The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weengallon to St George


Weengallon to St George = 70km
Cummulative total = 2368km

I didn't think we would ever get to St George! but we made it by early afternoon and we will stay here tomorrow so Mum and Sharon if you want to skype us just drop us an email or skype message as when the best time is!
Last night the clouds finally moved on and it became cold very quickly and fortunately for us the moon was full so there was alot of light for us. Neil took a photo of the full moon

since the days have been very cloudy we were not sure how much light was left in our solar light which is what we read by at night so we were hoping to get a few hours in but unfortunately the light only lasted until about 6.30pm so we got less than an hour out of it! so we had to resort to our torches.
We woke this morning nice and early and again it was really cloudy so we weren't holding out to get the solar light charged today. But one relief for us was there was no wind about. So we left the campspot around 8am which is the earliest we have ever started! We had about a 22km ride west to the turnoff onto Carnarvon highway which would join us up to the Castlereagh highway. I was rather looking forward to going North for once instead of west into the headwind!
While doing the first 22km we crossed over into Balonne shire and to greet us some country bumpkin sicko had strung up at least 5-6 wild dogs on some railing they had erected and soon as I saw it I squealed and couldn't look and told Kouta to close his eyes! Man why would they do that? Neil said the dogs are probably feral and they have been killed to prevent them from attacking farm animals and he also said they were very big dogs!
At the turnoff at Nindigully we quickly see evidence of the recent floods in St George ... now we were currently 45km south of St George and this is what the flood waters had done to the road

it is not quite clear but the other side of the road and part of the lane we were in has NO bitumen on it and you drive/ride on the red clay and then on our side of the road is the actual missing bits of road!

so that white line is not from our side of the road it is from the missing bitumen and is alongside the highway on our side!
By now it is around 9.30am and ... listen to this ... the wind picks up which is fine as I thought it would be like the previous days coming from the south west and so since we were now going north it would be a tail wind ... well listen to this ... it is a north easterly!!! I couldn't believe it it was a damn head wind ... again!!! The first thing I said to neil was that once we get to St George I am not leaving the town to go north to Roma until that wind is a southerly! and for the next 40km I am just grumpy and dwelling on the wind like it is my number one enemy! ... I have resided to the fact that I am a headwind magnet!!!
Now riding along we come across something alongside the road and it is a piece of steak on legs! now I thought it was just some small cow waundering around lost and as we get closer (as it is on our side of the road) the damn piece of steak on legs is a very expensive steak on legs ... it is a bull! now all I can think about is that my front pannier bags are red and I am thinking why the hell did I have to choose red pannier bags? now is this bull thinking he is in spain at the 'running of the bulls' ? I am seriously freaking out and Neil is now on the other side of the road and so I join him and the bull just turns and watches us!!! I dare not look at him and tell Kouta to close his eyes ... again! and all I can see is the farmer up ahead driving back down to round the bull up ... I am assuming because he might be worth a few dollars alive and nothing dead!
Crikey I am over wild life! speaking of wildlife we saw heaps today - even a field of kangaroos that popped their heads up to watch us while we turned our heads to watch them!
So as we get closer to St George we are now seeing HUGE fields of cotton ... well the remains of cotton shrubs as the season is over and they are tilling (I think that is what they call it) the land in preparation of next season. Anyhow these fields are just gianormous and have channels alonside the road and huge damns. By now I was beginning to get really tired and hated the fact that due to these farmers having such big cotton fields I was exposed to the headwinds because these fascist farmers cut down every single tree that would normally line the highway and provide a buffer for me from the headwinds just so they could have longer rows of cotton which suck the living daylights out of the ecosystem up here with their countless rounds of pesticides to stunt the growth of the cotton shrub ... now that is off my chest! yes it was a tiring day and the cotton farmers bore the grunt of my bad mood!
I was relieved to get to St George and we couldn't quite decide which caravan park to stay at (we were recommended one but that was 2.5km out of town) and Neil was hesitant to choose one since he choose the one at Goondiwindi and we all know that the caravan park owner there was a freaky, weirdo capitalist pig that treated his tourist guests like his permanent tennants that lived there! well in the end we stuck with the one that was the cheapest and we have to say that it was a good choice - the owners are nice and the park is good - showers are a bit strange but okay! We even got a $2 reduction on a powered tent site since our tent is small compared to caravans!
We went for a walk into town to get some food and walked back along the river and below are some photos that I took.

this is the Balonne river and this is the river that was responsible for flooding the town of St George back in March this year. It is a pretty river and this is part of the weir.
But as we walked along the path I looked up and I questioned Neil about does Barnaby Joyce live here ... and believe it or not his office is at St George but Neil is not sure if the senator lives here ... now for people that know me ... Barnaby Joyce to me is on par with Shane Warne I can't stand the idiot ... I am proud to not be a citizen that has to vote!

Once I got over the initial shock of Barnaby Joyce possibly being in the area I continued on the path looking at the evidence of the floods - there are still branches and grass strewn in the tree branches like the one below


and you can even see where the water came up to on the trees

all the tree trunks have a dark muddy water line along the bases and take a look at this Bougainvillea

the water must have stayed up for a while to kill of the leaves and flowers of this plant!
Well that is all I have of St George for now so tomorrow we will endeavour to listen to the game between Geelong and Melbourne on the internet and hopefully chat to Mum and Sharon.

Bungunya to Weengallon


Bungunya to Weengallon = 67km
Cummulative total = 2298km

Well we woke to another grey and gloomy day with the threat of rain ... we listen to the ABC weather forecast which is about as vague and broad ranging as you can get and it doesn't help when we cannot figure out which region we are cycling in! We think it is South Queensland is the name for this region, but unfortunately when they say the forecast it is very 'vague' so we are not sure if there is going to be rain or even where the wind is coming from! But once on the road we knew the wind is coming from the west south west direction but not as strong as it was yesterday so we could comfortably sit on 15-17kph.
Our first stop was at Talwood which was 20km along the road and there were 3 caravans around the footy field camping there - it also had toilets, drinking water and showers and as an extra they had power points but there is a maximum stay of 2 nights (so people don't abuse the 'system' and believe me there are people who really abuse this 'free camping system' like at Tullibigeal!). So it was a pity we had such a strong headwind yesterday we may have made it to Talwood and could recharge the computer! So we had a quick break there and continued on.
Nothing really happened along the way - there is alot of bush and shrubbery along the way so bush camping would be easy to find tonight if Weengallon didn't turn out to be suitable for the tent (Camp 5 book said the Weengallon rest area is not suited for tents).
The country side is very lush and green (due to the recent flooding!) and there is alot of water lying around - we assume from the recent rains and every creek and damns are full of stagnant brown water! While cycling along we saw a kangaroo and also an emu which started out on our right hand side and ran with us and then decided to cross the road in front of us and that is where Kouta saw it and decided to go besserk and bounce like a little puppy and get all excited over this "enormous chicken" that was running next to us! Oh he really loved that 'chicken'. He also gets 'funny' with Apostle birds, they are everywhere up here but as we cycle past and they are chirping he begins to move about and get excited and makes funny noises - so I am not sure if he is trying to chirp like them, or that their chirping annoys the crap out of him and he is making a whiny noise to let him out so he can "deal" with them?!!!
We made good time to Weengallon and found the rest area to be suited for tents as there is a huge semi grassed/tussock area next to it so we decided to stay here rather than bush camp - one because it has a toilet (but no shower so a British bath tonight!) and two it has a power point so I can do the blog on word pad and copy and paste tomorrow when we get to St George! It does say that it has drinking water but even that smells funny but we have enough with us for tomorrow and if we run out the hall next to the rest area has a rain tank.

At the corner of the field Neil came across this flower and it probably is the only 'colourful' thing around here since everything is either green or brown!!!


When Neil saw the old local tennis courts he said 'this is what they mean by "lawn" tennis!!!' I thought that rather funny, but the new tennis courts are across the road as I can hear kids playing tennis at the moment!
Below is a photo of our campsite and that is the toilet in the background and the grassy tennis court is to the left of the photo! Just outside our tent while having my cuppa I spotted yet another 'local'


and our resident local!


Tomorrow we should reach St George and I am hoping the caravan park is a damn site better than Goondiwindi! this time someone has recommended the one we are going to stay at!

Goondiwindi to Bungunya


Goondiwindi to Bungunya = 72km
Cummulative total = 2231km

Where do I begin for our experiences in Goondiwindi? Well listen to this ....
It rained a fair bit the night we arrived in Goondiwindi and in the morning there was just one heavy shower otherwise the day was mostly cloudy with a breeze - enough to do the handwashing and get it dry before the evening rain.
Like I said on the last post the campground we were at (gundy by the river or something like that) is really weird and the owners are really weird .. to the point that I felt quite uncomfortable there with the close proximity to where they actually live. But like Neil said I 'need to get over it' and I did ... for the day! So during the day we stocked up on food and things and in the evening I thought it would be the best time to do the blog and I went into the laundry ... now the following are 2 unrelated occurances but they both happened at the same time so I hope I can explain this!
While in the laundry there is a really feral awful smell like something is rotting and there has been something really potent used to cover it up ... so I bear with it and start with the blog, about 10mins in there I start to feel funny and bit light headed and queasy (but not feeling like I am going to throw up just churning!) and I think it must have been dinner or something I ate, so I continued on. Now here is where it gets confusing - when I was in the laundry I could hear foot steps approaching the laundry and then I hear them stop (the lighting in the park was not great ... in fact there was none!) so I just continue in the laundry and then I look up at the door and see the owner (guy) there (and this guy is weird even Neil thought so) and I just said hello and continued on then I sense he is still there and I look up again and he is still there watching me ... meanwhile I am still having somersaults in my stomach and I am beginning to feel really light headed ... so since he is standing there I ask if there is something wrong and his reply was very threatening, very uncomfortable (he replied ..."I am just wondering what you are doing here") and I thought that that was strange to say that so I just replied that I was on the computer and he just looked at me and that really made me uncomfortable so I looked away and heard him turn around to say something to someone. Meanwhile I realise that he probably doesn't like me using the electricity in the laundry! and as I thought that my tummy did an almighty somersault and I felt so light headed that I thought I was going to faint ... and I did ... next thing I know is I am on the floor in the laundry feeling really comfortable and relaxed! ... when I realised what had happened I got up and unplugged everything and went back to the tent to Neil and I told Neil what had happened and then just broke down and cried! So I assume it was the fumes in the laundry that made me light headed and faint ... and as for the owner well I just felt so sick with the way how he looked at me and thought his people skills were useless especially in the service industry!
So it rained for most of the night with thunder and lightening which freaked Kouta out so much that he had to sleep between our heads and he wouldn't sleep anywhere else! In the morning we got up and packed up everything and was out of the park by 7.15am and had brekky by the river around the corner ... I couldn't bear to be in the park for a minute longer than necessary!

As you can see from the photo below we didn't get much sleep last night due to Kouta freaking out with the storm and me being too scared to sleep because of the weird owner!



So we had finished brekky by 8.15am and began riding towards St George which is 200km away. We knew that we would have head winds for today and tomorrow. Since it is very flat open country the headwinds were very strong (at least 20kph). So the scenery for me was just the white line on the road (head down alot today!) and I relied on Neil to inform me if there was anything interesting to look at!
We did see lots of cotton alongside of the road and it wasn't long until we saw some plants just growing alongside the highway (but still no fields - I think the picking has finished and the fields have been prepared for next year!)
Here is a photo of an individual plant

and below is a series of them lined up alongside the road

We we travelling along quite nicely at around 16kph for the first 40km and then the road turned to face the full force of the headwind and so we dropped to 12-13kph and stopped every 10km for a break ... we even had a ute pull up alongside of us and offered us a lift! but we declined!
We saw plenty of road trains today and they were very good to us and gave us plenty of room and even the Barwon highway itself is really good - not exactly wide but the condition of it is good and there are lots of 'floodways' and so the sides of the road become a bit broken but it is alot better than the NSW roads!
About 6km before Bungunya we came across this sign and off course Neil wanted his photo taken next to it

You will notice on the bottom sign that it says 'NEILO' not we are not quite sure what NEILO is - I am assuming it is a town as they are usually in green.
Bungunya is a small town with about 10 houses and really is just a 'siding' for the grain train that comes through. We are camped at the rest area that has toilets, hot shower and tank water and there was 4 other caravans here with us. And I forgot to take a photo of our campspot! As we were setting up the tent we came across this local.

It took us a while to choose our campspot as since the clouds begun to build up and become very grey in the afternoon we weren't quite sure if it was going to rain or not so we didn't want to pitch the tent in a dip where water would run down if it did pour down with rain.
Tomorrow is another rest area camp spot at Weengallon or if that is not suited a bush camp.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yetman to Goondiwindi


Yetman to Goondiwindi = 72km
Cummulative total = 2159km

We left Yetman relatively early and wanted to get to Goondiwindi before the rain which we thought was going to happen in the afternoon. The first 13km was undulating just like yesterday! While going through the ranges we saw 3 wild goats as they weren't enclosed in a fence and there wasn't a house around for a while we also managed to see a kangaroo grazing by the roadside. Once the undulations finished there was a lovely 3km downhill and then flat for as far as the eyes could see.

It is like there is a definite end of the slopes and a definite start of the plains! We had a strong cross tail wind until Wearne and then a head wind to Goondiwindi. The Bruxner highway was really crap, worse than a 'c' road and what was even funnier was when a car overtook us even they stayed where there were no bumps on the road as there was one point where the middle of the road and the other side of the road to us was smooth and utes were overtaking us and staying on the other side of the road!!! There were at times no road markings on the Bruxner highway and had minimal traffic. But due to the state of the road I couldn't wait to get to Boggabilla which is where the road joined up with the Newell highway ... in thinking that by the time we got there and having to ride 9km on a highway with no shoulder and busy truck and car traffic ... I couldn't wait to get off it!
Just before we got to Boggabilla we passed a cotton field (well the remains of one). Neil took the photo but it didn't come out too good.

Along the Bruxner and Newell Highways we were passed by alot of cotton trucks and there is cotton lying all over the sides of the highways ... below is a photo of a 'giant' cotton bud that Neil found!

It wasn't long until we got to Goondiwindi and the clouds were definitely grey and threatening rain. We turned off to cross the McIntyre River which is the border between NSW and Queensland.

We had decided to choose the caravan park that is closest to town - it is small and strange to say the least. There are quite a few permanents there and there is only 4 drive through sites and the rest of the area has onsite vans ... but you are never going to believe where the 'grassed tent sites' (according to the tourist brochure!) was ... in their bloody front yard! I nearly died when I saw it .. it was no bigger than our tent and basically there was no privacy at all. So we are staying here for 2 nights ... not long after we put the tent up the rain came!

Warialda to Yetman


Warialda to Yetman = 85km
Cummulative total = 2087

We had an extra rest day at Warialda since the camp spot was really good and everynight the caravaners were really friendly ... in fact since the park is so small I suppose you had no other choice but to chat to everyone!
This morning we left around 9am after we said farewell to Ralph and Barney (aka weasel) - Kouta took a real liking to weasel (he is a dog very similar to Kouta!). We knew from the bike toaster website that the ride to Yetman would be up and down but it is not until you actually do it do you realise just how hard it is! The first 40km to Coolatai was undulating to say the least - you are either going up or down and there is no flat road at all! The undulations themselves were steep in places and long. We had a cuppa at Coolatai ... and for some strange reason even Kouta was tired at this point! probably from all that chasing the other dogs over the past 3 days at Warialda.

Coolatai is a very small town but I have to say that the small towns throughout NSW have the cleanest public toilets and they all have toilet paper! The only down side to the toilet at Coolatai was that it was so far away from our table!

It was a looooooooong walk there and back!
Not long after Coolatai the road stops undulating and flattens out quite considerably so the going was alot easier for a while. The road also becomes a little better once you cross over into the Inverell Shire ... unfortunately the road up to Coolatai is probably not suited to caravans as it is very rough in places. Apparently caravans can feel the bad surface of the road - not so much the car but the caravan 'bobs' up and down .. just like us!
So the flat road only lasts for 20km or so and then the undulations begin again for about 10km with a wee 2km climb up a hill and then a lovely downhill to the final 15km being flat again.

Of course we have a pitstop nearly every 15-18km and Sharon - Neil would like to point out to you that he has changed his 'pose' in the above photo - just for you. When this photo was taken it was quite late in the day and about the 70km so we were quite knackered by then. Also this afternoon we had quite a few motor bikers over take us - we assumed it was a group that were out for a ride.
Just before we got to the T junction to turnoff for Yetman we came across this paddock and its 'crop'

This was the only thing growing in that field!
Now Yetman only has a few houses and is not very big and is on the Bruxner highway. Not too sure what the population is but you would be lucky if there is a 100 people! It doesn't really have an official caravan park but there is camping allowed near the footy oval where they provide toilets and a shower and an area for tents and vans. It costs $10 regardless so we have hooked up the computer to power and will watch some programs we had downloaded from the ABC!
It is actually a great spot and we are not far from a table to eat on

We sort of guessed that Yetman wouldn't have a store or supermarket so we got some salami at Warialda yesterday and for tonights dinner we had salami sandwiches! We normally have a non cooked meal like sandwiches, wraps or burritos when we bush/rest area camp or when the town is so small that they put you in the showgrounds or footy oval!
Tomorrow we are going to Goodiwindi and we will finally be in Queensland. We can notice a change in temperature while at Warialda and are finding it alot warmer during the day and night ... soon we will be complaining that it is too hot! ... but I don't think so!

Friday, May 21, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEIL!


Doesn't this look like a person who is younger than 51? Well I thought for some strange reason that he was 50 this year and had spent the last 2 days on how to make a cake for him and while cycling along and having nothing else to do but think I came up with the idea of a "Tim Tam" cake - it is nice and easy and you can repack it away and eat it some other time! LOL. So while riding along I decide how many packets I will need to write '50' and I thought yup 2 packets will be enough ... then yesterday morning I realised that he is 51 and not 50 and so I only need 1 packet ... and voila! I made a Tim Tam cake for Neil!
Then Neil came up with the idea to have pancakes for Lunch - Ray had tried pikelets on the silicon mat on the bbq when we were at Griffiths and they came out okay so we got a pancake mix where you just add water and a small bottle of cream (300ml) and they came out lovely!

here I am cooking them - the first batch Neil forgot to tell me to put margarine on the silicon so the first 6 came out a bit funny!

and here I am preparing my first batch - I had nutella and cream while Neil had honey and cream!

The first serve had 3 pancakes and the 2nd serve had another 3 for Neil and I had 4! while Neil had is last one by itself ... also Kouta had is own small one!
They were just delicious and we had no guilty feelings in demolishing 7 pancakes with nutella/honey and cream as we know we will burn it off next week!
Not too sure what is for dinner as it is raining at the moment and all 3 of us are piled into the tent and Kouta unfortunately has really bad wind at the moment!

Gunnedah to Warialda


Gunnedah to Manilla = 68km cycled Monday 17 May
Manilla to Barraba = 48km cycled Tuesday 18 May
Barraba to Bingara = 63km cycled Wednesday 19 May
Bingara to Warialda = 41km cycled Thursday 20 May

Cummulative total = 2002
Since we weren't able to get internet since the start of the week I thought it would be easier to do the blog as a cycling block so as you can see from the map we have covered about 200km over the past 4 days. Basically following the Fossickers Way.
We left Gunnedah on a cloudy Monday morning and rejoined the Oxley highway. Since it was Monday there was a lot more traffic compared to Saturday - really it was 30km of absolute hell on this highway - heaps of trucks and cars that were reluctant to give us room and a highway with virtually no shoulder to seek refuge in! And to top it all off Kouta was moving about alot and we couldn't figure out why. So I was getting very fed up with Kouta by the time we got to our first break at Carroll - his throwing himself around at the back was continually throwing us into the line of the traffic or off the road completely!
I thought once we had a break at Carroll he might settle down but he didn't and only got worse. The town of Carroll is a little weird - nearly every house there has some sort of junk yard asssociated with it! Not too sure how the small town survives but we did see a sign saying 'Carroll Cotton Gin' so we think there maybe cotton grown somewhere around there. There was also alot of cotton trucks carrying cotton on the highway and judging by the amount of cotton balls alongside the road I think they left half their load there!
After the break at Carroll kouta was still jumping around there was one point along the highway where we were going up a small incline and into a headwind with no shoulder and he just jumped from one side to the other that I nearly got off the bike and threw it on the ground ... but I didn't and instead I threatened to make him get out and walk, by the time we got to the top I had had enough and told Neil that I was pulling over to let Kouta out. We pulled over to a layby and I went to get him out and I realised that he had just 'shat' in his basket!!! I am not kidding ... the poor thing had the runs and that is why he was all over the place in the trailer. Of course I just fall to pieces as I cannot handle doggy doo so poor ole Neil had to try to clean the basket as much as possible, meanwhile Kouta was out and about trying to get rid of the rest of his doo doo that is in his system and then decided to start 'skiing' around the layby trying to clean his bottom!!! I just thought OH MY GOD what next!
Lucky the turnoff for Manilla was not long up the highway from here and I tell you it was fantastic to get of the Oxley Highway! The road was a back road and it was lovely and quiet and in got condition too! It was rolling alot but that was easy. You could see the ranges and faintly see the start of the dividing range. It was very cloudy and it did look like threatening with rain and every now and then you could feel one or two drops.

We got to Manilla which has a population of around 2000 the town has these really nice ornate street name signs and the town itself seemed a nice enough place. The campground was quite good - it would have been better if it wasn't for 2 foreign back packers that seemed to have taken over the kitchen so we just went in there to boil water and cook dinner!
Kouta by now had settled down and Manilla didn't have a place to buy another dog basket so neil washed his current basket and that just sat outside in the slight drizzle trying to dry! So poor ole Kouta had to sleep on his blanket all night but eventually he ended up either on my sleeping bag or Neils!
We woke the next morning to fog instead of frost! It looked like the fog was lifting and you could feel the sun and then another lot of fog would roll in so we didn't get started until around 9.30 which didn't really matter as it was a short day to Barraba.



The fog wasn't so thick when I took this photo but sometimes you could hardly see 20m in front of you! So we climbed out of Manilla to Upper Manilla which was 12km away. The hill wasn't hard just long and continuous but luckily not steep. After the up hill there was a small down hill but you could feel that you were continually and gradually climbing and we did this to our lunch spot at 28km. From there it is was undulating for another 10km and then you had a nice gradual downhill into Barraba which is 554km above sealevel so we did alot of climbing today! although we didn't start at sea level we reckon somewhere around the 300m mark! Despite the hills the scenery around here was beautiful yet one thing I noticed ws that it is so dry the ground and fields, in fact you didn't see alot of farming at all - more horses that cattle and sheep!
We got into Barraba just after lunch and it was cold and cloudy (one good thing about the wind was that it was a tail wind for us!). The campground is small and is run by a guy called 'Bobby' - now at first you take a liking to Bobby and then he becomes just down right annoying! this guy spent the first hour showing us around the park and talking continuously about himself! which is fine and dandy if I wanted to know anything about him .. but I didn't! So here we were freezing our butts off listening to this guy go on and on about him and what he likes and doesn't like etc!
So we were relieve when he finally stopped and we could set up camp and warm up under the hot showers which by the way were bore water so the soap wouldn't lather up at all! We are assuming that between Manilla and Barraba towns that there isn't much water around as everyone has tank water and the surrounds are just so dry to look at. So the towns are on bore water and you drink the water from the rain water tanks. I suppose the bore water is unlimited as there are no water restrictions.
For dinner Neil made hamburger patties and then there was a debarcle trying to get the bbq going so 'Bobby' jumped in lecturing Neil about how to start the bbq because basically the idiot didn't want to buy 3 knobs for the burners as they were $30 each and so you had to push the buttons in and turn to get them going and then he just went on and on and on about it and in the end all I wanted to do was yell at him to damn well use his brains and put up instructions but instead he made us feel like we were incompetent ...even Neil thought he was a strange fellow and ended up disliking him! Yes I think he was strange just so many rules for this that and the other and the campground facilities just didn't flow at all - the kitchen light was in the laundry, the dishwashing sink was in the laundry there were toilets here and there ... just no flow at all!
Below is photo of Neil in the evening just before sunset if you look closely he has a new pair of track pants - on this trip he bought a pair of puma tights with him and he thought they would be warm enough but lately they have not kept him warm ... Dad nick named Neils tights as Neils 'mincing' pants but what Dad didn't realise is that there is a pair of shorts to go with them!!!

So we were relieved to get out the next morning even if it meant cycling in thick fog again! Yup that is right we now have officially replaced the frost with fog! My hands and toes were just frozen and I am so looking forward to getting to the warmer climates that I would cycle 100km a day to do it ... but we are not!
Again it was another climb to get out of the town (I am guessing that both manilla and Barraba are in gullys and why for both mornings we have had fog!). So we gradually climbed for the first 10km to the top of Nandewar Ranges which is at 663m above sealevel so we climbed 100m in 10km which is easy going except for the last 1km which was rather steep and certainly got our 'dicky tickers' going!

We had our first stop of the day at Cobbadah and we parked outside this nice little church - not sure if it is still being used but it was ideal as it was in the warm sun!

From there it is sort of undulating (more up than down) for the next 20km and at 30km we pulled over to have lunch ... just a few kms up the road we came across a huge sign saying a deep descent for 1.5km and to reduce speed and that was just lovely because although the decent was steep the rest of the 28.5km was not - it was a gradual down hill into a valley and we just flew down with hardly having to pedal at all ... ah it was bliss after the past 2 days! So we rolled into Bingara alot earlier than what I had anticipated so I could do my washing as I had been cycling in my shirt of the last 3 days and I was beginning to get a bit 'whiffy'! it didn't really matter as I am only around Neil and Kouta and they smelled just as bad as me!!!
So looking at the road ahead to Warialda tomorrow it doesn't look like any major mountain range to climb and I should imagine that we continue to descend as Bingara is at 300m above sea level - so that means we decended 350m in 30km - lovely!
Well I was wrong about decending to Warialda! It was undulating just up and down, down and up all the way to Warialda! But it was okay it was a warm start to the morning (around 10 degrees) so it was pleasant riding but I have to admit my legs were feeling it! Not really alot to look at along the road just a mountain range on each side. At the 15km mark we took a rest stop in a paddock driveway and something I have never seen before occured ... 3 farm dogs were mustering cattle (or hearding cattle) from one paddock to another they were helped by the farmer in his ute, but it was fabulous to watch and those kelpie dogs are just so intelligent - even Kouta was watching them but getting a little scared as he realised that the cattle were being hearded to the gate where we were and eventually he ran and hid near me! Funny enough the farm dogs didn't pay Kouta any attention what so ever!
Below is a photo of Neil with one side of the ranges behind him.

We got to Warialda just on lunchtime and the town is a lot bigger than what I thought it would be and it has optus internet reception!
The council campground is nice, small and clean and only $2 to do our laundry by machine (sometimes campgrounds where charging $4 per load hence why this is only our 2nd time doing machine washing since we left at the beginning of April - don't worry we do hand washing!). We have decided to lash out and get a powered site for the 3 days we are here as it is only $18 per night (at least she gave us the pensioner rate!). It is a good park and this morning there were a few dogs for Kouta to socialise with. Last night a HUGE RV bus with a trailer (at least 2/3 the size of the bus again!) pulled up - everyone watched them park the huge monstrosity and a couple got out of it that were completely over dressed for travelling! Apparently they are a very wealthy couple that can definitely afford the petrol to haul the bus and trailer. I said to Neil that isn't it funny it is not too often you get in a caravan park at the same time what you would call the 2 extremes of travelling - us and them! Us = having next to nothing except the bare essentials and them = having everything including room for a pony!
Below are some photos of Warialda.

the main street

the court house

looking down towards the center of town.
We will stay here in Warialda for 3 days and below is our tent spot!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Interim posting!

We haven't had internet for the past 4 days so tomorrow I will put up what we have been up to! So mum if you want to leave us a message in skype as to when is the best time to call as we will be here in Warialda tomorrow (friday) and possibly saturday.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coolah to Bushcamp to Gunnedah


Coolah to bush camp 5km south of Mullaley = 85km
Cummulative total = 1738km
Bushcamp to Gunnedah = 44km
Cummulative total = 1782km
Coolah to bush camp day -
I am sure it was colder last night than any other night as Kouta decided to sleep between us and his new blanket just couldn't cut it! So we think it was around minus 3 degrees (Neils temperature guage doesn't go below zero!). So below is a photo of what Poor Neil has to wake up to each morning!

Yep that is me - look at my hair! it is just all over the place in the morning and all I can do to calm it down is put the beanie on! At least I am smiling though!
When Neil got out of the tent which was only frozen on the front flap of the fly this is what the camping field looked like!

The frost was very 'crunchy' to walk on! So lucky we put the tent under the tree as it prevented alot of the frost settling on the fly.
Since today was supposedly meant to be a short day we got a later start at 9am when it was nice and warm. The first 6km is a gradual hill climb and then up and down to Black Stump Rest Area which is at 10km. It is a good rest area with toilets and water but I don't think it was in camp 5 so it must be new. From there is it still up and down but by 18km we were out of the ranges. But still the road condition is absolutely awful to ride on with the huge cracks and pot holes, even when caravaners over take us we can see the van itself is bobbing up and down over the dips and craters!
There seem to be alot of these signs along this road!

When ever I saw these signs all I could say was "you reckon!"
I felt as though we were going more down hill than up hill today and the down was really long and gradual so you could pick up speed very easily but we had to be careful because the road is so rough that we didn't hit a hole or wide crack and go 'ass over tit' so to speak and I have to admit I did have thoughts of Canada on my mind with these road conditions!
At the Premer turn off we decided to continue north since the wind was good and so there would be less to do tomorrow. We were hoping to do an extra 15km today instead of tomorrow and so we would stop at about 65km ... well we picked up Water at Tambar Springs and there was plenty of camping before there and once loaded up with water we continued on ... and we continued on ... and on ... and on ....! There was nowhere to bushcamp! Can you believe that! It was all plains and pastural land with no tracks to get off the road! We even found an okay spot that was on the corner of someones land so we went to the farmhouse to ask if it was okay to camp but no one was home so we had no other choice but to continue. Lucky there was a tailwind so we could make good time and distance ... then eventually at 85km (35km further than what we originally were going to camp at!) we found a memorial spot and decided to camp there, a bit out in the open but it will do.

Neil is all smiles once we found the spot, you can see the road in the background but no one really looked and there was hardly any traffic at night.
Bush camp to Gunnedah -
Well it was only another 5km before we got to Mullaley and the Oxley highway which would take us to Gunnedah. The legs were a little weary but they got us here.
We left the camp at 8.30am and at Mullaley there was a roadhouse that sort of had camping but we didn't know this existed and besides we think our campspot was far better than the road house!
Once on the Oxley high way we could look back to see where we bushcamped last night.

It was at the base of this hill and at the far left corner of the hill.
The Oxley highway is busy but okay mainly with local traffic going to Gunnedah today since it is a Saturday. It is mainly up and down with some really steep parts which cars didn't like with us as theoretically they cannot overtake us at the top of the crest because they cannot see oncoming traffic but that didn't stop some cars and some really take rists. We did notice however that country 'p' platers really have a severe lack of road driving skills - they are absolutely dumb! and quite a few can get agro with us - I had one today pull up alongside of me and asked if I knew where peacock grove was and I said no and then she said do I know anywhere around here and I looked at her (while still cycling along) and thought now is she getting agro with me because she is lost and I don't know where places are and I was about to yell at her something along the lines of "do I look like I am a local with all this gear?" and then she asks before I could say it "are we in Gunnedah?" and all I said that it was another 15km ahead and she said thanks and was off! I couldn't believe just how dumb this girl was! Does she not know what the little green signs every 5km with a letter of the next major town mean?
Anyway we were glad to get to Gunnedah and the campground is okay - typical of a big town one - all price and no facilities! Since I didn't get a shower last night I had a very loooooooooooong hot shower today. There are plenty of people here tonight at the campground and heaps of kids, I suppose because it is the weekend and there must be something going on with old cars as everyone seems to know everyone else and they are all hanging around people with these cars.
We will stay here tomorrow so Mum I will ring you tomorrow afternoon just after lunch Australian time - so 2.30ish NZ time if that is okay - if not no worries I will try later.
I almost forgot - 10km from Mullaley we stopped at the 150 east time Meridian rest area.

what was some important about it I don't know but Neil was very excited about it!
There was also a sundial there and as you can see we were there just on 10am and it was relatively accurate or more realistically my speedo clock was only 5mins out compared to this sundial!