June 15 - 27, 2012...Queensland, slowly blogging our way north!...(Beware too much blog! :))

Ahh…time flies when your having the adventure of your lifetime!..I am finally getting back to the blog, and can't believe that we were just pulling into Maroochydore when I last pulled up the blog…my bad! 

I do remember feeling very excited to be under a roof and sleeping in a bed that night, especially since I was beginning to feel like crap!  After checking into our accommodation I soaked in the warmth of a hot shower and felt my body slowly start to relax.  I couldn't help myself…I stood there until the hot water ran out!!  I was not feeling too crash hot …I don't know if I was just purely over whelmed by the HU (Horizons Unlimited) Conference, too much red wine the final night, or was coming down with a cold?  I think that is a combination of it all… and was beginning to realize that I had probably caught what Kev had…bummer, I do not have time for this!  Crap…I am the worst sickie, ya know!  Kev was not fully over his cold either and for the next couple of days we were thankful that we had a roof over our head and a warm bed to crawl into…we'll just wait it out!

The weather was not the greatest when we arrived in Maroochydore, but there were definite signs of improvement.  The first couple of days we lay low recuperating from the conference and nursed our colds hoping that the weather would fine up enough for us to go on some day rides. I have to tell you about my food shopping experience…you have all heard about the chicken crossing the road…well I was crossing the road and was pleasantly surprised when I was met by a bush turkey who walked next to me in crosswalk…sometimes the things that happen are uncanny, gobble gobble... I love it!!!!  Kev and I also spent a couple of days at Lachlan's house working on the bikes.  Lachlan built a super cool table that folds down from the side of Kev's pannier, and a storage tube for my bike.  I continuously find it wonderfully beautiful when we meet people that can impact our lives…We met Lachlan at the Horizon Unlimited conference in Dayboro…we were impacted by many cool people there!  OK…We did manage to get in a couple of glorious rides in while we were in this blissful area.  One day we explored the Glasshouse Mountains region and surrounding areas, and I can tell you that we were pleasantly surprised when we came across dirt roads to play on!  We also ventured around, up and down the Sunshine Coastal …just absolutely stunning!  We were lucky enough to have Michael, (the son of a great Kiwi family we had stayed with) come up from Brissy to show us some sights, even the Big Pineapple…ha ha ha…thanks Michael!  Lan and Skilly, a couple of adventure riders we had met at the HU Conference were kind enough to keep tack of us and invite us to their place for a home cooked meal.  It was a fabulous night of food, friendship and travel tips.  Lan and Skilly being seasoned adventurers gave us some great advice.  We planned our next leg and soaked up every skerik of info we could!…Thanks for the fabulous hospitality - Lan and Skilly…hope to meet you on the road, somewhere some day! :)  The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful place, a little slice of heaven you could say? 

Fully recovered from our colds, Kev and I were once again traveling north.  We are definitely ready for some more camping and can't wait to test our table out.  Kev inputed the address into his phone for Inskip.  The phone is actually working fairly well as a navigation tool for now.  It can become a problem though... as it is continually pulling data, and can drain our megabytes along with our power. Along the way one of our dry bags that Kev carries wriggled loose and fell off his bike.  Firstly, luckily I was behind him and saw this happen, and secondly had enough time to swerve!  This dry bag was no longer waterproof, but it was still useable! Inskip is near Rainbow Beach, and one of the access points, via ferry, to Fraser Island.  This is going to be totally totally cool…and I can't wait to cook on our table that Lachlan built…I just love saying that…"our table that Lachlan built"…ha ha ha!!  Kev booked a camp site the night before, so there is no stopping…well maybe only for some firewood and wine…and now all we had to do is pick out the perfect location!  We rode into the camping locations, woo doggies…they are pretty sandy, this is a little challenging, bro!  In some parts we were carefully ride/straddle throttle/walking the bikes through deep sandy grooves trying not to dump it.  Oh yeah I was beginning to work up a sweat…most of it nerves…ha ha ha!   We decided to park the bikes and walk out into potential camping spots and give the awkward bike sand shuffle a rest.  We finally came across the sweetest camp site ever…and bonus there was tan bark that packed most of the trail in…SCORE!  Too cool…we propped the bikes up on their center stands on a couple of pieces of firewood…thank god the pieces were nice and flat, it all seems to be working out!  The tent goes up without a hitch…time to pour some wine and go for a walk on the beach…Heaven!  It was time to get serious and lay down the table that Lachlan built…ha ha ha, and get to cooking, but I was having a seriously hard time taking my eyes off the pastel pinks and blue colors of the beach sunset! Oh just one more wine and I will start dinner on the whisper lite stove that is resting on the table that Lachlan built!…ha ha ha…just can't help myself, guys!  Ok I bet you would like to know what I cooked on the stove that set on the table that Lachlan built…hey???  Well it was a rice concoction that included pesto and vegetables.  It tasted mighty good, well maybe the bottle of wine that we consumed may have had something to do with it…ha ha ha…, it was a great day, and shaping up to be a fantastic night!

The night sky was beyond description!  Every star that could shine was twinkling…"Look at me…NO…Look at me!", it was simply amazing!!  I should have gazed at the midnight blue skies all night long?..sounds like a song!…ha ha ha.  I can't get over how comfortable the ground was/is…I seem to sleep really well?  The surf just pounded the sandy embankment below us … if there was anything scary outside I would not have heard it, I found that very comforting.  The surf roared, and then the skies opened up…our little 2 1/2 man tent was pounded by fat juicy rain drops the entire night…big ones that actually dent and bounce off the nylon it was pretty awesome.  Kev and I were cozy inside…I hope it eases in the morning?  

It was pretty wet outside when we unzipped and rolled out of our tent…ha ha ha …yes, you actually have to roll out, or do that awkward daddy long leg step over, out and up…ha ha ha maybe I'm just getting old, and that is how it feels to me!!  Its all good!  This morning it is spitting and slightly dreary, although…fingers crossed there is a slight chance that it could clear!  We have booked a tour of Fraser Island today and they will be picking us up from Inskip Point at 7:50 am!  Gotta get a move on…eat brekky, safely secure our gear, and ride our bikes out to the parking area before the point.  The 4wd bus will pick us up before driving onto the ferry bound for Fraser Island.

I'm glad that we did not attempt to ride our bikes on Fraser.  The sand would have most definitely been quite an issue!  Even the bus had a few devilish moments!  Fraser Island was pretty much how I remembered it as a young girl…nothing had really changed in 32 years since I was there…really a beautiful thing!  Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, spanning over 123 kilometers in length and is strikingly beautiful! It was fantastic to enjoy the luxury of being able to sit back and relax, listen to our driver, Woody's, yarns, and take in the beauty as he maneuvered this 4wd beast of a bus over the sandy island side!  The morning started off quite dreary and drizzly as we made our way through the awesome forests to Lake McKenzie.  Lucky for us,  it did eventually fine up and we enjoyed the rest of our day in sunshine.  Now that the sun was out Kev and I enjoyed a very cool refreshing float down Eli Creek… one of the crystal clear freshwater creeks of Fraser Island.  We stopped at the Maheno, one of Fraser Islands wrecks.  The Maheno was built in 1905 and was one of the first turbine driven steamers.  In 1935 the Maheno drifted helplessly onto Fraser Island's ocean beach when its tow line was snapped in a cyclonic storm on its way to Japan. The contrast of the rusting boat beneath the crisp pale blue skies, clear turquoise waters and white sands was captivating.  I found myself snapping picture after picture at every angle possible, until the bus was about to leave with out me…ha ha ha.  I could feel the draw towards the decaying body of the Maheno, it had so many stories to tell, in life and death…ahh I could have stayed there for hours listening!  We were also lucky enough to see dingos…I counted 10!  

The next morning we awoke to rain.  Ok lets just wait it out we thought…but it kept on raining and raining and raining!!  RightieO… lets try and get everything sorted out in the tent before we try and transport everything back in and on the bikes.  We moved as quickly as we could…this was going to be an interesting day!  Already wet, sandy and somewhat steamy from our fast pack up pace we climbed on our bikes and rode north in hopes of clear skies!

We were not going to get a break today!  We rode continually in rain for as long as we could…the chills were starting to set in now!  I could definitely hear it in Kev's radio communications, and my legs were now shivering against the bike.  Stopping for petrol in Bundaberg Kev asked the attendant for accommodation advice.  There would be no camping it tonight.  A dry room, any room as long as it had a bath!  The attendant directed us to Bagara Beach, which was 15 K towards the coast.  In that last 15 K's I could not get my mind off the idea of a hot bath.   The second motel that we pulled into had a room with a spa tub…Score!  Ahh you can bet your booties that once I entered the room I made a b-line directly to the bathroom and turned on the hot water.  Peeling off all my wet gear I jumped in the tub and finally stopped shivering.  We soaked for at least an hour…ahh warm water never felt so good!  There was a small space heater in the room so I arranged all of our heavy wet riding gear in drying positions, turned on the ceiling fan and hoped that our gear would dry!  

I slept like a log last night…a wonderful feeling!  A quick peep outside revealed damp overcast weather.  It was not raining this moment, but the chances were high that it would soon do so.  Kev and I have an arrangement…we take turns in calling the decisions of the day.  Today was my choice in movement, lunch location and sleep choice!…Lucky me!!  Ha ha ha….I did not disappoint, today I could not make up my mind…ha ha ha!  I turned to google weather for the answer, but that was still iffy…Im just going to call it…We are going!  My plan was to ride to Yeppoon, a coastal town north of Rockhampton, "Rocky" to the locals.  We packed up, dressed up and saddled up…and yes most everything did somewhat dry overnight…underlining somewhat!…A few damp patches here and there won't kill ya!  My boots were damp… double underlined, maybe that that classifies as wet, not squishy though?  My super long purple woolen socks would protect me?…My socks ROCK!  

Wouldn't you know it…just as we are pulling out of the motel it begins to heavily spit!  My fingers are crossed that it does not turn into a steady shower, and for now it seemed to be working.  I could see patches of blue sky and hoped that it would open up the further north we moved.  The one thing about riding in dreary grey weather is that you miss out on some beautiful views that you know are there but can't see through the low clouds and mist.  Today we would be riding over the Tropic of Capricorn, that's pretty exciting and should turn all the grey skies blue hey???  The sun did pop out now and again to reveal a clean crisp Australian landscape.  The entire countryside smelt of a newly washed load of laundry washed in eucalyptus soap and the gum leaves glistened as they dried in the sun.  It was a fabulous moment!  I opened my visor to take it all in and I found myself inhaling large breathes of clean country air…Mmmm…Wonderful!…Feeling a little light headed I eased up on the inhales and concentrated on the road…ahh it is so beautiful!  Kev and I stopped at a petrol station to fill up and decided to break and eat lunch.  I had not packed anything to eat for lunch so we ate petrol station pies and chips, and relaxed our backs into a retro 70's style vinyl chair.  In that short lunch break it had began to rain again…oh well, at least we are 1/2 way to Yeppoon!  We rode the final leg of our day through intermittent rain.  As we rolled into Rocky, I could not help feel that we were riding into Texas!  There were huge fiberglass cows/bulls everywhere…Yee Ha!!…ha ha ha.  Only 30 K's or so to Yappoon…now that deserves a Yippie ky ae!!… Kev and I discussed our night options and being that it was my day to decide I chose sheets instead of sleeping bags!  This rain is getting a little costly…or maybe we just haven't toughened up enough!

We ended up staying 2 nights in Yappoon.  It was an easy decision to make as it continued to rain…I think that the wet and cold had finally caught up with us once more,  we both felt pretty drained.  Yappoon is a lazy beachy town,  just a little grey at the moment.  I am sure that the school holiday travelers flowing into the area with their campers felt the same way! 

Kev and I toyed with the idea of another day in Yappoon, but there just was not much going on and we were getting antsy.  The skies were still grey and overcast as we left the area.  We decided to cover as much ground as we possibly could today and rode hard once again hoping for fairer skies.  By three o'clock or so we were getting fairly close to Mackay and decided to veer off towards the coast once more and stay in a small community called Sarina Beach.  There was not much there at all…a huge sign warning us of croc's and stingers, a petrol station that also served as the local takeaway shop, one over priced restaurant, 2 motels and a lonely dog that followed us up and down the street!  It was still too cold and damp to pitch the tent, so we snagged the last room in a simple motel and relaxed.  Friends have advised us to steer clear of the larger towns, such as Rocky or Mackay where the mining industry is booming. Hotels, motels and private camp sites are taking advantage of the huge mining boom and have inflated their accommodation prices…a much appreciated tip…thanks!! 

Next stop SUN…at least I hope!