The Travels of Mouse: Smells familiar!

We’re here again!

I do like revisiting familiar places and persuading the Staff to let me make a thorough inspection of all the places I sniffed before! Anyway, I shall start at the beginning…

Because were were only going 300km or so yesterday, Mum and Dad didn’t need to pack up in a great rush in the morning to get away early. A fact I appreciate because it means I spend a bit longer lounging in the air conditioned caravan instead of in the car waiting for them to hook everything up. And I get a decent walk after breakfast instead of having my, ahem, inspection and evacuation rushed. So, it was Ingham for the first stop, and Fiori with Love, mentioned in an earlier trip report for the great coffee and lumberjack cake, and let me just say, very agreeable puppacino.

It’s so much nicer when they don’t make it so hot that I have to wait for it to cool enough for me to drink. Of course, the Staff tore into portions of cake, and Mum actually had hazelnut hot chocolate rather than coffee, although how she can drink that stuff is beyond me. I mean, it’s actually toxic to doggos. Humans showing off how tough they are, if you ask me…

So, onward to the next food stop, which is traditionally Cardwell. On the way into town, Mum tentatively suggested they might consider mud-crab sandwiches (a local speciality) instead of a pie, but Dad held out for the meaty option, which I heartily endorsed. Mum was overruled… (I’ll get my way one of these days – Mum). You don’t need me to tell you that the pies were up to scratch, but I did feel the need to check in case anyone had dropped their pie – in the interests of tidying up, you understand.

And finally, we were in the home stretch. I made a point of keeping the Staff to their assigned tasks by supervising from the back seat. I felt they were getting too interested in the talking book they had playing rather than giving me strokies and passing back snacks and treats. Still, we got to Cairns nice and early, my enclosure was set up, my bed was put out and the Staff sat outside in the shade with me, with Mum messing about with that fabric stuff and Dad bashing away at his plank thing with his front paws. A pleasant evening all round, a spot of dinner (curried lamb with coconut, chana dal, vegetables and flatbreads for the Staff), a nice walk around the park sniffing all the corners and leaving comments myself, and so to bed.

But in the morning, O Drama! The coffee machine isn’t working! Apparently this is a Staff Catastrophe and requires immediate action as soon as the shops open. I can’t see what the fuss is about myself, except that the Staff function a whole lot more efficiently with a cup of that stuff inside them. There are also some groceries required, including food for Me, which is obviously vital! So long as a run to the dog park is included in the morning’s expedition, I shall be content. Mum says she also has to make dog soup and do laundry (why humans wear clothes is a perennial mystery to me), and Dad is going to put out some side awnings to keep out the hot afternoon sun.

So, that’s the Staff activities sorted out. I shall catch up on my important beauty sleep.

 

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cardwell, and reasons to stop

Our trip today was very short. Very…

Only two hours after we’d packed up and left Townsville, we were pulling off the highway again.

It was Cardwell, and apart from its attractions (of which more later), there was just a chance that someone from our motorbike club might have turned up for morning coffee and something tasty. Sadly no one came, although we did see the right kind of bike passing through, but we were quite happy to sit there and enjoy our own something tasty.

Cardwell is famous for crab, and I had a fairly lavish sandwich full of big chunks of fresh, delicious mud crab and salad.

The Husband was unable to refuse yet another meat pie.

After this rather early lunch, we went for a shake-lunch-down walk along the waterfront, where I saw what must sure have been influenced by a quilter. This is the pattern known as Baptist Fan, which has been shamelessly stolen and adapted for paving.

After we’d parked Miz Lizzie and hooked her up to everything, it was still early afternoon, so we headed into the Cardwell hinterland to investigate something I’d read about. The Cardwell Spa pools are a series of seasonal water-holes where the water is an extraordinary and natural shade of milky turquoise-blue. See for yourself; if anything, my photos don’t do the true colour justice. I framed the photos carefully to edit out the happily splashing tourists… As an adopted Queenslander, 24°C and overcast is just a bit too cool for swimming, and the mozzies were out in force so I wasn’t tempted.

Tonight we’ll be concocting a lavish chicken curry for dinner followed by a moderately early night. The new mattresses are brilliantly comfy and I fancy a nice long sleep among the palm trees, three streets back from the lapping waves of the Hinchinbrook Channel. Tomorrow we complete the last long distance leg, Cardwell to Cairns, and then we can settle down for a week or so before we have to uproot again and start the journey home.

And finally, I leave you with some teeny tiny rainforest flora.

 

 

 


Nothing exotic, but sweet and pretty, glowing brightly in the dim coolness of the rainforest.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: trial by fire

We’re on our way home.

Another beautiful dawn chorus woke us early enough that we were fully packed and on the road by 8.30am. We were not in a hurry to leave the places where we’ve been having fun, but by early lunchtime, we’d reached Cardwell, one of my favourite small towns on the road north.

It’s on the Hinchinbrook Channel and faces Hinchinbrook Island, one of the largest in the Great Barrier Reef chain. One of Cardwell’s claims to fame is its delicious fresh mud crab sandwiches, so no prizes for guessing what we had for lunch and what we looked at while we ate. The photo makes the sandwich look rather dull, but what it lacks in good looks it completely makes up in flavour and freshness. I could have eaten three of them! We only did it in the spirit of scientific enquiry, you under-stand, to ensure that a  ride destination we’re suggesting to motorbike friends would be suitably rewarding in the gastronomic stakes. We’d never voluntarily eat mud crab sandwiches otherwise… ahem!

Onwards from Cardwell. The highway wasn’t too busy and we were making good time until we spotted a wide plume of smoke ahead. They’ve been doing hazard reduction burns at the roadside here and there all along our route so we weren’t surprised by that. What did surprise us is that it got thicker, and darker, and closer, until we were finally all brought to a halt.

For an hour and a half, all traffic movement on Australia’s main north-south highway ceased, while the smoke swirled closer and closer. Eventually, it started to clear and we were allowed to creep forwards past fire fighters, emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire appliances from all over the region, and even the RAAF water cannon from the nearby base at Townsville.

Flames were still licking at the roadside trees, and for hectares on either side, there was black devastation. Graders and bulldozers reappeared from the undergrowth where they’d been clearing firebreaks, the asphalt on the road was black and sticky, and the huge water pipeline from the dams in the mountains above the city was blackened and blistered. We were very lucky to have been stopped before the fire got behind us, or it would have swept across all the vehicles in the road as well as the trees and vegetation.

It made the rest of the day seem rather mundane. We collected the overlocker, and we had a meal out with friends. The Husband and I both had a rare ‘proper’ drink; I think we both felt the need to settle our nerves a little. Tomorrow morning, we’ll start the final stage of our homeward journey, and I hope most devoutly that it will be completely uneventful!

Meanwhile, I’ll just count my blessings once more…