Lake Gillies overnight was very cold. Not sure if we beat our previous record of freezing the dish water, but
we would have got close. Lake Gillies morning was very beautiful, with clear skies again welcoming a beaming
sun over the horizon. The salt lakes were damp with standing water in many places making for nice photos. The sun also helped dry up our swags which were a bit damp form condensation and the cold air, and the fire was rekindled to help us warm us up and warm up Hooch’s coffee pots.
Our plan today could see us going one of two ways. We had decided that we should, if he was still there, go to Adelaide and visit Joc in the hospital. If he had gone we would skip Adelaide and go across towards Mildura. We broke camp and went into Port Augusta for fuel and morning tea of coffee, flavoured milk and fried dim sims
(quite nice really), and hit the phones to confirm that Joc was still in hospital, and to find out which hospital he was in (thanks to one of our ‘sources’ who will remain anonymous for a tip), and to finish our set-up. As we wanted to make it a surprise we had sent out a couple of red herrings on text messages and Facebook; old mate is pretty wily and so we put some thought into this. Once sorted out, we hit the road heading south to the big smoke (well, Adelaide is big compared to where we had been). The wordsmith also managed to delete the homepage from the website and had to send an urgent message to our backroom IT expert for assistance. Again we must say that we cannot do this without the support we get form our families.
As we went south the country improved and as shown elsewhere in the farmlands we had travelled, South Oz is having a good year. We stopped for a snack at Port Wakefield and with increasing traffic on the road and on the uhf we continued on down to Adelaide. We stopped at a servo to refuel and sort out our plan to get to the hospital. Normally the car follows the bikes but as the car had the gps we swapped around. The support boys did a great job, working between a map, a phone and the gps along with the street signs and their general sense of direction to get to the front of the hospital, which is on the edge of the CBD. Parking was going to be a problem, but the bikes lucked some space next to some scooters right opposite the front of the hospital.
The scooters really enjoyed chatting to the bigger bikes, flirting a little even with the strapping young country lads. Finding parking for Max and Chuck would be harder. We continued down north terrace a little further but it was looking fruitless so we cut a Ueey, helped by blocking manoeuvre by a bus. We went back to the bikes and then around the block into what we later found out was Rundle Street. We have been kissed on the head a few times this trip and so it was again that we found two parallel parks together with a 30 minute limit – right outside the snack bar! We dived in, packed the bag with essential items, got our ticket and then went to the front of the
hospital to gather together to go in.
Royal Adelaide is like many big city hospitals, complicated with many twists and turns as various buildings are built and re-built. The instructions to Joc’s room were pretty straight-forward however, and we were soon in the lift going up to the 6thfloor where he was. In the lift we sang elevator music and rehearsed our plan. Brad would walk in by himself and tell Joc that he had had a blue with us, cracked it and left us, determined to come to delaide to see his old mate; we had dropped him like a stone and gone for home. Once this was on, we would burst in with a big hurrah. The lift stopped and we prepared to get out. As the doors opened the surprise was on us as well as Joc; there he was, sitting on a couch in an alcove directly opposite the lift, talking on the phone! It could not have been scripted better.
Whoops and yells and smiles all round, we gathered around him to shake his hand and share our stories.
He had a massive smile on his dial, which was looking a little thinner than when we last saw him, and a tube ran out from under his shirt into a triple-interceptor suction machine tackle box; this was draining fluid from his still collapsed lung. Otherwise he was ok, still a bit stiff and sore and in need of a massage. He was on oxygen most of the day due to his reduced lung capacity. He pulled up his shirt and showed us a ripper bruise on his hip along his trouser line. His theory on the seven broken ribs and the lung damage was that he had landed on his uhf radio which was in a chest pocket of his jacket. This had pushed into him, doing the damage.
The other good news was that he had, after several days, managed to push out a ripper poo! This news was
greeted with cheers as we understand the importance of a good, regular poo.
Of course we took him some essential items. Firstly we had found a way to take in some beers so we all enjoyed a can of west end draught. We also had a bit of a rebuild kit for him, which included a new rib bone
and a good second-hand lung. We would give these to the surgeon to install later in the week. We would have done it ourselves but we didn’t really have time there and then. We also had a few TTT stickers for him to distribute. We spent about an hour with him before it was time to leave. We accompanied him back to his room, a 6 bed ward with several old blokes in various stages of decline towards death. It was a depressing place and it tugged at us that we had to leave him here. If they had said ‘go’ there and then we would have all been
We said our tut-taas and made our way out of the hospital. By now it was around 5.00pm. We were in the centre of a capital city on a Friday afternoon and still had to get out of town to Hahndorf. On these trips at this time we are normally looking for a camp site in the desert. The bikes said see-ya to their new city friends (I think Gary’s Yamaha got a phone-number!). We had overstayed our time in the car park and no surprise, Adelaide City Council issued us with a small reminder of our time in Rundle Street. It was only $46 but it annoyed us, even if they are doing their jobs. We will take a bit of issue with them. Traffic was tough as we pulled out and
away, moving steadily towards the base of the Adelaide where Max pulled like a schoolboy to get Chuck and the following bikes up the steep hills, getting us to Hahndorf by 6.30. We stayed in a couple of cabins with shower, toilet, ceiling, carpet and beds. This was hard to adapt to after our previous nights’accommodation at Lake
Gillies, which had a toilet of a shovel and bum-wipes, a ceiling of stars, a carpet of sand and our comfy swags.
You can’t beat the bush life can you!