Qld Moto Odyssey: Gun slingin’ cowboys outta Townsville
The drive from Mackay to Townville brought the familiar transition to tropical north Queensland with its fields of sugar cane and thick dense jungle on the horizon.
We camped at Rowes Caravan Park near the water in Townsville, prepped the bikes for a hard day of Townsville singletrack and were in the swag before 10pm. With an early start and a big ride we wanted to make sure we got enough zeds.
We met up with ADB reader’s Lachlan and Shane McGowan, and Josh and Ben Waters from the recently formed Townsville Enduro Club (with almost no enduro clubs in Townsville the boys decided to form their own so get on Facebook and give them a follow at Townsville Enduro Club). We met at the second causeway on Forrestry Rd, Bluewater, geared up, compared steeds, talked some smack and got on the bikes.
After a quick 15-minute fire-road section we were into the singey. It must have been a fire road as some stage but, with lack of use, it was now a fast and flowing singletrack run, known as Bluewater Track.
As we climbed the mountains and made our way further into the jungle the temperature changed dramatically. We were sweating back at the cars but by the time we reached the jungle it was cool … perfect conditions for riding. The surface was mostly hardpack with some slippery jungle sections and mossy rocks.
We were warned before we took off not to get caught by a prickly vine the locals call Wait-a-while because it is notorious for ripping you off your bike and sitting you on your arse! While trying to avoid it I managed to snag some with my left shoulder, which ripped my arm off the bike.
Unfortunately Alex got a flat front early on and, with minimal tools and time, we had to send him packing while we headed on. At the halfway mark the rest of the group was halted as a tree was down across the road, bringing a bunch of debris with it.
To most people this would spell the end of the ride, but not to our Townsville guides, who parked up, got the saws out and, in 15 minutes, managed to cut a path up and over the fallen tree (see pictures).
After another fast and slippery section we’d made it to a watering hole and waterfall. We de-geared and went for a quick dip to cool off before turning around and racing each other out of the jungle and back to Alex, who was waiting on the back of the Patriot Camper because I still had the keys to the LandCruiser, oooops…
We packed up, said our goodbyes and headed for Cairns. It was a quick four-hour drive and we rolled straight into the Fair Dinkum Bike Tours shed, ripped the front tyre off Alex’s WR250F and fixed the flat before grabbing a beer and a steak at a local watering hole.