|Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
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7 August 2013
Morven to Surat
The night was bitterly cold with outside temperature of 1°C by 6 o'clock in the morning. The bright morning sun didn't make much difference for quite a while.
We returned to the Warrego Highway and continued on our way with Mitchell then Roma as destinations. The road continued to be hard to drive on with frequent unexpected dips and bumps. At one point the third trailer on a road train coming towards us was weaving around to much that I pulled to the left as far as I could go in case the trailer hit our caravan. The Warrego Highway has been in poor condition for years and the condition of the road is always a factor in planning travels through this part of Queensland. Although the worst parts (near Roma) have been repaired, or are being repaired now, there are still long sections of very uncomfortable driving on the Warrego Highway. Between Muckadilla and Roma the road has mostly been rebuilt and the difference in driving on this surface is remarkable.
Just west of Mitchell we passed a parking area for road train trailers. Mitchell marks the limit beyond which triple road trains (Road Trains Type II) are not allowed to go closer to the coast; only double road trains are allowed on those roads so the third trailer is left in the parking area although how the load is redistributed remained a mystery to us. After passing through Mitchell we began to see B-doubles as well as twin road trailers.
Road kill numbers remained high, kangaroos and pigs being the main animals seen. The land along the road was mainly woodland but the trees were thinner and increasingly we passed areas of grassland. This was cattle country initially but between Mitchell and Roma we passed the first crop (wheat) we have seen and the sight of silos on farms and at railway sidings confirmed we were entering the outskirts of cropping country based on the Darling Downs. But grazing was not abandoned and sheep became fairly common in paddocks.
Passing through Roma was a case of follow the road signs then we turned off the Warrego Highway to go to Surat, our destination for the day. We were now well and truly into cropping country. Along the road were left-overs from previous crops in the form of sunflowers growing wild; but these were quite small flowers (about 12 cm across) compared with the monster blooms seen on cultivated sunflowers. Emus were common in paddocks along this road, fortunately well back from the road.
At Surat we turned into the Fishing and Restocking Club free-camping area. This well-known and popular spot had attracted about fifty caravans, most of them parked outside the fence. The site is on the Ballone River just outside Surat and some campers had lines in the water, others just sat around in the sun or walked along the river.