7th August, Wednesday Emerald to Bedford Weir (Blackwater) 102kms
It has been our intention to find a place to stay for a day or two. Billy Boiling our camps book and Wiki Camps both had this spot Bedford Weir. Heading away from Emerald we first stopped at the Coal Centre in Blackwater for a look and booked ourselves in for a mine tour on Friday morning. A brief chat to a couple who had stayed here last night suggested that the earlier you get out here the better spot you get. We arrived at lunch time, set up camp until Friday, rinsed out some clothes to last us until next CP or a Laundromat.
8th August, Thursday, Bedford Weir.
We decided to go for a short drive to the bottom of the weir where fish were supposedly being caught. At the bottom of the weir all we found was a dry river bed-no fish. Continuing along the bitumen road that must lead to somewhere we continued on our way, eventually we came to T intersection and the road turned to dirt there were signs but none of the names rang any bells and we could not find them on our hema maps. We turned right thinking it would take us in a bit of a circle back to the weir, well it did but the short drive turned into 200kms round trip. After a late lunch Bill went looking to see if anyone was catching fish. I sat and read my book and did a little bit of tapestry. We had a late night, our neighbours joined us at our campfire and as it turned out had an interest in restoring cars, his latest being a Monaro in Aqua with light coloured vinyl roof, 1970's model I think, he has in the past restored vintage cars. Nice people from Morwell, but I thought they would never go, I got to bed at 11.30 as when they arrived we had just finished dinner and I hadn't done the dishes.
9th August, Friday, Bedford Weir to Dululu (towards Rockhampton) 192km
Our first stop this morning was a mine tour in Blackwater. The BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi Alliance Coal Mine. The tour was to be 2 hours but oh what a disappointment the first 45 mins was a film on safety aspects the same as if we were being employed, a random person selected for a drug and alcohol test no one at all allowed on the sight if found with these substances, issuing of hard hats a, helmets and goggles. A 20 min trip to the mine, and then a wait whilst the random drug test took place a further wait for the
results then off to look at the mine. From a short distance we saw a dragline being serviced, then went to a pit where no action was taking place, from there we went to a lookout and way in the distance you could see the top of a dragline and 4 little dump trucks going back and forwards(now we know how big these dump trucks are and when they look like ants - well!) most disappointing, fortunately Bill & I have been to several mines and have been most impressed with what we have seen and heard from the guides, maybe it was just the wrong day to go, the guide certainly had plenty of information, just unable to see any examples today. A quick lunch and we headed off towards Rockhampton and our overnight stop Dululu Rest Area. Some campers are the pits, we pulled into a site and was promptly told by another camper we could not stop there as it was on the road, Bill said well what about this motor home pulling a trailer and small car, some expletives from the owner who was directing people away from him, I believe they were blocking his view and the sun, we also learned that he had directed 3 others away from the same spot. A couple of hours later and a big motor home bus, pulling a Suzuki on a trailer was parked and no intention of moving. I cooked Silverside in my thermal cooker today it worked better than I had expected, I am learning.
10th August, Saturday, Dululu RA to Boynedale RA 220 kms
Late leaving camp this morning, busy talking to fellow travellers, again nice people from Inverell. First stop Mount Morgan, strange how it is that looking at information you think there is nothing of interest in a town and just browsing around you discover 3.5 hours have disappeared. Mount Morgan in its prime was a gold, silver and copper mine, so lots of history a lovely restored railway station a very scenic lookout,a museum and more that we didn't have time for. Only a brief call in Rockhampton for fuel, and gas at Bunnings and we headed away towards Gladstone and overnight stay. Rockhampton a large city just like all large cities. Pulled into our overnight camp site quite late it was a little further than out GPS was telling us. Whilst at Bunning's I purchased 2 new plastic baskets to replace 1 broken one, smashed on our trip from Burketown to Normanton many weeks ago now. Leftovers for tea tonight and an early night we were both tired.
11th August, Sunday, Boynedale RA to Boynedale Bush Camp 10km
Sleep in this morning, 8.00 very cold in the early hours. Bill had phone coverage so first thing made a phone call to Bailey can't believe he is 8 today. This is the first birthday of any grandchild we have not been home for. Leisurely drive to the bush camp site not really bush but nice an outlook over the lake, 2 camps leaving offered their site we chose the one closest to the water. The short drive was to prove disastrous, Bill heard a noise and asked me to listen it sounded like stones in the hub cap, OH NO not so, 3 wheel nuts all on one side sheared off. As part of the service in Emerald, the wheel nuts were to be checked and so tightened but too tight. Fortunately we belong to RACV total care and after several hours on a badly connecting phone, we will be collected in the morning at 8.00am by RACQ taken, caravan included, into Gladstone to be fixed. Included in all this is accommodation. All I really need to do with some urgency is washing, I have been hand washing for the last couple of days and I am over that. Bill could probably fix the wheel studs and nuts himself, but there is a safety issue here of driving the car to get parts around 50kms to Gladstone. We are to be collected and taken to Gladstone at 8.00am.
12th August, Monday, Boyendale Bush Camp to Kin Cora CP Gladstone,
The truck duly arrived around 9.00am laoded car and hitched caravan and away we went heading for Gladstone and Reef City Ford for repairs, as car is still under warranty we decided to let Isuzu fix it. Our Total Care policy has given us free accomodation at CP right under the entry and exit flight patch to Gladstone Airport and you'll never guess it is NOISY at different times of the day. Jane & Richards my brother and sister it bought back memories of living on Marion Road, Adelaide, all those years ago. The repairer have lent us a vehicle to get us arround for a few days a very basic DMax like ours but only 3 months old. After a late lunch some washing was done. We are both tired from stress I guess tea, some TV and a good nights sleep. (See piccie)
13th August, Tuesday, Gladstone
The aeroplanes woke us not to early first flight is around 5.30am fortunately for us there has been heavy fog the last 2 mornings so 7.30/8.00 it starts and last flight is around 7.30pm and then the trains start coming from the mines, althougfh they come all day we are not around to notice them.
Today after a visit to the "I" centre, we went touring, 2 lookouts, a walk along the Harbour/Marina area and then a drive out past the filthy, smelly Alumina plant spewing goodness knows what into the atmosphere. A further drive took us out to Tannam Beach and Boyne Island these areas appear to be where the locals live and swim. Many phone calls took place but at last we know we will not have to pay for the wheel studs that are supposed to arrive Wednesday now not Thursday. Emerald where the car was serviced have accepted responsibility. Some shopping on the way back, folded all the washing from yesterday and today and put it away. Tea, Telly for a while and Bed.