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Leon
02-11-2006, 07:00 PM
Recently Melissa’s sister had moved from Townsville to the city of Mackay, about 400km south of Townsville. Her brother was also down there doing working at a pharmacy as part of his pharmacy degree. Now it’s my belief that Mackay is possibly one of the most boring, desolate, scungy towns in Australia. I only ever drive through there on my way to Brisbane, and I rarely venture off the highway. It is flat, hot and ugly. So anyway the plan was she would do her family thing, while I went out on the GS and explored the local countryside. Looking at Google Earth and Mapsource I noted that there was some interesting topography and twisty roads in the general area, so I programmed in a ride to Mackay off the highway, 2 days of riding in the area, and a ride back a different way. Of course a big part of the reason I was going riding was to get away from my brother in law, who is the stereotypical loud arrogant rude know it all squid who thinks he is god’s gift to motorbike riding and all other topics. I find him a deeply irritating moron, so the less I had to do with him the better……

Friday morning, we set off south to Mackay on a pretty warm day, with fine weather over Mt Stuart in Townsville.

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Heading south on the Bruce Highway is unfortunately just as excruciatingly boring as riding north, but unfortunately the road south is even more boring. Just flat, hot, straight roads. After a while we turned off the highway to Airlie Beach for a quick bite to eat by the sea.

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Back onto the highway to head further south for a little bit. For some reason this stretch of road always fatigues me, so I was glad when we turned off the highway at Mt Charlton to head into Mackay via the back roads through the mountains. The country immediately changed once we got into the pioneer valley, and gave me a sneak preview of what was to come.

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After some very good mountain riding, we stopped about half an hour out of Mackay to brace ourselves for the crazy traffic, and the dickhead onslaught that awaited us.

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Their flat in Macaky was exactly like I expected. A tiny semi-detached dog box that was as hot as hell, and my loud mouth bro in law (herein referred to as “squid”) looking like he just crawled out of a dump. Inside this flat it was about 40 degrees…..

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We immediately unpacked the bikes, and I walked down to the local bottle shop to take the edge off my thirst, and hopefully numb a bit of the pain of listening to squid. By the time I got back to the flat squid had decided that he was going to come riding with me the following day – I was not happy about it at all, but I agreed only to give Melissa some quiet time over the weekend with her family without him hanging around. I proceeded then to get thoroughly refreshed from the supplies I obtained from the bottle shop, and then go to bed in the world’s hottest bedroom…….

Saturday morning rolls around and I wake up with a very dry mouth, mild hangover, and feeling generally sick from a poor nights sleep with a lot of sweating in the still heat. I scoff some breakfast, grunt something to squid about our route, jump on the bike, follow the GPS and head north out of Mackay.

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Straight out of town I was amazed. The countryside was nothing like the flat plain Mackay is on. There were hills and corners and mountains and forests and rocky outcrops. Truly a beautiful area. The mind boggles why they built the town where they did.

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Anyway squid was struggling to keep up, and I spent a large amount of time the whole day waiting for him. In classic squid style he blamed it all on the bike and was constantly fiddling with suspension dials he didn’t understand. Incidentally his bike is Melissa’s old YZF600, which he crashed into a parked car within a week of owning it – smart guy!

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Across some windy dirt and windy tar we rode (and I waited) until we reached out first destination, Cape Hillsborough National Park. A great little park with a very nice road in, a good camping area, and a beach. Mackay is nothing like this, and it felt like I was a million miles away, but I had only come 60km from town. It is hot there though – already it was about 35 degrees and a not breeze blowing. Lovely spot though I recommend it.

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From there it was off to a little dot on the map called Seaforth. Well it truly was the place that time forgot. A quiet little fishing village with the old style pine trees, old picnic area, old shop, and even an old stinger enclosure for swimming in! It was an utterly charming spot to sit on the beach and have a cool drink – again, well worth a visit!

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From Seaforth across the dirt back over to a place called Mt Ossa. Another stretch of entertaining dirt and twisty fast bitumen. And of course more waiting…..

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By this stage I was almost starting to have an inkling of respect for squid. While he was groaningly slow, he was having a try at the off road on a bike not really designed for it.

From Mt Ossa it was a blast through the insane winding Mt Charlton Road. What a great road, mountainous, and great scenery.

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I’ll ride up this hill on another day……
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So hot the bitumen was melting and the trucks and cars were tearing chunks out of it. I came back to this spot the following day, and it was even worse and I could actually rip chunks out of it with the back tyre, and the RID on the BMW was melting – hot stuff!

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Eventually we dropped into the bottom of the valley and cruised up the Pioneer River until we reached the Eungella Range. I had heard it was steep and at the head of the valley, but I didn’t expect this!


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View from the top. Steep and windy. You increase something like 650m in 4.5km.

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I’ll finish this a bit later I have to go out for a bit………..

glitch
02-11-2006, 07:28 PM
my brother in law, who is the stereotypical loud arrogant rude know it all squid who thinks he is god’s gift to motorbike riding and all other topics. I find him a deeply irritating moron, so the less I had to do with him the better……
.

:rofl: :rofl: Now tell us how you really feeel about bro.. :rofl: :muahaha:

And what another superb Leon-yarn... :clap: :clap: :clap: :thumbs: :thumbs:
Brilliant stuff.... and fantastic shots as always !!!!
MORE, please !! :watch:

goodie
02-11-2006, 08:38 PM
Yes, c'mon Leon,
I'd like to hear more! It's a while since we've been through this area - 22years, come to think of it! Unfortunately we wern't on bikes then.
(4-wheel-drive and caravan - just in case, anybody wants to know) Great country!

Leon
03-11-2006, 06:36 PM
Once we got to the top of the escarpment we were in the town of Eungella. It’s a tiny little village with a pub and a few accommodation type places, that has based itself on a European alpine village, which is quite bizarre as it was about 37 degrees and is about 3000km north of the snowfields….

Almost as soon as I got off the bike two little local kids came bolting over wanting to look at the bikes and asking a million questions.
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They were funny little people and kept me entertained for an hour while I ate my lunch and had a coffee. They even did some crazy “pretending to fall off the escarpment” antics for my amusement (there was no real danger here folks, the hill was grassed and not steep behind them, it’s an optical illusion before you call the authorities)!
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Incidentally when they grow up the little girl wants to be a fashion model, and the boy wants to be a “dragon searcher”, looking for signs of dragons, his favourite animal – he thought my black dragon tattoo was the coolest thing ever and reckons he is going to get one just like it…funny kids.

So from there we headed further west towards Eungella Dam. The country was dramatically different, comprising tall eucalypt trees and dry rainforest. Unfortunately my squid companion had a massive cry about more dirt, so we headed back down the range….
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From there we headed along the side of the valley, to a place called Finch Hatton Gorge. There is a nice swimming hole there, and the place was filled with about a million people from Mackay heading out to beat the heat. Mackay people aren’t my favourite people, so I hightailed it out of there quick smart. Stopped on the other side of a causeway to take these shots of what I must admit was a pretty cool thing to do…..

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Back across the valley again and to a place called Kitchant dam or something like that. It was chock full of local bogans playing music full blast, drinking, and tearing around in ski boats. It was a recipe for disaster and not my idea of spending a nice weekend by the water, but each to their own I guess….

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Just as we were getting back into town I was thinking that squid was actually showing a lot of maturity on the bike today, when he proved me very wrong. Once in the traffic he was weaving in and out of traffic, and generally riding like an unpredictable lunatic, but actually quite slow, slow enough cars were tooting him in turns. He looked quite the tool doing his interpretation of hanging off the bike. I got the shits pretty quick, lost him few a couple of roundabouts and headed down to the Mackay sea side. And wasn’t I surprised. The sea here is not like anywhere I have been in north Queensland. Because of the reef we don’t really get these wave pounded rocky coastlines. It was a nice peaceful spot to end the day so I sat there until the sunset soaking it all in.

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Heading back to the flat squid had already been boring everyone with tails about how sideways he got it and how he was doing 300km/h on some stretch. Fortunately alcohol numbed the pain of his bullshit stories.

On day 3 I had planned to go west to Elhpinstone, but it was very hot and very dry and I didn’t feel like it at all. I had hooked up with squids boss who had a Dakar, and spent a very enjoyable day riding around with him. He rated himself as not a confident rider, so I immensely enjoyed coaching him with a few bits and pieces all day, and by the end his riding had changed a lot, which made me feel pretty good about myself.

That night I stayed up until all hours to catch MotoGP, and was exhausted on the very, very hot ride home the following day. In the interest of getting home as quickly as we could we blasted straight up the highway, which was so boring I just about fell asleep. The most exciting thing that happened was I saw a cow that was witting, stand up. No joke, it was that dull…….

So, is Mackay the most boring town on the planet? I’m afraid my answer is still yes, it is hot, flat, ugly, expensive, with unfriendly people. However, the area around Mackay is an A1 destination for DS riding and I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves good riding, you absolutely will not be disappointed I guarantee it. Just don’t stay in Mackay. The local villages have plenty of charm and good accommodation options, and some top camping locations too. In all, it was impressive enough that despite all the frustrations, I had one great weekend on the bike!

Cheers

Leon

iffracem
04-11-2006, 09:58 AM
see.. even a "bad" weekend on a bike is better than a good hour at the "office" :lol:

Nice yarn Leon, excellent pics. :thumbs:

I think you'll have to do something about trying to hide the way you idolise your brother in law tho, too much repressed hero worshipping just isn't good
:muahaha:

So, he crashed the cat... and fiddled with the suspension..... and BLAMED the cat for poor riding...
I think I hate him already .. and I've never met him .

JJ

glitch
07-11-2006, 07:04 PM
:rofl: :rofl:
Gotta meet your brother in law one day...this guy sounds to good to ignore :lol: :lol:
:wink:
Thanks for the "scribble", another gem with big-grin factor right throughout the story, noiiiice !!
:D

timbrell
08-11-2006, 10:37 AM
Leon,
You're right, the best rides around Mackay are out of town. You'll have to continue down the Eungella Dam road one day to find the back road into Nebo, then back along the highway and then head to Sarina down the range for a great mix of dirt and windy tar (in places!) http://timbrell.smugmug.com/gallery/2087045/1/107604127
I'll work out how to get a photo in soon!!

Leon
08-11-2006, 04:17 PM
Leon,
You're right, the best rides around Mackay are out of town. You'll have to continue down the Eungella Dam road one day to find the back road into Nebo, then back along the highway and then head to Sarina down the range for a great mix of dirt and windy tar (in places!) http://timbrell.smugmug.com/gallery/2087045/1/107604127 I'll work out how to get a photo in soon!!

Hey, good to see another northern person on the forum :) Whereabouts in the central highlands are you located, and what kind of bike do you ride?

Leon

glitch
08-11-2006, 04:25 PM
I'll work out how to get a photo in soon!!

Wasn't there some setting in your user profile to enable external linking (or something like that) ?

vbstubby
09-11-2006, 07:39 PM
great write up and pics - PMSL :lol:

The bogan ski dam sunds tempting :chug: