You haven't truly lived until you've tried three alternative flavours of Uncle Toby's Quick Oats in boiled water, all at once, in the same cup.
It’s thick slop which barely has a chance to absorb the hot water before the cup is too full. The only way forward is to eat a bit, then top-up the difference with more boiling water - repeating these steps until, eventually, the balance is restored and no more top-ups are required.
Before it was a trash bird, the Ibis was associated with the Egyptian god Thoth (as was the Baboon, apparently).
Amongst many other things, Thoth was responsible for maintaining the universe, and, later, judging the dead. As such, when we spotted an Ibis on departure, it was hard to say if it was a symbol of impending doom, or just a foreshadowing that we may too be eating from a bin by day’s end.
Knowing I’d lost my sunnies descending Mount Warning the day before, Almighty Thoth had placed a wall of possible replacements right next door to our accommodation – in the form of a Chemist Warehouse. The Ibis works in mysterious ways.
‘Cold Nights Ahead’ buttering up the locals for those frosty summer nights, I guess.
Sweating uncontrollably on the climb to Beechmont I pondered the day’s coming attractions – climbing into the Gondwana Rainforest of the Lamington National Park, quickly followed by the hair-raising descent of Duck Creek Road, ending with a cheers to the day and beers at The Rathy Pub.
Nearing Beechmont we were caught in a wet weather surprise attack. Well, not surprising at all, really. We had paused to admire the view over the Springbrook National Park, and clearly saw it coming.
Knowing we’d cowered too long in the nearby picnic area, we hit the road again in the rain. Forcefully motivated by the 8.30pm kitchen cutoff at the Rathy Pub, and the knowledge that the toughest parts of the ride were all still ahead of us.
The Outpost Cafe in Canungra fattened us up nicely, each hitting the road a couple of kilos heavier – ready for the hour (or so) ascent into the Gondwana Rainforest of the Lamington National Park.
The Gondwana Rainforests include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals which remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors in the fossil record – including the Gympie Gympie Stinging Tree. A nuisance of a plant, really. Were it not for the seasoned advice of Beardy, standing roadside after taking a few photos, warning us ‘don’t get any closer to that thing – you have no idea how messed up that plant is’.
The Gympie Gympie, or stinging brush, is also known as the Suicide Tree – and for good reason. Once upon a time, a very unlucky military officer unknowingly used the plant as bush toilet paper. The relentless and inconceivable pain was too much to endure, leading the officer to blow his own brains out, in order to end the prolonged suffering.
The beginning of Duck Creek Road is marked with one of my all-time favourite signs ‘4WD ACCESS ONLY’. A sign that often foreshadows something bad happening – but with Thoth on our side, we hit it hard!
Considering Thoth’s close ties to the underworld, it’s little wonder we happened upon ‘Ricks Rest’ – a tightening, dodgy corner with a tree-adorned memorial to a very unlucky man (or cockatoo), who came unstuck.
Golden hour hit us as we made our way through the rolling countryside, headed for Rathdowney. While this was really quite beautiful, it was also a pretty bad sign considering that 8:30 kitchen cut-off.
Tired & now in the dark, Beardy & Malone hopped on the front to drive it home. The beers and dinner were calling VERY loudly now, as I began to bonk, fading away over each of the final steep gravel rollers. A well timed gel from Angus gave me enough juice to maintain the grovelling just long enough to reach town.
Arriving in a sweaty mess with only 25 minutes up our sleeve (and with dinner in our kit not an option), we used the last of our strength to hastily make ourselves presentable enough to order some dinner … and loads of beer.
After eating what is likely one of the best pub meals in recorded human history, and knowing how tough tomorrow would be, it was time to hit the sack.