(written by Dave)
Nice rest day in Longreach – not really resting as we headed to town for a look around, then hit the Qantas Museum in the afternoon.
It was cold again this morning, no frost still which was great. We slept in a little but were still up early – guess we have a rhythm now. I made egg and bacon rolls for brekkie. With all of the rolls we’ve tried on this trip, I think I have it down now. Without getting too far ahead of myself, I think I can make one as good as any in the shops. I’ll let Nancy weigh in on that topic at some point.
After brekkie, we “fixed” Nancy’s bike frame. I say “fixed” because it was not really broken, rather it was merely dented a little. A gust of wind blew her bike over into a concrete picnic table a few days ago in Jericho. All the angles were just right and her top tube got scratched and dented. The damage was only cosmetic but looking at it all day, every day was a little upsetting. So… Come to the rescue, one Aussie “Bugger” sticker complete with flattened kangaroo. See below for before and after photos. Now, instead being upset when you look at the bike, we can’t help but laugh.
We headed to town to see what the shops had and check out a few before they closed for the afternoon. Many shops in this part of Australia are open 9-12 on Saturday AM, then not again until Monday. We needed a few little things, crazy glue for my watch, shoe laces for Nancy’s riding shoes and maybe some “Crocs” as a replacement to our thongs. We had limited success, but now know what better to expect on Monday when we do our supply shopping trip. Best we can tell, Longreach is the biggest town now until Darwin, some 2200ks up the road.
We had a quick bite to eat at the local bakery, then after lunch headed to the Qantas museum. It turns out that the museum has no formal relationship with Qantas. There are many donations and it couldn’t exist without Qantas but no formal relationship. I say this because I am a Qantas Platinum member until the end of July. At that point I’ll revert back to “light blue” member status. You have to fly to keep status and I’m not getting any points for sitting on my bicycle. My high hopes of one last bit of special treatment were dashed by the lovely woman at reception. Alas, everyone, including me, entered via the same door!
In spite of my disappointment over club status, the museum turned out to be quite good. We spent 3 hours reading displays and watching videos. I especially enjoyed the story of how Qantas found and restored their original Boeing 707. The plane is here at the museum but it had sat un-flown for 6 years just outside London. Nothing like the good old English winter to work over the metal of an airplane. Getting it airworthy and back to Oz was quite the project – completed mostly by old retire engineers. Quite interesting.
We looked hard for any of history on “Qantas Freight” (Ross, our hero/cook of day one of this trip works for Qantas freight). Sorry Ross, you guys were mostly forgotten. I can report one small mention – a record made by Qantas Freight in the 1970s called the Kangaroo Hop. They didn’t have the actual audio and according to the text, it must have been “quite bad”. Sorry about that mate – maybe you should donate a few of your old work shirts – at least something to get their proper freight collection started.
We are back at the park now, trying to figure out dinner. There is one pub in town that serves James Squire – our favourite beer. Given the situation with towns here to Darwin, I think we’ll probably give them a go – never know when the next good beer with be obtainable.