The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ravenshoe to Mt Surprise


 Ravenshoe to Mt Surprise = 169km (day 1 = 92km and day 2 = 77km)
Cummulative totals = 4062km and 24,063km
Bushcamp day 1 = free & Eco planet caravan park = $10 unpowered

Day 1
We woke this morning and it was rain and mist free, still cloudy but definitely no low lying clouds hanging around.  The tent was dry and the wind was blowing so everything is drying out.
We filled up with water and are carrying around 20 litres of drinking water, we will assess once we leave Mt Garnet if we need to pick up washing water.  We studied the profile for the route to Mt Surprise and we know that it is a 20km down hill from Ravenshoe and then up and down for most of the day.
The first 3km out of Ravenshoe is a up and down and the road is very broken up and then you go into a wider and better formed road for the next 17km it is down, not a steep down but just a gradual down where you don't need to pedal!  Although not a true down as there is one or two bumps in the way.  But it didn't take us long to do the first 20km.  However the next 26km to Mt Garnet was very very undulating.  We knew it would be up and down but what surprised us was the steepness of some of the hills.  Basically you pedalled up the hill in very low gears then quickly changed into a higher gear at the top in preparation for the bottom of the next hill where you will come out of the hill at 40km per hour and within 2 pedal strokes you will have to quickly change down as you have gone from 40km per hour to 6km per hour!!!!  It was very challenging and also energy draining.
At Innot Springs they are building a bridge alongside the existing road way as I assume the road goes over the creek and when that gets flooded then the road is closed.  So by building the bridge it will take out a fair chunk of the hill going up towards Ravenshoe.
At the top of the hill we had an early cuppa as there was a nice area with table and chairs for us to sit.
We continued on slowly to Mt Garnet, still alot of up and downs.  If you look at the map you will see the ups and downs are because you cross over heaps and heaps of creeks ... Australian roads don't following rivers or creeks they only cross them so you are constantly coming down to a creek and then going up and out of a creek.
The clouds are breaking and the sun is beginning to shine so my faded suntan is getting a boost and even our vitamin D count will be up today!  To prove we have got sunshine and blue sky I took this photo of Neil at Mt Garnet rest area ...
 So as you can guess Mt Garnet is at the top of a hill and it is also at the bottom of the hill.  After Mt Garnet the hills flatten out a bit and the time it takes you to go down a hill is about the same it takes for you to go up the next one!
I am feeling a little tired as I am still working out my gears and fighting with them ... Neil couldn't quite get them to smoothly change over and I have to double click both the front and rear gears if I want to change direction.  Sometimes I loose track of what gear I am in and it can be frustrating at times and by double clicking I have to speed up to counteract the time it takes to double click or else I loose too much speed.  I think I used up too much energy with my gear changing today!
Relieved the hills we less steep the riding became a bit  more pleasant.  This is sort of the terrain we were now in, at least it is not raining and we can see where we are going.


 While riding along I could feel and see a huge bump in my front wheel.  Now I have always had this bump in my front tyre, it is not the tube but the tyre and it feels like you have a buckle in your front wheel.  After cycling for thousands of kms with this it is nothing but this afternoon it felt like the bump was bigger and I could see it so I pulled over and the bulge was huge so we changed the tube, I still have the bump but it is a normal bump ... might change my tyre at our next rest day!  So feeling a little pissed off that I am having so much trouble with the bike lately that I am finding it hard to motivate myself this afternoon.
Not wanting to stop early because we are going south and we do have a good wind ... normally we should be having a headwind (the south easterlies are the prevailing winds) but this afternoon it is a strong easterly so for the bulk of the afternoon it is pushing us  and I don't really want to waste this wind as it might not be here tomorrow!  So I push on.  It does get a easier, if you look at the profile the hills up and down are longer and more gradual.  There is not much traffic around so we have quiet times and then you hear a rumble and along comes a road train sometimes with 3 trailers and quite a few with 4 this afternoon ... very impressive trucks they are.
The road conditions are pretty good, the shoulder is narrow and not great to cycle in so we stay out in the road and since the traffic is light there really is no need to go into the shouder even when they overtake us.
By 4pm we decide to stop and find a nice little break in the shrubbery at the 92km mark.  We are close to the road, about 30m from the road and if you look at the 2nd photo this is what you can see of us if you are looking at this point ...

 It is a good spot and I don't think I have seen anyone look our way as the gap is ony about 50m wide so I don't think anyone will ever see us!
Not sure about the traffic at night re the trucks but we will soon find out.  We are in a position where we are on a slight up hill on the road and the trucks that are fully loaded sound louder than normal as they struggle up the gradual hill!
It is only 20km to the turn off and then west to Mt Surprise heres hoping we still have that easterly, but a south easterly will do!
Day 2
I had a crap nights sleep, the wattle are in flower and although they look lovely they also give me a little sinus at night so a blocked nose woke me up and then I couldn't get back to sleep so I laid there listening to Neil and Kouta compete for who could make the strangest noises when they snore ... I really should record the 2 of them they make a good duet!!!
We woke early in the morning and it had been a cold night the tent had condensation on both the outside and inside of the fly.  I was carrying an extra kg of water just attached to the tent fly!
We left just after 7.30am and either a fog had settled in or because we were still high up (about 750m above sea level) it may have been low lying cloud, either way we still had good visibility (about 100m) so it was safe to ride.  It wasn't long before the cloud lifted and after a gentle climb up at about the 13km mark we encountered our very first piece of flat road to ride on since leaving Cairns!  This continues for another 8km to the turnoff to Normanton by then the cloud had lifted and it was a bright sunny day!
 We turned right and immediately noticed the change in wind direction for us ... up to then it was a headwind and now we had flat road and a slight tailwind ... it was bliss and we quickly picked up speed and sat on around 18km per hour.  You ride along this road for about 11km and it is relatively flat and for quite a few kms there had been a recent fire on the left hand side of the road ...
 it looks funny as you are riding along as the right side of the road isn't burnt and is still green whereas the left side has blackened ground with new regrowth and brown trees ...
 After 11km along this road you begin your decent down ... now if you look at the profile it looks like a reasonable down hill but don't be fooled the down hill is very subtle and gentle, we still had to pedal but coupled with a slight tailwind we managed to ride at about 20km per hour so the kms ticked past!
It is like this for about 35km and by the end of it we had no tailwind so we had to pedal.
We got to Mt Surprise at around 12.30pm so nice and early.  This town is tiny and has a population of only 64 people but has 3 caravan parks.  We were meant to stay at the Bedrock Caravan park for $20 unpowered but we came across this one for only $10 so we saved ourselves $10!  Coming into Mt Surprise we came across this fantastic monument ...
 Our campsite is very shady under some trees ... LOL we just spent 1 1/2  weeks without sun and now we are trying to hide from it!
It is lovely to be able to wash the cycle clothes and for them to dry and to wear them tomorrow dry ... lately we have had to wear them slightly damp and Neil, who is tougher than me, wears them dripping wet!
Tonights dinner is courtesy of the general store - tinned chicken and corn soup, with macaroni pasta, tinned mushrooms all for $7.80 (we are paying outback prices!) and dehydrated peas.  tomorrow we are off to Georgetown which is about 90km and then a rest day on Sunday.  We should be in Georgetown in time for the Geelong vs Gold Coast footy game!

2 comments:

  1. Hi guys.. The folks arrived at Maroochydore without any hiccups. Weather was nice, had a great apartment with a good view. They were happy.. Weather here is very ordinary. 7.6oC on Thursday. About 13 yesterday. Rain this morning going to Melbourne. Enjoy the sunshine.

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