30 going on 13
Trip Start May 19, 2009
67Trip End Ongoing
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It also harked back to my favourite books – the Choose Your Own Adventure series – except this time the options were 1. Total a four wheel drive and become impaled on the gearstick or 2. Be mauled to death by a dingo. Oh, by the way, have a great time! Thanks, Tourism Queensland.
I’d somewhat doubted the ability of Randy’s 80s 4WD mechanism to get us through a trip to Fraser, so, on this rare occasion, we’d opted to go on a tour
It didn’t take long for us to get things under control. As the only person in the lead car with an ipod (which always amazes me as I’m the girl who still loves vinyl and who, 5 years ago, travelled around New Zealand with a walkman and bag full of cassette tapes), I suddenly found myself at the helm of in-car entertainment.
There’s something to be said for travelling when you’ve grown up a bit...please note I refrain from using the word "matured". At 30 and 31, Miriam and I found ourselves new BFFs in the shape of Graham and Brad, our middle aged guides, and somehow the monosyllabic German doctors and 20 year old Scottish party girls in the back of the car faded into the alternative soundtrack.
It worked out pretty well for us. Arriving at camp, i.e. twenty tents pitched in the bush, Brad told us that we’d have to squeeze three people into each tent. Miriam and I suddenly found the perfect excuse to disappear for half an hour to watch the sunset soak into the ocean on our doorstep
Each day we motored along the beach, which doubles as the Highway. We stopped for lunch and sunbaking at idyllic lakes, only accessible via tortuous four wheel drive dirt tracks. We caught yabbies, oysters, crabs and pippies, frolicked around in the surf like kids, and, for fabulous, fleeting moments, felt the World, and all its worries, drift away. (And, before you say it, yes you even have worries when you’re a vagabond.)
Ever up for a challenge, Miriam and I found a new obsession: worming. Blame Brad. Every day, at the crack of dawn, we’d hit the beach to find and crack open pippies to lure unsuspecting bait worms from the sand. Well, Miriam did. The jaws on the worms only served to remind me of another horrific memory from my childhood: the film 'Dune’ that my brothers forced me to watch and its horrendous spike-mouthed sand worms that swallowed everything in their wake.
But then, there are few things that I’m afraid of. Leeches and sand worms might top the list, but dingoes, I’m afraid, hold nothing but fascination for me. One night, after Miriam and I had reached a new level of favouritism by being allowed to cook dinner in Brad’s fully equipped kitchenette-tent, I insisted on dragging Brad out at 1am to sit on a bench in the hope of being surrounded by a pack of dingoes. As I’m sat writing this now, you can safely assume that I wasn’t mauled. Not even close. Do you sense my perverse disappointment?
On the ferry back, we were sad to leave
Reaching our campsite, Jess was glad to have us back. She’d been babysitting Rand, and had been up a few nights on the goon. Hearing that she’d had an overnight visitor, Miriam and I were relieved that the Finnish Fox’s sexual appetite may finally have been sated (and I mentally penned in a few hours to clean the sheets the next day), but as it turned out her bedfellow was none other than a hitchhiker mouse who had somehow managed to evade the traps of Murray Bridge all those months before.
On our last morning, we reluctantly packed to leave. Jess came to our room, her eyes puffy with sleep, and yawned “the mouse is awake.” She might never admit it, but I reckon she kind of liked having the pet around.
But then sometimes, maybe only once in a blue moon, it’s good to feel like a kid again.