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August 19, 2001
Highway Hallucinations (Russell)

010818b.jpg (313098 bytes)
The bush

When we decided a week ago to make the long inland detour to Dubbo, we knew that sooner or later, we would have to make the long drive back out to the east coast of Australia again.  As a result, we've spent the last two days doing some heavy-duty driving.  With Cameron and Joss happily seated in the back with snacks, books, workbooks, and Game Boys, Russell and Gail took turns with the navigational and driving chores and we chugged along.

Although we didn't (and don't plan to) see any of Australia's "outback," the "bush" terrain that we did drive through got to be fairly monotonous at times.  As a result, our road observations and conversations had to be extra entertaining.

The first day, August 18, we had hoped to make it from Dubbo all the way to Glen Innes, but we got a late start, and it was very dark by the the time we pulled into Inverell (where the bulk of the world's blue sapphires come from).  It was just as well, because Gail ended up with a major migraine (10 on a scale of 10).

On the morning of August 19, Russell got up early and began driving at 6:00 am, with everyone still asleep (or at least still in bed, experiencing the road bumps).  This was partly to fulfill a request by the boys, who had been asking for a change from constantly being strapped into their seats.  There were several positive consequences of this early start.

First, we got to see the sunrise.

Second, we got to see kangaroos.  Trying to spot kangaroos is a lot like trying to spot deer in the United States; they are shy, they don't like people, and they are seldom seen between sunrise and sunset.  Until now, the only ones we had seen were the ones who had been hit by cars.  But as a result of our early start, along with a very unpopulated Sunday morning, we saw many kangaroos hopping along the side of the road, as well as a number of rabbits.

Third, we arrived at our destination of Brisbane by lunchtime.  We picked this goal because we have finally decided to get rid of this motorhome once and for all.  We have alluded to some of the problems and frustrations in previous letters, so we won't go into further detail here.  But the final straw was when Britz (the rental company) told us we had to sort out our problems with GetAbout Oz (the broker), while GetAbout Oz told us that we had to deal with Britz.

Arriving at Brisbane was a positively transforming event.  Because we needed to empty out the motorhome for tomorrow's return, we rented a one-bedroom tourist flat instead of the usual patch of ground with a faucet and an outlet.  Everyone was thrilled finally to have space, especially Gail upon seeing a real kitchen.  There was a very symbolic feeling of catharsis as we unloaded our belongings from the motorhome.

Brisbane is sunny and warm, so we took off our layers of warm clothing and ended up in shorts and short-sleeves.  Russell unloaded, Gail did some long overdue laundry, and the boys visited the playground.  Everyone showered, and Gail surprised us with an extra-special dinner of real burritos.


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