On day three immediatly after breakfast we checked out of the hotel and went to pick up our motor homes. Actually camping vans, with stove, sink, toilet with shower, a table which converts to a bed and a cab over bed.
We got a brief description of the systems and were sent on our way to the grocery store. I of course had negative transfer, wasn't given proper insturctions and limped in first gear to the grocery store about six kilometers from the rental place. Actually the van's are automatic and manual without a clutch. I was in manual but didn't know it so I left it in first gear. Once someone told me the correct way to do it I left it in auto. I was also the only one to bang up the side of the van but that came later.
We left the grocery store, actually a fairly large super market that was similar to the supermarks of a few years ago without bakery's and other ammenities.We then drove , not in convoy but as individuals to Mission Beach Resort. (Cairns to Mission Beach 143km 86mi) Before arriving at Mission Beach we took a short side trip to Josephine Falls National Park for a view of the falls. I would have liked to swim or wade at the foot of the falls burt we really didn't have the time.
Unfortunately this is how our trip is set up, a lot of stuff but not a lot of depth which isn't really our style.We stopped just outside Mission Beach for a short walk in the Cassowary Refuge.
We didn't see any Cassowarys although we did see their droppings.
The Cassowary is a large flightless bird that lives in the Australian rain forrest and helps propogate plantlife. We never did see any wild cassowaryies even later in the trip. What you see here is a statue outside the Mission Beach visitors Center. They say that a hurricane called a cyclone in the southern hemisphere severly damaged the refuge and reduced the number of cassowaries so that sightings are very rare.
I could have have spent a week or at least several days at Mission Beach instead of the one night we did stay. By the time we unpacked our suit cases, put our clothes away and set up the van we only had time for a short walk. We tried to go to the Cassawary Refuge Visitors Center but got there too late as it was closed. We then left all the food we had bought for another night and went out for dinner. The food wasn't bad, I had chicken fetuchini and Debby had a Thai chicken salad. the next morning we got up walked briefly on the beach before attending the morning briefing where the wagon master described the days drive and sites to see along the way.
We then left Mission Beach for the days drive.
To Townsville 234km -141mi. On the way we stopped or took a side trip to Murray Falls. A nice state park with camping. I wouldn't mind camping there for a week or so with my fifth wheel and again I would have liked to swim beneath the falls or at least downstream.
Bridges over streams are narrower then the rest of the rode. I was doing a pretty good job of driving on the left side of the rode with the wheel on the right.Unfortunately the one spot on one of those bridges with a metal stanchon when I should have stayed right I was over too far to the left and hit the stanchon damaging the van. It is possible that the truck was in a rut and zinged left but it was probably my fault. I'm not making excuses but there were times later in the trip when I had to fight the wheel to keep right and other times when my hands rested lightly on the wheel and the van just cruised straight ahead.We also stopped at a memorial for the Coral Sea battle of World War II that honored two US ships the U.S.S Lexington an Air Craft carrier and the U.S.S Chicago a destroyer which were sunk during the battle.
The memorial overlooks the Coral Sea which looks very peaceful unlike on the days of that fateful battle.There were some other side trips but we skipped them and just headed for Townsville. When we got there we walked to the mall which was just closing including supermarkets (about 4 PM on Saturday) just try that at home. We got back to the Caravan (trailer) park just in time for the next days briefing, had dinner after that and went to Mcdonald's MCCafe for the internet.