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Thommo
29-06-2008, 09:21 PM
Into the cold darkness rode the 600 relentlessly. There would be no letting up on this night. The white lines in the middle of the road swished by rapidly as I sat astride the mighty 600, with my whole world lit before me by the meagre headlight that one could describe as basic.
Why was I doing this you could ask? Cos I could! It was like heading back down memory lane, taking off after work on a Friday and heading to who knew where over the weekend and getting back in time to front up to work first thing Monday morning. The 600 needed a good run to shake some freeloading spiders out and I simply wanted to be lost on a motorcycle for a few days.
By the time I left work, changed duds at home and hit the road it was well and truly dark, just like old times. Hit the main road and the next thing I know Iím heading west into the cold hills and western plains. I pull into Banana for fuel and pick up a couple of things for the nightís dinner and decide that since Iím out here, Iíd wander on down thru Theodore and head for the Isla Gorge and camping there for the night.
The turn off for the Isla Gorge lookout and camping spot is very deceptive; you see a sign saying Isla Gorge lookout 1.3km. Well, that sign doesnít mean itís 1.3km to the turn off, it means turn right now and you have 1.3km along this windy dirt road to the lookout.
The real kicker is that the road is also parallel to the main road, so when coming from the north, this dirt road is heading north before winding thru the srcub! Iíd been here several times before, and it has caught me every time, this Friday night was no exception, blasting past the sign for several km before realising it had suckered me once again.
By the time I actually rolled into the lookout area it was around midnight and things have changed a little since I was last there, they now have a little covered area with some tables, and even a little fire spot with a hotplate! Bloody hell, things were moving up in the world there! One thing to keep in mind tho, is not to go too far when going for a leak, the drop offs would make for a long freefallÖ
The cross winds had been hammering me the entire way, and here at the lookout it was no better and the temperature being what it was, I expected frost come sunup, so I decided that parking under the cover thoughtfully provided by the parks and wildlife would be the go.
As normal, it doesnít take me long to set up camp, and have the billy going, or on this occasion the Triangia. While waiting for the water to get hot enough for a cuppa, I strolled around the area and found that I had company for the night, two grey nomad vans were parked in the camp area itself about 100metres away, being the old people they are, they would have been sound asleep until I cam roaring in on the 600 (there isnít much in the way of baffles left in the zorst anymore).
After a cuppa or 2, a feed and taking some night owl photos of the moon I hit the sack.

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I surfaced just before dawn to attend the usual duties one must do and upon taking several steps soon discovered ice had indeed formed. A frosty start to the morning after all. With cuppa in hand I set up and took a few photos of the sun coming up and the surrounding area.

Camp:
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Sunrise:
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the views:

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The Isla Gorge is the traditional land of the Wulli Wulli and Jiman Aboriginal people and there is also a hand laid rock road on the western edge of the park, accessible via a dirt track. It was made in the 1860ís and was used for getting wool from Roma to the port at Rockhampton. The area has been created over millions of years by water carving the soft Precipice Sandstone, there are still three major watercourses still flowing through the park and they all eventually lead into the Dawson River.
The whole are covers some 82,000 square kilometres with some 25 separate mountain ranges branching off from the Great Dividing Range and in some places rising to approximately 1,000metres above sea level and giving the region the nickname of Roof of Queensland.

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Photo: Qld Parks and Wildlife

From the Isla Gorge I kept heading south and then turned off for the 26km blast to Glebe Weir, itís a nice sweeping hilly single lane sealed road that at speed requires no mistakes. This is an unfenced road, so cattle abound and here I came across my first roos for the day. No close encounters here, they heard the screaming angry 600 ridden by a long haired red eyed madman from quite a distance and wisely scattered.

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As you approach the weir, there is this seemingly nice straight bit of road begging to tap out on. My advice is donít, upon tackling this stretch, even at the posted speed limit, itís as rough as guts and needs to be ridden like a MXíer.

Must I?

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The Weir

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The Glebe Weir is on the Dawson River and apart from that, I know stuff all about the history of it, every time Iíve stopped there either by myself or with some mates, weíve been to busy getting pissed and wreaking havocÖ
I thought about heading out to Lake Murphy and than onto Expedition National Park, but after eyeballing the innards of the fuel tank, I decided it be wiser if I head more or less directly to Taroom. Along the way I dropped in and had a sticky at the Palm Tree Creek and the unique Livistonia Palms of the upper Dawson River catchment area. There is a picnic area there, that although camping isnít allowed, itís far enough of the highway and fairly quiet that Iíve stopped there a number of times, one such time waking up to find some mangy mongrel looking Alsatian mutt obviously eyeing me off for breakfast. An axe emerging seemingly flying on itís own accord from the swag soon dissuaded him from such thoughts.
No mutt this time around, but a couple of chookchaserís were camped there along with a support vehicle and it turned out they were from Toowoomba and had been out to Ayers Rock and back. The fire was still going, and they kindly loaned me some heat from it along with a good conversation of their trip. Me was envious of them.

If I had of known they were there, I would have joined them instead of staying further back up the road, they certainly were good company in the short time I spent with them, and they were still feeling a little furry from the night beforeÖ
All up there were 4 bikes, a DR650, two KTM 990ís and a KTM 950.

Camping by the Billabong?

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For Quolly

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After fuelling up in Taroom, I decided to set about becoming one of those coffee latte angels, but alas, the road gods didnít agree with that and the coffee machine was broken.

The Leichhardt Tree

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Ludwig Leichhardt passed through this area in 1844 on his way to Port Essington Northern Territory from Jimbour in Qld. Since it appeared that I wasnít going to become a coffee drinking weekend warrior latte angel, I figured I might as well keep moving and proceeded to take a back road that would lead across to Cracow but when I came to a major sealed road that looked very familiar and then seeing a truck that looked very familiar from earlier in Taroom, I reckoned something was a bit sus here, so I dig out the hema central Qld map and than wonder why I even pack those maps, they are as useful as tits on a bull. Then I remember why I bring them; they make for good fire starting materialÖ
I digs out Thommoís map of Qld and quickly find that Iíve managed to loop my way back to the Leichhardt highway and am just north of Wandoan. UmmÖ That Bugs Bunny saying of Ď I knew I should have turned left at alberquiqueí sprang to mind. This left me with no other thing to do but turn right around and plunge right back into those dirt tracks and eventually worked my way across and came out near Biloela with less than a litre left in the tank. Lucky I always carry spare go-go juice!


To Be Continued...

farawayman
30-06-2008, 05:20 AM
Excellent stuff Thommo, donít stop now :clap::clap::clap:

Punisher
01-07-2008, 02:08 AM
good to finally see some touring by people that dont own vstroms :)

good stuff, i hope i get to load up my cbr600 and shoot off for a few days soon my self.

Thommo
01-07-2008, 10:39 PM
That be the road I shoulda turned left on!!

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Some more of the Dawson River

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When going to pay for the fuel in Biloela, I noticed some pancake in a bottle premix, one of those, add water and shake dealís, one simply canít walk past that when on a road trip, pancakes for breaky, far more exciting than bacon and eggs!
As I strapped breakfast onto the bike I also saw one of those pie van blokes selling fresh seafood, and out of curiosity more than anything decided to have a sticky, figuring the bastard would be pretty expensive. To my surprise, he was asking pretty fair dollars and with a bit of beatiní around the bush, picked up over a kilo of prawns, some oysters and some ice to keep it all chilled in my little cooler. Not 3 feet away, a birdseye chilli bush was growing, not only was I going to have a late lunch of prawns and oysters, but have a few coated in freshly made chilli sauce.
With seafood, some stolen chilliís, and a couple of other ingredients scabbed within a few mins, I set off the the Callide Damn, figuring Iíd have a nice late lunch parked under a shady tree by the dam. Boy, was I disappointed when I got there, Callide isnít much to see these days, the water lever is near non existant, and the picnic area didnít look like it had been used much in years.
So now what, I didnít feel much like stopping here for long and I was getting hungary! I could go to the Kroombit Tops national park, the site of a crashed B-24, but it was getting a bit late to be scrub bashing around there, and I didnít like my chances of even getting the 600 to the crash site. A bit of a scratch of the brain cells soon discovered that the Cania Gorge was less than an hour away, and a quick inspection of lunch deemed that I could make that and turn it into a dinner feed. Decision made, it was time to set about getting down there.

South of Thangool

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A bit further down the road
So, after 16km, I will not have to worry about roos right?

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The last 15km or so before the turn of the park is bloody good, you go over the range and the ride isnít bad at all, you can ride thru there at a pretty cracking pace, nothing tricky about the road unless you canít ride very wellÖ
The road into Cania Gorge on the otherhandÖ the closer you get to the dam the more it demands that you grab it around the throat with both hands and wring itís ruddy neck! The last 3km especially. Absolute beaut road.

Scenic views on the Cania Gorge road

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I get to the dam itself and having a quick walk around to find a good spot and I notice all these signs saying no camping. Bloody everywhere they are. Sifting through the clouds of paint fumes that dwell in my head and I couldnít recall this rule last time I stopped here. Ummm.. stop here, eat and keep running down the road and find somewhere quiet or keep going? The tape worms were getting pretty savage so that signed the deal until walking back to the bike and I saw that I had a leaking fork seal and a goodun too at first glance.
What to doÖ I remember seeing a caravan park 3km back down the road, and the quick glance I had of it as I blasted past at a vast rate of knots, it look orright. The time was around 4pm, still plenty of milage left in the day, but food+ needing to know wether the front end would be good for the rest of the weekend put me down for a camping spot in the van park. Nice joint, but phuk-in-hell, I damn near dropped dead when told the price for an unpowered site. Even with the lerks and perks they offered near made me keep running down the road.
Itís a nice sized park, and I was given the run of a whole sectin down the very back if I wanted it, which sound good to me, too many kids in the other areas for my liking.

Found myself a good spot a few meters away from a covered area, and again no camping inside that little bit of cover, go told in no uncertain terms about that! No rolling the swag out on the table top tonight, Oh wellÖ camp was quickly set up as usual and onto organising a good feed, my coke was a bit on the Kimberly Cool side and i reckoned they needed to be chilled a little more, so threw them in the little mesh bag carried for such purposes, tied a piece of rope to it, and threw them into the creek about 30m away to chill out while dinner was on cooking. Gotta have the snakebite medicine chilled if was was going to have prawns for dinner.

Camp

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It didnít take long to make my chilli sauce brew up and have some prawns soaking, well more like throw em in, swish em around and throw em on the cooker, once cooked repeat again. Nothing like eating freshly cooked prawns. In between all of this, a mad dash down to the creek to retrive my now Ďchilledí coke cans, whip out some hi grade snakebite medicine and be camping in absolute luxury.
What more can ya ask for? Fine company is one thing you could ask for, and thatís what I ended up getting. I didnít take much notice in my mad frenzy of cooking, but one of the Wicked camper van thingies had pulled up not far away and as I found out, 3 Danish tourists were wandering up to cairns, two sisters and one with her better half.

UmmÖ prawnsÖ.

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In the end, I didnít get all those prawns and oysters to myself, but, I was well compensated for that loss. After doing the dishes, and this is where I liked this place afterall, was the fact they had a litte sink with gas hot water system, a gas bbq, and even a bloody microwave!!! Not to shabby at all, and an unpowered camp site to boot, I had a good close look at those forks, and the right seal was leaking, but it didnít appear to be bad, not bad enough to warrant heading home in the morning anyhow.

Werewolf time?

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The nightlife

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Those Danes are funny buggers, once we sorted the language barrier, and they told me that at 7 30pm there was an outdoor screen of Worldís Fastest Indian, and as I have yet to see all of that movie ( still havenít seen it all), decided to throw a me chair over my shoulder, wander up and pull up a stump with my now camping companions.
None of us saw the entire movie, but letís just say, a good night was had.

Sprinter
04-07-2008, 01:31 PM
Sorry newly registered - how come I can't see the photos - sounds like a great little trip :)

Hytram
04-07-2008, 03:54 PM
Sprinter..

there is no reason that you shouldnt be able to see the pics, I have checked you setting and reset the viewing pics setting thou that was set right

click on this link
http://i29.tinypic.com/2dqk4t4.jpg

if that comes up, then it could be a problem here, if it doesnt you could have a problem at your end like a firewall or a setting on your PC stopping pictures from that site, are you on a work PC?

all photo's in all ride reports are hosted on the posters Website, not here at AT

let me know how you get on

Marty

Thommo
05-07-2008, 04:11 AM
I'll have the last part of this put up sunday night when i get home

nev
05-07-2008, 10:17 PM
I'll have the last part of this put up sunday night when i get home

Great report Thommo and great pics.. making me jealous and thinking of packing my bike and taking off for a ride somewhere.. where you went looks good.. blue skies in every one of your pics and not a cloud in sight.. nice :)

Sprinter
06-07-2008, 08:44 AM
Thanks Marty - turns out it was the office firewall. Checked it out at home and all good - thanks for your help.
Thommo you were sure living the dream :) Great shots & report.

jefflthomas
08-07-2008, 11:31 PM
I'll have the last part of this put up sunday night when i get home

........http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/1287/waitsdg6.gif

aussiedav
09-07-2008, 09:37 AM
He is a young lad with oats to seed, maybe he got lucky :)

Thommo
09-07-2008, 09:40 PM
I surfaced a little slow Sunday morning, the sun was up and there was still some ice around, ice + bare feet just donít mix at all! Pancakes and syrup on a cold morning is absolute heaven, and my camp mates also enjoyed breakfast, I reckon Iíve opened their eyes up to a whole new world of adventure that you can have in aussie.
By the time the dishes were done, the bike loaded up and bid my farewells to my newfound friends it was after 9 30, and normally, I would consider the day half gone and have a few hundred kilometres under my belt before breakfast. But on such a tour as this, as long as I was back at work on time Monday morning, it didnít really matter what time I did things.
Before heading to Monto for fuel, I just had to go back to the dam and do another full run right back out to the highway, I simply couldnít leave without doing so. Parking beside the lookout over the dam, I realised I had caught the attention of the Qld Police, and I didnít really like the look of this bloke, he had beady crossed eyed looking eyes that were disturbing, and I could tell he was warming up to the idea of nailing me for something. Luckily a call of nature on his part gave me the break I needed and I was out of there like a jack in the box.

The cania gorge road

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Fuelling up in Monto, a truck parked beside me had me shaking my head in stunned disbelief, this old geezer had this beat up 20 year old Hino and he had it loaded in the most haphazard way Iíve ever seen, there were bales of Lucerne half falling off the body, and the ropes looked like they were made when the Ark was built. Lucky I was getting out of town and be nowhere near him. How wrong was IÖ
Looking at Thommoís map again, and I saw a place that I had been past many times, yet had never actually stopped and had a look at the place. The Boolboonda Tunnel, the longest unsupported tunnel in the southern Hemisphere. It was either head down that way or wander across to Many Peaks. The Boolboonda Tunnel won the coin toss, Iíve been past it so many bloody times, I reckoned now was the time to actually stop in and see it.
So I hit the road heading for Mount Perry or so I thought, 10km out of town, I realized that I was in fact heading for Many Peaks, a quick U-Turn and back the other way through town got me back on the right road and about 15km further on, guess what? Yup, caught up to that overloaded wild looking truck and those bales were looking very precarious indeed. Not wanting to get to close to that hideous contraption, I hung back and waited for the right stretch of road to whip by at warp speed, I certainly didnít want to become a statistic because of some bushie who shoulda kicked the bucket back in the flower power years of the 60ís.
Once past the old codger and his old dodgy truck, a spritely pace ensued right until I saw the sign said Mount Perry thata way whereupon hitting the anchors hard and fish tailing up this dirt road which told me this was the wrong road, well the right road in the sense that it would take me to Mt Perry, but the first half was dirt and I wanted to take the other turn off as it was fully sealed and meant to be ridden hard and fast.
I simply couldnít be bothered turning around and heading further down the highway to take the right turn so I kept going, all would be good anyhow.

Some of the road thru to Mt Perry

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It dawned on me as I slowed down to go through Mt Perry that the bar was now open and this meant that a refreshment was in order after a hard morningís riding. Well, thatís my excuse anyhow! To get to the tunnel from Mt Perry, there is only on main road that you can take, and I cruised out of town and made my way towards Gin Gin with a deter to a winery of course!

Wine perhaps?

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The boolboonda tunnel, carved through solid rock, unlined, unsupported and some 192 metres in length makes it one of the longest in the southern hemisphere. Constructed in 1883-1884, it came about as a way to open up various Mineral and Agricultural resources in the area by rail to Bundaberg.

Boolbonda tunnel

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Inside the tunnel

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From there, a quick fuel stop at Gin Gin before heading north to the Monduran Dam, which supplies water to the Bundaberg region. The place hasnít changed much since I stopped for a sticky earlier in the year. I thought of turning off the highway and heading up to Agnes Waters and 1770 where Captain Cook landed, before coming back out to the highway via Miriam Vale, but Iíve done that road too many times in the last 18mths, so it was straight up to the highway and stopping at The Colosseum servo for a afternoon lunch. A giant steak burger fit for the likes of us hard riding motorcyclists can be found here, and the lass behind the counter made for very good company. Once again I tried to become a member of the coffee latte-riding club, but once again that damn coffee machine was broken.
The lass soon convinced me that I needed a flat white, to sooth those red eyes, and who was I to disagree? For a lady in her mid 40ís, she still had one mighty attractive figure, pity she is marriedÖ As things were a little quiet, she decided to keep me company out on the decking, yacking about various things in general. In the end, as much as her company was appreciated, I was glad to leave, my ears were starting to get sore.

Monduran Dam

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The big rigs

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Turning off the highway and headed into Tannum Sands and onto Boyne Island, just to the south of Gladstone, something different for a change, having a sticky at the beaches and the associated views one gets of such areas. Into Gladstone itself and some minor back streets and roads that I simply love riding on before I headed out to Calliope and the historical village there for a look see, however, at this time of day, there wasnít much you could see without the aid of lights. From here, there arenít many options on what roads to take to get back home, not unless I wanted to attack some real goat tracks. After just under 1500km for the weekend, I arrived home as I had left; in the dark.

Thommo
09-07-2008, 09:43 PM
He is a young lad with oats to seed, maybe he got lucky :)

That's enough cheek outa you!!!! hahahahaha

jefflthomas
11-07-2008, 09:48 AM
looked like a great ride ...great roads ...great scenery...http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif


BUT!! http://homepage.ntlworld.com/renegade/ffs.gif.....NO PICS OF THE VIKING SISTERS?!?!? :doh:

stevemc
13-07-2008, 07:36 AM
Great trip report.

I have stayed at calliope there at the river beside the historical village, in our caravan, very nice spot to stay and it'll be the first trip on my bike to go up and stay a night or two.

Thommo
13-07-2008, 07:01 PM
looked like a great ride ...great roads ...great scenery...http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif http://photobucket.com/albums/v382/ZRXgremlin/Cache/2top/blah.gif


BUT!! http://homepage.ntlworld.com/renegade/ffs.gif.....NO PICS OF THE VIKING SISTERS?!?!? :doh:


ummm... would this do? :)

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Thommo
13-07-2008, 07:03 PM
i have a couple more tours around the area i mind, inc. a pub tour, historic etc, nothing will happen for at least a mth tho.