Thursday, May 29, 2008

Easter 2008 Day 1

Cool2 Easter 2008 4 days - 2500km Brisbane to Sydney and back

For Easter this year I planned to bike trip with my wife. Initially it was supposed to be an easy 4 days on the back of two week trip to Victoria for the Horizons Meeting that I had planned to do, unfortunately work had got in the way so and I had to cancel, so now this was going to make up for it.

Two of the things that I had been looking forward to on the Victoria trip was to see Mount Panorama racetrack at Bathurst and to visit a mate who lived in Blaxland (Sydney). So I decided to ride down a do both. I was going ride down solo and pick my wife up from the airport for the ride back.

Day 1 Good Friday 

When I left home this morning, I didn’t really have any idea where I wanted to end up and only a general idea of which was I was going, just that I wanted somewhere in the New England region.

So I headed to Beaudesert for my first fuel up and then on to Rathdowney, I figured that I would go over the QLD-NSW border near the Boonah Border gate and then head to Drake via Paddys Flat. I had done this part of the trip at the start of the year and was keen to have another run through the same country, plus I had swapped my knobbys to give a more road going tyre a test and wanted to see how they performed on the dirt.

Rathdowney: For me this was where trip really started, even though I had already done an hour and half’s worth of riding at this point.

The road ahead offered some promising views.

I finally hit the dirt roads.

As I got closer to range the features of the landscape became clearer. These rocky outcrops dominated the landscape.

The summer rains that we had helped to lift dam levels across South-East Queensland, Lake Maroon was no different – though still had some way to go.

This sculpture at the Queensland-NSW border crossing is to celebrate the Centenary of Federation and Surveying of Queensland Border. The country is made up ridge lines like the one in the above photo and even steeper country – I am still amazed at how the country was surveyed with only compasses, tape measures and sextants. We are very lucky in this day age of GPS.

Stock movements between Queensland and NSW are not permitted at this border crossing. The cameras are there to monitor this. 

The contrast between the European Poplar trees and features of the Australian landscape were quite apparent.

Now across the border, this shot was taken looking back towards the Border Ranges National Park.

I liked this shot with the mountains in the background and the bike in the foreground – pity I was on the wrong road.

Which soon turned into this, I tried to find a way out but to no avail.

Anyway after turning around and heading down the right road – I came around a corner to see the fairing had come adrift. Had to pinch a bolt from the other side and hope it would last.

Crossing the Clarence River, it looked cool and clear – if I had more time I would have had a swim.

Next stop Drake – the fuel light had been flashing for the last 40km (25Mi) – wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.

After fuel for me and the bike I headed down Rocky River Road, which surprisingly follows the Rocky River (also known as the Timbarra River). I came across this old guy in his camper. I was impressed that he was punting it down this back road.

The river and creeks looked cool.

And very picturesque 

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos for the next part of the Adventure. I had hoped to take some back tracks through the Spirabo State Forest. But I took a wrong turn and continued to follow the river instead of heading straight on and taking a turn a little later on. The road wasn’t marked as “No Through Road” so I thought I was on the right road. After heading a long way down this road I came to a gate and wasn’t sure I could get through. I asked at the nearest farmhouse and was told that I would be able to get through to where I wanted to go – but the road was rough and I would need to cross the river and gave me some directions. Well I headed off, luckily some guys in 4x4s had decided to do the same thing, so I had some support as we headed off on what became an increasing overgrown track. After heading through a lot of Paddocks we saw a track carved out on the other side of the river that was winding back up to the forest line. Seeing a likely spot to cross the river I let some of 4x4s cross ahead of me to see what the depth was and headed off up the overgrown track. Halfway up I hit rock in the long grass and went down (forgot the Photo!). Broke the one the pannier locks but otherwise no other damage and we picked the bike up and I was on way again. Soon we hit what was a major track and then the forest trail I wanted to be on in the first place. Probably cost me an hour – but “what the hey”, it was great fun and worth exploring for another trip.

Finally back on Forest Roads.

It was getting late and I had finally settled on Armidale as my stop over for the night. I came out on the New England Highway at Deepwater and headed for Armidale.
My campsite for the night – couldn’t say much for the place or the service.

Day One Route
Brisbane > Beaudesert > Rathdowney > Drake > Deepwater > Glen Innes > Armidale

Up next Armidale to Blaxland.

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