Friday, July 10, 2015


If you're not from North Dakota - rural North Dakota - you might not understand the title of this post.  Muddin' is a verb that I can only describe as driving some sort of automobile through mud for the purpose of having fun and making a proper mess.

Lucky for me I am from rural North Dakota and understand the title just fine.  I haven't been muddin' in years, and I forgot how goddamn much fun it is.  There are a few things one needs 'to mud'.  The first is a vehicle with more torque than actually necessary.  The second is some jolly good friends to do it with.  Finally you need a laissez faire attitude where you really, truly, at your core do not care if your vehicle gets destroyed.  These three things are a recipe for good times.

Not required when mudding, but definitely a value-add is an ornery little mutt who digs his talons into you for dear life as you're bouncing around:

This is Ralphie.  He's mostly an asshole but in a lovable way.
Pia & Ryan bought their 4WD the same time as we did about 8 months ago, and are moving back to the USA (boo, do not approve) so will be selling their Nissan Pathfinder (younger brother to our big-ass Nissan Patrol) soon.  They want to get the most out of their car while they have the chance, so we all decided to take the Duck Creek Road track up to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat.  Martin and I went there over our Christmas 2014 staycation, when it was super lush and green, though bone dry:

That was our first real outing with our Patrol.  It was so hot that when we were going up the track our air conditioning stopped working - it was that hot!  I would like to point out, as I write this in the dead of winter (wearing two sweatshirts and two pairs of sweatpants) in July, I DO NOT miss summer!  One bit!

However this trip up the track was anything but dry. Look at this puddle!

These were a trio of bogans (Aussie white trash) heading up the track at the same time as we were.  Let's just say they were much bolder than we were when it came to taking risks and doing cray shit with their vehicle.

The thing about puddles is you never know how deep they go, so maybe you shouldn't drive through them and potentially destroy your car.  Lucky for these dudes the puddle wasn't too deep for them to handle, but if you're not careful you can wind up in a world of hurt!

Look how foggy and spooky it was!

Kind of how horror movies start.  4 incredibly fit, sexy youths get lost in the forest...

This being winter, where we see temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the rainforest earned its name that day.  Every square inch was covered in a layer of moisture, exacerbating how freaking cold the air was.  But it wasn't so cold that we couldn't stop, let the dog get his sea legs back on and enjoy the nice views of the vast Queensland farmland.

At the top of the track we arrived at our destination, O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, where Martin and I visited on our first public holiday long weekend in Australia many moons ago.  We packed a picnic lunch with us because we were not about to pay the prices demanded by the only resort, a fancy one at that, on the top of a mountain in a national park.  Turns out we weren't the only one who had that idea:

Can birds get diabetes?  Too funny!

After the picnic of sugar packets we went out on the Tree Top Walk, which is a delightful way of saying rickety-ass bridge 100+ feet off the ground.  

Rickety bridges are my one phobia on this planet, so I was pretty much shitting bricks until we got to a height where I knew I wouldn't die if the bridge collapsed and I hit the ground.  It seems like everybody else was having a gay old time, though.

On the way back to Brisbane we stopped at Fortitude Brewing Company, who hosted the beer and cheese tasting event we attended with these two.  If there is cheese, Pia will be there.  If there is craft beer, Ryan will be there.  If there is anything alcoholic or calorific, Martin and I will be there.  So a trip to this fat ass emporium was a must do for all parties involved.

Both the brewery and Witches Chase Cheesery (is that a word? No?) are under the same roof on Mount Tamborine which is a nearby, but separate, mountain than the one we had just driven up.  I didn't get any pictures of the cheeses or beers because I was too busy shoving everything I could find into my face after three weeks without eating a single carb.  I fell off the wagon that day, and it felt goooood (which is why I'm fat in the first place).

However I did get a picture of the most fantastically amazing vehicle ever invented: a motorized cooler on wheels:

I would murder for one of these!  Murder, yes, but buy a raffle ticket to win it, no.  You could do so much damage on that magnificent thing!

I am more and more coming to terms with the fact that Pia and Ryan won't be around anymore to do fun stuff like this.  As I see it we've got 3 options: Do fun stuff with just the two of us, stay home and become hermits or make fun new friends!