The motelier told me of another man cycling to Cairns who had stayed there a couple of days earlier. Maybe I could catch him up? I thought. Apparently he rested his legs on a bag of ice for two or three hours every evening. A serious cyclist. I won't catch him up. Northern Queensland is like one big building site. Roads are being built and resurfaced, buildings are going up and pipelines are being laid. The construction workers all wear bright orange and yellow; and so do other outdoor personnel, from truck drivers to postmen. In the future we will all have to wear high vis outfits all the time - even at home - in case we bump into each other. A rare uphill stretch this morning, over a mountain pass and although my legs were up to it, my sweat glands were not. Hills = OK, heat = OK, hills + heat = hell. Cold pizza was enjoyed under palm fronds on the beach at Cardwell, with the spiky Hinchingbrook Island as a backdrop.
I'm not sure why I even considered staying in Cardwell; it's only 33 miles from Ingham and no host could be found there. So I continued to Mission Beach, where Couchsurfers resided - and ones with good references - as Wayne and Margot in Rockhampton had spent time with them. As I was a day early, I sent a message in the hope I could stay there tonight. The lady who answered told me I had been expected two weeks earlier and they had a full house this weekend. You have to watch the dates on the drop-down menus on the Couchsurfing request system; they play tricks on you. Just the other day I noticed a future booking ran from April 25th of this year to April 26th of next year. So, another lonely night spent in lodgings, using money I don't have. The lady at the Mackay Motel charged $110.
Me : "I'm looking for something cheaper than that."
Her : "How much would you like to pay?"
Me : "As little as possible."
Her : "Would $80 be OK?"
I didn't have the balls to go lower than that. I should have contacted motels in advance, telling them that it was a sponsored ride, like the guys I met near Townsville. Babies with Aids or something. I could have told them about my blog as well and how it had thousands of subscribers, then I could have written a second, much shorter blog with glowing references of the accommodation I'd blagged : "It was fantastic! The couple were fantastic! The bare walls were fantastic!" The room did indeed have bare, brick walls; however, there were actually two whole pictures hanging on them. A Chinese Honey Chicken takeaway was on the menu tonight and then I drank a beer at an open-air bar. Company was what I really thirsted after, but there was no one who I wanted to talk to, or had the guts to approach. People are in their little conflabs and I'm not going to barge in on them. Back to the room for channel hopping, which takes an eternity because there are so many channels and half of them are showing ads at any one time.