June 24th, 2022Kyle’s Rant
ON THE road again. This is the first long road trip in years, weighing in at a whopping 4000 kilometre drive with an average 400km under the tyres per day, and things have changed in the 27 years since we last made the trip.
In December of 1995, the good wife got the call from the editor of The Cairns Post asking her to join the crew of hard smoking, drinking and cynical journalists that walked the hallowed halls of The Post. And within a few days we had packed up and hit the road in our Mazda 626. It was a car with relatively low miles on the clock, think one little old lady owner, and, of great importance, no air conditioning.
We were fresh faced 20-something-year-olds and fairly new together so still had a lot to talk about – aspirations, dreams, the sort of things you chat about before life gives you a kick in the guts, your face becomes weathered, teeth tarnished and your belly becomes another limb rather than a place to put food. (Ed’s note – speak for yourself Kyle!)
I do remember during the trip having to pour water over our heads, and because of the hot wind we had to keep the windows up and jam towels in the windows to keep the sun off our fresh, white skin. What a time to move to Cairns, December. What bright spark thought up that idea? We put in 10-hour days on the pothole- ridden roads and ate large breakfasts, lunch and dinners washed down with cask wine and beer to keep our strength up.
Fast forward to the present as we climb into our climate-controlled 4WD and decide that an average of 400 kilometres a day is a comfortable pace. I also have been skipping breakfast trying to reduce the size of my overhang, which in all honesty, keeps me sharp. Not eating that is, not the belly. The road to the Gold Coast is pretty much freeway all the way once you get across to the Hume via Three Chain Road in Carlsruhe except for the bottle neck around Newcastle and a couple of roadwork patches. It is pretty much 110km all the way. Even the trip through Sydney is a breeze but a quick stop is advised around 100km south of the city because there is no place to stop until you’re well on the other side.
The trip north of the Gold Coast is freeway until just before Gympie and then you’re on the A1 where the potholes are well marked. Quite honestly, the Queenslanders wouldn’t know a rough surface if it jumped out at them. Being a Central Highlands resident prepares you for any potholes that you come across, which are babies by comparison to the ones that you have to change down gears to get out of around here. However I must admit, one nearly got the better of me. I thought I could dodge around the left of it, but it turns out it was larger than I anticipated and nearly threw us down a sharp embankment at a speed which had me rattled for the rest of the day.
There is a vast difference in the roadworks in Queensland from here. Number one is they are actually doing them not just a bloke spreading bitumen from a shovel so the next truck coming along can spit it all out onto the following car.
The biggest difference, particularly as you head north of Rockhampton, is the large swathes of road they are upgrading. At home you will go through a roadwork section for five kilometres at the most, up there you can be on a single roadwork site for 30km and there are lots of them.
My final road trip tips are to make sure that you have topped the Esky up with ice, wine and beer at least two hours before you end the drive and if you feel the irresistible yearn to drive to Cairns, do it one way. It is actually a lot cheaper to go back on a jet and get your vehicle freighted back when you take into account accommodation and fuel. Road trip rant over…