Thursday, 10 December 2009

Motorcycle!!

Bought a Yamaha Scorpio-Z 225cc road bike. Had a test ride on the Yamaha TTR-250 - but I've a shortage of height... Found stopping scary - not being able to touch the ground except on tippy toes. The Yamaha XT250 looked nice... but no kick start.. I decided that I didn't want to have to push start my bike if the battery was feeling slack. Used to do that in the past. It was hard work on bitumen, I reckon it would be a lot harder on dirt or sand.

So the Scorpio was it.

Have build a rack to go on it - version 2 is much nicer than version 1. Version 1 weighed 10kg  and wasn't finished - that is when I thought it was way way over engineered, and scrapped it..

Going to head out of Sydney for a week to test how it all goes. Will have photos up from that.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Return to Sydney

Yep, you read that right. Back in Sydney now.  The short story is that I've cannot carry enough water by bicycle to do the things I want - travel to remote places. The places I've been are dry. The more water I carry, the heavier it is, and the more I drink pushing it up hills. End result, I cannot get to places I want. My knee has also been a bit sore, my tent is in Sydney getting repaired.  When I bought a motorcycle, the bicycle would return to Sydney anyway... And so, seemed the time to return to look about Sydney shops, see a doc, recover tent, etc..

So, Sunday I left Barraba and travelled to Manilla. Monday morning I left Manilla at 6am to get to Tamworth in time for the CountryLink train to Sydney.

Now to find a motorcycle.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Barraba

The weekend had lots of steady rain and the tent leaked :( First one side above the door started with slow drops falling, then the other door, then another leak further back into the tent. The drips were from the seems over the top of the tent. I thought it was leaking when I was in Woolomin, but as I had the vents open, wasn't certain if the water was from that or not. Another possibility at the time was from my raincoat - I had been in and out a few times. Decided not to worry about it then, and wait until we had more rain to check.

Well the weekends rain made it clear that it was leaking.  I have an Exped, 2 person,  Auriga Mesh tent. Well had. Called Mountain Equipment in Sydney, and talked with Heather. the tent is 6 months old. Considering that I've only been using it the last 6 weeks - that's not much use yet. Heather said they have never had problems with these tents, so she thinks this may be faulty. I posted the rain fly back to Sydney yesterday.  Exped has a 5 year warrenty.

So, in the mean time, I have a 3 person tent from Barbeques Galore. It cost me the pricely sum of $49. I also bought a green poly tarp from Bunnings just in case. The 3 person is more roomy, not as ventilated, but so far, has kept the rain off.

The tarp is also for covering the tent when the sun is out - if I'm not moving. Tents don't like the sun - and all of them have warnings about prolonged UV exposure. So if I'm in a spot that is very sunny and am not moving for a while, then I'll cover the tent with the tarp.

For the moment I'll stay in Barraba a bit longer, but thinking its getting time to move on.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Manilla, Barraba

Decided that needed to move on from Manilla. Was a nice town, but itchy feet. The day was windy and dusty, so thought I might as well be walking northwards. It was very windy and dusty on the road. Almost headed back to Manilla. Had decided that I'd only stop in Barraba for water, but when I got here, thought I'd stay the night. One night led to two, to three... Been here more than a week so far.. Going to stay a few more too. There is the Barraba Festival on in the first weekend in November - so will probably stay for that. I'm staying at the Barraba Caravan Park. (Hi Bob.) Its quiet and peaceful.

Exciting things that have happened - I cut my hair! This is the first time in I don't remember how many years. So it was a good cut. I used scissors first - but the cut was uneven. Then in a second had shop I found some hand clippers for only $10. Bargin. I was so excited. Today, for the first time all week, my hair is even. Number 000 clippers - pretty close to a shave without using a razor. Not sure yet if I'll just stick to the clippers, or actually do the shaving. Time will tell. It certainly is a change from my long hair. Dries quick though, and is easier to wash. Also saves on shampoo and conditioner :)

Days are passing watching the insect life (there are lots of ants about here - all different sizes, shapes), playing with the Roly Poly's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillidiidae they are soo neat!!) , watching clouds, and reading. I also go for rides about the town and local roads when it is cool.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Nundle, Woolomin, Tamworth, Manila

After the quick update at Nundle, I headed up to Hanging Rock. The plan was to head to Barrington Tops. However, it was cold!! It was midday when I got up there, had lunch at a place called Shiba Dam (Had a picnic at Hanging Rock), and I was shivering. If it was that cold at midday, I thought the nights might be too cold for me, so I headed back to Woolomin. Took me 1.5 hours to walk up to Hanging Rock, and 5 minutes to coast down. I did camp one night at Nundle, and found ice on the tent in the morning when I woke. Woolomin was cold, but not as cold.

So for the last three weeks, there has been lots of shivering! Still getting rid of stuff - down to just a pair of sandals now - got rid of the shoes I had. I've never liked shoes that much, so not sure why I thought I would suddenly start wearing them now. Gone. 1.5kg lighter (they were heavy shoes!!)

The other thing about Woolomin was that Merv and George had all these books. The General Store had books also, so I did a lot of reading while I was there. George went ferreting on the last weekend, and brought me a rabbit skin. I wanted to try brain tanning it. Well, I learnt alot about hides - fleshing the hide wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. After several hours, cramps in my hands, holes in the pelt, I admitted defeat. I know for next time - start with a more comfortable handled knife, a hard surface to work on, have water handy, and probably start on not such an old rabbit. The pelt was from and old female and was very mangy. But still for a first try, I was happy. No I didn't get to the tanning stage. Next time. Though then I'll have to catch the rabbit myself.

For interested people, here is the link on how I was going to do the tanning: http://www.braintan.com/articles/furs/miller1.html

I was in Tamworth yesterday, but had internet problems so didn't get an update.  I'm now at the Manila caravan park. And it is a nice park. My lesson from yesterday is 'drink water'. I set out from Woolomin about 8, got to Tamwoth at 9:30, did postal stuff, internet, some shopping, and then set out. About lunch time cramps started, and I struggled on to Manilia before thinking about why. Realised that I'd only drunk about a liter all day, and the day was very dry. Also had a head wind the whole way. (Why is it that when I stop the wind goes the way I want to head, but the moment I start riding I get a head wind?) Decided that I'll rest up here for a couple of days to recover before moving on.  There are also more books here to read :)

Sorry to all the people that I've got email addresses for that I've not emailed yet. I keep forgetting and packing the address book at the bottom of the bags. Sooner or later I'll rememeber and keep it on top.

Yesterday was the first day not shivering, and now the weather here has gone cold :( Hope the washing dries - my jumper is in it.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Nundle

Well packing up an exhibition was interesting. The paintings were 'wow'. Doing the work, was thinking of how to make it easier. It took all day. Also got to been some of Ians friends in Tamworth - Hi to Col, Kate and Molly (How could you forget Molly!)

I cycled out of Tamworth on Tuesday morning, and got to Woolomin. The rain started there, so camped in the camp ground. Well next day was the dust storm - so wasn't going anywhere. The local shop has books that you can take and read - so spent the past week sheltering from the wind and dust, reading books. Been taking the tent down in the day - and sheltering underneath it to cut the wind down. Oh I'd like the wind to stop!

This morning was 1 Degree. With the wind, its cold. I'm going to wait about for another couple of days for this cold front to pass, and the weather to warm up. There is a forecast for 30C on Wednesday or Thursday. Just heard that its 8C now, and that doesn't count the wind!!! Not sure about Barrington Tops either at the moment. Everyone is saying its always cold there. I don't think my clothes are up for the cold. The question I'm still thinking is wether to sit here in Nundle, or go back down to Woolomin where its a bit warmer.

I'm still not so good with taking pictures. So no pictures yet. Still getting rid of stuff on the bike, though, the items are small now -> do I need this cloth? Still would like it to be lighter.

Been talking to lots of locals and tourists (as you do shivering in a campsite). By far the most common exclaimation is 'your mad' followed by 'get more gears'. But some people think its a good idea (even if they wouldn't do it themself)

Meals have settled down to once a day - doing a large rice/pasta/vege dish about lunch time, with any desserts if there are any. Eat any fruit when I can.

What ever I do, I'll be heading in Walcha eventually and will get another update up then.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tamworth

Yeah.. bit of a story. After spending 5 days camping in Watagans National Park. (I had a good time there.. no one else was at the camp sites - guess they are all working) I moved to Wolombi Pub for one night, then went to Broke. Camping in both places. Broke was a nice camp site, but got too noise - with someone wanting to keep me company so I would be lonely. They also brought their juke box along. So next day was heading to Denman very early in the morning. A rent a van stopped, and a guy lept out and said to chuck the bike in the back and he'd give me a lift. Well I said no. But we got talking, he's an artist and was heading to Tamworth to collect his paintings from the exhibition that he'd been displayed at. Obviously here I am - been helping him pack up his paintings. Ian Bettinson is his name, and the paintings were worth it. Amazing dot paintings. Glad I accepted the lift. Been here a couple of days, leaving tomorrow. Going to cycle backwards towards Sydney to see some of the national parks I skipped.

I should also add that I've been dumping stuff every stop. Getting less and less. Pushing the bike up the hills, you think carefully about what you need. Will get another shot of the bike soon. I can say that there is now space in the panniers :)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Leaving Sydney for Morriset


Left Sydney Saturday 5th September for Morriset. Was sad saying farewell to friends over the past few weeks, and my home for the past year. Was exciting also to be finally on my way. I had lots piled on the bike. Panniers full to busting, a bag tied on top and stuff hanging off everywhere... (Anna and Serena got up early just to see me off.)

So much stuff on the bike, that first stop at Claires place we went though it all and I left another box of stuff behind - mainly clothes, and the yoga mat, thongs, etc


That reduced the weight a bit.. But by the time I got to Morriset, decided to ditch some more things. I think that managed to lose 6kg of stuff here. Decided that I didn't really need to take that extra shifting spanner (on a bike with mostly allen keys), multigrips (why??), and file (what was I thinking???).. or need so much food..(months and months supply!!!) a container of grease (on a bike with all sealed bearings!!!), half the bookcase (maps of all of Australia - what was I thinking!!!)

The twin boys here are so cute. But so much work. Always busy.. been taking naps in the day when they sleep to recover. They just turn two.
Ingo and Andrea have been so wonderful. Love Andreas cooking!. But after sorting out more stuff on the bike, time to hit the road again.. Leave Sunday for the nearest National Park.

Time to hit the road.




Thursday, 3 September 2009

Last days

The count down is on - though, feels very rushed.  Lots still to do and I'm so tired.. Trying to get everything to fit on the bike is needing more than a few revisions of what to take. 'Oh this shirt I've had for 20years - it must come with me'  I ditched the 1kg of glass that I wanted to take - decided I can find glass somewhere else...

People to see, stuff to finish up with... 

Friday, 14 August 2009

Last Day!!!

14th August. Last day at work. Well, had the whole week off on leave. But was in for Wed, Thur, Friday for lunches.. Today is hand in keys and clean out the last of the desk. Exciting - its happening.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Times a passing. Two weeks remaining at work. Everyone is shocked and surprised, then envious. Lots of people want to keep in touch - so have a lot of new email contacts. This blog will also be used to keep people upto date.

"Stuff removal" is proceeding. Claire visited last night and grabbed some of the tools that she wants. Need to contact a few other friends to collect their piles of stuff. Feeling happy with the way this is going. Was worried for a while there that I wouldn't be able to empty the place.

Having some medical tests - test that I should have had done way way earlier. Luckily I can get in to have them quick this time. Last time it took a couple of months.


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Decision Time

On the weekend, it just seemed the right time. The time had come. Resignation handed in on Monday 20th July 2009. Scarey and exciting all at the same time. Now to wait out the time remaining. Will be interesting to see how the word goes about...

Two things so far:

1. I'm not a fixture at the place
2. Its not a retirement home.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Well, didn't end up going to Zurich. Still in Sydney.
Wow.. Just noticed that my last post was in 2007. Where did 2008 go!