Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Big Lap - Heading Home

We are now in Rockhampton having had a good start to our trip home.  We were on the road for about ten hours.


Snubby travelled well on the back of the ute with the little trailer following nicely. 


Not many photos today as we have seen it all before, albeit in the opposite direction. 


What we did finally see was quite a few cane trains in action, but this was the best photo I could get. 

There has been big army exercises around Rockhampton for the last week or so and we saw loads of military vehicles heading north back to Townsville. 

Snubby and the trailer are now settled in our friends' yard until we can arrange transport back to Bathurst.

We will have another early start tomorrow and travel as far as Goondiwindi. It only takes two big days to get home from here going via the inland route. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Big Lap - Decisions

This morning we had a good look at our options with Snubby.

There is a BMW dealership in Townsville with one mechanic.  He is fully booked all next week and then goes on holidays for three weeks.

Mick put the bike up on a jack and spun the back wheel.  There is a definite gravelly grating feel and noise, so it will not be an easy fix.

We have been counting our blessings. If the diff had seized while we were riding along it could have been really nasty. 

We are at the edge of civilisation as we know it and are about to venture into the wide blue yonder for about 8,000kms. OK, apart from the distance that is a slight exaggeration, but not much if something further goes wrong as a result of this.  

Realistically, we will not have time to get the bike repaired and make it all the way around Australia.

You can see where this is going.....or not.  Yes, we are getting ourselves and Snubby back home. 

The NRMA Premium Care cover has been wonderful.  They will pay up to $3,000 towards getting us sorted.  That includes the tilt tray to here and our accommodation.  They arranged a Uber Car to take us to the airport to collect a hire Nissan Qashqai SUV that we will use to drive all the way home.  They will also pay towards getting Snubby home.  

We also have some wonderful friends.  Our friends from Rockhampton drove 780kms to Townsville today in their ute. Snubby is now securely loaded on the ute and they will tow our little trailer.  Tomorrow we will go in convoy back to their place where Snubby and the trailer will be stored safely until we look at options to get them home. We will then continue to drive home and take things from there. 

We will still have about six weeks of our holidays to go, so we will do something, we just don't know what yet. It will probably be a Mick's Magical Mystery Tour in the caravan. We are not going to just go back to work. 

Mick has this theory that normally drives me nuts. He reckons that if it isn't planned it can't go wrong. Well, I hate to admit it, but in this instance it is kind of true. 

Meanwhile, there was no point in just hanging around our motel. We may as well have a look around, so after we collected our hire car we had to have some lunch.  Having heard so often through Jenny of Elefantz of the Hervey Ranges Heritage Tea Rooms we drove up there.


A car isn't quite as good for photos but it will do.  That is the Hervey Ranges.


There are some impressive rock formations as the road climbs. 


There is a lookout at the top. What a view. 


Here's our hire car, which is now full to the gunnels. I don't know how we had so much stuff on the bike and in the camper. 


The tea rooms are housed in an old split slab inn which dates back to 1865 and is the oldest building in far North Queensland.  The weather is a little cooler there than Townsville, with a lot of people wearing cardies and jumpers.  It was rather pleasant.


Most of the seating was in the shady garden. There were lots of people there, but it was still nice and peaceful. Our meals were simple but absolutely delicious. 

Off to the side there is a function section and there was a wedding getting under way. The bride looked lovely and it would have been a delightful setting for such a special day.


The building had some of its original features such as the old cooking area. 


This room shows the construction method nicely. 


I loved the photos showing the building in its past life.


It's stood the test of time well.

Our little break up there was just what we needed after all the happenings since we broke down.


Finally, tonight we saw a ghecko. We've heard them chirping away of a night, but this was the first we have actually seen. Illusive little devils. 

Tomorrow will be a big day, but it will be good to get things started towards getting home. We did travel 2779kms towards our trip, so that wasn't too bad.


Friday, 21 July 2017

The Big Lap - An Eventful Day

Well, today was eventful.

We left Townsville as planned and headed towards ChartersTowers. 


The next leg of our journey is along the Overlander's Way.


We started to see termite mounds in the paddocks. 


We were also entering road train country. 


After going over a range we finally entered big sky country. 


We knew we were getting closer th Charters Towers when we crossed the Burdikan River.


When we came up here in 2008 we took a picture of this sign. The second highest flood ever was in 2009. It is hard to conceive how much water there was, when you look at the size of the river which is well below this sign.


Charters Towers has a really historic town centre, which is all heritage listed. 


We had a good look around here last time we were up this way. 


We were surprised to see cattle trains. Apparently they are a new government initiative. 


About 80kms west of Charters Towers we called into a rest area at the little village of Homestead for our morning tea. 


When Mick hopped off the bike he said "Ooh!  We aren't going anywhere!"  The sides of the rear wheel were coated in oil from the diff! That is not a good sight. 

Fortunately, we have premium cover with the NRMA.  Several long phone calls later, after explaining where we were and what we were travelling on, the RACQ from Charters Towers was dispatched. 


We had to wait a couple of hours for them to arrive, but it wasn't so bad. We had our morning tea and lunch with us, there was a table and chairs under a shady tree and amenities were just there.  We had good mobile coverage to make those necessary calls for help and quite a few people called into the rest area so we had a few chats while we waited. 


We also saw a road train go by from the same company that our mate in Rockhampton drives for. 


When Jay and Brian arrived with the tilt tray they had things organised in no time. 


I must say our little trailer looked really little behind the truck. 

They got us delivered back to Townsville as there is a BMW motorcycle place here. We had stopped for morning tea at 11.30am and got here at about 6.00pm. It has been a long day. We can't say enough good about the RACQ fellows. 

All things considered we are very fortunate. As there wasn't oil splattered all over the place we think the damage had only just happened. We could have had a major incident on the bike if it had let go while we were riding. We weren't too isolated.  Imagine if it had happened further west. 

We are now settled in a motel in Townsville and will look at our options tomorrow. 

The Big Lap - Proserpine to Townsville

We froze overnight at Proserpine. You see, as the nights were getting warmer we packed away our big doona and are now just using a patchwork quilt.


That wasn't quite enough for 4.6 degrees! We couldn't believe how cold it got. It wasn't forecast to be that cold. Fortunately, it wasn't too dewy and quickly warmed up. 


There had been background noise throughout the night, like distant traffic.  It was the sugar mill, which is right in town. I dare say you would quickly not even hear it. 


We noticed as we left town that there were lots of lovely Art Deco buildings up the Main Street.


We were glad we didn't meet this wide load on the road. 


The next town up the road is Bowen, with its big mango.


As we didn't have all that far to go for the day, we went in to have a look. As we have travelled along, Mick has caught occasional glimpses of the sea, but I haven't as there has been a bike and Mick in the way. Here is Snubby by the sea. 


There was a nice marina in town.


Mick liked the green boat. 


We saw a sign to "Flagstaff Hill" and cafe so headed on up. There was no cafe but the view across to the islands was stunning, complete with little lighthouse. 


Another Snubby by the Sea photo opportunity. 


There were somelovely buildings in Bowen.  There were also still a few with cyclone damage and many with new rooves. Cyclone Debbie certainly made her presence felt here. 


For quite some time we have seen lots of large birds. Not sure if they are falcons, kites, or hawks, but they are certainly hard to photograph. 



Home Hill also had some lovely buildings.


The sugar season is in full swing.  We haven't seen any cane trains running, but have seen lots of carriages ready to be hauled to the mills. Some were really quite long. 


We crossed the Burdekin River over this impressive bridge. We will cross it again going out to Charters Towers. 


Lunch was in a nice shady park in Ayr where we were surprised to see three cute little bantam roosters. 


They say things are big up north. This gum nut was a fine example. 


Ayr was yet another town with lovely architecture. 


The landscape continued to change, with mango orchards starting to line the road.


More interesting hills to go around. 

Our destination was Townsville and a highlight was to meet one of my blog friends. Back in 2008, just after I started to blog, I took part in a swap of a redwork cushion. I sent mine to Jenny Reynolds, better known as Jenny of Elefantz, in Esperance. We started to follow each other's blogs. I thought we could meet as we were going to WA in 2010. We visited Townsville later in 2008. Just after we went home Jenny moved to the Townsville area. We missed her at both places.


Finally, nine years later we met in person and hit it off straight away. Both Jenny and Mr E are warm and friendly. It really was nice to spend some time with them.

Back to stats.....We have now done over 2,500kms in 8 days, which is on track. The weather is glorious, reaching mid 20s and getting down to mid teens. 

After a very social east coast the real adventure is about to start.