Monday 8th August 2011.
We are still at Finch Hatton.
In my travels around the area I have seen a number of interesting sights. This weeks post includes photos of some of those sights. All photos are sprinkled throughout this post in random order and do not relate to the text.
Today I was up early as I needed the car as did Donnis. I drove her to work in the dark,
returned to WWWGO for breakfast then headed off to the Census meeting at 10am. Then I headed off up the pass to Eungella to hand out some more Census forms and back down the pass to collect Donnis from work at 4pm.
It is Census Day.
We drove into Mackay to spend an hour or so with my sister Enid (Sue) who is in town for a week to catch up with my other sister Sandra, (Sans, Shan), her daughter Kelly and son Aaron. Also for her to catch up with friends.
After coffee we picked up VIRAGO and took it to daughter Averyl in the hope it will be easier to sell from a more central location.
Afterwards we drove up the range to Eungella to hand out a few more Census forms. While at the caravan park we stopped to chat with a few Danish visitors who were cooking on a barbecue which overlooks the Pioneer Valley. What a spectacular vista. Several cane fires were seen in the distance as well as the street and house lights of the villages and towns along the valley floor. Due to the smoke haze we could not see as far as the lights of Mackay.
The first day of collection of the completed Census forms. I was upset to discover one of the other collectors who promised to deliver to a few of my remote deliveries had not done so. As well one of the properties I could not access did not receive their forms. I drove out along the challenging dam road to deliver to a remote station which has a road suitable for high clearance vehicle only. TERIOS is higher than normal but not high clearance so I could not chance taking on a 40 klm drive of bad, bad, road. I put their forms in a roadside mail drum at the dam. It was a long day. I was home by 4pm but spent another hour compiling the 40 completed forms I received today.
Thursday 11th August
Day two of collecting Census forms and I have slowed down, with a combined two day total of 66 forms. The rate of advices that people have completed their Census on-line has also dropped off. Hmmm. I have 100 more forms to collect including calling back at least three times if somebody is not home. Sigh!
Friday 12th August
Day three of collecting Census forms. I now have 100 collected. Collecting is, if anything, slower than distributing. If somebody is not home and has not left their form out for collection I write a note and advise I will be back on a certain day. Still, I expect I will have 90% collected by Tuesday and it is a case of following up with the remaining 10%. I am a bit tired of driving up and down the pass and all the gravel and rough tracks I am driving over. The TERIOS is handling all I am throwing at it. It is also covered in dust, inside and outside. The floor pan under my feet is covered in gravel and every crevice is covered in dust. My fault I suppose for driving around with the windows open and when another car or truck drives past, their dust just blows in the windows. I will not clean TERIOS until I have completed my contract in another couple of weeks. When I clean and vacuum I will throw out the floor mats and seat covers and replace them. Hmmm. Maybe I could do a nice polish job as well.
Another day of driving up the pass and along rough bush tracks and sometimes, meeting the people who are at home. All seem to be a little starved of new faces and visitors as they all want to have a bit of a chat. Of course then there are those whose homes are becoming part of the jungle who pass things out to me from a half closed door (or for the positive minded people amongst us…a half open door). I get the feeling they are trying to hide something.
The drive up the pass is getting a little tedious, beautiful as the scenery may be. The roads around Eungella and Dalrymple Heights seem to be getting worse although it could be my tolerance is getting lower. The gravel Dalrymple Road has many switchbacks and 20kph corners and follows the contours of the ridge line. For some strange reason the narrow road narrows even further at the corners where there is no margin for error. I try not to look at the steep drop off beside the road but I keep my speed limit less than 70kph. Although this is not a built up area and very few houses or farm gates, the posted speed advisory limit is 70kph for the entire 21 klms.
Today I managed to call on every house or farm where I delivered a Census. Many of the papers were still where I left them meaning nobody has visited since I made my deliveries. In those cases I cancelled the entry. At other homes the papers were complete and waiting for me. In other cases the papers were not waiting for me nor have the tenants completed an on-line census. In those cases I have to return at least another two times to collect the papers. I leave a card to advise I will return and if no result by the third visit I leave a letter.