Monday, 25 May 2009

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 7

This is the true story of how My friend Martin and I spent a holiday in Queensland under the influence of beer, weed, anonymity and Hunter S Thompson.
This should keep my blog full for a couple of months.

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 7

*Road Trip*

The LTD was like a truck to drive in as much as it seemed to be as wide and as long as one.
I was constantly worried about side swiping cars that I may have inadvertently drifted into.

“We’re do we go to Marty?” I asked

“What are those mountains in the distance?” he replied

“Haven’t got a clue” was my answer.

“Well I suggest food, then we find those mountains and then Noosa sounds nice”

Now that sounded like Martin had some semblance of an idea of where we were heading, albeit everything he mentioned was in a northerly projection but that was about it.

I made him crawl over the back and get the street directory.
First we had to find out where the shops were then find the highway.

One of the beautiful things about Brisbane and South East Queensland is that there are really only two directions to go for any distance.

North and South or Up and Down as we liked to call it.

If you headed east you pretty much hit water, if you headed West you hit Mountain or desert.

We found a milk bar who after a lot of begging (and a large tip) microwaved some sausage rolls for us for breakfast, this gave me time to clear my head with coffee and plan a course with Martin.

We immediately realized we had a problem.

The street directory was 10 years old and there seemed to be whole sections between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast where no one lived or even had roads because they just skipped it. At least we knew what the Mountains were, they were called the Glasshouse Mountains and they scattered all over the place.

We decided to have a look at one of them and then head into Noose Heads because we heard that was nice and _serene_ (a word Martin found on a brochure)

We found a way onto the main highway but couldn’t for the life of us find a decent
AM station on the old solid state radio that was installed in the LTD.

We settled on a Country and Western Station because they played Johnny Cash every third song.

We eventually made it to the closest mountain, which were pretty easy to get to because of all the signs, not because of Martin who had the habit of turning street directories upside down to follow the road.

We left the main highway onto a gravel feeder road and really gave the LTD some stick, I was so confident that I started do fish tail down the empty road finishing with a complete 180 using the hand brake. Dirt and dust flew up everywhere and as it settled the confused faces of about 12 school kids appeared in front of us.
They must have been on a walk or something, I just took off when the teacher started towards the car.
The mountain was nice and we can say we had been there but so what?
We left for Noosa Heads.

The drive back to the highway was just as much fun with the wheelies and donuts, Martin eased the pain of me not letting him drive by smoking the biggest joint he could roll and refused to share.
The responsibility of driving he said.

We rolled into Noosa just before lunch and thought we’d have a look at the National Park that was attached to the town, a beautiful spot that over looked the town and beach.

Martin and I got out and walked around some tracks, I was following Martin down one track that we thought led to another viewing point when he abruptly jumped off the path without notice .

I was left face to face with the biggest spider I had ever seen outside of television. It was as big as my hand. I nearly walked straight into it, the fucking insects up here, what was this?

The Queensland small car eating spider?

Martin was in the scrub bitterly disappointed because I wasn’t covered in web with a spider eating off half my face. He did insist on bagging rights because he said I squealed like a girl.

We headed back to town to have some lunch.

Being a non holiday period and a work day the town was a quiet affair, so there was a air of relaxation and no need to hurry, we settled for a nice counter meal at the nearest pub.

Martin also thought drinking should also be a high priority since he wasn’t driving and started downing bourbons.

After a lovely meal in an empty pub with people giving us table service because they were bored, we headed down the Main street looking for souvenirs.
It was then that Martin realized he better take out some cash for the week.
We forget these days how hard it was to keep cashed up back in the 80’s. With limited ATM’s and credit cards not to mention the regemented banking hours.
As he went over to fill in his withdrawal slip he spent a good minute trying in his half stoned state to full his bank book out of his back pocket, it was fight the bank book was winning. I took this moment to write on the back of the slip.


I was sure he would see it and it would be a wasted effort, so I went and sat down near the door while Martin joined the queue.
I was looking out the window at some hot Mum when I was tapped on the arm by a man in a suit next to him stood a security guard.

“Excuse me sir will you just stand up for a moment?”

“What for?” I said . I didn’t like his tone or the guard’s proximity of his hand to his gun.

“We believe you tried to be humorous using your friend over there as a target.” He said

“Don’t know what you're talking about” I replied admitting nothing in tone or expression.

“Did you write this?” He held up the withdrawal sip

“Never seen it, it was probably done before we got here”

“Your friend over there says it’s your hand writing”

The suit pointed to Martin at the counter, Martin smiled and waved back.

“You prick” I mouthed so he couldn’t mistake it for anything else.

The suit who turned out to be the Manager then proceeded (with the security guard standing a little too close for comfort) to tell me how this branch was only held up last week and how childish gags like this aren’t tolerated., and how I could be technically arrested on intent to rob the bank.
I was really blanking out everything till he said the part

.” …..your friend there says you have a history of this and asked us to go easy. So I suggest you get in your car and go home”

“Can I go now?” I ask feeling rather foolish.

“Please” he replied. Martin had stood next to him.

“Can I take my pet idiot as well” I said pointing to Martin and turned and left.

“At least you didn’t squeal like a girl this time” Martin said as we walked down the street. I laughed.

Martin’s Mum must be working overtime at that church back home.

We headed for the beach and Martin for some unknown reason decided to take a route off the path, I was forced to follow like before. I was thinking the idiot’s going to try and make me walk into a spider’s web again.

Sure enough I saw his body stiffen and he leaped aside again, I was more than prepared and stopped well short. Martin however landed in a swampy area in his bare feet and discovered where all the Cane Toads hide during the day time.

He won the squeal like a girl contest by a large margin in a matter of seconds.

Not to mention the silly dance and “nearly–shit-in–your-pants” challenge.

After a relax on the beach and a general look around it was getting onto late afternoon and I thought we better move on. The twilight that we are used to in Melbourne doesn’t happen in South East Queensland due to being so close to the coast and it gets dark rather quickly.

We still had a bit of a journey back and I was getting tired.

I was about 15 kilometres from home when for the first time that day I actually paid attention to the fuel gauge, it was on zero.

Oops, I thought.

I woke up Martin who was drooling on himself again, and decided to make it interesting. Payment of the car hire if we make it back before we run out of petrol. Martin looked at the gauge and said “Deal”

I was gambling on the premise that these gauges were always faulty and the bet was on.

It was a hair raising journey and I rolled down a lot of hills in neutral pissing off people behind me, but I rolled into May’s driveway with the engine still running.
We went in to May and settle the bill and her first question was ”Did you bring it back with a full tank?”

“Oh Sorry I forgot” feigning total ignorance “We’ll be back in a minute”

Martin and I jumped back in the car and went looking for a petrol station , it probably would have been a good idea to ask May before we left..

We finally found one only to run out of petrol about 200 feet from the bowsers.
When we finally returned May had itemized the account.
Car Hire –
1 working day $30
Clean (outside) -$5
Clean (inside) - $5
Mail box - $12
Assorted Toys
& Pool $8
Total $55
Not to forget the $2.50 for the container to carry the petrol back so we could actually make it to the petrol station to fill up.
(if you times that by about 500% to bring it into days values, you start to get the picture)
So it cost Martin dearly in the end.
At least May didn’t charge us to use the phone so we could get Rob to pick us up.

picture reworking of a Ralph Steadman classic.

Next Week: Part 8 Lazin

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