Like most months recently, this month has been packed with activity! I’m still chasing my money after last year’s fiasco with Yemmy being repaired (?) at Mareeba and having to be taken back to Victoria. I thought if I could get a copy of my motor mechanic’s certificate, this would add weight to anything I said at a tribunal.
To my surprise, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce still had a copy from 1966 and sent it to me!
I left home on June 10 and headed for Ardlethan, NSW, but word has got around about the great little free camp where there are four free sites next to a park, where for $2 in the slot you get 12 hours of power. I arrived late, having packed away more than 600km that day, and there were about a dozen RVs there. Of course, all the powered sites were taken.
The next morning, I headed for the Peak Hill Caravan Park where my old friend, Leighton, is still distributing scones with jam and cream to all the travellers.
I stayed a couple of nights and even walked around the site of the old open cut gold mine – I did the longer perimeter walk and that really did put my daily steps up.
NEXT STOP: TRANGIE
It was only a short hop to Trangie Caravan Park, where a few of us ACC Lone Trekkers were gathering for a muster. It was a great weekend, made all the better by the friendly welcome from our hosts, Andrew and wife Debbie.
A fire to sit by for happy hour was very welcome, as the nights were a little chilly. The previous time I stayed at Trangie Caravan Park I was so impressed that I wrote it up for this website.
BACK ON THE ROAD
I didn’t linger after Trangie as I’d been on all these roads many times before, so I knocked up three 600km days to get to lovely Lake Elphinstone near Glenden, Qld. I use quiet gravel country roads to find places to kip when doing those sorts of days – never a traffic worry and no caravan park fees!
I relaxed in Lake Elphinstone for just over a week – my kind neighbours lit a fire most nights and invited me to share the warmth.
I bought a new steel 20L jerry can before leaving home as a reserve water supply and also to prevent the step ladder I carry behind the driver’s seat pushing the seat backrest forward. It did that alright, but when I ran short of water the liquid I pumped out was a dark brown colour and undrinkable! A trip to nearby Glenden allowed me to refill my water tank and empty my toilet.
I’ve since replaced it with a strong plastic jerry can to carry a potable water supply – hopefully no more problems.
Lake Elphinstone is only about 150km from Mackay, so I took the opportunity to head for Mt Pleasant and it’s shopping centre, plus a lunchtime catch up with old friends and former scribes Tony and Denyse Allsop.
Time just flew by and soon I was back on the Bruce Highway heading north. My trip planner showed me there was an alternative route to Charters Towers from Ayr and, as it was new territory for me, I chose that way.
I overnighted in a small rest area on the Bruce and in the morning headed for Ayr. Shortly after turning off the highway, I saw a sign that said:
AHEAD – STEEP TWISTY ASCENT.
NOT SUITABLE FOR TRUCKS, BUSES, CARAVANS OR TRAILERS
Well I’m not one of those, I thought, so I’ll risk it!
It didn’t tell me about the 45km of gravel road I came to just past the Clare signpost! It was quite good gravel and the dozens of dips had bitumen before and after and concrete through the dip itself. I guess when the rains come it’s more of a challenge.
The scenery was lovely, the traffic almost non-existent and I enjoyed every minute of it. The ‘steep and twisty’ was all bitumen and Yemmy just flew up in second gear. Just past the hilly bit there was historic Ravenswood and a choice of going to the Burdekin Dam or on to Charter Towers. I chose the Towers and soon was on familiar territory. The bull marks the entrance to the town.
A stop for coffee at Greenvale and a night stop near the Lynd Junction with only one other caravan camping on an open space near a turn-off to cattle country. How do I know that? I hear you ask. It was because huge cattle road trains with four trailers were using it, although they did stop before it was too late at night.
MURPHY WAKES UP!
Everything had been going so well this trip but something must have woken Murphy!
While having my early morning heart-starter coffee, I noticed water dropping on my hands. I’d left the hatch open as it was a warm night and it was gently raining!
Getting on the road and the rain became worse, and then a strong sidewind developed. Approaching Ravenshoe, the weather gods added thick fog to the mix. I was very relieved when I got to Atherton just a few kilometres from my destination.
Letting my GPS guide me on a way that took me around the town and watching for all the turns, I didn’t notice the speed until a zealous constable flashed his lights and pulled me over.
An infringement notice – a $265 fine and the loss of three demerit points – was the result, and then he asked if I had any questions.
“Just one,” I said.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“ Why did you have to be just there?”
“Because my boss told me too!” he replied.
The day brightened when I arrived at my favourite caravan park and owner Lucy greeted me by saying, “Welcome home!”
Then she spoilt it by calling me a hoon!