cars, trucks, and lots of people still waving , beeping and stopping to chat and give me food and drink. They say the radio and TV are still replaying my interviews for two or three weeks now.
Nice full moon came right into my tent for the last couple nights through the mosquito netting roof. Once I am done cooking and eating my dinner I pull the rain fly over my tent and go to sleep. One night when I was camped right next to a fence a couple horses came by around midnight to check me out. I heard some snorting and thought it was cows at first so I mooed a couple times to say hi. Then I heard hooves stamping and whinnying like horses , so I whinnied back. When I unzipped my tent flap to take a look they stampeded away. Passed a tree full of big bats near Marlbough. Two or three feet wing span fruit eating bats that roost during the day in trees and then eat fruit at night.
Ran into Mushgang (http://www3.telus.net/public/robgwen/BNT/Ravenswood.html ) and his two horses Felix and Oscar. He is riding a horse and leading a packhorse on a trek across Oz on the Great Dividing Range trail. He said he averaged about 30 kilometer (18.6 miles) a day, close to what I do.
Hailed by some campers at a picnic table to join them for a cuppa. Nice chat with cakes, coffee, pancakes with lemon juice and sugar. Then 2 days later I ran into them again at another campground. They took some photos and said they would email them so that I could include them in a future article. They also helped me out with some food for the long stretch to the next town.
Passed through a controlled burn grass fire on one stretch of road . Blowing away from me till I was halfway through when the wind shifted and temp soared to about 120F with blowing smoke for about 30 seconds till I was past it.
Two long stretches between Mackay and Rockhampton over 60 to 70 miles between towns. So I loaded up with 3 gallons (12 liters) of water and food for 3 days. Couple people stopped and gave me some food and water so that helped out. Two men in pickups have stopped so far to offer me rides. I just say no thanks.
Nice museum in Marlborough where they had some old tractors, horse wagons, and a billy goat wagon like what I have been wanting to build. I would like to build something bigger then my 3 wheel baby jogger so I can carry more food and water for some desert stretches. Something like a Conestoga Wagon or a Sheep Camp Wagon. I would make it half size so it is light enough for me to pull instead of a horse. Thinking of selling my car, my cabin and land in Brian Head Utah, and try walking full time and not work half the year anymore. If you eliminate rent or home payments, gas for car, property and school taxes, utilities, and other bills I could live on just $5 to $10 a day. Pulling my Sheep Camp (http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3F_adv_prop%3Dimage%26ni%3D20%26va%3Dsheep%2Bcamp%26fr%3Dush1-mail%26xargs%3D0%26pstart%3D1%26b%3D1&w=500&h=334&imgurl=static.flickr.com%2F2343%2F2173464077_a4149da2c2.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flick r.com%2Fphotos%2Fhiker56%2F2173464077%2F&size=112kB&name=Sheep+camp&p=sheep+camp&type=JPG&oid=a1521240c983e59c&fusr=hiker56&tit=Sheep+camp&hurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fhiker56%2F&no=3&sigr=11gl51k29&sigi=11gq0984s&sigb=13ibf06h7&sigh=11562lujb&tt=9945) around the USA and exploring all the National Forests where you can park a trailer for up to 2 weeks before you have to move. I could use it as a base camp and have a backpack with tent, sleeping bag, and other gear to explore with and forage for wild plants, fish, and hunt small game.
Headed south for Brisbane, email me with questions and comments by clicking on reply. Pocketmail Computer still has not arrived so I will be looking for libraries and I-cafes to check my email. I left another forwarding address at the post office and hopefully it will catch up with me some day.
Keep on Walking, Life is Amazing, Singing Zippity Do Dah All Day Long.
Gary “Walkingman” Hause.