Friday the 13th

Report 13 July
By Thecla and Benno

We are not superstitious, but unconsciously it comes up, the question: “What will this day bring?”

When we arrive at the jetty, the captain of our ship has noticeable problems with his servant, as far as payment is concerned. Although we would leave 7.15, we are still on the jetty at 8.30 am. Four bookings have been oddly solved in the dark, so we leave with 16 passengers. It promises to be a clear, windless day, with enough space on a boat with forty places. Fifty meters after sailing, the boat comes to a halt. It starts, but the engine does not start. After frantic efforts we float away on the incoming tide. There is shouting and not much later we anchor. In the hold it is painfully quiet. Weather is started, but the engine gives no on request. Thecla looks at me. My hands itch, and not much later I disappear with one of the boatsmen in the engine room, where a thousand PK M.A.N. engine shows itself. I look for the venting pump that does not give pressure, even after venting, no pressure. Then we discover that strangely enough a crane is not completely open. I bleed the system and hop; the engine is running again and we continue. The five-member delegation of the boat expresses their thanks and full of power we roar to the island. Dirk looks a bit gray from his eyes and not much later, strange food scraps out of his mouth. He is deadly ill. Between the reefs we reach the island where we are shown around and get an explanation about the vegetation, the reef, the animals that live there and what not. Dirk walks behind the group as if we were dumped on Papillon. He must surrender again on the pearly white beach and feel saddened. After the island we crawl in a glass boat to view the coral for those who do not go snorkeling. Then we put on a wetsuit and splashed in the water snorkeling. Trudy has difficulty breathing, so it soon starts looking higher. Thecla and I go snorkeling along the reef, where large turtles show up and take a swim with us, stepping out of their heads and going further. It is truly breathtaking in terms of beauty, diversity and color splendor of corals and fish in all forms and creations. Unfortunately, due to the declining tide, we have to leave too soon. Dirk has now assumed a green-yellow color as if he were of coral. But from one of the passengers he gets a wonder pill and fortunately comes along.
Dirk gets his advice via the Internet of his daughter to make a ride in the Model T, and the thought alone makes him look better. All in all a strange Friday the thirteenth.

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Report 12 July
By Thecla and Benno

Every time it is a pleasure to wake up in the nowhere with only nature sounds around you. The nocturnal dew has made everything soaking wet, where you had to go through every turn on your side or back.
We say goodbye to mounth Alma and our beautiful camping spot.
We go over a good asphalt road through a undulating landscape with gras land stretching to the left and right. Because of the unusual rains everything looks fresh and fruity and breathes a Dutch country atmosphere. We have picked up the plan to take a boat at the seaside village of Seventiensevety to the island of Musgrave in the middle of the great Barier reef, an hour and a half sailing from the coast to go snorkelling.

The office is quickly found and arranged. The boat is only half full, so there was enough space. The boat mechanic says he wants to fit on the T-Ford tomorrow Then looking for a campsite, but everything is full. Even though I show my neptatoe and Dirk his muscles, they do not give a kick. Then we throw it over another bow and pull on our most sloppy clothes and show the decrepit T-Ford, this is paying off at Captain Cook camp. We hit our camp and walk through the jungle to the beach, where no one is to be seen. Eating and sleeping. I read another sign with “beware of falling branches, and indeed I hear a branch coming down with a lot of crackling at night, fortunately no coconut that swings above us in the wind.

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Birthday of Trudy

Report 11 July
By Benno en Thecla

Early this morning we decorated our campsite with garlands and candles for Trudy’s birthday. .

After that, the garlands go all around on the T-Ford so that today we see festive garlands flying all day for us. She also gets a birthday visit of about 30 youngsters who came to us in full trot. We go early towards Dingo. Here a train track runs through the city, where 100 wagons with charcoal pass by. I wonder what they use for that. We arrive on a larger road that is used a lot and where the road surface is quite bumpy. Occasionally difficult to drive. At the exit of Dudulu we get a treat from Trudy, a sandwich at Rose’s roadside restaurant. We are looking for a short-cut but can not really find him in the first instance, but eventually end up in nice little neighborhood villages. To reach Miriam Vale turns out to be too far so we stop towards Gladstone. We have now descended the mountains and come back into a different landscape.

We have a place at Mount Alma nearby. The farmer comes to watch while he does his evening round and gives us permission. Here it also turns out to be a national walking route, where they also seem to come along with camels and bicycles.

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Fixing …

Report 10 July
By Benno en Thecla

Last night it was slightly warmer; up to 5 degrees. We have interested parties for the T-Ford at an early stage. One of the guests has worked for a long time on Fraser island and says that it is very busy with tourists nowadays, especially during the school holidays. Fraser Island is worth it but not for snorkeling. He probably knows another possibility near his home address. Seventien Seventy. We write it down!

We continue and not much later our path is crossed by a porcupine (bad signs ?!) A little further we see 4 emus in the field and 3 khoribusters. Fun! Because the last days we drive a lot of kilometers in a day. In the afternoon I take over the wheel and a little later we hear a lot of noise at the right rear tire of the Landrover. We steer straight into the roadside, and see that the canvas of the tire is barren. Ben is considering reducing the pressure in the tire, but less than a minute later it is bang! First we wait for Dirk and Trudy, but start by disassembling the spare tire and removing the wheel with a baco because we can not find the wheel wrench.

Once we have that job, the job is done. Not much later we stop to store our camp for the night and so the men can also inspect what is going on with the T Ford, because they always pull to the left with brakes. After the wheel and drum has been removed it appears that the brake lining is dredge. We clean everything and seal the hub with silicone gasket. Just before dark everything is together. Then just change the differential oil. This looks pretty good. (no more bronze available)

Everything seems to have been taken care of again so that we can go to bed quietly, the stars wink us to sleep.

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Termite hill

Report 9 July
By Thecla and Benno

It was a cold night again and the stars seemed to be closer than ever. After breakfast we leave, but Dirk sees a termite mound over the head in the high grass so that a reaction rod of the rear axle is bent. After some tinkering and our apologies to the termites, we have this right and tension again. On to Belyando crossing, Mount Coloon, and on to Elphinstone. After this we go down from the asphalt to the gravel, but the route offers little spectacular. Trudy sees another porcupine and a little later we see a group of kangaroo’s.
After we have crossed several hills we descend to a lake at Elphinstone.
Here we see thousands of birds, including black swans, coots, cormorants, shovels, herons and so on. A true spectacle. Here we will camp after a day of 340 kilometers. Hats off for the Model T-Ford.

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Horsepower (s)

Report 8 July
By Benno en Thecla

We spent the night at the Oasis roadhouse. Next to us is an old tree, without intimate life, but with an unusually hospitable reception the most beautiful birds land. We continue our way; 262 kilometers of asphalt. The roads are hypnotic long, the vegetation extremely homogeneous, so you shake your head regularly and wonder “have not I driven here, or are we still still?” You look at your speedometer, which just indicates 70, your tank gauge is also however dropped. There are hardly any animals to see. At our coffee stop at one of the bush lands, an old cowboy meets us on a horse and has an animated conversation. He also tells you to come to a city every now and then, but only to do some shopping and is back in the jungle of the bush as soon as possible. Something we can confirm. In Charters Towers we arrive early in the afternoon and want to go shopping there, but the city seems deserted. There is a large store open, where we can do our shopping. The boys are outside and have regular claims, even the local supercharger makes a chat and gives the boys a pound of freshly cut fricandeau as a present. We drive a lot further and stop 30 kilometers before Belyando crossing. Hit the bush and encounter a group of more than thirty kangaroos. With a little bit of murmur we get a place in their territory. Unfortunately, here are some spines on the ground, so you can not walk with flip-flops. However, sleeping is again fine at this place. A magisterial starry sky, however, gives us little rest !! The farmer comes by to tell us that we are not allowed to make fire, and must take our waste with us.

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Undarra (means long road in the aborigine language

Report 7 July
By Benno en Thecla

After we reach the asphalt at Mount Garnet, we take the asphalt to Undarra Volcanic park to visit some lavatubes. Here we arrive late in the morning and can still book a tour.

We have lunch for a while and then we go on the road. The ranger gives an impressive explanation about the formation of these kilometers of underground tunnels, created with volcanic eruptions. Unfortunately, the longest of 126 kilometers is no longer intact, but there have been a number of collapses. The collapses can be recognized in the landscape by small tufts of rainforest that have arisen here and there in the landscape, between the ordinary vegetation.

Against the dark we arrive at a road junction on the back yard of the roadhouse. Here it is full of birds who are going to make a final cry for sleeping.

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Report 6 July
By Benno en Thecla

We had a wonderful night at Ellis Beach, even though it was so busy.

So we decide to go back to the interior at Smithfield, on to Atherton. The mountains are staring at us. Along the way we see many tree ferns, a picture of millions of years back as if the dinosaurs are looking around the corner. We pass again all kinds of coffee, mango and banana plantations. The road is super busy with a lot of holiday traffic, but also a lot of freight traffic and roadtrains. That is why we have chosen a beautiful route through dirt road, which is almost deserted. Via Herberton, Irvingbank we go to Mount Garnet. We have often seen microwaves along the road at a house, not much later it becomes clear to us that the old microwave ovens are used as snake-free mailboxes. In Irvingbank we still come to a museum installation of all kinds of tools for machines, including for miners’ work. A few old techies turn cranes, pumps, and all kinds of stationary engines. Magnificent!! In addition, all kinds of excavated stones, musical instruments have been shown, and what not. The enthusiastic men let us see our collection beaming and enjoy the sight of a T-Ford in their village. Then we end up on a beautiful mountain road with beautiful views, lakes and curves. We do not meet anyone. Just before we reach Mount Garnet we decide to make our campground on a small lake. An only the lonely pelican keeps watch in the lake. Ben and I sleep under the stars again in the bushes, where it is very restless with rustling and splashing in the water.

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Stickadiles, Rockadiles and finally Crocodiles

Report 5 July
By Benno en Thecla

We have slept at the campsite at DainTree village and decide to go with a boat tour in the morning to see possible crocodiles from the boat. Dirk looks after the T-Ford after the Bloomfield track, which turns out to be okay. During this trip we see several crocodiles, kingfisher and species of cormorants and we hear a lot of interesting facts. They compare crocodiles with solar collectors, they need the sun for their energy. The lush vegetation of the rainforest from the water is extremely impressive. The river is wide and large and we also see many roots of mangrove forests, as it is close to the sea, and therefore provides some salt water.

Then we drive to the coast, where there is much more traffic, but also parts of rainforest that belong to UNESCO world heritage. Regularly we get a beautiful view from the road on pearly palm beaches, with in the back the rainforest. We decide to camp on the beach one night and on Ellis Beach, where we create a beautiful spot under the palm trees on the beach. In the evening we get a visit from a striped bird that seems to walk on stilts and makes the sound like someone is being killed. The Australians notice that these birds do this place every night. And with this reassuring thought, we are going to sleep.

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Bloomfield track

Report 4 July
By Benno en Thecla

Waking up in a rainforest is always a delight; since the vast majority of the animal kingdom calls for attention, or more; screams for attention. And they will get that. Silence in deserts can be overwhelming, but the symphony of the rainforest gives you an experience of the exuberance of life itself that is unprecedented.

We leave early and have opted for the Bloomfield track against all laws and advice. A route through the rainforest that is only accessible for four-wheel drive cars. In addition, we caught the message that one of the rivers is much too high because of the abundant rains, so that all off-road vehicles can not get through. “We’ll see” says Dirk, and I agree with him. The adventure beckons !!

In the beginning the T-Ford climbs effortlessly through the green tunnel. The path is reasonable, but soon we come across a board with a 22% increase. It is just swallowing but perfectly the Model T goes against it. The Landrover seems to have more trouble with it, but it goes well in the low range. The triumph is celebrated with a cup of coffee made by Trudy. After this we descend and climb again with short curves, keeping it going.

Then we come across a board with 27%, we look at each other, but without many words we continue, we see. But here too the T-Ford buffs roaring, with slipping tires against it. Caramba !! The cogwheels crack, but get upstairs just as calm to cool down. This gives us the opportunity to see the beauty of the green of forest giants, tree ferns, lianas, strangler figs and many birds. On the way our path is crossed by a Cassuari, a one and a half meter high flightless bird from the Dinosaurs era. Magnificent!!

It gives us the feeling that we are sitting in a huge garb since we now come across a board with a 32% increase. Again our eyes cross each other with some care. There is only one possibility: SPEED IS EVERYTHING!! And oh miracle !! The T-Ford gets this slipping and scraping, pounding and grunting. Dirk had the feeling to be in the gearbox, the gears were audible, but we’re upstairs.

After a further descent, a notorious river waits for us, winding its way through the rainforest. First the Landrover, who hit the other side, sloshing and roaring. Then the T-Ford, and oh miracle! He seems to be doing well, he saves it and after much ascent and descent we reach Cape Tribulation. Here the jungle reaches to the sea. Before we get to the beach, we scan it on saltwater crocodiles, but everything seems safe. Not much later we find a camp site and go to sleep with a glorious sunset.

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