15 April, 2010

The last part of our adventure

My last post finished with us on Sunday night.

Monday morning was a quiet morning. I read a book. The boys mostly played card and board games with each other, their dad and grandfather. Then we had some quiet individual time after lunch (some of us on beds). And that was the end of the quiet.

Then I vacuumed the house. We loaded up my father-in-law, his suitcase and various bathing/toileting/seating equipment into our van (he was going back there for a while since we were leaving the next morning) and we headed up the road for an afternoon at my sister-in-law's place. We enjoyed afternoon tea and then the boys had fun competing on the Wii. We chatted, I caught up on email and we began to prepare dinner.

Somewhere in there I became aware that night was descending faster than usual and the temperature was dropping too. By the time tea was on the table on the verandah, we had lightning flashing all around us and I felt distinctly uneasy.

Talk turned to how we'd get home that night on the dirt road in our not-4WD and then about how high the creek might rise before we could get out to the highway. Suddenly I also remembered that we hadn't shut the windows of the old house and that our beds were in jeopardy. Our leisurely tea turned into a slightly anxious meal as we waited for the inevitable downpour.

I washed up some of the dishes while David and my brother-in-law organised a swap of vehicles. Then we hustled the boys into our rele's 4WD dual cab ute and took off back up the now muddy road amidst plenty of advice about handling the changing conditions.

Within minutes we could only see a few metres ahead of the bonnet because the rain was so heavy. It was scary! To keep a lid on it all, I began to sing for the boys. Songs like, "Fear not" and "This is the day". Meanwhile David couldn't see where the wheel ruts were, so we felt like we were sliding all over the place.

Thankfully we made it home. After we waded through the sea on the front lawn and in the front room (windows open), I quickly checked our beds - thankfully all was dry - the storm had come from the opposite side of the house.

All that remained then was to settle everyone down and pack as much as possible. We had an eight hour drive to do the next day. Plus the time it would take to load one vehicle, slide along a still-wet road and then transfer our luggage back to our own car. I set the alarm for 5am.

I'm glad I did. Actually I cannot remember the alarm, but did notice David got up. A couple of minutes later something flopped onto my pillow. Leaping up in alarm I spotted the outline of something frog-shaped. City-lubber that I am, I screamed. Someone flipped the light on and there on my pillow sat a lovely green frog - centimetres from where my head had been.

So we started the day with plenty of adrenalin! Not long after that I was in the bathroom when something small and wet landed on my calf. Screaming again I ran. Another frog, but only 1/3 the size.

I didn't have long to dwell on my misfortune, but we pushed through breakfast, final packing and even made a basic packed lunch. All before the sun rose. It was still raining, so we packed the ute in the rain, stuffing the final bits on top of boys already installed in their seats.

Then we began the slip-sliding all the way back along that road. Bonus - light to see! But it was still scary as we could feel the surface unstable beneath us. We were very thankful when we made it to their driveway, unaware that the worst was to come.

Halfway up the drive we suddenly lost traction and slid sideways, turning 90 degrees to the right and slamming straight through the barbed wire fence that separated us from the cultivated paddock alongside. The wire held for a while, then screeched as it scrapped the paintwork on the bonnet and onto the roof. Perhaps the most surprising thing was that once we'd slid to a stop all my husband did was put it in reverse and drove back onto the driveway like nothing had happened. All that remained was five broken wire strands, tell-tale scratches on the paintwork and our pounding hearts.

I wondered how we'd get our not-4WD vehicle back out that slippery driveway...

After transferring our luggage, and telling our stories, we headed out the driveway - escorted from behind by our brother-in-law in the 4WD we'd recently damaged - just in case we got stuck. Thankfully we made it out to the bitumen without trouble and I was also thankful that I had the second driving shift of the day. The sliding out-of-control feeling took sometime to leave my body and mind.

After all that, we still had eight hours of driving to survive. Thankfully we have an eight-seater Tarago - space for the boys to be separated by luggage. It was a relatively quiet trip. The biggest stressors then were three-trailer road trains that required passing on roads that were lumpy and with soft, narrow edges.

When we finally arrived at 4.45pm at my parents place in Toowoomba, they copped an earful. Frogs, storms, dirt roads, 4WDs, barbed wire fences, leaky tents etc. To say I was glad to be back from our adventure would be a slight understatement!

We stopped there a night, including my nephew's 6th birthday and an initiation into the TV series "Top Gear" then we collapsed into bed.

Yesterday we loaded up the car for the final leg - a mere 1 1/2 hr drive back to Brisbane. I unpacked our bags with glee last night! There are no overnighters booked into our schedule until July (when we move back to Japan). Not saying that we won't have any, but none are booked yet. To be honest, I cannot face putting any in there just yet, either.


KKCambLogos said...

Just think of all the adventure stories you've got to tell when you get back to Japan (for those who don't read your blog that is)! You can keep the frogs in the bed & shower. I remember having mice run across my bed (while I was in it) during a plague when I lived in Roma. You have my sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Frogs are truly horrible when you get too close and personal.

Wendy said...

Thank you Anika & Karen. In the presence of so many 'tough' country folk, I felt a little wimpy!

Shirl said...

Sjoe, this post took me back to similar experiences. As one of your critique partners I see lots of writing fodder here!
From one city girl to another - albeit in different continents.