Last weekend's tour was a great one, culminating in the ride over Mt Buggary in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. It all began with a trainride to Caboolture, before heading west through Wamuran and Kilcoy. Even at this early stage, the scenery was starting to pick up, as was the temperature, although whether it's necessarily this
hot remains to be seen.
Kilcoy won an award for being the friendliest town in South East Queensland in 2001, and it was certainly living up to it's reputation. A local cancer fund raiser even offered to keep an eye on my bike when I went into the supermarket. We ended up having quite an extensive chat about New Zealand, having both been there previously. She said I was a "real man" for riding a bike across from Caboolture -- then I later found out she was actually a cancer survivor. That puts things into perspective, but I think I might stop short of calling her a "real man" just in case.
The next stretch toward Jimna was dotted with war memorials and bushfires over the surrounding hills. I notice the locals in these parts actually warn people about smoke hazards (they don't in the areas around the Gold Coast). It was now 30 degrees C for the climb of Jinker Hill. The warning signs proclaimed a "very steep climb", but it was more of a long grind than anything else.
Reaching the summit of the climb was a triumph in itself due to the heat. It's going to be a long summer, six months starting this weekend, but if I can reproduce the form I showed on the climb I should slaughter it. I was now in the forest riding through the bellbirds. This was just beautiful riding, I really should do a podcast of somewhere like this when I get the sound working on my computer.
I visited the township of Jimna, where not much was happening, so I continued on my way. I really should have stocked up on water here, because I was later told that the "treated" water at the campsite was undrinkable (this was after I'd consumed a litre of it already). Still, I didn't suffer any ill effects, and there was enough fruit left over to ensure that I didn't dry out too much. I fixed a flat tyre that I'd picked up at the end of the ride, then settled in for a relaxed evening in my tent.
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Sunday opened with another flat tyre. Evidently the glass I'd removed from the tyre the night before wasn't the cause. I fixed that one too, found another potential cause, then went on my way. The plan was to take Old Yabba road to the coast, then a train home. Easy I thought, wrong I found! The first stretch on the dirt through the forest, and later the open country was easy enough.
The rest of the ride toward Imbil was, however, dominated by mountains. A sign warned of a rough road over Mt Buggary, however, the condition of the road itself wasn't too bad. The gradients were another matter! At one stage I walked down
a particular pinch because it would have been impossible to stop the bike for a corner on the dirt had it had any speed (it was hard enough to walk down).
I also had to contend with a dwindling water supply -- I had another bottle of campsite water in reserve, but I didn't particularly want to use it. The plan had been to moderate my pace to reduce the amount of water I lost through sweat, but the gradients on the road put paid to that idea. The scenery, however, was just spectacular.
As I headed east, the moisture in the air started to increase, and after one almighty downhill the steep gradients dissipated. I was basically back on the coast, except for another 40km or so to contend with. I found my way into the town of Imbil just as the last of the water from Kilcoy was consumed -- perfect timing. A town like this wouldn't get a second thought from most people, but from a bike tourist who has been out in the heat, it's a really good place to stock up on whatever I need.
An old steam train passed through the town while I ate lunch. Everyone in the town was rushing over for a look, but as an old Werris Creek boy, and having seen thousands of these things myself, it didn't quite hold the same fascination. It might be an interesting ride to take one day, however. I lined up the final stretch to Eumundi for the ride home. Initially I went through a relatively flat area that is intended to be flooded to build a massive dam. The locals were just about ready to lynch Peter Beattie over this one, although I can only assume that somebody must have voted for him, because he actually gained
seats at the State election. More on that later.
There were even a few hills to contend with at the end. I had actually forgotten how hilly the final stretch between Kenilworth and Eumundi was. Perhaps it's because the only time I've ridden through that stretch previously was in a downpour that made long range visibility just about impossible. This time, however, I was able to enjoy the scenery.
It took a while for the train to arrive at Eumundi. If I hadn't lost time fixing the flat tyre earlier in the day, I may have ridden to Noosa and back. As it was I just waited until it arrived. This bike touring caper seems to impress a lot of people. The guards on the train wanted to hear all about my adventure. One of them even suggested the possibility of keeping a log of all my tours and writing a book about them one day. It might be a project to think about if I ever get the time.