A while back I bought myself a 4WD van so I could go on adventures and take my fat bike with me. I wanted a van because I thought it would be easier to just pull up and sleep in the back of it instead of sorting out accommodation and putting up tents. I’d also heard a lot of stories about bikes getting stolen from bike racks, which I was keen to avoid, so a van seemed like a really great option, and it is.
I love it! It’s a Mitsubishi Delica. I never really saw myself as a van person, but I love this van and I get the feeling that it loves me back. I went on my first van-bike adventure last weekend, and it was heaps of fun, but not without it’s moments, especially early in the trip when I nearly flipped the van over in a big old mudhole:
Going through the mudholes (there was a big one and two small ones), wasn’t the problem. It was coming back five minutes after I’d gotten through. There was a bulldozer-sized hole in the road around a bend, so I had to turn around and come back and there was mud and crap everywhere, which made the sides of the bog super slippery. I tried to straddle the deepest part of the big hole, but the wheels slipped off the edge and the whole van seemed to be just hanging there on a ridiculously scary angle with the wheels spinning. Somehow, I managed to get out. I shit myself!
The stupid thing was that I didn’t even need to go down that road to get to where I wanted to go: Point Pure Lookout.
After climbing around the bottom of the cliffs at the lookout I came back up to find some people setting up to go abseiling: RJ and Andy. I talked to them about a bunch of stuff and asked them if they ever got scared. Andy responded without hestitation, “of course, all the time.” I was really surprised. I was fully expecting them to say that they never get scared anymore. Andy went on to tell me that all climbers get scared and if you have a break from climbing, it can take months and months to get rid of the debilitating level of fear that can potentially hold climbers back from taking on new climbing challenges. This was news to me, and it made me feel good because there’s heaps of stuff I get scared about all the time, like riding my horse, like swimming long distance in the ocean, like riding downhill through obstacles on my fat bike, like jumping off a pier, etc etc. Both Andy and RJ said that when they’re afraid, they just do stuff anyway, even though it makes them feel crappy. “You’re right, fear is just feeling, and fear itself never actually hurt anyone, did it?” I said.
I didn’t really have a plan for where I would go, or what I would do, so I drove around a fair bit in Brooyar State Forest and ended up heading towards Kilkivan because I thought I could do some of the rail trail, but no, it was padlocked shut. I saw a sign for Mudlo National Park, so I followed that to check it out. It was really cool! I did a hike up a massive hill and stopped at picnic area for the night.
I got woken up early when another car pulled in next to me. It was really annoying because in the dream I was having, I was just about to tell a very annoying person what I actually thought of them. D’oh!
After here I headed towards Goomeri and got a croissant from the Goomeri bakery. I love that place. It’s one of the nicest bakeries I’ve ever seen. As I was driving off, I recognised the name Kimbombi from some research I’d done ages ago, so swung into the road heading to Kimbombi Falls. The falls were pretty cool, and the gorge is amazing, but the RV camp at the top wasn’t that great. There were a lot of rules that basically just boiled down to DON’T. There was also a couple of whingers that really crushed my soul into the dust. Ugh, I wish I’d never talked to them. They had some really racist things to say about Aboriginal People, but I didn’t bother arguing when them like I usually do, although I did say, “there are a lot more white people who do the wrong thing.” Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so polite and could just say to people, “shut the fuck up, you racist/bigoted/xenophobic cockhead.”
After here I drove to Maidenwell because I knew there was a nice swimming hole there: Coomba Falls. It was packed with people! I had to tell a couple of loafers off for sitting on my towel, “Hoy, do yous wanna get your arses off my towel?” The poor towel, it was all muddy and gross. Off they went, didn’t say sorry or in fact, even look at me. The swim was great. I stayed in the water for about an hour. I would have stayed longer, but it got too cold and I had to get out.
After here I drove to the Bunya Mountains. It was awesome! I stayed there one night and did a bunch of hikes. I met some cool people, and some not so cool at the various locations I visited here. Mostly people were really happy and friendly, but there were some that had a permanent scowl on their faces, which is hard to understand when you’re in such a nice place.
I met a cool dude, who had a tiny drone that could fly up to 8km away. He and his wife invited me to watch the sunset with them:
The drone dude put an app on my phone called maps.me. It’s meant to show you where trails are without needing phone service. I used it the next day to find the Gordonbrook mountain bike trails, but not before it took me almost all the way to Chinchilla, which was nowhere near Gordonbrook. Aaargh!! Not sure it’s as great as what he made out when he put it on my phone, but probably ok for getting a general idea.
I stayed the last night at Wooroolin free camp. I went to see Shane and Robyn at the pub. These lovely people gave me a free meal and organised fundraising for me when I came through the area in 2016 on a solo 375km charity hike. It was the friendliest and most generous place on the entire hike.
I thought I could do some more riding the next day because there are two mountain bike loops our of Wooroolin, but I decided to just go home and come back another time for the rides.
On the way home I decided I was going to check out Barretts road. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, mainly to see if it was possible to get down to the Isis River. Yes! It is. Check it out:
I had a freakin’ awesome time.It was a different approach to going on an adventure for me: first time in the van, first time not having a plan. It’s hard to let go of needing to plan everything to the Nth degree, which is unavoidable if you’re on foot or on the bike remotely, but in the car, it’s really amazing how freeing it is to JUST GO. I can now see why so many people choose this nomadic type of lifestyle.
A good traveller has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu