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Townsville to Mount Coolon

My first taste of Inland Queensland

semi-overcast 25 °C

8/6/11 Townsville to Mount Coolon Hotel
Alarm went off at 5.30am but didn't get up until 6.30am. A couple of coffees and toast then started the last of the packing up the little items inside and out ready for the final pack up and pull down.
We finished without a hitch, had showers - dislike immensely washing my hair with soap! Next time I'll leave out my shampoo!
We were heading out at 9.55am.
A stop for the boys to "relieve themselves" nothing like a good poo to start your trip in comfort!
We drove through Townsville, passed the Palmetum and out onto Stuart Drive which becomes Flinders Highway. A last phone call to Jim's Mom to say "Goodbye" and we head to Charters Towers.
There's quite.a bit of roo roadkill which as a result we saw two flocks of hawks and some crows as well as some single or multiple hawks either feeding or circling. Jimmi had to toot the horn well ahead to worn the birds, apparently they need to release the roadkill from their talons and if you don't warn them you can hit them.
Found a new picnic spot for when we return up here. It is at William Henry Webb Creek - old road still accessible from the Charters Towers side, down to the creek bed but not all the way across. A lot like Keelbottom Creek location.
Stopped for a doggie pee and stretch our legs break at the Burdekin River, approx 20kms from Charters Towers.
Charters Towers is 130kms west from Townsville.
We stopped for another pee break and stretch on our way to Cape River.  Large stretches of roadwork being done and all the roads are pretty good. Red!
Drove through a lot of cattle country - Brahmans, then the trees changed and it was all wattles - yellow blooms, hugging a small section of road. With the delicate scent of wattles filling the car.  The tree foliage became greyer.  Not a lot of large trees, and those eucalypts had mistletoe all over them - not a sign of health.
Crazy cloud formations on a stunning blue sky. Took some pics through the windscreen.
It's a long pretty straight road, except when it's not!  Jimmi says it's not boring to drive like the Bruce Highway (coast road) because the scenery changes so much and is more interesting. Stunning country. Soil changes from deep red to pale almost colorless sand. Lots of creeks although not much water at present.
We haven't seen much wildlife other than hawks and crows. A lot less butterflies than the coast road.  If you don't count the roo/wallaby roadkill!
After stopping at Cape Creek which turned out to be a semi circular parking area with little shade and just off the main road, we had a coffee and the boys and I walked down to the little creek before Cape Creek. Water only on one side of the road, it had slowed down to become a billabong. Lilies growing so you know there is no real water movement and it looked a bit brackish at the roadside.  Thee boys got their feet wet and we went back to the truck for that coffee and the boys a drink.  
Back on the road and we get a call on the CB from a patrol for a wide load coming north, she said when we see the first police car to pull right over coz the load is 10 meters. After a little while we saw the police car followed by a semi and a cattle truck and pulled off to the left. Thinking that the load must still be coming Jimmi pulled completely off the road as far as the shoulder which dipped down allowed.  And then came the vehicle! It was a flatbed semi with a house on it!  It took up both lanes and Jimmi was concerned whether it was going to clear us.  Only be 2 meters even when we were completely off the road!  Got a picture with the iPad. When they mean wide load or oversize in Queensland, they mean it!
Cattle grids across the bitumen!
We pulled back onto the road after the 2nd police escort and several trucks passed.  On to Bolyanda Crossing to check it out otherwise we go to Mount Coolon.
Was the smallest caravan park, two islands of trees with power and water connections. We decided not to stay and to head to Mount Coolon.
We Turned onto the Bowen Dev Road - unsealed dirt road with a couple of sporadic bits of bitumen - usually at the floodways! Those small sections of paved road, as a reprieve, then back to gravel.
Galahs, flocks of tiny little birds, willy wag tails, no fences and Brahman cattle on and next to the road. Saw a couple of kangaroos too.
More Cattle grids!
Dust clouds followed us to the Mt Coolon Hotel.
More kangaroos across from a man-made billabong.
Jimmi called out "giant budgies" I didn't see any and darned and behold we saw on dead on the road that looked like a big budgie!
Looks like they've been doing a bit of fence line burn off - fire break or weed control?
Egrets, herons, happy jacks and a magnificent sunset throwing colours of deep reds, pinks, yellows onto the undersides of the clouds and on the red dirt road.
Arrived at 5.40pm - did a basic set up, which means we unloaded the camper, piled everything outside, set up the beds and went off to the Hotel for dinner.  Was offered a powered site which meant we got a long extension cord plugged into the washing machine slot at the back of their house, that ran out the backyard to the van.
We had the special which was steak, chips and salad.  We sat at the bar with the other mine and road guys and got chatting about where we're from, going, why Mount Coolon and what roads to take tomorrow, until our meals came.  Nice outback pub, nothing flash, food plentiful and cheap - not fabulous but edible.  Genuinely nice people.  Looking for a good night sleep.
Taking the boys out for a walk was not too successful except for the walk part.  They were so excited by all the smells and paths in the long grass they barely managed to stop to pee. Maybe another "walk" before bed.

Posted by Jimandtina 01:39 Archived in Australia

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