Day 16…

TITLE: A Day in Daly Waters

After a breakfast of cereal and yoghurt self served from the back of the Prado I set myself up at a table in the sun at the back of the pub, it was only mid morning and already nice and warm. It was lovely to be able to sit alone and write, chat briefly with those passing by and enjoy being back. Fred came by needing somewhere to work with a powerpoint and by that stage my laptop was in the red too on only 5% so Rachael told us we could shift over to the barbecue area and use the power there.

The morning had disappeared in a haze of words and it was almost time for lunch. The pub meals at Daly Waters are great so we were spoilt for choice as we scanned the menu. I went for the barra wrap and was not disappointed.

Jason and I went for a walk after lunch across the road to the gallery. We looked at the artwork and then sat down at the old wooden table that had a sign on it inviting visitors to sit and flick through the books. We didn’t need to be asked twice! There was a big fan off to one side and it was refreshingly cool inside. I’m sure this is a ploy, they’d sell more works for this reason alone with weary overheated travellers taking up their offer! We sat and talked and flicked and talked some more before we thought we’d better move on and let others enjoy the art and cool off.

Back at the pub two bikes were angle parked out the front (any angle mate, as the sign said). Both were fitted out for the conditions and would be the envy of any off-road fan. One had panniers made from 20 litre fuel drums; with the tops cut off and covers fitted it made them easy and cheap to replace in the outback where the real deal would be hard to come by. Jason found the owner sitting at a table nearby enjoying a beer in the sun, a baker by trade he was enjoying travelling around the country on his Suzuki DR650 and getting work where he could. He told Jason he got 650 kilometres to a 30 litre tank. He also mentioned he wanted to sail around Australia next. He would just need to learn to sail first.

On the bar, or almost anywhere in the pub you can find space is where you can leave a something of your own. A business card, a sticker or cap – and for the extroverts maybe even your underwear. I had found a spot for The Bold Line sticker on the bar earlier in the day and just before our Beef and Barra BBQ that evening I borrowed the staple gun from the man at the bar, made a gold coin donation and stapled The Bold Line card to the window ledge near our table – right beneath a couple of signed work helmets.

While we ate our meals I spotted a short list of surnames on the side of the helmet. The last of which was ‘Mahony’. I did a double take and pointed it out to Jason who picked it up. On the front was written; ‘Mahony’s Lap Around Oz.’ My jaw dropped. This stage of The Bold Line had completed the lap of Australia for Dad and I so it couldn’t have been more fitting that I unknowingly stapled The Bold Line card right underneath. Mahony was even spelt the same!

As Jason popped the helmet back on the window sill and I came back to earth I heard him say, “that’s Brad at the bar.”

“Brad from Anthony Lagoon?” I asked.

“Yes, the road train driver!” Said Jason, convinced.

“Brad has glasses and a beard.” I said.

“Not tonight, that’s definitely him.” He said laughing.

“Brad!” Jason called out.

Brad gave us a blank look for a second and then registered, a big smile spreading across his face.

We’d met Brad five days earlier at Anthony Lagoon Station, he was passing through town and had never been to the pub so he’d decided to pull up here for the evening. He joined us for a beer before calling it a night.

While Jason and Fred played pool I spoke to David who was sitting one table over with a group of mates and his daughter. He shared with me why they were all in town. David’s brother had recently passed away – he’d been the one who had organised this trip so they were all there in his honour. They’d travelled from Alice Springs and looked to be having a wonderful time, their brother there with them in spirit.

Meanwhile I spotted a conga line forming in the outdoor part of the pub. A live band was playing and the grey nomads were enjoying themselves immensely. Running Bear may not have inspired me to join a conga line but the pace was well-suited to the evening’s clientele and anyone in need of a little light aerobic activity. Good on them I say!

TIP: People are on the road for reasons other than just seeing the sights. I was, as were so many I’d met along the way – each story as heart-warming as the next.

TRACK: Powderfinger – My Happiness

KMS: None today


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