The only spiders I'd seen were the hanging-upside-down-spindly-legs variety, but as it was a double bed and they were on one side, I thought they where fine were they were. Unfortunately I dislodged them by kicking the blanket off in the night. As I wasn't expected in Cairns (or Caiiirns as they say) until tomorrow, decided to stay another day. Steve works two weeks on, two weeks off and this is an off period. Popped out for milk in a grocery first thing and a beautiful grey cat greeted me there. The owner called her Miss Sticky Beak because she sticks her nose into people's business during her social rounds. Steve was towing a vehicle to Cairns and offered me a ride. I didn't want to see the finish line a day early, or drive on the same boring road I was to cycle, but my path in life is usually that of least resistance, so I hitched a ride. Then we literally hitched back, as if my telepathy jiggered the engine - or rather the gear box - which went kaput. It was all a bit dreamlike parking outside someone's isolated house in the middle of nowhere, 10 kms out of town, with sugar train rails right outside. Then this beautiful woman came out and offered us water. Anyway, Steve became a bit fractious when we got back to town and I left him to it. He had to hire another vehicle to collect the trailer (that had also been hired) transport the original vehicle to Cairns and then bring the other one back home. He likes fixing up really old cars like his 1967 Dodge, which was so rusty, you could hardly see its original colour. He told me of the time he'd done up an old Mercedes, which was so beautiful, everyone stared and commented on it. Steve and his young son were in a circus balancing act at the time (nothing unusual about that) and drove in this Merc from here to Tasmania to perform at a circus. The thing burst into flames. They returned home, picked up more stuff and then flew south instead. The moral of the story : there is no moral. Steve is an artist too (of course) and showed me his collection of hand-painted guitars - or rather hand-burned. He wouldn't show me his tattoo though. Nearly 50, he'd decided to have his first one - covering his back. His brother is a tattoo artist, so I guess it's free, but so far has taken hundreds of hours, in six-hour shifts, with a stream of pain killers.
Innisfail has its own climate apparently, which is so wet, that plants grow super fast and green slime forms immediately in the tiniest body of water. There are salt water crocs here as well and when it floods their stomping ground enlarges... Headed to another beach for a bit of R & R, where a metre-long goanna wandered by a few inches away. A cassowary came up to me as well, on the scrounge. As I was lying down at the time, it towered over me, so I stood up, in case it pecked my head. There was a cordoned off section for swimming, although other bathers deemed it unnecessary. Met a man with a metal detector, who told me he had uneartherd two identifiable wedding rings in his time. He was able to return them both to the holidaymakers who'd lost them; one was ecstatic, but the other didn't even thank him and said they'd already claimed it on insurance. Back in town a man stopped me in the middle of the road as I rode along. The very next day Mick was due to fly to Europe, which he was going to cycle across - and possibly the US as well. He was about 70, had never been cycle-touring and hadn't trained at all, but had already bought a $5,000 bike, so was clearly up for it. He said his papaw farm had been decimated by a cyclone a few years back, he had started it again from scratch, and then Yasi blew it all down again last year. So, he'd given up and decided to travel the world. He'd already hitchhiked around Australia and had met another cyclist who had ridden round it, then couldn't stop and had now completed four revolutions.
I bought beers and fish 'n' chips tonight, took them back to Steve's, where I watched the chirping geckos scampering after moths on the ceiling and also saw a flying fox in a coconut tree, which looked like a bat in the light of my bicycle light. It stared at me, then flapped away on big, black wings. I'll remember that house, so serene, yet at the same time surrounded by animal sounds on every side.