Short ride to Cottonvale

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, October 27, 2013

A few weeks ago I went to see my good friend Peter Goodsir who lives in a small town called Cottonvale, about  225 km  west from where I live and about a 3 hours journey.
To give you an idea what the countryside is like, I have taken some pictures of things I often don't notice anymore.
The route runs through Beenleigh- Beaudesert- Boonah-Warwick to Cottonvale.
About 5 km from home I will arrive at the first hills and take the "mountain road" via West Mount Cotton to Beenleigh. As soon as you turn west from there you arrive on a two lane road and never see anything wider than that unless you enter the mountains area later on.
30 km to: 
Beenleigh (population 8000)
A medium size town which started its life as a sugar growing area in the mid 1800's
(As far as cities and towns are concerned, nothing is old in Australia as this continent was only settled from the early 1800's.)
The sugar growing stopped and from there on it was beef and cattle that kept the town going- Nowadays the only interesting things coming out of Beenleigh is Beenleigh Rum.
As soon as leave the town behind, you find yourself in the hills with plenty of cattle farms on either side of the road. From here on you always have to be aware of kangaroos,especially early in the morning, early evening or night.

45 km to:
Beaudesert (population 6000)
Entering Beaudesert, you get a little bit of a country feeling.
This place started off as a sheep farm in 1840 and grew slowly into a town. Today there are cattle farms in the area and a bit a commerce but not must else.
40 km to:
Boonah (population 2500)
Another sleepy town which was established in the 1850. People settled there because there is a  river and with  water so you can grow crops. As with other towns the early settlers had not much of an idea what would happen if it REALLY started to rain.
Years later they moved the town a bit further up the hill when they found that the old town flooded fairly often. Now it is a cattle and vegetable growing area. The main street is nice with a nice bakery, coffee shops and a pubs. So time for a break and have a coffee and apple pie. In the beginning these towns were connected with horse drawn carriages and later a railway line- (which have now disappeared)

80 km to:
Warwick (population 13,500)
Via a narrow roads  traversing the undulating countryside, the road connects with the busier inland highway connecting Brisbane with Sydney, but is still mostly two lanes.
We are now a  fair way inland; Warwick has a different climate. Higher temperatures in summer where it can reach up to 40 degrees and lower in the winter (just below zero degrees)
Again there is a river here and the rest of the story is as for Boonah but on a larger scale. Warwick has larger buildings and looks like a mini city.
Meanwhile we have climbed to 475 meter and continued uphill slowly.

45 km to:
Cottonvale (population? No idea perhaps 20- 30)
Once upon a time the railway line played a major part in Cottonvale's history and so did Cottonvale. The small town survived all the changes but as the main road was upgraded and bypasses the town by 100 meters no one stops there anymore and part of it is now a ghost town. 
What remains are some houses and old buildings-  the positive result is that houses (whats left of them) are cheap and so is the land. I guess you would pay less than a quarter of city prices here. Its a cool place too; cool meaning cold. At nearly 1000 meters the summers are cooler and winters colder; it can even snow in this area. Meanwhile, my mate Peter has placed this town on the map (my map anyway).
Just for the folks who don't know Peter,- (I think that's all of you) In "97 Peter and I (with another friend, Charlie) rode our motorcycles through India-Nepal-Pakistan etc all the way to Western Europe.

The area I was in is called the Granite Belt and is famous for its wineries; this is Queensland's primary wine growing industry. 
 An interesting observation is also that I recognised several place names which I had seen and recorded in earlier blogs when I went through Belgium in August.
On Aug 10 (in my other blog) I wrote that we passed through the city of Amiens...
On Friday I passed through Amiens again (a town of a dozen people or more).

 A bit of history
I wrote about the battle fields of Belgium and the Australian cemeteries  I visited there.The soldiers who returned from the war were given  or able to purchase very cheaply) blocks of land measuring of 40 acres (16 Hectare) , but often this was in a remote area as the government of the the time wanted to develop more land further away from the cities . Some small new towns were named after the towns the had fought in had been associated with . 
When you travel around the area via the narrow country roads you pass them one by one. Amiens- Pozieres, Fleubaix, Bapaume, Passchendaele. I had not been aware of this until then. 
 Anyway Peter and I had a nice time together,shared our memories and sowed seeds for new plans.

 Friday night we shared a meal with the locals of the next small town of Dalveen. The local farmers in the area often have a meal in the "Sportsclub" which consists of  fairly plain wooden building. People in jeans ,cowboy hats and checkered shirts arrived for a few beers and a simple meal and interesting conversations. This is still a place where people have time for each other as I noticed that the tables where not dominated by i-phone's and the like.
 Just a nice place to go and a nice place to meet the locals.


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