Krombit Tops National park is an area I have long wanted to visit. It is known as being the final resting place for a US air force Liberator bomber that crashed early on the morning of Febuary 26th 1945 killing all seven men on board. It is located in central QLD roughly 200klm west of Gladstone in some very spectacular and inaccessible mountain ranges.
On Good Friday 2010 six of us met at Samford with the intention of not only getting to the crash site via the most interesting route possible, but to also meet up with my mate Thommo and celebrate his 30th birthday at The Many Peaks hotel on Easter Saturday night.
This ride was also going to be the very first long distance ride (recon ride as we call it) for my newly licensed 18 year old son.
He and I have been riding together for many years on our dirtbikes but this was different. I was really looking forward to doing this ride with him and can't thank my mate Chris enough for the loan of his DR650 for Jared to ride. Thanks mate, I owe you big time
We met the other Brisbane riders at the prearranged place at samford and set off into the Mt Mee state forest. With all the rain we have had recently the riding conditions were brilliant and this was to be the case for the whole weekend. We made good time to Kilcoy where we refueled, then up the Mt Kilcoy track to Jimna. The first of several small crashed were to take place on this road and I blame JB for mine. If he didnt try and hook up with another group of riders and take off in the wrong direction, then I wouldn't have had to chuck a u-turn to take off after him. Problem was that my bike has a seat height of about 950mm and I have an inside leg of about 850mm. Its a horrible feeling as you realise that there is about 100mm of air between your foot and the ground and this was made very apparent during my clumsy uturn and down I went. Damage was limited to sore hand, sore hip, pulled muscle in my back and a broken mirror. The only consolation was that Icky decided to go down in sympathy with me and it would have been quite a site seeing us two both on our ass's in the dirt. JB just thought it was funny......bastard. We took much delight in paying out on him for the rest of the day.
Holy batshit!!! It was quite disconcerting to ride through the slippery tunnel while being bitch slapped by thousands of tiny bats.
Buzz also had his first crash here
Then it was up towards Kalpower and finally after Lard had ran of fuel and then crashed his newly repaired 950 heavily on a slippery causeway, we rolled well after dark into Monto, where we met up with Paul & Thommo who had very thoughtfully carried in 2 cartons of beer and a bottle of rum for us from his home in Rocky. Absolute legend and we set about making short work of that lot, then rolled out the swags and got attacked by mosquitos for the rest of the night, luckily we were feeling no pain by that stage. All except for me of course, luckily I had Jared to give me a massage.
It was here that we also learnt that the track we had intended on taking up to the crash site was closed due to water damage. We quickly recalculated a route that would take us in from the northern side and we had a great time racing each other along the brilliant station tracks on the way to Thangool where we had a quick beer and refuel.
The publican had told us about a track that would take us in to Krombit via the dam road, but somehow we got lost and ended up at a place called Krombit park, which is a sort of outback theme park for backpackers complete with pornstar looking pool cleaner and mechanical bull. Al the owner pointed out that we had gone the wrong way, but told us of a little known fire trail track that lead up to the national park.
We thanked him by buying some beers from him and set off up the track, being led by one of the locals on his mx bike who had decided that he would lead us through some of the deeper creek crossings. It was at this point that we lost Paul on his BMW. The creek crossings were just too deep for him and he decided to turn back. We would meet him later that night at Many Peaks.
In hindsight he made the right decision, there was no way that he would have made it through. In fact some of the crossings were over a meter deep and we were lucky to make it through ourselves with out major carnage.(there was some very close calls but) The local left us soon after, but not before we came across a woman bushwalker who had had a bit of trouble trying to walk up the track we were going on and had decided to turn back. We made sure she was ok then set off up the track which in places was impossible to find following the wheel tracks of a bulldozer driver that had supposedly ridden up here a week or so before.
If not for the gps we would have ended up back at the backpackers resort with the bushwalker, which in hindsight might have been a good thing particularly for Thommo who was on just his third recon ride and really struggling with the steep hills and loose rocks. Apparently he had quite a few “moments” and was heard to be cursing me at the top of his voice, but I didnt care, I was having a great time out in front racing with Jared. Thommo needs to toughen up I reckon. Pansy road rider.
Icky was struggling not just with the hill, but with keeping his pants up. A theme that was to continue throughout the weekend
The track was known as razorback and it certainly lived up to its name as it followed the mountain ridge line before finally coming out in the main access road to Krombit tops national park. Access to the crash site is via a one way loop track and we had a great time racing along, knowing that nothing would be coming the otherway, until I came across a 4wd coming back the wrong way. He wont be doing that again after the verbal lashing he copped from me, I thought the dickhead was going to start crying. It was on the track that Icky decided another lie down was in order, must have been the late night night. He was to have several more lie downs before the weekend was over.
The much anticipated crash site was a sombre sight. Wreckage strewn over an amazing large area. The engines actually ended up several hundred meters for the the impact point and there was bits of airplane spread around everywhere. Would have been a wild ride for the seven blokes that lost there lives that morning in 1945. Was also good to see that souvenir hunters haven't taken all the bits lying around on the ground.
After having a good look around we had lunch then headed off. We came across an old guy and his wife in their 4wd bogged to the chassis. Never ceases to amaze me how people head in these places totally unprepared. This guy had nothing in the way of recovery gear and was actually intending on walking out to get help. Would have been about an 80 k walk, so I am not sure where he was going. We set about about rigging up a a recovery, but luckily a couple of other 4wd's came along so we left them to drag him out, but not before he got some friendly tips from me on where to buy some good recovery gear. :-)
Not long after the rain started in it was quite a ride along the slippery mountain tracks, especially as I had an almost bald rear tyre. Great fun....not.
We eventually popped out at the awesomely named Ubobo ( I just love saying that) and headed to the Many Peaks hotel. We met up with Paul and also Frog who had ridden down from rocky on his flowery Rossi replica R6 to help us celebrate Thommo's birthday. Got conned by the bar staff who reckoned it was going to piss down rain all night, so Nick, Jared and I took a room, much to the amusement of everyone else, then settled in to a big night celebrating the little Ranga's birthday
Not sure when we made back to our aforementioned room but it was well after closing time. I hate that when you pay for a room then hardly use it. I would also at this point, like to thank Frog for plying Jared with bourbon and bullshit all night. Thanks mate you saved me a fortune. :-) but he wasn't feeling too flash the next morning. :-)
Somehow it was decided during the night that Sundays ride was to be out to Agnes waters...only about 200klms out of our way, but who am I to argue and having driven the sandy track many years ealier I knew we were in for hours of fun as the newbies realised that riding a 350kg recon bike in deep sand is an aquired skill and not be taken lightly. Paul already knew this and decided back to home which is Scone in NSW, so he had quite a ride ahead of him. Icky added to his crash count several times as did Thommo who apparently left his bike at great speed and took off headfirst into the bush at the same calling me all sorts of names that cant be repeated here. I reckoned it was hilarious and they had forgotten that it was actually their idea to come this way. I reckon Thommo needs to toughen up...pussy road rider. I didnt get any pics, but apparently it looked a bit like this.
Nick on the other hand was in his element and it was an awesome sight to see and hear the 950 ploughing through the deep sand like it wasnt there. I didnt get any pics, but apparently it looked a bit like this.
Even JB the only man to ever duck walk a DR650 across the Strezlecki desert was giggling like a school girl.
Luckliy it was only a relativly short section and the road soon opened up and we could cool off.
Rules beach soon pulled them up though and it was only Myself and Jared that rode down onto the beach surprising a bunch of bikini clad backpackers in the process. The rest of the boys watched from the safety of the hard ground. Bloody pansy's, call themselves recon riders...got shown up by an 18 year old kid on his first ride, you should all hang your head in shame. :-)
Not like these blokes. Real recon riders them are.
Oh and thanks to the backpackers that got totally filled in after I bogged my bike in the soft sand and they had to push me out. :-)
We set off for Baffle Ck for lunch and it was while in a high speed left hander that Buzz discovered that he had a flat rear tyre. Was spectacular to watch from behind and he did well not to chuck it down the road. looked a bit like this.
He struggled on to the golf club where we quickly had it repaired and retired to the air conditioned comfort to have our lunch of Wagyu beef burgers and Garlic Tempura prawns. Tough work this recon riding.
An ice cream stop at Monduran Dam then back into Mt Perry via the bat cave and the Mt Perry lookout where on the way back down The Mt Perry downhill Coasting GP was won than none other that yours truly. Apparently there was all sorts of cheating going on but I dont know anything about that.
Set up camp in the brilliant Mt Perry Caravan Park camp kitchen and cooked up a heap of Snags kindly donated by the park manager. We also had food thrown at us by all the grey nomads who were great fun and very interested in our ride. But there is only so much time you can spend with a grey nomad talking about tare weights and fuel economy of the latest model Prado, before we headed for the pub. All except Buzz who was in his element and spent hours discussing the merits of the latest Jayco Traveler over the Coromel grand tourer and wether you should have a ensuite van or not.
Most of us were very well behaved, but not Thommo, Lard & Jared. I got up for a piss at 1.30 am and had to drag Jared out by the hair. God knows what time Thommo and Lard pulled up, but they were very sad sights at 8 am on the Monday morning. Great role models for the boy they are.
At this point we said goodbye to Thommo, who would head home to Rocky and from all reports had quite a good time playing hide and seek with the local coppers all the way home. Good thing coppers dont have dual sport bikes I believe.
The rest of the crew thought that it would be an easy cruise home, but I had other plans in mind. JB tried to get home via helicopter after almost taking out a horse, but fortunately held it all together. Was a very close call apparently but thankfully no wokka wokka required. Brekky was in Biggenden then down to Kilkivan via running creek road which was greta fun with its several creek crossings. Was tempted to stop for a beer in the pub now owned by the famous Fred Brophy, but decided against it knowing that I needed a clear head of I was to navigate us through the next section.
We stopped at the old copper smelter, then headed off in totally the wrong direction for about 5 klms before realizing my mistake and we had to back track much to my shame. Should have had that beer might have helped.
Icky added to his crash count in spectacular style on the very next hill, so that took the focus off my navigating. Thanks Ick I appreciate it. It was not long after Karma struck and I smash my foot into a hidden tree stump. Don't think I have broken anything, but I will take a day off work, so its not all bad.
Then on we went following the national trail through the Wrattens state forest. Stopped for afternoon tea at Gallangowan forest office, where for some reason Icky felt the need to drop his pants. Not sure what that was about but JB and Lard seemed to enjoy it. I tell ya these wanna be recon riders are a strange lot at times.
Not like these blokes.
Anyway after our lovely afternoon tea it was off down the very pretty Sunday Creek road before we were back on familiar territory. Well for me anyway, the rest of them still had no idea where they were. I love taking blokes on these rides, Its a bit like having them hold a broom vertically and spin them around a few times and watch them stumble around. Hilarious stuff. I love it.
Tried to stay off the highway as it would be choked with easter traffic, so had a quick vote and it was decided that the Mt Mee road would be taken. Shame it has been destroyed by a 60klm/h speed zone. It has now become painful to ride and will be given a wide berth ny me in the future. Damn over regulated shithole we live in. I wanna go back to NZ for a ride.
Was a great weekend and I would like to thank everyone involved for an awesome weekend. As I said, it was a special one for me and apart from being led astray by Lard and Thommo Jared didnt put a foot wrong (but what can I do, I was worse at his age. Still am really)and I was actually a very proud old man to see him show up some of the bigger boys in some of the trickier sections.
Thanks again to Chris for the loan of the bike. You made a special weekend possible mate and I can't thank you enough. Thanks also to Buzz and all the guys for keeping an eye on the young fella from the back. Thanks fella's its good to know you are watching him while I can't.
I hope it wont be the last recon ride he comes on.
You can check out all the pics here if your interested.
Will add more from the other guys as they come in.
Next ride is Postie bike outback pub crawl next month. I keep telling myself its going to fun, but I'm not so sure.