I won’t lie, I was feeling pretty excited about the day’s ride out to Cameron Corner, something I thought was out of range on this trip. Not only would I be able to secure bragging rights that I’d visited Queensland, but it would be the most remote destination I’d be taking the bike. Sure, it wasn’t a Simpson crossing, but to me it was beyond my comfort zone on a solo trip.
I followed the route suggested by the boys the previous night, and instantly loved the scenery. Everything changed so fast, from trees and a sea of green bushes, through to barren plains. The road conditions were extremely good, and I felt a little embarrassed that I had been nervous about this leg of the trip.
There was the occasional detour where a clay section had been badly chewed up, but overall it provided an opportunity to practise standing on the pegs, twist the throttle and love every moment on the Tenere.
After an hour of so the road suddenly dipped, and a “DETOUR” sign directed me to the right. I had to investigate why I was being detoured, and only a few metres later was confronted by a massive clay pan with flooding down the middle. There was the odd track across the clay plan either side of the flooding, however the idea of being bogged up to the axles alone out here had me head back towards the suggested detour.
The detour road gave me my first taste of deep soft sand and it was obvious I had no idea what I was doing. I was still running road tyre pressures on my stock Pirellis, but let’s be honest, it was the rider that was the weakest link here. After a few ‘Oh shit’ moments I managed to keep the T7 upright and before I knew it the road surface hardened and I was back up to speed.
As I take the fork onto ‘The Dunes Scenic Drive’ I pinch myself, I can’t believe where I am and loving every moment of it. I reflect back to the days leading up to the trip where it felt too hard, how unprepared I was and the challenge seemed too much. Man am I glad I’m here.
All too soon I’m at the ‘Welcome to South Australia’ gate which I timed well as there was a line of four wheel drives entering NSW and they held the gate open for me – cheers guys. I head over to fuel up at Cameron Corner store with the iconic bowsers covered in thousands of stickers from visitors far and wide.
The campground looked deserted and the bowsers locked so I head into the general store pub. The sign on the door highlights what I come to experience throughout my trip, “Due to lack of staff we open at 10am.”
Thankfully it’s 9:45 am, and within minutes I am greeted by the charismatic Manager, caretaker, jack of all trades. She was one of my favourite personalities of the entire trip, and the majority of the colourful conversation I can’t repeat here.
What was available for brunch? Instant coffee, deep fried dim sims and chicken nuggets. I accepted them gladly and was thankful for the effort, this wasn’t a lady to cross.
The hour went too fast, and I had to say goodbye. I just hope she is still there on my next trip as I know it’ll be a great laugh. The run back to Tibooburra was just as enjoyable, and I take time to stop along the way grab some drone footage and a few photos.
I decide to stop at the Tibooburra Pub to rehydrate and determine where to next. I’d been so excited by the morning at Cameron Corner, I had absolutely no idea where to next. Google Maps suggests I need to head towards Bourke, however this was over 400 km away and it was already mid-afternoon. A closer look shows a town I’ve never heard of, Wanaaring, which is within reach at only 240 km.
This proves to be the most challenging road of the trip so far. Many sections lend itself to cruising at speeds frowned upon by some, combined with dozens of cattle grids resulting in some less than smooth landings. This can be quickly followed by sandy stretches, sudden turns and rocks the size of dragon eggs.
On two occasions these dragon eggs smashed into my bash plate with a force that had my personal under carriage cringing. A quick stop was required after the second hit as I was sure there must have been some damage. The inspection revealed the B&B bash plate had done its job, so back onto the bike I got as the clouds gathered and sun was rapidly setting behind me.
Approximately fifty kilometres from Wanaaring and the fuel light begins flashing, this seems far too soon, but in fairness my riding had been somewhat spirited. I am carrying a 7.6 litre Rotopax so I’m not worried about running out of fuel, but I’d prefer to not have to unload my saddlebags to access the fuel.
Only 15 kilometres to go and the road conditions deteriorate, the rocks feel like landmines littering the road taking aim at my rims. I then realise I have absolutely no idea what exists at Wanaaring, when it comes to accommodation or fuel.
I’ve got 7 litres of fuel, 1.5 litres of water, and 6 muesli bars. As I turn the corner into Wanaaring I breathe a sigh of relief as I see a fuel bowser outside the general store so I know at least fuel, food and water are available.
As soon as I step off my bike I’m greeted by one of the most inquisitive little girls I’ve ever met. I think she asked twenty questions within sixty seconds, and didn’t really need an answer to any of them. Perhaps my favourite was, “Are you riding alone because you don’t have any friends?”
Colin wandered over to fuel the bike up and immediately apologised for the list of questions, but of course I loved it. Let me say this, Colin was a legend. Even though Colin was locking up for the night he insisted he turn on the grill and cook me up whatever I wanted from the menu. I tried to settle on a Coke and bag of chips but Colin just wouldn’t have it. Oh, and the kicker? Colin had one cabin style room felt, I couldn’t believe my luck.
I walked to the adjoining campground towards my mining hut style cabin and chatted with some friendly tourists gathered around an impressive camp fire. There was a collection of four wheel drives and off-road caravans, but they all wanted to know about my Tenere. How far can she get on a tank? Do you get a sore arse? What about Kangaroos? And a repeat of the little girls question, “Why are you doing it alone?”
Time to catch up on my social media, I can’t believe it’s now up to thousands of comments, likes and questions about my trip. I’m surprised but also love that motorcycle enthusiasts have a real interest in my trip. Time to look at the GPS, Mudgee is my destination tomorrow.
Day 3: Total kilometres: 520km. Highlight: Ride to Cameron Corner. Must do: Grab a Chicken Burger from Colin at Wanaaring.
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