Ok, I am going to start on Ramblings05.  If all goes well, I will get it up onto the website on Friday morning, Australia time.


As I think I said in Ramblings04, I left the mountains about 3:15 this afternoon.  Oh yes, I also added a life bird before I left – the Rose Robin.  It wasn’t a bird I was expecting at all, but there it was, and there isn’t anything else like what I saw, so I figure that is what it was.  Dark grey or black head and neck, with a rose-red breast and no other markings.  I’m calling it a Rose Robin.  On the way down the mountain, on the way back to civilization, I also added two trip birds – the Apostlebird, which is a “good” bird, and the Common (Indian) Myna, a pest bird that was introduced to Australia.  I was surprised to see Mynas out in the countryside, as I think of them as urban birds, but that is what they were, no doubt about it.  So, tonight I am sitting on 118 species for the trip, of which 14 are lifers.


It was an easy drive down, and I motored on in to the outskirts of Toowoomba, a good sized little city west of Brisbane.  As I drove, I was looking for a motel, something I don’t like to do, which is why I have everything pre-booked for my trips.  I passed a couple of them, but then I went by one that mentioned high-speed wireless, plus it said they did dinners.  It is part of a large chain over here, called the Golden Chain, and I had stayed at the Golden Chain motels before, and they suit my style.


So, I found a place to make a U-turn (legal?  Probably not.) and went back to the motel.  It turned out that the wireless internet was kind of pricy, but they had a phone in the room, so I figured I could get online with my dial up access.  It was all non-smoking, and my room has a queen size bed, so I was good to go.  The cost of the room was Au$83, which is about US$65 at today’s exchange rate.  Not bad, and the room is quite nice, and pretty large as well.  I ordered a steak dinner (steak, chips, and veggies) for Au$19.50, which is about US$16.25 or so.  I am eating it now as I type this, and the steak is good and pretty big.  When I checked in, I asked about ice, and I got a nice little container of full sized ice cubes, which I put to good work in a nice Bundy rum and orange-mango juice drink.  I have switched to beer with my dinner.  One of the keys to traveling in Australia for me is to be able to get dinner without driving anywhere.  I like my little drink when I get in, and I am not willing to drive over here (on the wrong side of the road, for Pete’s sake) after having any alcohol at all to drink.  Their limit is only .05, too, which is lower than anywhere in the States that I am aware of.


I tried to connect to my dial up connection, and I couldn’t do it, for reasons I don’t understand.  Something connected to the fact that I have to dial 0 for an outside line, I think.  Finally I gave it up and paid Au$7.50 for an hour’s worth of high speed wireless access, and that worked fine.  I used 8 minutes to check my email and send email, and now I am typing this offline.  I probably won’t try to upload it to the website until tomorrow morning.


I ordered my steak with Diane sauce.  The sauce is good, but it clearly has ginger in it.  Is Diane sauce supposed to have ginger in it?  It isn’t too strong, so, it is very nice, but I wasn’t expecting ginger in Diane sauce.  Maybe this is the Aussie way?


Dinner delivery to my room is interesting, too.  There is a sort of “air-lock” by the door.  It is a cupboard that opens from both sides.  I had ordered my dinner for a particular time, 7 o’clock, so at 7, they put the dinner in the air-lock cupboard, and I could take it out from my side.  They will pick up my dirty dishes and tray from the air-lock later, and the same system is used for breakfast.  I have encountered this system before – it is pretty normal for motels that serve any food.  I haven’t ordered any brekkie, in this case – there is a Mickey D’s just down the road.


So, tomorrow I plan to make a couple of stops near a town called Gatton.  There are a couple of ducks I could see there that will be hard to see elsewhere, as well as other interesting birds.  Because I left the mountains early today, I should only have about 3 ˝ hours of driving tomorrow, to reach my next stop, Lamington National Park.  I have a house booked there, and Judith, the woman who picked me up at the airport last week and took me birding in Brisbane, is supposed to come up tomorrow night, and then take me birding on Saturday.  Since Lamington is another rainforest site, having some Aussie birder help will be great for me.  I have a couple of target birds there – Albert’s Lyrebird and Paradise Riflebird.  I saw the lyrebird in 2002, but the riflebird would be a lifer for me.  I am not going to be able to see either one after Lamington, so that is why they are at the top of my wish list.  There are certainly other good birds that I hope to see up there on Saturday, including the Regent Bowerbird, which I should supposedly see where I am staying.  I also want to see the Green Catbird up there, as I am not likely to see it after Lamington either.  So, I guess that is 3 target birds – Albert’s Lyrebird, Paradise Riflebird, and Green Catbird.  We’ll see how many of them I can get.  The goal tomorrow is to see the Freckled Duck on Lake Apex, near Gatton, on the way to Lamington.  Pink-eared Duck would also be good tomorrow, and maybe I am remembering wrong, but I think I saw them at Gatton in 2002.


So, I think I will open my caramel Tim Tams tonight, and then see if I can process my pictures from Bunya Mountains.  If all went perfectly, I would put up Photos02 tomorrow morning, as well as this Ramblings05.  We shall see.


Friday Morning, and nothing to add.  The bed was hard, but I slept ok.  Heading off to Lamington today, via Gatton.