Halfway Roadhouse Garland Valley
THE HALFWAY ROADHOUES RECONSTITUTION
What did Dave do last year?
A little round up of the year it started with the making of three Emus that became Emulution for the Wayne prices, I became lost in letter boxes the helmet then the wombat, Ned Kelly big and small, guns and the Baby Hippo need finishing I designed the first gas and fire bbq, Unity was pulled down for I thought I would be excepted by Sculpture By the Sea not to be, that was it for me with them, I was going to do it alone. Witch brought me though a dream to Putty road I did a wonderful job for Two down to earth people in Bayview The rack shore bbq on a stump on a open veranda, too a iron bark counter that was so heavy to left four men where hard press to install it, the work of art, I was down lost with the people out front the place was becoming as if a jail but jobs kept coming, my name was getting out there a man that could make and enjoyed it what ever came I fixed it I guy pull in with a wheel bearing gone on his trailer and asked if I had a bearing I put my hand on a package and his eyes about explored with delight in half hour he was back on the road that happy, I helped each and ever one that came from bikes cars trailers broken on the side of the road. Bender was one of my favours along with Ned and I wrote on one sush is live and he brought it, about two weeks later, He came back and said that a friend had pointed it out the such the should have been (such is life) we booth laugh because I didnít see it and I had done another. Peter turned up and his Dad worked out a plan for him to work with me Peter was just comic he was an Irish man that about summed it up. He could do ever thing, subsequently I would lesson and say go ahead it wasnít long before I new he had not much Perception But the oxygen cuter was the thing he was most excellent at, heíd fabricate tall stories, how good he was, therefore one day he need the Oxygen cutter for what he was working on I said there it is mate, (like why ask me) and when on with my own work, about half hour later, how comes by but Peter, he came over and said Dave In that captivating accent I donít seem to be able to get the Oxygen cutter to work, Dave, I broke up I said Peter you so Hilarious mate why not just say you never worked a bloody thing, you do know that we do thing back to front hear we upside down Mate, Itís all bullshit, we rolled around laughing it was all a big joke.
Not surprising he ringing me Monday he was half way to Cairns. It was about a week later after that I woke driving my car up this continues straight and then I turned right and I woke in my place it was surreal, I lay back thinking that this was so real, where is this place Instead off down my work cloth I thought I would take the time to probe in to this feeling I had.
I started by driving to the nearest straight I new in Mangrove Mountain it was early as I pull up in front of this fruit stall thinking that he mite be looking to lease, but it was on the left, walking around the place I found my self at the back door of a house it was like what am I going to say I had a dream and some how you are the messenger, apart of it, but I was going to find out I knocked and said hollow, and this women came out half asleep I said is there a man hear why I donít know but this guy came out and I said my names Dave and I woke this morning with a dream I was driving along this long straight and turned right in to my place and I ended up hear for some reason, like whatís your name he said Roy, Roy I said are you needing someone to take over the front or do you know where this place is for It was real, Roy said I know where it is he said where I said Putty Road a burnt out garage the Halfway Roadhouse, that your place you can make as much notice as you wish, I thanked him and head home to see where the hell was putty road was, and by four that after noon I was hear it was just like the dream, along with that I had the same feeling when I first head to sea out off Cap Lewin like when I looked at the chart there was nothing out there , this place had that feeling but something inside said this is right for you itís a challenge itís the place where people can see you as you it will be hard and that feeling will come again as if you dropping off but in time give time time you will over come reality and make this place a happening place, driven by your sculpture Unity for to live she he need a place to bring in the expectations
. The road was the front door as if the valley of the king as I drove though the bends touch by the tree and colour of the bush open up to grass lands to another world away from the smoke burnt out thoughtís lost dream the new was awaking in my sole the creative side had taken control of the innersole that truly felt the need to build all the thought of past years coming to purgation the self.
The place looked like a dump broken bottles McDonalds red roster rappers, Shiite nappies junk lay ever where the toilets where full of shit how could any one get in there, insane smashed wall torn out pluming the fire had done a good job on the place but what other people did after the fire is hard to find words for and to think that this place severed them in the airier for fifty years and there trashed it what does that say some, and are still trying I caught two guy trying pull down the Halfway Roadhouse sign the worst was there broke them when I faced them, there said do you wont the signs, get lost mate I just brought the place. The council did nothing sign both side of the roadhouse Survive Revive was contradicter words in itís self. Tons of rubbish bleeding itís stench in to the air I would say this dirty pussy spot on Putty road wasí ant doing property sells much good. I looked though the mist and sure the beauty in the setting the dream was coming true and this was my destiny.
The move from Kulnura is a story in the thirty round trips with trailer in tow with the maxim weight she could carry, number of punch and broke trailer bar, brakes on the four by rebuilt the list was endless the first part of the road to Broke was full on, narrow and rough. On one of the last trips, I hired a high abb tuck to move the big thing and Unity on my trailer, all when wall with the dark falling quickly and Unity swing in the air, we managed to securer Unity on the last move as if a chess game to get Unity straight I hit the crane on my temple that hard, I sure stars and heard cracking bone, I was down it wasnít the finish I was looking for, it was the start to a downward turn as too the pain in my groin that I found to be a hernia I couldnít walk dizzy in the head all the things amen doesnít need when he hadí ant finished the move from Kulnura little money left and a hang over on stress nerves tension from the long drives I had to stop I had brought Jessica Watson book and started reading I about cried my way though it I felt her passion her beat the sprit as the day I dream too a flood of thought living the fear so big is the ocean, then I read the Solo a man a Kayak McCauley that has to be the living nightmare nothing made sens and he could of made it, and life go on, I had my rest still in pain I headed for Kulnura to find not much left the landlord had clean me out and I was locked out , I ring them and was told that I was not allowed in the yard, that my boat wasnít mine any more and there had given me enough time, to get the blood hell out, and look at our yard!, I was sick I took myself to the doctor where I had blood test and refereed to have scans done all the time thinking of Flo we had been though hell and back she had given me my life and hear now the landlord was tilling me it was her boat I came home empty handed lost, buying a case of beer and about drowned myself in serow The next day afternoon I ring the ex-landlord with the idea that I would sell her and she informed me it wasnít my boat to sell I just said that is my boat and my life is the line hear and repeated it time and time again no one touch my boat you can think what you wish take the rest but not my boat, She was getting the message and said if you can get the boat out in the next two days you can have it, and we will wave the rest, if not you will loose the boat I archly thanked her, My blood presser dropped Flo and I could sail I had been cool as I new one bit of anger we wouldnít make port, lost in the world of paper and because I didnít know what the lease meant two on two I owed them two years rent, dummier then dum I could of lost both hands, and putty road in one wrong word, sailing too close to the wind .
I put on a Gas mask and cleaned the toilets I used a plastic ball thrower for dogs because it could go around the bottom curve in the toilet bowl, the image is hard to press from your mind; with bleach I scrubbed the place, top to bottom. With the shop I used shovel and small plastic bin I load and tipped in to garbage bin on the back of the trailer, this was a two week job cutting my way though the burnt out wreckage, many thing like stove icemaker and hamburger grill where only smoke ineradicably, as in terrors vandals, nothing surprise me any more from nine cats drop off that I had to spend time to built a trip and caught and drowned them, the front door was know down and tools stolen, I had the toilets cleaned but locked because I had run out of water for the pump in the bore had worn out, the broken louver where removed and new ones where on order, and I was painting the rimes, someone climbed though the window shit in the toilet and on the floor I was shocked. I then had small padlocks on the doors, On the womanís the door where bussed off, The first day I had them open, finished with water and rebuilt biocycle my payment was five bags of takeaway rubbish blown by flies in the women showers I just shook my head but the Possums didnít mind there woofed them down there eat any thing. The public I am getting a full lesson. Beside the toreros the place is looking great lawn mowed I have built a places to sell to the public, of my two keg Pig bbq with roof to mach the fourteen seater tin top tables, people stop and take photos every day, yesterday was my first day trade with a sausage sizzle and cold drinks I made $300 it can only get better but I am out there doing what ever it takes to rebuild a place that deserves better from the out side world.
To round of the year what a big one, still broke but have afoot on the ladder, that step ahead from last year and I look forward to the change of 2011 to recreate the shop building a festival for bikers and work into 2012 as a man that can.
The very best to everyone you know take hold of the circumstances and change them in to opportunities success is a state of mind.
Dave Thurston. 2010
Ps I am starting a monthly report on the rebuilding of The Halfway Roadhouse and occurrence please
I need support in thought and finance as in donations this way you will become apart in the future, I will out line my thinking in the first report.
The Old Poo Bear
To my Old Poo her name was Rubyroo , The biggest dog in the world , she died 23-12 08 I miss you so much Poo, that day the world stoped, for me. She was 18 and a half she gave me pure love thank you RUBYROO.
Red Sea Salvage 1982
Red Sea Salvage
Sue, my first mate, lay in my arms. A shrouded light crept in through the port lights, a warm sunny morning sparkled through the companionway, my primary thought was of yesterday. We had been to a specialist and Sue was confirmed pregnant. This dawn I lay awake, enthusiasm stirred inside me - I was to be a father.
I thought of getting out of my bunk to make a new day cup of tea, toast and vegemite, (itís tough to give away Australian habits), when we heard a knock on the side of Flodash's hull and a female voice called my name - "Dave".
As I climbed into the cockpit, adjusting my eyes to the morning sun, the anxious voice said "I am a shipwrecked mariner". Still lost in thought I said "Come on board, would you like a cup of tea?" Grateful, she said yes, adding that her name was Liz, and her husband George was still on their boat (she hoped). "Is he all right?" I asked. She didn't know. He had rowed back to their boat in his dingy. The boat was about ten miles out to sea, on a reef. She was extremely upset and apologised for babbling. "Other yachtsman told me that you are the man that can help us." I said "Thank you, but please tell me what occurred, and where is this reef you were wrecked on? Please start from the beginning, do you take milk and sugar?"
This is her story...
About a month ago we thought we were approaching Port Sudan. It was late in the evening, with a twenty knot wind on the beam and heading west with the last of the sun setting in our eyes. It was beautiful to think we would be in port that night. But then we were picked up by a wave that sent us hurtling across a reef. Our yacht, Quo Vadis, landed on her chin sideways. Sheís built of steel, thank God.
"Liz, this was a month ago. Why has it taken a month to get help?"
After we ran on the reef, we bounced up and down keeping a look out day and night. It was hell, I tell you. Then the other day, a Sudanese fishing boat came by and gave us a lift ashore to Mus a Fijab. George brought some supplies and headed off, rowing back to Quo Vadis. I hitchhiked a ride to Port Sudan last night to get help, and here I am. I hope George made it back onboard, and wasn't washed out to sea.
Tears now welled up in her eyes.
I thought at the time it was silly to row back to the boat after not seeing anyone for a month, and only because he didn't trust the people that saved them. He had risked his life, for what? This thought bugged me. Port Sudan, February 82, radio was little or never used, satelite navigation was just coming about. I guess we were the last wave of old salts that shot the sun and stars in the cruising world.
I now had a pregnant girl and a shipwrecked lady that had a lost husband. Just the thought that he could fracture an ore (it's such an easy thing to do) with little food or water supplies, in a six foot dingy! - not good.
It was nearing twelve. I knew that a bus was leaving for a port down south. I had also made good friends with Lolo, the Captain of a large charter boat that had left to go south the previous day. He had told me where they would anchor up at night so that if we were up to it, we could sail down and join them. But looking at the chart I thought that I could catch the bus and get dropped off in a position were I knew they would be at anchor. There was no road access to the bay, and looking at my charts, was about five miles as the crow flyís from the road. Without thinking too much about it, I asked Sue to look after Liz. I was going to get Lolo and the charter boat, she could be big enough to tow Quo Vadis off the reef. I would go down and talk to him personally, as a friend. I was conscious of the fact that they were out on charter making money. I will have to say to Lolo that we required his help. That we have a wrecked yacht on a reef and a man that may of be lost at sea. I told Liz that we could be there by tomorrow afternoon, thinking that Lolo would go for the adventure, and hopefully it would be good for the guests too, for the diving up north would be just as good, if not better.
Packing a rucksack with torch, water and fruit cake, I told Liz we would pick her up tomorrow morning, fuel up and head out. Kissing Sue goodbye, and tickling her stomach, I left. Ashore I felt in a twirl - what am I doing running off to catch a bus to nowhere? What if I can't find them, what if they are some where else?
It was total insanity as I boarded this open-air truck with few seats, and individuals hanging off like grapes. With the chart in my mind, and working on dead reckoning, two hours into the trip I felt in my mind that we were in the right position. I stopped the truck in the middle of nowhere, encircled in a barren region of brown and red. I couldnít see the sea and sand hills that lay in my path. I had left so quickly that I hadn't brought a compass, but I am a navigator at heart, and have natural talent in this field. I had proven it to myself numerous times. I left the bus with the sound of laughter and good will, and I watched the dust cloud as it drove away. Getting a position with the sun and the course of the road into my mind, I forged a course to the shore.
It felt like fifty degrees as I walked, keeping an imaginary line in my mind through sand covered growth and sand hills. No life, washed out, as if it was once a part of the sea, and was waiting for itís return. After two hours walking, I sighted the sea. I quickened my pace, for the sun was getting low and I still had to find them. Coming over a sand hill I got a good look at the coast line, and there in the corner of the bay was the charter boat. It was as if my imagination had come true.
This last part was the worst, for the shoreline was swampy with low lying, short, thick mangroves, and I was hard pressed to get through. As I made the shore, the light was failing. I stood on an out crop of rocks and with a deep voice I yelled out. They heard me, and seeing a boat leave to come ashore, I ran to meet them. Lolo couldnít believe I had come out of the desert. After I told them the story, there were no questions, the anchor came up and we were heading for Port Sudan.
I was making it up as we went along. I decided that we needed jacks, warps and timber to slide the yacht off the reef. All this I mused in my mind, how to save the person and the yacht. Every yachty was waiting for a break in the weather - as was I. But help was here and weíll try our best.
In Port Sudan the word was out like wildfire, like the sand in the wind peeling paint of your mast. By the time we docked, a group of youths were ready to hear what I thought was a good plan, to scout around town, tell everyone the story and ask for help.
Liz joined the captain aboard the charter boat, and after refuelling left for Mus a Fijib.
As for me, I joined the boys to find the materials and borrow what we could. We then had to find a truck to take us to Mus a Fijab tomorrow morning to rendezvous with the charter boat.
As a team, we walked through the town on a mission. On the way we found an huge, old work shop along a dirt road. I spotted a jack, lying in the dust like it had been there for the last decade. Even the handle lay beside it, only visible in the dust because someone had pored oil over it sometime ago.
The jack I had in mind was a old railway "lumber jack", working one slot at a time. As a kid I had worked unloading bran, hay and railway trucks of coal - it was always a race. This was where I learnt about lumber jacks and luckily I found two more near by.
A big man listened through sign language to our plight and we moved the jacks to the front of the shed for the truck to pick up early next morning. After dusting them off and pouring sump oil over them to get them going, I realised that this was a mistake. Like tar and dust it just melted in, and stuck to the steel. But they would work.
Port Sudan, to my eyes, was set back in the early eighteen hundreds. Just out of town a million refugees walked like stick figures. The lucky ones lived in makeshift huts that where made from cut and flattened out five gallon fuel tins, that where collected off the beach. A cart pulled by a donkey sold water, and camels were the main transport at the taxi rank. The refugees had walked from Ethiopia, two thousands miles to the south. The story goes that the trail is noticeable with fallen brothers and mothers that never made it.
People squatted beside the road and crapped, catching flyís before they landed. Nearby stalls of tomatoes were so covered with black flies, that you could only see specks of red left.
The irony was, we were out there borrowing tools and materials to save a mad yachty who, in the eyes of most was a millionaire, with health and his own yacht. At the harbour dockyards we found the rest of what we needed, warps, long lengths of timber, pulling jacks and forty-four gallon drums for floatation. By the time night had fallen we had found a truck at a trucking station that, for hundred bucks, would start at day break, pick up our gear, and transport us to Mus a Fijab.
The salvage was under way, and a radio message came though that George was alive and on board the charter boat. Another yacht was leaving the next morning with crew to stand by and help in the salvage. Waking early, the five of us joined up. United and loaded with food, sledge hammers, saws, chains etc, we made our way to find the truck. To our surprise he was waiting for us. He didn't speak English, but in our own way we communicated as if brothers in this world. For I am at heart a common man in my own land, and this is what they saw in us, we were one with them.
Loading the truck by early morning, we left town bound for Mus a Fijab in high sprits. The wind was up and a dust storm moved down from the barren mountain tops, blinding us in sand. I wondered how the driver could see where to go. A man came into view riding a camel, obviously on his own mission, as he took no notice of us. It took most of the day to drive eighty miles north and subsequently finding the place, with a small group of huts, but no charter boat to be seen. We headed north along the beach, with the afternoon sun behind us. At last I could make out the charter boat on the horizon.
What to do? No radio, and the discomfort of sleeping out. I got the idea to build a fire on the high side of the beach. With the fire going, I syphoned a gallon of petrol into a forty four and set it up right on the fire. When it went off, the noise was so great that the drum went a hundred feet in the air. With a mirror I flashed a signal to the Charter Boat. To our surprise we got a flash back. Putting out the fire, we headed to the port where they could pick us up. It was all working well. That night we loaded the gear and partied into the night with Liz, George and the crew.
The next day was the first time I got to see the job at hand. With the other yacht now joining us, we all worked together for two days. We jacked up the boat, placing timber under it and moved the weight around so that the yacht was more balanced.
We fixed the holes in the side with a remedy that all yachtyís should know for emergencies. It was told to me, and now I was trying it out (and telling you). Sheepís fat and cement! Put the fat on the stove and melt it down. Take it off the stove and add cement till it becomes thick. Dive in and spread it over the hole, in five minutes the hole is fixed.
I found with the weight of five men in the rigging, we could balance out the weight in the keel. For this is the problem, a boat without a keel can slide off any reef. I came to the conclusion that the charter boat would never pull her off, and it didn't make sense trying. We had it set up but we needed a tug boat, or the Navy to help us. It was a long shot, but I was going to try.
With the standby boat left to look after George and Liz, the crew of the charter boat and myself headed back to Port Sudan to do the impossible - talk the Navy into sending a frigate out to help us.
Back in Port Sudan I caught up with Sue. She was getting lost in this adventure, but the big adventure was happening within her, with our baby on the way. The boys wrote a song in our honour, The Port Sudan Blues, and much fun was had by everyone.
I found out from the Harbour Master the name of the headman in the Navy that I would need to see. He said heíd make an appointment for the next day. After getting off the phone he had a big smile, "Youíll be right, I fix it for you" he said. Could we get the Navy Frigate? The answer was "Yes". The next morning I had to go and report, taking the other five men. But, we had one woman, Liz. The Harbour Master said he was sure it will be all right, and with a wink he said "heís one of my best friends, remember that." I said a big thank you as I was shown the way out.
Back at the harbour it was hard to wipe the smile off my face. When I told Liz, she flung her arms around me, almost knocking me over. We where all excited, for the next day we would be heading north in a Navy Frigate to Mus a Fijab and to pull Quo Vadis off the reef.
It was all working. "But why?" is the question I ask myself now. Twenty-six years later why do I write this story? Perhaps because I began to look inward, to a point. It seemed I was was too big to other people, they didnít believe me, or they misunderstood me, leaving me in a quagmire as to who I was.
Such is life. You are your surroundings, you are one with God. If the universe is true, then we are a part of everything. So donít hold back, express your true self, for He and the universe is feeling through you.
When we five, plus one turned up at the Navy gates the next morning, the feeling of a secret commando party stood high in the ranks. We were saluted as we passed through the checking point. We were special troop sailors from many nations, gathered for a job to savage a fellow Yachtsman. My head was high as we marched on board, being shown to the main saloon.
She was slim and long. We sat not more the six feet above the water line with a view of the fordeck that tapered upwards to her bow. The motors where already running - two twelve hundred horse powered Royal Rocs, for we needed to be at Mus a Fijab two hours before high tide, which was at midday. How convenient was the plan, nature was with us.
I had learnt to speak some Arabic - "Good morning - How are you?" and from there, we felt our way. After getting under way, I asked one of the crew who seemed to know the mission we where on if there had a towrope. He replied that we only have the rope we tie the boat up with in harbour, I said you must have a anchor rope or towrope, he said No. I was worried now, for how can you pull a yacht off a reef if you donít have a towrope, and a big rope at that. He just shook his head, holding my eyes with his smile. We were guests on board to do a job, but I thought the Harbour Master would of told the Captain what we were doing. We weren't just going for the ride to see how the boat was. I sat down to think what we could do with what we had. We were cruising along at about twenty-five knots and now well on the way, when I noticed a deck hand pulling this rope out along the deck and I realised that they were pulling my leg, and we all broke out laughing.
After this bit of fun with the crew we came insight of the reef and we could only see George's boat - the stand by boat had left. Pulling along side the reef the crew launched their tender because the frigate couldn't slow down below five knots in order to keep steerage. The tender tipped over and lost her outboard in the ships wake, not a good start. George was on his boat and as he rowed over to the frigate he broke his ore. We threw him a rope and loaded our gear in and told him to stay on the Frigate. Five of us dived in and swam to the reef towing the dinghy.
One of the good things about Quo Vadis was she lay pointing out to sea, the way she must have sailed in. This I found hard to get my head around for she must of done a 180 when she hit the reef. Or he was sailing the wrong way! Now on the reef, we pooled our weight and wound the pulling chain around the keel as the Frigate let out a small line. We swam out and pulled the line untill we had the towrope, which we then shackled onto the Quo Vadis bow. With this all done, we climbed out on the mast hanging under like cloth on a washing line, balancing the weight in her keel. I waved to the Frigate to pull. As the line took up, a cloud of smoke came from her stack and the rope shrank to half itís size. You could hear the roar of the engines pulling, and as if a catapult we where launched into the air and thrown overboard, for she went a hundred feet in one rush, and jumped up breaking the towrope. She jumped up and down like a bucking bronco, but still partly on the reef. I quickly swam to her and boarded, for I had an anchor out just incase this happened. Now she was in the waves, and I didnít want her coming back right onto the reef. Swimming out once again to retrieve the towrope, we had to heave the heavy end in and it took two of us using all our strength. The next pull dragged her completely off the reef with the sound of joy and hoots from the stack. We were all filled with satisfaction to see her afloat and I was glad that no one had got caught in the rigging. The way she took off, we could have been seriously injured or even killed.
George was back on his boat with his engine going. We cleaned up the reef and dived to retrieve the outboard. The Frigate had to return to base and we all boarded and waved goodbye to George and Liz. They were going to Mus a Fijab to straighten out their boat prior to heading for Port Sudan. With a big smiles we headed back home to celebrate our lives.
Back in Port, a party was organized for all the folks that had helped in the salvage of Quo Vadis off the reef. Some one hundred individuals in all were involved in the exercise. Too numerous to mention, but they all deserve to be acknowledged. This is why I write the account the way I saw it. For this happened twenty six years ago and in those days I couldnít read or put pen to paper.
A one hundred pound king fish was shot the morning of the festivities. Quo Vars arrived in full colour flags flying, and everyone welcomed them as heroes. The party was prepared on a hundred foot windjammer that had arrived in port for the season chartering.
The party was extensive, as only yachtyís appear to know how. The smell of barbequed fish cuisine on the foredeck, everyone clad in party clothes and a parrot device swung from the rigging. Harmony and dancing, drinking and speeches. But the core of the adventure seemed to be lost in the egos of some involved. I slipped into the darkness to have a drink by myself, when a Navy crew member came and said I was required in the after cabin.
At the aft cabin door, a bellow came out to come in. To my amazement, ten uniformed Navy men were sitting around a big table, and in turn stood up and shook my hand. Then the biggest surprise of the night, they handed me the biggest rolled joint I had ever seen. Foremost, I thought it was a set-up, and the look on my face told the world. They burst out laughing and a light was struck. I took a toke and handed it around. The Captain, who could converse in English said, "You are a Captain of Captains, and the method you used to handle the salvage was an inspiration to us and our crew. We wish you many more adventures. We like people like you on our shores." Brandys poured into glasses and held high, they drank to my success. They added, "Without you, that boat would still be on the reef." I gave them an immense thankyou on behalf of every one in the team and thanked them once more for there readily available help and support. I was encircled by genuine men, showing genuine gratitude. (well done)