Here's one that I did a couple of years ago... Hope it counts!
The weekend got off to a fine start with 21 bikes and three cars fronting up on Friday morning to venture off into the great unknown.
Unfortunately, the ZRX’s battery decided that it would let me know that it was getting a little old now (7 years last May) by not starting the bike. A quick bump start and we were away, but Cath (my wife) and I lost contact with the main group and didn’t re-group with them until Ayr (200km - 120 miles).
After lunch and a quick fuel stop, the drone up the (very boring) Bruce Highway continued until we turned left on to Woodstock Road and then left at Woodstock on to the Flinders Highway. Another fuel stop at Calcium (last place with PULP- Premium fuel) and we turned off at Mingela for the 40km (25 miles) run to Ravenswood.
The road from Mingela to Ravenswood is one of life’s pleasures. Good tarmac that is relatively bump free and great visibility combined with long sweeping corners are its pluses. The down side is that it is pretty much unfenced and the presence of cattle grids and bovine speed humps is always on your mind.
Once in Ravenswood we set up camp at the Railway Hotel and proceeded to rinse the dust out of our throats for a few hours. As our group had significantly increased the towns population, the publican (Rowan) had organised live entertainment out in the beer garden and not many people saw their beds before midnight.
Ravenswood was once a thriving gold mining town. Today it is almost a ghost town with a population of around 100 who service the surrounding area and cater for the growing tourism.
It is hard to imagine that this town once boasted over 50 pubs (of course many of them were nothing more than tents for selling booze) or that it once had a population of over 4000.
There is currently a commercial gold mine operating not more than 500m from the town centre and, although small by todays mining standards….
It is on a much grander scale and far more sofisticated that the old style mining equipment that lies in ruins around the town…
The next day saw a very fuzzy group of riders awake and prepare for the 80km run to the Burdekin Dam. During this preparation period, a number of riders opted to take up the opportunity to test ride different bikes. For some strange reason, I ended up on a Harley again!?
O.K., so it's not a funny face, but it's pretty silly riding gear for a Harley
After the testing it was off to the dam. Cath decided that she’d like to take a few beers with her, so she went in one of the cars and I took the Hornet for a run, leaving the ZRX to guard the pub.
On this leg of the journey, there were plenty of cattle on the road and one of the guys got to test the functionality of the ABS system on his new K1200S. Fortunately, cow bike and rider came away unscathed. Not the same can be said about the riders pants!
The dam was finished in 1987 and is the largest in Queensland. The structure controls the flow of water down the river and when full, has four times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour. It's a body of water also known as Lake Dalrymple. The dam wall is 876 meters long (1/2 mile) with a 504 meter spill way which drops 37 meters to the river bed. It's a spectacular sight when water is gushing over the spill way. This sight happens regularly, especially during wet season when rainfall in the Burdekin River catchment, which extends north of Ingham, more than fills Lake Dalrymple.
The road to Collinsville runs along the bottom of the spill way, so I thought I’d zip down to check things out. It really puts the size of the project into perspective when you realise that the little speck on the road down there is me.
Here’s a closer look.
Even though there was no water over the spill way, there was a flood gate open at the base of the dam and the road passed quite close to it. The power of the water rushing out of the gate was quite intimidating.
The assembled throng had purchased BBQ packs from the pub and had a great feast on the shores of the dam.
The size of the dam is amazing.
The Burdekin locals seemed un-phazed by our presence.
The owners of the Railway Hotel, Rowan and Denise, looked after us very well, even to the extent that when rain threatened on Saturday evening, Rowen moved his car out of its shed so that we could park our bikes in there. Nice One!
Ravenswood was privileged that evening to witness the amazing talents of half the Hamilton Island Motorcycle Club as the Karaoke machine at the Imperial Hotel (the other pub in town) got a thorough workout! Ravenswood was also probably very pleased to see us all leave the next morning!