Queensland to Dubbo. More miles, another show

So, after a few days off at home, the theme of March continues as we still have shows going in every direction of the country. We are currently supplying technology and staging for shows in Cairns, Port Fairy, Moomba and of course, Dubbo. I am currently sitting in the air conditioned tour bus in a very hot Dubbo, sort of having a day off. I mean sort of because when the show ends at 8 pm tonight it’s back into it to pull down all of the production (p.a. and lights), and tomorrow we will spend most of the day pulling the massive stage out.

I had meant to blog earlier but things have just been so busy it’s been difficult to find the time. Night times have been finish work, shower, eat and sleep ready to do it all again. Here are a few notable highlights from the week gone by so far.

The Newell Highway

The majority of the run to Dubbo takes you on the Newell highway, the main inland route between Melbourne and Brisbane. This road is not for the feint hearted, especially after dark. It’s narrow, mostly single carriageway and with road trains flying towards each other at 100 kph, you need to hold your nerve and hold your line. Fortunately not too many people seem to come undone but it’s a busy road and you need to keep your wits about ya!

Dubbo

What can you say about Dubbo. “A million flies can’t be wrong”? Seriously, where do they all come from? The set up day started out with good humourous complaints about the volume and ravenous nature of the flies. By the end of the day, the humour was gone, but the flies were still there. The pesky little buggers were keen to explore any available orifice. And explore they did, sometimes never to return. Repellent seemed to have little to no effect on them. Perhaps being country flies they didn’t understand that when you spray repellent they are meant to leave you alone. And if the flies didn’t get to you, then the bindi eyes will…..

bindi-eye, noun
a. a low-growing plant (Soliva pterosperma) often found in lawns with small spiky burrs which stick painfully into bare feet but cannot penetrate footwear. 

Seemingly, the only relief from the volume of flies was the regular painful injection in the foot from these things. There is so much of it. You think you’re ok wearing shoes but they find a way into your socks. Every now and then you share a moment with a fellow traveller as they too have to sit down, cursing as they take off shoes to evict the unwanted hitchhiker. (Whilst swatting the flies away)

If the Bindi eyes and the flies don’t get ya, the heat will. We have had two full days in this environment where the temp has been pushing the mid 30’s. By no stretch of the imagination am I the hardest worker in this crew. My step counter at the end of the day yesterday was just inside 10 km’s  in that heat. Others surely had done more. Humour doesn’t stretch that far; people try to make light of it but by the end of the day, you just need a shower, a feed, a place to cool down and a BEER. (Nod to Kalo and to Flan)BEER!!!!

I thought that last week was tough. This has been harder, if for no other reason than the fact that I’m sure everyone is thinking about the gigs still to come over the next few weeks.

The coffee report

At the very least, Dubbo has redeemed the tale of sorry roadhouse coffee with stuff that is passable. Maybe after 2 weeks on the road, my standards have just dropped. Who knows. But there is a bakery in Dubbo that did a mighty fine breakfast and a decent coffee to go with it. All is not lost.

A moment to think

Coming up over Cunninghams gap out of Brisbane, the sun was just setting. The painting that it created was so full of mystique and beauty which was changing by the minute that all radios and entertainment in the truck were switched off and I just drove along silently for about an hour taking in the show in front of me. Not trying to rationalise it or comprehend any significant meaning; just enjoying something that was all mine for the briefest of moments.

Missing you all

Now a few weeks into the tour, the distance from loved ones really starts to bite. As much as we genuinely enjoy each other’s company (these are some fine people to spend some time with) you can tell that home is where most of us would rather be. Phone calls home get longer, people start to talk a little more about the place where their life happens. As if talking about it might shorten the distance between where you are and how long it will be until you get home. For me, I really miss my wife and my kids. My wife and I after 35 years of marriage are still ridiculously good friends. We don’t do “apart” all that well. Next week I will be home for a couple of nights then it’s off again on a slightly different assignment.

For now, the show goes on. Sitting in the air conditioned comfort of the bus I can hear the bottom end of the band thumping through the walls. A few more hours of relative peace and we are into it again before the drive across the mountains and into port Macquarie then back home.