203. Sunday 24th July 2011. Yes, we are still in Finch Hatton…


Monday 18th July 2011

We woke to a brilliant sunrise with the valleys below us filled with mist. Pity I do not wear a camera strapped to my head all the time.

Donnis had a day off so we drove to Mackay to get a few items.

The morning proved difficult for me as each place I went to did not have what I was after. My inherent impatience was sorely tested at each location to the point where I was ready to lash out verbally at some poor individual who does not know anything about the products she sells. Sorry ladies, all the people who served me were women. Main item on my list was a patch lead which fits my external aerial and screws onto the aerial fitting on our BigPond Gateway Elite Wireless modem. I tried Dick Smith Electronics, Dixon Communications, Auto One and the Telstra Shop without success.

We visited Centre Link re my pension and got stuffed around some more.

We went to Bunnings where I got all the items on my list because I know where to look and they always have stock.

We visited my sister Sandra who is unwell and is home from work for a week.

Then it was a grocery shopping and arrived back at the stud after dark.


It was a long and tiring, mostly unproductive day.

Tuesday 19th July.

Not much happened today. Tidying up inside WWWGO and re-arranging how we store items when settled for more than a few days. One thing which really irks me is the stuff we store under the floor which is accessible by an internal hatch. Items we often use are the pressure cooker, the new turbo oven and my wine cask. Mostly we use one or more of these every night. It means lifting carpet runners to get at the hatch and while one person holds the hatch the other gets the items. Yesterday at Bunnings I bought two plastic boxes a little smaller than the size of milk crates. I set them in the driving cabin between the seats. They are a snug fit and give a nice level area to store regularly used items. We only have to lift a curtain to access the area. I also used the area to store a slab of beer and a few pairs of shoes.

I made another loaf of rye bread today. Not as good as the first as I pulled it out of the oven thinking time was up.

Wrong! It still had another six minutes. I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes but the damage was done. After a couple of slices there was a gooey centre not cooked at all. It could also be that using the silicon loaf pan did not allow the heat around the bottom.

It is all a learning curve.

Wednesday 20th July.

Another quiet day.

I got ready for a ride on VIRAGO but when I turned the key nothing happened. Nothing that is except a sound like electricity arcing.

Not good.

I pulled off the seat and checked the battery connections. No arcing. Perhaps the bike was still partially in gear? I moved it backwards and tried again. This time it tried to turn over but still an arcing sound. I moved it some more and hey presto, it turned over but the battery seemed a little drained before it fired into life.

Destination today was Teemburra Dam for no specific reason other than to give VIRAGO a run to keep the battery charged. Unless you are a keen angler with a boat there is nothing to see.

Boat ramp at Teemburra Dam. The signs which advise water storage capacity and other useful information are missing.

I have not been to the dam for several years. Last time Donnis and I noted the limited facilities were a bit run down and the water level was low, low, low. In fact, so low the 250m of concrete ramp was nowhere near the water. Today the water level was lapping at the top of the ramp. Apart from that there was really nothing to see apart from the fact that few facilities are now beyond maintenance and are in the overgrown or replacement stage. Signs are missing. Speed advisory signs are also missing or turned facing the wrong way. These signs are important when riding a motorcycle especially when the speed sign indicates a max speed of 30 kph. It is sad to see the dam infrastructure in such a sorry state. Is it a lack of funds from the state government? This is a Sunwater Dam and there are several across the state so it would be interesting to look at other dams and compare.

Hmmm. Eungella Dam is also Sunwater controlled. I might have a look sometime in the next month.

The little town of Gargett as seen from the lookout at Temmburra Dam..

In the last couple of posts I have mentioned a little about the cane harvest. I have not been able to to provide photos. Until today.

This is a diesel cane train locomotive which hauls the laden bins to the mill where the cane is crushed.

The loco is hauling an average size load of 80 bins.

Threre they go, loco with 80 bins headed to Marian Mill. Along the journey they will cross Cattle Creek and Pioneer River and pass through the villages of Pinnacle and Gargett and the town of Mirani before reaching the mill at the town of Marian, a trip close to 40 klms.

I also had a little luck on my side today. Since Monday I have been trying to get somebody at BigPond to sell me or tell me where to buy a patch lead or external antenna for the Gateway Wireless Modem. After a few emails, one of which, from me, was dripping with sarcasm and annoyance finally came the response with a phone number. I called and the helpful person within a minute was mailing me a patch lead. How good is that?

A few emails with Rolla Roof Racks located a set of roof bars for TERIOS. They are a superseded model but some $100 or so cheaper and they are also being mailed to me.

Thursday 21st July

Have ya eva had wun o those days when ya thort, “wadidido t’day?”

Well that was me a short while ago but piece by little piece I remembered.

What did I do?

Not much it seems.

From the house verandah I watched harvesters in nearby fields. The fluffy flowering at the top of the cane usually signals it is ready for harvesting as the cane is at peak sugar content.

I did become a ball thrower for the dogs.

I did help hold the horses while they had their hooves filed. Anita from Nebo over the mountains showed up with all her horse hoof maintenance gear. She lifts each leg and works away at grinding, chipping, clipping, filing and sanding. Sometimes the horse does not co-operate and kicks. Anita knows where to stand, just in case.

Most endurance riders seem to be running their horses “bare hoof”, that is, they are not shod. The only maintenance therefore is a regular trim and file.

The external antenna was mounted, temporarily, in the bathroom. It gave me a constant three bars of signal on the mobile phone, sometimes 5 bars. Prior to attaching to the antenna I would only recieve, at best 3 bars of signal, dropping to zero. The joys of living in a remote or rural area.

I also put the external antenna mount on the back window of WWWGO,

Antenna base and antenna mounted on the rear window. The good thing about this type of mount is that I can remove the antenna and attach it to a magnetic base for use in the car..

attached the interior fitting,

Interior antenna connection and base.

attached the antenna to the external mount, screwed the cable to the inside fitting and tracked the cable under the overhead cupboards to where the communications hub is located (communications hub = TV, Gateway Wireless Modem, power points, tv antenna outlet, wireless headphones base station, 240volt  surge protector, 12volt outlet and 300 watt modified sine wave inverter. Now it includes an external antenna cable which will be connected to the modem once the patch lead from BigPond arrives).

Friday 22nd July.

It was off to Eungella today on the trusty steed VIRAGO. (pronounced “young-gullah” and means Land of Clouds) “Eungella” is pronounced “young-gulluh” and means Land of Clouds. “Eunella” is pronounced “young-gulluh” and means Land of Clouds.Eungella” is pronounced “young-gulluh” and means Land of Clouds.

One of the signs proclaiming you are in Eungella.

I had a quick look around the village and some of the roads I will be travelling on when carrying out my Census duties. I also visited Peases Lookout

Virago at the lookout.

View from Peases Lookout. The distant water is part of the Teemburra Dam.

and a lookout in the village.

Picnicers at a stonehenge type table at the town lookout.

This SWinnebago Leisure Seeker is camped at On The Edge Caravan Park, has its own gazebo and camp kitchen and is only 5 metres away from the edge of the escarpment and stunning views over the valley.

I then travelled on to the Broken River to try my luck at spotting a Platypus.

Sign beside the Platypus viewing platform.

Is that a platypus burrow? It looks remarkably like the burrow shown in the sign.

I have the same luck buying lotto tickets.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Classic example of a Strangler Fig slowly choking off the host tree. Located in the Platypus Viewing carpark at Broken River.

The road to Eungella is very steep with eight switchback turns, three of which are signposted as 20kph. The road crosses a number of creeks and where this occurs, metal grids are placed in the road so the water can expand upwards at flood times and not tear the road apart. Those metal grids are no good for motorcycle traction, the rear wheel gave a little wiggle at each one. Although the day was fine n sunny in the valley, the temperature, especially in the shade, dropped, the closer I got to Eungella. I am sure it was a good 10° cooler in the mountains.

I made Beef Cheeks in the pressure cooker. Included were tomatoes, wine, herbs n spices, celery, onions and an hour of cooking. I served it with polenta parmesan and peas. This was the first time I have found beef cheeks and did not know how to cook them. They are a real cheap cut of meat which cost about $7 for 6 cheeks. It was a hit with Steve who went back for seconds, Melissa could not eat the polenta and Donnis thought I overcooked them. I enjoyed them as well as the polenta so we have two leftover cheeks for another night.

Saturday 23rd July

Saturday morning confusion, its Saturday morning confusion…so go the words of the hit song by Bobby Russell in 1971. (Gosh, was it been that long ago?). Luckily the only confusion I had was there was nobody home. They had all left for work at some dark cold hour and left me to sleep in. I then had to make a decision what to cook for breakfast. How does mushrooms in butter and a bit of left over polenta from last night. Mmm!

Today was a ride on VIRAGO to the Owens Creek Loop Road which took me through rolling, mostly cane farming properties.

Cane Train Bridge over Cattle Creek along the Owens Creek Loop Road..

Most of the road was gravel with no speed advisory signs on the corners. After passing through what was once the Owens Creek community, now a series of small properties and the old school was nowhere to be found while the community hall is falling down.

Owens Creek Community Hall (or what is left of it)

The road took me to the village of Garget where I turned back towards Finch Hatton. In all, stopping for photos and a general meandering ride and walk it took 90 minutes. I did see a strange sight of two large rocks in a field. Rocks which really do not below there. Perhaps a geologist is a reader and could confirm if these rocks could have been moved here by glacial action during the last ice age?

Rocks in a field devoid of any such other rocks. (actually there is a third, smaller rock on the right, out of picture) The nearest example of similar rocks is at Finch Hatton Gorge at least 10 klms away.

Sunday 24th July

A very quiet day. It was Donnis day off so we spent most of the day doing house tidying and washing of clothes and bedding. We took time for a walk to Cattle Creek and back. Although only a klm distant, it was quite hot in the early afternoon sunlight and of course neither of us carried any water.

That was our day.

For those who are interested here are the lyrics…

Here they come, warming up
I hear the pitter patter of little
People on the living room rug

Woe is me, there goes the TV
Now it’s Popeye and Bluto
Batman and Bozo

Don’t spill the corn flakes
They’ll break at lunch break
Home from the office
Why did I stop to
Have a beer with the boys
Now my head’s ’bout to pop

It’s a Saturday morning confusion
If you think you can sleep, it’s illusion
Cause you’ll probably get a rude
Intrusion from Harry the dog

Harry the dog is as big as can be
And Harry the dog had puppies last week
We couldn’t tell if it’s a he
Or a she, now we know

It’s a Saturday morning confusion
If I could just get to the bathroom
And get a cold rag and an aspirin
To help how I feel

But here come the twins
And they’re screaming at me
What is the deal and turn off the TV
Go ask your mother and quietly
Your daddy is ill

There he is, cousin Jack
You got the leaf rake too
Keep at it till I get it all back

Hanging round my yard
Snooping in my garage
I tolerate him because he’s my cousin
He’s nice to the kids
And Harry just loves him

It’s a Saturday morning confusion
And if I could just hide in my attic
‘Cause I can hear my wife yelling
Take ’em all to the show

I’ll take the whole
Neighborhood to the show
I’ll just walk out in back
Where the money tree grows
Grab me a handful
And off to the show we’ll go

It’s a Saturday morning confusion
And if I could just get a transfusion
Or maybe go hide in the bedroom
Till five o’clock

Let it be known that at five the TV
Is gonna be tuned to the game of the week
And that goes for dogs and twins
And the whole family

It’s a Saturday morning confusion
It’s a Saturday morning confusion
Day is done

Cousin Jack, in his yard
Cooking steaks on a grill
That I’ll never get back

The twins in front of the TV
Harry with his family
Sis on her date and Mom at the door
Smiles as she surveys the sight
For the first time today
The kingdom is quiet

Lord, let us thank you for Saturdays
And may they remain my friends

Cause I work all week long
To keep strong till they’re grown
And next Saturday then
We’ll do it again

Here they come, warming up
I hear the pitter patter of little
People on the living room rug

Woe is me, there goes the TV…


See ya next week.


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