Walkabout Day 1

sunsetDay one – aaaaargh. It was supposed to be a simple little trip up the road to Emerald. Easy. Australia’s main highway north, west at Rocky (Rockhampton), arrive Emerald around 3:30, 4pm.

Wrong.

The problem, you see, is Australia’s main highway north. The Bruce Highway is a six laner out of Brisbane but well south of where we live, it dwindles down to two lanes each way, then it’s just an ordinary old, two lane suburban road. It’s still the A1. But it carries all the heavy traffic – B doubles, oversize loads etc etc – and the grey nomads and young camper vans – from Brisbane up to Cairns and beyond. Frankly, dudes, it’s a goat track. This is the A1, crawling at 50km through the town of Childers. Yes, folks, this is the main highway north. Childers

It doesn’t help that the road was devastated by floods in the last few years. So they’re fixing it. Sort of. Fill in the holes, widen the shoulders. I reckon we spent 30 minutes and more sitting at lollipop points for something like ten sets of road works, and crawled through kilometre after kilometre of 40, 60, 80 kph speed limit stretches on a 110km road. Why they don’t bite the bullet and make it a dual carriage way right up the coast is… another issue. They spend their money in the cities where there are more cars, more voters. Don’t get me started on the road toll on the Bruce. End rant.

WindscreenHey ho. An hour and a half into our Wonderful Adventure, our brand new Pajero copped a rock in the windshield. I hoped it was going to be a gouge we could fix. Until the zip zip. Here it is. Let’s hope it lasts until we get to Broome (sigh).

This is coal country, mining. Here’s a coal train, 50 wagons between the locos, two locos up front, two in the middle, 100 wagons of coal. Dozens a day, from bloody great holes in the ground, loaded on ships and sent to China and India to help produce stuff to send to America. And the army was going home. They’d had a joint exercise with the Yanks, whose carrier group docked in Brisbane harbour the other day. USS George Washington, for those interested.Train

Anyway, here we are in a motel in Emerald (booked in 6:30pm). I would have posted this but the WIFI connection is pathetic. So I’ll do it when I can.

Cheers, mouseketeers. Tomorrow we’re seeing dinosaurs.

 

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About Greta van der Rol

I'm an author of fast-paced, action-adventure novels, mainly space opera - although I've been known to write in other genres. I live not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoy photography and cooking when I'm not bent over the computer. I have a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping me in my writing endeavours.

Posted on 31 July 2013, in Life and things and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Ahh Emerald, definitely on my bucket list. Have been wanting to go there for years. Thanks for your Blog. I hear what you are saying about the highway north. A recent trip to Mackay was like playing Russian Roulette with 2 very close calls with trucks. The highway north is an embarrassment to Queensland.

  2. What an … interesting start to your trip 🙂

  3. Seriously going to see dinosaurs? My favorite endeavor, I’m living in a desert that was once a lush wet land, home to dinosaurs. Mind you, millennia ago
    And yeah I hit those roads, plus the wretched WiFi connections, on my trip last week

  4. I’m interested in the speedlimits (when they’re being used, that is). In South Africa the speed limit on such a road is 100kmph, with the national limit on a dual carriageway (or highway) at 120kmph. But that all said, I do understand your frustration. Things aren’t all that much better in some areas in South Africa either. But with the traffic on that road as heavy as it sounds…yeah, I’d be asking some questions too. Unless they’re trying to move the road trains onto the rail? *sigh

    • Max speed here on a motorway is 110 – which is also true on the long stretches in the outback. But instead of biting the bullet and spending on the infrastructure, they stuff about with speed limit changes on inadequate major highways. It’s stupid and achieves nothing.

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