October cycle tour map

October cycle tour map


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Duaringa to Blackwater

Duaringa to Blackwater = 93km
Cummulative totals = 2617km and 22,618km
Blackwater showgrounds = free!

It has been a long day and we are so lucky! more on that later.  First a photo of the campspot we had last night at Duaringa...
 It was a full spot last night!
We had a good nights sleep and even the bats that left their trees at Dusk didn't wake us during the night.  It was quite spectacular watching them leave (how they don't bang into each other I don't know!)  But they weren't like the ones are Mary River Roadhouse dad ... they were very quiet indeed and even when they returned in the  morning they were very quiet.  We did watch them come back in this morning as we were up.  I wanted to get an early start as it was going to be a long days ride.
We left around 7am and you go down a quick hill and then what I call a never ending hill!  It just went on and on and on.  It was an easy gradient but you knew you were climbing as you couldn't get into the higher gears!  The trade winds which are with us didn't whip up until 8.30am and even then they were light but at least it is with us and not against us!
We get to Dingo 36km on and in good time so we have a cuppa and Neil makes himself at home at the local tennis club ...
 All along the way you get glimpses of this massive tableland but the roadside is lined with trees so it is hard to stop and get a good photo of the Blackdown Tablelands National Park.  They look impressive, a bit like the Grampians in Victoria.  Just on from Dingo I found a clearing with no trees and managed to get this photo ...
 Not the greatest but I was hoping that later on as we get closer to the end of the range that I might get a better view ... yeah right more on that later!
So the terrain is very up and down.  Not steep or hard just no flat ground, you are either going up an incline or going down one so there is no real cycling rhthym.
Between Dingo and Bluff there is massive railway work underway first to put in a 2nd line and then electrifying it, it was already electrified the first line but they seem to have upgraded it.  Although the coal trains running now are still on Diesel but once the 2nd line is up and going they will run the trains on electricity.  And boy will that be a busy line.
We get to a place called Bluff which is 20km before Blackwater or 65km from Duaringa.  This place is nothing but trains and while we were there there were 3 full coal trains ready to go but can't because there is only 1 line for the next 30km they have to wait for the empty train that is coming from the Rockhampton direction before it can go!  I am pretty tired by the time we get here so we take a sandwich break.  At the park there I notice there are heaps of blue monarch butterflies in the trees so I try to sneak up on them and get a photo but they keep fluttering away but they soon resettle ...
 So hoping the terrain is a little less rolling and flattens out so we can take advantage of the tailwind we set off on the last 20km.  No previously I said that I was hoping to get a better shot of the beautiful Blackdown Tablelands ... well boy to I have a whinge today about scenic shots!  One thing that I have noticed while cycling in Australia is the real lack of spots along the road that highlight scenery shots ... in fact it is non existent here in Australia ... I remember commenting to Neil about this while in South Australia - we would get to the top of a hill or range with a fantastic view but there is was no where to pull over and take a photo ... tourists on motorised wheels would also love this too!  There is a distinct lack of enthusiasm by the tourist board here in Australia to fully promote the beauty of the Australian scenery by having small pull over spots where there is a lovely scenery shot to be taken ... instead they put a massive power substation and a railway line to boot in front of the only spot along this highway with a sensational view of the 2 peaks together ...
 at least the second peak sort of has a tree frame around it ... it is a shame about  the massive power pole in the middle of it!
 this one is a good one but unfortunately the sky line is crissed crossed with power lines which I could crop out but now the  photo is very unbalanced!
 So now the terrain has flattened out a bit and about 10km out you come across a facility that is loading up the trains with coal.
 I am super excited as I love this sort of stuff and watching it.  As we get closer you can see the train is being filled up ...
 so Coal is being dumped on the right side of the highway and it is being fed by 3 mines to the north ...
 just as I pass the massive pile I am fortunate enough to catch one of the many trucks that transport the coal from the mine to this dump site ...it has 3 trailers and they are being rotated to dump them ...

 no the truck is not tipping over, each of the 3 trailers revolves to off load the coal.  It is then pushed by a massive dozer onto the conveyer belt which goes across the highway to a funnel which fills up each trailer on the train ...

 lucky we are on bikes and we can pull over to watch all this .... there is no where to pull over if you are in a car!
It is another 5km to Blackwater and it is a gentle down hill towards the township.  From the top of the hill you can see the water tower in the distance and you can tell it is a mining town as when you enter the town there is nothing but new low rise accomodation all with 'no vancancy' signs outside them!  Our park is on the other side of the town and down the hill ... it is full! we sort of guessed that this might happen so we went back to the information center and the 2 ladies in there were useless and were of no help ... for some strange reason they couldn't understand why we didn't have an escort car with our bicycles!  So we went to the council building to see if they allowed camping at the showgrounds.  Neil went in and turned on his charm and came out with a map of the town with the showgrounds highlighted!  They realise that there is no where for tourists to stay here in Blackwater and they are opening up the showgrounds in a few weeks.
So we go to the supermarket and then back to the Showgrounds which is really just the rodeo and speedway.  There is a piece of land between the two and that is where the toilet block is so we pitched our tent there.  We do, however, have a view of the Blackdown Tablelands!
I was just saying to Sharon on Skype that poor Neil - some people go away for their birthdays and wake up on their birthdays in beautiful exotic places with a beach view on one side and the mountain view on the other .... Neils view will be a few 10 gallon tanks on one and the toilet block on the other!!!
This is our 3rd free night and the toilet block is quite nice, no lights though as the power isn't turned on and the showers are cold but that is okay ... it is a bonus that we get to have a shower despite that it is cold.
Tomorrow we got to Emerald.

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