Sunday, 13 June 2010

The 500-kilometre road trip from Glen Innes to the Sunshine Coast (see map) should take just over five-and-a-half hours, according the Australian online roadmap service Whereis. In fact, it took me six-and-a-half hours each way.

The difference can be accounted for due to the fact that the online trip planner does not take into account rest stops. And anyone who thinks they can do a trip this long without a break or three, is frankly insane.

But with a continent as big as our is, you can see why some drivers like to boast about their prowess, skill, and endurance. In reality, these qualities kill. There's a sign up on the New England Highway just this side of the Queensland-New South Wales border that says there have been 70 fatigue-related deaths on the road this year alone. Boofheads who push the envelope are the cause of this carnage.

The less said about the skill of Queensland drivers, the better. Suffice to say that I am extra cautious about driving between Ipswich and home.

On the road just after 7.30am, I saw the frosted fields lying cream under a pale-blue sky. As the sun warmed them, the fields turned straw-colour. This is their natural tone in these days of drought. The sky delivers much-needed moisture, which in the chill of early morning turns to ice on the grass.

On the stereo I had Steely Dan, Joan Armatrading, Simon & Garfunkel, and Nina Simone. Thoughts crowded my head as I drove to these sounds. Each song brings with it a bevy of attachments, cultural and aesthetic. Driving in the morning can be pleasurable. Driving at night can be a lottery.

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