Old Coach Road – Part 5

6/8/13 – There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts, make sure your read parts 1, 2, 3 & 4,before reading this post.

64.9km (from the turnoff at the PDR) in there is a steep climb with some really deep ruts. A large rock bounced us sideways and one of the Ute tyres went into a hole on the left, it left us on a steep angle sideways with a wheel in the air. My response to Chris was why did you do that? Chris informed me he didn’t do it on purpose. I had to climb out Chris’s side as I couldn’t open my door. The winch had to come out, which got us out no worries. Chris could have got the Ute out with the lockers once he pumped the left side airbag up but felt the winch was the safer option so we didn’t do any damage. This is one hell of a steep climb.

Stuck Stuck-2 Stuck-1 Stuck-3 Stuck-4

We are getting close to the end now, but this track is not finished with us yet, with another very tight corner.

Very-Tight

65.8km (from the turnoff at the PDR) marks the start of the descent down the hill, elevation 471m.

Rough-Spot Rough-Spot-1

67.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we came to the Palmer River. The road leads over the rocky creek bed. This area is good for camping. In hindsight we should have stopped for the night here but at the time we didn’t realize we had reached the northern bank of the Palmer River, elevation 327m.

68.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) elevation 249m we crossed the Palmer River.

71.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) is the Louisa Mine site.

Louisa-Mine-site Louisa-Mine-site-2 Louisa-Mine-site-3 Louisa-Mine-site-1

Just around the corner is Enterprise Mill. Bit further up are Comet and King of Range and Mable Louise Mines. We didn’t stop at these due to it getting late in the day and we were keen to find a place to stop. It can be very confusing as there are roads leading everywhere, a lot have signs saying private, keep out. Stick to what seems to be the main track and you will find Maytown.

75.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) elevation 278m we drove into Maytown. We didn’t stop as we were trying to find a place to stop for the night. You are not allowed to camp within the Maytown town limits.

Maytown

76.0km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we cross Palmer River again. According to the Cape York book by Ron Moon there is camping south of the Palmer River just outside Maytown. Palmer River is really wide, first half was sandy, 2nd half was very rocky, it didn’t have a lot of water over the crossing. It does say crossing not recommended. Ron’s book said just over the river on a small grassy area. The only area we could find was covered with bulls and land mines, so we went a tad further up the road and found a place to stop.

Palmer-River Palmer-River-1 Palmer-River-2 Palmer-River-3 Bulls

76.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we stopped for the night. We were really tired, it was a hell of a drive, great in places, really rough in others, over all a good day but a big one. Took us 9hrs towing includes breaks, pumping up a bike tyre and winching out of a hole. We were more concerned with taking it steady and safe rather than breaking any speed records. We have never been so dusty; you don’t go fast enough to blow the dust off.

Maytown-campspot

Chris was really happy with the way the Ute went. Has heaps of power to get up hills and can creep very slowly down the steep hills. The trailer just followed along behind.

image

This is the vertical profile of the Old Coach Road as travelled from North to South. It shows some very significant climbs and descents when travelled from either direction, especially so with the poor track conditions.

The two dips at the 68.5km and 76km marks indicate the two crossings of the Palmer River.

The descent from 65.6km to the Palmer River at 68.5km is a 224m drop in only 2.9km.

Click on the link above for a larger version in Google Maps of the days travels.

Click on the link above for a larger version in Google Maps of the whole of the Old Coach Road

Old Coach Road – Part 4

6/8/13 – There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts, make sure your read parts 1, 2 & 3 before reading this post.

54.4km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we came across a grass fire that was making its way towards the road, just as we had to make our way down another tricky spot. Chris walked through the fire area to make sure it was safe for us to drive through. It would be very easy to get caught in this sort of situation.

Fire Tricky-area Dip-again Fire-area

55.8km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we came to the junction where the other track joins the main track, elevation 326m. It is also the turn off to Folders Hotel. We were going to have lunch at the pub 🙂 but with the grass fire so close we moved on a bit further. We did go for a walk up the hill, not much to see now.

Junction-of-Folders-Hotel Folders-Hotel-Site

At one point we met 3, 4wd coming in the opposite direction. Also several dirt bikes, there were 12 in total spread out over a long distance, coming along one at a time.

57.1km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we headed down a rugged descent, with a big hole throwing the Ute sideways at one point. At the bottom there is a creek crossing with a pretty hairy entry that is rutted and rocky, elevation 317m.

Here-we-go-again Here-we-go-again-1 Here-we-go-again-2 Here-we-go-again-3 Here-we-go-again-4 Here-we-go-again-5

A few 100m along there is another creek crossing, followed by another with a steep loose exit, diff lockers came in handy. A bit further there is a steep rutted decent to a creek that was dry when we went through. Followed by another dry rocky creek crossing with a steep rough exit, again lockers came in handy for that too.

More ups and downs, ruts, dust etc. we were getting pretty hungry for lunch, passing some greats spots to stop. But alas it was not to be. We were on a rescue mission, one of the bikes had a flat and they were in need of an air compressor. Explains why we hadn’t passed the last few bikes. Just as we turned up the boss turned up after turning around to see what was taking them so long. He was not a happy chappy, it was not just a flat but a broken rim lock which he said was done because they were hitting things too hard. Meant he had no back brakes for the rest of the trip, have fun with that.

60.9km (from the turnoff at the PDR) after 3pm we finally got to have our lunch, elevation 368m.

Lunch-Spot-1 Lunch-Spot

64.5km (from the turnoff at the PDR) in on the left you pass one of the biggest mines in the region. Here you cross Jessop Creek, elevation 373m.  It’s a steep climb out of the creek, followed by a steep descent. As you climb up the hill you pass a dam on the left.

Largest-Mine No-Entry

Go to part 5.

Old Coach Road – Part 3

6/8/13 – There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts, make sure your read parts 1 & 2 before reading this post.

There continues to be more steep rutty areas as the track makes it way down.

Tricky-Angles

More-downhill

Rough-Terrain

Rough-Terrain-1

Wheelup

Rough-Terrain-2

Wee-lean

Funny-angles-2

Funny-angles

There is no letting up; it seems the road is getting rougher.

More-rough-Road

More-rough-Road-1

Rough-Patch

Close

Narrow-road

More-rough-Road-2

Big-dip Are-we-there-yet

Go to part 4.

Old Coach Road – Part 2

6/8/13 – There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts, make sure your read part 1 before reading this post.

44.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) you reach a plateau where the road is less rocky but rutted, windy then re starts with a gentle climb up, elevation 419m. Some parts of the road are very rutted

Sunday-Drive

The-Road

Options

It really is a beautiful drive, the deep blue of the sky contrasting against the green of the trees and the red dusty trail and yellow grass.

Lovely-Colours Hill

50.2km (from the turnoff at the PDR) there is a sign pointing left to Maytown, this is the easiest route, elevation 476m. The road on the right leads to RL Jack Monument. It meets back up with main track further along.

This-way

We stopped at 52.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) and took in the awesome views, 435m elevation. Be a good place to stop for the night.

Taking-in-the-views Stopped-for-a-break

Views Great-Views Stopped-for-a-break2

52.8km (from the turnoff at the PDR) from here is a steep long descent with deep rutted areas which cause some sideways lean and funny angles. Slow going, elevation near the bottom is 374m.

Downhill

Keeps-going-down

Rocky-Bit

Rocky-Bit3

Rocky-Bit4

Go to part 3.

Old Coach Road – Part 1

6/8/13 – Now the fun starts. There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts.

Starting point for the day is 32.0 Km (from the turnoff at the PDR) Laura Creek has a steep descent, then a rise in the middle before crossing the rocky creek bed.

Crossing-Little-Laura-Creek

Just up from the crossing is a small steep rutted hill.

The road was windy, dusty and narrow in places. There were a few areas that were rutted out on one side that caused the Ute to lean sideways.

34.8 km (from the turnoff at the PDR) in there is a steep rutted descent down a hill. Choice of two options, one was rockier and more rutted, we took the sandier option that was slightly less rutted.

Sandy-Route Down-we-go

Down-we-go-2

From there is a gentle climb with a tight corner.

Road-Conditions

Tight-Crn

35.3 km (from the turnoff at the PDR) marks the first of the rocky steps climbing up. The climb continues up rocks, slow going and bumpy, bit tight in places, starting to see some views off to the left.

Climb Climbing

Tight

Steps

Plenty of ups, downs and corners that are a bit tight when towing on this road.

Solid-Ground Corners Close-Trees

37.1km (from the turnoff at the PDR) there is a climb up a hill that had the Ute and trailer in all sorts of angles, with the Ute lifting one front wheel off the ground.

37-1km-Rocky-Climb

37-1km-Rocky-Climb2

37-1km-Rocky-Climb3

37-1km-Rocky-Climb4

37-1km-Rocky-Climb5

37-1km-Up-she-goes 37-1km-Nearly-There

37-1km-Nearly-There2

37-1km-Nearly-There3

Go to part 2.

New Roads

22/7/13 – We are now on roads we have not travelled before 🙂 we had a good night sleep, traffic was minimal during the night and despite being full everyone was quiet by 9.30pm.

We were on the road by 8.20am. The Peninsula Development Road (PDR) is sealed to Laura and a very good road, better than the HWY 1 up the coast.

Hann-River-Roadhouse

Visitor

Hann River Roadhouse and we had a Peacock come and say hello.

Palmer-River-Roadhouse

Museum

It’s worth a stop at the Palmer River Roadhouse; there is a small museum of fascinating memorabilia with a whole wall dedicated to the old gold town Maytown. Do have to watch out for unfenced cows close to the Palmer River Roadhouse.

James-Earl-Lookout

James Earl Lookout is a good spot for morning tea, plenty of others thought the same. There is a toilet, bin can even get mobile phone reception with a view north across the valley seeing the road down we would travel on.

Laura

Blink and you would miss Laura, couple of stores and a camping ground. Memorial park across the road with steps leading to nowhere, not sure what the go is with them, also some toilets.

Trailer-Steps

Thought we would add some steps to the trailer 🙂

Laura-Goal

The old goal held up to 18 people at one point, it’s not very big.

PDR-Dirt

Start of the dirt on the PDR (Peninsula Development Road), Chris is letting the air down in the tyers. And we put tape or sticky dots on any locks.

The PDR hasn’t been too bad with corrugations, a few bad patches that took its toll on our CB aerial with it snapping, second time we have done this on corrugated roads. Have to upgrade to a much stronger aerial than this Dick Smith one, Chris had 3db aerial we could use. The road is very very dusty there  are some areas of tar, which we used to our advantage to pull off and have lunch and not have dust thrown up at us from passing traffic.

Musgrave-Station

Musgrave Station Roadhouse was a hive of activity. Diesel was $1.89 L, Chris filled the main tank. There is also a camping area $10 per adult

Our-Bend-Campsite The-Bend

What an awesome spot, The Bend camping area 4km outside Coen,  very popular one too. The water is lovely we just had a paddle in the heat of the day we would be having a swim. Clear water, can see the bottom. There is even a beach other on the other side with some rapids, awesome.

Click on the link for a larger version in Google Maps of our travels.