Monday, March 31, 2008

DAY 157: Rollingstone to Ingham

Pics all of Tyto Wetlands except for 1st one of road on the way. Note Croc warning sign!

59 km at 17.0 km/hr

Sat 29th March 2008

Distance to date 9441 km (5901 miles)


The party went on until well after midnight and only quietened down after what appeared to be 2 men fighting and screaming, over the woman I think, so that was another sleep-deprived night. It left me feeling somewhat down during the morning too, not helped by a sore bum. This stretch of road is not overly-scenic so there was little to distract me from the negativity until I stopped in at the Frosty Mango cafe where some raisin toast with mango jam with pot of tea, and a nice chat with the cheerful chatty waitress perked me up somewhat.

It was hard going today though - the wind was not as favourable being somewhat light and on the right side, and my early mood didn’t help of course.

After about 40km the chain came off all of a sudden, and I found that it was quite slack, after me having tensioned it at Bowen a few days ago. The 2 locking bolts were slack, and I can only surmise that I didn’t tighten them enough last time. I then noticed that the bottom bracket was free to move sideways to and fro, which didn’t seem right either. Anyhow when I retensioned and tightened the 2 bolts firmly home it seemed OK again. I need to check whether the BB should move in and out like this. (For those unfamiliar with Rohloff hub gears, the chain is tensioned by an eccentric adjustment of the bottom bracket with a special tool, which I brought with me as it happens).

I don’t have a watch at the moment so I didn’t know the time, and I was surprised when I got to the VIC and found it was 1410 - what a slow day! I learnt that is no caravan park / camping for another 50-odd km to the north so I had various options ranging from stay at the CP here in Ingham, ride 18km to the coast where there are several CP’s (this meant cycling the same 18km back too), or carry on up the Bruce Highway and hope to find a wild camping place.

I decided to think about it whilst having a look around the Tyto Wetlands here in Ingham - this is a 2.5km track winding around a wetland lake and features various bird hides and viewing platforms. It’s a very nice set-up but completely devoid of people as usual. As soon as I entered the area a dozen or more pale brown Agile Wallabies that were grazing on the short grass scattered in every direction in alarm, and I spotted birds such as Magpie and Greylag Geese, along with many Honeyeaters and some others that I did not recognise. I also saw a sign saying not to camp near water because there ARE crocodiles in here - but conversely this must mean you ARE allowed to camp here. Well, a nods as good as a wink to a blind man, so that’s tonight’s venue sorted! I found a secluded corner 2km from the entrance where I was sure I’d be undisturbed.

But first I needed some shopping, and after this whilst exploring the rest of the town I spotted a pub advertising pints of Guinness for $3.50 - a bargain compared to the $6 I’ve been paying previously - so I duly partook (One did the trick). I was the only person in the pub which was a bit sad, but the owner and I had a good chat whilst I eagerly sipped his porter. He had reduced it because it wasn't selling well. It was starting to darken so back to camp, via a long and interesting chat to a guy, Tom (I think) who was walking around the reserve.

It was just about dark now and the mozzies were in plague proportions (natural in a wetland area) so first thing was to spray repellent all over. I quickly got the tent up and got a bit of a fright as a wallaby noisily crashed through the undergrowth nearby, and I realised I was a little near an access path / escape route for the animals so that might happen again.

As it was so insect-intense I didn’t bother cooking outside but made tuna sandwiches safely inside the tent - I have some good fresh brown rolls so it was quite tasty. I expect and hope that tonight WILL be a peaceful one!

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