As I left Moree under leaden skies , the plaintive call of one of the good ol’ boys called after me “Goodbye Forest!”
And the rain came tumbling down in buckets. After a while I was as wet as I was ever going to be, besides it was warm and very little wind. Frogs in the marshland made frog noises, a flock of budgerigars wheeled across the sky.
The smells today were of licorice, mustard and cauliflower.
I found a comfortable rhythm and thought about Audax rides I have completed in wet conditions. I pulled off the road at a rest stop as it allowed me a little cover from the rain. A couple of guys in a beat up old Holden had the same idea. Wringing out my gloves and drying my glasses, the older of the two said: “We are just about to blow a couple of joints, you cool with that?”
“Fine with me, I’m having a banana.” So we got talking they were a Father and Son. Dad was 57 who claimed to be a special needs teacher. Son was 24, a classically trained musician. They were headed up to Cooktown where a job and free rent were waiting. Their plan was to work hard for five years and save $50,000 . “With that kind of money you can build a house in Bali!” said Dad.
“Sounds like a plan” I said, “good luck with that.” We shook hands and they roared off into the rain stoned off their heads, a little disconcerting for a vulnerable cyclist.
The roadworks had cars, trucks, caravans and this cyclist slowing the stopping, waiting to be waved through. A couple of old blokes in the car next to me wind down the window: “Well if somebody told be about it I wouldn’t believe them, but here I am looking at you with my own two eyes. Are you riding around Australia?”
“That’s the plan.”
“I’ve heard that people do it but I never seen anyone. I rode a motorcycle out in the bush years ago but nothing like that. I take my hat off to ya” and he did too “good luck to you young fella.” I loved the young fella bit.
As the afternoon wore on, the rain became less frequent showers, so much so that I almost dried out
crossing the border from NSW into Queensland! I finally posted that next postcard in a series of postcards to mum I have been sending. I thought of mum a lot today, I received the news yesterday that she had broken her femur in a fall. They will operate tomorrow, traumatic for a women just this side of 93, fingers crossed .