Up at dark o’clock this morning, scooped up the last few things I’d forgotten to pack on my Super Tenere last night and off I went, north without any clue about whether or not I could reach Talwood in Southern Queensland. The RTA and local council sites suggested I couldn’t.
The weather was good enough but there was lots of traffic on the New England Highway and lots of roadwork and delays north of Narrabri because of flood damage to roads. I got to Moree running way behind my normal pace and threw away any thoughts of this being any part of an IBA ride.
I asked the guy at the Caltex if I could get though to Talwood, he said “No, the roads are closed”. This view was supported by the staff at the Visitors Information Centre but I wasn’t giving up yet. I rode through to Mungindi, there was water on the roads here and there but nothing too scary, the road was open. I asked at Mungindi if the road to Talwood was open and the young lady at the servo said “No, you can’t get there.” I still wasn’t ready to give up.
I didn’t have any problems until I got to within a couple of k’s of Talwood where I found a floodway with lots of water in it and a couple of locals with quad bikes and ropes hanging around waiting to pull out any vehicles that drowned trying to cross it. I pulled up near the water and looked at them, they were having a lovely time and indicated the water was about 60cm or so deep but it didn’t look like it was flowing very fast.
I wasn’t giving up yet, so into the water I went, feet on the crash bars, water well past the footpegs with the Super Tenere making a bow wave throwing water over the top of the screen. The guys on the bank were laughing but I made it through, Talwood was mine but I had to get out of there!
The publican told me their delivery truck had arrived from the Boomi Road an hour or so earlier and said it was OK despite everyone suggesting it was impassible. It was 70k’s shorter to go back that way so I decided to have a look. Dodgy bridges with water lapping around and over them were soon crossed and all was good until just before I was to turn back on to the main road into Moree.
There was an area covered by running water that didn’t look deep, but was moving quickly. The first one was at least 300m long. I could see where I was, I could see where I needed to go but I could only guess that there was a smooth bend in the road under the water that I hoped I could stay on. I did that twice and was on the road south. Road closures then dictated a return to Narrabri back through the roadworks and a run through to Gilgandra via Saturn
I have to be honest, the day was stressful. The combination of a mad rush to leave, a lack of sleep last night, a day of uncertainty and very hot and humid weather had taken it’s toll. By the time I got to Gilgandra theer was still plenty of daylight but I was ready to go home. I called my wife to let her know and she suggested I just pull up stumps in Gilgandra and make a decision in the morning.
So while I had some dinner at the Shell, my wife called Raj at the Alfa Motel and organised a room. I hit the sack early after only 1172ks done for the day and hoping tomorrow would be easier.