Friday 12th August, 2011 Day 14…
Odo start, 6,223 K's
Odo end, 6,667 K's
Distance Travelled. 444 K's
Accommodation, Atherton Caravan Park $30/Night for a powered site…
The day started early, up at 6am to find everything soaked with morning dew..
We arranged the bikes out front for a group shot, then Kev and Clive rode off for Cooktown.
I mucked around for another hour trying to dry my tent, finally leaving for Cooktown at 8:45am
It was another beautiful day, blue skies, fresh breeze and some great roads to explore.
The night before Kev had spotted that my tripod tube bracket had fractured, we ran a few large cable ties around it to support it until i could get a new bracket. After fuelling up at Cooktown, 13.74Ltrs $20.20 for 312k's I was told about the big shed, where i should be able to source the required bracket, yup the big shed could help out, it was a very productive morning.
This was all about to change!!!!
I plugged Chillagoe into the Zumo and off we went, taking some dirt road. The road looked great and was a ball to ride…
That was until i hit a gate, a couple of hundred meters past where a turn should have been, and the zumo was telling me to ride ahead for 6k's then do a U Turn! I Decided to quit whilst i was ahead.
I backtracked to Cooktown and followed the road to Cairns. After Desailly, the Zumo once again turned me onto a dirt road, i should have learned from this mornings problems, but no, i thought what could go wrong…..
It was another superb road, i finally came to a river crossing, there was a bloke in a 4x4 Canter setup on the river bank, so i thought i would just confirm that the road i was on would indeed get me to Chillagoe, Yup no worries the guy said, you will need to go through Mt Mulligan, Oh and up the road you will see an Aboriginal Land Sign, just ignore it…..
I set off walking my bike through the crossing, it was a concrete causeway that was a little green, I first entered a Conservation Reserve, then sure enough 10k's further on was the Aboriginal Land sign. As my GPS had it as a gazetted road and he was adamant that i could cross, wearily i entered.
Cruising along nice and slow it was a beautiful area, that was until the sandy creek crossings and numerous side roads that appeared. Next thing i know my Zumo has no idea where i am so now i start getting nervous. I have no idea where i am, no idea if the road go's anywhere, and no idea if i have enough fuel, basically i have "No Idea" But look at the landscape…
I finally come to a Gate for Mount Mulligan Station, i start to relax a little, the road continues to be a bit challenging in places, but the storm on her standard tyres is getting the job done. I finally get to the abandoned town of Mt Mulligan, an old Mining town, i walk through the old cemetery and read of the Mining Disaster that hit the area on the 19th September, 1921.
Now feeling far more confident as my Zumo had finally figured out where i was, i rode out of town, or tried to..
Hmm a low speed get off, i hit some bull dust and over she went. I tried to pick her up loaded but failed, so i stripped the camping gear off the rear rack and up she came, no damage, just a dented ego..
I repacked the bike, jumped back on to ride off and realised there was damage! The foot peg lowering kit i had bought had failed dismally on a 30kph get off, and this was with pivot pegs,,,, Not happy. I tried to bend it back, but didn't have anything with enough leverage, the nearest servo was about 30 k's away so i set off once i had checked that the rear brake wasn't on.
I finally made it into Dimbulah after another few close calls with bull dust, i rode through town looking for a mechanic, no luck, but there was a engineering shop, i rode in and the guys were fantastic, they bent my peg straight again, but we discovered that the brake lever was snafu, it had torn apart where the clevice pin go's through, no worries i can tig weld that says the guy.
We strip the lowering kit from the frame, i was going to straighten it out and reuse it, but on closer inspection i decided not to, it would be very weak if i was to fall on that side again (which i probably will) the lever comes back still twisted but now in one piece, the only problem i have now is that the lever is very high due to the bend, i have had a go at adjusting it tonight, but the bend is causing the problem, i think i'll just have to ride around it. And what did the guy charge me? $20.00 What a bargain.
After realising how quickly things can go wrong out here i asked the engineer about the Burke Development Road, he wasn't very complimentary and told me it was mustering time, so the road would be quite busy and probably have a fair bit of bull dust by now.
With this info, i decide to change my route, so it is off towards Atherton after a quick refuel $24.00 15.93 ltrs for 340 k's
Tomorrow i head for Mt Surprise and Normanton.