065. Day 70. Friday 22nd May 2009. Day turns to night and with it comes doubt…

We decide to travel today. We believe, incorrectly it seems, the rain will move south today as we move north. Our theory is we will pass through the worst weather at some point and emerge into less severe stuff on the other side.

Yeah, right!

It rained all day, strong winds buffeted us and we listened to warnings of possible major flooding and road closures ahead of us. We passed through Kempsey, Coffs Harbour (where we stopped and looked at MH for sale) and Nambucca. We heard on ABC radio (it keeps us totally informed) that Lismore, Woodburn and Grafton were no longer on evacuation alert but has been upgraded to full evacuation status which was now in full swing. By 4pm it was near dark and rain and wind unabated. We pulled up at a rest area at Bom Bom Creek 5klms south of Grafton as the highway is closed at Grafton and several places between there and Ballina. We had stopped at another rest area a few klms south but water was already running through the carpark.

Just before dark a black BMW screeches to a halt behind us. Two men in their twenties emerge and light cigarettes on their way to the toilet. They are laughing and calling each other “dude, didja see that”? or “dude where are we?” They got sidetracked because of the floods and had no idea where they were. They are a couple of “bread stackers” from the Gold Coast on a weekend trip to Coffs Harbour. They stopped to talk with us and show a video on their mobile phone. On a back road they got surrounded by a herd of cattle. Everything was funny to them. They reminded us of Dumb & Dumber but they were nice, inoffensive young men -–high on life or something.

We are dry and the wind has eased. A starry sky is above us. We dine on lamb tandoori (yes we made it ourselves) with a glass of wine. We could be in a worse spot but consider ourselves fortunate we are not trapped in rising floodwaters somewhere ahead of us.

The last evacuation bus leaves Grafton for Coffs at 8.30pm.

Traffic becomes less and less in both directions.

It rains in heavy bursts all during the night.

A couple of men in a bongo van are parked behind us. They have put up a tarp and have a small fire and cook dinner in a camp oven. Later they sit around for a few drinks and pull out a guitar and sing quietly. The car in front has a lone occupant watching a small TV or dvd. It seems he lives nearby but cannot get home because the access road is flooded. He is tired but cannot sleep for long sitting in his seat.

Two trucks are pulled up further behind us.

Our small community spent an uneasy night.

Not many photos this week due to the deteriorating weather conditions.

 

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