The Celtic run – Guyra to Glen Innes (79k)

(written by Nancy)

 Quite an interesting night in the birdhouse…not sure I would pick that for a sleeping spot again in the future.  The floor of the birdhouse was pretty dusty so we laid down some of the big folding tables that were lined along the wall, laid our tarp over them and then put our pads and sleeping bags on the tarp.  As you can probably imagine, the tables were pretty hard and our little sleeping pads did not do much to ease the pain of lying on a hard table!  It was pretty much impossible to find a comfortable spot – I don’t think I slept much more than a couple of hours.  It didn’t help that Dave was over there snoring away, which just echoed in the small room we were in.  Ah well, all part of the experience.

 We left the birdhouse about 8am to head into town for breakfast.  We went to the bakery and had rock cakes and coffee, and ran into Colin again as he was headed to open his café.  He gave us some pointers for some roads off the main highway.  We picked up a couple of rock cakes to take with us and headed out of town about 8:30. 

 We had decent riding on the New England Highway and we took the turn-off to Ben Lomond at about the 11k mark.  This was a great road, very quiet and very scenic, though with lots of ups and downs.  It was about 19k and we saw maybe three cars.  Lots of cattle and sheep in pastures.  At Ben Lomond we stopped and shared a scone – it is a little village but there are no shops, just houses.  From there we headed back to the highway – with a few more climbs thrown in.  We got back on the New England Highway and headed to Glencoe.  We had a massive decent into Glencoe – a very nice surprise.

 

Colin had recommended another diversion off of the highway at Glencoe toward Mount Mitchell.  We needed to get some more water at Glencoe to do the diversion but Glencoe was again one of those places where there just seemed to be houses, no stores and no place to get water.  We wandered around the area a bit and came upon the library/post office so Dave went in and asked to fill our bottles.  He came out with this nice older gentleman, talking about bikes.  Then the gentleman told us how he spent 7 years ‘studying’ with Ramtha the Enlightened One in Washington state, and how a terrible tsunami or earthquake was predicted for the West Coast of the US on the 12th of June (or maybe the 15th?).  Anyway, as you can imagine the conversation got weirder and weirder as he began to tell us how we could stockpile organic wheat using nitrogen (would last 30+ years), and that 2012 was going to be a really bad year.  He did really seem to be a nice person but he obviously really believed in what Ramtha had said and wanted to share it with us.  It was a bit disconcerting, to say the least!  So, all I can say is, maybe watch out on the 12th (or the 15th) for a tsunami  or an earthquake… oh well, to each his own.

 Anyway, after we finally disengaged ourselves from our interesting local we headed east toward Mount Mitchell – the diversion.  There were quite a few steep ups and downs and I began to wonder whether this diversion was really worth it, as we had an alternative straight ride north into Glen Innes on the New England Highway.  It was very scenic though, and traffic was almost non-existent.  We took a left on Glen Leigh road and finally headed north – though now on a dirt road.  We had about 10k of dirt – pretty hard packed so it wasn’t too bad.  We continued on once it became paved and it took us all the way in to Glen Innes.  In all, on this road we were passed by 3 cars, 2 motorcycles, 1 tractor, and 40 cows (on the road, not in the paddocks).  We even stopped to have a chat with the old farmer moving his cows from one paddock to the next.

 

When we finally got to Glen Innes (15k later than we would have had we not done Dave’s diversion but who’s counting…) we went first to the tourist information center to see what the situation was for the long Easter/Anzac weekend.  Glen Innes has lots of interesting things to see, given that it is the heart of the Celtic region in Australia.  We have read a bit about it and were thinking of having a layover day here to see some of the more interesting sites, including the Australian Standing Stones, the national monument to Australian Celtic pioneers.  It sounds like many things will be closed tomorrow for the holiday but most of what we want to see is really self-guided.  Hmm, what to do?  We followed our normal path and went to a local café and had an egg and bacon roll while we thought about it.

 The egg and bacon roll at the Cuisine Cafe was delicious – I think Dave puts it at the top of his list.  Given that auspicious introduction we decided it must be fate to stay here at Glen Innes and explore a bit.  So, we have booked into the Fossicker’s Caravan Park for two nights.  Actually, it’s probably a good idea to be off the road tomorrow when many people will be travelling for the long holiday weekend and when most stores will be closed.  It’s called the Fossiker’s park because they fossick for gemstones around here, primarily sapphires.  Perhaps we’ll give that a try tomorrow too.

 

So, we set up the tent – including the great Hilleberg tarp that Dave’s mom gave us for Christmas.  It rained really hard just after we got the tent set up so we thought we would try out the tarp to add a bit of protection and gives us a bit more privacy.  The caravan park is pretty ‘cozy’ but the folks around us are nice – we even got another orange triangle to put on my bike from one of the neighbors – he saw Dave’s and said that was from the competition so pulled on out for me.  Best of all, they have free Wi-fi so we won’t have to spend any time at McDonalds!

 We made a run to the store to pick up food to get us through tomorrow and we had a nice dinner and are now ready to try to get some sleep.  Hopefully the ground will be a bit more comfortable than the tables were last night.

7 thoughts on “The Celtic run – Guyra to Glen Innes (79k)

    • Really, we are trying to remember to put it on – will have to be more vigilant as we head north. And sorry, we were so bamboozled by the stories of the impending catastrophe from the guy that the dates and the particular catastrophe were hard to remember! I’d suggest just keeping a watch out on both days for water and/or earthquakes!!

  1. Wow! Look at all that blue sky and sunshine! We do have sunshine at the moment but one does not know how long it is until the next shower! Have a nice Easter and Anzac holiday! Watch out for the bunnies! Love, Jan

  2. We are back from Death Valley – an awesome but very warm trip! It is great to see that your adventures have continued while we were gone! I love reading your blog…more pictures please…hope your day off was awesome.

    • Hi Inge! Glad you enjoyed your trip to Death Valley – sounds hot and lovely! We are having fun still, took a completely spontaneous day off in Glen Innes to see some sites. We will try for more pictures – we are taking a lot more than we post and are trying to figure out an easy way to load them all up so you guys can see them. Will keep you posted!

  3. G’day Nancy & Dave,

    Really enjoying your account of your ride. For what it’s worth, I can recommend a couple of spots in Qld.

    Firstly, Neurum Rd, which runs between Kilcoy and Woodford, is a lovely quiet road. It skirts the northern shore of Lake Somerset, so if you just happen to be going that way, I can recommend it.

    And secondly, the township of Seventeen Seventy is well worth a visit. Bit of an in and out on the same road situation, but if you also happen to be going that way, another nice ride.

    Best regards
    Dennis (the Clamont guy)

    • Thanks Dennis, route recommnedations are always appreciated. The route is a bit fluid going north at the moment so we will see if we can work some of these in. We are looking forward to the sunshine and warm weather that we hope to find in Qld – though we have beautiful blue skies and warm temps today in Glen Innes.

      Thanks again

      Dave & Nancy

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