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9 August 2013
Nindegully to Texas
Another cold night with outside temperature of 2°C at 7 o'clock in the morning. As on previous cold mornings the sun shone brightly and did eventually warm things up a bit although it was only 12°C at 9 o'clock.
Leaving Nindegully we headed along the Barwon Highway (running between Goondiwindi and Nindegully) towards Goondiwindi 200 kilometres away. The road was flat, straight, and variable in bitumen surface, with hardly any traffic.
The road passed through fairly thick vegetation; the dominant plant was the Bimble Box eucalyptus with dark green shining leaves forming a non-continuous upper layer. Below the Bimble Box were cypress, and possibly river she-oaks, forming the mid-layer with numerous younger plants also in the undergrowth layer which contained a variety of other shrubby plants. All the vegetation layers looked green and healthy and there was green grass on the ground along the road. It was hard to believe that a few hundred kilometres to the north-west was drought stricken with cattle being moved away because there was no feed for them.
Fifty kilometres from Nindegully we came to the first crop paddock as we entered a cropping area based on the townships (or villages) of Talwood, Bungunya and Toobeah. Crop were not usually continuous but the paddocks devoted to grain, presently very green young wheat, were very big. Toobeah had a grain silo and Talwood had at least two grain centres for holding grain and there were probably more we didn't see. As we passed the Talwood grain centres we could see grain being loaded into grain road trains; we watched loaded grain road trains turning onto the highway ahead of us and turning towards Goondiwindi. Whether they were going to the large grain centre at Goondiwindi or were bound for the Port of Brisbane for export we didn't know.
These grain trucks soon accelerated away from us but grain road trains travelling in both directions became a factor in driving on this road until we were well past Goondiwindi. Where we had cattle road trains as a driving factor for so many days we now had grain road trains (the grain road trains were only doubles up to 34 metres long and I no longer had to watch the third trailer in a triple road train weaving around in its lane threatening to clip the caravan as it passed.
But the grain growing area ended about forty kilometres before Goondiwindi and the road was passing through yet more open woodland with occasional paddock growing a crop we couldn't identify. The Bimble Box trees which had dominated the tree scape just after we left Nindegully were still present but no longer dominant. Prickly pear was present in patches, much of its looking very unhealthy as if it had been poisoned or had a disease.
Goondiwindi has a good bypass which we used to avoid the central business district and shopping area and were soon on the Cumberland Highway bound for Inglewood where we would leave the Highway on onto minor roads for a while. Goondiwindi, at an elevation of 219 metres, is at a transition between the inland plains stretching away to the west, which we had been driving over for days, and the slopes of the Great Dividing Range running up the Australian east coast.
After Goondiwindi the road increased in elevation but very slowly. This was more of a mixed farming area with sheep (and some cattle) fairly common among paddocks used to grow hay now baled ready for storing; irrigation sprays were quite common and we also passed a large olive grove. There were a few vineyards along the road.
At Inglewood we turned south towards the township of Texas just inside the Queensland-New South Wales border where we intended to stay the night to check a free-camping are we had read good reports about. The road was a good minor road, about one and a half lanes wide, and fairly hilly. There are two national parks on higher ground between Inglewood and Texas; one was up to 321 metres and the other to 358 metres (Texas was at 278 metres elevation). In both national parks acacias in full golden bloom lined the road.
The township of Texas is a few kilometres inside the Queensland border while the rest area is on the north bank of the Dumaresq River which forms the border here. We drove through Texas to the rest area which we found mostly empty and set up without difficulty. This is a longer term rest area than most and self-contained caravans are allowed to stay for 14 night; there is a water tank and picnic shelter but no other facilities. Weather had remained sunny all day but not hot, the air temperature at midday was 18° and it didn't get much warmer in the afternoon.