Mareeba

I’m a little behind on posts (thank uni assignments and a lack of reception for that) so the next lot of posts will be date-stamped until I catch up again. Onwards with the show..

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25/10/2013

Today was pretty uneventful – Alex had been in Port Douglas for a few days visiting friends while I had been in Herberton taking a look around. The plan was to regroup in Mareeba at the local motorbike shop where we’d get a fresh set of rear tyres on both bikes. Everything went straight forward except for a slight snag – we had the wrong axle for the DR, so the original was refitted until we work out exactly what axle is in it (The bike has DRZ400 forks and a DR650 front wheel, neither a DR650 or DRZ400 axle fit). I also learnt an important lesson here – I had ordered a pair of new air filters as spares for my XR and got a bit of a shock when I went to pick them up – $65ea! The shop had ordered genuine Honda air filters rather than aftermarket replacements (as every other bike shop would) – lesson learnt, when dealing with small shops be VERY explicit when ordering parts.

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XR on the stand

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Fresh Dunlop D606 – fitted at 15,319km so we’ll see how it holds up.

It was at this time I met Alex’s friend and travelling companion Rah – she’ll be joining us for a while travelling on the back of Al’s bike so for now it’s the three of us :-)

I’d spotted something that had caught my attention on the way in – a war museum – so I split off from Alex and Rah while they headed over to Barron Falls in Barron George National Park.

Located approximately 5km on the South side of Mareeba Beck’s Aviation and Military museum is apparently Queensland’s largest privately owned war museum. The museum itself is run by an older retired gentleman who keeps the museum as a hobby and just enjoys sharing his stories. The museum is self-guided but I ended up staying to talk for about half an hour once I’d finished looking around. The best description I could give of the museum is lots and lots of history crammed into a reasonable size hangar; however it was well laid out with most things being labelled. My photo’s aren’t all encompassing but should give a pretty good idea.

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Pair of Canadian Military Pattern trucks – better known as a “Blitz” truck. The truck on the right is a Ford-built truck powered by a 239 cubic inch Flathead V8, while the Chev on the right has a 215 cubic inch straight six. I’m quite glad I found this part of the collection as this knowledge would prove useful later.

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Wackett Trainer airframe

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Plenty of engines on display in a number of configuration – radials, V’s and inline engines. The big V12’s were quite impressive and are MUCH larger in person than the photos show.

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Allison V1710-35 from a Bell Airacobra (WWII). 28L, overhead cam, four valve per cylinder technology – 1,150hp.

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Pratt & Whitney R1830. Twin row radial producing 800-1350hp depending on trim from 30L displacement.

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Stepping up a size – Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. 56.4L making upwards of 2,800hp. This engine was of particular interest for me as the R-2800 served as a test bed in the later years of the war for development of water injection. Water injection allows you to boost the power of an engine far beyond the octane rating of a fuel, in the R-2800s case engines tested at up to 3,800hp at 74psi of boost pressure – up from the original design specifications of 2,000hp at 24psi of boost pressure. Water injection is still used in performance applications today, thanks to this pioneering research. I never expected to see one of these engines up close, so this was quite a surprise! If anyone is interested a story of water injection is available here and is quite a good read without being overly technical – one particularly interesting quote “Based on seventy-two hours of testing by a twenty-three year old test engineer, the fuel formulation for the remainder of World War II was selected”.

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Schneider mounted gun

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I didn’t take a photo of the info plate for this but from memory it was a twin-row 18 cylinder radial Wright R-3350 used in the Boeing B29 Superfortress.

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C47 Dakota

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Canberra Bomber

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5.5” gun – so big I had trouble getting it all in frame for the photo..

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1942 WLA Harley Davidson

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c1920s Douglas

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From here I met up with Alex and Rah at Smithfield after a run through the mountains to Kuranda. The road was absolutely amazing but that will be the next post.

My Tracks link

-Brogan.

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