The tarmac is a paler grey than the usual, flecked with white and utterly hitchless. A vague mirage shimmers as we near the summit of another lowland hilltop, sky and earth together and boundless, soon giving way to the next great length of highway, which always seems to be sliding off to some impossible destination – a taunt, a jibe, a chuckle in the passing wind, lest we forget the immensity of our 600 mile journey to Noosa.
We’re alone on the road. This road, of all roads? Hm. The observation strikes me odd considering the supposed popularity of the route we were taking… Where are all the cars? End to end, no single other vehicle shares the horizon. The only accompaniments to our passage through southern Queensland are the leafy canopies bracing either verge, forming almost a perfect symmetry through the landscape – save the lopsy peaks of a distant mountain range, peering rightwards.
– But I’m projecting ofcourse, aren’t I – from the busy old motorways of the UK..*
Brim packed isles boasting years of civic history against a beast of a land, still in her prime… Like relating a tin of sardines to a sea of fish. (Not to say a tin of sardines has years of civic history but… ah well you gather my intent.) Our being alone on Australia’s Bruce highway makes perfect sense really – reflecting just as much the smallness of her population as the vastness of her land. Whew, there it is. I survey the road again, shift my gaze once more to the horizon. It’s a beautiful stretch to turn the speed up – a thought timed to action as James kicks the car close to 140.
The breeze whistles now almost, through the gaps between my toes, and I wiggle them about in an excess of contentment for the primeness of their position – rested casually over the joint of the wing mirror, one foot over the other – prime, because it’s a chiller thing to hang your feet out the window of a fast moving automobile, but also as they serve the two of us some sure respite from the stink they’ve been emitting in the footwell for the past 3 hours.
My contentment spreads to other topics; namely, the Django Unchained soundtrack blaring through the audio chamber, my recent accomplishment of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the understated virtue there is in being able to sit in comfortable, reflective silence aside another human being. This last one I savour for a while… I imagine the great country roadtrip distils all men and women to some predictable set of reflections; whether a brutish hooligan, hardened businessman or time withered crone, all can lend credit to freedom, isolation and mother nature, briefly at the least, before returning to their stereotypes.
James: Where are the mcdonnys joints around here? I’m feeling a big Mac and a mcfinger up the bum.
If there was such a thing as poetry in motion then the words were quickening to a halt.
And so the car would be soon enough as a state vehicle emerges in the wing mirror, headbox flickering, indicating us to pull over. No cars on the road and the one that breaks the mould is police.. 140 ey, what are we in for…
(Update* A little hard data might’ve stemmed my bewilderment. The UK landmass, a meagre 242,000 kilometres squared contains almost 66 million people, where Australias landmass is over 30 times as large with 7.7 million kilometres squared and contains close to a third of the UK population!)
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