DAY NINE into her mini wander of the west Central Queensland trip nearly sent her packing, but it also showed Edwina Robertson a "great representation of what living in the bush encompasses”.
The Rural Weekly interviewed the 31-year-old bush photographer two weeks ago, just before setting out on her 12-day mini trip in which she would visit 15 rural towns as a test run before she tackles her three-month Australia-wide trip.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between rural and suburban Australians, Eddy has relied solely on the generosity of farmers throughout Queensland to help her on her journey.
She was on the Springsure to Monto stretch when bush life threw her several curve balls, but luckily Eddy put on her catcher's mitt and made the best of a bad situation.
Eddy had driven into Springsure to be on time for a radio interview for which she needed phone reception.
"During the interview I made comments that I'd had no huge mechanical problems with the car so far,” she said.
"I forgot to touch wood because two minutes after the interview I had no clutch or gearbox.”
Luckily enough she was on the edge of town and in range of reception. However, it was a Friday following a public holiday and mechanics were scarce.
"After having a mechanic come and confirm what I already knew the problem was, a few calls were made to get a small part delivered,” Eddy explained.
"It would be at least four days until the part was couriered into Emerald, meaning I was not going anywhere fast.”
This delayed her return home by two full days, and it was something that could have been fixed the same day in the city.
For the next three hours, Eddy was held up in the main street of Springsure waiting for a tow to Emerald so that Alice, her car, could be fixed as soon as the part arrived.
"A few locals who I'd met the day before saw me and offered me lifts and any form of help they could to get me back on the road. People I had only met briefly once were offering to call their relatives and other mates in order to help me out.”
After finally getting a tow to Emerald and dropping off Alice to the mechanic, the tow truck driver, Spot, waited around in the blistering heat for at least an hour while Eddy got a loan car organised.
"Being a Friday afternoon, he could have easily headed home for a cold beer but he waited, knowing the alternative would be to walk to the car rental pick-up,” she said.
Once the car was collected, she ran into even more hiccups.
Having been on the phone all day, she only had about 4% battery left.
"Not ideal when you realise you've left your charger at the previous night's accommodation,” she said.
"So with no money and nearly a dead phone at 4.55pm on a Friday afternoon in the bush, I headed to Harvey Norman to basically beg, borrow or steal a way to stay connected.
"A very kind retail assistant offered me her charger to help me keep going. No questions, no concerns, just pure generosity.”
After finally leaving Emerald, Eddy had more than a five-hour drive to her next destination.
Only 5km out of town, she realised the loan car she was in was a piece of rubbish.
The wheel alignment was out so much she said it nearly shook her shoulders out of their sockets.
"Talking to Amanda, the person that I was on my way to see, I mentioned this and by the next conversation she had organised someone to fix the wheel balance for me the following morning, and she would come into town and meet me so I didn't have to drive unsafely on the corrugated dirt roads to her property,” Eddy said.
At 9.30pm, Eddy was met with warm fajitas for dinner and a cold bottle of water - which Eddy described as the most inviting scenario she'd encountered all day.
"(That day) punished every inch of my body and mind. The heat, the inconvenience of circumstances and carrying no money meant nothing was straightforward.”
On the way to Monto, Eddy noticed a sign saying Toowoomba 644km.
If she hadn't been so exhausted, she would have been easily tempted to keep driving home.
She admitted she was ready to throw it all in.
"It was an incredibly tough day, however I cannot thank enough the many people who did a little, which helped a lot,” Eddy said.
"Although I was going solo, I was never alone.”
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