February 2nd – February 3rd
I would like to clarify that Jack is a campervan that we’ve rented for the month, not a random stranger that we offered a lift to. Jack was not the name we picked for the van, (we wanted to call it Reggie the Rental), but unfortunately the name was predetermined. That’s how we found ourselves driving along at 100kmph, listening to Kasabian on an empty stretch of road next to the Glasshouse Mountains, just outside of Brisbane.
I’d love to pretend that the first two days of our road trip were entirely glamorous but that would be a lie. I could tell you it didn’t take Paige a couple of attempts (seven) to pull out of the driveway of the van rental place. I could also tell you that it wasn’t so hot on the first night that I nearly threw up at one o’clock in the morning because I was so overheated. I could also say that my directions are definitely not terrible and that we haven’t gotten lost on every single journey that we’ve done so far. I am a very honest person however, and those would all be very dishonest statements. I would like to let everybody know though, we have as of yet not crashed, and so all is not lost.
After picking up Jack, we decided to do a few laps around Nundah, which is where we had been staying previously, in order to get used to driving something bigger than a Vauxhall Corsa. I will admit that any idea we had of me driving the van at any point in the upcoming month quickly evaporated, as we realised that it would have perhaps been sensible to have practised driving in the two years since passing my test. Lesson learned I guess. This meant that Paige was the driver, and I was designated co-pilot. Picture Han Solo and Chewbacca, except considerably less hairy and much less masculine.
Before heading on our journey, we decided to stop at the nearest Target to buy some fundamentals for Jack. By we, I mean Paige and by fundamentals, I mean two cushions, a throw, one mug and one wineglass. So just the necessities really.
We were pretty cautious on the first night and only drove for half an hour, and once we got used to the fact that Australian roads, unlike English roads, actually make sense, the journey was an easy one. The roads are signposted well, marked well, maintained well and in general, act as roads are supposed to. In the interest of saving money we decided to stay in a free campsite/empty field next to some train tracks. Brilliant call, except this meant we didn’t have power for a fan (which we went and bought at nine o’clock in the evening, before realising that we couldn’t turn it on without electricity). It also didn’t have a clean supply of water or a shower. After the sweatiest and dirtiest nights sleep of our lives, we managed to wash our feet and kind of our bodies in the sink, and were on our way, smelling beautifully. We also used shampoo as shower gel, because we’d forgotten to buy that as well. What a great start, we’re natural travellers.
The next morning we decided that we’d stop en route a couple of times. Our first destination was North Pine Country Park (Old Petrie Town). Well worth the visit if you love absolutely nothing, mixed with a little of less than nothing. Realistically the best thing about Old Petrie Town was the feeling of neglect, and the red double-decker bus that gave out terrible cups of tea.
That night we stopped at another campsite, which we had to pay for this time. I was met by the caretaker’s assistant (didn’t know they needed those), who after learning about Paige’s back pains, suggested that Organic Sulphur could cure it. Not sure why the doctors and specialists and physiotherapists etc. didn’t spot that sooner. After meeting the infamous caretaker himself, he proceeded to recite us an approximately ten stanza-long poem, which we believe was about England, but we’re not entirely sure. Probably because we fell asleep a few lines in. The site itself was lovely, and the presence of a shower was very welcome – somehow the van had started to smell less than 24 hours after we picked it up which wasn’t ideal…
So far we’re enjoying our campervan adventure, but I wouldn’t go as far at to say we’re experts on the matter. More like a couple of bumbling idiots who are fortunate enough that everybody around them knows what they’re doing, and are more often than not willing to help out. Thank God.