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. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Big Lap - Rockhampton to Proserpine

After a couple of lazy days with our friends we are now back on the road.

We had been told the road to Mackay is fairly boring, but it still has variations as you go along. 

There is a lot of scrubby stuff and quite a distance between towns and villages. 

We stopped at a little place called Molborough to get fuel and have or thermos and ginger nuts. We got chatting to a fellow who has just ridden to the top of the Cape who kindly took our photo with "Snubby".

It was nice when the landscape opened up to sugarcane paddocks with interesting mountains in the background. 

A rather flash boat went passed heading south.

This pub looked typically Queenslander, complete with a crocodile on the front. We noticed a sign by one of the many rivers and creeks we crossed which warned not to swim because of crocodiles.

Our lunch stop was at the little town of Serina, which has a nice park in the middle of the street.  A feature was "Buffy" the cane toad. 

Finally we reached the city of Mackay. 

You may wonder why I have a picture of the back of a vehicle while we were stopped at traffic lights in the middle of Mackay.......  look closely...... "Spotto" a brown snake!!!  Very alive!!! I was starting to freak out a bit and wanted Mick to get out of the lane, but he couldn't due to all the traffic. As we waited for the lights to change the snake moved into the shade under the van in front of his back wheels and when the lights changed the snake was squashed. It was soon writhing on itself and we passed it without further ado. Phew!!! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that I'm petrified of snakes. 

The views as we headed north were stunning with the cane in the foreground, often in flower, and increasingly rugged hills in the background. 

We loved the scenery. 

We were now reaching the Whitsunday area. 

We are now settled in the caravan park at Proserpine, having travelled 485kms today. It was really quite warm, reaching 27 degrees, but apparently it is going get down to 9 degrees tonight. Some contrast. After eating very well for the last few days we enjoyed a simple chicken and salad dinner at the camp kitchen.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Big Lap - Yeppoon

Today we played the tourist around Yeppoon. 

Our first stop was Wreck Point, looking back towards the town. As you can see, it was rather overcast. 

We went a little further down the coast and started to see a little blue sky. 

Time to walk on the beach, which was surprisingly quiet, and draw in the sand. 

There were loads of tiny weeny shells on the beach.

This gives you an idea of the scale. 

We then came across this sculpture which was built in 1970 to celebrate the bicentenary of Captain Cook discovering the area. It is The Singing Ship, but as there was no wind it wasn't singing today. 

The view from there made up for it. The day was clearing nicely. There are several islands off the coast, the most famous being Great Keppel Island. 

In the centre of town there was a great water play area for the kids. Last time we were here it was a week after a cyclone devastated the town, so it was much more pleasant this time.

Check out the flash buildings up the side of the hill. What a view out to sea they must have. 

Finally, a picture of one of the grey palms we have seen. They are quite striking amidst all the lush green palms. 

It was a nice day spent with friends. The weather was mid 20s, but very humid. We had a big fog in the morning and another came in early evening.

Last night we saw some fruit bats fly over and during the night heard the call of the curlew. So mournful. We also saw a rather colourful honeyeater with a blue top of its head. Not something we get at home.