To answer the question in the title banner. 1,500 Klms from Airlie Beach.
Monday 16th December
Four days of work with nothing to report.
Friday 20th December
Although I went to bed by 10pm I woke at 1am.
Sheesh. I’ve got things on my mind!
I woke again at 4am and no matter how I tried could not get back to sleep. So after finishing my packing, a cup of coffee and dressing I was ready to roll in the half- light just before dawn. I was driving out the Flametree entrance at precisely 4.50 am bright eyed and bushy tailed. I breakfasted at McDonalds Mackay before 7am and re-fueled at a Coles Express Service Station. After a 4 cents a litre discount the litre rate was still $1.53.9. WOT THE! In Airlie Beach two days ago I used a discount fuel outlet which advertises $1.47.7 cents per litre and will honour both Coles and Woolworths discount vouchers. That brought the price down to $1.43.7 cents per litre. How can a small, off the main highway town like Airlie Beach have 10cents a litre cheaper fuel than a city such as Mackay. More surprises were in store for me. I stopped for coffee at McDonalds Rockhampton (can you see a pattern here?) then fueled up at the same brand discount fuel outlet as Airlie Beach but here in Rocky, a city bigger even than Mackay, it was $1.59.9, admittedly cheaper than the regular outlets which were $1.63.9.
More WOT THE!
I turned inland at Rocky, planning to pick up a highway near Emerald and travel inland along the same route Donnis took a month ago. I wanted to avoid the Mount Morgan Range. The GPS had other ideas but I ignored it. Or thought I did. Suddenly I found the road I was on was climbing steadily until I reached a road block forcing me to detour. It seems I had somehow found my way onto the Mt Morgan Range Road but it was closed due to a rock slide. The detour went via the Razor Back Range, a steep and winding narrow road with a mile of traffic behind a little red car. All of us crept up the range and into Mt Morgan. Grrr! I probably wasted a good 30 minutes on that road. Later, somewhere way over the other side of the range I drove through countryside which felt like I was in a giant pie dish surrounded by steep sharply pointed peaks. I thought it was the remains of a gigantic ancient volcanic caldera but in reality it is all part of the sandstone belt of the Great Dividing Range. Passing through Banana I continued to Theodore where I had lunch. Not far out of town I crossed the Dawson River. The signs along the side of the road gave me pause for thought. For the next 50 or so Klms it was all flood plains for the Dawson River. Wow! I would not like to see the river in flood.
I had been on the road for 12 hours by the time I reached Miles and ready to call it a day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles,_Queensland I am far enough inland now to begin to see road trains. These are semi’s towing three trailers and passing them on the highway brings the adrenalin flooding into the accelerator foot. Watching them come at you from the opposite direction on a narrow shoulderless road brings a lump into the throat.
Saturday 21st December
After a less than peaceful night’s sleep…I was too wound up from driving all day…I did a quick walk around some of the main street, fuelled up and I was on the road before 8am.
The road to Goondiwindi (the locals call it Gun di windy, it is spelled Goon di windy), 190 Klms away is across a flat and almost featureless plain. There are no hills or mountains, nothing taller than a tree to break the monotony except for…The Jumpup. This is a small hill not much taller than a tree which is still so small it does not stand out in the roadway. I was not aware I was on a hill until I saw a sign at the”summit”. The heat haze…temps are up around 40°… creates mirages where the trees in the distance look as though they are growing above the ground or even growing out of a lake. Of course there is no lake anywhere nearby. There are stretches of straight road so straight I was compelled to measure a couple. One stretch went for 17 Klms before I came to a small bend and continued on another straight stretch of 8 Klms before there were two bends followed by another impossibly long straight stretch. I was now beginning to see cattle sheltering in the shade of lone trees in the middle of vast fields of…nothing! I began to see Emu’s and further along where there was ground water and green fields from recent rains water birds including giant Bustards. Coffee at McDonalds Goondiwindi broke the monotony before another 160 Klms of straight road to Moree where I bought groceries, lunched at McDonalds…see there is a pattern forming… before another straight stretch of 145 Klms to reach Collarenebri by 4.30 and 40° heat. The side of the road was littered with patches of cotton bolls which had fallen off the trucks during the harvest. The countryside looks dry and withered but somehow cotton, which requires huge amounts of water, is the main crop in a 250 klm radius.
Although today just a 9 hour drive, I was worn out, nay frazzled and spent the rest of the afternoon shut up in air conditioned comfort while Donnis is at work.
I had a well-earned beer and fell asleep not caring if I had dinner or not.
Sunday 22nd December
Christmas is drawing ever closer and at least Donnis and I are together and can share the isolation…at least until she goes to work.
Today started out as a bit of a shock and I am once again hesitant about sharing until I have more information. There is no easy way of broaching this subject. I umm err urinated blood when I first woke this morning. Actually it was a dark blood clot followed by normal stream. Let me tell you that was a bit of a gasp shock horror couple of moments which became a BIG WOT THE!!! I thought about possibilities while I waited for Donnis to wake, after all she just fini
shed her shift at 11pm last night and needed her sleep, Later, Donnis tested a urine sample and the results were the ones I did not want to hear where abnormal were abnormal.
Apart from feeling a bit tired and washed out yesterday and not really feeling hungry I felt much the same as always. Luckily the doctor at the hospital was on duty and saw me after dealing with an emergency. By now I am beginning to feel like I have an emergency. There is not much else he can do except tell me I have a UTI. (Urinary Tract Infection) Yeah, I sort of figured that out for myself but what type of infection, and the usual how, when, where and why questions sprang to mind.
Dunno dunno dunno was all I was getting in reply. Instead I got a prescription for antibiotics and told to stay out of the sun while taking them. Oh that and come back in the morning and we will run some more tests.
Dear reader you will have to wait until next week to discover the results.
I however, might know tomorrow.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A SAFE NEW YEAR TO ALL.