Tom’s Amazing Adventures Pt. 3
Tom was glad to be taking a break from his amazing adventures. He woke the following day with sunlight streaming in Bill’s spare room window. It was a luxury to sleep in a bed with sheets again after his weeks on the road. He dozed off back to sleep and was woken again when Bill’s dog Ruffnut poked a wet nose onto his face. He could smell breakfast cooking, and his stomach rumbled at the thought of Beryl’s egg and bacon sandwiches.
Trying for Queensland
Tom was not happy. He had placed one extra order. One that he had forgotten to mention to Bill after he had set off from Victoria. The problem was, however, that and it hadn’t arrived. It was absolutely essential to his border crossing into Qld. This meant the crossing would be delayed until it came. Damn Australia Post! Tom had ordered in plenty of time. He estimated it had been sitting at the Sydney sorting centre for the last nine days without moving. Beryl had put in an inquiry about it three days ago -but there had been no response to that either.
While it was lovely staying with Beryl and Bill, he was getting nervous about being in the one spot for so long. Additionally, each day increased the risk to Bill and Beryl. To take his mind off it, Bill suggested they train and go for a bike ride. Saturday morning Bill and Tom were up early. Bill had the family over later that day for a BBQ, and Beryl insisted the lawn be mowed first. Tom tried to help, but he was still sulking about his Australia Post delivery not arriving yet.
While Bill and his family were outside for the BBQ, Tom stayed in his room to not be seen and rang ahead to Roma to make sure that everything was for his arrival there. Thankfully Bert assured him everything was fine – and the delay was not a problem.
A weekend waiting
Bill and Beryl were late up on Sunday, and both were a bit under the weather. “Too much sun yesterday”, Bill insisted. Tom had his doubts as he had noticed Bill put up shade umbrella’s in the afternoon. The three of them had a long discussion over lunch that day. Tom was sure there was no hope of the parcel arriving tomorrow, as the tracking hadn’t moved in ten days. In fact, he was now sure Australia Post had lost his package but felt it was best to push on and head for the border. Bill and Beryl suggested he wait one more day and cross on Tuesday night. The parcel may come Monday or Tuesday – but Tuesday would probably be quieter at the border than Monday. Tom thought about it and agreed.
The next was Monday, and Bill and Beryl both had to work. Bill went off to the apple orchard, and Beryl was caddying for Tiny Woods, who was in town for an exhibition match.
That afternoon, they all went to the Lightning Ridge water park. It was quiet, and they had the place almost to themselves as a Monday.
Paranoia sets in
During the day, the internet was down while the NBN crew worked on the pit. Bill was concerned it could be an undercover border patrol crew and kept an eye on them, but a few hours later, the crew packed up and left, and the internet came on. False alarm.
The Night Crossing
That night – Bill woke Tom at 2 am and said it was time to go. So they drove up the backroads towards the border, and Bill pulled over the side of the road when they turn came up on the right. They sat there in the dark for a few minutes, allowing their eyes to adjust to the total darkness and ensure no other cars were passing to see them.
Positive they were alone, Tom reached into the back seat and pulled out two sets of night vision goggles. The Wolfcub Explorer 3M Thermal Monocular would work in total darkness and allow Bill to drive with no headlights up the narrow dirt road towards the border. They both put them on, pulled out, and turned up Angledool Road and took another dirt road to the end.
From here on, Tom was on his own. The darkness was absolute. With the fuse removed from the interior lights, not even that glowed weakly as Tom got out of the car into the scrub and removed the mountain bike from the bike rack. As Tom road off, using the night vision goggles to see, Bill turned the car around and drove back the way they had come.
It was just after 3 am and Tom had about three hours of darkness to get across the border.
Tom rode through the night without stopping. He drank from the water bladder in his backpack as he rode when thirsty. The night vision goggles revealed nothing apart from the odd startled kangaroo in the dense bush as he rode past them. Staying off the road in the scrub, he was almost to Dirranbandi by dawn. He had bypassed Hebel as he thought police might be patrolling there, being as it was the first from the border once in Qld.
Skirting around the outskirts of Dirranbandi, he joined up with a remote dirt road that would take him to St George. By now, the sun was coming up, so he rode down to the dried-up river bed, where he sat under a red gum and ate the sandwiches from his backpack that Beryl had made him the night before. Finished with his breakfast, he hopped back on his bike and started cycling towards St George. In the bike’s rearview mirror, he saw a cloud of dust approaching, and from the dust emerged a police patrol car.