Day 11 (Sat): Lions Den Hotel to Musgrave Roadhouse, via Cooktown. 319km.
LDH to Cooktown is about 35km of tar, so into Cooktown for fuel, food, coffee and some sight seeing.
Road across to 'Old Laura' Old Laura Homestead.
From 'Old Laura' we headed North up through Lakefield Nat Park. Millions of Termite mounds across Cape York.
Corrugated roads where a plenty, with plenty of short/sharp bumps to destroy my bike, so I stopped every 50kms or so to check how the bike was holding up, luckily I found my numberplate had fragmented, so I removed it for a repair later on.
Musgrave Roadhouse. Excellent Campground, hot showers, fuel is a good price (ULP $1.47, compared to $2.08 at the Archer River roadhouse, further North) other travellers who are happy to share their experiences, the Musgrave burger is awesome & more beer.
I also chatted to two other riders( Both Posties from down Mornington, Vic) on board a KLR650 & Tiger 800XC, who gave me a few tips & warnings about the trip ahead of me?????
Day 12 (Sun): Musgrave Roadhouse to North Alice Creek (Old Telegraph Track): 358km
Departed early (8am) to try and beat all the other travellers heading north, so not to suck in so much dust (both bike and me!!!). The 108km to Coen, was relentless corrugations; however, I found I could sit on about 80kph and skim the top of each bump, so my speed was well above Steve in his 4WD.
If I got behind another Vehicle, the dust was inhibiting my ability to overtake, so I'd pull over and have a break for 5 mins, before setting off again. Luckily, every so often, there were sealed sections, just to enable overtaking.
After breakfast at Coen (my own food, not many 'Cafes' up there), we headed for Bramwell Roadhouse, the start of the 'Old Telegraph Track'. Arriving at Bramwell around 2:30pm
, we decided it too early to set up camp, so some supplies/fuel was purchased and we decided to tackle 'The Old Tele'.
The Old Telegraph Track (OTT) was the first road north, however, now mainly bypassed by all who travel to the 'Tip', it is hardly maintained and only tackled by well set up 4WD with 2 inch lift kits almost compulsory, and the realisation, that damage is guaranteed to your vehicle. At each step of my journey, people were telling me that I wouldn't get through this section or that. So I decided to have a go anyhow, as at the worst, I'd have to turn around.
6 km into the Old Tele, was Palm Creek crossing, now the water was low; however, entry and exits were chewed out by 4WD's spinning their wheels, so I decided to off-load my gear/panniers into Steve's 4WD, which was the best decision I'd make for the entire trip, even though, I'd still have around 180kgs of bike to haul around.
At the Palm Creek crossing, I was to meet a group of DRZ400 from Cape York bike tours, who with no load on board, had no trouble crossing. At this moment, I wished I'd trailered my KTM125 up, and tackled this on a much lighter bike.
Me & Steve, also partnered up with 2 other 4WD's from down Warragul, Vic, to tackle the entire 'Old Tele' (about 120km) together, as winching of each 4WD would prove necessary by the end.
Day 13 (Mon): North Alice Crk (OTT) to Sam Creek (OTT): 81km
Me changing the front C/S sprocket from a 15t down to a 14t, to allow for extra drive out of creeks and over the rugged terrain...... It did make things a lot easier, and my clutch loved me for it.
Gunshot crossing, another obstacle that I was told would end my trip. (Below, the entry to Gunshot)
However, on a bike, I could manoeuvre around it, without to much trouble.
Although, plenty of 4WD mirrors and side steps litter the area.
Tree with odd items hanging from it, also at Gunshot.
After, Gunshot, we headed further North for a lunch stop at 'Fruitbat Falls'. Temps were around 30C*, so a dip was
required, to wash of the dust.
This was another flooded section that I manage to man-handle the DR around the edges.
Next stop, Twin falls & Elliot falls.
At each water crossing, I kept in mind, that this is crocodile country, so I always carried a big stick before walking through to check water levels. (Yes, wet feet for the entire OTT, for 3 days)
Finally, setting up camp at 'Sam Creek' where, the B/S flowed with our new friends from Vic.
Day 14 (Tues): Sam Creek (OTT) to Loyalty Beach Campground (Seisia) at the top: 117km.
What a small world. !!!!
Having stopped to check out 'Nolans Brook Crossing', I heard someone call out 'Dobbo'??????
I could not believe it, Johno, a bloke I'd served with in the Army, whom I'd hadn't seen for 20years.
So we had a catch up, met is now grown up family an generally talked a bit of B/S.
Finally the end of the Old Tele, I felt quite accomplished, and Satisfied.
And the great team that made my trip up the OTT a bit more achievable. a Big thanks to them all.
Next was the Jardine River Ferry Crossing
$39 for a Bike, $116 for cars. (includes return trip and nat park camping fees)
Just when I thought, I'd done it tough, I met this bloke heading south, at the ferry crossing.
A quick trip into the northern section of the Old Tele, where it crosses the Jardine River, no way was I going to attempt it.
locals discourage this crossing, as many vehicle get bogged in the middle, and recovery costs a extremely high, not to mention the Jardine River is full of large Crocodiles.
Then onto Loyalty Beach Campground (including Bar), which we made our base for the next 3 days.
Thanks for reading.
My next entry will be about my time at the tip of Cape York, including Thursday Island (Torres Straights).