Grateful in Gladstone

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What? I’m comfy!!
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Luna enjoys some attention from the Triple M ladies!
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Driving Oz with the Black Dog meets the Cub Club!
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Ken presents Paul with the awesome air compressor
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Ken from Gladstone Nissan
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Brent from Opposite Lock Gladstone

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We spent a night in a cabin, thanks to Poinciana Tourist Park in Yeppoon. It was nice to have air conditioning, TV and our own bathroom! Every so often it is a real treat to not have to set up camp, and just relax in a room instead.

The next morning was our earliest start for a while. The alarm ringing at 5.45am was not a welcome sound, but we needed to be out and on the road just after seven, and Paul also had an interview to do over the phone with Triple M Central Queensland just before leaving. We jumped in the Legend and headed through Rockhampton towards Gladstone, where the Nissan dealership had organised a meet and greet. The roadworks we encountered were unexpected and caused us a bit of stress – we don’t like being late for anything! Through the magic of Facebook messaging, we were able to let people know that we were going to be delayed, which made us feel a bit better. It was great to hear the interview played on the radio while we were on the road though!

We arrived in Gladstone, and were met by Errol & Ken from Nissan, ladies from Triple M (who brought a bag of goodies for the kids), and Stephen & Debbie Mills, who run the Cub Club for Cub Campers owners. What a great welcoming party! It was just great chatting with everyone about the Legend, the Cub, the Cape, and of course, our Cause, and Luna didn’t appreciate the scratches and pats at all .. hehe. Anita from Channel 7 news in Gladstone turned up too, and it was a very busy time! Ken gave us the very impressive air compressor, which Nissan and Opposite Lock teamed up to provide. He also wanted to give us a chicken, which had randomly turned up next to the Legend and was entertaining the children, but we figured that Luna may not want to share the limelight she is currently enjoying, so Ken decided to try and find its real owner instead.

After leaving Nissan, we popped in to see Brent at Opposite Lock, who hadn’t been able to make it to the meet and greet. We wanted to say thanks in person, for contributing to the compressor for our trip. We do love looking at 4WD stores, and have had our eye out for a sand flag for some of our outback travel. When we asked Brent for a price, we were shocked when he handed us the one from the shop floor – even more support! He’s a good bloke, and we were really pleased to hear that business has been good for him. He had been so busy that he couldn’t leave the shop, so that made our short visit even more important.

We grabbed lunch, and stopped briefly to see Stephen and Debbie to get a sticker for the Cub. He’s made us Honourary Members of the Cub Club! We are super touched by this gesture, and promised to give any other Club members we encounter, some cheek on his behalf.

It was another couple of hours to Bargara, near Bundaberg, for our stopover. The Bargara Beach Caravan Park had offered us a powered site for the night, and we were so completely drained when we got there. It was an excellent sized site, and near the camp kitchen and amenities. We always appreciate that, taking into account the kids!

Aside from the early start, it was such a huge day – radio interview, meeting and greeting, new sponsors, tv interview, and many discussions. Gladstone has had suicides and mental health problems, prominently affecting first responders and also farmers suffering with the drought. It’s been a warm dry winter in Queensland, and they are hoping fervently for good rain before summer arrives. With the picturesque beaches and scenery, it’s easy to forget that most of the state of Queensland is drought declared. The old tourism slogan, “Queensland – beautiful one day, perfect the next”, now seems so shallow when you consider that the definition of “perfection” can be subjective to those whose living is reliant on enough wet stuff falling from the sky to make crops grow and keep stock alive. We are grateful for the support we received in Gladstone, and though we can’t make drought breaking rain fall over the state, we can continue to highlight the strain that farmers are under, and remind everyone to check in on your friends and family. If you’re worried about them or haven’t heard from them for a while, go and lump on their doorstep with a packet of bickies, and tell them to put the kettle on. In this world of impersonal social media and technology, the personal touch could make the world of difference to someone you care about.

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