Townsville – Ravenswood – Giru – Townsville – Part 1

Google maps showed a dirt road that crosses from the Flinder’s Highway over to Ravenswood through the farmland and scrub. Internet searching showed other maps that also indicated a through road. Our friends looked at Queensland topography maps and could see a track that might allow us through on this Easter long weekend three day cycle touring adventure. It started well…IMG_3281.jpg

Four of us decided to tackle the mystery road rather than sticking with the bitumen to Ravenswood. We left at 6am on Friday morning to allow ourselves plenty of time, and spent some time enjoying breakfast at Calcium roadhouse 50kms into the journey.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring

Shortly after crossing Reid River, we spotted the road to the left that Google ‘street view’ boldly proclaimed as the start of our dirt road.The Bicycle Pedlar - adventure cycling

Uncertain about the official looking biosecurity sign, we stood around a few moments discussing our options. A couple of cars came out of the property…they were no real help, being from Charters Towers, but they didn’t think the road lead anywhere except into private property.

Not to be deterred, we continued on the highway until we reached Cardington Road…IMG_3289.jpg

…which quickly turned to well graded dirt. We crossed the grid bridge over the river…IMG_3294.jpg

…and followed the road along through herds of cattle and over a couple of creek crossings…IMG_3299.jpg

When we reached a grid gate about 6kms later with another official safety sign on it, we thought we should drop by the farmhouse that we could see close by, and ask permission to continue on their land.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring

Theresa gave us the bad news that the road didn’t run through to Ravenswood, just ended up in bushland going nowhere. She did invite us in for a cup of tea though, served out of an enormous creamy yellow teapot, and young Sam brought out some homemade paleo biscuits. Sam, his sister Lucy and Theresa kept us entertained for a pleasant half hour in the shade before the fellows helped start Theresa’s lawnmower and left her to it.5F1751FA-7C4A-4797-8D51-B8FC22135E43

We rode back out along the dirt road, across the creek crossings and grid bridge, back to the highway where we rejoined the bitumen for another 20kms to the Mingela Hotel, bringing us to 100kms for the day so far.IMG_3312.jpg

It was closed, being Good Friday, but Ivan kindly sold us some cold cans of soft drink when he heard us pulling up to use his shady verandah. And Moana sat and chatted as we scoffed our lunch and drank lots of water to replenish our thirsty bodies.

With only 40kms to go to Ravenswood, we got back on our bikes some time after 3pm, looking forward to reaching our camping spot at the Showgrounds in a couple of hours. The afternoon was hot, and the road was definitely undulating, with slooow climbs and stunning views from the top before nicely rolling descents…IMG_3316.jpg…and cows…The Bicycle Pedlar

The new chain on our Salsa Powderkeg tandem broke, proving that new parts are no guarantee for reliability. Luckily we carry our own bike mechanic and this repair didn’t take long.

The Bicycle Pedlar - Ravenswood

The shadows were lengthening when we reached Ravenswood just before 6pm. Caretaker Woody advised us to set up our tents in the big shed at the Ravenswood Showgrounds because of the bats, so we spread ourselves out. Doug and Michelle stopped by to chat. They had camped the previous night at Reid River, and were making the most of their connections to stay in air conditioned comfort in town.The Bicycle Pedlar - Ravenswood

And then we slept.

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