We said a final farewell to Hervey bay in the same way we greeted it by having coffee with all the bike riders, they meet up every Friday at Burram Heads and we were able to join them and their varied ensemble of lovely machines for a great send off thanks everyone.
Our journey up the East coast so far had been more like a holiday with so many people who have given us support but we are back to camping for a few days now. Due to our cheap air bed keep on developing leaks from the valve we decided to replace it, after long deliberation in the shop I was persuaded to go for the twin rather than double. The main arguments being less bulk and weight the downside will we both fit!
We are also back to our usual odd lunch stops i.e shop car parks but as we got chatting to some grey nomads (retired motor home travellers) they told us of a good free camp for tonight so that’s sorted.
The campsite proved a little gem, middle of nowhere just two other campers Kev was able to have a fire. I made the Tipi a home shook out the air bed and did a sharp intake of breath it looked even smaller in our large tent, I didn’t hold much hope for a good nights sleep.
We woke refreshed the next morning, yes I had to eat humble pie and admit it was big enough. We made a good start and were away by 8am. Doris (our friendly GPS) decided to spice things up we could cut a corner back to the highway. It all started well but the track became smaller and after a corner it went sharply downhill towards a muddy bottom. (It had rained up here a few days ago) Kev vainly attempted to stop but being downhill we just slithered gracefully to end up on our side, it was at this point he noticed that one of our panniers was missing the padlock. This was a big deal they are all keyed alike and they lock the pannier retaining bar in. There was nothing for we would have to retrace our route back to the campsite to look for it.
First we have to right the guzz this is tricky in the sticky red mud next we have to turn her around then Kev has to somehow gun her uphill from a standing start in the sticky goo. (sorry no photos I was too busy helping) As we are attempting the third time trying not to burn out the clutch some locals come down the hill in their ute and jumping out help me push whilst Kev gives it some, he makes to the top. I thank the locals and can’t help noticing that they were barefoot and are now sporting a new red gooey sock look – nice.
We arrived back at the campsite and I retraced our steps, by some miracle I find the padlock. Funny how things turn out if we hadn’t taken the short cut and fallen we would have gone too far to turn round and come back.
We ended up that night at Byfield national park via a trip round Rockhampton, interview with the press and a swift trip up mount Archer for a stunning view over the town. A cruise down to Emu park to view the sculpture named the singing ship which is a ships sculpture with holes in the mast to allow it to sing in the wind.
We camped in the middle of no where and a reassuring sign (not) informed us we have crocodiles in the creek and not to stray near. Yeah as if I want too. We were welcomed by our very merry neighbours to join them which resulted in a really late night and we all slept in next day which we took as a day off and went for a stroll avoiding the creek and sticking to main paths for safety, we also set to constructing our shower and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.
We had our first taste of long uneventful travelling next day on route to Bowen with a few scenic detours we ended up camping at Carmilla beach a lovely spot right on the sea front. The sand was deep in places so we opted for a second row viewpoint camping pitch.
Our ride towards Bowen was much the same as yesterday but the old girl was struggling today knocking badly on any inclines and running really hot as we couldn’t get anything except E10 fuel this morning.
Although it is getting hotter the further north we head it is still winter and will get much hotter than this but she survived 40deg heat in Kazakhstan running on 91 octane and even 80 at times.
The fuel out here is s–t as we have been informed on numerous occasions very low in octane full of ethanol and this last fill was 91 not 95. There is a bewildering mixture of petrol out here, we have mostly been running on the cheapest (E10) which is 91 octane with 20% ethanol added but this was a bad mistake I think. We tried it on more expensive 95 octane yesterday and it ran so much better, quieter and cooler but we cannot get it everywhere as it is regarded as “super” out here it seems.
Any road up we approached the outskirts of Mackay and hisssss, clatter, clatter, the engine is steaming and she sounded like a traction engine. Kev quickly pulled off the highway and it was easy to see what was wrong we had blown a head gasket. *@$* !!
We had no choice we needed to repair her and soon, we limped to the first caravan park we could and pulled in.
Here is our makeshift garage