Monday, 30 June 2014

Paronella park

Been here one week so far. Busy time; sorting out worn or broken gear, catching up with family, and doing some cycling.

If your heading to Cairns, you'll see the signs for Paronella Park along the highway.  I cycled right on past. Its got a bit of history. Read the story on Wikipedia, or go visit and hear it from a tour guide.

On the weekend went on a drive with a relative, and stopped at the cafe for a cup of tea.
The castle remains
The castle has had a rough time. Fire went though in 1979.

Waterfalls
We didn't go on a tour, but there seemed to be no shortage of takers.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Reid River, Townsville, Paluma National Park, Jourama Falls, Cardwell

Leaving Charters Towers I camped at the Burdekin River. Next day was easy ride to Reid River, with the plan of pedalling through Townsville to Bluewater the next day.

But plans change. Talking with Tim, I was offered another lift north. This was no road train or ute: a Winniebago, complete with bike rack. I didn't say no. We spent a few days stopping at Paluma National Park, Jourama Falls and Cardwell.
Paluma National Park

Paluma National Park

Paluma National Park

Paluma National Park

Paluma National Park

Jourama Falls
I continued on and met up with Andrea, who has just recently arrived in Australia. Her adventures at http://this-is-us.info

More easy pedalling after that. Arrived at my parents, where I'll be spending a bit of time before continuing on.

Time to upgrade and fix broken and worn out gear.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A short cut: Bauhinia Downs, Rollestone, Springsure, Emerald, Capella, Clermont, Belyano Crossing, Charters Towers

Was wanting to have a rest in Tarrom, but didn't like the look of the caravan park. So headed out. Thought I'd head to Theodore and stay a couple of days, but at the last moment decided to take a 110km gravel road shortcut towards Springsure and rest there instead.

The "short cut" turned a hard slog, that had me wondering if it was such a great idea after all. Gravel road I was told. Gravel road describes anything that isn't covered in tar; from hard packed smooth dirt to deep beach sand, to large cobble sized rocks embedded in rock. The short cut turned out to have the latter.  80km of bone shaking rattling over rocks, with regular oscillations requiring "get off and push". Couldn't even enjoy the downhills because of the rocks, and in the few places the rocks didn't exist, the road was getting bull dust pits.
Historical Site found about 80km from the Tarrom end of the Fitzroy Development Road
But eventually the last 30km come good for me, and it was out to Bauhinia Downs, were I scored a lift with a road train to Rollestone.

I'd decided that since I was covering ground that I'd already cycled many times before up to Cairns, that if anyone offered a lift, I'd take it. So, when the driver offered, I accepted. Bike tied at the end of the load, a long long way back, off we went. Certainly a different view from up high.

Since I arrived in Rollestone so early, I called the rest of a the day a rest day and checked into the caravan park for a washing day. Sadly that night the fire alarm in a nearby locked caravan/cabin started squeaking the low battery warning.  It did mean I was up early to leave...

Easy cycling through Springsure. Stopped to chat with a broken down truckie. He asked if I had any water. Unfortunately my measly 3 litres wasn't going to top up his system after a broken heater pipe. Since I also lacked a spare pipe and cooling fluid, he had to wait for the repair truck to come out.

Another truckie stopped a bit later up the road - two flat tires.  I couldn't help him either. There was some muttering about Friday 13th.

Passing through Emerald was non eventful. Just a quick stop for food, then kept going out of town.

In light showers, 20km from Capella, Luke in his ute pulled over to offer me a lift. I accepted again. Had an extra hour to sit about for lunch and clean the mud off.  I thoughtlessly stepped off the road into a recently dug hole. Sank to my ankles in mud.  Cleaned it up, but repeated the trick later that day looking for a road side camp. Finally got all the mud off in Clermont.

I left Clermont, minus mud, but with a lot of food; I blame it on shopping when hungry. Should never do that!

The end of the day out of Clermont, when I wanted to camp, there was a 20km stretch that had four cars run off the road and crashed. One had rolled several times and jumped the fence near the road. All late model cars. Tired drivers?  I didn't know, but found a spot a kilometre from the road that night and each other night. Wasn't taking chances.

Easy riding till past Belyando Crossing. I'd stopped at a rest stop to have a snack, when a road train pulled up with empty, cattle trailers. Got talking with the driver, and he offered a lift into Charters Towers, where he would then head west.  Tied the bike in the cattle trailer and off we went.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Bingara, Warialda, North Star, Goondiwindi, Moonie, Miles, Taroom

Well, woke up and it was -1C with fog. The forecast the the next day was -2C with fog.  Seeing the trend, I decided it was past time to be moving north. Bingara was set to have 5C without fog. All the more reason to shift.  Easy riding, with a nice camp on the river edge.

Then on through Warialda and towards North Star.
Thats me :)
The last time I was in in North Star the caravan park had closed. So I camped outside of town. That's now changed and its reopened. 
Start of Leichhardt Highway
I was recovered from whatever was ailing me previously, but still wasn't making large daily distances. Previous rides through here had longer daylight hours. Winter: the sun rises at 7am, and is gone at 5pm. So I worked out my days to match. Averaged a relaxing 80km a day.  Passed locations of previous camps, and had to find new spots.

Just daily cycling. Empty mind at times. Enjoying the sun, sounds, sights and smells.. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Shitake mushrooms

I finished the packet of Shitake mushrooms yesterday. Delicious fungi. Snip the top of the packet, and pour some into my daily stew.  Usually, a packet finishing isn't note worthy, except it signals the end of mushrooms for some time. Small town shops tend not to stock such exotic fare.
Yesterday though, idly waiting for the stew to boil, I was reading the back of the packet:

"Contains desiccant sachet inside.
DO NOT CONSUME"

That sinking feeling... I've not seen that sachet. Fishing frantically through the days stew didn't find it. I'd not seen it on any other days. But I wasn't looking for it then either. Pour in, quick careless stir, lid on till it boils, cool and eat. Not noticed it. What would out look like after a boil? Couldn't have tasted too bad.. Maybe this packet missed out.

Maybe that was why I want feeling the best a few days..

I'll be more careful in future.

-1C this morning with fog. Feeling energetic, so today will continue the pedal north to where it is warmer.