If This is the Pony Ride, I Want My Money Back

Bowling Green National Park was somewhat of a disappointment. There weren’t really any walks listed except for the one to Alligator Creek falls, which sounded interesting, but it wasn’t a caravan park and that made it appealing. We called from Airlie Beach to make sure that we could get a spot. The phone conversation that followed was just as maddening as the one at Blackdown Tablelands. This time the person who was making the booking couldn’t figure out if the one spot left was accessible to campervans. It said it was, but it wouldn’t let him book it. I was put on hold many times for several minutes as the payphone and the meter that we were parked at ticked away. Finally he got his answer and began the booking. By this time Adam had already gone to retrieve the van so that we wouldn’t be ticketed. Before he gave me the booking number, the only thing I really needed before the phone cut me off, he decided it was chit-chat time. “So, where are you from?” he asked cheerfully.

I answered. “My sister lives in California—San Diego. Beautiful out there. Been out there several times. Can’t wait to go back.”

Cripes. I wanted to scream at him, “For the love of God, just give me the booking number!” but in time he did, and we were off to Alligator Creek.

As Bilbo Baggins says in The Hobbit, “Adventures are not always pony rides in May sunshine.” In my years of traveling I have definitely taken that to heart. Airlie Beach, Alligator Creek, and later Cardwell, all proved to be underwhelming. More like a camel ride in March drizzle. Right away we noticed that Alligator Creek was going to be annoying. The campsites were fairly close together, pretty much as close as a caravan park. The person across the way was having a hell of a time backing into his spot with his trailer and the little red-faced fat man in the site next to us was directing him to back up and pull forward in his loudest voice for, I kid you not, at least 15 minutes. Then the family of the red-faced fat man began to arrive with children in tow. Emily was fairly well behaved, but Chloe, the youngest, had a listening problem and the adults didn’t seem to have any inclination to correct it. Cameron was a little shit, always yelling, chasing the birds, and being a general pain in the ass. This was how close we were to them and how loud they were. The “falls” were equally disappointing with only the tiniest bit of water lamely trickling over the rocks. That night on my way to the bathroom I ran into the post in front of our campsite and injured my toe, my knee, and possibly a kidney. Altogether, not the most stimulating place we’ve been.

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