Why Bongo's

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October 14th 2009
Published: October 14th 2009
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DAY 341

Last night had not worked out as per my original plan, Andy went to bed early but I decided to stay up a little longer as we had power I looked online for the catch up episodes of what seems to have become my favourite Australian drama, “Packed to the Rafters”.

I sat on the bed with my earphones in and watched the usually hour long episode now crammed into 40 minutes because there are no adverts (great!). Andy slept beside me not even stirring.

I had thought that the fruit picking backpackers would have an early night night because they would be up early in the morning, I know differently now, they had the day off today so of course last night they stayed up drinking and talking! Some of them were ok, they did not stay up too late and I have no problem with them enjoying themselves after back breaking work, but the ones who camped next to us (actually I think they were not part of the fruit picking crew), sat drinking and talking.

This evening a couple of guys started playing the Bongo’s and they were absolutely rubbish, no timing or rythmn, Andy said oh god, why Bongo’s do these travellers arrive in Australia and suddenly think they are astute bongo players, clearly not.

Campsites generally say keep noise to a minimum after 10.00, and of course no problem if people do not disturb others, however sometimes they forget that people often drive all day and are going to be up early in the morning to drive all day again and the one thing that the message keeps coming to over here is “Don’t Drive Tired!”

I had fallen asleep but was awoken by the crushing of cans and laughter, I let it go for a while but as I could not get back to sleep again because of the constant drone of voices etc. I found myself bellowing at them to “Be quiet because people are trying to sleep”, fair do’s they apologised and broke up the chat after that, of course I woke Andy up as I had to climb over him to peer through the window and shout, I hope that I did not wake anyone else up!

The night was cold again so we slept in the warmth of sleeping
Our PitchOur PitchOur Pitch

At Fong-on Bay
bags, I find it amazing how the night temperature changes so vastly, driving south and inland a few hundred kilometres seems to make a huge difference to the night temperature, yet the days are still hot.

I barely heard the noise of a couple of campers awaking early to go to work, Gerald who we met last night works at the banana plantation doing something with the bags over the bananas to protect the fruit from the birds and other insects. He does other stuff as well but I was not paying too much attention.

We both surfaced at 7.00, Andy put the kettle on and I started to pack away and tidy the inside of the tent ready for folding. Because we had power, for the first time in days, we managed to have toast and marmite for breakfast. My concerns are that marmite supplies are running fairly low so I will have to work out how to get some over from England.

The sun is already hot so we squirrel ourselves in what little shade there is, and soon the time comes just to get packed.

We seem to have our routine back again,
The Dambulla RoadThe Dambulla RoadThe Dambulla Road

Purple Blossom
and we pack away much quicker than we did at the beginning of the trip and strangely enough it takes less effort than it used to.

While Andy re inflated the tyres with our compressor I went to shower. Not an impressive shower block but better than some we have come across and vastly better than no shower at all. The shower rose is so low you have to crouch to get your head underneath it to wash your hair.

By 9.15 we were pulling off site and hitting the highway further south again and this time we are back on the black, no dirt until we get to our destination of Lake Tineroo. Those of you who have been keeping up with our travels will know that we have been here before, this will be our third time and seems to have become a special place. I wish I could really share all of it with you but of course it would lose its tranquillity and would be overcrowded, which I am sure it is in summertime and school holidays.

The journey today is set to be uneventful, again just a long drive, but the scenery changes again with the mountains now rolling out ahead of us the trees are thinly spaced making the landscape look like threadbare green velvet.

Bushfires are the one thing that has not changed, we pass an area that is still fully ablaze, the air thick with smoke. We stop at a couple of scenic lookouts along the way; the view as always is breathtaking.

We drive into Mount Molloy, stopped for a few minutes rest, we see a load of Harley Davidson Motorcycles outside a coffee shop, They are a “Back Patch” bunch of bikers called The Outlaws ,they looked as if they were enjoying themselves on a good trip out, complete with swags rolled up on the backs of the bikes.

We were soon on our way again and no more than a kilometre out of town, we were overtaken by the whole biker gang.

We are on unfamiliar territory until we finally arrive at Mareeba, a pleasant looking little town 34 kilometres north of Atherton, we drive through as we are keen to get into Atherton for some lunch, top of with diesel and a trip to Woolworth’s for some fresh groceries.

I hate to say it but we went into McDonalds for some lunch and the good thing is that Atherton now has a McCafe, they did not the last time we came through but I can safely say now the McCafe is open, the coffee is pretty good.

The diesel price here is the best we have seen in a couple of weeks, $1.24, making it a cool $1.20 with our Woolworth’s Caltex discount card. A quick trip into Woolworth’s for milk, bread and some vegetables for tonight’s dinner and a stop off at the good butchers to get a small joint of Lamb to go into the camp oven along with the vegetables.

The lady in the butchers remembered us from last time, we picked up a joint of lamb then to roast one night when we travelled briefly with the Wallaby Wanderers. She asked us how we enjoyed Cape York. We told her of our adventures, passed the time of day briefly, then she wished us luck on the rest of our journey.

Out of Atherton, we headed towards Yungaburra and eventually our turn off for Tinaroo. 15 kilometres in we find our turning for Fong-On
Round Oxo Cubes ??Round Oxo Cubes ??Round Oxo Cubes ??

Who would have thought It !
Bay and head down the track hoping for one spot in particular and that is the one that Ian and Margaret had last time we were here, it seems almost perfect, however that would be too good to be true (this was also the guy that gave Andy the kerosene and tea bag tip for the fire).

Since being here last time, the tree’s have blossomed and one type of tree in particular is adorned with the most beautiful purple blossom that looks stunning.

Driving in, we see that it is taken, never mind there is so much space to choose from here, we just have to choose and with so many options that is the hardest thing in the world. This time we plump for a higher point, still on the edge of the lake, but also well shaded by the trees.

While we set up a chap comes over to talk, he shows us where he is camped, we discussed the “best spot” he wanted it too, but chose another spot, he pitched up only to find that just as he finished the people that were there packed up and left, he then decided just to stay where he was, there is no point in moving once you are pitched.

There is a bush fire somewhere here, the smoke is very thick, but this chap tells us that the smoke was so thick this morning that you could not see the tree line in the distance. There was a fire in the distance last time we were here. Believe me if the fire comes anywhere close you will find me on the waters edge!

We set up, made sure we had wood for the fire tonight, the kettle was on and we both settled down for the rest of the afternoon.

We could both hear a crunching in the leaves behind our tent, we both think “Scrub Turkey” I wondered if it was too noisy for a scrub turkey however we do know from past experience that the smallest of creatures can make the biggest sound in dry leaves, all of a sudden much to our surprise a young boy suddenly appeared from behind the tent. We both exclaimed, “Oh, we thought you were a scrub turkey” he wandered over to explain himself.

He is 8 years old (well will be in a few days) and he told us about this big barramundi that the people here before us had caught, 1 metre long I believe (we had already been told by this other chap, so this is big news here, now everyone is out there trying to catch another big one!) they scaled the Barramundi by one of the trees behind our tent and this young boy wanted to pick up 32 of the scales to take back to school for his class when he gets back to Newcastle (New South Wales) next month.

He chats for a while, asking us about our “fourby” and if we have UHF, etc. we tell him where we are from but eventually his mother calls him so he rushes to pick up the scales and then back to his Mum who actually needs the bowl for their damper.

Andy has set the fire going so that it burns down nicely ready to take our camp oven and our lamb roast. We watch the scenery gradually reappearing as the smoke thins out and the sun starts to shift further west creating a beautiful glistening lake ahead of us.

No sooner than the camp oven is on the table a Kookaburra appears, well if he can swoop down and grab a leg of lamb in his beak and fly off then he may be more than welcome to it for that amazing feat. You may remember last time we were here that a Kookaburra swooped down and took a piece of chicken out of the camp oven as Andy was preparing dinner.

Andy prepares the lamb and the vegetable, as it all goes in the camp oven he can feel Kookaburra eyes burning into him. He turns for one second to grab something only to find the Kookaburra has flown down and is hovering level with the camp oven, however as soon as Andy turns back again, seeing the Kookaburra, tells him off and he flies back to his branch as if nothing happened.

In the meantime I grabbed an Oxo cube from the food bin in the trailer, forgetting of course that they have been jumping around for a couple of weeks on the corrugations, only to find that they were now little silver balls of Oxo and not cubed at all!

All the while the Kookaburra sits and watches, Andy takes the camp oven to the fire, but while Andy prepares the ashes to take the camp oven the Kookaburra realises that he wont get anything out of us, not tonight, and away he flies.

As the camp oven nestles into the hot ashes, I type up the blog, the sun gradually disappears plunging us into darkness, and as if someone flicks a switch the cicada’s suddenly start their engines, the noise is deafening all around us.

For the moment, I don’t know what the evening holds for us, except a lovely dinner, I hope the night is warmer, but I somehow don’t think so as I have changed into long sleeves and trousers for the evening.

Periodically we pull the camp oven out of the fire, take the lid off and give it a stir, then place it back in, covering the lid with hot coals, at 8.05 we finally took it out knowing that it would be nicely cooked through.

The gravy was made and we served up our creation, it was gorgeous, and we sat around the fire and ate it.

The final hour of our evening was just watching the fire dance, look at the stars and listen to the sounds of the evening.

That is our day in its entirety so until tomorrow bloggers.


14th October 2009

hi guys, have been following your blog with interest, btw, marmite is available in Cairns, Coles stock it......... we are kiwis and much prefer marmite to the aussie vegemite.
15th October 2009

Purple trees
Hi Caroline and Andy - They look like jacaranda trees to me - very pretty - wehave a couple of them at Yileena. 20 mls of rain over the last five days - cleared up now so will be straight into the silage making to replenish the stocks. Love Helen

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