Saturday, 8 March 2008

After the helicopter from Heron Island landed in Gladstone, we walked a few minutes to our caravan, remarking that we probably had the shortest trip anyone ever had to get “home” from Heron Island. The rest of our day consisted of driving, driving, and driving some more. We drove seven hours to get to our next destination, Airlie Beach. We drove between tall trees, a two lane road the whole way, white puffy clouds in the sky, and no radio station until our last hour. I was so desperate for music I was thankful for the oldies station that finally tuned in. Clay and I played a long, endless geography game, he would name a geographic place, and I’d name one that started with the same letter his ended with. “Cleveland”. “Dali”. “Indonesia”. “Austin”. Blah, blah, blah.

We arrived at the campervan park after dark. They were supposed to leave us a note and instructions taped to the front door, but there was nothing but a generic sign that instructed late arrivals to stick an envelope with money through the slot in the door, then look at the map and pick a sight. This place didn’t seem very secure. Right behind us a van pulled in and a man with dreadlocks shoved his money through the door. Another car pulled in behind us. It was a race to see who could find the best spot in the dark. We finally settled on an uneven sight, everything leaned towards the front, a ball rolled from the back of the camper to the front in nine seconds. It took a long time to get ourselves backed in right, “nudging” some low-hanging tree limbs and stretching our waste water hose to its limits to reach the waste water hole that was unusually far away. Smoking and drinking Germans in the site behind us observed our settling in with no comment. I imagine they were concealing their mirth.

The boys had been sleeping for more than an hour, our time was a little messed up because Heron Island was an hour ahead of the mainland. They continued to sleep while we backed in and yelled at each other through the open windows, “Keep going, careful of the tree! Okay, cut it to the right, no, no, that’s too much, back again!” And so on and so forth. We finally got ourselves in the spot, at least enough for the night, we’ll deal with it in the morning. The boys were still wearing the swimsuits they had on that morning, we decided those made perfectly good pajamas. As I lay in bed I rolled slightly towards Clay, being at the top end of the downhill slant. All nice and cozy, tucked into our little home sweet camper home.