After Benarkin I headed North-West to Kingaroy, because I like the name and why the hell not.

Kingaroy – roy as in roi being King, so the place is rather redundantly called King King – but there’s a certain phonetic charm to it. My father’s name is Roy and he’d approve of being called King twice over, although he’s more of a King of the Barbarians than a Louis Quatorze kind of person.

Peanuts seem to be the thing in Kingaroy. There are these silo-like structures at the foot of the hill, and you can smell the roasting peanuts as you roll into town.

By this stage all of my electronic devices were quite dead. The auxiliary power set up on my bike had failed and my back-up plan of solar power banks was proving to be a non-starter. The setup lessons from my shakedown run were coming thick and fast.

I inventoried my gear fails and successes on my way out of the forest that morning, with a bit of sunshine and the last bit of power in my Sena.


With my lessons soundly learnt and observations vlogged for posterity, I pulled into the Kingaroy Coffee Lounge. It’s a country town cafe from the time before cafes were run by hipsters, so I couldn’t pass up the apple slice special. It was an excellent life choice, and the ladies were more than happy to let me plug in my phone, my charge pack and my Sena while I was there.

It was at this point – walking into an enclosed space filled with appropriately groomed people – that I became acutely aware of my own state of grooming. By which I mean, unwashed, smelling of campfire, with my hair whipped by the wind into some kind of unholy, greasy dreadlock. Sexy.

I took my apple slice out the front so that I could sit nearer to Beastie and not offend the senses of the good and decent people of Kingaroy with my hobo chic.

I wasn’t the only one sitting out there in the cool morning – there was also an older lady, elegantly groomed, sitting out the front in the company of her small dog. Her name was Jocelyn, Josie. She was delicate, with a thin neck and balletic posture, perfectly self-contained.

It turned out that Josie was on the road solo too. She was from a small town in Victoria – Camperdown, a place I always associate with iron lacework and roses – but would spend weeks and months on the road. She said she and her husband had been travelling all over Australia in their caravan for twenty years, and when he passed away a few years ago, she kept doing it on her own; after all, Josie said, she always did the driving anyway.

We talked hot springs in the outback – one of the great pleasures of life, we both agreed, and all the better when there are stretches of desert and bush to be crossed to get there.

We also talked about the challenges of going to remote places on our own. Josie is in, at least, her eighth decade and a petit lady; she said that she’d only needed a helping hand a couple of times over the last few years. It was getting a bit difficult to push up the pop-top expansion on her twenty year old caravan on her own, and winching the van up and down seemed slightly more demanding than it used to be; but we agreed that breaker bars can solve a lot of problems.

We each finished our coffee and cake and went our separate way.


Soon I was in a place called Durong, quietly losing myself in rural Queensland.

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