Monday, July 31, 2017

Rest day in Cairns. July 31st

Dropped bikes for tyre change and headed for the mall.
We all had different items to attend to and after coffee headed off to do our individual shopping.

Amongst the things I needed to attend to was getting a new sim working in my tablet. Had hoped to be able to just hotspot to my HTC handset, but this has proved frustratingly unreliable. Initial connection works fine, but inevitably the tablet will be unable to see the net. Handset still reports device is connected and tablet can see handset as a gateway. But all attempts to connect via web or any other networking app fails. Almost like DNS is no longer resolving. On the odd occasion the link will be fine for 30 minutes. But more often than not it will fail within a minute or less. Irrespective of the activity. The only remedy is to disable then re-enable the hotspot. Very frustrating!

So - simple solution is to get another data sim installed in the tablet and connect directly. Easy! So stopped at Telstra shop at Airlie Beach told the staff my needs. 5 minutes later I had a new sim and left with the standard caveat msg. "It may take 24 hours for it to be activated!" And so we rode off into the sunset,  confident Telstra had fixed my problem. 24 hours later not only does my sim not work, I discover that precisely when my sim was "set up" in Airlie, on the other side of the continent the data dongle my mother was using on her laptop stopped working. No coincidence! After Celeste spent hours on the phone with the Telstra help desk it turns out that the staff in Telstra shop Airlie Beach had in their wisdom decided to "move" the existing data service from my mothers data dongle to my new sim and in the process stuffed them both. So here we are almost a week later and I have a new sim on an additional service working on my tablet. Alas my mother is still having problems, not least of all because she took her laptop in with her and because it runs Linux, Telstra staff threw their hands in the air and said nothing they can do because it's not MS Windows! This is despite the fact that before the current debacle it worked perfectly for 2 years!

la luta continua!

Meantime to kill time today waiting for the tyres to be fitted, we went to the movies and saw Dunkirk. Formal assessment to follow.

Afterwards we collected the bikes, although as per usual there was a small hitch. Ursala's BMW has tyre pressure sensors fitted, one of which got "damaged" in the process. So we wait the promised arrival of a replacement by express courier tomorrow...... Ah Queensland where mañana is a way of life.

Good news! A call from mater to let me know her internet connection has been restored! Everybody's happy!

Having had time to think about and discuss the movie I have been struck by an interesting historical echo. Brexit is like Dunkirk all over again.....

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Mission Beach to Cairns Sunland Leisure Park. Sun 3th July

Always good to sleep in a proper bed with clean sheets and soft pillows after 12 nights of "tenting".

After more wine than I've had in a long time, I slept well, but woke up feeling less than perfect. Nothing that coffee could not fix, and not having tents etc to pack, we were on the road earlier than usual. A gentle scenic route out from Mission Beach to the highway and on to Cairns and the Sunland Leisure Park. A very short ride, only 120km. M and U had camped here back in 2012 while waiting for parts for the VStrom, while I had pressed on thru Daintree and up the Bloomfield Track to Queenstown.

Peak tourist season in this part of the country, so accommodation is tight in all the caravan parks in town. We manage to find a piece of lawn big enough to fit the 2 tents & our bikes. $10 per person per night. On the positive side, convenient to the laundry and washing lines! 😆

While I hung out the washing,  M and U headed off for their luncheon appointment.

Tomorrow we take the bikes in for a tyre refresh and while that is being done, a visit to the Telstra shop to resume my battle to get a working sim card in my tablet.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nice and easy. Murray Falls to Mission Beach via Tully. Sat 29th

Nothing better than falling asleep to the sound of a waterfall. Except perhaps waking up to the sound of falling water.

Another peaceful night, another immaculate dawn. At home I rarely get to experience the delights of early mornings. On a road trip camping, its a daily occurance, particularly when the campsite is in a national park where the full gamut of the dawn chorus can be enjoyed. Birds everywhere twittering up a storm.

Leisurely departure and a pleasant ride back out the valley through canefields and farmland. Just short of the highway Marco stopped to check a "strange" noise eminating from somewhere beneath him. Turns out he'd lost a bolt securing his chain guard which was flapping in the breeze and clipping the chain periodically - creating the noise. Fortunately the chain guard is plastic, so no damage to the chain, just a chunk eroded from the guard itself. Roadside triage was to remove the guard completely and strap to the panniers for later fixing.

Stopped in Tully to see if we could get a replacement bolt. Outside hardware store we ended up chatting to a local who owned a trucking business and who invited Marco back to his place where he had an extensive assortment of bolts for Marco to scrounge a replacement from.

Meantime I'd made contact with Jeannie our host at Mission Beach, who was in town for the annual Tully Show - and asked for recommendations for coffee and cake. Ursala and I headed for the bakery for coffee and a lamington while we waited for Marco's return.

Tully is a sugar town, with a refinery right in the middle. The smokestacks were belching a sweet sugary smoke that hung over the everything.

Marco soon returned with his chain guard now securely attached and we headed off to Mission Beach taking the scenic route and keeping our eyes peeled for cassowaries.

South Mission Beach then up to the shopping centre at Mission Beach for lunch. A pleasant enough meal, but overpriced. Tourist central. Txt from Jeannie to say they were back home. So last km to their place and first sighting of their newly completed house.

When we'd last visited 5 years ago, Jennies partner Albert had been working o/s. This time our visit coincided with him being home on leave. So - good timing. The afternoon passed with the ritual tour of the property as we all marveled at how much the trees had grown in the last 5 years. The afternoon was also highlighted by a surprise visit by Jeannie & Albert's son Andrew from Canberra. Jeannie had arranged it as a surprise for Albert who only arrived himself the day before. We all toasted the house and return visits with a glass of champagne.

An extremely pleasant meal and and conversation before retiring. Well past the early bedtimes we've been having on the road.

Tomorrow  - Cairns. Who knows, we may spot a cassowary on the way out.

Finally - for those interested in an alternative view of this trip - my companions are also blogging :

Balgal Beach to Murray Falls Campground via Ingham & 5 Mile Creek. Frid. 28th July

For the first time this trip a down sleeping bag was overkill. The night was warm and balmy once the wind dropped, and just the sheet sleeping bag liner was sufficient. Until about 4 am when forced awake by a full bladder and enough of a chill to use the down bag opened out as a quilt.

What was an almost perfect camp site was spoilt by the presence of two bright street lights, right slap bang in the middle of the camping area. Useful only to attract insects for the night birds, but for those of us who like to sleep in total darkness a nuisance.

Dawned clear and without any sea breeze. An easy start as we only had a short distance to cover. 165km to our next campsite. Back on the Bruce Highway and on to Ingham for morning coffee, and buy lunch & dinner supplies.

5 Mile Creek is just a few km short of Cardwell. We'd stumbled upon it on our 2012 trip. A km off the highway, a shady grove with picnic tables and toilet block on the banks of a crystal clear creek with a fantastic swimming hole complete with easy access via stairs, platform and ladder. Totally deserted. A very welcome pre lunch swim.

Lunch was fresh sourdough bread, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, avocado pear, rocket leaves and some fresh blue cheese we'd picked up at the deli in Ingham. Yum. The only thing missing was a bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio.

On thru Cardwell with its great ocean views to Hinchinbrook Island to our turn-off to Murray Falls. The last 20km was on an excellent recently re-sealed deserted country road that wound through cane fields and up a valley and into the National Park. The last 2km was on a reasonable gravel road into the park and the campground.

Back in 2012 - about a week later in August - we'd found the campground almost completely deserted. Perhaps 3 or 4 campervans/RV's/caravans scattered about the large open grassy area. Many more this time. Clearly it has been discovered by the Grey Nomads. We still managed to find a great spot to set up camp. Within earshot of the falls and tucked away from the main area. We were set up by 2pm and after a swim, watched as over the rest of the afternoon more campers continued to arrive - even after dark.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Horseshoe Bay to Balgal Beach via Fairfield Shopping Centre Townsville. Thurs. July 27th

Dawn at Horseshoe Bay. Early start to get out of the way of returning tradies. A day spent on the Bruce Highway except for the last couple of kms from Rollingstone into our free campsite. An easy 274 km all up.
Fortunately the state of the highway improved and apart from a delay at roadworks leaving Bowen, even the traffic was manageable. A brief stop at the Inkerman Pub for second breakfast and our own brewed coffee.

The Bruce Highway bypass avoiding Townsville took us right past a brand spanking new shopping  centre at Fairfield, allowing us an easy stop for the days provisions. Australian suburban shopping centres are the new Universal Constant. You could be dropped into any one anywhere in Australia and have no idea where on the continent you were. The sameness is reasuring in its familiarity, but at the same time distressing in its lack of locality or originality.

Lunch north of Townsville at the Bluewaters Rest area. Already by 1pm crawling with Grey Nomads. Nevertheless a very pretty park just off the highway. Here we met a lady cyclist from NZ, heading for the same campground. Karen it turns out has sold up everything in NZ, come to Australia to visit her daughter and new grandchild, bought a bike and some camping gear, and is doing a training run up and down the east coast, before heading to south america....

The Balgal South free campsite is right on the beach well off the highway. Water, toilet and a cold shower - quiet and perfect for 1 night.

Tomorrow we head for Murray Falls, another favourite stop from 2012 and an easy 120km.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Seaforth to Horseshoe Bay. Wed 26th July.

Its always good to get back on the road after a rest day. The rhythm of  touring on a motorcycle (for those of us seduced by its siren song) has its own innate and irresistible attraction.

Back to the "Highway" and on to Airlie Beach for the ritual supermarket snatch and grab. The Bruce "Highway" is a joke. Even to those of us from down south who've put up with the perils of the Pacific Highway find it totally appalling. Mostly single lane with the odd infrequent overtaking section, it is a stunning indictment of the gross incompetence of state and federal powers and their inability to build essential infrastructure.

The sheer volume of heavy interstate transport, combined with the plague of Grey Nomads & their damned caravan/RV's results in extremely hazardous conditions. At one point we were stuck behind a string of trucks and caravans that seemed endless. Fortunately on a bike it is easy to work your way past slow traffic, picking your moment to zip past individual vehicles. I stopped counting after 20 separate trucks and caravans, and that was less than half way past. Although the speed limit was 100km/hr, the traffic was continually slowing to a crawl as the chain of vehicles yo-yoed its way along.
Solid concentration and seizing the moment was the name of the game.
Finally at Proserpine the turn off to Airlie  Beach and a more leisurely ride to the shopping centre at Cannonvale.

After coffee and a successful supermarket foray we adjurned to a nearby park for a lunch of sushi. Almost without fail, wherever we stop, someone will engage us in conversation. Something about 3 senior motorcyclists, their bikes loaded with camping gear having a roadside brew-up will trigger the urge to interrogate us. Where are we going? Where have we been? How lucky we are to be able to do it. Often we are approached by people interested in the bikes. Because they ride, because they used to ride, because they would like to ride. Today it was a park worker who wanted to tell us all about the bike he currently had, but was thinking of swapping for something else.

The back road out of Airlie to rejoin the highway again. We were aiming for Horseshoe Bay outside of Bowen and on the beach. Picked at random from the map and Google, we took a punt that it would be ok.

North of Bowen is a rocky granite headland. Bowen itself is on the tidal flats, but Horseshoe Bay turned out to be quite spectacular with views inland over the bay to the west and out to the Whitsunday Islands on the east.

A minor hitch when reception at the caravan park inform us that they are quite full. Only 2:30 in the afternoon and already the place is overrun by those damned Grey Nomads. They know all the best places! Turning on the charm and indicating that "all we needed was a quiet corner somewhere out of the way for 2 small tents and 3 very well behaved motorcyclists" appeared to work. There was a small separate area, close to the beach that was currently out of commission due to post-cyclone renovations and provided we didn't mind the presence of a couple of tradies working on the small cabins, we could pitch our tents there. We would be close to the beach, have the place to ourselves and not have to share the small ablution block! The downside was having to wait for the tradies to pack up and leave. Also put up with them arriving early in the am to resume work. Not a problem!

So, park the bikes, check out the beach, explore the headland, have a swim, say cheerio to the tradies, pitch the tents, climb up to the viewing platform on the hill bend the campsite, enjoy the sunset, climb back down, adjourn to the cafe for sunset beer. Back to our campsite for our evening meal, blog.

Day done - to bed to listen to radio and sleep. Tomorrow north beyond Townsville where hopefully a lot of the heavy traffic will turn west on the Mt Isa road.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rest day - Seaforth. Tues July 25

Things you do on rest days:
  • Sleep in.
  • Slow breakfast.
  • Repair hole in trousers.
  • Wash more clothes, including sleeping bag liner.
  • Morning coffee.
  • Go for a walk and compare shopping options between General Store/Post Office and Convenience Store at garage.
  • Shop for lunch. Limited and expensive choices. (Note to self: always stop at large supermarkets before having rest days at small out of the way hamlets. )
  • Buy ice to keep beer and dairy products cool

  • Admire bird life. These particular specimens (Bush Curlews) remind me of undertakers. They stalk around in an obsequious manner, avoiding eye contact. At night they emit a blood curdling cry that sounds like a baby is being murdered.
  • Have lunch.
  • Bleed rear brakes on my bike.
  • Wash insects and road grit from front of bike.
  • Check tyre pressures.
  • Check washing is drying ok.

  • Examine more (ex) wildlife. Our 1st cane toad of the trip!

  • Examine the trees for cyclone damage. Careful inspection reveals lots of new foliage - fresh post cyclone.
  • Afternoon coffee.
  • Read book.
  • Check email.
  • Discuss route/schedule for next couple of days.
  • Fold and pack dry washing.
  • Go for late afternoon walk on beach. 

  • Admire sunset.
  • Drink beer and review route plans made earlier
  • Prepare dinner.
  • Eat dinner. 

  • Wash dishes.
  • Drink whiskey. 
  • Write blog.
  • Go to bed.
Tomorrow on to Airlie Beach for decent supermarket and new gas cylinders. Then a short ride to Horseshoe Bay at Bowen. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Middlemount to Seaforth. Mon July 24th

Almost exactly 5 years later - 1 day earlier - we arrive back at Seaforth campground.

Slept well thanks polaramine. Bad ant bite on my knee just before retiring. Lignocaine salve to ease the pain. Polaramine to relieve the large hive that developed. Bonus was I slept thru till 4am until woken by a full bladder.

Warmer night, but still plenty of dew in the morning.

After refueling in Middlemount - at $1.60 per litre for premium - most expensive fuel to date - back on the road. Long 1st ride before morning coffee. 154km to Nebo. Coffee break commenced with Marco's bike having a "rest". Uneven ground plus removing a pannier from 1 side resulted in it tipping over. Only minor scratches to his crash bars. Ego more impacted than machine. So now we are all square. My "incident" in Cowra on day 1, Ursala's "off" on Llyris's driveway, and now Marco's "unfortunate event" at Nebo.

Nebo coffee break. Site of the "unfortunate event".

Exotic palm Nebo

Lunch at Marian, a small sugar milling town on the outskirts of Mackay. So often we find a small ANZAC memorial park for a quiet lunch spot.

And so on to Seaforth, an easy 120km ride. One of our favourite campsites back on the 2012 round OZ trip. We were concerned that it may have suffered from the last cyclone that so devastated Arlie Beach, just up the coast. Fortunately it was just as we remembered it. No obvious cyclone damage - just more  Grey Nomads than last  time! Even found our old spot with one of the few picnic tables.

Tents pitched, some clothes washing done, beers purchased, hot showers had. Time to relax, check the view out to the Whisundays and prepare a light evening meal.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Time to catch up on some more washing, minor work on the bikes (bleed my rear brakes, check and oil chains,  etc) and generally "chill" after all - we are on holiday.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Biloela to Middlemount via Dululu. Sun 23rd July

Usual morning routine. No frost but plenty of dew. Steady procession of RV's and caravans pulled out as we packed up.

Stopped in town for fuel and supplies then on to Dululu pub. This was an overnight stop on our 2012 round oz tour. Alas, has had a fire in the interim and is now a sad derelict.  Coffee then on to Dingo.

Dingo is on the main rail line taking coal out of the Bowen Basin and has a steady flow of trains hauling it to the coast.

Marco insisted on stopping for a selfie with the dingo.

The Fitzroy Developmental Road runs north south through the Bowen Basin. Not a lot to see, big skies, distant hills, scrubby vegetation, cattle and coal mines. The very essense of Queensland. Good road, little traffic so easy straightforward riding. 325km covered. Another good day in the saddle. A pleasant 23/24 degrees with little wind.

Middlemount is a coal mining town. Tidy and laid out like a Canberra suburb complete with parks and not a straight road in sight, civic centre complete with schools, shops etc. The pub appears to be the natural epicentre and when asked if there was a campsite, the manager replied sure, anywhere on the lawns around the hotel.

So here we are, camped outside the pub. Sunday night is pizza night so dinner was pizza washed down with cold beer. We are now sitting outside our tents,  dessert of canned peaches and liquorice tea topped off with a tot of  Laphroaig.

Tomorrow down to Seaforth on the coast between Mackay and Airlie Beach. We camped there in 2012 at a great community run campground and hope it hasn't been to badly damaged by the cyclone.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Gayndah to Biloela via Cracow and Theodore. Sat July 22nd

Frost again!

Away by 9:30. Heading for Theodore. Reputedly designed by Walter Burley Griffin, but I can find no evidence this is true!

Stopped at Eidsvold home of the RM Williams Bush  Learning Centre.
Then west to Theodore via the quiant old mining town of Cracow. Had seen better days, although there was plenty of evidence that mining had resumed. Evolution Mining appears to have reopened the mine.

Diverse countryside with indications of irrigation as we got closer to Theodore where we stopped for lunch, unfortunately we just missed the IGA closing at 1pm! Made do with a meal at the cafe next door. Enjoyed all day breakfast menu.

Online search indicated best spot for cheap camping with a hot shower was back east to Biloela. So north to Banana

then east to Biloela to the Heritage RV campground. $10 each including showers.  Site designed for self-contained RV's and caravans. Our "allocated" spot was slap bang in the middle of diverse RV's and caravans. We ignored this and set up camp further out on an adjacent paddock. Softer ground and easier to get tent pegs in.

Longest day yet - 325 km. Good riding on mostly excellent quiet roads.

Stroll to shops for dinner snacks, with a stop at the pub for a cleansing ale.

Tomorrow we push north up the Fitzroy Developmental Road and towards Middlemount.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Kenilworth to Gayndah via Gympie. Frid 21 July

After a more than a week on the road, we are settling into old familiar routines. Having spent months together riding around OZ and NZ we are comfortable with our individual ways and habits.

Woke at 5 for a toilet call. Waning crescent moon and bright morning star hung low on the eastern horizon. The splinters of starlight above were reflected on the frosty/dewy grass underfoot. The silence of the pre-dawn broken only by a distant barking dog.

I was glad to return to the warmth of my sleeping bag - dozing until the 1st rays of the sun struck the walls of my tent.

Up and billy on the boil for tea. Start soaking my muesli and commence the job of breaking camp. There is a definate sequence to packing the bikes and getting ready to ride. An optimal approach that ensures everything is in its place and secure for the duration of the ride.

Wet dew laden tents are the bane of our mornings and wherever possible we pitch them in a position where they will catch the morning sun. Ideally by the time we've had breakfast and emptied and packed the contents of the tents, they will have started to dry out.

Today we took the back road into Gympie where we stopped for the days provisions. An unavoidable stint on the Bruce Highway with its traffic load, before we were able to head back inland for Gayndah. Again perfect riding conditions. The countryside now drier and more open. Still plenty of undulating twisty bits to keep us amused.

Coffee break at Fat Hen Creek rest area.

Picnic lunch at Tansey where we joined the Burnett Highway.

Our cheese and salad rolls were enhanced with tomato relish bought from the farmhouse next to the picnic table.

Had to search out somewhere to spend the night in Gayndah. The caravan parks were less than salubrious and the free rest area outside town was right on the highway. Fortunately Ursala's online research revealed that the old railway station had been converted into a museum and it had a small area avalable ostensibly for self contained RV's only. However Des - the last station master in Gayndah - now retired and a volunteer at the museum gave us special dispensation to camp. Perfect!

Tomorrow on to Theadore - which has a special connection to Canberra!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bunya Mts to Kenilworth via Kingaroy, Beerwah & Maleny. Thurs July 20th

282 km today of excellent riding. By agreement our best day yet. Apart from the cold windy start, the weather was perfect. Roads were interesting and varied, and apart from the tourist trap of Maleny - on the whole quiet with minimal traffic.

Dawn on Bunya Mt and the wind was still gusting up to 50km/hour. By unanimous vote we abandoned breakfast at Westcott campground and agreed a hot cooked meal in Kingaroy was a more attractive option. M and U were packed and ready to go before me so we agreed to meet in Kingaroy. 
Due to faulty GPS they headed down the mountain on a different route, so we made our separate ways to Kingaroy - me on the prefered scenic direct route, while they had to navigate some minor gravel side roads.

Breakfast then on to Nanango and the D'Aguilar Highway down to Kilcoy. Fuel and lunch provisions and on to our lunch stop.

On via the scenic route via Beerwah and Maleny where we paused at the Mary Cairncross scenic reserve with views back over the volcanic plugs of the Glasshouse Mts.

Maleny was buzzing - school pickup time - worst traffic all day. After Maleny traffic disappeared and we had a wonderful run on great roads through very pretty countryside to our planned stop for the night at the Kenilworth showgrounds. Cheap and cheerful. $7 per person with $1 hot shower. Grey nomad territory!
Dinner at the top pub and to bed, satisfied and happy. Tomorrow northward ho!

Kulpi to Westcott campground Bunya Mts NP. Wed 19th July

Shortly after retiring to our tents for the night, and apparently out of nowhere,  we were hit by a thunderstorm. We had been watching lightning off to the south earlier in the evening, but the weather appeared to be passing us by. In any case it was a good test of  my new tent which passed without any leaks.

Clear fresh morning filled with the sound of  birds. Large flock of Little Corellas feeding in a paddock next door and the usual family of local magpies warbling in the trees.

Having decided to limit todays ride to a short blast up to the Bunya Mts, we had a leisurly breakfast before setting off.

Our route was via back roads, and at an intersection Ursala and Marco blasted straight ahead, apparently following their GPS's.  I was navigating using my memory of the map and road signs, and after failing to get them to turn around, headed off on my own. I was confident we'd meet up at our destination.

Fantastic riding up to the top of the Bunya range. The road up offered views to the south over the plains that appeared to stretch forever. Stopped a couple of times to take pics & check phone for word from my traveling companions. Stopped at Dandabah picnic area for morning coffee break. Still no sign of MandU! So picked up some bread and continued on to our campsite at Westcott Campground a few km's further down the road. Just short of the campground Marco appeared from the opposite direction. They had zipped passed Dandabah and had already pitched their tent. Marco was heading back to shop and hoping to run into me on the way.

We have Westcott Campground all to ourselves apart from a family of wallabies. A grassy clearing surrounded by forest. Lounged around after lunch, apart from a short walk. Very windy and cold, so another early dinner and we retreat to our tents and sleeping bags.

Tomorrow we're thinking of heading down towards the coast to the Glasshouse Mts. Woodford and Maleny. Hopefully warmer!

Limited mobile coverage here. May have to wait until tomorrow to post.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Woodenbong to Kulpi via Warwick and Toowoomba. Tues 18th July

Morning packing resulted in major failure of tent. Main pole hoop snapped in multiple places. Poles had been repaired multiple times. Zip was also failing. Sign from above that it needed to be replaced. 7 years of good service, including 2012 BUM's tour round OZ where it had 4 months of constant usage.

So route was altered to take in Toowoomba. Google revealed the presence of multiple potential shopping sites. Anaconda, BCF and Kathmandu.

Pulling out of Woodenbung, my back brakes felt a little "spongy". Mental note to self. Check reservoir next stop.

Great route from Woodenbong to Warwick. Initially snaking along ridgelines and increasingly drier eucalyptus forest. Views to the south from various highpoints.

A roadside stop to check route allowed me to check my back brakes. Reservoir was almost empty and brake fluid was weeping from banjo joint on rear disk. Bummer! Possible it had got banged/loosened when I dropped the bike in Cowra on day 1?

Stopped in Warwick, picked up some brake fluid, tightened the banjo joint - it was slightly loose. Cleaned the weeping fluid from around the disk brake mount and filled the rear reservoir. Initially flummoxed by expanding rubber "bladder" in resevoir that appeared to fill it leaving no space for fluid. A quick stop at Yamaha agent and mechanic explained how the  "bladder" was designed to expand and fill the resevoir at the fluid level fell. Push it up and hey presto, it collapsed into itself!

On from Warwick to Toowoomba, venturing out on to the wide open expanse of the Darling Downs. More traffic now we are back on the New England Highway.

Anaconda is on the highway into town and right next door to a supermarket. Discover they are selling tents at a 50% discount. Another sign from above!

Quick stop at supermarket for provisions then on towards the Bunya Mts National Park. Slow on highway between Toowoomba and Dalby with major roadworks. Turn off highway and follow backroads past Acland coal mine. A brief stop and discussion and we agree we are running out of time today. Map indicates small village of Kulpi is only a few km ahead. Turns out it consists of a pub, a grassy rest area with covered picnic table and clean toilets, plus a tennis court. Perfect stoping point.

Quick check of brakes shows no sign leaking - resevoir full. Brakes much improved, but still a little "spongy". Probably have air in system. Will need to be bled.

Tents erected then pre dinner drink at pub. Dinner, dessert, cup of tea followed by tot of whisky as a nightcap.

Tomorrow we will ride thru Bunya Mts NP. Maybe even give ourselves an early mark and camp there overnight.

Monday, July 17, 2017

UCC to Woodenbong via Kyogle. Monday 17th July

The 16th - being my birthday - was a designated "rest" day at UCC. Spent the day catching up with friends & neighbors.  Showed MandU around our place and after they headed back to Tickles Rd, I had coffee with Nick & Johanna next door. Lunch with Jenny then a walk back to Llyris's place on Tickles Rd.

Group dinner down at Byron with Llyris picking up her friend Doreen at Ballina airport. Very pleasant meal reminiscing about days past, old friends and misspent youth.

Back up to the hills and to bed in preparation for todays ride.

Up at 8 - slack. Breakfast and a car shuttle of our gear down to the bikes. Away by 10:30, Corndale, The Channon, Tuntable Falls and Nimbin. Slow but great riding with views  in all directions.

Then the scenic route to Kyogle via the Mt Warning rim. Truely beautiful countryside, with a unique topography.

Kyogle for petrol & lunch. Heading in the general direction of Warwick, but an online search reveals that Woodenbong - what a great name - has a small community operated campsite.

More great riding and a perfect small campground. Cheap @ $5 per person with $1 hot showers. Quiet grassy area to pitch tents and a large well appointed communal kitchen.

Bonus Tawny Frogmouths next to the campsite.
Great shot Marco!

Beer & pre dinner snacks. Mexican beans and rice with fresh passion fruit for desert. Time to catch up with this blog before a cup of  tea and then to bed.

Tomorrow? The Bunya Mountains NP beckons.......