THURSDAY 11 JUNE CHARTERS TOWERS
I was woken too early, by the coughing of our smoker neighbour – outside his van again, right by our window. He didn’t just sit inside his annexe, but out the front of it – right in line with our side vents. So, even closed and zipped up, the smell of smoke still permeated our van. Even John got up earlier than usual.
After breakfast, John checked the van brakes, jacking up first one side then the other, and taped up a loose wire.
I sent emails and downloaded share price data. I was trying to keep on top of the little bit of share trading I did, whilst on the road.
John phoned a brake service establishment in Townsville and booked Truck in for Monday.
I phoned and booked us into The Lakes Caravan Park, for ten days. That should give enough time for Truck repairs – and two weekends for John to bowl!
After lunch, refuelled Truck, then went for a drive out to the Burdekin Weir. There was still quite a bit of water coming over it – this area flooded earlier in the year.
Then back into town, to the Visitor Centre, where I collected some pamphlets and brochures – mostly relating to Townsville. Due to our earlier plans involving going straight north to Cooktown and FNQ, I didn’t have much in the way of Townsville material with me.
Even though we had spent time in Charters Towers before, it was worth looking at some features again. We walked through the beautiful old Stock Exchange building, and down the main street, with its superb old buildings that dated from the gold rush days of the late 1800’s. There was an interesting display of old photos in a shop window, and information on flood heights, which can be fearsome in these parts. The 2009 flood, earlier this year, out at the measuring post at the Macrossan Bridge, on the Burdekin River, was the second highest on record – huge.
We browsed for a while in an antique/junk shop which had some good items, but they were not cheap, so any temptation was resisted.
We were walking back towards where Truck was parked, when there was really loud, attention-getting coughing behind us. Turned – and it was John’s nephew M and his wife H, who had been shopping and spotted us just ahead of them. It was not a surprise to them, as they had been waiting in the check-in line at the caravan park, as we drove out, earlier, and recognized Truck. Over the years, we had a history of meeting up unexpectedly and totally unplanned, in distant locations. Cairns, Mallacoota, Hobart, Litchfield. A couple of times, we had properly attempted to arrange to meet up and travel for a while in tandem, but this had never eventuated – something unforeseen always intervened. Pity as they were the rare people we would have enjoyed a not-too-long period of travel with. But we did a pretty good job at unplanned crossing of paths.
Back at the park, we all had happy hour at their van, then they came to our van to cook their sausage tea and we all ate together. They were heading for Cairns. We tried to persuade them to come to Townsville for a few days – we always really enjoyed their company – but they were not to be budged. There were vague statements that we might manage to meet up again, later, in Cairns or Cooktown.
It was a very pleasant catch-up, going on into the evening – although one of us did have rather too much wine.
The night was very chilly – I needed to fish out my woolly bedsocks!