Queensland

Day 967 Thursday 6th June

Having crossed into Queensland we gassed up and took a light lunch of crackers and pickles, sat looking at my bike I saw my rear tyre was fairly worn, with small scuffs of rubber lifting in the centre. Filling up at three pm in Mount Isa saw the metal cords in my tyre winking at me in the sunshine.

A few phone calls later told us the local Harley shop had a rear tyres that would suit both bike as the Honda was thinning out too. At the town camp ground I had fitted mine an hour after night fall, but given the help, a flash light and flood light from our two neighbours it was made a lot easier.

Day 968 Friday 7th June

I started fitting Diane’s tyre as soon as was practical and by eleven am were were packed up and showered, just as well as we should of been off by ten and the caretaker’s patience was wearing thin. On the outskirts of town we were just getting going when we were pulled over and breath tested for drink driving.

The road sported a huge amount of road kill, including rabbit, roo, snake, pig, dog, cat and eagle. Mr. McDonnell would have wept to see all the animals. After the first two hundred clicks I thought I would count the caresses in one hundred km. Reaching close to four hundred I was glad to stop. At Winton we met up with Gus from Sydney on a BMW, he commented to us about the amount of bodies on the road. He was surprised we had not seen it before, we had but not on this scale.

Stopping at Mc.Kinlay for fuel I noticed the “Walkabout Creek” sign. The roadhouse attendant confirmed that it was the bar where crocodile Dundee was filmed. The interior was more sparsely decorated than in the movie, but it  was the place, made more obvious by the photographs on the walls, taken when the movie was shot. 

Day 969 Saturday 8th June

Camped at Kynuna free camp and after only an hours sleep a truck pulled in and sat with his engine revving hard. After forty minuets of trying to sleep I went and asked how long he was going to be. The response was bordering on verbal abuse so I went back to our tent. An hour later I went out again and as he had not found his problem yet his mood was no better. Some time in the early hours we slept and he left.

Day 970 Sunday 9th June

Duaringa free camp had hot showers. The first that we had encountered, were wonderful.

Day 971 Monday 10th June

Gin Gin was our camp for the night and Diane went off to Possum watch with some male campers who had more powerful flash lights than ours. I stayed at the table with the ladies and enjoyed a drink with them. While the lights probed the tree tops for the elusive furry animals we at the table were given an easy view as a few possums ambled by, maybe oblivious of our presence.

Phoned Peter and Kay and arranged to stay with them at Moroochdore for a couple of days.

Day 972 Tuesday 11th June

Woke at nine am to almost deserted camp ground and munched on our muesli and watched the trucks rolling into town.

Arrived at Peter and Kay’s town house later than thought due to short hard rain downfall.

Day 975 Friday 14th June

With all the repair work done we walked through town to the Pacific ocean to dip our feet in our forth different ocean of both our lives.

Day 976 Saturday 15th June

We were invited to stay at their rain forest block of land for a few days, as we both wanted to visit a national park in Queensland we quickly accepted. While their land is obviously not a park it may have as well been. It was dense trees and vegetation complete with hanging vines. They have built a cabin to sleep in while they spend a few days there to manage the land to help nature get back the balance which was taken away by logging of the forest some years back.

Peter had told us of an epic journey back to the block from a trip to town in their van. Made epic by a leaking clutch hose that made the climb into the hills exciting. But the wrong kind of excitement.. He had bought a new hose a while ago and I felt of use to help him fit it.

Day 977 Sunday 16th June

We walked to the rim of the valley which was only six hundred meters away from the cabin but was a two hundred and fifty meter high climb. While they set to weed pulling and vine cutting on the tree saplings we made for the rim. Apparently only themselves and one other guest has made it to the top, since they have owned it anyway!

Day 978 Monday 17th June

Reluctantly leaving Peter and Kay we rode to Brisbane via a tourist route through a mountain pass, taking in panoramic views of green fields and blue lakes spread out beneath us. Much nicer than the highway!

Diane found us our city camp ground, we would like to stop in a backpackers as we did in Africa but the cost against camping was to great.

Day 979 Tuesday 18th June

Spent the day in the city, taking a water taxi to an art gallery was a great way to see how the rich folks live, and the city skyline from a distance you don’t get from street level. The Tibet Kitchen was recommended by a few folks for a feed, so we treated ourselves and ate great tasting goat curry, hot and spicy. Served with a selection of steamed vegetation (healthy), and fried lamb (not so healthy) dumplings.

Day 980 Wednesday 19th June

While being in Queensland and wanting to behave like real tourists we went to a Koala sanctuary on the outskirts of town. Looking at these furry marsupials they really lived up to their reputation of appearing to be not too bright. Their eyes shone but no one was at home… 

Day 981 Thursday 20th June

Taking the customary two hours to pack, eat and get on our way under a cloudy sky that threatened rain if we did not move soon. We planed a light day of four hundred clicks. We decided to head west rather than our preferred route of hugging the coast, having been advised that inland, over the great dividing range would be colder but drier than the warmer wetter coast side. Kidding ourselves that the cold was the much lesser of the two evils we headed west.

The road on the eastern side of the range was both dramatic and spectacular. The drama came from the road resembling the surface of the moon, the repair workers concealing the speed cops as they both wore hi-viz. Luckily for us we had got stuck behind a truck and they must have been advised of the cops on the UHF radio. The spectacular from the tall craggy peaks that towered above us, at seven hundred meters it reached its zenith and we descended two hundred into a rich, flat black soil platio that stretched to a lower mountain range on our right. The cold wind blew hard down from the high range and removed the dry top soil toward the lower range. As if that were not bad enough to have to ride leaning ten or more degrees into it the many roadtrains that had been bunched up by the roadworks thought our riding at the one hundred km speed limit was too slow and either sat on our tail or overtook us causing much buffeting. Thankfully Warwick town soon came into view and we filled up the bikes and our selves with a warming mug of coffee. The town had a real old feel to it and the many individual shops were in as uniquely designed buildings. Could have doubled as a cowboy movie film set. Both of us picked up on this town as a very homely place.

Leaving the built up area behind us we rode into a totally different country to the other side of town, trees, rolling valleys and winding roads, still with craters in them though!!

Just after crossing the state line into New South Wales we made our camp in amongst the trees just south of Goondiwindi, and at four hundred and thirty clicks we both felt like we had had enough. Must have been the wind.

We found our camp for the night and as we looked around the sparse parking area we lamented the lack of pick nick tables that we desired. They made our world a little more three dimensional, as sitting on the floor became more uncomfortable as the days are getting damper. Looking into the trees I saw a caravan trailer parked up, so we rode the gravel road around into the wood and found a great area to pitch our tent. As dark fell at five thirty we finished washing the bowls and headed into our faithful tent to read.

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