Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 199

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Tuesday - Thursday, March 1 - 3 2011 (diary)

Tuesday is my last morning with the Diddilliba Bridge Club, after which I say my farewells at the Mooloolaba Surf Club over lunch there.
Wednesday morning at 4.30AM (while it is still dark) I depart for Darwin. First 550km north along the Hume Highway to Rockhampton, then from there another 550km west along the Capricorn Highway to Barcaldine (100km East of Longreach) where I arrive at 5.30PM.
Thirteen hours in the saddle is a hard slug, especially with the numerous road works in progress everywhere. The heavy rain and floods in Queensland last month certainly have done much damage, but much to their credit, the road gangs have been out in force and made repairs on all the major highways.

Mind you, because of the urgency it are all quick slap down repairs, so that some roads look really like patchwork quilts, with small rectangular patches of emergency seals put here there and everywhere. At places where potholes still exist (for example west of Emerald along the Capricorn Highway) very good warning signs have been placed to mark these areas, so that you can negotiate them slowly and safely.
Table top mountains near Winton, Queensland Australia
All in all I was pretty exhausted when I at long last arrived in Barcaldine, with 1,100km on the clock.
I tried a new motel here for a change, the Barcaldine Country Motel and found the accommodation good (for a reasonable price) and their kitchen excellent. Unlike many motels (which try to do the up market thing) this place prides itself on its family style cooking, just what I like. Sausages, rissoles, kebabs and some top quality steak (for only $20 !!). So I definitely will come here again, that is for sure.

Kynuna Cafe, halfway between Longreach and Mount Isa Thursday morning I feel fit and ready again and leave Barcaldine at 6.15AM. An hour later I am in Longreach, hunting around for the best fuel price to fill up. The Mobile Depot has got that this time and a very friendly lady helps me here early in the morning. We have a friendly chat and (after promising I will drop by again next time) I drive on.

After Winton, 190km down the track (where I don't stop this time), I drive another 170km to my regular stop, Kynuna, where I stop for my regular poached eggs on toast and coffee.

The owners are away, explains the woman who is looking after the Cafe right now. Her poached eggs are excellent, but not a word, a least sign of hospitality from her. (such as "Would you like some sauce?", "Is the salt damp? Let me get you some.")
What an enormous difference we can make as individuals, I reflect. A friendly word, a smile, can make all the difference to someone else's day. So why don't we do that more often. The Mobil lady in Longreach was great, we should have lots more of those. The Kynuna woman we can do without. Some people understand the idea of hospitality, others just don't have a clue (or could not care less!).

Post Office Hotel, on the Camooweal, Qld/NT border Anyway after finishing my poached eggs (which were good) I go on to Cloncurry, where I call Grant (the Manager of the Post Office Hotel in Camooweal). Yes, they have a free room. so I can overnight there.
As I arrive it appears I am the only one there tonight. But you never know. Often there are road workers staying there during the week, and only weekends are a sure bet there.
Never mind I am there now as I write this, another 950km behind me for the day. Tomorrow I may get to Katherine in the NT if the roads are open. I believe they are.

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Friday, March 4 2011 (diary)

Well, here I am, safe and sound in Katherine.
I leave Camooweal at 6AM (NT time) this morning (when it is just getting light) to get a good start. Most of the day it is raining from drizzles right up to heavy down pours and everything in between. As a result the temperature is around 22°C most of the day, lovely cool and great to drive in, and only late afternoon rises (as some dry spells eventuate) and even edges briefly over the 30°C mark.
The other good thing is that, probably because of all that rain and wet roads, my car does not get plastered with locusts, like just about every other year.

The first 450km are westwards along the Barkley Highway to Three Ways. After the first 180km or so I hit a region with poor road runoff and drive through a dozen or more floodways (water running across the road) over a 40 km stretch. Fortunately all very shallow, so no problem to get through slowly.
Stuart Highway, Northern Territory
At Three Ways I stop for fuel and also a quick meal of, yes, savoury mince on toast, with hash brown and a grilled tomato. They do it well here. A trucky tells me here that there are another 8 or so floodways ahead of me on the Stuart Highway, mostly before Dunmarra, but all rather shallow except one. With his hands he indicates about 1 foot deep (30cm), which worries me a bit.
But once there it is not so bad, up to 8 inches (20cm) deep at the most which I get through, driving very slowly, without a hitch. Yet another one (the only one reported online in the NT road reports) is just north of Daly Waters, a big one, 200-300 meters long, but fortunately also shallowish.

Pink Panther Hotel, Larrimah I can not go past the Pink Panther Hotel in Larrimah without having a beer there (only 180km to go to Katherine anyway). The scraggy Dutch lady (former jockey and somehow kept with band aids together in one piece) is not there, so I leave her my regards. The hotel claims to be the highest pub in the NT, at 181 meters above sea level. While drinking my beer a young lass walks in holding a tiny baby rat, white with a black back, in her hands. Never seen a rat like that before in my life.

But there you see, get off the beaten track and you can come across who knows what. I notice they have also savoury mince on their menu, but I am not so sure I will try that there, I have seen cleaner places around.

Anyway, finally I arrive in Katherine, after 1,100km and 11 hours driving. The hotel I usually stay has gone up $25 to $120 per night, but what the hell, I am too tired to go into a caravan park tonight. I will have a great meal at the Sports and Country Club here and then have a good night's sleep.

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Saturday, March 5 2011 (diary)

After a short drive (270km) I arrive safe and sound in Virginia. I stop by at the local Woolworth Centre to do some shopping, pick up my mail and arrive at the Mango Farm.
A huge downpour welcomes me as I drive through the gate (30mm in one hour) and I immediately bog my car in the soft grass alongside the road. Fortunately Rick is there to help me, and during a lull in the rain he pulls my car back onto solid ground with his 4-wheel drive. I unpack some stuff, have a coffee, then try to get online.
My cabin and Rick and Renee's caravan, March 2011
My cabin has sheet metal walls and roof so that I have to sit outside on the veranda to get connected via my mobile phone. I suddenly remember I do have an aerial for my mobile phone I used years ago. I get it out and with Rick's help install it on the outside wall of my cabin. Rick too has an adapting lead which fits onto my mobile. It works perfectly with maximum reception now while inside my cabin.
I need my own adaptor lead, enough excuse to drive into Casuarina Square (shopping center) and get one. Of course I stop by at Bar Zushi for a great lunch of Udon soup and chicken Karaage.

Back home my new set up works fine, no trouble to get online now while sitting inside the cabin, only I have trouble sending email messages out, but that is probably a temporary hitch by my service provider.
I am very tired and in bed straight after the news. The 3,400kms I have driven over the past three days are starting to catch up with me. But a few good sleeps will surely fix that.

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