Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Back in Queensland

More of this boring, sunny weather, though it’s getting a bit cooler, generally under 30 C in the afternoon and down to around 12 at night. 

My friend Alf, from Yeoval, insisted that I contact “Mel and Susie” in Lightning Ridge. They call themselves “Bush Poets”, and Alf knows them well. (Alf seems to know everyone!) They perform every evening at one of the other caravan parks in town, so I rode over. They put on a great show, with stories, skits, and, of course, poetry. They make a big effort to get to know everyone in the audience, including the mad cyclist from Wisconsin. They even invited me to stay at their place, but I had to be moving on. 

With Mel (L) and Susie

On the way to Hebel the next day, while I was sitting in the shade having lunch, a woman driving by stopped to chat. She was driving from McKay all the way to Adelaide to meet a group of cyclists who were riding from there to Darwin. She was driving the support vehicle. 

On the Road to Hebel


Along the way to Hebel, termite mounds began to appear, a sign of northward progress.

Border Crossing

Just before Hebel, I crossed into Queensland. Now, I've met a lot of Queenslanders and, despite what they say about them down in Victoria, most of them seem quite civilized.

My first stop in Queensland was Hebel, which consists of a pub and a store/restaurant/caravan park. I knew the store was open under new management. It also turned out that the previous owners were there in their converted bus. I had met them in 2015, so I went over to say hello. 

Hebel Campsite

The Hebel Store was much the same as in 2015, though this time there were fewer thorns in the tent site. The pub across the road is still a dump, an authentic outback pub.

The Hebel General Store

The Hebel Pub
It's another barren ride to Dirranbandi, with signs of recent tree clearing. Dirranbandi is a nice town, though, with a nice caravan park, cafe, grocery, and bakery. And a pub, of course. None of them had bars on the windows.

On to Dirranbandi


The next stop, Thallon, is an even smaller town. The only business in town is the pub/store/post office. There's camping at the sports ground nearby.  

Final Destination: Roma

Queensland Scenery

The murals painted on the grain silos in Thallon are quite new. They were painted at night, with an image projected on them to guide the painters.

Thallon Silo Mural

Thallon Mural Sign

The next morning in Thallon, I didn't expect the pub to be open for breakfast. However, when I arrived they seemed to be just finishing up a buffet breakfast, with just enough left for me. The publican wouldn't even let me pay for it.

It was a very short ride to Nindigully, so I played my oboe for a bit in the park in Thallon.

Thallon Oboe Spot

Thallon Pub

I discovered the Nindigully Pub on a bus ride in 2004, and stayed there in 2015.  Another typical outback pub, except there's no pretense of a town. Just the pub and free camping along the Moonie River. The pub even has free showers. And campsites with picnic tables, a rare luxury in these parts.

Approaching Nindigully

The Nindigully Pub

Nindigully Beer Garden

Inside the Nindigully Pub
Nindigully Campsite
The last time I was at Nindigully, someone showed me the rain water tank, so this time I just helped myself.  It's a big tank, but the water was very low. I got enough, but when I later asked, I was told it was dry because someone had left the tap open. Maybe having the rain water tank right next to the beer garden isn't such a great idea.

The ride on to St. George the next day was another short, easy one. St. George is one of the largest towns in the area, with all the usual services. The council caravan park, which was a real dump in 2004, is much nicer now. My neighbors had a big poodle, which barked at me, so I thought I ought to go over and introduce myself. Rufus turned out to be quite friendly, and I met a group of women from Brisbane traveling around in campervans, and Jeff, the husband of one of them, who flew out to meet them in a small airplane he owns. They even invited me for dinner, despite being thoroughly convinced than anyone who would ride a push-bike all over Australia must be completely mad.

On to St. George

20 km to St. George
I'm spending the day in St. George, resting up for the 122 km (76 mile) ride to Surat tomorrow. There's supposed to be a tailwind.

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