For those of you looking for an alternative view to this trip – my companions Marco and Ursala have their own blog. http://marco-ursala.blogspot.com.au
Another peaceful night. Spent some time looking at the stars before the moon rose. Rediscovered the globular cluster near the Southern Cross - Omega Centauri – NGC 5139 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Centauri. Nothing like a bit of star gazing to remind us of our place in the universe.
Misty morning sunrise at School Point camp ground - another dew drenched tent. Marco & Ursala are quick efficient packers. Unlike me. On average it has been taking us about 2 hours from wake up and 1st coffee to leaving. One of the most time consuming activities is dealing with a tent wet with dew. Marco takes to their tent with an absorbent cloth. Also as their tent is self supporting, once he has emptied the contents he can move it to a sunny spot to assist the drying process. I just wait until the sun has done its job.
So they have a head start this morning – giving them time to handle to dirt section without me hooning about. It also means that once I get going I can enjoy the dirt without worrying about leaving them behind.
We meet up again on the Gillies Highway on the way down to Cairns. Another wonderful twisty section of road leading back down from the Tablelands to the coast. Marco is still trying to get his brake pads replaced, and was hopeful that they would have arrived at the motorcycle shop in Cairns. Not yet, so we decide to have a picnic lunch on the esplanade across the road from the Cairns Base Hospital in remembrance of my sojourn there this time last year.
Riding into Cairns on the last section of the Bruce Highway brought back powerful memories of the desperate ride I made into Cairns from Mission Beach last year. I cannot believe I rode all that way (130 km) in the condition I was in.
A much happier and more comfortable ride into Cairns this time.
We decide that a ride back up to Kuranda will be enough for the day and should provide a good starting point for heading up to Daintree, Cape Tribulation and Cooktown via Mareeba.
The ride out of Cairns was hellish. Road works to start with that forces us to do a quick dash up the inside lane to bypass the waiting line of cars. Followed by heavy traffic leaving Cairns heading north. We discover that Cairns drivers have no idea how traffic roundabouts work. There are a series of large roundabouts on the highway north of Cairns. It would appear on the evidence of today that local drivers consider a roundabout to be the equivalent of a 4 way stop sign intersection. Time after time they screech to a halt from 100 km an hour to a standstill before looking to see if another vehicle is approaching from the right. No idea at all about anticipation, and merging with traffic at the same speed. Again we are forced to take evasive action and do some serious lane splitting to jump the queues.
As there are no National Parks in the immediate area with camping facilities, we are forced to spend a night in a commercial caravan/camping site and are reminded yet again why we prefer bush camping. Still the showers are hot and the laundry allows us to do some much needed washing of cloths. Also we have power and the proximity to civilisation allows me to catch up with this blog and upload some photos to Picasa.