Bunya Mountains.† Wednesday evening, September 10.† They are only mountains, Aussie style, with the peaks maybe about 3400 feet elevation.† I think I am at about 3000 feet, maybe a bit less.† No phone or internet here in my house, but my cell phone does work, if I get the urge to call someone.
I got on the road at about 8:45 this morning, and I got to Mapleton about 11, to pick up my two garment bags.† Right on schedule.† I headed south, following my directions from Google Maps.† There was one tricky bit, involving several smaller roads, but I followed the directions, even though they were a bit off from time to time.† Then, when I came to one particular turn, the sign said ďNo through roadĒ.† Oops.† There was a guy walking down the street, so I turned around and asked him if the sign was correct.† He assured me it was.† I told him where I wanted to go, and he gave me directions, which caused me to backtrack and go east, when I wanted to go west.† I missed the road he told me to look for Ė later I saw what I think was the road, but it had a different name than he had told me.† I missed another turn, because it wasnít signed at all, and ended up stopping and asking directions.† Another five minute backtrack, but then I finally got on the right road.† I figure that Googleís boo-boo cost me about half an hour, when all was said and done.
But, the driving was easy, and I sailed along, racking up the kilometers.† I stopped to have my sandwich (which I had made this morning in Rainbow Beach, ham and cheese) and a caramel slice (purchased at Woolies a couple of days ago) at the town of Kilcoy.† There was a nice little park, with a pond and some birds to look at, although nothing new.
I got gas during the day, too, and found that I am getting about 24 miles per gallon, which is nice.† That equates to about 11 kilometers per liter, if I did the math right.† Better than I get at home, but my car is bigger and is a six cylinder one, while my little Suburu Forester is only a four, supposedly.† It runs fine, though, and has plenty of power for the open road.† I just wish it had a higher ground clearance, for when I am out on the station tracks at Bowra, next week.
I got here to my little 3 bedroom house at about 3:30 PM.† I got checked in and picked up my linens, which cost extra.† The woman in the office said I could use their fax line to dial up to the internet tomorrow, at about 11 AM, after the rush of check-outs.† Maybe I can post this Ramblings then, after adding to it in the morning, maybe.† I can also check email, and presumably they will let me online again later in the day, to send any email replies, if there are any.† I wasnít expecting any kind of internet access here, although I was hopeful, so this is good news.† I am in a house called Wallaby Fiesta, in a development of houses, behind a locked gate.† This seems to be off-season, so there arenít many people around.† There is plenty of space between houses, with rainforest nearby and grass all around.† There are tons of wallabies grazing on the grass.† I will get pictures of the house and the wallabies up, eventually, although it might be in a few days.
I stopped in a town on the way here and got a few more groceries.† I got some ground beef (premium mince, in their terminology) and I will cook it up and add a can of baked beans.† Yumm.† I like it.† Man food.† I plan to have my last caramel slice for dessert.† For my next dessert, I will have to open the caramel Tim Tams.† Tim Tams are Aussie cookies that are heavenly, and I like the caramel/chocolate ones the best.† I have been eating ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, with fruit (pears and oranges).† I am not tired of them yet, but maybe eventually some variety might be good.† Ken cooked me eggs on toast, with cheese on the side, for breakfast both mornings Ė what a treat.
It is going to be interesting to see how cold it gets in here tonight.† The only heat seems to be from the wood burning stove, and I donít plan to take the trouble to mess with it.† The temperature outside when I got here was about 60, but it was about 70 here in the house, with the sun shining on it today.† At 6:30 PM, it has dropped to 62 in the living area, so I think it is going to get plenty cold in here tonight.† 55?† 50?† We shall see.† There are plenty of blankets, and the bed has a heating pad on it, too, under the sheet.† If necessary, I will use that, but I think that a couple of blankets will be enough.† There is a thick quilt/bedspread, too, so I think I will be warm enough in bed, but the house will probably be pretty chilly in the morning, before the sun heats it up.† What fun.† I like it cool, but 62 at 6:30 PM, and dropping fast, is maybe a bit too cool.† We shall see.
I picked up a couple of birds on the road Ė Galah and Little Corella Ė for my trip list.† Once here, I saw Satin Bowerbird and White-throated Treecreeper, so I added four to my trip list today, without even doing any birding.† I donít expect to get many tomorrow.† This isnít really a prime birding spot, but it seemed like an interesting place to see, and I am glad to have a little time to myself, after the rush, rush, rush of the trip so far.† If I just kick back tomorrow and do a little walking and a little driving around to sightsee, I will be satisfied.† Any birds will be a bonus.† There are some walking tracks just up the road, and I will probably drive along the ridge, through the National Park, tomorrow, just to see what there is to see.
Thatís enough for now, I guess.† There is a TV show I want to watch tonight, and I need to make my delicious ground beef and baked beans dinner.† What a life!† It just keeps getting better.† Maybe I will add more here in the morning, including a temperature report for overnight.
7:30 AM Thursday
Well, I am laughing at myself and my situation here now.† Above, I had speculated on how low the temperature in the house might get last night, guessing maybe as low as 50 degrees.† Well, the laugh is on me Ė it was 43 when I got up to pee at 5 AM, and still 43 when I got up for good at 7.† I was actually plenty warm enough in bed, with two blankets, the heavy quilt, and the heating pad turned on low, and I slept quite well and quite long.† But, 43 degrees?† That is ridiculous.† To make it even funnier, when I went outside at 7, it felt downright balmy, so I moved my thermometer out to the deck, and it was 49 out there!† Now it is 7:30 and the sun is finally hitting the house, so maybe it will warm up a bit.† I had opened all the windows and doors at 7, to let some of that balmy 49 degree air into the house.† This is nuts.
When I go down to the office later this morning to try to put this up on the website, Iíll ask about the possibilities of renting an electric space heater, but I donít expect to be able to.† I searched the house high and low and could find no heart source here, except if I turned on all the burners of the electric stove.† Maybe I will buy some kindling and get some paper or firestarters (whatever they are) and have a fire in the stove tonight.† There is some wood here, although not very much, and I canít tell if it is dry or not.† It will no doubt smoke up the place to have a fire, but maybe I will give it a go.† Another thought is to look around the park this morning and early afternoon, and then check out about 3 and head down to a more amenable elevation and find a motel for tonight.† That would have the additional advantage of giving me more time tomorrow to stop at a place I want to bird along my route to my next destination.† I would also be able to get a motel room with a phone line and therefore be able to get online.† We shall see.
I didnít bring any kind of jacket or even a long sleeve shirt, so I am sitting here in my jeans, wearing two short sleeve shirts, with my nightshirt over them.† Not too bad, actually, except my hands are cold as I type. †It is all pretty amusing.
Well, I have had my ham and cheese sandwich and a large glass of orange-mango juice, so I am ready to head on out, to walk the trails and see some birds (maybe).† It is up to a toasty 54 degrees out there now.† I think I will wear my two shirts, but leave the nightshirt at home.† Iíll wear a hat for warmth, too, instead of for the normal sun protection.† My plan is to stop back here in a couple or three hours and make a few more notes about what I have done and seen this morning, and then go over to the office and check email and try to get this up on the website.† Party on!
Well, I had a little walk around a rainforest trail.† The birding is very difficult, as always in rainforest.† There really arenít any birds here that arenít also at my next stop, Lamington National Park, and Judith is supposed to be coming up on Saturday to help me there, so maybe it makes sense to move on.† The temperature is up to a very comfortable 62 degrees now, with patchy sun and clouds.† I didnít see any new trip birds this morning, but I did get some pictures of a male Satin Bowerbird at his bower.† I hope they turn out.† I took several, both with flash and with fill flash, so something should come out.† The Bunya Pines are impressive trees, and Iím glad I got to see them.† Pictures to follow.
Iím thinking I will send this, get some lunch, drive through the park a bit, and then check out about 3 oíclock and head back down the mountain.† If I find a motel in Toowoomba tonight, I can have internet access again, and tomorrow I will have an extra couple of hours to stop along the way to Lamington to bird.† There is a particular place I want to go, the college campus at Gatton, which I visited in 2002 and was pretty good for birds.† There is a chance at Freckled Duck near †there at Lake Apex, I understand, and there was a recent post to my Aus mailing list that said where to look.† The worst thing about leaving here early is that it will mean an extra pack-up and car loading, with the associated unload and unpack in Toowoomba.† But, the advantage of extra birding time around Gatton, having internet access tonight, and reasonable temperatures tonight and in the morning, makes it seem like leaving this afternoon is my best bet.† I am not likely to see any more birds here anyway, and I have seen the area adequately today, for sighgtseeing purposes.† Iíll have to pay for a motel tonight, when this place is already paid for, but that is minor, compared to the advantages.
So, Iíll see if I can get this up on the website from the office, and proceed from there.
Barry Downunder, in the mountains