Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DAY 145: Marlborough to Carmila

130 km at 19.9 km/hr

Mon 17th March 2008

Distance to date 8782 km (5489 miles)

Cloudy, sunny intervals, 26 deg C

A nice quiet night and up at 0630. Unable to engage with either of my 2 neighbours so not a very sociable experience - even in the pub I couldn’t get a conversation, oh well, thank goodness that’s unusual. I was on the road by 0730 since this will be another long day.

Much the same as yesterday, todays stretch is similar scenery (flat plain with hills in the middle distance); perhaps a little bit more undulating today but no steep hills or sharp bends - long straights of 3km or more were common. An adequate shoulder is present for about 50% of the way, but the absence of shoulder was of little consequence as a result of the sparse traffic - a few more lorries today (especially wide loads for some reason) but no more than one vehicle every 1 or 2 minutes.

At 33km there was a roadhouse where I had the usual iced coffee, stared at mercilessly by a 50-seater coachload of what mostly appeared to be Swiss tourists. I gleaned from one couple that the package tour started and finishes at Melbourne; north on the east coast to Cairns, west to Darwin then south via Alice Springs and Uluru. I couldn’t think t the moment of anywhere I would less like to be than on that tour.

At the halfway point I had a half-hour stop at a rest area then on to Kalarka Roadhouse at 100km for more caffiene. Another tour group were having a break there, with Oziexperience, who seem to have a lot of buses on the road; this one was Melbourne to Cairns over around a fortnight.

Not much else to report for today, though that doesn’t mean I’m bored, far from it - there are occasional interludes today for example where I saw a black snake slither away into the grass; a Wedge-Tailed Eagle tracked me overhead for a while; I spent some time looking for Koalas when I saw a sign warning of their presence; lots of Black Cockatoos screeching around - and there’s always the Wicked Campervans to read. A company with this name hires out campervans which are all painted differently grafitti-style and with different jokes or logos - for example “Virgins wanted - no experience necessary” or “Toot if you’re sexy” etc. etc. It must be quite a big company as lots of these pass me every day. Some of the rest of the time is just spent deep in thought, about life, love, the next ‘project’ etc., or just spent in a dream-like spiritual state - no, I never find this boring even for over 6 hours as per today.

I called it a day at Carmila which gives me 113km to Mackay tomorrow and my Warmshowers host Peter. I’m looking forward to having a look around the town as it sounds pretty interesting. I spotted the library as I entered town and for once I was in luck, finding the library open on one of it’s 2 days a week of opening. And yes, I could use the internet but I was warned it was ‘very slow’ - indeed it was, and I barely managed to send a couple of e-mails in half an hour, and didn’t even bother trying to upload. And then I was asked for $2 when no charge had been mentioned to me earlier! I then had a quick look around the town (that took 5 minutes lol) and then armed with 2xGatorade from the 24-hour service station I cooked spaghetti at the tent. There seemed to be fewer mosquitos around here - the last 2 nights have been pretty bad and I sustained several attacks, all over the body. A nosy Brush Turkey was mooching around for scraps though, and when I went to the toilet block there were dozens of frogs all over the place and i tried to avoid standing on one as they make such a mess! It’s a bit more noisy here compared to last night but it should settle down a bit later - I hope to be up and about early again tomorrow.

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