136. Sunday 16th May 2010. Retreat and a handy tip…

What a weird title.

Let’s start with the tip. This is probably aimed at newbies to the scene but may turn on a light for old hands. Never ever leave the generator and generator fuel container stored beneath your bed. We learned this a long time ago. The fumes penetrate through the mattress and before long you are having a troubled fume ridden sleep. Good news is that once you remove the gennie & associated fuel, the fumes will leave, especially if you leave the mattress outside in the sun for the best part of a day and allow breezes to waft through the open external hatch.

Why am I telling you this now?

When we went to Wintermoon, Donnis brought the gennie and fuel in her car but asked me to remove it on arrival as the fumes were getting to her. When we were leaving, she was first driving to Mackay then home so I offered to carry the gennie in the hatch under the bed, intending to remove it when I got home. Before I got home I decided to drop WWWGO at the diesel centre for a service where it stayed for 10 days. When I got it home at midday on Friday I noticed a fuel smell around the bed.  I opened the hatch to pack a few things. Imagine my chagrine to find the gennie sitting there. The fumes were worse so the gennie and fuel were removed and left at home. We left the hatch open all afternoon and part of the evening.

So we cannot carry the gennie and fuel in a hatch that is not vented. Ditto cannot carry it in the car. Do we need a gennie? We have only used it about 5 times since we bought it 4 years ago. There is a good deal more thought required on this issue.

Retreat!

Here is a bit of an abridged history.

Back in the days of horse travel, watering holes (hotels which included stabling facilities, food and lodging) were usually sited a days horse ride from each other. Generally they were on or very near a good flowing creek or at least a creek where water was not far below the surface.

In those years gone by, horse travel from Mackay would probably get as far Walkerston, day two would find you at a hotel at Eton before the a long haul up the Eton range where the first hotel, The Range Hotel, would provide the usual travellers needs then it was on to The Retreat Hotel then Nebo Hotel. From there on, hotels were only found at a far flung town such as Cleremont which would be a good 5 or 6 days ride from Nebo.

About 20 years ago the Range hotel burned down and according to local goss there was some question marks about the origins of the fire. The licence was withdrawn and found its way to the Gold Coast. The hotel was never re-built.

A few years later a highway deviation  meant the Retreat Hotel missed a good deal of the passing traffic. By then the mining towns were in the early days of a boom. Travellers tended to stop at the pub for a beer before  moving on.

I recall stopping at the retreat, many years ago for a burger and a beer but noticed it was not the original pub and that it was in decline.

Two years ago a new owner started spending money doing the place up. The world wide credit crunch stopped his plans for awhile but the owner is moving forward again.

At present he offers free camping, toilets and showers. All he asks is that you spend a bit of money at the hotel by having a meal and a drink or two.

Gradually he is introducing entertainment on a purpose built stage which also incorporates a giant projected TV screen. A mechanical bull ride is an attraction in the purpose built corral. Nebo is a famous rodeo centre so he will probably get lots of local cowboys on saturday nights.

Outdoor area at the Retreat Hotel.

Hmmm! I am imagining watching the State of Origin Rugby League Match here on a cool Autumn night with the fire pits blazing and a good crowd of NSW & Qld supporters watching the match on the big screen. Pity the State of Origin is not played on Saturday nights.

You might have noticed the timber bench seats and tables. Like the dining tables and chairs in the Mess Hall they are all made from solid slabs of Mackay Red Cedar a highly prized timber and the trees are no longer allowed to be cut down. The chairs are so heavy it felt like they are bolted to the floor. 

The hotel was built beside Denison Creek but since the road deviation the bridge was torn out. Access to the very sandy creek can still be gained by walking 50mtrs down the remains of the original road to a sandy beach. Donnis and I decided to walk barefoot along the creek. We were joined by the the pub owners two sons.

Resting on a log across the creek.

This was fun as large cattle also walk across the creek and where they walk large holes are left which slowly fill up with loose sand. Occassionally we stepped into one of these holes and sank to our waist. It is sort of like quicksand. In fact one Donnis stepped into had her up to the waist with both legs. Luckily she was under an overhanging tree branch which had a thick vine dangling above her head so was able to pull herself out. In the meantime I kept walking, not realising she was stuck. Despite the holes we had a wonderful time exploring the creek. The sun was quite hot but down in the creek, bounded by high banks and lots of trees forming a canopy, the sunlight was dappled so

Up the creek without a paddle.

it was just a pleasant temperature and we spent a most enjoyable hour in  foot deep water.

For a total departure from our usual Sugarloafers routine, Donnis & I decided to have lunch and a beer at the pub. We shared a steak sandwhich with chips and a beer. Good thing we shared as it neither of us could have eaten a steak sanger by ourselves. Margaret joined us and she struggled to eat half her sanger.

For dinner Saturday night all the Sugarloafers went to the pub for dinner. Unusually, everybody stayed late. By late I mean some people started drifting off to their MH by the late hour of 8.30. We stayed until 9.45. The rest stayed right through until the entertainer on guitar packed up just on 10pm. Wow! Was that a late night or what?

Our camp site.

Before travelling to The Retreat I estimated a 2 and a half hour drive from home. That is about as far as I enjoy driving for a weekend away. After leaving home just before 7am on Saturday, we stopped an hour down the highway at Cabbage Tree Creek for breakfast. Allowing for a fuel stop and the breakfast break it did take us 2 and a half hours.

On Sunday we were the last to pack up and leave despite us having the furthest to travel. Ziggy our Indian Ring Neck parrot was with us and he attracted a number of other birds to visit.

This bird and another like it were landing around our table and looking at Ziggy with one thought on their mind."mmm , Breakfast".

As we were almost ready to leave a light rain began to fall. Whew! Packed up just in time.

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