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August 7, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 13

7 August 2001

Greetings to all our readers following our journey across Northeast Queensland. Today’s thought is “Strength.”

True strength can be found in the grass that bends down to the ground with the strong winds and rises again when the storm is over. Mighty trees, taller and ‘stronger,’ break and fall to the ground in the hardest of winds, never to rise again.

We rode 87 kms through open woodland forests, dry grasslands and vast open spaces. Leaving at 7:00 am was a great idea. The dew was still on the ground back at Pinnacle Springs Station when we packed-up our tents at the Kruckow family’s home. The air was cool and stayed comfortable for most of the morning.


It was interesting that we’d left a family who’d shown us their strength through adversity: drought, illness, accident, hard work and love of the land have been their lives for a decade. In spite of the difficulties, or more likely because of them, their family and their connection with the land is all the stronger.


Our group has ridden some really, truly tough roads in the last two weeks. We’re at the 650 km mark, and today’s ride showed how strong we’ve become. It was our longest ride yet, and the road was really nice for the first 50 kms, passing through forests and grasslands, across the crystal clear and cool Salt River (the swimming was wonderful!). We were way, way stronger than even a week ago, sticking together as a group, riding for ten kilometers at a stretch, and pausing at the 40 km mark for a Billy Tea and Johnny Cake break. (Johnny cakes are so, so good, like mini-dampers, scone-sized, cooked in a covered skillet.)

The road became not as friendly after we turned to the south and followed a track for the 30 kms. Ruts, sand, sharp rocks which split Jason’s tire, and hand-wrenching corrugation as far as the eye could see. But, we kept pedaling, resting every 10 kms, checking the GPS, and moving on. No doubt we would have been far more tired two weeks ago. And here in camp we’ve recovered nicely, the Damper is on, dinner’s cooking, all three computers are out and we’re writing these updates. Over by the water hole the Black Cockatoo’s are shrieking and flying around by the hundreds. It’s a fine bush evening.


The water hole, known here as an Earthen Tank, provides another perspective on adaptability and strength. Through human ingenuity, rain and stream water has been stored to allow the survival of a non-native species: cattle. Without the water storage, the cattle operation is impossible. And as a side note, it provides water for the Black Cockatoos, as well as the Kangaroos, whose population has increased with the availability of water.

Thinking of strength here in the bush, the vegetation is a perfect example of strength through adaptation. The vegetation here has adapted to extremes of climate. It doesn’t rain for perhaps 7 months, and then there’s 5 months or so of hard rain, flooding large areas of grass and forestlands. The Eucalyptus varieties, especially the Box Eucalypt in this region, are well suited to climactic variations. They are strong, and out here only the strong survive.

Black Cockatoo, which live to be over 100 years old, have certainly adapted to extreme changes in weather. They migrate to the coast just before the ‘wet’ arrives. Their strength lays in their ability to find water in the ‘dry’ and sense when the ‘wet’ is about to arrive, during which they couldn’t survive here in the bush.

Strength is in adaptability. It can be said that strength isn’t a matter of what happens to you, but how you react to what happens. We’ve found strength in our own group, strength in the land, strength in the people we’ve met.

All in all, it was a fine day.



Posted on August 7, 2001 4:00 PM