“Walking under stars we breathe the night”
– Hilltop Hoods
Date 6th September
I have a lot of details written in my journal about how disgusting the toilet was when I went in there this morning. It’s an old thunderbox dunny .I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that the only thing they could do with this dunny would be to burn the whole thing down. It was totally full, but obviously they still use it because there was fresh toilet paper, woodshavings in a box and soap at the tank. It was hard to imagine little old ladies dressed in their Sunday best using it. Yuck, yuck yuck!
The road was really good today. Once again I didn’t feel like I wanted to go home. I have walked 295km now. That’s hard to believe!
Ian stopped on his way to Toowoomba and I talked to him for around ten minutes. It would be great if he called in to see me on his way home and brought me something delicious!
I told myself stories about what food and drinks I would have. I could really see myself eating and drinking it all and it was a good form of entertainment:
I would love a big thick chocolate thickshake and a really cheesy pizza. So cheezy that the cheese stretches out for a foot or more when you take a bite. Just like they used to make at O’Reilly’s on the Esplanade (a favourite restaurant from my childhood in Hervey Bay). It went on and on like this for most of the day with donuts, icecream, burger rings, nachos, hot chips, etc, etc.
I walked past a house on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere and there was a lady watering the garden at the front. She was so still that I had to look closely to work out if in fact she was a person, not a statue. I said hello to her and she came over to the fence and we had a good chat. She was a really nice lady, who I thought must have been in her 80’s. She was the most beautiful elderly lady I have ever seen.
She told me that her father-in-law had selected the land back in the 1890’s and that he came there with only a shovel, crowbar and axe. He cleared all the land around and across the road by hand, burning out the stumps and roots. I looked across the road and the paddock was still clear.
“They’re all gone now,” she said. I took it too mean that her husband, his family and hers too had all died. I felt sad for her then, thinking that it must be a little bit lonely on the old farm by herself. I could tell by her jumper that she had a cat or a dog; it had small white hairs stuck to it.
I asked her why the creek was called Bum Bum Creek and she told me that it comes from the way the Aboriginal people called it Boom Boom after the sound it made flowing over boulders. She said her father-in-law had told her stories about how the road was once a bridle path and Aboriginal people used it along with white settlers travelling from place to place in horse and cart, or just on horseback. As I looked at the highway I could see them all in my mind’s eye.
“People always steal the sign, you know,” she said.
“The Bum Bum sign?” I asked.
“Yes. As soon as they put a new sign up, someone steals it.”
I heard this same story all the way to Toowoomba, although I’m not sure how true it is considering that the sign was intact when I got there and was still intact the next day when I left and also when I drove back past on my way home after I finished the walk. Not to mention the other two times I’ve driven past there and seen the sign too!
There was a sign for Bum Bum Road that someone had changed to Bianca Bum Road. Poor Bianca, it’s not her fault she’s got a big bum!
At the camp I went to have a look under the bridge that goes over Bum Bum Creek. Someone had painted an elephant with lots of bright colours bursting out of its trunk. Maybe the same person, but maybe not had written:
When it’s dark look for stars. When it rains look for rainbows.
I really liked it 🙂 I thought it was just another way of saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
When I was under the bridge I thought of the horses and I imagined what they smell like. It made me smile. I miss them and the dogs very much.
I wonder what it will be like to go back how it used to be? It feels like I’ve been doing this all my life, not because I’m sick of it, because it just feels like there was nothing before this.
I’d left myself a water drum at this spot because when I planned the walk I couldn’t see how I could access the creek. I’m glad I did because I went down there to see if I could get a bucketful and I couldn’t because the whole thing was full of alligator weed.
My imagination ran away with me a fair bit at this spot. I was camped near a driveway to a dairy. It was much busier than I thought a dairy would be and I started imagining that the dairy wasn’t really a dairy, but a front for drug manufacturing and distribution business. This is how it would work:
The labs and stuff would be set up inside the dairy, where they’d still milk some cows to keep up appearances. Instead of milk inside the milk trucks, they’d be filled with drugs and maybe sometimes people if the operators decided to branch out into people smuggling. Just as long as they kept the weight of the vehicles right to satisfy the scalies, no one in this country is going to pull over a milk truck to test the contents of the truck. Furthermore, trucks kept pulling up at a cross roads down the highway a bit all night long. I imagined they were somehow involved in the drug-dairy rendezvous. Perhaps they were dropping off supplies or accepting a shipment of people.
After it got dark someone on the dairy farm shot something. Well, there were several shots from a rifle after which a chainsaw started up. I don’t think you need to shoot trees before you cut them down, so it did make me wonder if they doing a Fargo-type thing over there in the bush, although it was a chainsaw, not a woodchipper…still, what were they doing? They were there for quite some time and they weren’t really that far away from me because I could just see the lights of their vehicle poking up over the closest hill. It probably had something to do with a drug deal gone bad.
“Shut up!” I said to myself at one point. Not long after that I went outside to pee and discovered that the tent was covered in the biggest ants I’d ever seen in my life. This is a drawing I did in my journal with the matchbox for size:
When I say “covered” I actually mean there were about 8 of them. I freaked out because I’m allergic to ants and wasps and didn’t want to get stung, so I’m sorry to say that I sprayed them all, my tent and the ground all around with my personal insect repellant…and I got stung while I was doing it. What an idiot! I was really worried I’d have a reaction to it because it hurt like a bastard, but I didn’t, thankfully.
I’m pretty sure that these are the same ants that stung me when I was on Fraser Island back in 2000 hiking with a friend from the U.S. It was at Lake McKenzie and my friend and I were camped in the hiking-only camp ground. Some people in a vehicle were camped there too with their radio blaring away, cooking bacon and generally just being annoying by eating nice food when all we had were noodles. Anyway, those mongrels laughed at me when I got stung. I was ok though because 5 minutes later the ranger came and gave them a good old reaming for camping in the hiking-only area. He wouldn’t even let them finish their breakfast. He made them pack everything up while he was standing there with his hands on hips. Ha bloody ha for laughing at me!
Anyway, I found out later that the ants are called Bull Ants, Giant Bull Ants or Giant Bull Dog Ants. The Australian Museum’s website says that they have a “fearsome reputation” and can grow up to 4cm in length. That’s outrageous! I’d take a snake over this kind of setup any day of the week!
Killer ants, dairy-drug mafia, Aussie-Fargo…what next!
Campsite Bum Bum Creek. I was really worried about knocking the Trangia over here and setting the whole place on fire. The grass between me and the road was waist-high, so there’d be no fast escape. At least that meant I was obscured from the drug-dairy traffic.