I didn’t blog much when I was away. Turns out I find it super easy to neglect social/technology spaces when I’m not at home. A good thing I think. I did write this post in the car on the way up to Cairns. I sent it, but for some reason it didn’t upload. Here it is…
The first time I went to Cairns was with my mum, dad and sisters in the 1980s. I think it was the 1980s though it could have been the 1970s. We drove. It was long. And hot. And endless. Back then we had no air-con, maybe we had seat belts, there was RACQ but no mobile phones. And from what I remember the Bruce Highway was the dodgy-est, barely two-lane road, and not exactly “highway” material.
I’ve also done the road trip a few times by bus (when you’re in your
early twenties and poor, your tolerance for discomfort is higher than in your forties). Times have changed though. You can get cheap flights these
days. I mean I haven’t seen the price of a bus ticket for a long time
but I know the train is bloody expensive if you don’t have a pension
ticket. That said, for two adults and four kids, driving is by far the
cheapest mode of transport. So for the past eleven years Vernon and I
have driven at least once a year to and from Cairns to see family.
As I sit here in the passenger seat about an hour and a half south of
Townsville, I notice some things are the same – keeping an eye on the
accelerator so we don’t speed, and keeping an eye out for patrol cars
when we do find ourselves speeding. We still admire the scale or the
Great Dividing Range (the mountains mesmerise me) and the way
the land changes from green to brown and back to green the further
north we go. We still wonder at how small towns keeping going and wonder what it must be like to be one of those one-house stations seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And together we still shake our heads at the travellers who take risks when overtaking on too-short-stretches of road, comfortable in the knowledge it’s something we never do ourselves. 😉
At night we do the high-beam dance, simultaneously keeping an eye on the horizon for oncoming cars and trucks and the other eye on the side for rogue marsupials.
But plenty has changed. We’re traveling with one less child – the eldest
is doing important grown up things. We have technology now too. I’m
using Foursquare updates on Facebook to let family know where we are.
And the car is definitely more comfortable from when we first started.
Whoever invented cruise control needs a knighthood as far as I’m
I hope that we will be doing this trip for many years to come. The price
of fuel will only rise in coming years, though as our children leave
‘the nest’ we’ll be able to get a smaller car perhaps.
I fully recommend the road trip to Cairns as a
family trip. The scale and size of just this part of Queensland is
incredible. And as I finish this blog post, the sunset is awesome.
[ps.still blogging from the road & am not sure this post will work]
[pps. it didn’t]