September 29th 1983

posted in: The way back | 2

Val on Mission Beach

Chatted some more with our Canadian neighbours over breakfast – they seem very pleasant, tho’ on the surface, a bit too conventional for us.  Not that we are exactly hippies – about half-way down the scale, I’d say.  Packed + were out on the road by 10, + took our station beneath the trees, since once again (+ I’ve become tired of writing it) it was scorchingly hot.  We seemed set for a long wait tho’ since most of the traffic seemed local.  However, in time (an hour or so) a lady stopped + took us… not far, but a crucial distance – out to where the by-pass rejoins the main road.  2 major disadvantages tho’ – a) no shade, b) competition.  However, the other couple were picked up after about half an hour, + to distract ourselves from the sun + boredom, we both practised out juggling.  And after another half-hour, we too were picked up, by a guy in a very powerful Valiant.   Valiants seem immensely more popular up in Queensland than they are in NSW.  Which is our bad luck.  It was a good ride, fast + comfortable, about 30 miles, + we were dropped off outside a pub + service station.

A little disconcerting to see another guy hitching there, but he was picked up almost as we were put down, so that sorted that out.  However, I went over to the service station to buy a couple of apples, + when I returned there were 2 other hikers, our competition from the last stop.  They had emerged from the pub, + taken up a station 50 yards ahead of us.  Which was a bit naughty really, since they had really forfeited prime position, + shouldn’t really just have seized it back.  But the laugh was on them really, when a ute pulled up across the road from us.  “I can give you a lift to Tully.”  “Sure,” we said, already heaving our packs.  And then, as afterthought, “Where’s Tully?”  “About 1100 miles.”  Terrific.  A really nice bloke too.  Chatty, friendly, informative about the area etc.  Told us, dead straight, about a UFO that had landed just outside Tully.  Dead serious he was – said he’d seen the lights himself.  He dropped us just beyond town – said there was a good place to visit, down to the coast, if we had the time, so dropped us at the junction.

The place was called Mission Beach, + we got a ride there pretty quickly.  A funny bloke, very abrupt; told us he didn’t usually pick people up.  Seemed almost disapproving of us.  But he was able to tell us about New Guinea, where he had lived for many years.  But he was very bitter about the whole place, since his mill + land had been compulsorily purchased by the govt.  The country-side down to Mission Beach was gorgeous – lush, green, + tropical.  The guy dropped us not far from the campsites too – there were 2 of them, a commercial one at $6, the council one at $2.  So you won’t have any trouble in imagining which one we chose.  The facilities were few, of course – cold, smelly shower – but it suited us admirably.

We cooked a simple, but simply wonderful, tea – beans + scrambled eggs.  Very Mexican, when one thinks about it, tho’ without tortillas.  And in the evening we decided to go to the pub.  It was quite a way, but we thought we should make the effort.  Closeting oneself in the tent is easy, but one doesn’t meet anyone.  We were lucky, in fact, + got a lift to the pub.  We asked at the nearby takeaway for directions, + were offered even better.  It wasn’t, to be honest, an exciting evening.  We had one drink each, + I wrote while Val read.  And we did have to walk the 4 kms home.  But at least we tried.  The walk home was nice actually, except that it was so close – the weather, I mean.  And Val wasn’t feeling too good, which was a shame.  The second half of the journey was best, when we put on our Walkmans, + walked.  Listened to the “Sydney” compilation tape – the best part was listening to Dire Straits “Private Investigations” while walking along in the dark.  Totally amazing.

Have I really got that right, about the 1100 miles, I mean – it doesn’t seem to fit with thew time frame, so maybe it was just over a hundred.

2 Responses

  1. Pamela Blair

    Tully is a town and locality in the Cassowary Coast Region, Queensland, Australia. It is adjacent to the Bruce Highway, approximately 140 kilometres south of Cairns by road and 210 kilometres north of Townsville. At the 2016 census, the population was 2,390.Wikipedia
    I’ve been following your route on Google Maps, but couldn’t find Tully, although with this from Wiki, I can get the idea. You’re almost up to the narrow peninsula at the northern tip of Australia. See any UFO’s?

  2. Kevan Baker

    Yes your 1100 miles is significantly too high. Townsville to Tully is about 150 miles.

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