TITLE: How Many Calories in Dust?
The big green frog was still in the toilet, I could see his leg poking out from under the rim. I wasn’t taking any chances.
Lux had offered to drive the road train across the creek so Fred could get some footage, I hopped up into the cab and went with Lux while Fred and Jason took off in the troopie. It felt good to be sitting up in a truck again chatting to someone who reminded me of Dad in many ways. On the way back we began talking about doing what makes you happy and also about family, both struck a cord with me and as we approached the yard my eyes were welling with tears, Lux handed me a hanky just as we heard Jason’s voice come over the radio. “Fred would like to do an interview with you and Lux, wants to come up and sit in the back of the cab.” He said.
“Okay just give me a minute.” I replied wishing the conversation didn’t have to end.
I suppose in a sense it didn’t have to, but in my mind having that conversation on camera was not me and I was finding it more difficult to be myself on this stage as it was. I’d put my heart and soul into this for over twelve months and loved every moment of it so I needed to be stronger, to stay true to myself before it came to an end and I was left wishing.
The interview was revealing in its own right, I was beginning to feel a little more at ease with the camera when I was conversing with someone, it felt more natural than speaking one on one with the camera. It also helped that we’d spent a couple of days with Lux and Belinda and the conversation flowed naturally. We talked about his experiences on the road and what it was like to bring up children on a cattle station. Fred was perched up behind us in the sleeper part of the cab with the camera rolling.
We all purchased a Lawn Hill Station shirt – our memories of the place so good we were proud to wear it like a badge! We waved goodbye, Jason leading the way with a mud map Lux had drawn that would alleviate Jason’s navigation by elimination approach and take us across the property and over the river I was now looking forward to crossing! This part of the river was beautiful, it was wide; trees dipped their branches into the clear water looking down over the rocky river bed. It was all over too soon and we were almost into the next town, Doomadgee. I’d planned for us to stay here the night originally but as it wasn’t that far along from Lawn Hill I thought we’d push on to Hells Gate Roadhouse.
At Doomadgee we met with Paul the Manager of the Roadhouse, he gave us some insight about the road ahead. Jason and I bought ice-creams and one for Fred. We devoured these outside while watching three aboriginal children ride by on horseback and others darting in and out of the shop with their parents.
I’d phoned ahead to Hells Gate Roadhouse the day prior, Leona and Bill said there was a couple of campsites with our name on them and that they’d recently had fuel delivered so it looked like we were in luck.
Wild pigs bolted across the road and into the scrub, wedge-tailed eagles soared above while Fred and I shielded our faces from the dust each time a truck went by as we inched closer to our destination.
At Hells Gate Roadhouse the three of us got to work on the tents and undertook a moment of frantic searching when it appeared that all the tent poles were missing – they showed up eventually, tucked away at the bottom of the big bag we had strapped to the rhino rack. Phew! Okay so we had the poles, five per tent. We were pretty sure we had two of them where they were meant to go, that left three and some corner bits with seemingly no function. It’s fair to say we’ll get to Darwin and still not know for sure where they were to go.
One of our campground neighbours called out, he had a book he thought I might find useful so I borrowed it for a couple of hours and went off to write for a little while. Turned out he used to be a truck driver too and was born the same year as Dad – same month aswell. He runs a transport company but loves to get away with his wife and see Australia.
It was fine dining this night, Fred and I were working on our laptops in the roadhouse when chef Jason arrived with beer and a tub of rice and tuna each – forty five seconds in Leona’s microwave and dinner was on the table!
TIP: There were no bugs or reptiles in the toilets back in the campgrounds, possibly due to this sign:
LIGHTS ATTRACT INSECTS
INSECTS ATTRACT FROGS
FROGS ATTRACT SNAKES
PLEASE PUT THE TOILET LIDS DOWN
AND TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
THE ROYAL FLYING DOCTORS ARE TWO HOURS AWAY”
TRACK: The Very Best – Hear Me
KMS: 195 – these kilometres are no reflection of the hours spent in the vehicle!