OK, so I may as well get it out in the open now. I am somewhat of a clean freak. I can’t ever remember a day where I skipped having at least one shower. I also used to be one of these people who washed my hands every five minutes, an urge that I’ve been able to tame in the last few years. Just the idea of getting on the road and driving without feeling cleaned first, was somewhat distressing.
I headed back into the township of Golden Beach where I was delighted to see some public showers that I hadn’t noticed the night before in the dark. I made my way over to them only to discover that you had to pay to use them. Five dollars for a three minute shower. Are they kidding! Who the hell can shower in three minutes? This was going to cost at least fifteen bucks.
I guess it’s time to point out another one of my failings. Believe me, I have many... I am a man of principle and I don’t like being ripped off. I will stand up against what I believe is wrong, even if it’s only a small wrong like this. It’s this line of thinking that led me to make a decision that I would come to regret.
To hell with you Mr. Shower... There was no way I was going to pay that much. Maybe five bucks for an un-timed shower, but even that would be pushing it. One of my best friends Chris, had traveled around Australia the year before and told me that there were plenty of roadhouses where you could get free showers. I wasn’t worried... Yet!
I thought about getting some breakfast across the road at the same take-away shop I’d gotten dinner. The thought was instantly replaced by “you have all of Australia before you, why eat at the same place twice?” Besides, I really wasn’t that hungry anyway. I headed back to the car.
As I started off down the road, I got a whiff of gas again. What the hell was going on? I stopped the car and once more unpacked the bottle and checked it out thoroughly. Again nothing and again the smell had disappeared. Somewhat bewildered, I packed everything back up again and set off once more.
Feeling somewhat paranoid, all I could focus on was the gas. Could I really smell it? Was it there now and I’d gotten used to it? Was I imagining the whole thing? Maybe I should toss the bottle out just to be safe...
Not far down the road and the smell definitely returned, even stronger than before. That was the last straw. I was just going to turn the tap on the bottle and empty all the gas. I figured I could pick up a new one at the next big town. As I made my way to the back of the car, I noticed that the smell was in the air. Something wasn’t right. How could the smell of the gas bottle be outside the car too? It was then that I noticed I had stopped on a causeway that was crossing what used to be a lake.
The water had almost all dried up from this vast area. What remained was a massive sandy, muddy, stink pit of rotting vegetation. I thought I’d better check the bottle, just to satisfy my paranoia. I let a little bit of gas out to smell it. There was a subtle difference but I was amazed me how closely the stench was to that of bottled gas.
I looked at the map of the area and noticed that this was the same lake that ran close to where I was camping but had been hidden by the trees. The mystery was solved and I dare say this also explains the reason for the migraine. I was somewhat relieved that the gas bottle was ok and more to the point, that I wasn’t going crazy. Well, no more so than normal at least...