Welcome BackOn the road Again !
On the road again... places to see, people to meet... the things we do... random notes from the road...
Despite the obvious advantages of travelling there by air, from the moment the invite to Sam and KT's big soiree' in CQ arrived a road trip was always on the cards.
The prospect of a getting in post-wedding session at my old stomping ground (Yeppoon) was simply too good to pass up and besides it also offered me the chance to check out a few other spots along the way (specifically Agnes, Burrum, and Elliott).
Thus I figured on taking about five or six days to make the trek up to "Rock Vegas" and back allowing for the aforementioned stops along the way.
As luck would have it the trip coincided with what rapidly degenerated into a real deadline crisis, with multiple projects due and "focus" a genuine issue.
But again, this was one of those trips that just had to be made and undaunted I headed north for the first time in a very (very) long time.
With ABC Local Radio for company I rolled through some towns that have been pretty significant in the context of my life's journey.
Indeed, given that I first hit the Bruce Highway all those years ago as a young soldier, I long ago lost count of the number of times I've travelled the ubiquitous "Red Route".
And while it's been some years since I last ventured north of Noosa, the passage of time it seems has done little to dampen my memories of the landscape, and I'm sorry to say the road surface.
Is it just me, or is there a certain irony in the authorities re-branding the Bruce the A1, considering the surface is as shabby as ever?
Anyway, back on said road, the k's keep ticking over and I can't help but smile as I roll through towns like Tiaro, Childers, Apple Tree Greek, Gin, Gin, and Raglan, reflecting on moments spent in each and every one over the years.
But for all that's changed over those years (self included) so much of what I'm seeing is as I remember it. Comforting in one sense, confronting in another...
The wedding on the other hand was exactly as I'd imagined it would be one of THE hot ticket events of the year in CQ and a genuinely great night out!
I was woken by the sound of the wind in the trees at dawn the next morning and wasted no time whatsoever in saying my goodbyes and heading straight for the beach.
By the time I pulled into the carpark at the Sailing Club the wind was a solid 20 knots from the south-east and building, forcing the race committee at the KBSC to cancel the day's regatta, while yours truly was frothing at the prospect of hitting my old "home patch".
Funnily enough, given how much time I've spent there over the years, it was quite surreal heading back out into those brown waters again and it probably took me a couple of runs to re-orient myself to my surrounds.
As luck would have it the wind continued to fill in to a steady 25kts and the odd peak was starting to "break" on the bank in front of the boat ramp. In short, it was about as good as gets yet I was still on my own and lonesome.
After about an hour or so on the water I ducked in for a quick break and bumped into Max, Kim, Ava, et al heading off for the airport and the short hop home.
Then just as I was about to head back out again for Round #2 a very familiar van pulled up alongside and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was in fact being driven by Bruce the retired Headmaster.
He then proceeded to fill me in on the current state-of-play in the old town and it wasn't long before we were joined by a few of the new crew (young Sam, Andrew, and Adam) as well as the ever-smiling Ronnie Miller.
For the next few hours all five of us had an absolute ball with an abundance of wind and plenty of room to move.
Indeed, I got so caught up in the moment that by the time I finally came in it was starting to get dark and the rain was really bucketing down.
Still I had places to go and certainly wasn't keen on hanging around, so steered the "Roo" southward into the teeth of the storm.
Initially the plan was to head for Agnes and overnight there, however, while rolling through Bernaraby I had what could only be described as a brain-fade and the flash going off in my rear-vision mirror was a wake up call to say the least. Bugger!
It also meant that my budget was blown and despite being drenched and dog-tired I pushed on into the night. Next stop, home...
Again I relied on the ABC to keep me company as the k's ticked by, though it was hard going and on more than one occasion I was forced to question my decision to drive on.
I recall several times thinking (with a mixture of amusement and amazement) that I once upon a time used to make this trip on a very regular basis. Madness...
Finally after some eight and half or so hours behind the wheel I pulled into my driveway and stumbled into bed virtually comatose.
Indeed, it was several days before I started to feel like a fully-functioning being again and I'm in no great rush to repeat the performance (so to speak).
That said, it was terrific to catch up with some old cohorts (work and windsurfing crew) and even moreso to score a memorable day's sailing at the old spot.
And I was stoked to see that while the local (Yepoon) windsurfing community is still small in number, they are still as stoked as I remember them being back in the day.
As for the lessons learned on this little "adventure"? Well they are really pretty straightforward:
It's the people themselves that "make" the place
We do meet some fine folk through windsurfing
A little reflection is a good thing "going forward"
It's a long way from Yeppoon to Mermaid Beach!
Sailing all day is not necessarily the best preparation for driving all night!
But most important of all was the realisation that despite all of the rumours to the contrary windsurfing really is alive and well in the Sunshine State.
NB: A big thanks to Max Futcher for the shots of the author in action. Champion effort under the circumstances mate and greatly appreciated by all at "OW".