Day 11 Wondai free camp

“Wanna go for a walk?”

– Jenna


Date 25th August

I really liked today 🙂 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 😦 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!





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