January 04, 2011 GMT
Water Over Road

When I woke up this morning and thought about having to do another Development Road in the blistering heat, I almost didn’t get up at all. I had really scared myself yesterday and I didn’t want to end up over-exposing myself again. So I prayed (I’ve been doing a lot of that recently), “I’m going to need some help today God”. Within a few minutes, it occurred to me that I should just ride as far as Charters Towers (250km), then do the Development Road tomorrow morning when its still cool.

So feeling a lot better with this plan, off I set. About 70km outside of Charters Towers, I saw the first sign for “Water Over Road”, however, it was only over my side, so I was able to pass it quite easily on the other side of the road. 10km later though, another sign warned of more “Water Over Road” and this is what I was presented with:



It was 300mm high, flowing quickly and the road was full of pot holes so I decided the best thing to do would be to turn back and get some breakfast at a nearby roadhouse, then see how it was on my return. When I got back an hour later, all the cars that had been queuing up had gone and I was the only one there.


The depth indicator showed it was now 200mm high but this was still too high for me, so I decided to wait and see if it subsided anymore. Just when I was thinking about how a truck driver ferried Ewen and Charlie’s bikes over some rivers on the Road of Bones in Long Way Round, and how good it would be if that happened to me, a lovely man called Keith pulled up in his Land Cruiser ute and offered me a lift over. He was so masterful and just took complete charge of the situation. He drove his ute onto a verge so that the ramp at the back wasn’t too steep then just walked my fully laden bike over as if it was a push bike. We needed to unload it to get it up the ramp, then I had to stand on the back of the ute and hold onto it for dear life so that it didn’t topple over as we forded the creek. A couple of other guys helped us get it back off again. I gave him a huge hug at the end which he seemed to appreciate even though I was soaking wet!

I was so overcome with gratitude that I cried practically all the way into Charters. I have met some of the kindest, most helpful people here. They never make a fuss, they just assess the situation, realise I need help, and provide it.

So now I’m in Charters Towers in a lovely old traditional hotel with gorgeous big verandas and a cool afternoon breeze. I’m going to try and make it to Ravenshoe tomorrow, then it will just be a short trip to Mount Molloy the next day. And then I’ll be there!

Posted by Jill Maden at January 04, 2011 06:25 AM GMT

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