3.5km. The closer I have gotten to the tip, the slower I have gone. I waited until mid morning before I got up the energy to ride the 1.5km to the tip. I had to drag the bike over the rocks, but made it. Then I met a group of people I first met at Musgrave weeks ago. They took my photos, and the trip was completed. Except for getting back to Bamaga etc. I am camped down the beach about 1.5km from the tip, where I will hang out until my water runs out.
42km. Beer count 9? Started the morning early rifling through rubbish bins looking for soft drink cans I could turn into an alcohol stove. My wood burning stove fan still won’t work, so I went to the Seisia store and bought some metho. With my cut up soft drink can I managed to make a working alcohol stove, and cooked breakfast. Then this delayed packing up and leaving, but when I left I rode in the rain to Bamaga. I got more supplies at the supermarket, then went to the Post Office and collected the new inner tubes that Judy had posted me. I unloaded the bike in front of the PO and changed the front tube for the new one, and tossed out the dodgy repaired inner tubes.
I was then finally off rather late. The start of the Pajenka road to the tip was pretty corrugated, but after the Croc Tent, it got smooth, and not very busy. It was an uphill ride through thick rainforest, then a descent to Pajenka, which seemed to be mostly some abandoned buildings. It was get late, so I rode past the no vehicles on beach sign, because, well a bicycle isn’t a vehicle, and rode down the beach. I found a campsite close to dark that was infested with mozzies and midges or sandflies, so no dinner tonight. Tomorrow I will go to the tip, about 1.5km away.
34km. Quiet morning, there was no traffic on the road because the Jardine ferry wasn’t open yet. I lit a campfire because I still don’t have my portable wood stove working. I got going on the corrugations of the Bamaga Road, but eventually I found the turnoff to the Airport road from Bamaga. This track was much nicer, hardly any traffic. I dropped into the DC-3 wreck, and the cycled the bitumen into Bamaga. I organised my Mum to ship me some stuff back to Bamaga, in case I got caught here in lockdown. I bought myself a hefty USB charger, because I am sick of everything being flat because I don’t get enough sun on the solar panel, and its too cloudy. I perused the Bamaga Supermarket, brought Bananas, bread, scoffed myself, then went to the bakery nearby and had mudcake and a sausage roll, in that order. It was a change for days and days of Freeze-dried. Then it was onto Seisia, where I got an unpowered campsite, with my usual “can you fit a bicycle and tiny tent?” It seems a nice campsite, great beach, except for the crocs.
55km. I was up at dawn getting water to filter out of Bridge Creek. Then it was get packed up after Breakfast, and say goodbye to some people I had camped with several times on the Telegraph track.
After 1 km it was the Jardine Bypass Road. This road was the most difficultly I had done, with sandy corrugations it was 11km of which I pushed the bike 6km. I made it to the Bamaga Road which was initially terrible with bad corrugations, but eventually, after some roadworks it turned into a good road. 24km to the Jardine Ferry. It was $10 to cross the Jardine, its $200+ for a 4wd and caravan. I also got internet for the first time in 6 days, including the news that people from Qld are not allowed into South Australia because of Covid. I decided the solution to that would have to wait. I then rode 9km into a strong headwind, until the road curved north. I originally aiming for a campsite called Jacky Jacky, but there were so many alternatives, I picked a roadside quarry 26km south of Bamaga. I lit a campfire to cook dinner because my wood stove is not working.
24km. Lots of water crossings today. After cooking breakfast early at Canal Creek, the generators started up. I cannot understand with dirt cheap solar panels why people need generators. I crossed canal creek pretty easily and headed to Sam Creek, which was another easy crossing. I keep meeting the same groups of campers time and again because I am almost travelling at their speed. Next was Mistake Creek which was trickier and required me unloading some of the panniers. Also I have to reoil the chain because the water crossings wash the oil out of the chain.Next was the log bridge at Cannibal Creek. No way I would drive my 4wd over a bunch of wonky logs. Then it was 6km of rough and sandy track . Then I was told by a 4wd that past that I would have to swim the next creek, Logans, because it was so deep. However when I got there I could find a route at the other end of the crossing that barely got my feet wet. Then I arrived at my destination Bridge Creek. It was deep, and I saw a couple of 4wds drown, and have to be dragged out. However someone told me about a narrow log bridge, and I got the bike acroos that. After setting up camp I sat in the waterhole at the creek with other campers and talked.
34km. I nearly lost the bike crossing Cockatoo Creek. I walked first across with the front panniers, but despite 4 crossings, on the crossing with the bike and the rear panniers, I dropped it into a rock hole, and almost couldn’t get it out. I loaded up the other side, and on the steep uphill climb, one of the campers helped me push it up over a ledge. I have said before, its better to wait for everyone to leave camp, but this time I went early, and about a kilometre out of camp, I had to pull over to let 19 vehicles pass me. However one of those vehicles had my helmet which I had forgotten, and not noticed near the creek crossing. It was 17km to the end of the southern Telegraph track and deversion road. It was a pretty good road, a couple of easy creek crossings, and I was back on the Bamaga Road. I had not missed this road, more traffic, more corrugations, more dust.It was only 7km to the northern part of the Telegraph track, and it didn’t take long. Then it was an easy 3km to the number one tourist attraction of the area, Fruitbat falls. Nice falls, and a quick swim was had. Then back on the bike for the 7km to Canal Creek. A fairly sandy piece of road, I had to get off and push a few times. I arrived at Canal Creek at 4pm. Plenty of people camped, I found a spot, that was OK near the crossing, so there was entertainment.
I decided I was getting grumpy, and been riding for 7 days straight, so I needed a rest day. I looked at my remaining food and things were better than I thought. I had put things in various panniers to distribute the weight, so I found more than I expected. So people left Cockatoo Creek in the morning, and I was by myself most of the day, with occasional groups of vehicles crossing the creek upstream. Lots of people camped here tonight though.
29km. Beer count 7 or 8 depending on how’s you count it. I waited until the at least 30 vehicles left Dalhunty, leaving just me. I passed another vehicle after about an hour. It was a bit sandier. I missed a turnoff because I have so little power to run the phone, so I mostly don’t have the GPS on. That was a 2 km mistake. Got to a sign that said Gunshot 8km, but it must have been nearly 12 km. Various people stopped to talk along the way. Its nice that people don’t pass in a cloud of dust, because the road is so narrow that the only way for anyone to pass requires me to pull the bike off the road. Eventually about 2pm I got to the famous Gunshot Creek crossing. Watched a few people make the crossing. It was fairly easy for me, 3 portages, then maneuver the bike down a steep slope and I was done. The it was 8km to Cockatoo Creek. I got there around 4pm, camped on the south side which didn’t have anyone, they had all gone to the northern side. Had a swim in the river, filtered some water, and relaxed. I think I need another rest day but its hard to do here. It might have to wait until Bamaga.
32km. With some trepidation I set of from Bramwell Junction in the rain at 10am. I left late because I wanted everyone else in front of me on the Telegraph track, and trepidation because I was worried how sandy the track would be. So it poured with rain when I started the old Telegraph Track (OTT) I hit patches of sand that had be worried, as well the rain made the sand and clay stick to the bike tyres. Then I got to Palm River crossing. I got the ‘hard’ crossing pointed out to me which was absolutely horrific, then I was told where the ‘chicken’ crossing was which was almost as bad!. I thought I am either doing this or I am not, so I unloaded the bike, made 3 portages across the river, wading waist deep, climbing out a muddy muddy exit track, and then followed with the bike. Then repack the bike and ride off with sandals covered in mud. Next river crossing required the same potages, but was not as hard. Then I made a pretty good pace, with a rough track, but not that hard to ride on. I arrived at Dalhunty about 4:30pm, got asked by heaps of people about the bike, and was kindly given a beer and a fruit salad desert. Someone told me there are 50 vehicles camped around here. I had a swim and washed my clothes in the waterfall. Fabulous evening.
42km. Today I passed 1,000km. I tried to fix my two inner tube flats this morning, and found they were the stem separating from the tube. I patched them, but I don’t know if they will hold. One of the workers at Moreton dug out some old tubes from the shed. They are the wrong size, but in a pinch they might work. It was a relatively easy 42km to Bramwell today. Nice campsite, and good internet. I talked to a couple of people at Moreton who had done the Telegraph track, and it seems the main worry is sand. However I know of a least 2 bike riders who have done it recently, so I am guessing 7 days to the Jardine Ferry.