Saturday, 23 May 2015

TOD Tour, Day 103 - Caliguel Lagoon, Condamine River

Sunset at Caliguel Lagoon
I'm sitting at Caliguel Lagoon, a wider part of the Condamine River, about 7kms from the Central Qld town of Condamine. It's the last hour of daylight, so the eucalypts are erupting in colours ranging from deep yellows to rich reds as they soak the sun's last attempts at glory before it moves on. Crows are calling the isolation of this place and nondescript ducks are making tracks through the algae and talking quacks for no particular reason. A flight of sulphur crested cockatoos make a noisy fly past and the river starts to rest easy from the late afternoon breeze which has been idling along for the past half hour. A yellow belly splashes the surface nearby and sends rings in concentric cascades.

The day is resigning itself to night.

Amidst this typical Australian bush scene, I'm resigning myself to going home. Less than six hundred kilometres away, Sue waits for me, unable to complete these last few days home from Cairns with me. I know this is the last afternoon I will reflect on another amazing day and wonder at what tomorrow might be like. Tomorrow night, it will all be different because it will all be familiar.

It's a long premature ending but one that is necessary in order pay family dues. My Dad, now adding a serious heart condition to the cancer that was already eroding him, has done more than enough to earn my respect. He has given love to me disguised as guidance, praise and it later years, mateship. He needs me, so the choice to go home is an easy one.

Sitting here, in the late afternoon beauty, it's still an easy choice but not without a longing for more of the daily adventures that being on the road in Australia provides. Of course, without my best friend beside me, experiences become hollow. I miss our conversation, her laugh and that wry, farmer's daughter practicality. I miss the silences we would have as we finished a couple of beers on a scene such as this.

I wrote this morning in Mount Morgan, in no hurry to leave and enjoyed the folding of my life back into our little travelling home, one more time. There were the usual departing conversations with people who had at best nodded the previous day, a phenomenon Sue and I call the goodbye chat. For some reason, some folks won't say a word until it's clear you are leaving and then they will hold you up for an hour.

It is an inland route back home, the ocean left behind at Rockhamptoon and it was a lazy day of driving, a bit more than 400kms. I stopped at Banana for morning tea - I've told you it's tale previously - ate and orange and was promptly locked in the van when the door catch broke. I managed to get out and pull it apart but it can't be fixed. I'll make do for a night.

I drove pretty much south all day along the Leichhardt Highway aka the A5, stopping after Banana only at Taroom for snacks and Miles for petrol, before arriving here at Caliguel Lagoon late in the afternoon.

The sky is going pink in the east, heralding the blue which will follow until the stars appear and begin to sparkle like diamonds in a black setting. It will be a clear night and a cold one, reaching deep into single figures and a fog is forecast for the morning. It should make for a spectacular dawn across the river.

Time to close the van and hunker down. Steak and veggies tonight, perhaps even pumpkin soup and fruit and a last few reds. Even with the interim spent in Sydney removed this will be our longest outing on the road, almost reaching 90 days. 

Neil Young will join me tonight while I write and read. Its a night that needs him filling the empty spaces.

In the words of James Tiberius Kirk, "it's been ... fun".

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