Rene: When I woke up this morning, the last thing I expected for the day was to be driving a monster truck along steep edges and through gutters, dodging trees and eventually down a little cliff!
Jeff, my friend who lives in Rocky, chivalrously offered us the use of his 'car' (car-beast) to help us out with the shopping we needed to do. It's been a while since I used a manual, and to add to the confusion, this one had two gear sticks :-O Just to make sure I still had it, we both decided that I should drive for a bit with Jeff in the car. He took us onto a "backstreet" so that it would be "easier".
5 minutes out of the city centre of Rockhampton was a lonely dirt road along the Fitzroy River that didn't have any traffic except for a couple of bored teenagers zooming helmetless on their dirt bikes and killing snakes. It seemed to fit the criteria of peacefulness and simplicity of navigation.
I was going OK with the gears. On some parts, wheels had worn deep grooves into the clay, so I would avoid it and go around the alternative route. Jeff's evil plan began to dawn on me... Soon enough, there was no other route and we had to use the second gear stick so that we could either climb through these massive ruts in the road or balance on the edges. Cerae would squeal with delight (terror actually Rene!) every time we went over a bump. Needless to say she was pretty well squealing constantly :-D It was a lot of high testosterone fun - the nervous edge that came with the potential of wrecking Jeff's very expensive beast only added to the excitement.
The climax was a steep incline at the end which turned out to be pretty easy - luckily Cerae refused to be in the car, so now we have this picture:
The teenagers caught up with us, realising that we were out for a romp, and got all their mates. Apparently what we were doing was mad sick mental and would be even more so if we went into some infamous rougher bit further ahead. "Do a burnout!" one of them piped up in a prepubescent tone. "Looks like we have some groupies" I remarked to Jeff, who, being a fairly low-key operator, decided that it was time to go back, particularly considering that the fuel was hitting empty.
Rocky is the beef capital of Australia and we have a "when in Rome" attitude. Jeff is Head Chef at a hotel and we had a great Aussie experience at the attached pub, watching the final State Of Origin match while eating meat! yeah! The food was fantastic - I couldn't believe how much meat there was on my plate!
Cerae says (re the marina):
Being attached to land again is a pretty novel experience after nearly 2 months away. I'm still impressed by how fast the electric kettle is (coffee in 2 minutes, not 20) and it's relaxing to not have to fret about how much power we are using. I've loved loved loved having long hot showers and not having to worry about dragging at anchor. There are some annoyances though - it is expensive to be here and the rules are pretty strict (not allowed to hang out anything to dry etc). We're taking advantage of the calm waters and power to get some of the maintenance jobs done that have been put off. Today we sanded back and picked out a dozen rust spots and then painted over them with special 2-part epoxy. Fingers crossed Mr Rust doesn't show his ugly face again soon!