It rained during the night, making my decision to continue erecting the awning a good one and although I had a deal of trouble getting myself into the sleep state, once there, I resided soundly until woken at 6:30am by the rude interruption of a rather unpleasant dream. I increasingly have come to believe that these nightmares are behind me but unfortunately, they still make their way far enough up from conscience to cause havoc. This morning's episode was certainly no exception and made all the more difficult because there was no Sue to turn to for solace and reassurance. I did my best on my own.
That said, I ate a hearty breakfast and was packed and on the road just after 8:00 with the road ahead still full of surprises. The first fifteen kms provided a replay of the fabulously stark sandstone cliffs of Cania Gorge and I stopped to snap a few photos before turning onto the Burnett Highway which took me at a comfortable pace through Monto, Eidsvold and finally onto Mundubbera.
Mandarin to the world of "big things" in Australia - on this trip alone we have seen the Big Mango, The Big Gumboot and now, I have witnessed the Big Mandarin. This viewing was not as east as others I have made, as the Big Mandy is not freely available to the public as it was grown in the private orchard of a caravan park. Viewing was free if you were a guest of the park and others had to pay for the privilege. I took exception to this rule and determined to launch a commando raid on the Big Mandy. My accomplice in this was Bob, a GN whose wife collects Big Thing photos. I climbed a tree and dropped into the compound and Bob handed me both cameras. After snapping the shots, I walked calmly passed the lady on the gate and gave her a self-satisfied smile. Bob was thrilled and his Missus - I guess it was his missus, you can't tell these days - gave me a big kiss.
After the thrill of the becoming one of the Dirty Baker's Dozen, I went into town looking for coffee and found a nice cup at the Bakery, along with a silverside and salad role ... well, the second one as the first one had a fly buzzing about under the clingwrap. That would be my lunch - the roll, not the fly. As usual, I asked lots of questions to which I got the one answer - "dunno". Despite this I went out for a walk along the main street. I have never seen so many funny business names in the one place. The second hand store was run by "The Dodgey Brothers"; the discount store was "Wayne's World"; the BP petrol station also sold "Korean Vegetables"; and the real estate agent was "GV Lohse", pronounced, and yes I checked it, "louse".
I was still laughing 25kms later, although the state of the road left a lot to be desired. It was one lane bitumen with suspension busting broken edges and in many places, wet soft mud lining both sides. Luckily, in more than fifty kilometers of these conditions, I only saw one other vehicle. I stopped near the historic homestead of Boondooma, at Carters Corner, where a grove of Bottle Trees have been planted and a lone covered picnic table was waiting for me. In the half hour during which I ate lunch, 24 vehicle, including 5 trucks went past in the opposite direction. I was certainly being looked after!
After lunch the conditions continued, although there were sprinklings of better road in between the bad. By the time I had left Durong South, Darr Creek and Jinghi behind me and reached Jandowea, it was two lane black top again and the major centre of Dalby wasn't far after.
Here's a thing: I think the good folk of Jandowea are missing a tourism chance. Surely they could promote themselves as The Gateway To Dalby!
Toowoomba and started thinking on settling for the afternoon and with Warwick approaching, it seemed the logical spot. I had even rung and booked a site when a sign loomed up, advising that the turn off to "Rudd's Pub" was approaching. I don't know why, but I was interested and soon after making the turn, I was further advised that "Rudd's Pub" was to be found in the village of Nobby, a few kms hence. Now I was fascinated and as it turns out, totally justified in my decision.
Nobby is a small village but with many old and interesting buildings. Arthur Hoey Davis, aka Steel Rudd, wrote the famous farming father and son Dad and Dave into Australian literary history and did so from Nobby and from his farm called "Two Firs". It was at Nobby where Davis quietly imbibed ales whilst listening to and watching fellow farmers and it is thought they provided the rich characterisations for "On Our Selection", which have been mimicked ever since. The pub is full of local history and with camping available over the road - "two bucks mate if you want power" - it was an opportunity I have learned to accept. I had a few beers with locals during the afternoon and had summed this establishment up as a old pub which would struggle to do more than make a living. Sunset undid that conclusion, as people just kept arriving in cars, semi trailers and yes, believe it or not, on horse back. All told, 45 dinner guests and the service was quick and the food delicious. In my small part of the dining room, black and white photos jostled for space on the walls and detailed the history of Nobby. After eating, words were soon running out on the page and I even managed to squeeze in a half hour discussion with one of the local Rotarians. What a fabulous night ...
Where did I put those tablets?