It's the first of June already? Where did that time go? And why wasn't I told?
The weather today was crap!! It started out ok, with greyish skies in the morning, but it didn't rain. We took the opportunity to pack away the annexe while it was dry, because the next couple of days were going to be busy, and we had to travel early Sunday morning. There's not much worse than trying to fold away a wet annexe in a hurry, so we took the opportunity while it was there. And it's just as well we did. About an hour after lunch, the drizzle moved in, and it hasn't changed since then, other than to get heavier. Yes, the weather today was crap!! And that suited us perfectly....
We had nothing to do this morning, so we caught up on a bit of computer stuff, photos etc, packed some stuff away, cleaned the caravan a little bit, and generally wasted time until Jeremy's and my pick up for quad biking. That was at 1.30pm, after lunch, and it meant we enjoyed a really lazy morning. While we were quad biking in the rainforest, Jo was taking Dylan back to Wildlife Habitat to feed the kangaroos... Again!! I don't know much about what else they did, other than to tell you that I've seen photos of them drinking cocktails on the jetty, eating cake together, and playing on the jumping pillow back at the park. I gave her $50 pocket money when we left, and she hasn't given me back any change, so I hope they had a fun time together...
Jeremy and I caught our transfer bus out to Daintree Station, out in the hinterland rainforest behind Mossman, just north of Port Douglas. The station is 400 acres of rainforest, which has been set up as a country style entertainment, recreation park. They have quad bikes, horse safaris, zorb ball tracks, and a massive rodeo 'arena'...'rink'...'field'? What do you call a rodeo venue? Anyhow, they have one permanently set up, with undercover stadium seating and bar area etc, and it's been really well done. They had a rodeo just last week, and over 2500 people turned up, and the guy told me they're about to increase it's capacity to cater for more. It's really a beautiful spot. We were running slightly late however, and the two guides and two other passengers were already there waiting for us. It wasn't a busy afternoon for them, with only four customers on the tour. The other two people were a couple, both in their 50's I suppose, and neither had ever ridden quad bikes before. They were slow...and not very adventurous...and we had to keep waiting for them. But that's ok, they were nice people, and had lots of fun watching us carry on like idiots. There was a brief, and I mean brief, safety introduction to the quad... "Here's the throttle. That's one brake. That's another. If neither of them work, try this one. This is your gears. Four of 'em. Down to neutral. Green light's on. Push that and go. Follow me, you'll get the hang of it..." And he was right, we did get the hang of it... Fast. As I said earlier, it has rained lots up here recently, and it was raining now. The quad bike tracks were full of puddles and mud. The grass was slippery also. The paddocks (our practice area), were full of bulls and cows and horses, and it was awesome... We zipped and weaved our way through them and in between them. We went up hills and over the edges, and we slid around the corners. Some of the puddles we went through soaked our feet up to our ankles, and those quaddies just did not stop. Even Jeremy's, (he was on a smaller bike), took all the abuse and punishment without missing a beat. The guide says it's because they're Honda's, none of that cheap Chinese online crap out here, they just won't last... The guide would go as fast as we wanted him to. If Jeremy and I were too close to him, he took that as an indication we wanted more, and he would up the speed to suit. The other two, and the trailing guide, would follow along at their own pace behind us. Every now and then we'd stop, and he'd wait for them to catch up, to explain the next obstacle. "See this hill. It's very steep and slippery. Go at it full tilt, don't slow down. If you stop without getting to the top, chances are you'll slide right over that edge, into the gully, and you'll walk home... Any questions? (Didn't pause to see if there were any) Right. Lets go!" And we did. Like little ducklings following mother duck, we all lined up behind, and one after the other, gunned our bikes to the top of the hill, slipping and sliding all over the place... It was frigging awesome fun!! He pulled up at a clay pan area, called the donut bowl. Why? Why do you reckon? Jeremy and I are out there spinning our quads in ever larger circles, going faster and faster, throwing mud and clay all over the place, until the only part of us not covered in filth was our teeth... Actually, I think I was smiling and laughing too much early on, and got mud in my teeth, after which I learnt to keep my mouth firmly shut! We did donuts for ages, and even the guides joined in because we were having so much fun. It was still raining, and the more we played, the muddier the ground got...which in turn, led to more play... (you get the picture...). The other two sat on the edge of the Donut Bowl watching. They laughed and egged us on, but they didn't have a go... (Well they did, but at the end). It was enormous fun, and as much as I wish Jo and Dylan cold have been there, I don't think we would've carried on like that if they had been. I would have been too concerned about Dylan's safety, whereas Jeremy, I just don't care. He can look after himself.
We went on much more rugged trails through the rainforest after our introductory sessions. These tracks were hardcore tracks, and covered in rocks, roots, deep ruts and big drops or jumps. The puddles became river crossings, and you'd drop down one side of a gully, cross the river and have to gun it up the other side of the gully without being able to stop. There was only one track, and there was someone following you along it. Sometimes it was close, and we all had some scarey incidents to remind us it was an adventure sport, but we all came through it unscathed. Adrenaline flowed freely, and I can't ever remember being told "That's not a donut! Get out there and do it again. I want to see mud fly!!" They encouraged us to thrash the quads, the wheels would only spin anyway, and they knew we were loving it... We'd break out of the rainforest into another clearing, and they'd point out landmarks in the distance, and suddenly we realized how high up the mountain we'd climbed. It didn't seem like we'd been going up hill, but we had. And we had to go all the way back down again, through more tracks, through more rivers, up and down more gullies, and across more paddocks. All in all, we easily spent two hours in our seats, roaming the property...
Jeremy maintains it's been the best day of the holiday so far. It's certainly the only time he's been allowed to drive by himself and go absolutely crazy. I'm very glad I got to share that with him, and see him enjoy it so much, and it makes me hope that one day, I'll get to take Dylan on something similar. He doesn't take to things like Jeremy does, but when he does, (like the other day), he absolutely shines, and that'll be worth the wait.
We weren't allowed inside when we got home. We had to stand outside, in the rain, and take off all our clothes and have a shower. Only then could we set foot inside the door. But our clothes had to stay out, we're donating them to Vinnies...
Tonight, by pure accident, we found ourselves in the middle of the local street parade. We'd gone into town for dinner, and it was the conclusion to their local 'Carnivale' week of celebration. Think of Mardi Gras or Rio, and you'll get the idea. Many of the local businesses had gone to the effort of doing up a ute or truck as a float for the parade, and as we finished dinner and went outside, it had just started. It was great! The whole town (so it seemed) comes out for it, or participates in it, and it's a real party atmosphere. The rain had eased just in time for the parade, so we stood and watched. We came away with bags of lollies, 2 beer stubby coolers, a Wahu beach soccer ball, and discount vouchers to use in town... Just given to us for standing and watching a parade... We're going back tomorrow night to see if they'll do it again?
The rain has eased off again now, and like last night, where I asked for rain for our quad bikes, I'm going to stretch the friendship even further and ask for some sunshine tomorrow for our trip to the islands... Well, it worked last night, why not tonight as well?