Do you know how long it is since I’ve had the road to myself, just me and the Beast, cruising along with no one else around, no radio chatter, no pressing engagements, just me and….oh it wasn’t that long ago was it. I was pretty much alone on my trip out to rescue the Larsen’s and it wasn’t like their rescue was overly pressing. Given the location and where they were stuck I knew it was always going to be an easy rescue. So I guess I do get the road to myself quiet a bit.
Oh well sometimes it’s weird the things the brain comes up with when it’s left to it’s own devices and fades in and out of reality. I suppose in some ways I shouldn’t make comments about my brain fading. I make a point of how road safety and vehicle safety is important and then I go and tell you I let my brain fade out while I’m diving home. There really is no excuse for it, my apologies
Where was I? Oh yeah I was on my way back to town from rescuing the Larsen’s out of the Elvire River, an easy rescue by anyone’s standard. Although they weren’t stuck for long they were really just unlucky that they didn’t see anyone else out there because any one could have pulled them out. Still I’m not complaining, I got me meet another nice family of people and these ones were from Norway, I haven’t see too many Norwegians in my travels.
Because I had to go through town to get back home I decided I would stop for lunch at the pub, there was food at home I could just have easily eaten but it’s good to support local business don’t you think?
Because the pub was on the opposite side of the road to the direction I’d be headed home I chose to park the Beast out the front of the cop shop rather than in the pub car park, I like a quick get away! It wasn’t like parking was ever at a premium in Halls but I had my usual spots.
I walked across the main road towards the pub, the afternoon heat was pushing up into the low forties but there was no wind and almost no humidity so it didn’t feel as bad as it sounds. Halfway across the north bound lane of the highway I was spotted by Callum Shepard, his wife Karen and him run the local post office/general store.
“Hey Dean! Been busy?” Callum asked as we closed in on each other.
“You know what it’s like, bloody tourists they think they know everything so they get themselves a four wheel drive and hit the outback and get themselves stuck. Then when they finally get the courage to admit their mistake and call for help I turn up and they get all shirty because a woman is rescuing them.” Don’t worry I wasn’t being rude about anyone in particular, well I was but was a targeted attack.
Six years ago I was called to a rescue not far from Halls, a couple trapped in the sand. When I got there I could tell they hadn’t aired down and that whoever was in charge had pretty much buried the vehicle deeper in the sand by being a lead foot and spinning the wheels. It was a common occurrence, you might be surprised to see just how many people think that when the wheels are stuck in something spinning them faster actually helps. It rarely does!
Anyway said lead foot, and leader of bogged party wasn’t very polite to me when I turned up and suggested there may have been a bit of driver error involved. He was even less polite when I suggested possible ways to stop it happening again. However he was at his rudest when I told him I would happily drive off and leave them there.
Obviously I didn’t leave them stranded there and six years later that couple own the post office/general store in Halls. For the first three months after Callum and Karen moved into town every conversation the two of us had started out with Callum apologising to me for being such a know-it-all but these days we were past that. Thankfully though “past it” didn’t mean we couldn’t still have the occasional bit of fun with it.
“Maybe the problem isn’t that you’re a woman, it’s that you’ve got a shitty attitude and people see that when you turn up!” Callum said as we stood on the footpath out the front of the pub.
“Nah, if I had a shitty attitude I’d have buried you in the sand and brought Karen back by herself!”
We both laughed, then chatted for a few minutes before we parted company, Callum heading down the street to the local service station and me heading in for a late lunch.
As soon as I walked in the door of the pub I was greeted by Barry who was standing behind the bar polishing or drying the glasses with a blue and white chequered tea towel. Seriously seeing Big Bazza standing behind the bar, his six foot three well built frame, long hair and bushy beard that had more grey in it than his hair was like every cliched bar scene you’ve ever seen in any movie.
“G’day Dean, how’s things? Get you a beer?” Barry called across the nearly empty bar not worried about disturbing the few lunch patrons he had.
“It’s a little early for a beer isn’t it?” I replied.
“Oh yeah, sorry I didn’t see the time, Bourbon it is!”
Once again it was a chatter that was so often used it could have been scripted because it happened nearly every time we saw each other, especially at lunch time.
“Want the usual for lunch?” he asked as I sat down at the counter.
“Yeah sounds good. Thanks mate!”
Twenty minutes later I was sitting at the counter my beer was half empty and my Dean’s special was being placed in front of me. My mouth was watering at the site of the beautifully melted pile of cheese, chicken, ham, sauce and a wonderfully runny egg! I was only centimetres from plunging my knife and fork into the hot crusty chicken when I heard a loud voice from behind me, a voice entering the pub and obviously trying to get my attention.
“Dean! What do you think you’re doing leaving town without filling out a trip plan?”
I put my fork and knife down on the bar and turned to the sound of the voice. It was of course Nick and he was walking towards me.
“I’m sorry Daddy, it was only a short trip and I knew I’d be home before dark!”
“What if you’d got stuck out there.”
Awe, he did care about me!!
Nick sat down on the stool beside me.
“But Daddy I am a big girl!”
Is it any wonder some people leave country towns thinking the residents are strange?
“Don’t Daddy me or I’ll put you over my knee and spank you!”
At that point I had two options available to me…and no I didn’t chose the one that saw me lie across his lap and see if he was true to his word! I chose the second option. I turned back to my meal and started eating before it cooled down too much.
Of course I knew Nick was joking, he didn’t really expect me to fill on a trip report for such a short easy rescue but he did like to know where I was headed when I left town and it was my bad for not giving him a heads up before leaving to get the Larsen’s, but his apology would have to wait until I’d finished lunch.
Previous Desert Rescue story here.