Silo Art West Day 2 – St George to Stanthorpe

Wednesday – 17 November, 2021

Arising early I peered out the window to see another sunny day, perfect for the ride ahead of me.  Excited by the prospect of Silo Art at Thallon and Yelarbon, I made my way to the St George Bakery, on foot, for breakfast.  This typical country town bakery attracts the local tradies on their way to work.  A piping hot Bacon & Egg Burger and a Double Espresso got my day off to a good start.

Bacon and Egg Burger and Double Espresso for Breakfast at St George Bakery

Back at the motel I finished packing and loaded my gear onto my motorcycle.  By 7:45am I was on the outskirts of St George on the Carnarvon Highway.  The Nindigully Pub was my first destination today, a thirty minute ride from St George.  Famous for it’s annual pig races to raise money for the RFDS, it is also the oldest licenced hotel in Queensland.

Also at Nindigully are the Paperback Hero Boomerangs.  The Boomerangs are from the 1999 movie, Paperback Hero, starring Hugh Jackman.  Filmed in Nindigully, the boomerangs were from the movie’s Boomerang Cafe.

It was great to see these sights in Nindigully.  Arriving before the pub opened, I spent some time walking around and taking photos.  Amazing how things you’ve seen in photos look so much better in the flesh.  If you’re ever in the area, its well worth a visit.

Time to continue south on the Carnarvon Highway.  It was still before 9:00am when the grain silos at Thallon appeared on the horizon.  I pulled into the parking area next to the camping grounds and Thallon State School.  Here I found shady trees, picnic tables and toilets.  It was also close to the designated viewing platform.  This is the best place to enjoy the spectacular ‘Watering Hole’ mural.  Painted in 2017 the giant GrainCorp Silo Art acts as a landmark for the town of Thallon.  As usual, I took the opportunity to take some photos.

A blue tarpaulin obscured the view of the lower section of the silo art.  My guess was this was covering excess grain that wouldn’t fit in the silos.  Signs of a good season for the local grain growers.  From Thallon I would head east on the Barwon Highway.  Being an agricultural region the land was flat and prone to flooding.  There had been some excellent rains recently giving rise to the risk of impassable roads.

Road to Goodiwindi is open

Looks like I’ll be right at least to Goondiwindi!  At Toobeah (120km east of Thallon) I stopped for a short break.  Lucky I didn’t need to refuel.

BMW R1200GS at Toobeah on Silo Art West Tour Day 2

My plan was to grab some lunch and refuel in Goondiwindi which was only another 50km away.  The Larder Cafe was my intended lunch destination due to it’s rating on Google Maps. After lunch I took a walk up the main street of Goondiwindi.  The Victoria Hotel was only two minutes away.  Such a grand hotel, serving locals and visitors since 1920. Nice town this one.  I’d definitely have to come back another time to have a meal and a cold beer at the Victoria Hotel.

Pleased with my progress thus far on Day 2 of my Silo Art West tour it was time to bid Goondiwindi farewell.  In 50 minutes I’d had an early lunch, walked up and down the main drag taking photos and refuelled. All before noon.  Now for the 52km ride on the Cunningham Highway to Yelarbon.  More Silo Art to see and it didn’t disappoint.

The designated viewing area was across the road from the GrainCorp Silos at Yelarbon.  There is ample parking, covered picnic tables and information about the artwork.  There are eight painted silos titled ‘When the rain comes’.  Full credit to the artists for the incredible detail on show.  The continuous water levels connecting each silo make a whole panoramic artwork.  The GrainCorp Silo Art at Yelarbon was completed in 2019.

I noted with interest a sign showing other art sites in the Goondiwindi region.  So much more to see if you have the time.

Anyway my next stop was Texas.  That’s the one in Queensland not the state in the US.  I’ve passed through there a few times before but would stop today and check it out.  Might even have a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage at the Stockman Hotel.  It was another 63km east of Yelarbon or another 40 mins on the bike.  The roads were on par with what I’d encountered much of the day so far.  That is, they held no great appeal to motorcyclists.  The ride to Texas was about the sights.  Art Silos, quaint country towns and grand pubs of a bygone era.  On arrival around 1:00pm I parked my motorcycle on High Street.  The next 20 minutes I spent walking around and acquainting myself with the Stockman Hotel.  The Lemonade, Lime & Bitters was cold and well received.  This was the least grand of the hotels I’d been to on this Silo Art West tour to date.  These photos reveal the highlights of High Street, Texas, Queensland, 4385, Australia.

With 100km to Stanthorpe there were two final treats for the day awaiting me.  First was the Texas Water Tank Art only a couple of km from High Street.  Never having stopped for the photo opportunity on previous rides, today I’d make an effort.  Not as impressive as the GrainCorp Silo Art at at Yelarbon, but still a good effort.  It was worth the stop.

Texas Water Tank Art on Stanthorpe-Texas Road, Texas, Queensland

Second was the rest of the ride into Stanthorpe on Shearer’s Way.  Having ridden Shearer’s way before I knew what lay ahead. 90km of creek crossings, bends, curves and notable for an absence of straight roads.  Such a departure from most of the riding on this Silo Art West Tour since Gatton Clifton Road early on Day 1.  This gradual climb from Texas is Stanthorpe is worth the effort.  Suggest that you don’t undertake it at dusk or dawn given the many Skippy carcasses decaying on the road.  Check out the profile of Shearer’s Way below.

Profile of Shearer's Way from Texas to Stanthorpe

Most noticeable about this ride on Shearer’s Way was the evidence of recent flooding.  There must have been fast flowing torrents of water rushing down the creeks only a week or so earlier.  It’s likely Shearers’s Way would have been impassable.  Lucky for me the bridges and causeways were clear of water and damage.  The creek banks and adjacent foliage were in bad shape.  I crossed my fingers that the nearby Glenlyon Dam would again be close to if not at capacity.  There had been severe water shortages in this region not too long ago.

In the Day 2 video (below), Shearer’s Way starts at 6m 40s and runs for about two minutes. Worth a look if you want to get a better feel for Shearer’s Way and the condition of the creek banks.

I arrived at the Boulevard Motel in Stanthorpe at 2:30pm.  My first stay here.  Friendly staff, clean rooms and a good location.  A good choice.

Boulevard Motel in Stanthorpe

Even though the Shearer Way was the only riding highlight of the day it was a great day. The Silo Art at Thallon and especially Yelarbon was so worth the effort. The Silo Art part of this tour was behind me. There was still the ride back to Bris Vegas to look forward to.

Mid afternoon I ventured out on foot. I had completed my usual motel protocols and it was time for a beer. Armed with my iPad Pro and 1TB portable SSD O’Mara’s Pub was calling. Over a few beers the process of downloading GoPro clips to the iPad and backing up on the SSD was completed. With Micro SD cards erased I was ready to video tomorrows riding adventure. Depending on how many videos taken during the day this can take some time.  Today it took two schooners.  I also checked Stanthorpe’s dining options on Google Maps. Tonight it would be the Central Hotel and Bistro.

With my evening planned I ventured back to the Boulevard Motel for a pre dinner rest watching TV. Plus it also gave me the opportunity to drop off my GoPro files saving equipment. Soon it was time for dinner.  Here are some photos I took during my time in Stanthorpe.