515, Sunday 23rd October 2016. Townsville, Mackay and home …

Grrrr! I forgot to post this blog last week. I now recall why. I was doing a backup of the laptop overnight and planned the post the next day. The backup failed overnight. I started the backup again…this time from scratch. For whatever reason, it took 24 hours!!! A backup which should have been completed overnight Sunday was finally completed on Wednesday morning. The blog post was fogotten.

Monday 17th October

Today dawned with the usual sunshine and temperature in the 30’s by mid morning.

Had dinner with Shelly, Dwaynne and the tribe. Thank you.

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Dinner at daughter Shelly’s house.

Wednesday 19th October

While Donnis and Karen had a girls day out I had a final dinner with Shelley as Donnis and I are leaving tomorrow.

Thanks for dinner Shelley and thanks to the family for the time we spent together.

Thanks Karen for your hospitality. We enjoyed our time with you.

Thursday 20th October

We were on the road by 9am with our intended destination, Mackay, about 6 hours away. Originally we had planned to take the inland alternate route which would have meant less traffic, less towns, a longer journey, higher fuel prices and exorbitant accommodation costs. Most of the towns are involved with coal mining so most accommodation is aimed towards the mining and associated industries. Pricing is also aimed at the mining market.

Passing through Home Hill I recalled we have never been to Wunjunga and a little camp spot called “Funny Dunny”. The sign said it was only 15 Klms off the highway. We had a little time up our sleeves and decided to have a look.

Wrong move.

The access road is mostly fine powder dust across a dry flood plain and salt marsh.

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Saltbush floodplains.

Funny Dunny when we finally found it was a disappointment.  We have seen similar “dunnies” and frankly they look the same.

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This is the famous Funny Dunny known to many motorhome, caravan and camping travellers.
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The small campground at Funny Dunny

The dismal excuse for a beach is really not much more than the aforementioned powdery dust covered in sea grass washed up and drying in the sun.

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A dismal beach at Funny Dunny

What appears to be an island in the distance is really the peninsular called Cape Upstart which can be accessed by a powdery dirt road located at Guthalungra much further south, also through flood plains.

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Looking across the bay to Cape Upstart.

The powdery dust somehow clings to everything including shoes. It does not simply fall off or brush off. It must be washed off. Luckily the car has dust seals but the dust is still hiding looking for a way to get inside. Rubber floor mats are like static electricity to this stuff. Stay away is my advice.

There must be a reason why people camp here in isolation year after year.

Maybe the reasons can be found here…   http://www.findacamp.com.au/camp-site.php?camp=1143

We arrived in Mackay well before sister Sandra came home from work. While waiting we drove to Shoal Point for a splash along the beach. I have spent many happy hours at Shoal Point.

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Shoal Point Beach looking north to Cape Hillsborough.
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Little Green island just offshore Shoal Point. At low tide it is possible to walk to the island.

Depending on the tide I would launch my Windrush 13’ Catamaran here for a sail out to Little Green Island for an hour of exploration. Of course the return sail back to Shoal Point had to be timed before the tide started to turn to low. Otherwise it was a long way to drag the catamaran across a Klm of sand flats.

Friday 21st October.

Somehow my original plan to stop along the highway and stay in a motel overnight got changed to “lets drive all the way home”. We took turns every two hours and changing drivers. This works fine in theory. The Co-Pilot – Donnis – falls asleep in the passenger seat within minutes. I on the other hand simply cannot fall asleep. I get comfortable and close my eyes but every time Donnis brakes, even lightly, my eyes flash open again. Perhaps I do manage to get a few minutes of sleep but mostly sleep eludes me. First stop for a change of drivers was at a place called the Flaggy Rock Café, 119 Klms from our start point. We have travelled this road and driven by this café hundreds of times in the past. We have never stopped before.   It has a man- made lagoon

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Man made Billabong at Flaggy Rock

with a handful of ducks wandering around

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Ducks at Flaggy Rock

and the buildings tables and chairs are a rustic log cabin style. We bought a coffee and sausage roll to take away and were soon on the road. The man behind the coffee machine did not look well. We discovered later he has blood cancer and the business is for sale.    https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-acreage+semi-rural-qld-flaggy+rock-113787375

The day continued this way every two hours when we stopped for fuel or food or a toilet break. By 7pm we arrived in Gympie 2 hours north of Brisbane. After a fuel stop and dinner at a new Indian Restaurant (the best popadoms and Naan Bread) we travelled along the M1 and arrived home at 11.30pm.  A long 15 hours on the road.  By the time we showered and crawled into bed both of us still heard the sound of the road in our heads.

Saturday 22nd October

A lazy day at home recovering from our long day on the road. We still only half unpacked.

Sunday 23rd October

Some rain rolled in last night and the temperature fell overnight. At 7am it was positively chilly at 14° compared to Townsville and Mackay where it was 30° by 7am.

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