When Rigabold the pernicketness arrived in Peterborough he wasn’t surprised to see very little open.
From coast to coast by night and day, hear the clickin’ of the wheels
The hummin’ of the diesel on her ribbons of steel
Carryin’ the memories of a nation built by hand
See the Indian Pacific span the land
The GPS in the dashboard of Riagbold’s Dodge blared into life with a song from Australian country music legend Slim Dusty. A genuine legend of the scene who in his time released more than a hundred albums and had the almost unbeatable record for one of those albums of spending more than a thousand weeks in the Australian Music charts.
The small township of Peterborough might have been on the main truck route that joined the east coast to the west coast but the roads Rigabold had been travelling were very empty and any roadhouse would definitely struggle to get value out of being open around the midnight hour.
Despite there being nowhere to get himself another feed of Chiko Rolls Rigabold knew he was going to be stopping at Peterborough because something important was going to happen before he left the town.
According to his GPS screen Peterborough was a town known for a number of things but the one thing it held onto was being a major intersection for trains. The Indian Pacific train that travels from Sydney to Perth, or from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the Ghan, named after the Afghani camel caravaners who worked and lived in the Australia outback during the 1800’s, which travelled from Adelaide to Darwin, both intersected in the small town of Peterborough.
There was multiple trains, models and full size, that were within the town boundaries and while some were in a museum not open us such an hour there was still plenty to see while the town slept. One of those things was a Y class locomotive near the town’s rotunda but instead of stopping there Rigabold decided to stop further down the road. His choice of stop was in front of the Visitor’s Centre where there stood a statue of a dog.
She’s the pride of all the railway men ‘cross country where she flies
From the blue Pacific waters to where the mountains rise
By lakes and wide brown rivers, through desert country dry
See the Indian Pacific passin’ by
Oh the Indian Pacific she goes rollin’ down the track
Five thousand miles to travel before she’s there and back
Getting out to stretch his human legs, something he wouldn’t have needed to do in his true form, Rigabold looked across the road towards the visitors centre. He might have seen very little by way of traffic both coming towards him, or from behind, but as soon as he was out of the Dodge and about to cross the road he could see headlights coming towards him. He knew that in the darkness, even with the aid of street lights, a driver could have difficulty seeing any form crossing the road, so he waited for the truck to pass before making any moves.
The long straight stretch of Main Street meant that Rigabold stood beside his truck for just under a minute as he waited for the truck to pass but time was not a concern to him and safety was always worth wasting a bit of time on. As the large truck and its three trailers travelled on down the road towards Adelaide Rigabold watched the glow of its red tail lights get smaller and smaller. When the truck was all but out of sight Rigabold looked both ways and when he saw no other traffic he crossed the road.
Stepping up onto the foot path on the southern side of the road Rigabold made his way to the small statue that stood on its own pedestal, it was a statue of Bob The Railway dog. Bob the Railway dog might have looked a bit different under the light Rigabold was looking at him under but he was most likely a well bred Australia Coolie crossed with a Smithfield Collie according to the legends that told his tale.
Rigabold read the plaque in front of him, Bob the Railway dog was part of South Australian Railway folklore. He spent the best part of fifteen years in the late nineteenth century travelling the South Australian Railway, looked after by many but owned by few. He was seen far and wide, riding the rails in the drivers compartments of many different trains and many train drivers of the time reported him to be the best driver’s companion they’d ever had.
Oh his collar, made for him by a commercial traveller who took a shine to him after he was dognapped by a farmer who thought, because of his breed, that he’d make a good farm dog, were the words:
Stop me not, but let me jog, For I am Bob, the drivers dog
According to the plaque the collar still to this day was on display in the National Rail Museum of Adelaide. Rigabold wished he could make a detour just to see the collar with his own eyes, but he knew he was already in for a disagreement with his GPS, making a detour to Adelaide would be much harder to argue the GPS for.
Rigabold was marvelling at the story told. Tumcuddulans had known of the awesome intellect of dogs since their creation, they knew dogs were smarter than their human owners and they respected them for being able to convince humans otherwise. It was for that reason that Rigabold stood in respect to such a fearless and amazing animal that showed humans how to drive trains.
He’d just finished reading the plaque and paying homage when he heard a voice in the darkness.
“Hey shexy. Wheredya get tha cute arrrsh.”