Various - The Rain, It Raineth Every Day
Trip Start Aug 16, 2003
92Trip End Apr 21, 2004
As it was getting dark by the time we had settled in and fully investigated our quarters for the next three weeks, we thought we would try out our on-board two hob cooker for dinner. I struggled in the tight confines to create my world famous (well, stock dish) of Spaghetti Bolognese. Minced beef, onions and tomatoes literally threw themselves from the tiny pan, welding themselves to the hot oven surface, creating a despicably tough job for Andrea in our mutually agreed roles of 'one cooks, the other cleans up'
From then on, we decided to only stay in places with a camp kitchen...
Our journey to our next stopover, Yamba, was quite eventful in that we discovered we had a flat tyre (already) which turned out to be due to a faulty valve; the heavy rain which had set in; and with the casually sauntering dog that decided to cross the road in front of our van, allowing us the pleasure of an early field-testing of the brakes and hazard lights!
The site in Yamba did have the requisite camp kitchen, complete with tv, so we spent that evening cooking (and drinking) in comparative luxury. At this juncture, I must point out my immature amusement at the terms 'camp kitchen' and 'camp barbecue'. I couldn't help but imagine places whereby the users minced from one area to another, sashaying from cooking pot to sink, the conversation coloured by effeminate voices! Very immature, I know- I can't help it.
The rain did not desist at all throughout the evening, and so it was that we turned in at the early hour of 10pm to the staccato sounds of it pelting down on the metal roof of our temporary home.
We made our way to Byron Bay the following day, again through the unrelenting tempest. Apparently, it had not rained properly in the area for four months or so, and it seemed that Mother Nature was doing her best to make up for it now. We camped right next to the beach front and managed a quick look around the town, dodging the rain by hopping in and out of tourist-geared gift shops and the like
Not being able to sleep, I remained dressed and went for a walk along the beach. The wind was whipping up and I was glad of the extra layers I had put on before I set out. As I sat looking out to sea, I could make out the sounds of distant thunder and was lucky enough to witness the impressive spectacle of a lightning storm a few miles out. Because it was so fascinating to watch, I returned to the van and woke Andrea (who, to my immense relief, was grateful) so that she could see it too.
The storm cleared the air overnight and we woke up to a fabulously sunny day. We planned to go walking along the coastal paths around Cape Byron and make the most of this dry period. Of course, soon after we set off, the clouds came rolling in, but for quite some time, we evaded the downpour. It was only when we began to return, some 3 hours later, that we found ourselves in the midst of yet more rain. In the meantime, we spent a lovely morning and early afternoon strolling up and down the well constructed walkways. We stopped and admired some lovely views, and more than a few bold lizards who crossed our path.
With the rain coming, we were glad to get back to the small, but dry confines of the van, before fixing ourselves some lunch. Again, the skies darkened and the ominous rumble of thunder heralded yet another storm. As we ate, flashes of lightning over-illuminated the kitchen and what must have been thousands of litres of rain lashed violently to earth
With all this rain about, limiting our choice of evening activities, what could we do, but spend some time in a bar!
Leaving Byron Bay, we headed up the coast to Surfers Paradise - a place surely famed for golden beaches, bathed in hot sun. But it was raining. Still. Nevermind, we thought, there would be plenty to do here. And there was. We drove through the main town, right through the course that was being set up as a race rack for the Indy 300. Somehow it didn't seem quite right as we were in a slightly battered and sluggish Toyota Hiace, but we were on the racetrack!
We ate out that night, then visited 'Ripleys Believe It Or Not' museum. We were told that it would take us about an hour to view all the exhibits, but found ourselves so totally engrossed, that we in fact spent over two! For a relatively cheap attraction, this 'odditarium' is well worth a visit.
We had a fairly restful next day, venturing out between showers and for dinner cooked ourselves a feast of fat, in the form of loads of sausages etc on the camp bbq
Following the herds (it was a bank holiday) we went into Movie World - a kind of cross between Alton Towers and Euro Disney, only much smaller. We spent the day defying death on the 'Lethal Weapon' roller coaster, saving Gotham City from The Joker and his cronies, enjoying the Police Academy Stunt Show, being thrown about on the Scooby Doo Scarycoaster, and getting thoroughly soaked on the Wild West River Ride! And guess what? By mid-afternoon it was absolutely pouring down again! Soaked and frozen (an oxymoron, I know) to the core, we abandoned the remainder of the day and headed back to base for a warm shower and a change of clothes.
Dan and Andrea