The bike spluttered to a halt just outside Yandina (which i was actually expecting) but flicking the switch for the reserve got me going again. After getting stuck behind a milk tanker on Eerwah Gap-
I rolled into Kenilworth with just 300mL of fuel left in the tank (but i also had a 5L jerry can on the back). Having filled the bike and the 2nd jerry can i lined up at the counter behind a bloke who was booking his car in for a service. After getting a few details from him, the lady behind the counter turned to me and asked "How do you spell Suzuki?"
I told her, and then watched as she wrote "Suzuky"...
Past Kenilworth Bluff-
And out to Borumba Dam.
I was expecting this to be the last spot of mobile signal for a long time, so sent a text to Stef to let her know how i was going before i got onto Bella Creek Road. The first few kms of this road are wonderful as it winds through the valley-
Then there was a small landslide-
And 2 creek crossings.
In spite of the recent rain the water level was very low as you can see, so it was a doddle to get through. A couple of kilometres from the crossing above, the road starts to climb the range up to Kingaham.
The road from this point on is truly atrocious, narrow, incredibly steep (well over 30% in places) and surfaced with large loose rocks. I managed the first climb without trouble, but the second was another matter.
It's laughable just how much the camera flattens out the climb in this picture, in reality it is a sheer cliff, 30%, 40%? It's anyone's guess, but what's worse than the grade is the state of the road, ruts, washouts, and big rocks all over the place. It seemed a no brainer that i would need a bit of momentum to take care of this one, so with the XT in 2nd gear i gave her some beans at the bottom and held my breath.
Unfortunately, just around that kink the road got ridiculously rough, too rough for the speed i was going. I eased off, but was then going too slowly for 2nd and wasn't able to change into 1st quickly enough. This left me at a standstill, on an uphill so steep you can barely walk up it, with both wheels locked up and starting to skid back down the hill.
After a very anxious 5 minutes or so, i managed to get the bike pointed back down the hill and wave up the 4wd which had been waiting at the bottom. As he passed, the driver suggested i try it a bit slower on the next attempt. I was very apprehensive about whether the bike would then have enough momentum to stay upright, but once i got back down to the bottom and regained my composure, i stuck it in 1st gear and my little tractor of a bike just chugged her way up the climb without any trouble.
That was the worst of that road, and not long later i popped out onto the Kingaham plateau.
There are 2 stations up there, Old Yabba Station (settled in the mid 1800s and situated at the head of Yabba Gorge- that's a story for another day) and Kingham Station. Yes there is a property called Kingham Station, in the area of Kingaham, confusing i know. Old Yabba Station runs beef cattle, where Kingham breeds various species of deer and some striking blackbuck antelopes. As far as i can work out, having bred the deer on the open cleared areas of the property, the largest bucks are let into the thick forests at the extreme ends of the block, and are then hunted. I should stress that it is not the much maligned (and rightly so) "canned" hunting, but it still doesn't really sit that well with me for some reason that i can't put my finger on. Still, if it means the property continues to work, rather than being split up into hobby farms, so be it.
At this point i'll have to leave the story, and continue tomorrow.