October cycle tour map

October cycle tour map


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Burke and Wills Roadhouse to Cloncurry

 Burke & Wills to Cloncurry =  (Day 1 = 74km; Day 2 = 71km; Day 3 = 44km)
Cummulative totals = 4840km and 24,841km
Wals camp = $15 unpowered

Day 1
began with a very strong wind, last night it stopped but resumed very early this morning and stayed for the entire day and at time of typing this after 6pm the wind is still blowing strong!
We actually over slept this morning and did wake up until 6.20am so our starting time was around 8am but it didn't matter how early we got up as the wind was already up before us anyway!
I think if the roadhouse was a bit better then we might have stayed to sit out today but it was marginally better than Belyando Crossing roadhouse. We discussed last night that this is day 3 of strong winds and we might as well try for 70km today and another 60-70km the 2nd day and a short 40-50km day on the 3rd.  It would be impossible for us to do the 180km in the 2 days with this persistent winds, we pushed ourselves to do the 200km from Normanton to Burke and Wills in 2 days and we are beginning to feel tired and worn out so we have opted to do the 2nd part in 3 days.
So the ride today was tough and we are beginning to do very subtle climbing, not that it made any difference as we are already going slow.  The wind is more coming front on so it is a southerly and most of the gusts will come from the south east and these are very strong.  We think todays winds were stronger than the winds yesterday.  We are hoping they begin to die down tomorrow.
Not much traffic going our way but heaps of boat towing cars going north to Karumba  I am sure they are unaware that there is no fish up there at all so they will be coming back empty!  the region up there is over fished and no one is filling their camper freezers at all.  In the past they have come up here, fished to their hearts content and taken far more than what they really need, loaded up massive camper freezers and returned home .... now they come back this year and there is no fish and I doubt here in Queensland up at Karumba that there was any monitoring of taking fish and fish size and now there is nothing and I can't see them replenishing the stock (as Queensland up here is not that organised or regulated to do something as complicated or as logical as that!!!)
The days are very sunny but the wind is driving the temperature down, still okay for shorts and t-shirt but once the sun begins to go down ... the polyprop shirt comes out!  We began looking for a bushcamp at around 67km and it is fenced both sides but we are not worried about that but where there was a clearing there was all stones and rocks and almost impossible to get the tent pegs in the ground.  Just before the turnoff to Kajabbi there was a dried up billabong along a fence line so we went down in there and pitched our tent in the middle of it ...

 Ha no problems getting the pegs in the ground as it is soft  but dry.  so we are below the road and you can still see us if you look ... only one truck driver waved to us!

Day 2
it is still windy and when we got up at 5.30am it was pitch black, the stars were still out and the wind was blowing, not hard but enough to let us know that it will get stronger after 9am (which seems to be the time the wind gets up!).
Our little dried up billabong camp site was beginning to get churned up from us walking around and so the ground is very soft and our feet are caked in red dust as is everything we have,  The red dust stains your toes and finger nails and my hands look like they are permanently dyed red!  Koutas' red highlights look redder than normal, my tan is redder than normal and the dust in my hair is just phenomenal ... my hair has a combination of helmet hair, sweat hair, dirt hair and red dust hair ... it is just everywhere at the moment and is sticking out, standing up and parting in unusual places ... I look hilarious!
So we set out just on 7am and it was cold, the wind is still blowing from the south and it is cold!  my toes are frozen as are my fingers and my nose won't stop running.  We get in a good 2 hours cycling before the wind really picks up and when we last looked at the forecast way back in Normanton (4 days ago) the wind was meant to be around 25km per hour and easing to 16km per hour later in the day .... well it was just as strong as the past 2 days and it was like that all day!  I think we were quietly hoping that the wind wouldn't be so strong and we would be able to do the 105km to make Cloncurry late in the afternoon.  But by the time we got to our coffee break after 2 hours we knew we were going to be struggling to do the 70km today leaving only 40km for tomorrow!
The rest area was nice, great views of the ranges 

 Kouta wasn't very interested in them and he only wanted to sleep only waking to have his schmackoos
 We stayed at the rest area for an hour hoping the wind would blow itself out but it didin't so we set off ... the usual 15 mins on 15 mins off and stopping every hour for a bite to eat.
Funny enough our legs felt ok it was the butts that were hurting due to all the grinding and absolutely no free wheeling and for me it was hurting across the shoulders from struggling to keep the bike in a straight line ... no thanks to Kouta who threw himself around in the trailer whenever Neil was in front and also the strong gusts of winds that seem to always blow across you and it blew you out into the line of the traffic ... not that there was much traffic around
 So by Quamby hotel (which is closed down) at 64km I was beginning to tire so we started looking for a bushcamp spot.  Not alot to choose from, the fences are close to the roads and actually finding a bush camp is not as easy as it sounds or what everyone thinks as the spot has to be clear from native grass, even when the grass is cut the remains of the stubble is very sharp and you can't pitch your tent on it or else it will pierce it!  So we are looking, looking and looking.  I am not particularly fussy and will camp about anywhere now!  I do find a spot that has trees (albeit small and thin!) but there is a good clearing between them and the fence.  Upon inspection it is good, the ground is soft (due to past flooding it is like last night but only the dirt is grey not red!) so we unpack.
I can tell Neil is not enthused about this site and I tell him not to be so fussy and get over it!  so what if the road is only 20m away ... there is no night traffic so that is okay!
While setting up we had a pleasant little visitor that really made my hard, mundane day a joy, it was a young little budgie (wild not domestic!)
First it appeared in the tree above the bike ...
then it decided to hop on the bike ...
 it tried to have a drink out of Koutas water bowl but landed on Koutas basket, woke Kouta and it freaked so it took off to the fence ...
 so we carried on putting up the tent, we laid the fly down and it decided that it was green so it must be grass and promptly landed on the tent fly and started pecking at it ...
 so it was hanging around and kept flying/jumping everywhere and then hopped on me and started walking all over me ...
 so we put kouas water bowl on the tent fly and it hopped in the water and took a drink, satisfied it flew away!  LOL it was so funny and it was happy to sit in my hand and let me pat it  and it felt so soft and little (about half the size of a domestic budgie) it clearly was a young bird and was desperate for water as there is none lying around.  I said to Neil that if it is hanging around us in the morning then I am taking him with me ... he can sit with Kouta!!!
Kouta slept through the whole episode with it and didn't even notice that we gave it a drink out of his water bowl!
So here is our campsite ... can you see us!
 As you can see there is plenty of room behind the trees and before the fence line.  I don't think anyone saw us there!
Tomorrow is a 40km day to Cloncurry we can get internet reception just out here at 40km and we looked up the wind for tomorrow and it is easing to under 20km per hour,  we will still get up early so that we can take advantage of the lighter winds before that magical 9am!  Here is a photo of what the campsite looked like - plenty of room

Day 3
finally we woke this morning and the wind wasn't blowing but it was very cold - around 8 degrees which is probably the norm for this area ... and the rest of the outback journey down to South Australia!
Again brekky was in the dark and we were on the road by 7am and we got an hours riding in before the winds picked up ... only slightly gentler than the previous days but fortunately we only had 40km to do today.
one by one we ticked of the 4 road markers every 10km and we are very happy to get to the last one ...
Now at the end of this Burke Development road it comes on to the Matilda highway and you have to back track east for 2 km and on our way we see a sign for a camp ground that is cheap and you know we like cheap and it was really cheap compared to the other 2 campgrounds so we ummmed and ahhhed and went into town to pick up food (my food pannier bags had nothing in them except for weet bix!) and we decided yeah we will go for cheap ... we rocked up and it is quite sparse with tent sites and no grass which is the usual for the outback.  The price is $15 which is $10 cheaper than the other campgrounds.   We get there and there is no fridge in the camp kitchen and Neil has just bought a 2litre bottle of milk so we decide we will have to drink that!  We get to the tent area and it is gravel which is okay then we look at the camp kitchen and all it is is a damn table!  that is their definition of a bloody camp kitchen ... we are not impressed and are thinking what a dump!  So we begrudgingly put the tent up, see that there is a dirty grungy gas bbq and think well what do we expect for $15 ... a damn sight more than a bloody table!  We cannot believe they put "camp kitchen" on their sign when it is nothing more than a long table!
But over the day we warmed to the park and it is not so bad, the amenities are sparse and are true to outback Queensland style, dogdy on the plumbing and regulations and not enough for the capacity of the park.  Lets just say Neil and I can go to our respective toilets and since they are in the same tiny building we could have our toilet side by side and hold hands!
We are staying here tomorrow for a rest day.

No comments:

Post a Comment