Saturday 1st January 2011 – Ride statistics:
Cunnamulla - Balcardine
Distance: 674.6 km
Total ride duration: 10.5 hours
Temperature: don’t know but still very hot
Well, how did you spend New Year’s Day? I bet it wasn’t riding 675 km in the hot Ozzie outback! But I made it to Balcardine – woohoo! I got up at 5am and was on the road by 6am. This is definitely the best time of day to ride. It was still quite cool and amazing colours brought out by the rising sun. Plus, there are loads of animals about at this time. I saw kangaroos, emus, cows, birds of prey, and even a wild boar crossing the road ahead of me! Most of them wait until you get up close to them, then decide to run across in front of you. I practically chased 4 young emus up the road at one point!
The cooler temperature also makes it much easier to cover the distances. By 8.30am I’d arrived in Charleville. The lady at the servo called the police for me and confirmed that the road from there to Augathella was closed, which meant I had to do a short detour (of 100km!) along the Warrego Highway where I joined the Landsborough Highway which took me to Augathella. From there it was a straight run up the Landsborough to Balcardine. Although the scenery is lovely, the Landsborough is a really bad road to ride – tonnes of pot holes and bumps, on several occasions I found myself flying through the air as I hit a bump too hard. By the time I got to Blackhall, the last town before Balcardine, the lady in the service station said part of the road had been washed away so to be really careful. As I’d been going for 9 hours by this stage and was completely knackered, I took her advice and reduced my speed to 80-90 kph. And just as well, apart from the missing piece of road, I also passed a terrible crash. I couldn’t make out which way up the car was but as there was also a road train at the side of the road (untouched), I imagine the car was trying to overtake and misjudged it.
Anyway, I arrived safely and found a nice motel. The owner said someone had managed to get through from Townsville, so I plan to take the same route next, which is:
Balcardine – Longreach – Winton – Hughenden (one day)
At Hugenden I’ll be able to join the Flinders Highway which will take me through to Charters Towers, where I can pick up the road to Mount Molloy. So only 2-3 more days riding, yeh! I haven’t decided if I’ll have a rest day here in Balcardine tomorrow, or press on while the weather is still good. I have blisters on my bum from all the riding!
Posted by Jill Maden at January 01, 2011 10:01 AM GMT