Day 14 Kingaroy (rest day)

“Step onto the path and courage will find you.”

– Jennifer Parry

Date 28th August

May cooked me breaky and I couldn’t eat anything else all day until tea time. She is lovely lady who I can see would make me very fat given half the chance! I weighed myself this morning and I am down around 4kg from when I left Mt Perry.

I did washing, dried the tent and my boots, made a few phone calls and just kind of sat in one spot for several hours. It was pretty good ūüôā

I did the 5km that I had to make up from yesterday, but it was probably more like 6km. I took the GPS with me to measure the distance, but it went flat. A magpie attacked me, but the GPS came in handy because I just held it on top of my head and it attacked that instead. It only swooped twice anyway.

I often wonder about people on bikes who have major freak outs about magpies attacking them. They put all of these zippy ties on their helmets so that they look like they are aliens trying to catch signals from their mother ships. I don’t think the ties are a physical deterrent to the magpies, it’s just that when these people pass through the magpies’ territories the birds have all fallen out of their trees laughing, so no one gets attacked. At one town on my hike I saw a lady on a bike with a helmet FULL of these zippy ties. I watched as a magpie swooped down on her. I expected her to increase her pedalling rate to exit the bird’s territory as quickly as possible, but no, she actually slowed the bike down and started waving her arm around above her head to shoo the bird away. She almost fell off the bike trying to “defend” herself. I just wondered why she didn’t ignore the bird and keep riding. She would have been out of its territory in a matter of seconds. The point I’m trying to make here is that if you’re wearing a helmet, why does it matter if a magpie attacks you?

It’s challenging being in someone’s home where the TV is on all the time. I’ve lived without a TV for some time now and the only TV I’ve seen in¬†a very long time are a few snippets from bars in the pubs I’ve visited. The TV is basically a zombie machine; we watch it, we don’t question it and¬†without us noticing, it shapes our experience of the world. It¬†becomes a part of who we are, making us more like itself with every¬†second of our lives that we waste watching it.

view-of-kingaroyView of Kingaroy from Mt Wooroolin

Advertisements

Day 13 Kingaroy – May’s house

‚ÄúDistance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.”

– Bill Bryson

Date 27th August

It was fiercely windy when I went to pack everything up. I had to weigh stuff down with other stuff so none of it would blow away. Packing the tent away was a laugh a minute.

Another free-camper came over from her caravan and offered me cornflakes and a donation. I didn’t take the cornflakes, but I accepted the donation. She came back later and gave me two “muesli” bars. One was made entirely of peanuts covered with chocolate. I wanted to eat it straight away, but I forced myself to stow it in the bum bag for later. I thought it was fitting considering I was walking into the peanut capital, Kingaroy, that day.

I got talking to Kevin, who was doing a crossword puzzle at a picnic table. He was visiting his sister in Wooroolin. I thought he must be freezing because he only had a t-shirt and shorts on, but he didn’t look at all cold. At that point I was considering walking in my flannelette shirt, but when I saw how tough Kevin was, I decided I should suck it up and go bare-armed. I knew I’d only be cold for two minutes until I started moving anyway. Kevin gave me all the coins he had.

Everyone I speak to has been touched by cancer in some way.

I had quite a weight in shrapnel by this time! Probably close to 800 grams. At least the pack was pretty empty and I knew I’d be able to offload¬†the coins and any¬†extra crap I didn’t need¬†to Ash in Kingaroy because he was coming to visit me. I was really looking forward to seeing him. It was the first time since Ban Ban Springs.

I had lots of stuff to look forward to today: Ash, the rail trail, a few days break in Kingaroy with a friend and the ready availability of milk and Doritos. All the ducks were lining up and I felt really good as I set off.

The rail trail was really awesome to walk along. I got thinking that it would be great if the North Burnett and Bundaberg could do the same thing with their rail corridors. It’s certainly heaps better than walking along the road. I don’t have to concentrate as much and because of that I can let my mind wander and I find myself thinking about what it was like to travel on the train when it was running. Sometimes I caught a fleeting vision of the rails shining in the sun as a long-gone¬†train approached around a bend. There were quite a few dog spikes still on the ground and I thought that there’d be other treasures too if I had the time or the ability to bend over¬†to search for them.

Ash phoned and was lucky to catch me in a patch of service. I walked out onto the road to meet him and he picked me up about 5km out of Kingaroy, so I still have 5km to make up, which I’ll probably do tomorrow. It was good timing because my foot had really started killing me for seemingly no reason. I was a bit worried it was a stress fracture, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

We went straight to my friend May’s house. She had a nice room prepared for me and she made us lunch as I put my stuff away. After stuffing myself with as much food as I could force into my face, Ash and I went for a drive around Kingaroy. I had to buy more socks because I had MASSIVE blisters on my heels and little toes. I should have listened to my friend Jane, who suggested wearing two pairs of socks before I left. I meant to, but I just forgot about it.

I was pretty excited about relaxing at May’s and was looking forward to doing nothing for a couple of days. Ash left in the afternoon. I wouldn’t see him again until Toowoomba.

rail-trail

The rail trail. It made me think of Gillian Welch’s song Down Along the Dixie Line.

farm-viewFarm view from the rail trail

 

Day 12 Wooroolin free camp

“To walk is by a thought to go; to move in spirit to and fro; to mind the good we see; to taste the sweet; observing all the things we meet. How choice and rich they be.”
– Thomas Traherne

Date 26th August

I slept in until after 7.30am because I was so snuggly and warm in the morning instead of sweating my butt off in the sleeping bag. A council guy came to empty the bin and said there was actually a frost, which I guess is why I wasn’t sweating.

Dorothy made me coffee, but I didn’t get to drink it because it went cold while I was talking to the bin dude. She came out and talked to me while I was packing up. I didn’t tell her that the snoring coming from their van woke me up during the night! It was so bloody loud; much worse than Ash and they were a good 4m away from my tent.

Before I left a lady came up to me and wanted to give me a donation. She had to go back to the car to get money, so I got my authority letter out to show her. When she got back, she said she didn’t need to see it because her husband had seen me on TV. I told her it wasn’t me, but she was adamant. I don’t know how I got on TV. I think she had me mixed up with someone else. Who knows!

I walked the whole way along the rail trail today and got to Wooroolin at around 1.30pm, which was pretty good considering I didn’t leave¬†Wondai¬†until almost 11am. The council initially told me I wasn’t allowed to walk along the rail trail because it wasn’t finished, but I’d already decided that I was going to do it anyway. Besides, the bin dude said that there’s no reason why I can’t walk on it. People do it all the time even though it doesn’t officially open until the end of the year.

I was having another weird craving for plain milk, so I tried to buy some from the shop, but they didn’t have any small bottles. I didn’t think I could force my way through 2 litres, so I had to leave it.¬†I thought I might go and check out the wetlands at the back of the free camp, but I asked a local and they said that the birdhide and boardwalk were actually underwater now, but it was still a good walk down the road. I decided I’d had enough of walking and didn’t go down there.

I had an early shower. For some reason the showers here are $2 when they were only $1 at Wondai. At least there are showers. It would be difficult to have a bucket wash at the free camp with nowhere to hide to do it!

I was worried that the people at the Wooroolin pub wouldn’t remember they’d said I could have a free meal, but they did. The publican, Shane, made a big deal out of me and sent a jug around for people to put money in and he donated a carton of beer for Lions¬†to raffle for me. This pub gets the prize for being the friendliest out of all the pubs I visited on the entire trip!¬† I¬† met heaps of cool people and everyone was really interested in what I was doing. Most of them wanted me to go and stay at their house instead of camp in the free camp and the Lions man said I could come to his house and get some tank water in the morning.

Robyn, Shane’s partner, cooked my meal and it was really awesome. I also got desert. It was cheesecake! Shane made me cups of tea all night too¬†(I don’t drink alcohol or soft drink).

Everyone was telling me how cold it was going to be, so I put 2 extra shirts on and I got too hot!

old-truck

A cool old truck I saw along the way

 

 

Day 11 Wondai free camp

“Wanna go for a walk?”

– Jenna

 

Date 25th August

I really liked today ūüôā Lots of people beeped and waved at me and generally, it was just an awesome day¬†because I met lots of cool people.

A nice lady came out of a business in the main street as I was walking through and took some photos of her and I together to put on her facebook page.

George stopped just outside of Murgon and wanted to give me al lift. I told him I couldn’t and he gave me a donation instead. He looked very similar to my neighbour Lindsay from Mt Perry.

The next car to stop was a red SS Commodore with two people in the front. They wanted to give me a lift, but as soon as I said the word “charity” as I was explaining that I was a charity walker, they wound the window up and drove off really fast. It was pretty funny!

Another car stopped not too far down the road. A man got out and was very excited about giving me a lift. He spoke very fast and gestured towards his family in the car, I think to indicate that he wasn’t an axe murderer. He must’ve seen me the day before because I heard him say that he wished he’d picked me up yesterday, although it wasn’t easy to make out what he was saying because of how fast he was speaking. I tried to tell him a couple of times that I couldn’t accept lifts, but he was at the tailgate of the vehicle, had it open and was shifting stuff around inside to make room for my pack before he finally heard what I was saying. When he realised that he couldn’t give me a lift he looked very deflated and I kind of felt a bit bad for him. He said he wished he would’ve brought me a sandwich. He and his wife gave me a donation before they left. They were nice people.

The next car to stop was at the cemetery. He kind of scared me a bit because he drove towards me paddock-side and I didn’t know what he was up to, but he just wanted to give me a lift. His name was David and he was from Wondai. I asked him if he knew an old school friend of mine who was from there also, but he said he didn’t. I had half a mind that I would catch up with my old friend if I could, but if I couldn’t, well, no matter. Anyway, David gave me a donation. He told me a story about how he’d attempted to walk from Wondai to Murgon to surprise his wife at work. That day she’d finished early and drove right past him on her way home. He thought he’d have to walk all the way back again, but¬†he said that¬†she must’ve got thinking about the man on the road, realised it was him and drove back to pick him up

I forgot to mention in earlier posts that I sang a lot as I was walking, especially in the start of the walk. It made me feel really good. I sang as loud as I could, but I couldn’t always get away with it because often there were houses not far from the road. Today I told stupid stories in a ridiculous Kiwi accent about all the rubbish on the side of the road:

Bro, I forgot my glass. Can you go back and get it for me? I’ve got to take it to the dairy bro. Nek minute bro. Get the cows to make some milk. Haven’t had milk in ages bro cos the cows won’t make it eh. Oh, come on bro, can’t you just get it for me. Cuz, I need it, and get my wire too. I left it on the road. I gotta fix the wiring bro, it’s not working eh. Oh choice bro, thanks. Hey, and don’t forget my tyre. I left it there too. I need my Ice Break as well, cuz. Please get it for me. Oh cuz, come on cuz. You know I will love you if you get it for me. I’ll help you out if you need it. Just get it. I’m not joking eh. Stop being a dick.

There is so much rubbish on the sides of the road. The road is a shrine to Ice Breaks. In the North Burnett there were a LOT of men’s underwear and quite a few bras, but I have only seen a few undies since I walked into¬†Gympie and¬†the South Burnett. I want to know, but I also don’t want to know: How the hell do undies (and so many of them) find their way onto the road?! All of them, as far as I could tell, were Bonds undies too.

When I was setting up the tent, the lady came out of the caravan next to me and introduced herself: Dorothy. She was travelling with her husband Helmut. I tried to speak some German with her, but argh, it’s gone ūüė¶ What a waste! Five years of learning it and I can’t remember it at all.

Dorothy was really nice and made me a cup of tea and brought out two slices of apple pie and pile of chocolate biscuits. “The coffee shop comes to you,” she said as she handed it to me. She even got me a chair out of their car. What a lovely lady.

I thought about eating some of my own boring food, but with the pub right there, it seemed plain silly not to go there instead, so that’s what I did.

I stopped to pat¬†a massive¬†golden retriever¬†laying on the floor in the middle of the room (I found out later that its name was Brenda.¬†Who calls a dog Brenda?!)¬†and went and sat by the fire in the corner. I tried talking to another guy from the free camp who was standing next to the fire, but he was pretty annoying, actually, very-bloody-annoying. All he talked about was how much his partner’s kids had blown their money on this or that. In the end I said to him, “Well, what would you have done with it then?” Predictably he didn’t have a sensible answer. For him it was just about having a licence to whinge. I tried getting my book out so that he’d realise I wasn’t interested in him, but it made no difference and he pressed on with his observations of the wanton spending habits of “her” relatives. Much to my relief, he had ordered a takeaway pizza and left.

I went and sat at the bar and said to the publican and a local, “well, he was a positive guy.” They both laughed. He’d been chewing their ears before I arrived.

I saw David again and he waved as he came inside. He’d told me when we’d met earlier that he would be there for a 70th birthday. I got talking to the publican, Gary,¬†¬†and a local guy, Steve. They were really cool. I also met another guy Swanny, who knew some of Ash’s friends from¬†DJ’s Steel in¬†Monto. He was very excited about meeting me and got Steve to take a photo of us together so he could put it on his facebook page and tell DJ’s about us meeting. I ordered a pizza and went to pay for¬† it, but Gary said I could have it for free. I’d told him 5 minutes earlier about what I was doing. Gary’s wife Carmel was there too and she came out to watch the footy after the other patrons had left. Gary and Carmel showed me the artwork inside the pub and talked about what it was like before they took it over. It was a really nice pub and I really loved the artwork, especially¬†huge print of a¬†gangster on the wall near the fire place. It was hard to leave at the end of the night.

It was freezing when I got back to the tent, but I got warm eventually after I had a big fight with the sleeping bag. I couldn’t work out which cord tightened which thing (there are 4 cords). I have these rules about the cords: “this one is for the front because it’s closest to the front and this one is for the top of the hood because it’s the shape of fettucine, and this one is for….you get the picture. Anyway, that’s very nice, but when you’re inside a tight little cocoon, it’s impossible to tell which cord is which, even though they’re all different shapes and widths. Plus, if you tighten the wrong one first, it means you can’t reach other ones and the whole going-to-bed process becomes¬†a cascade of irritation. The¬†entire time this is going on, you’re saying to yourself, please don’t make me need to pee in a couple of hours. That’s the worst thing that can happen during the night.

General observation: The more you look for good, the more you find it. It’s easy to find and become¬†that on which you focus.

campsite-wondaiWondai free camp. That’s an old rail¬†weigh station on the other side of the tent. The free camp is at the old rail siding and the rail trail is a walking/cycling path that runs along the¬† rail corridor. There are showers and toilets here and it was $1 for a hot shower. Awesome!

 

 

 

Day 10 Murgon – The Australian Hotel

“I can hear you breathing, you’re picking up my scent. You’re trying to hunt me down in the hope that I’ll give in. But I know these tracks better than I know you ever could. You’re breathing down my neck, but it will only make me win”
– Sarah Blasko
Date 24th August
It looked like rain when I got up, but it wasn’t as black by the time I left and I thought I might¬†escape getting wet. I put the blue rain cover on my pack just to be safe. As I was leaving I asked a man at the front of the pub if he could pull the¬†cover over¬†the end of my sleeping roll because I couldn’t reach and I really didn’t fancy having to¬†take the pack off. His dog didn’t like me! He barked at me in a voice that I¬†knew¬†was saying that he was scared of me. I felt a bit sad about that because I love dogs, but obviously the poor little doggie had never seen anything that looked like me before! I felt like an upright turtle with the rain cover on the pack.
¬†It was a pretty good walk today, although I almost got stuck in a tree at one point. It was hanging out over the road shoulder and I walked under it, forgetting how high the pack was. I got a bit snagged because I kept moving, but the pack didn’t. I felt¬†quite stupid because there were lots of cars and everyone would’ve seen me. I also nearly tripped over a stick in the long grass. That scared me a bit. Falling over would be a bit of a catastrophe.
I didn’t see anyone waving because I had my head down most of the way because it was pretty much all up hill, plus it was raining on and off until I got about 4km out of Murgon and then it really started pouring. I got totally saturated, but it didn’t really bother me because what could I do about it? Nothing. Besides, the only thing that could get wet was me. Everything in my pack was protected by the pack itself and then it was either packed in dry bags or ziplock bags inside the pack.
I followed the rail trail for a while, but they mustn’t have really started working on that end of it because it lead me down into a swamp and I had to backtrack about 1.5km. I wasn’t very glad about that because the track was really slippery and it was pouring rain by then too. Hopefully the rest of the trail won’t be like that.
I walked through some road works and as I did, I watched the roller operator to see if he could see me. He didn’t look in my direction. I walked right next to the roller and as I was just about level with it, the operator got out of the machine and started walking in my direction. He walked right by me and there was only about 2 metres separating us. I thought I would say hi, but I was just really curious as to what he would do when he saw me, so I said nothing and just waited. There were no¬†other people around, no other machinery, no vehicles and it wasn’t raining then. We were basically¬†alone in the middle of nowhere.¬†He didn’t even see me! WTF!¬† I guess he must be so used to upright turtles clambering along the highway that he no longer pays them any heed. It was after this that I started paying attention to see if motorists really¬†noticed me. It made me wonder after this experience.
I was worried that the publican would forget that he’d said I could have a room, but he didn’t. He told me I could have lunch and also dinner. I was hungry, but I didn’t attempt lunch. I was too wet to go straight into the dining room and I wanted to find somewhere to dry my clothes for the next day. I knew I’d be rushing around like crazy to get back in there before lunch ended, so I went and got the cheesecake while I put my clothes in the drier at the laundromat and let lunch go to the keeper.
My left knee is still pretty sore. It’s swollen too, but not so much on the front, mostly at the back. My right arm really started hurting today and it gave me the irrits big time. I’ve had the water bottle on the right hand side since I left home, so I’ll change it over to the left hand side tomorrow. I hope that helps because it was really bloody annoying. The back of my heels are kind of like raw meat from the deep blisters I had there. My toes are bad too, so I put some metho on them all. I didn’t sting as bad as I thought it would, but the metho really really stinks!
The room was in a motel attached to the back of the pub. It was the nicest, cleanest and the best appointed room that I stayed in on the whole trip. The heater was awesome and I cranked it right up to 30 degrees! The murder-boots dried out no worries.
I’d contacted Murgon Apex prior to commencing the hike to see if I could team up with them for some fundraising while I was in town. Aaron from Apex, who I’d never even met before,¬†got a couple of local businesses to donate meat and fruit trays for us to raffle at the RSL the night I was in town. He also arranged me to have a free meal at the RSL that evening. The other members from Apex came along; Tristan, Phil and Janette and we ran around selling tickets. We raised $165 and Apex kindly donated $100 to make it up to $265. What an awesome bunch of people! Aaron kept in touch after I left Murgon to make sure I was still travelling ok.
I was really bloody tired at the end of the day. I worked out that while the hills aren’t necessarily as hard to walk up as I was expecting, they really tire me out. I don’t notice it until I’ve stopped for the day.
the-cheesecake
The cheesecake. I ate the whole thing.

Day 9 Joe’s Grand Hotel Goomeri

“A journey is a fragment of hell.”

– Bruce Chatwin

Date 23rd August

I was worried about the pack this morning because it was as big as it gets with the food drop. I was¬†also worried¬†because I had to walk so far and¬†my feet were in a bad way. Basically, I really didn’t feel like walking.

But, it was ok. I didn’t really struggle at all and the sandals were good to walk in. My ankles are sore now though because obviously they don’t support your ankles like the murder-boots do. I felt like a bit of a knob in them because I didn’t have a pair of thin socks, so I had to wear odd socks and wearing velcro sandals with jeans is like the stupidest thing in the world, but I told myself that it won’t matter because no one cares AT ALL about what kind of shoes I’ve got on when they’re driving past me at over 100km an hour.

All the truckdrivers waved at me today! A couple of people beeped at me too. It makes me feel good when people do this.

When I got to the pub I dropped my stuff off in my room (which was really, really nice!) and headed straight for the shower. I washed my hair! Yay! I’d been fantasising about food for a couple of days and I’d been thinking about what to get when I arrived in Goomeri, which has a big supermarket:

First, I’m gonna get a lemonade iceblock. No, I think I’ll get a bottle of milk. Do I want chocolate? No, I just want plain. Are you sure? You don’t like milk, remember? Yeah, but I feel like I really want some plain milk. Ok, so, I’ll get the milk and a packet of Doritos. Ohhhh, but what about the cheesecake? I really want one of those, but I might get sick if I eat all of that stuff at once. Maybe they’ll have cheesecake at the pub on the desert menu. Actually, I think I’ll just get the lemonade iceblock for now and think on the rest of it after that. Yeah!

So, that’s what I did. I went back just before closing time and got the Doritos and milk. I haven’t really been able to drink plain milk since I had cancer, but for some reason I just felt like I HAD to have it when I got to Goomeri. I also got a tea strainer for my coffee. I decided to leave the cheesecake until Murgon.

My friend Josh had contacted me the day before to say that his good mate Danny would love to have me stay with him and his wife. I couldn’t because I’d already arranged to stay at the pub and they were giving me a room for free, but I got in touch with Danny anyway and he came into the pub and we had a drink together. He was such a nice guy.

When I was talking to Josh I must’ve whinged at him about my feet and just basically feeling really crappy. When I got into Goomeri, Josh’s wife Sam rang me and said she was going to bring me new shoes. I told her that I’d be fine and that my feet are the hardest feet to fit, so there’s no way she’d be able to get shoes for me anyway. Still, I thought it was a really nice thing to offer and it made me feel really good ūüôā

Ange at the pub organised for me to some washing and she even dried it for me. I was sitting in the bar waiting for her to tell me I could go grab it out of the machine and she came over to the corner,¬†gesturing for me to go over to where she was standing. She was trying to be secretive because she had my bra in a plastic bag and was hiding it from the men in the bar. “Hang this up in your room,” she half-whispered, “I can’t put it in the drier, it’ll shrink.” I thought it was pretty funny.

I talked to Frederick at the bar for a while. I thought he was a bit of a knob. I didn’t really like him too much and could tell that he’d become an arrogant git given half the chance. But, I had made a promise to myself that I would become a better listener through practicing tolerance and being¬†less judgemental, so I arrested my negative thoughts about him and we had a conversation about travelling. I think he was just lonely. He whinged a bit about how unfriendly the pub was, and how he’d sat there for 2 hours and couldn’t strike up a conversation with anyone. He really wasn’t my kind of person, but he didn’t seem to be a bad guy, so I sat with him as long as I could put up with him, which wasn’t that long really. There’s only so much¬†complaining I can stand.

As I was walking up the stairs to put my clothes away (Ange had given them to me in a beer carton), this lady smiled so nicely at me that I stopped to talk to her. She introduced herself (Margaretta) and invited me to come and have dinner with her and her family. I told her that I was staying in the pub and that they were giving me the room for free because of what I was doing. She then told me that Joe (who owns the pub) was her son and she introduced me to him. I thought he was really good looking, like a tall version of Ash. They all ended up leaving before dinner, so it was just Margaretta and I. As Joe was walking away he told me to order whatever I liked off the menu and to put it on the tab. What a nice guy!

Margaretta and I talked about lots of stuff over dinner. Eventually the conversation went to horses. She started talking about a horse called Reebok:

“Where did you get him?” I asked.

“On the coast,” she said.

“Did you buy him from Kunda Park?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“You bought him from me.” I said

She was dumbfounded. This kind of stuff has been happening so much that I didn’t think it weird, just another thing that’s happened, like stuff happens everyday.

I sold her Reebok 20 years prior. I didn’t know Margaretta, she just responded to an ad I’d put in the newspaper. The only contact I’d ever had with her was on the day she came and rode the horse and said she’d buy him. I don’t remember if she took him that day or if she came back and got him later.

I hated that bloody horse! I’ve had horses all my life and that one stands out as the worst of them all by far. He tried to kill me so many times on purpose. I really don’t know how anyone could’ve like him at all, plus he was so darn ugly, but Margaretta said he was her favourite horse of all time and she’d kept him for the rest of his life.¬†I always felt bad about selling him to her because I knew he was dangerous, and I did tell her what he was like, but still, I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. She said she had a few falls off him, but she didn’t care. She told me he had a sore back and that’s why he behaved like that. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but I think being a psycho had a large part to play in the way he behaved: collected and calm one second, psychotic murderer the next. That horse swore me off Thoroughbreds!

General observations:

1.There is always something we share in common with someone else. After all, we are all human, we all live here on the same planet and we all come into and go out of the world in the same way. Giving someone the opportunity to share part of their story with you is a way to better know yourself. How often and how well you are able to do this depends on your ability to listen and to notice; not only in how well you listen to and notice others, but how well you listen to and notice yourself.

2.It’s difficult to know why people apply active hate or active disrespect to a group of people (as is racism). Wouldn’t it require much less energy to go “meh” because hating changes nothing? I’m not sure what people want to achieve by hating. If they could get rid of that particular segment of society that they so despise, what would that give them? There are a few people in my past that I have really hated, and for a long time, but if they were gone, would it change anything for me? The answer is no. The hard part about a question like that is that it requires you to take responsibility for the way you feel, your ideas about the world and your place in it.

 

at-guard-railLunch stop. A bad lunch stop! There was a dead kangaroo right where I planned to sit. I don’t know how I didn’t smell it, ugh! By the time I noticed it, I’d already unpacked my chair and stuff. I had to go and sit about 50 metres away from where I’d taken the pack off because it was so gross! I could still kind of smell it. Not the best way to try and eat food.

 

Day 8 Tansey Showgrounds

“…I would walk five hundred miles. And I would walk five hundred more…”

– The Proclaimers

Date 22nd August

This morning, just as I was about to leave a truck pulled up at the pull-in and the guy got out and started yelling and swearing at the top of his lungs. I thought he had a flat tyre, but when I went over there to put my rubbish in the bin he said that the truck was overheating. I was a bit worried before I went over there that he was a psycho, but he was nice enough and he had a nice smile. I patted him on the arm and gave him the rest of the water from my drum that I didn’t need.

He was another movie character! I was thinking about Chan and Kingsley from the Hangover II right before I saw him and he looked just like Kingsley! His truck said he was “Rainman”, but I’m not sure what earthmoving equipment has to do with being able to make it rain. Maybe he was a Dustin Hoffman fan. Maybe it’s not even worth thinking about.

I think I slept really well last night. I worked out it’s a combination of things:

  1. You need flat ground
  2. You need to put stuff behind your pillow so it can’t get pushed up against the door of the tent
  3. You need to do the sleeping bag up, even though you get a bit hot. For some reason this just means that you sleep better. I’ve noticed this now and twice before on extended camp outs

Today seemed the hardest. My feet hurt a lot and I felt like a pussy struggling to walk 10.9km considering it’s the smallest distance so far.

Tomorrow I’m wearing the sandals. The boots are killing my feet, but I think the problem is actually coming from my knee. I looked at it when I was having a bath (more about THAT in a minute) and it’s huge. The front of it doesn’t hurt although it’s all swollen, it’s the back of it that hurts the most, but it’s all nothing compared to my feet. They just feel like they are on fire.

Everything else is fine really: my legs aren’t sore and my shoulders aren’t really that sore either. I feel a bit better about the 17km tomorrow now that I’ve decided to wear the sandals.

The road into Tansey was pretty good to walk on because all the farms have these roads that run between their fences and the highway. I got stuffed up on one though; I walked all the way up this massive hill and the road stopped at the top (it was a cutting), so I had to clamber through the long grass that came all the way up to my head. I wasn’t too happy about that and I almost started crying because it was really bloody hard. I got to the other side eventually because idiot-me didn’t realise that there was a narrow mowed edge along the¬†fenceline. I just¬†stuck to that and it was heaps easier.

There was lots of lucerne growing right out to the edge of the highway! It was really cool. I wonder if they bale that too. There was certainly enough of it.

A couple of k’s before I got stuck in the grass, I walked into a massive swarm of flying ants. There were so many of them that I had to stop, take the pack off (which is no small feat), get the insect repellant out and spray the hell out of myself, especially my hair. I hate the idea of stuff getting caught in my hair! As it was I couldn’t help but swallow a few and some flew into my ears and nose as well. Later on, when I got changed, they were all dead inside my bra and even some in my undies!

There were two bridges to cross just before the showgrounds, so I held my poles high and did the orange bag-waving-thing. Of course the first freakin’ car was the cops! I thought I’d get busted. Even though they drove right past me, I don’t think they even saw me. WTF! Oh well, it was better to have them not see me and to get into a conversation with them about what I was doing and potentially have them tell me I’m not allowed to do it. Not that that would stop me because there’s nowhere on the A3 that says pedestrians aren’t permitted, even on the bridges. What are they gonna do, arrest me?

I’d organised to stay inside the hall at the showgrounds and one of the show committee ladies had come earlier and opened up the back door for me. She had also put my food cache inside. I was really excited about having a shower and washing my hair, so as soon as I got there I got out my shower stuff and headed to the shower block. They weren’t turned on! I said a few words beginning with my favourite letters; F and C,¬†then generally had a bit of a meltdown about it. I went and had a “bath” in a bucket instead, but I couldn’t wash my hair. I¬†thought about doing it under¬†the tap¬†out of the tank at the back of the building, which is what I do at home, but it was kind of cold, and by then I just wanted to¬†keep complaining about it, so I didn’t wash it. I was in a bit of what Ash would call “A Mood”.

A lady I’d never met sent a message through a long, convoluted network of people to let me know that she wanted to bring me a hot dinner that night. I didn’t really need it because my food cache had the makings for a hot dinner in it (falafel, mashed potato and peas), but I thought it would be good to talk to someone and have something “proper” and¬†that I didn’t have to prepare myself. Plus, I thought it was a really nice thing for someone to offer. I wasn’t 100% certain that she’d remember I was there, but she turned up and brought me a hot beef casserole. It was really nice and she was a lovely lady.

The hall is really huge and there are mice and mice poo EVERYWHERE! There are so many cleaning products in here, but they don’t have any food, which I guess is a good thing considering the mice. I thought I might be able to buy a packet of chips. I can’t stop thinking about Doritos. I hope the mice don’t get in my hair while I’m asleep on the floor.

The hall is a really awesome old building. Some ladies came for a Zumba class and I had to move all my stuff because I didn’t know they were coming. They tried to tell me that I could join them, which made me want to tell them where to go, but I just smiled and said “no thanks.”

It beats me how these little localities that aren’t even towns get these amazing facilities. They have awesome polo cross grounds, showgrounds, hall, bowls club and tennis courts. I looked in through the bowls club window and there’s a divan in their dining room. It would have been great to sleep on that instead of the hard floor with the mice.

tansey-hall-outside

Tansey Hall

campsite-tansey-hallMy bed in the hall.