24.06.2011 - 26.06.2011
This was going to be simple quick stop, snap a photo of the town entry sign to send to Greg Cole who wrote this destination on one of our t-shirts at the farewell party (which meant, we agree to actually go there), then head off to look for an overnight stop somewhere real. Well, this is day three parked on the banks of the Dumaresq river which doubles as the border of NSW and QLD, on the fringes of Texas and still soaking up the fascination of this small town of just 600 people.
After moving around for about a month now and making nest in numerous camping grounds, caravan parks and national parks, imagine our surprise to see, by far, the most campers, caravans, motorhomes in one place we have seen so far - and this in a 'not a campsite' campsite with no facilities, ablutions, etc at all. So we pulled in to see what the occasion was... as it turns out... nothing... this is quite normal for TEXAS!!
But wait... there's more...
ONLY IN TEXAS will the sign be so big you cannot even touch it;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you be fined $30 000 for keeping rabbits when it was one of the biggest rabbit breeding stations in QLD;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you go to a luncheon and the theme of the day is “tea towels”;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you win a lucky door prise and it is a koala fridge magnet;
(not even caramel!!!)
ONLY IN TEXAS will you be pulled over by the police for not wearing a helmet and he lets you off;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you have to push your bike home as punishment for not wearing a helmet;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you ride your bike through a paddock full of devil thorns trying to avoid the policeman who has just told you to walk and get 2 punctures;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you spend half an hour looking for baby ducklings only to discover it was a cricket;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you go out for dinner and get enough food to feed half of Ethiopia on one plate;
ONLY IN TEXAS will you find a cultural diversity second to none... true-blue Aussie outback hospitality with the local pub serving chinese food, the largest employer, Oakey Feedlot (more on this later..), owned by the Japanese, the second largest employer, Alcyone Silver mine, rumoured to be Greek owned (named after the daughter of a Greek god anyway..) and most of the few hundred thousand head of cattle wondering the local paddocks will end up in Japanese steak-houses. Oh, yes and I'm reminded there are 3 Zimbabwean farmers roaming the hills too.
ONLY IN TEXAS does the tourist 'lookout' sign actually mean LOOK OUT!!! when turning right into the 'lookout' on the crest of a blind corner from where you can see all of nothing (so... no photo - no point..)
So why called 'Texas'? In a nutshell, yes it is named after the one the US. The McDougall brothers, who owned the land, went off to find their fortune on the goldfields and upon their return found squatters on their land, so called it Texas after the somewhat larger land dispute between Mexico and the US which resulted in 'Texas USA'.
Spurred on by inside information from one of the locals and having a day of mild relationship skirmish, Ang opted for tea (and tea-towel) with local ladies and I headed off to bust the Japanese Feedlot scandal...
Oakey Ltd Feedlot is the largest feedlot in Australia (ONLY IN TEXAS). Ok, let's dispell the anticipation, as I'm sure I am not the only one who did not know what the hell a 'feedlot' was. In short, this is where they turn that $30, 450 gram rump at you favourite steakhouse into a $45.99, 650 gram, 120 day grain-fed 'roll me to the car' feast. Well, you would have to be a steakhouse in Japan to enjoy Oakey's feast, but the there are others with a more local destination.
Take Molly, an average 300kg cow minding her own business grazing in the fields, but looking tastier by the day. On her way to the slaughterhouse, Molly gets a new lease on life... well for 3 or 4 months anyway... she gets led into a pen with hundreds of friends and fed a variety of grains - mostly corn, wheat or barley which unfortunatley is not what Molly and her friends are used to as 95% of their diet, so after a few weeks her liver starts to malfunction and collapse. Happily though we have an antibiotic just for that, so we pump Molly with some and her liver lasts for another 120 days.
Then another baddy comes along called e coli... You see, with Molly now very closely aquainted with her new few thousand friends and all sharing the same ablution facility, things get a bit risky... and you don't want thousands of cows on 'e'. Happily, we don't give Molly an antibiotic for that, cause that would be a bad thing. So instead we wash the meat from Molly with Chlorine to make sure no 'e' gets to us humans... yum!
The good news is that Molly weighs 480kg when she gets nuked at the slaughterhouse - bad news is that Mollys meat also contains 400 to 500 percent more saturated fat! Perfect for that big Mac!!
The great news is that you get to pay the extra $$ in your steakhouse to fund all this and then get to spend even more time in the gym or riding that bike.
The BEST news is that the marketing geniuses that got us to swallow this ...pun fully intended!!... are rolling with laughter on a beach in the Bahamas**
Well after spending the afternoon hunting down this 'farm' (the link to the 'where are we' map on their website directed me to 'page can't displayed'), I did finally find it, read the appropriate 'do not enter on pain of seppuku' sign on the locked gate, and then proceeded to drive completely around the 5800 hectares of the place trying to get a view of these feeding pens. I was able to find a slightly unlocked, locked gate which got me little closer before encountering a 'we mean it!!' locked gate, but managed to take a covert photo of the grain silos with the feeding pens in the forground for exclusive publication in this blog only - you've seen it first right here...
(it wouldn't be covert if it was in focus...)
After dinner (of grass fed beef) and after our newly acquired knowledge of the beef industry, we felt it appropriate to have a warm chat with some of the locals...
So as the suns sets on the plains of Texas we retire early and with excitement in our hearts - we can only wonder what Texas has in store for us tomorrow. Investigating a silver mine maybe...?
- * This paragragh is pure speculation