Cairns to Bowen

We say goodbye to our dive mates and the crew from Spirit of Freedom and start a new phase of our trip. A car is waiting for us at Ace Car Rental in Cairns and the super friendly fellow there fills out all the paperwork while chatting about Japan and Canada.

Off we go, driving on the left. I take the first shift as driver and it takes almost all my concentration to stay in the centre of the lane and not hug the left lane marker.

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Our first stop is Innisfail, not the Alberta one, but the Queensland one. There are Art Deco buildings in town and we want to take a look at them. There is supposed to be a pamphlet explaining them, but everyone seems to be out of stock. The fellow we chat with at the small museum is a perfect town host and we had a good talk about Donald Trump and then Justin Trudeau and the state of the world in general. We walk up and down two streets taking photos of the Art Deco buildings.

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As we drive, we pass by sugar cane fields and banana plantations. The sugar cane looks to be planted in cycles, with one field ready to be harvested next to a newly planted field.

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We chuckle as we compare Australian road signs to Canadian ones. One sign says “Overtaking Lane in 5 km”. Overtaking?? Oh, a passing lane!

As we drive through the numerous towns and small cities we talk about how if we don’t get out of the car and hear someone speaking we could be in Canada. The urban fabric is quite similar.

Murray comments on how many dead furry critters are on the side of the road. He thinks we don’t see as many in Alberta or that Albertan road crews clean them up pretty quickly.

We make a quick bathroom stop in Ayr and find an interesting sight. The road behind the visitor information/bathroom building is lined with motor homes. Apparently it is perfectly legal to park there for a maximum of 48 hours, so folks congregate there to visit and spend a night, or two. Free of charge and easily accessed.

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As we drive south, the landscape changes from sugar cane and bananas to scrub prairie kangaroo territory. We keep looking for kangaroos but only spy horses and cows.

It is getting dark so we decide to stop in Bowen, a quaint town stuck in the 1970 ‘s. We find a room at the Port Denison Motor Inn and supper at a Chinese take out spot. Tomorrow we continue our exploration of the east coast.

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