So hands up who has had sleepless nights waiting for this blog and finding out about my plan? OK, nobody, but I'm still going to tell you. It was quite a simple plan really. I would leave Byron and carry on south. What about the prize you won and you wanted to do so badly I here you ask? That's simple to answer too, this would not go to waste I would simply travel back up to Byron when it was time for the course and that way we wouldn't waste unnecessary time in Byron. Yeah I know I do come up with some cracking plans!
Coffs Harbour was our next destination and to get there we decided to revert to hitch hiking. Everyone assured us it would be easier down south and practically everyone hitches around Byron. We saw nobody putting that myth to bed. After a full English we set off walking to try and get to the main highway. Around 45 minutes into the walk, a young Aussie gent took pitty on us and picked us up, he could only take us to the highway but that was good enough for us. It was only a short drive, I didn't even find out his name, but I did find out he was interested in moving to California and wanting to get into the glass blowing industry. We dropped off on the highway and walked to the next lay by. It wasn't much of a lay-by but soon an old American fella called Joe picked us up and took us to the next town called Ballina. We had the usual conversations with him about our travels and escapades. We got dropped off again and headed to a layby on the highway. We weren't having much look. Tom even had a large fries threw at him, I was beginning to doubt if we would get to Coffs and then as if by magic. Ben, 28, from Australia pulled over and was also going to the same place! Result, we had successfully hitch hiked again! Ben was sound he like a good laugh, He was an ambulance driver / paramedic. He shared stories of work with us and his beliefs in the supernatural and conspiracy theories. We told him about our travelling so far. He was a good bloke and he invited us out for a beer with him and his mates later on. Unfortunately he forgot to tell us where or give us a number so we never made it. Once we got to Coffs I wanted to find a pub that would be showing the Manchester Derby the next day. I was out of luck. Everywhere has to be closed by midnight on a Sunday and the kick-off here would be at half midnight! I wasn't happy but I had a back-up plan. It wasn't ideal but I could stream it on the laptop. We got back to the hostel and met our new roommate Freddy, a 34 year old Australian Fella. We chatted and had a few beers and whiskey. He wanted to head out; I was shattered after the days hitch hiking and politely declined opting for a movie and an early night. Tom after some encouragement decided to go along, he got very drunk! Apparently the story goes he left Freddy in the pub running off and then getting lost on his way home. He made it back ok in the end.
The next morning I woke up to be greeted with a beer in my hand by Freddy. He told me stories of the night before and then we woke Tom up. He was still a mess very drunk, but we dragged him out of bed so he didn't waste his day. We opted to go down the jetty and have a few beers on Mutton Bird Hill which had a great view to sea. We then did some Jetty jumping, jumping from around 10-12 meters into the sea. Freddy impressed with his flips. When Tom tried to emulate these he just landed on his neck. It wasn't proving to be his morning. We stopped by the jetty markets and then we headed to Holy Moly's for a steak and to listen to a bit of music. By this time Tom was really struggling so we headed back to the hostel where I had a power nap and was preparing for the big game and Tom slept off his booze fuelled antics. It's fair to say I was pretty nervous, I was doing anything I could to keep busy checking the internet, I even went out for a walk to find food. Not a great idea in Coffs Harbour on a Sunday night at 10pm, everything was shut, I did eventually find a 24 hour garage so I splashed out in the pastry section on a sausage roll and a spicy pie. Eventually kick off came around and Tom sorted me out a website to watch the game. It wasn't ideal but it was better than nothing. I won't give you a commentary on the game, but I was delighted with the result even though my nerves and heart must have suffered during the game. It was a shame there was no pub open, the adrenalin was running and I wanted to celebrate but all I could do was fist pump on my own in the TV room of the hostel. I tried to sleep as we were hitch hiking the next day to our next destination but all I had in my head was Robin Van Persie's last minute winner. I was too excited and ecstatic to sleep but knew I had to try. Eventually at about 4am I fell asleep, only to wake up five hours later to check out and begin the process of heading to the next place.
We were off to Port Macquarie and hitch hiking was not what I needed this morning. Despite the result I was tired and moody from a lack of sleep. I plodded on though. We walked 4km out of town, we tried several spots along the way but all didn't seem right, we had a KFC and then started again. We finally settled next to a fruit store and after a while an Aussie man called Ashley picked us up in his Subaru, or however you spell it, I'm not a car man really but I never expected getting picked up by one of these on my hitch hiking venture. Ashley looked like a typical motor-biker, tattoos, a long grey beard but he was a nice guy, maybe a touch racist though. He told a few jokes, mainly racist jokes and how he likes to go out every day to scan the area to see if there are any hitch hikers to take anywhere. He was only planning on taking us to the next town, but he really enjoyed taking his car for a spin so he decided to take us 100km away from Coffs Harbour to a town called Kempsey. He dropped us off warned us about the black people in town and them being opportunists and wished us well on the rest of trip. On our road there was another hitch hiker. He was probably German, we called him Franz. He was more likely to get picked up first as he was on his own. But that didn't stop us trying. It was a Hitch-Hike war. England vs. Germany. After ten minutes England prevailed when a Canadian couple Shannon and Alex pulled over in their motor home. They agreed to drop us off just on the edge of Port Macquarie as they were heading further south. The motor home was brilliant. It was like the one out of Max & Paddy's Road to nowhere staring Peter Kay and Paddy McGuiness which is an excellent programme if nobody has seen it. Shannon told us they were getting paid to relocate the van from Brisbane to Sydney. They got the fuel paid for and got paid $5 a day. It may not sound it but it was a pretty sweet deal. And will be something I look into. We made idle chit chat and then Tom and I played some s*** head in the back. Tom lived up to his s***head name and I won all the games. It wasn't long before we were at our next spot and we all wished each other well. We were barely out of the van when our next car pulled up. A Mazda driven by an old lady called Suzie. She was originally from Sydney but now moved around the area and had spent two years in London back in the eighties. She took us the final 10k and right outside the hostel we wanted to stay at. It was too easy!
So read on next time to find out about our adventures in Port Macquarie, but until then Stay Safe and Take Care