Week 21 - August 06, 2018 - August 12, 2018

We had quite the enjoyable week and it started with a short stop at Rainbow Beach, known for its 'rainbow' colored sand cliffs and the Carlo Sandblow.  The sand cliffs are composed of a very fine sand that because of varying mineral content, streaks the vertical surfaces and creates the rainbow effect.  The Carlo Sandblow is where the lighter sand blows up from the beach and has over centuries, gathered in a 'saddle' in the cliffs.  A very beautiful place, ideal for photographs. 

The Carlo Sandblow                Gerson overlooking the town and the other side to the ocean
   Find Gerson on the enormous sandblow                        Rainbow Beach cliffs and just a few of the colors

After Rainbow Beach it was off to the hinterlands as we ventured into the hill country, west of Brisbane.  We deviated from our coastal route so we could visit my friend of 37+ years, Chris and his family.

  Hazards of the road and cars that accelerate right when they pass us

My friend Chris (American) and his wife, Karen (Australian), and their two beautiful (and rather smart) daughters (Brianna 16 and Sydney 13), live outside of a small town called Goombungee and have a wonderful 25 acre spread with a variety of inhabitants.  We planned to stay several days with them whilst having Cinderoo serviced in Toowoomba, a moderately sized city 45 minutes from the farm.  We were able to get Cindoo's tyre's rotated and a few other service tweaks, all the while just hanging around the farm.  Of course, there was a BBQ and a bit of fun with a tractor.

    Gerson could not resist driving the tractor and Chris could not resist 'tractor surfing'         Fresh orange juice coming up
   Breaking in a new BBQ                                                         Cinderoo classes up the place

Although we had to wait a few days to get all the service work done, we easily filled the time visiting the various animals, walking the land, had a fun pizza night with neighbors, visiting Karen's parents and just catching up with good friends. 

   Lucy and Sam                               Dinty being silly                             Best Man, Gypsy and Will hoping we have treats

   Iggy and Boof                               Harley is all puppy love                    Casper keeping an eye on us during dinner

  Sunset over the pasture/paddock and a couple of locals came for a visit

Besides the cows, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, guinea fowls...they also had quite a few peacocks, one quite friendly.

   Have you ever really looked closely at a peacock's feathers?  Quite amazing really.

We had fun helping out a little bit here and there and as Gerson loves horses, he did not hesitate to help Sydney ready her pony, Will, for a competition the following day.   Unfortunately, someone should have had a discussion with Will as he was not the most patient bath recipient and definitely, did not aspire to remain clean for more than a minute. But he made up for his ornery behavior as he and Sydney scored quite a few ribbons in their various events.

   Sydney and Gerson trying to wash the willful Will and his response to the bath as soon as he was freed

The property is beautiful and I could not resist just walking around and capturing the landscape during the different times in the day.  The farm may not be in any of the tour books, but it was one of our top places to visit.

   Sunsets over the Toll farm

   Having fun with a filter on my camera and enjoying the stunning landscape

Chris and Karen took us on a bit of a tour and we were able to visit a beautiful lookout over Toowoomba.  As the area is hill country, there are many hills, valleys and wonderful nooks and crannies to view as you drive along the winding roads. 

   Views over Toowoomba                                  Beautiful country

One thing I learned while being on the Toll farm was to keep your eyes open and your peripheral keen.  As I was backing out and closing the door to Karen's garden, I had not noticed I was being watched.  As I turned to go back through a gate that fences around the home, I stood face to nose with Sam, a rather large bull.  Although seemingly friendly, one quick snap of his head and his large horns can find soft flesh.  As I am a bit partial to staying intact, I slowly backed away, casually turned and walked toward the stables, knowing it was a dead end for the cows (as Lucy was also nearby) and an escape over a fence for me. 

Apparently, Sammy and Lucy found a gate had been displaced due to the high winds overnight and proceeded to hop over the remaining barrier and forage around the inner sanctum of the farm.  Needless to say, I was rightfully surprised and fortunately, calm in my extrication from the situation.  We, of course, waited for Chris to come home and had him herd Sam and Lucy back to their side of the property.

   Sam and Lucy and their walk of shame and Gerson, Chris and Karen making sure the gate is secure

Our best part of the stay was just our sitting down to nice dinners with the family, teasing the girls), and hearing about life in rural Australia.  This respite from our travel was just what we needed.

   BBQ dinner is served (not for Karen as she is a dedicated Vegan and a good sport)              Family time was wonderful

   A common thing for me, laughing at something cheeky Chris says

  Saying goodbye to Brianna, Sydney and Karen (Chris left on a work trip the day before)    Gerson getting Harley hugs and kisses

As a side note, this is the third time I have been to Australia.  The first time was in 1997 when I came to this country to enjoy Chris and Karen's wedding.  Now, 20+ years later, I got to enjoy their lovely family, home and hospitality.  Where did the time go?


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