Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cooktown to Coen

Crossing the Normanby River
On the 27th we set off from Cooktown in the rain.but the weather cleared once we were over the range. We forded the Normanby River on the Battlecamp Road with no problems and then struck out on the gravel which had a few corrugations but the car handled it well.

We arrived at Laura late morning and set up camp behind the pub. Daisy had her photo taken with the Austin 7 parked at the Laura Store. During the afternoon Lang worked on the brakes removing each wheel and adjusting each one in turn. Seems all brakes were seized - something we had not spotted before leaving home.

In 1928 Hector and Dick in Emily put their Austin 7 on the railway that ran from Cooktown to Laura but this fell into disuse after the gold and other local demand finished shortly therafter. Laura's big weekend was on with Picnic Races and bull riding but all the crowd were camped well away from us at the show..

Leaving Laura on the 28th we had no oil pressure. The thin wire from a bread wrap-tie from a motorist parked at the roadhouse to clear out the oil jets soon had us on the way again.

We then headed for Lakefield National Park on relatively good roads. We arrived at our pre booked camp site at Hann Crossing on the North Kennedy River before lunch and enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon at this idylic spot totally out of sight of any other campers on the banks of the river.

On the 29th we continued through the National Park calling into Lotusbird Lodge – a beautiful resort 28 kms out of Musgrave where Sue and Gary the owners treated us to morning tea. We stopped at Musgrave Roadhouse and topped up with fuel and as we were leaving we passed Jan and Alan Pike returning from Weipa. Alan boiled the billy and we swapped tales of our trips. They were travelling south so were able to give us some clues about the road ahead..

Now we are on the main north-south road the conditions are fairly horrendous. The corrugations really make poor Daisy do a merry dance, and there is a lot more traffic to contend with.

We have been having trouble with Daisy overheating and during the afternoon she just stopped dead and Lang found the points closed. Despite a daily dab of grease, the new points are wearing their rubbing block very quickly and will need checking regularly.

Not many water crossings this time of year.

The Austin 7's at Laura

There were several different styles of termite mound.

Leaving Lakefield National Park.

We arrived at Coen at 3pm and were able to get a room at the hotel for the night. In 1928 Hector and Dick talk about what once had been a thriving inland town dying because the high cost of labour had forced the gold mines in the neighbouring mountains to close.