Making new friends on the road
Whether you’re online or out on the tracks, there’s always someone there to share your pursuits.
Last month, I left Smalleys Beach, Qld, after a couple of weeks and headed for Roma, Qld, to join an Australian Caravan Club (ACC) ‘tag-along’ tour of far western Queensland.
This is a reprise of the very first ACC tag-along in the same area seven years ago and was being run by John and Brenda Somerville, who not only organised the first tag but have done quite a few since, including two to John’s native New Zealand.
I was fortunate to have done the historic first one and the NZ North Island with the group, and several of those members were on this trip as well.
The idea of tag-alongs is that you get to see places you probably wouldn’t normally see and you do it with like-minded people who quickly become friends. I’ve done five or six tags and still keep in touch with some of the people I’ve shared those journeys with.
Eating together under the stars in the mild outback evening is an experience to treasure and we’ve done it several times on this trip – we even had a communal ‘birthday breakfast’ one morning.
Kangaroos are lovely to see on posters and so on, but to see so many dead ones on the road is heartbreaking – and we saw so many in the Queensland outback. Even more heartbreaking is when you hit one yourself and, I have to admit to adding to the roadkill when a mob of red roos suddenly hopped across the road in front of me on the way to Winton. My roo bar worked and Yemmy2 was okay but sadly the kanga was not.
One of our fellow ‘taggers’ ran over a dead roo and damaged her exhaust and another couple did bad things to the front of their vehicle when they collided with a huge animal. You don’t expect to find them hopping about in the middle of the day, as they are usually dozing in the shade, but you still have to keep a look out for them all the time.
FACING UP TO FACEBOOK
I resisted the Facebook craze for a long time and then decided to give it a go. Now I’m addicted!
Besides keeping in touch with family and friends with pictures and words, there are some great groups on there you can join such as ‘Free and Low Cost Camping Australia’. This extremely helpful group recently achieved the ‘50,000 members’ milestone and dispenses a wealth of information every day.
Another group I belong to is up in arms at the Foxtel takeover of the V8 Supercars and Formula 1. I don’t have Foxtel and won’t be joining just to get my favourite motor-racing programs, but I miss watching them just the same. I do get live commentary and lap charts on the internet but it’s nothing like seeing it live on screen.
HOME SWEET HOME
Now the weather is warming up, I’m looking forward to getting home and living in my house again. After five months in Yemmy2, I’ve compiled a list of about 20 things that need to be fixed or modified during my time at home.
My homecoming coincides with two important dates in November – my birthday on the first of the month followed closely by the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday. Recently, my grandson Reece got to hold the cup at a Flemington Race Day. He said the cup was very heavy, being made of pure gold!
I’m always pleased to meet people who recognise me, or perhaps recognise Yemmy2, and come up to me and say they enjoy reading my column.
It happened again this year during my travels – an interesting fellow who was returning with a group of six 4WD vehicles after crossing the Gibson Desert (or was it the Simpson? I’m getting old and can’t remember) and was in the queue for coffee in a Quilpie coffee shop.
Then a fellow we met at the remote Toompine Hotel came to shake hands and say how pleased he was to catch up and meet the author of the column. It also happened with a few RVers I met at the Walkamin Caravan Park earlier in the year.
See you down the track!