Cardwell to Flying Fish Point
Day 271 on the road
It was a short night for me, I am still not used to Aussie time. I wake up a little later each day but still can’t sleep in until 5 a.m. Perhaps by the time we go north to Japan I will be on Aussie time, but then I will be in yet another time zone.
I woke and was ready to start the day at 4 a.m. The people occupying the tents surrounding me were surprised to hear the Microsoft Windows sound as I booted up the computer. What else was I supposed to do in the dark for 2 hours? So I wrote until the battery went low, wasting no time.
We were camping on an athletic field, being hosted by the Cardwell Lions Club. Those guys sure know how to put on a meal and a breakfast. We had several choices of meat for dinner and when we didn’t finish all of it at night, they reconstituted it for breakfast in addition to the normal fare. It was Aussie hospitality we will all remember.
Leaving camp in the morning one of the fellows remarked that we were on a “hurry-up vacation.” No kidding! If he only knew how we felt, “hurry-up vacation” indeed! Australia is country #42 for me this year.
Back on the road, I suffered through 60 more miles of sugar cane fields, only today we began seeing banana plantations too. The Highway 1 was not only boringly dull, but very busy with tractor trailor trucks going at such high speeds they sometimes propelled me forward in their jet stream. If only it was for longer than 2 seconds!
My favorite road antidote of the day came from Theresa and Susan. Poor Susan had a flat tire. She had her bike up side down and the wheel off. Theresa came riding by at the same time 2 trucks transporting a mobile home in 2 halves came speeding by. The wind from the truck knocked Susan’s bike over. Now at this point in the road the shoulder was none existent or the shoulder that was available was at the bottom of a very deep ditch. As her bike fell, Theresa said “your bike fell.” Susan thinking it fell over said, “no problem.” But as she turned to her bike, she couldn’t see it. She said to Theresa, “where is it? It was here a minute ago!” The bike had fallen all the way down the ditch!
I met a bike tourer today going the opposite direction. He is on a self supported trip to Tasmania, about 5000 kilometers away. Most of the time he stays in Backpacker Hostels, but he was carrying a tent, just in case he wanted to stay outside. I was amazed at what he was doing, then I remembered, I’m doing something similar. I’m just not self-supported right now. Next time I go I will be. But then next time I go it’s going to be on a BMW, or maybe a sailboat.
The best part of my day came only 5 kilometers from camp. I visited Thompson’s River Crocodile Farm. The farm was also a reserve with kangaroos, ostrich, snakes, etc. I arrived just in time to see the Crocodiles have their daily feeding of pig. They are amazing creatures, the stuff nightmares are made of!
The owner Mitch was a jokester who truly enjoyed his work. He delighted in telling stories and teasing folks. At one point he was telling us how fast a particular crocodile was, he opened the gate to throw in a chunk of meat and instead of throwing it forward he through it backward towards Anthony’s feet. At the same time he slammed the door shut. The look on Anthony’s face was priceless!
Each Crocodile has a name and a distinct personality. The one consistent trait of each beast was how terribly scary they are. I was in awe, every time they opened their mouths to eat. Why on earth anyone would get in a cage with such a beast is beyond me. But then Mitch seemed to know when he was safe, it was always just after shoving a hunk of pig into their gapping jaws. After which he would scratch their heads with a plastic rake. Crocodiles like their heads and body scratched. Humm, I don’t think I’ll be doing that anytime soon.
These are the two year old crocodiles waiting to be chosen of the few who get to breed. The rest will have a future in the luggage industry. (P.S. this photo is dedicated to my Zachary who as a young child was scared of the alligators who lived in Colorado (?) Hi Zack!)