It’s the smell
The warm moist fertile smell
Like any thing could grow here
Through central Queensland the smell was dry and dusty
Now it’s moist and you can smell and taste it
The tropical forests bring there interesting dangers
Even the plants
And of course there is the sugar cane. Been with me since the sub tropics.
It’s harvest time and sometimes the air is sickly sweet with the smell of sugar syrup especially near a mill grinding the cane
The tropics and sugar cane are synonymous for me.
Be it tropical Queensland, Mauritius, the Mekong Delta, the moist highlands of Ethiopia near the source of the Nile or South Pacific Islands, sugar cane was always there.
Being on a motorbike I’m in the moment, part of the environment, and experiencing the smells is part of it.
Long flat ribbons of road narrow and rutted
Covering flat planes and sparse dry land
Curvy narrow tight roads through mountains and forests
A precipice at every turn
Rivers almost dry
The little cane train rattling along its narrow rails
Huge bulls almost lost in the long grass
Move over for the massive mining machinery inching along
Then it’s the A1
Funnelled into a tourist town
Missing the quiet of the roads less travelled
The natural beauty along the way.
NSW /QLD border near Springbrook NP
Natural Bridge NP giant staghorn fern clings to the cliff in Cania Gorge
I’m sitting at Airlie Beach, a popular tourist town and thinking of the roads less travelled and the beautiful places I’ve passed on those back roads; Mundubbera, the mandarin capital, Dingo, with an Argentinian barmaid, and the offer of a couple of days work as a bouncer in Biloela.
The beauty of the Natural Bridge and Cania Gorge NPS.
It’s warm though and riding in just a Tshirt under my leather jacket is a pleasure.
But the tropics still call and Cooktown is another 950 kilometres north.
Long ribbon of road north
Look to the tropics
From the winter gloom
To a burst of warmth
Along the way friends
Friends old- reacquainted
Friends new- discovered
Friends not yet imagined- anticipated
Times alone in contemplation
I’m sitting on a veranda of a friends house in SE Queensland in the warm winters sun. Melbourne was cold and wet as was the ride through central NSW. But from Coffs Harbour on the sun and the breezes are warm. A taste of what is to come as I’m heading to Cooktown in the Queensland tropics – 4000 kilometres north of the winter cold.