Meet the couple driving cross-country in a tractor
CHUGGING along the Warrego highway in a Chamberlain tractor, Jenny and Chris Pye consider themselves the luckiest people in the world.
With their home-made gypsy wagon in tow, the couple is 14 months into an indefinite fundraising adventure, travelling slowly around Australia while raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation.
During June, the couple made its way through Cunnamulla, Yowah and Quilpie and, upon arrival in Charleville on Friday, had ticked over 17,000km and $16,000 in donations. They expect to raise much more as they continue through Morven, Roma, and St George in the week ahead.
"So far we have made $14,000 for Make a Wish purely with people coming up to us and donating into the poles we have on our wagon," Jenny Pye said.
"There has also been about $2000 in donations online but, mostly, people just come up and see what we are doing.
"They check out the tractor and wagon, we will have a bit of a chat and they leave a donation.
"We attract a lot of attention and, even if we stop for a coffee break or a toilet stop, we get people coming up and chatting.
"When we pull up at free camps or caravan parks, we get people coming up all the time and we enjoy it.
"You can see how excited people are and we hear lots of farmers telling us their stories about when they drove a Chamberlain tractor ploughing a field and the ladies love to look through the wagon and see the design."
Along the way, the couple has been taking time to connect with locals in the region.
"We will often call in to little schools as we travel to say hello, and show the kids the wagon," Mrs Pye said.
"In our travels we have also met quite a few wish recipients and their families, which is very special.
"We are very privileged to fundraise for Make a Wish, but we're not doing much for it - we are on this awesome adventure.
"We feel like we are the luckiest people on earth."
The Pyes' goodwill has spread all along their journey, with locals often giving back to them in kind, as well as supporting their cause.
"We just came through Quilpie and needed our tractor tyres turned around, so the local tyre service did it free of charge because we are fundraising," Mrs Pye said.
"It is absolutely awesome that along the way, some people say we can camp for free.
"So many people support us so we can keep going on the road."