Rob 'n BOB on the BNT
Journal -- as told to and prepared by Gwen on
Wednesday, November 26, 2003:
Innot Hot Springs to Ravenswood -- November 10 - 18,
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
At 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.
"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
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. He 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
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
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 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!