Way out West…

Ok, we’ll admit it. The tour is actually over, and we’re both finally back at our respective homes at the end of the journey.  But thanks to our lack of updates, we’re sticking to the plan of blogging the adventure, hold tight for another of the massive, long overdue blog posts, happening now…

Leaving Rocky behind, my solo drive onto Longreach was epic. Since getting my licence, all those years ago, I’ve had romantic dreams of being a truckie making each stop a home away from home, while traveling day and night to make the next delivery and pickup. The old fashioned road trip is a close second to the dream. Emerald was the highlight of the journey. Who would have thought a massive easel holding Van Gogh’s Sunflowers would be found in central Queensland. It’s massive and worth reading about.

For me, the biggest concern for the trip was hitting an animal. Heading west we knew that the risks of this would dramatically increase.so we avoided dusk and dawn to reduce the chances, but with bodies every thirty meters we knew it would be tough. Since our adventure is now over, (shhh!) we can safely say we didn’t hit a single soul for the entirety of the journey.

I arrived at Longreach in forty degree heats and half the town shutdown to attend a funeral. Lucky for me I was in good hands, with Claire, who I met roughly four years ago at a workshop that shaped Blackall’s annual Shockwave festival.

With all the youth development officers from council either leaving without notice or resigning  in the western Queensland towns while I was planning the tour,  I had to think on my feet, And thanks to Human, Brooke, Heather and Arts and Crafts Centre,  everything worked out perfectly. Because of the youth development officers disappearing acts, we had to drum up interest and participants. Claire and I hit the school, and to my surprise, I walk into the art class and find a familiar face, Phil, once Toowoomba’s hottest skater and trouble maker.  The local ABC station had heard about the tour through their networks and got me on their morning show as well.

Having the morning free and being a dinosaur and rock geek that I am, I decided the trip to Winton was a must. Sadly the home of the world’s largest dinosaur stampede, Lark Quarry was and still is closed for maintenance but Australian Age of Dinosaurs located just before Winton was open. From the outside, it would have merely looked like a large tin shed. Which it is, but a lot of action was unfolding inside.

I’ve met a lot of geeks in my time, but wow. Entering the gift shop and entry I was greeted by an over the top, bouncy, chatty bloke who upon first interaction, I thought might have been putting it on, but that wasn’t the case. George Sinapius, was actually a contestant on that terrible TV show, Beauty and the Geek. I’m not surprised on any level, but slightly disappointed I didn’t get a photo with him.

Thanks possibly in part to the 40 degree heat, the first workshop didn’t go so well, with only one young dude coming along, scooter in hand. So if the people weren’t coming to us, Bizoo would go to the people!

Thanks to Heather and the Longreach Cultural Association, our accommodation was at the historic Longreach Arts and Crafts building. Once the home of the local ambulance crew, now an amazing arts and crafts space that hosts gallery exhibitions and once a month markets. Lucky for us, that one day landed during our stay.  Continuing with the theme of taking the workshop to the people, we ran a workshop at the markets, then ran  another workshop at the local pool in the afternoon. Who would have guessed paper and water could be friends! Both workshops were a huge success, the young people of Longreach had a ball on the typewriters and alphabet stamp sets.

During our travels there have been a couple of side missions that we may not have highlighted. The first was visiting every dump shop in town, including all the OP shops. Thanks to Heather’s amazing backyard filled with fossils, and the Winton experience, fossicking has been added to the list. We haven’t found anything too amazing except fossilised wood and a pile of, as the opal shop owner calls them common stones.

The road has now officially taken its toll. We’re not getting any sleep but we totally exhausted. We’re up at 5am, have breakfast at around 7am and ready for more sleep around 8:30am. We’re total rock pigs!
Dr Jerm

To be continued…

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