Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
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9 May 2013

Surat to Morven
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After a quiet night we left Surat on the road north to Roma where we would join the Warrego Highway to take us towards Charleville which we intended to reach tomorrow. The weather was good for travelling; a bit cloudy at first but the cloud cleared to a sunny sky and no wind at first. Traffic was light and the road quality variable but not too bad. The two lanes of bitumen were wide enough for us to stay on the bitumen when a road train passed in the other direction but the quality of the surface was variable and we bounced a bit.

The ground gently rose at first then levelled out at about 250 metres onto an extensive clearing reaching to the horizon to left and right. Much of the land appeared to be devoted to grazing but we passed few livestock; mainly cattle. There were probably as many emus in paddocks along the road as there were sheep or cattle. At one point what we initially thought was a flock of sheep in the distance turned out to be a bunch of emus busily feeding. There was some cropping along the road and sunflowers growing in the roadside reservation indicated they had been grown here previously.

Whistling Kites were fairly common sharing roadkill with ravens (or crows).

The road resumed climbing to be at 305 metres by the time we reached Roma where we joined the Warrego Highway. As we approached Roma we heard somebody on UHF radio making a fool of themselves with silly noises such as we often hear near Sydney or Melbourne. One truckie commented that it was an idiot from Brisbane making the noise; and others had less complimentary things to say. this unfortunate person appeared to be stationary and faded as we left Roma.

Roma was busy with trucks; at one fuel depot beside the highway six B-doubles and semi-trailers were in a queue at the diesel bowsers. Judging by comments on UHF radio this was, despite the waiting, still the best place to refuel in Roma.

Extensive roadworks were in progress on the Warrego Highway west of Roma; many sections of bumpy road had been replaced and were now pleasant to drive on; many sections, especially near Roma, were under repair and vehicles were controlled by traffic lights onto one-way sections; but much work still remains to be done. Nevertheless, it was good to see this previously unacceptable highway being repaired.

Once we were clear of roadworks we made excellent progress; a tail-wind helped keep the fuel consumption down. The Warrego Highway here is long, straight sections undulating over the hills; there are no passing lanes but traffic was very light including sedans, light trucks and several heavy transports all moving at a steady 95 kph. The road had climbed a little from Roma, to be at 355 metres at Muckadilla. Land on both sides of the road was mainly cleared with extensive cropping to the low hills on the horizon. Prickly pear remained persistent; some paddocks contained only grass and scattered prickly pear.

We stopped in Mitchell for fuel before continuing on to Morven where we turned into the recreation ground for the night. This is a recognised camping area with some facilities. We had seen very few caravans or motor-homes on the road today and this trend continued with a total of only eight caravans and one motor home in this area by sunset. After seeing a large number of caravans at Nindigully a few days ago it was strange to see so few vans now.

Surat to Morven - page 2
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