TO CAMERON'S CORNER - ON A BUGGERED KNEE!
Ron is a member of a group of what these days are called “Adventure Tourers”. This particular group includes men who are afflicted with some of the ravages that time can bring – like crook backs (I’ve got one of those) and crook knees etc. So they call themselves the “Buggered Knee Trailriders”. I love the name! And I admire the fact that, despite these physical problems, they are out there doing the hard riding stuff! Recently he and a fellow member of the “Buggered Knee Trailriders” did a trip out to Cameron’s Corner, which, as you probably know, is the north-west corner of NSW, where the three states meet. Ron is at home recuperating from his second knee replacement (doing justice to the group’s name!) and so he very kindly wrote a story of his trip. Take it away, Ron!
Day One: I left Bluewater just north of Townsville on my trusty Suzuki DR650. I went through Townsville, out to Charters Towers and then on to Torrens Creek. I left after a break and headed down the dirt road to Aramac and met a truckie with several blown tyres about at the half way point where we had a yarn and a cuppa. I then left and made it to Aramac early afternoon.
Todd transported his KTM 520 to Longreach from Mount Isa in his ute, unloaded and left Longreach heading through Ilfacombe and up to Aramac where we met at the road junction on the Barcaldine road. We then decided to go to Barcaldine where we booked into the caravan park. Very good place to stay and very nice people. We then walked up town to have a feed.
Day Two: We packed up our bikes and rode around Barcaldine taking in the sights and then headed to Blackall which was a bitumen road - and where we nearly ended our trip! I was leading and sitting on 100kph with Todd following when this car pulled out to pass him. It was taking its time so I was watching the mirror probably more than I should have, as the car was about to pass me. All of a sudden it jammed on its brakes and came to a near stop just as I spotted a kangaroo!
The kangaroo had come out of the grass and luckily turned and ended up going up the road parallel with me. Blew all of the carbon out of the heart! We had lunch at Blackall and headed off to Adavale. The road was slippery in places as it had just rained. It was a beautiful part of the country to be riding through and when we got to Adavale the place was deserted so we had a rest and then carried on to Quilpie and decided to carry on to Eromanga where we stayed behind the pub in a room. We planned to camp but when we priced a room it was a far better option as the rooms in most of these outback towns are very cheap. Exceptional place and people and I recommend it to everyone.
Day Three: We left Eromanga and headed to Noccundra where we arrived at midday.
After we fueled up I rang Fenn at Cameron Corner Store and told him that we expected to arrive around 4.00pm. We left on the road to Warrigate on the border and about 40km from the border there is a cross over road of 12km and I must say that we were warned about the bulldust on this section. We took it in our stride with fully laden bikes, but the secret was to keep going, which we did. At the end of this part we took a much-needed break. We then headed off on the 100km to Cameron Corner which was different as there was a mice plague and as you were riding you could feel them under your wheels. We did the usual tourist thing at the corner. Camping was out because of the mice but the accommodation was excellent, the service was second to none, the beer was cold and the meals were very good and very big.
Day Four: As we were leaving Fenn told us of a back road through the oil fields that would get us to Innamincka. So we took his advice and rode through some of the most beautiful country that there was and arrived at Innamincka at around midday where we had a feed and then we went and filled up our bikes.
While we were sitting around one of the locals asked us where we were going. We were planning to go through to Thargomindah and then he dropped a bomb-shell telling us that this way was flooded and we would have to go through the oil wells and come out at Noccundra which was 400km and also the road was full of bulldust as the trucks were using it as a by pass. So we took a vote and left on the mud map which he had drawn for us. The bulldust was deep and went on forever but we made it to Noccundra. Now we will leave that as the end of the day because I always say that if you cannot say anything nice about a place it is better off saying nothing.
Day Five: We left Noccundra and headed for Thargomindah and about 20km into our day the KTM started playing up so we ended up pulling it apart to get rid of the dirty fuel that was purchased. We arrived at Thargomindah and booked into the council caravan park.
We did our washing and had a good rest. The care-takers were very helpful and even offered to take us to the pub as I had a knee that was booked in for replacement and suffered badly through all of the bulldust. I'd done nearly 400km, standing on the footpegs, and it took its toll on the knee. We went to the pub and met a lot of the locals and had a very enjoyable night.
Day Six: We had a good breakfast and headed to Windorah and I think that the only dry place for the first 100km was the road. We stopped at a place called Toompine for a cuppa and a bite and as it is a working station they were shearing sheep and you were allowed to get in amongst and watch how it was being done.
Rain started so we left and made it to Quilpie; and with the rain came the cold so we kept going until we were at Windorah. What a sight is the solar power station! We got a shared room at Windorah for $15.00 each and had our meal at the local where we mixed with tourists from all over. Some very interesting stories were told by all.
Day Seven: We left Windorah on our way back to Longreach. About 20km out of Jundah there was a local Police Officer on his lonesome conducting random breath test. His first question to me was “Is there any reason that you won’t pass this test because I am not in the mood for paper work?” I said to give it to me as there won’t be any problems and we both passed. He also liked what we were doing and kept us talking about bikes for one and a half hours! Next stop was Jundah which is one of those must-see places; very tidy place and very welcoming people.
We then went into Stonehenge and carried on to Longreach. Todd loaded up his bike and went to his parent’s place which is a cattle station in the area, while I filled up and went through Winton and made it to Hughenden for the night.
Day Eight: Well, all good things come to and end. Todd went back to Mount Isa and I came back to Bluewater. I then changed bikes and headed off to Brisbane to see the Grand children.
Thanks Ron for the great story! Wow, there were so many places there that I’d never heard of! You certainly crossed some wonderful country! Being an old trail-rider from way back (and never having seen these places) I'm envious! And all that with a crook knee – you are brave! Hope the replacement goes well and you get to do many more great adventures like this!
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