Saturday, 1 June 2013

Brisbane to Roma

As we rode away from Brisbane, we both knew we were taking the first steps towards home. Steve picked an easy route along the city’s suburban streets and we were soon riding in the countryside and passing through the little township of Samford. The bikes enjoyed a burn up the hill to Mt Glorious. We stopped at the rest area close to the summit but we didn’t make tea or bother to put on our wet weather trousers. Instead we decided to scurry down the mountain side as a light mist was filling the air and we both sensed that rain wasn’t far away. Too late. As soon as we rode out of the rest area the rain came and the descent became a wet and miserable experience. The tight hairpin bends seemed steep and menacing but there was nowhere to stop. We rode on past Lake Wivenhoe and the heated grips stayed on until the bikes were parked outside the bakery in Esk. Bacon and egg burgers and a large plate of chips provided welcome relief after two and a half hours in the saddle.

From Crows Nest we took the back roads through Haden and Peranga. Outside the pub in Quinalow we relied on a roadside mud map to tell us which road to take next. The bitumen soon turned to an unexpected stretch of gravel. The gravel road was short and sweet but it managed to make a terrible mess of the bikes.

We stayed the night in Dalby and then we trundled along the low road, through Kogan and Condamine, all the way to Roma. The hills of the Great Dividing Range had given way to open plains and cotton fields. When a bend appeared in the road we leant into it as we never knew when we would find another. We had to share this minor road with a few road trains. Sometimes the empty cattle trucks filled our nostrils with cow poo but we didn’t mind because riding in the outback is pure magic. When the road became only a single lane, we kept a keen eye on the state of the road verge; we only had to pull off the road twice but that was enough.

This is the busy season and there was no room at the first caravan park we tried to book into. We took this as a warning shot and from now on we will be phoning ahead.

I will always remember Roma as the home of the Bottle Tree. These beautiful trees line the streets in the CBD and the local nursery sells young ones for those who would like one of their own.

We are now relaxing at our campsite, drinking beer, and watching a flock of at least 100 kites circling overhead; life is good.

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