Rob 'n BOB on the BNT


Robert's BNT Journal  --  as told to and prepared by Gwen on Wednesday, November 26, 2003:


Innot Hot Springs to Ravenswood  --  November 10 - 18, 2003

Late Tues. evening, Nov. 18th (Osoyoos time) I finally received a phone call from our "Man on the Move"!  He was calling from a payphone in the "heart of beautiful downtown Ravenswood" (population in the area anywhere from 15 to 50 people, I expect!  But, if I am wrong, I stand to be corrected!)  It's another historic old gold town which Rob and I visited, together, five years ago.  It is interesting, with a good museum and TWO pubs!  (surprise! surprise!)  And, it turns out, a great campground on the Showground property with ANOTHER swimming pool!

On a couple of the eight days since last we talked, Rob biked some LONG stretches!  One was 98km and another 102km!, on rough gravel country roads. Pretty boring after the first 80km, he said.  However, it was necessary since he found SO MANY BONE DRY river beds!  And, it was "no fun" camping at those spots!  He was able to get drinking water at various stations, but, not bathing water.  So, he just peddled onwards.

Rhonella ParkAt the end of his 98km day he found himself at Rhonella Park station.  Five years ago Rob had obtained water there, although the place certainly seemed abandoned then.  It seemed quite deserted, still,  and yet in good working condition.  An odd experience to camp "next door" to what looked like a fully operative bunkhouse and canteen and yet not another soul around.

Running river - not
        runningHe found "residual puddles" in parts of some rivers in which he could bathe (regretfully disturbing the little "poly-wogs"/fishys, therein!).  And, in some others he could capture enough water for tea.  He says tea made with this water tastes smoky, like lapsang tea.  Mmmmmm  --  I think I'm contented to be home writing this "second-hand account", under such circumstances!

At Kirkland Downs, he stayed an extra day as the river there had some water in it and he had such a nice camping spot under a little grove of trees.  Kirkland DownHe mused over the circumstances when he last camped at that spot in 1999!  At that time, he had a totally broken, so-called "bomb-proof", Spinergy wheel on his pretty yellow Cannondale bike  --  and  --  the prospect of having to get to Townsville  --  and  --  hopefully, finding ME somewhere in that city!  Quite remarkably, he was able to accomplish that feat, and, with a reasonable amount of ease!  MAGIC!

A bit further south he came upon an Australian army encampment at Dotswood!  Never know WHAT you'll find out on these tracks!  The happy consequence of this encounter was that the Army Cook gave Rob some cold water to drink and a bag of various fruits to eat!  Very much appreciated by Rob!  It was his pleasure to sit at the army picnic tables, in the shade of the overhead canopy to sip and sup!

Keeping one's drinking water at an "amiable temperature" to drink, of course, is quite impossible in such geographic and atmospheric settings!  In the early morning the water is cool enough, but, by afternoon Rob is SURE it must be up to 40C and SO warm he almost gags when drinking it!  That's one of the realities of this adventure!
Mingella Hotel
The 102km biking day brought him to Mingela (west of Townsville) where he "sprung" for a $20. hotel room for overnight; drank beer; ate a SUPERB evening meal ("tea"?) with a crowd of people around a hotel dining room table; "slept in" until 6:30am; had an ENORMOUS breakfast, again prepared by the owners of the hotel; and, left for his 50 km ride to Ravenswood at 9am.  WHAT LUXURY!

Once Rob arrived in Ravenswood, he consumed more litres of what has become his favourite lemon drink AND FIXED 2 FLAT TIRES!  It seems that there in Australia, also resides an insidious, hard, spiky little weed seed (MUCH like what we call "Puncture Vine", which is becoming such a scourge here in the Southern Okanagan, BC) and, this Australian version is every bit as successful at puncturing bike tires and leaving them  QUITE devoid of air!  Another reality of Rob's adventure!
Ravenswood
Ravenswood also has wonderfully helpful ladies at the General Store/Post Office and an ATM (which, luckily, had money in it!).  At the Imperial Hotel he enjoyed 3 pots of beer and a delicious lamb roast dinner all for the price of $15.00!  The second night he ate at the Railway Hotel but I haven't yet had a report on that repast.

There's STILL gold mining going on at Ravenswood!  It's called "modern pit mining", but, when I heard that the recovery rate was .9grams per TON, I had to think that SURELY such a business can't be "cost effective"!!  But, maybe Rob and, consequently, I, have the numbers "wrong".


Next stops  --  Connelly station, Burdekin Dam, Bowen Pub at Strathbowen, and, Collinsville!



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