The forecast for Monday was rain and cold. Yep, that’s how it was, plus it was dark when we left because we wanted to get as far as we could the first two days. Through the Hunter Valley it was cold and dark and wet and then windy. The load on the bikes made the front end a bit light and you really felt it in the wind. The rain eased to just the occasional heavy shower, you know when you just start to dry out from one rain episode in time to get wet with the next. Eventually, by the time we got north of Gunnedah, Quirindi, Boggabri and Narrabri it started to dry out and warm up. The clouds were low over the hills and covering the top of the hills of Mt Kaputar National park. My suit kept me warm and dry, but my boots leak!
We reached Moree and decided it was late enough and it had been a big enough day, about 600km. On the side of the road I saw a sign for a motel with an artesian spa, that sounded like a great way to end the day. It had a Chinese restaurant so we didn’t have to go looking for dinner. My fortune cookie said “You are on track to starting something new”, how prophetic.
I was still trying to get my head around what we were actually going to be doing for the next 6 weeks. You might know it is true, but it is still hard to believe. Yesterday I kept saying to myself, we’re just going for a ride tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and the next and the next……. The distance was even harder to imagine, but one step at a time.
The next morning was bright and sunny, a bit hard, riding into the sun as it is just rising with a road still wet. We wanted to get to Rockhampton today, only 800km. So it was ride and fuel up, ride and fuel up, lunch, ride and fuel up. The farming got bigger and the mines got bigger, must be in Queensland now. Keeping an eye out all the time for wildlife there was an emu, an echidna, a dingo and lots of eagles along the road. We made it to Rockhampton and didn’t feel too bad. The plan was to get to Townsville by Thursday as the bikes were booked in for a service on Friday. Day 3 was really the beginning of our holiday, we hit the coast and it did feel like we were in the tropics, it warmed up quickly.
I couldn’t wait to start camping, so we found a national park just north of Mackay and set up camp and walked on the beach and the rocks and looked at the Whitsunday islands and relaxed. So exciting to be somewhere new, wish I had a sailing boat. Kevin kept complaining that we were going past and around all the hills instead of over them.
Townsville is a big place and the first thing that happened was that we nearly got a parking ticket. We had just stopped at the tourist information place which is right in the middle of the city on a narrow street and paid parking. Just how are tourists with big vans meant to get in and out of here? Bad planning. We found a place to camp near the water, not sure how far south crocodiles come, but we did see a cane toad, ugly critter. Being in town they get right into security, there was a pin number for the boom gate, a code for the amenities which changed everyday, the wifi code aaaahh, I am on holidays, my brain can’t handle it. And it is hot.
Friday morning we got the bikes to the BMW dealer and checked out the tyres we had ordered. Hmmm not sure if they will be the best for dirt roads but that is all they have for us. We spent the day wondering around town and getting supplies for the next part… heading west.