TUESDAY 23 JULY CAPELLA TO CHARTERS TOWERS 458kms
Today was the longest day stage we’d done, to date, in Bus, and it was quite easy and uneventful. However, that is back to the long-day style of travel that we used to do with the van, and I didn’t want that to become a pattern again. John was just not good at dawdling and smelling roses!
We left Capella at 8.40, knowing today would be a long stage.
This was yet another road we’d travelled several times before.
Around Clermont was evidence of the massive coal mining operations of this region: huge overburden heaps, the mining service businesses in Clermont itself, a conveyor belt system beside the road for kms, and occasional glimpses of mines in the distance.
At Belyando Crossing we stopped for fuel and a break, and ate our packed lunch standing around outside Bus. As usual, the roadhouse was busy – and expensive. We paid $1.846cpl a litre for diesel.
I drove, from Belyando to the outskirts of Charters Towers, when John wanted to take over again.
I came to a roadworks section where new asphalt was being laid on one half of the road. Nothing new in that. But our line of traffic was “escorted” along the single open lane by a traffic control vehicle with an electronic signboard and read “FOLLOW ME”. He led us for the several kms of the affected road, then turned off, performed a u-turn and commenced to lead the waiting line of traffic back the other way. I hadn’t seen one of those before and wondered why they used that instead of the usual people with radios. I would tell my traffic management company manager son about it. I didn’t think his company had one of those!
We reached Charters Towers in good time. Didn’t need fuel. We had been caught before by me trying to navigate through the hard-to-negotiate centre of town, so I directed us on the ring road around the edge of town, to the Flinders Highway, then back towards town to the Greenvale Road, where the Dalrymple Tourist Park was located. It was much less stressful to go the long way round.
I had phoned yesterday, to try to book an en-suite site, but they had none available. We were put on a very long site at the side of the park, not far from the amenities – fortunately, as it turned out – and with plenty of tether space for dog. It cost $31.25 for the night, after a 5% Seniors discount was applied.
After setting up, John was straight onto the internet and gaming.
I wanted to take Couey for a walk along the wide, grassy verges alongside the road back into town. Something spooked her, though and we’d only gone about 100 metres from the park when she became determined to return to Bus and John. I managed to drag her a short way further – all 30kg of resistant dog – then she resorted to her ultimate no-go act, rolling onto her back with all legs in the air. So back we went. Later on, John came too and we managed a short walk outside the park.
I cooked pasta carbonara for tea.
By bedtime, I was feeling a bit off-colour. By midnight, I was haunting the amenities! This sort of upset was most unusual for me and I couldn’t work out why, as John was fine. After a couple of miserable and chilly hours, I returned to Bus and sat sipping dry ginger ale and using my headlamp to read, as a distraction, until about 3am, when I felt confident enough to go back to bed.