Dec 9, 2013

TO THE CORNER AND BACK...Pilliga to Fords Bridge

After yesterdays meet and greet, we all woke to a fine sunny outback day. Todays plan was a shorter 400km drive from Pilliga to Fords Bridge, which is approx. 45 km NW of Bourke along the Dowling Track. After a quick last minute hot bath in the local natural spring, we soon headed through the little hamlet of Pilliga and hit the dirt. We weren’t expecting the extreme dust along here, but thats the outback. 

Passing large farms growing crops seemed to be the only points of interest that we found along this road until we hit the outback town of Walgett. A quick ice cream and a wee strop and we were back on the tar heading towards Brewarrina for lunch beside the river. Some people consider Brewarrina and Walgett not a real flash town to stop- but honestly, we have been coming out here for several years stopping in the hi-vis spots and have had no drama. Lunch beside the Barwon River is a refreshing relief after the long haul from Walgett on the tar. 

Our plan was to spend an hour in Bourke, to fuel up ( as we wouldn’t see fuel for another week ), top up supplies and have a quick look before heading north west. In my eyes, Bourke is on the edge of the outback as you have several options on which way to head. Coming out here the past few years, I have seen Bourke deterate to the point where there is only one supermarket left, it has limited fuel and it seems to look more depressing each time. 

The Dowling Track ( Bourke to Quilpie in QLD ) heads north west from Bourke, and our destination was Fords Bridge about 45 KM along the track. We soon hit the rich red dirt of the track, so the call was given to lower the tyre pressures to let the trucks ride a little easier and hopefully eliminate any punctures. 

Generally when I have no trailer on the cruiser I run around 28psi in the tyres, as this seems to be the right pressure for my setup. On this trip I am running some new tyres, Dick Cepek FC11’s, so it will be interesting to see how they perform. So far on the tar they are quiet, wearing well and don’t flick up many stones- so far so good. 

After the crew regrouped and we all dropped the tyres- it was back on the road for another hour to Fords Bridge. We were surprised just how good the road was, nice and wide, not many larger rocks laying on the road nor was it very sandy. 

Fords Bridge was only an hour away. Don’t get too excited if your heading here. Several houses along a kilometre strip of tar, with the pub at the end of town was about all we found. One of the great things about Fords Bridge is the free camping across the road from the pub beside the rural fire station. The day we landed here there wasn’t much green grass here, but it was nice not to camp on just dirt. 

Across the road at the pub, there are hot showers, flushing toilets and more free camping available. We decided to support the pub after our camp setup, by having a few beers, a great meal and a few rounds of pool out the back. Sitting out the front of the pub we all really enjoyed chatting about the past two days and what were hoping to expect from our next two weeks away. I reckon that we had a pretty great crew together to travel with. 

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