July 17 – Mossman
We were up early and ready to hit the road. We drove north to the Mossman Gorge expecting to go for a nice walk through the rain forest. We smelled some sulphur on our drive up and worried that it was the battery. Maybe the check battery light had actually come on for a reason. We arrived at the visitors center and found out a bridge was damaged so only a small section of the path was open. We also had to pay $5 for a shuttle bus up to the start of the path. We figured we were here anyways so we might as well go. The board walk route was fairly short, maybe a kilometer loop but the rainforest was very pretty. There were a bunch of people around though too. You could go swimming in the river but it wasn't all that nice out so we opted to not. Back down at the van we called the RACV and found out where the nearest accredited shop was. We made it back to the little town of Mossman and had our battery checked at an auto-parts store. The guy deemed it toast due to overcharging and recommended we see an autoelectrician to find the cause of the problem. Fortunately the mechanic was just around the corner and were able to squeeze us in in about an hour. We left Dotti at the mechanics and went for a little walk around the town. We stopped into a bakery for a meat pie and sausage rolls for lunch then headed back to the mechanic. We read in the reception for a bit and found out a there was a wire shorting out that blew a fuse and pooched our battery. $300 later the problem was solved and we had a new battery. We drove south back past Cairns, got some groceries and gas along the way, then stopped for the night about 200km north of Townsville.
July 18 – Townsville to MacKay
We chatted with a Polish woman for a little bit at our rest stop before breakfast. She was quite the talker but very nice. We hit the road and headed down to Townsville. We skipped Josephine Falls again because it was raining. We had also talked about going to Magnetic Island but the weather wasn't reliable and we had a lot of ground to cover so we decided against it. Once in Townsville we stopped for lunch at Hungry Jacks and got updated. Beau called his dad to wish him a happy birthday. After our hour rest we got back on the road and drove all the way down to Mackay. We ended up staying at a rest stop/gas station for the night. I wasn't entirely sure if we were allowed to stay overnight but there was no sign saying we couldn't. We made instant noddles for dinner. There were also showers at the stop so we took advantage of those too.
July 19 – Mackay to Gladstone
We were up early and headed out of the reststop with making breakfast. We had thought to stop into a Hungry Jacks for brekky and wifi but weren't able to get to one. We drove south of Mackay then stopped into another rest stop for some belated oatmeal and coffee. We then drove the boring drive down to Rockhampton. It's about 300km of nothing. Once in Rockhampton we found another Hungry Jacks and had lunch while doing more updating. After an hour in Hungry's we headed down to a rest stop just west of Gladstone on the Calliope River. It was a nice little spot a bit off the highway. We arrived in late afternoon so we spent some time sitting outside before the sunset. Beau played some guitar and I read. We made pasta again for dinner and then read a bit in the evening. It was pretty frigid out tonight and I could see my breath on the walk to the bathroom.