Rob 'n BOB on the BNT

Boyne Island, Qld - 11 December 2003


box wine at
        Bowen WeirWell, I think Gwen has given you updates up until Collinsville.  That's where I had prepared this lengthy and outrageously witty e-mail which disappeared into e-space when I tried to send it.  I promised myself I would from then on save the text first in a notepad file, but on the computer I'm using at the library here in Boyne Island (near Gladstone) there is no Notepad, nor Wordpad!  So' I'll proceed very, VERY carefully when I'm ready to send!

In Collinsville I bought my first travel wine, a luxury I don't normally indulge in, since I find two liters of water generally more satisfying and useful than two liters of wine.  Who'd had thunked that!  Anyway, this was a 2- liter box of dry red Yalumba.  (And Sandy: although a great improvement over my own (in)famous Shiraz, it's certainly not as good as your OCME!)
Eungella Dam
From Collinsville I went to Eungella Dam, which contained water, but the wind was HOWLING that day and any illusions of spending a rest day there were blown out of my mind.  I hardly slept at all the night I was there, the tent made so much noise flapping in the wind.  From there on to Nebo and then a few campsites along creeks that were supposed to have waterholes, but didn't, or at least not obvious.  waterhole at Funnel CreekFrom a station owner I got directions on where to find a beautiful waterhole about a kilometer up a creek, and indeed it was well worth the effort.  Next morning I was woken by a couple of brolgas (a crane), making out on the water's edge, not far from my tent which was hidden amongst the trees.  So gracefully and elegantly they danced and picked up sticks and other items from the ground to "present" to the other.  Quite entertaining.  The next day I had an invitation to have "tea" at another station.  I often phone a number of stations to find out what the water situation is for the upcoming few days, and this couple invited me for supper - very nice of them.  I helped Tony repair one of the rails in a paddock, while Michelle prepared a delicious meal.  They even served a delightful wine with it, a Queensland "Verdelah" (?).  I should have written it down right then and there, because my almost 50- year old mind doesn't seem to contain this information for very long anymore.  It was not unlike Pinot Gris, but with a little more tropical characters.  I haven't seen any Verdelah in the bottle shops I've been in since, and the staff at many of these drive-through stores haven't been too well informed.  Or could it be I who isn't too well informed?

going down Connors
        RangeIn St. Lawrence I took a day off.  Did some fishing off the railway bridge, which - of course - is forbidden, but it made me feel like a kid again, which was kind of nice, and I even caught a little fishy!  About 25 cm long, but I ate it anyway - 3 or 4 bites worth, but the satisfaction of knowing I caught my own appetizer!  The municipal campground was free, and well maintained.  The day before I'd ridden over the Connors Range, which was an incredibly steep, but paved, hop over the top, which I found barely "pushable", let alone rideabe.  fishing off railway
        bridgeFrom there on, down the other side, I was to follow "the old telegraph line", but this turned into one of these orienteering sessions, where the trail notes make very little sense and I had to depend more on my own common sense and on my compass.  The telegraph line then followed an old wagon trail, wich was unbelievably rocky and steep and I could hardly walk my bike and BOB down the track.  Under these conditions BOB behaves rather poorly, wanting to overtake me and take the lead, which I find very uncomfortable and annoying.  So I have to keep setting him straight and make him tow the line - my line. 

I can report that my gear - other than BOB's occasional sputtering - has behaved quite well.  Only about 7 flats so far (unbelievable I find this myself!) and only one spoke which had to be replaced.  In Marlborough I picked up my third care package, which contained two new tires, more chain lube and more water treatment stuff (chlorine dioxide).  In the last week we've been getting some rain, occasional downpours, and this has its good and its bad sides.  MUD!The bad is that what looks like beautiful smooth track or road can turn into instant snot, a mud so thick and sticky that within seconds you come to a complete standstill, no moving forward nor backward.  Scrape mud off the three tires, take ONE step, scrape mud, take one more step, repeat, ad infinitum.  The gravel roads are okay, but some of the sandy, clay station roads and tracks can be quite awful.  Luckily, on the worst section where I got stuck this way, a "ute" appeared as if by magic, with two blokes filling cattle feed troughs.  They gave me lift out of the muddy area and dropped me off at a junction with a gravel road.  On the good side: I've come across various creeks and rivers with running water!  It may be muddy, but you can hear the water flowing - it's magic!!  Some delightful campsites were the immediate results, and at one of them a few days ago, along the Fitzroy River, I met a couple from Rockhampton - Jason and Katrina - who invited me to stay at their place for a couple of days.  Rocky is not on the trail, but I wanted to go there anyway, to stock up on a few items that are generally hard or impossible to get in the smaller communities.  YeppoonAnd also, I was ready for a few days off.  Actually, the last couple of days I spent in Boyne Island, not far from Gladstone, with a young couple from The Netherlands - Otto and Immelie, who know my parents through theirs.  A few days of sun and sea - boys, was I ready for this!  Also spent an afternoon at Yeppoon with the Rocky couple the day before. 

I have now ridden over 1500 km officially, and just over 2000 actually.  There is always more kms to cover because of detours, wrong turns, in-town riding, and that kind of thing.  The previous sections have been a little boring at times, because it's been so much of the same - dry barren country, dry woods, dry rivers and creeks, cattle country all the while, and mostly following little used country roads.  There is extremely little traffic on these roads though, many days I see no one at all.  I am just starting Guidebook #4 and I think that from here on the terrain will become more interesting, more hilly, more views, perhaps - especially after the recent rains - a little greener?  On that I will report in another few weeks' time, when I get to another community with available internet access.

So, hooroo Mates, catch ya later!

Rob 'n BOB

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