Thursday, 1 December 2011

Online impersonation

Finally decided to act today. 

I'd noticed that someone had been using various online forums to post anti [anything I have ever supported] comments using "Megan Webb" and "Megan Lee Webb" of Dulwich Hill. They have also posted pro comments for issues and groups that I would not lend my name to.  

Friends has asked me at different times if that was really me posting.  No, it wasn't.   Its just my most ardent fan. 

I suspect they will continue to show their commitment in the future, so anything you read that isn't on this blog - it wasn't me.  


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Perth: Smelling the flowers

Was out walking, smelling the evening meals,  took this photo. Walk past this place often and the roses smell soo wonderful. Find the time :)

Bike is in the shop getting a new set of bottle braze ons. This will allow me to carry the fuel bottle for the stove outside my bags. Still working on the tent - well, procrastinating about working on it. Need to sew the mossie net, and all the sewing people I've spoken with have said the material is too fine. Borrowed a sewing machine - but it didn't work - the machine, not my sewing. Trying to find a way to avoid having to sow 34 meters of joins by hand. 

Meanwhile, the weather outside after a few really hot days, is cool - autumn cool.. So wonderful!!!


Friday, 21 October 2011

Perth: Bike path art, Oil leaks & tents

Still in Perth. Out riding about the bike paths, found some cute graffiti. 

Rohloff hub is back getting looked at. The seal change didn't fix the problem. While the shop was looking at the issue, they found the frame dropouts were twisted. I now have straight dropouts, but the hub is still leaking. Also found that my headset bearings could have been better - got them changed to a new set that have o-ring seals to keep the water and dust out. Wow! That was an improvement. I hadn't noticed how bad the headset was. Motivated by these this improvement, I changed the front disk rotor. The previous rotor didn't want to stay straight. It was once, but guess it got banged and bent. It was never the same after that. Bending would work for a while making the wobble less, but sooner or later it would get worse again. Got tired of it and changed the whole rotor out. No more pulsing brakes! Now that was an improvement. I wonder why I waited so long to do this.

The last of the glue arrived so its back working on the new home. There's a picture of the space I have to work in. Bit squishy. I do the glue work in the morning, so that by evening I can move it and sleep in the same space. While more space would make it easier, I'll get there in the end.


Monday, 10 October 2011

Perth Critical Mass, stoves and tent

Still hanging out in Perth. Been doing some short rides, lots of reading, playing mindless computer games, and procrastinating on things I should be doing.  However I haven't been totally idle.

Critical Mass Perth is dead. I hunted about online but couldn't find any activity since 2009. In the end I turned up on the steps outside the Western Australian Library on the last Friday in September,  but didn't see any gathering.  After waiting about for half an hour I gave up. I reckon its dead.  Someone prove me wrong...

Lost another tooth. It had been sore for several months, but not agony sore, so I'd been ignoring it. Well, not just that, there aren't many dental services in country Australia. Finally after procrastinating a lot, I saw two dentists here.  Both said the same thing - root canal or extraction. Given that root canal costs upwards of $2000, extraction it was.  Another one gone.  Dental costs in Australia are incredibly high.

Been thinking of doing a long walk while I'm over here. Was looking at my gear and the weights of everything and decided to get a smaller cooking pot. Also tried out making a Penny Stove. The stove works well, but not sure if I want to use metho or not. I've gotten to like the MSR Whisperlight International - turn it on and cook for as long or as short as needed. Measuring out the metho and lighting up, sometimes I burn out before my meal is done, other times I burn way longer than I need. Metho produces less heat than Shellite or petrol. Hence means more fuel needed. Prices for a litre range from $5 upwards. (found some for $3 in Bunnings, but as Bunnings only exists in large cities, I'm not counting on this). Shellite, my prefered fuel, is about $7 a litre, and petrol is about $1.50ish.  But metho has its uses, I'll keep testing and then decide.

Riding about in the city on the weekend and found Perth Pride Fair day was on. Advertised as "fun for the whole family". They claimed over 40 stalls, but I'm doubtful about that.  It was in a small park, fenced off, with bag searches and a $15 entry fee. Needless to say I didn't go in. Talking with the locals, in past years it was free, then a gold coin donation.  I wasn't the only one that declined to enter. Some thought the entry fee was to ensure they didn't have another one next year. 

Been house sitting a friends apartment.  Not much space on the floor, but I've been using it to make a new shelter. Still haven't finished, but finding the building is going real easy - well apart from the constant shuffling about on the floor. To replace my existing tent, I'm going to change to using a 8'x10' (2.4m x 3m) tarp. Making the tarp from 48.4 g/m² Cuben fabric. No sewing involved. Using tape and glue. It will have no-see-um mossie net and bathtub as well. The mossie net will have two entrances, and no zippers. Zippers work well, until they break, then they are a head ache. Going to try having extra material and twisting it shut. Trying to keep everything simple and easy to repair on the road. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bicycle Polo, Perth

Been doing some rides about Perth, and generally lazying about.
Yesterday decided to go check out the bike polo games. Got the
information from http://www.bikepolo.com.au/cities/perth/ and rocked
up.  The game they play is "Hardcourt Bike Polo" or "Urban Bike Polo".
Check out the rules
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_polo#Hardcourt_bike_polo

Most of the bikes were fixed gear or single speed. I used my bike -
after taking off the mirror and lowering the bar ends.

It was heaps of fun. Going to have to go back an play some more.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Live music, and dolphins

Yay!!! My bike is back. New seals on the Rohloff, new chain and sprockets. Been out riding each day.  Yesterday was in one of the parks and got to listen to some live music. Guess it was part of some fathers day celebrations.

Today, I got to watch dolphins playing near the shore. I was the only one there. They played for around 20 minutes about a buoy, then moved along the shore a bit before vanishing. A show, just for me.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Times a passing

Had the flu for the past week, so been spending lots of time sleeping. Today the weather was spot on, so I borrowed a bike and went for a ride along the river. My rear wheel is in getting seals changed on the Rohloff but should be back next week.  One of the buildings along the way...


Friday, 5 August 2011

Whim Creek, Roebourne, Karratha, Nanutarra Roadhouse, Perth

Okay. A bit behind on the journal updates. Catching up now, all in one post on the trip down to Perth.
Currently resting up in Perth, eating lots, replacing and repairing gear. The big items that need work:
bike - time for another Rohloff oil change. Drive chain side oil seal may be leaking oil. Not a problem as noted on the German Rohloff website, but I'd like to get it fixed.
Bike - make a new chain case. The old one has worked well, but it could be better. Will have a bigger choice of plastic in Perth to make the improved version.
Bike - seat and handlebar grips need patching or replacing from wear.
Tent - time to get a new one, or patch the holes. Actually I've decided this already and am going to make my own. Should be able to drop the weight from 4kg to around 1.5kg for a two person, mossie net and bath tub setup. I'll write more on this as I build it.
Panniers- my home made set has been getting lots of patches. They are more than ten years old now. Since I'm going to make a new tent, I'll make another set out of new material. I'll get to ride about Perth and test them before I leave to ensure they hold up. If the new ones work, I'll make another set and replace all my panniers. Weight loss will be at least 2kg which with the tent will save about 5kg.
Since I'm cutting the weight, I'll take the scales to my gear and see what else can go on a diet. Should be able to save another kilo or two that way. Ideally I'll drop six or seven kilos from my gear list before I leave Perth. I'm not expecting that to happen fast. Wandering about the city today checking out the camping shops, found the Munda Biddi Foundation office. Was so excited - bicycle track. Will definitely ride some of that. Sarah there was so helpful and friendly. Thanks heaps.
Also looking at doing some short walks - the Bibbulmun Track looks interesting. Its only 1000km
But not until I get my bike gear sorted. The light tent will be good for that also. Anyway, more on that later..

Update on getting to Perth:
Was glad to get out of Port Hedland area. I left about midnight from the caravan park. There was still a fair bit of traffic at that time. Road trains moving ore and gas, and general goods. But they dropped of by the time I was past the Newman turn off.
Was feeling like resting, so stopped riding before Whim Creek. Saved that for the next day. Nice little pub. Food and a game of pool. If you ever call past - say hi to Harry.
Roebourne plains was next. That was exciting. Large empty plains of short grass, with a strong head wind, but hid out in a creek bed that was so nice, I stayed two days. Would have stayed another day, but needed water.
Next was the food and water stop in Karratha. It was a quick stop, get supplies and leave. Reminded me of Port Hedland. Lots of cars and trucks, not many people walking or cycling. But it did have less road debris.
I was still night riding as the temps were up, and well, it was quieter. Got used to having the road to myself and the occasional road train. Night riding continued all the way to Nanutarra.
Unfortunately I started feeling sick after leaving Karratha. I had passed the Fortescue roadhouse by about 40km, and instead of turning back, pushed on. It was a tough few days with short distances and lots of resting. Spent all of one day in one spot. It was a struggle to get to Nanutarra. With the next roadhouse 200km, and the next town 140km after that, I decided to get the bus to Perth to recover. Spent three more days waiting for a bus, and then 20hours travelling. Not sure what it was - bad water, bad food, a build up of fatigue from long rides without enough rest, some other bug. Nausea, tiredness and weak. Was feeling lots better after three days just waiting for the bus.
Met a German cycle rider at Nanutarra. He was on a two week holiday and rode from Broome and was heading south. We shared thoughts on the towns and both agreed on Port Hedland.
He was relying on the caravan crowd to get water. I wonder if this is just a overseas visitor idea or if Australian riders do it also. I'm happy with 23liters and a plan to get between known water spots, than needing to ask caravan people all the time.

Photos: There isn't much water about..
Kangaroos are strays?
Robe River did have water in it. Was a nice spot to hangout for a day. Stayed there, slept, washed, rested. This was after Karratha.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Roebuck Roadhouse to Port Hedland

Huh. So much for weather reports. It got to 34C after leaving the roadhouse.
I Just before leaving I met Aitor and Evelin, cycling from Boome south. So we rode together for a bit. Wow. Evelin only started cycling from Darwin. Amazing. Picking to my mind the hardest place to start touring in. Aitor has been on the road two years.
It was hot. So that night I left them and continued my night cycling.
One thing about over here, is that once the day warms up i doesn't cool in the afternoon. It needs the night to cool down. I miss that on the east coast - how its hot in the middle of the day, but cooler in the afternoon.
So cycling at night, trying to find some shade and then rest or sleep in the heat. Tiring it has been. Been some days just so tired, that I have slept for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. But a lot of sleepless times.
On night a car with a trailer passed fast. Two hours later I found them in the bushes on the right hand side. They where okay - and getting the car back on the road and then the trailer out. I didn't stay about as they said I couldn't help. I wasn't going to argue with them.. An hour and a half later they passed fast again. I don't think they learn't their lesson.
Sitting in the shade in the day I see all the small creatures: so many differant ants, beetles, bees, wasps, spiders, lizards, birds. More wildlife than I thought would be about. Cause at night i see snakes and bugs. Not seeing to much of the larger animals. Welll, there was a kangaroo that almost hit me. What is it about them - i'm not going that fast. It bound from the road edge just in front of me across the road. Road kill for sure if it does that with anything else.
Been lucky - it showered one night - not enough to dampen everything. Just enough to give the smell of rain and a hint of coolness.
Then past Sandfire Roadhouse it really showered and rained. Got wet. But was happy it was 15C and cool. Such a releif after all the hot days and nights. I was riding in the morning when it started. That night I slept well. First time in a while. Slept from 5pm through to 7am. Then had breakfast, before cycling in the day for the first time.
Breakfast was in the tent - lots of flies. The pesty ones that walk all over your face and dive onto the spoon from the pot to your mouth. Arrrghhh.. So annoying those flies. Eat in the tent.
DeGray River rest area was the first one I stopped at for a long time. Well not much reason to stop at them at night, and in the morning - just looking for a place to crash and avoid the sun later. One I stopped I stayed. Since I didn't want to stay in the rest area, I didn't stop. Stopped for lunch, but ended up staying the night. Met lots of nice people there. Got given a dish of home made pasta sauce, a packet of buscuits, and a feed of roast potatoes. All from different people.
Today was Port Hedland, and then South Hedland. Hmmm Port Hedland was not pleasant. Busy road, narrow, winds. And there is nothing in Port Hedland. Well, not true - there is the port. Some services. South Hedland has shops. Its a very spread out place. People drive everywhere. The two places are about 20km apart. Lots of trucks, 4x4 and road trains. Busy. It was also windy. So after going into Port Hedland, it was a head wind getting out.
Someone said to me the port started at Port Hedland, but then the town run out of space because of the salt flats - so South Hedland was started.
Whatever, it was a bit dissapointing to hit the first town after leaving Derby and have to deal with Port Hedland.
I'm staying in a van park in South Hedland tonight. All the sweating up north, everything is loaded with salt. So while the last two days have been cooler, everything is damp as the salt absorbs the moisture at night. Washed everything today and dried it. Feels so good to have clean dry gear. The last wash/dry cycle was in Halls Creek - a long time ago.
Plan now is to head down the coastal route towards Perth. Looking at the map today, there are road houses spaced out more - well not too far apart. Towns are a bit sparse, but water shouldn't be a problem. Going to head that way, can always change my mind and swing back inland if I want to.
It doesn't matter who you talk to about how busy the roads will be - someone will always say the other is more busy. There is definitely a lot more road trains about Port Hedland though, than I've seen getting here.
Not many pictures so far, as I forget to take them, and cycling at night, well, I think there is lots to see, but my phone camera won't work so well. I'm still leaving early in the mornings, but should have more day time cycling, so maybe some more pictures from now on.

Derby

Well after leaving Fitzroy Crossing I only made it 30km out of town before crashing in the shade of a tree. It was hot, a head wind, and some hills. Gentle hills, but with the heat and headwind, too much to power over. So was the slow grind up and over.
Before I left, I had lunch with Anton. He's holidaying about and was admiring my bike. We chatted and he offered lunch, so we sat under the tree and ate some sandwiches. Thanks Anton.
It was still a bit of a head wind when I left in the morning, and sometimes it blew hot. Luckily it as cool most of the time. I'd planned a big day, but by lunch time, could only look for shade and rest. From that I
Today was an easy 90km into Derby. Had plans to do so postal stuff, but ended up talking with Mac and Gerrie most of the day. They were going to ride the Gibbs River road, but changed their minds after a day of corrugations,dust and 4x4's. Lots of traffic on the road. There were going by bus to Kununurra to spend their holiday up there.
Broome - Derby road had lots of traffic on it. Surprised me. It was still hot, so I didn't sleep well, Started cycling at 1am.
Cycling at night is cooler, but sometimes the wind is still hot. It cools more towards 3am.. I'd pass through rivers of warm or cool air as I'm riding alone. The stars are all spread out just for me. Currently the moon is rising, but is hidden by midnight. I can tell different areas by their smell or feel. Still lots of bugs at times. Annoying are the ones that crash into you and then hunt about for a spot to bite.
Just made Roebuck Roadhouse this morning at 4am. Faster than I'd planned. The plan was to spend the day here resting and then do two big days to get to Sandfire Roadhouse 300km away. But the weather has cooled. There will not be any 30C or over days. This is good. So will do some more daytime cycling.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Fitzroy Crossing

Ended up resting another day in Halls Creek. Washed a few more things. The rotten onion smell is definitely gone from my things now. Basically sat about and ate. Found that I had a lot of food resting in the bottom of my panniers. Started a mission to eat it all as its just extra weight I'm carrying. Reckon I should be getting near the bottom of it by the time I get to Broome.
Did a bolt from Halls Creek at 3:30am. Stratergy to avoid the heat - cycle when its cooler. It worked well. By 8am had done 110km and stopped for breakfast. Stopped again at lunch time and was going to call it a day, but sitting there resting the wind gusted up.. Arrrgghhh.. A tail wind. What could I do.. Jumped back on and did another 50km before calling it quits for the day. 190km all up. Since that was such a success, I repeated it today. The 100km into Fitzroy Crossing was done by 8am. Cycling at night is definitely cooler. Bugger all traffic about and you don't get to see the hills. Well, actually between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing there aren't any. It seemed pretty flat all the way.
The temps are hitting the low 30's. But feels like its a bit less humidity. I'm looking longingly at Port Hedland - their max is about 25.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Halls Creek

Ow, ow, ow... Answering the early morning call of nature, I'd forgotten the ant trail near my tent. The ants, although small, were not happy and let me know it. Jumping about trying to get them off, I stumbled into the patch of grass like needles. I'm now very awake.
I stayed around Kununurra for the two days, and then had to get south. It was so hot and humid. My plan to ride the Duncan Highway went out the window for an easy way to get as far south as possible - down the tar.
Along the way I met Max, Margarita and (not sure of the spellling) Gioragio (George). They were travelling towards Kununurra and stopped. Kindly they gave me some apples and garlic. Those apples sure tasted good. They're travelling around Australia and are currently looking for work. Maybe I'll see them down south ways..
It did feel cooler as I rode south, but its only a matter of degrees. Sitting here in Halls Creek its just below 30C and not so humid. Certainly an improvement. The best I can do until I'm past Port Hedland in another two weeks time. Water consumption has been running about 6 to 8 liters a day in drinking. I'm sweating so much. Luckily the sun has been behind clouds the last two days. The road has been hilly -look at the map and see all the ranges about here. I wonder if a head wind would have made it cooler as I'm not travelling fast in the hills. I'm not doing so well in the heat and humidity..
Have you seen the Bungle Bungles? I have. There was a good poster for them at the Doon Doon roadhouse :) In my mission to find somewhere cooler, I didn't detour into the park. The prices for a day trip were truely jaw droppping. There are lots of things I'm never going to see in the world - the Bungle Bungles in person, are in that list..
Halls Creek is a nice rest stop. It has an IGA and the caravan park is quiet. Yep - I'm in a van park. Decided it was washing time. I'd bought some veges in Kununurra and left them in the plastic bag. But in the heat they turned into a soup in my pannier. I sure wished the plastic bags hadn't leaked. Onions gone off have such a strong smell! That was the pannier with my sleeping cloths in it. Last night my camp ended up next to a dead cow. It was just bones and I couldn't smell it when I set up 20meters away. But during the night, when I woke a few times, I was wondering what I was smelling - me, my souped on clothes, the dead cow, live cows, or something else.. So even though its overcast and cooler than it has been, I decided to stop the day and wash everything. I'm sure that getting all the salt out of my riding gear will make it lighter and breath better to.
Depending how I'm feeling tomorrow morning - it will be either an early start to get towards Fitzroy Crossing, or another rest day.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Kununurra

Ended up having a wash before I left Timber Creek. Seemed a shame to kill off the ecosystem living on me, but it had to be done.. I felt lighter afterwards.
Had a slow ride to Kununurra. Stopped near the border crossing and ate lots of fruit. There is an inspection station at the border, so was lots of good pickings to be had. So much so that I needed to lie down a couple of km past the crossing. Didn't make it too far before another lie down was needed. So much food..
Now that I'm out of NT and in WA- I can say WA is a lot cleaner. NT is a rubbish dump. So much rubbish on the side of the road and at tourist spots. Okay I only went to the free stuff, maybe the pay sites have someone to pick up the rubbish. I talked to some NT people about the trash - their attitude was there is so much about a little more doesn't matter. I met people that gave me a drink of coke, and then threw the empty tin on the ground. Arrrgghh... The posters might say "pristine wilderness", but the poster writer must live in a rubbish dump. Bottles, cans, plastic, boxes, used toilet paper.. It was such a trashed place.
Kununurra is hot. Its back to heat and bugs.. So, going to head south on the tar for a few days to see if I can get to somewhere cooler..

Friday, 24 June 2011

Top Springs, Timber Creek

Yipeee... Arrrrgghhh... For the first time in days I was flying along. 32km/hr, down a gentle slope, with a bona fida tail wind. Then the hard packed clay changed. The tire track I'd been following to avoid the rocks became a thin canyon with steep sides of soft sand. Drift to far off the increasingly narrow track and I'd bog down in sand and crash.. But oh, the feeling of flying was good.. I enjoyred it while I could.. It didn't last, and it would be many days before the speed rose to even close to 20km/hr...
I'd left Katherine at lunch time and had a few easy days. One was particulary good, when I found a crash site. Somones camper or caravan had rolled. When it was taken away, all the stuff that fell out was left behind. Treasure!!! Found unopened food and drinks. Got a lid for my pot, a thermometer!! Ate food from that crash for the next five days.. Pity the chocolate was no go. I also had to leave the beer behind as I didn't want to carry it...
I also met two other bicycle riders. Philippe and Ursula (www.andakt.ch). I'd was still at the wreck site, hyper on food I'd been eating and so excited to finally meet some other cyclists. I probably seemed a bit demented.. They had Xtra wheel trailers. Neat trailers that worked well for them..
With all the food from Katherine and the food from the crash, I thought I small detour to Top Springs would be a good idea. Specially after finding Fiora River National Park closed. Top Springs - sounds good. Sounds like water... Alas, no springs there.. The pub/inn was moved to its present site at the junction of the roads. Actually there wasn't much of water from the highway turn off till well after Top Springs. Okay, that didn't pan out, but I could still go into the Gregory National Park. After 40km of riding back and forth between stations and Yaralin Community, I was back on the road to Timber Creek. Yep, the Gregory National Park was closed also.
Everyone had said the road was going to be rough, and this time they were right. Two days of grinding along in sand, gravel and rocks to get back to the tar.. Was I happy to see that. More so, was riding on it..
One item of interest from Top Springs; Noel Buntine was the guy responsible for road trains of cattle. And he was born at Stonehenge in QLD! Yeah.. I've been there...
Got to see some wild donkeys at one night camping..
All the people I talked to at Yaralin were so nice. Very helpful.
I found a tin of beer on the side of the road - and just threw it in the bin. Seems everyone here doesn't drink beer. Got tired or carrying it..
Jasper Gorge - a "high light" of the trip from Top Springs to Timber Creek was not worth stopping at. Its a camp site, but with no toilet block. I rode in and used toilet paper was blowing about in the wind. I road straight back out again.
Still got lots of food left, going to be a slow ride to Kununarra....

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Katherine

Made it to Katherine today and am staying at Coco's. While traveling up the Stuart Highway a couple of people said to stay there. They give a discout for cyclists. Well got into town and met Garry again (met him down at Dunmarra) and he'd been staying there.. So went and checked in. Very nice place. Coco is a nice guy. Love the Bantam chooks wandering about the yard.
Shopped at Woolworths for the first time since the coast. Wow.. After the smaller stores, its soo huge. Fresh fruit!!! I'm in heaven..
Actually riding into Katherine, there is a bike path from about 10km out. Its lined with Mango trees for part of it. Pity there isn't any fruit on them at the moment.. Like all bike paths it vanishes at one point with no signs on where to go. A construction site is the cause. I rode on the dirt for a bit, then hopped onto the road. But that was the outbound two lanes from Katherine. Arrgghh.. Back on the dirt.
The ride from Tenant Creek to here has been for the most part uneventful. Highway riding - cars, caravans and trucks. (Over it for now. Looking forward to finding some dirt again.) Camping in the bush. One night, on a stretch of bush, I walked across about a km of hard clay to camp near a creek. The ground was so hard I couldn't get tent pegs in very far. That night about midnight it stormed. Wind, lightening and rain. Well the ground turned to mud. Tent pegs wouldn't stay in now.. So a long night of tent flapping. It was also cold. Being awake I started packing up early before daylight. But with the mud it was daylight before I went to lift the tent up. There was a small snake where I was sleeping. Reckon it was sleeping with me for warmth.(it didn't provide me with any!) Neither of us could get excited - it was too cold. I kept packing up and it slithered off slowly into the bushes. Since then I've been packing up later, and checking underneath earlier in the packup routine.. Oh and that km of clay, was soft as custard. It took a lot longer to get back across it with the wheels sinking to the rims..
Looking back on the Barkly Highway, when I didn't have enough food, the Stuart has been lots easier. Still got food left from Tenant Creek, so bought too much then. But I've been eating well. It certainly made the days easier. Actually some days I rode less than four hours, and spent a lot of time reading. Much better way to travel..
I have stopped at some historical sites along the way. But frankly most of them you'd never know it. World War II sites - seems to be nothing there except the sign saying its a historic site. There could be something under the thigh high grass, but I'm not tracking about in it to look. Others like the Tenant Creek telegrath station and the over land wire line did have things to look at. Actually you'd need a week at the Tenant Creek Telegraph office to read all the material there..
The Stuart Highway has a speed limit of 130km/hr. This time of year, the big migration is underway. So its busy. All the grey nomads and holidayers from down south heading north for the winter. Some of them are in such a hurry. I've heard that some of the places don't take bookings, so I guess people rush to get there in time for a space.
Me, I'm puttering along at my own pace.

Tenant Creek

Well Barkly Homestead, while nice, didn't do it for me for a good rest. I just couldn't sleep. Think I've been out in the paddocks too much. At Barkly Homestead, people walking, the generator changing tone, cars slowing or stopping on the road, trucks doing the same. Every noise I'd wake up. In the end was up and packed up early to get away. Found out then that NT is in a differrent timezone to QLD. I didn't know till I went to hand the key back.
The lack of sleep, made for a tough day. Struggled along. The good thing was that night I slept so well. My spot was right near the road behind some bushes. Very close actually. But such a good sleep.
Still was struggling with lack of food. Stopped twice to cook up pasta and peas. Reckon that it just wasn't enough though. The dire food situation has forced me to do something I've never done before - plan meals for x days ahead, and plan more than one meal. So, when I arrived and did the shop up at Tenant Creek, I knew that i needed 6 or 7 days food. Planned breakfast, lunch and snacks. (I don't do dinner. Last eat is late afternoon. I sleep better that way). Probably got too much food now. Will see how it works out over the next week as I head towards Katherine.
A big "Hi" to Terry in Tenant Creek. We met at the supermarket and he invited me back to his place for a cuppa. He also offered that I could stay the night, but I was wanting a paddock, so declined. (I slept out of town about seven km in a gully, which was good. Very windy night it was.) He has helped out other cyclists he's seen about Tenant Creek. Super helpful guy. The only person I really ended up talking with in Tenant Creek.
Random things so far:
All the budgies that escape head west. Seen flocks of them out here. I've never thought of them as birds that live outside of a bird cage.
Mining equipment on display at Tenant Creek looks like its for kids. Small dinky machines.
Carrying more than 10liters of water most of the time. Mostly leaving a town with 20 liters. There are rest areas with tanks, but sometimes the tank is empty. Been annoyed a few times arriving to find caravan people using the water to do their washing, or washing their cars. Grrrrr.
Been avoiding the caravan crowd for the last few days. Tired of their whinging. They complain about the cost of fuel (just shy of $2/liter, cost of food, traffic, everything.. Aren't they every happy?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Barkly Homestead

Firmly in Northern Territory now - at the Barkly Homestead. Going to stay here the night. They have $10 per person camp sites. So had an easy day. Got in at 12:30 after and easy 100km. Done the washing. Had a shower. Wow. First in a long time. Been eating hot chips - carbs and fat. Yum..
From Camooweel to here there is heaps and heaps of country side.
My first night in NT I slept near the Kaima Creek. Interesting spot. When the breeze died down at night I could smell the sulphurous creek. Actually, the next day I wasn't certain if it was the creek or some plant. Smells to me like hydrogen sulphide. A rotten smell.
Also during the night I heard dingos? howling. Several times. Each time nearer to my tent. Eventually they were outside. Since I had the outer clipped up- they were very close. Smart animals they understand english. I told them to go away and they did.
The full belly at Camooweal didn't last long. Back starving again. So hungry these days. Inhale food time. Looking forward to getting to Tenant Creek so that I can buy up big.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Gregory Downs, Lawn Hill, Camoowheel

I declined the $20 night camp spot in Burrketown and ended up camped out of town. My departure was delayed, when I stopped and talked with Frank at the information center. Frank knows so much. Stayed talking with him for hours. You must stop at the information center and talk with Frank.
Found the gps didn't match the roads. I reckon the datam is out, as the road was always half a km off were I was. Had me worried for a while, as I took a short cut and was worried I was on the wrong road.
In general I found the roads from Burketown to Lawn Hill rough. The section from Gregory Downs to Centenary Mine turn off was in better shape. Go the heavy vehicles!
Lawn Hill was for me a bit of a let down. Its a water spot in the middle of no where. But I thought that there were nicer creeks, rivers and rock ranges on the way. The Cascade walk - the cascades are tiny. I was told later that the recent rain had changed the water cause, and so their size has shrunk. There were other things that didn't sit right - like the aboriginal rock art. But in the end it was somewhere I rested for two nights and caught up again with Nic and Carrol. First met Nic and Carol at Gilbert River. They are English driving an english car. We've kept meeting up again and again. I thought I'd seen the last of them given my speed and route. So it was a nice surprise to find them at Lawn Hill. Had a wonderful meal with them.
A huge thankyou also to the Chris and Andrew for all the food they donated to me. I had thought to buy a top up at Gregory Downs, but there was nothing there.. I was then going to go back to Adel Grove and buy a bag of pasta to get me to Camooweel. But thanks to the donation, I had heaps of food leaving Lawn Hill. Lucky in a way, as it took me four days to get to Camooweel. I've still got heaps left. Thanks so much guys!!!
A thank you to Russel, Malcolm and Trever - the road work crew out of Mt Isa. Met them and shared a lunch break. They also gave me the run down on what was ahead. Their hard work had made the road easier for me to ride on. Keep up the good work guys.
Now sitting in Camooweal, full belly, thinking of where next. Decided I'm going to stick to the tar for a few hundred km. Have a rest from the rattling dirt road and get into the Northern Territory for a bit before tackling some more dirt.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Croydon, Normington, Burketown

Spent a couple of days about Croydon. Was a nice little town. Got a lift into town, then was sitting there thinking about the road that I missed, so rode back out to where I got the lift from, and cycled back into town the next day. It was worth it..
From Croydon to Normington, there is a railway siding at Blackbull. There are water tanks there, but get this - they are kept empty to discourage people camping there. The Normington-Croydon train stops there though for morning tea.
Normington was just a food stop for me. I didn't stay long before heading onto Burketown.
Leichhardt Falls are before Burketown. Spent the whole day lounging about there. And pretty much had the whole place to myself. A few caravans and camper vans went past, but only one lot got out off their car to have a look. You can't see the falls from the road. There is an access track that you can drive down - but didn't see anyone doing that.. They missed out big time.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Georgetown, Crydon

Well the rain stopped after Mt Surprise. Easy rolling into Georgetown.
Did stop and have a wash in the river before I got there.
Nothing much to say about that town. Small as they all are. Had a nice park.
On leaving there I stopped for a broken down car. Interestingly no one else had stopped for him - despite having the bonnet up and the doors open. He only needed a bit of help to get him going again. Felt good to be able to help a car driver out.
Lots of caravans and boat trailers on the road. Decided to take a dirt road that would loop into Crydon. Alias, it turned into a 120km out and back trip.The road was closed. Was a bit annoyed that the campervan that passed me when I was heading in didn't stop and say so. Would have saved me 40km of the trip.
I've noticed that there are locked gates fences up all along the road.
Some pictures for today. A genuine Aboriginal artwork on a rock.
Its a littl known fact that Burke and Wills carried their own toilet block with them on the outbound trip. They had to abandon it. Luckily I got a photo.
Note: Facts surrounding the two photos may not be 100% accurate.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Milla Milla, Ravenshoe, Mt Garnet, Mt Surprise

Finally, I've out run the wet weather. Well maybe.. As I'm sitting here the clouds are rolling in.
I left on Monday and it was fine. Cloudy but fine until I put the tent up. Since then its been damp. I stopped at Henryetta Camp ground the first night. Nice and peaceful in my tent, the patta patta of rain drops on the roof.
Next day was into Milla Milla. A shower had started sometime in the early morning and after waiting for it to stop, I gave in and packed up in the rain. By the time I got to Milla Milla, it was still showering, and it was blowing a gale. I was so cold. Stood about in the rest area teeth clattering, shivering trying to decide if to put a jumper or thermals on or not. Shivering you'd think I would put something on - but thhe rub was that then that would get wet also. I humed and hared about for two hours before moving on without putting any more clothes on..
I took the scenic drive out of Milla Milla to Ravenshoe. Not only is it slighty shorter, its sign posted as unsuitable for caravens. Five minutes after leaving I was warm. The road was up and down, but more importantly it was out of the wind a lot of the time. The area is called Misty Mountain and on the way to Ravenshoe I passed Windy Hill - which had a wind farm. Do the fans run better in the drizzle?
Ravenshoe is Queenslands highest town (or something like that). It was dryer than Milla Milla, but still windy and showers.
I spent the night at Millstream Estate. Well a rest area. Lucky for me part of it was closed to vehicles, so I wheeled the Troll through and had the whole area to my self. Bonus was that it was further from the road. Still it showered.
I stopped briefly at Innot Hot Springs . But I'm more of a warm shower girl, and didn't get in. The only thing I wanted was for it to stop showering.
Mt Garnet information center has just opened. I'm on the first page in the visitors book! Had a cuppa tea, and dried the bike computer on top of the kettle. Sometime around Milla Milla it started playing up, and finally quit all together at Millstream Estate. 10 minutes on top of the kettle and it was back working. Now just have to keep it dry.
Another rest area near the Lyd Junction last night. Was helpful that the trucks sounded their air horn each time they passed. Wouldn't have known the time otherwise. But they where not regular. Someone missed the 3am slot. Still I was on the road early. Tent is still wet as - yep - it showered again. I fought a side wind to the turn off, than had a wonderful tail wind for a while. Cruising along at 30 to 40km/hr towards Mt Surprise.
The tail wind didn't last. The clouds are now difinitely here. I'll be fighting a side or head wind when I leave here.
It was the usual pains and aches getting going again after a month off. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Maybe the cold has stopped the pain?
No photos so far as its just been too damp.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Time to move on..

Been resting for too long now. Feeling itchy to get moving. Time to head west!

While I've been sitting about, I have been slightly active: updated the the equipment list, new Shimano sandals, new pedals, a phone holder for the handle bars, a small bar bag (actually a camera bag), a pot warmer, a lid for the pot, a chain guard, extra water bottle mount, trued up the wheels, lightened my tools and patched up some of my clothes that are showing wear and tear and other minor items. 

The new Shimano pedals got the same grease nipple treatment as the old pedals. I expect that the top of the pedal where the cleat clips into will wear out before the bearings do. But still, being able to grease the bearings is way easy now.

Removing the handles from the cable cutter cuts the weight from 290 grams to 82 grams. I have four bolts that go in the holes from the rivets, and then can use the pliers for one handle and the shifting spanner for the other. True its not as fast to cut a cable compared to keeping the handles, but I don't need to use it that often. I have cut cables without cable cutters in the past, but it isn't easy. Normal plies and cutters squash both the inner and outer cables. A grinder does a better job on the outers, but unless it has a very fine wheel, sprays out the inner wires. If it was only brake cables, I wouldn't worry about it. But the Rohloff gear cable inners need to fit through small holes. Unless the inner is cut neatly and cleanly its really hard to get them in. Sufficient to say after doing it once with the grinder, I've now got cable cutters. The weight of the tool is now minor. 

I spent a lot of time on the chain guard. Bent up and cut a fair amount of water pipe and electrical conduit before using the core-flute. I wanted to have the chain ring covered, the chain in tubes and some covering over the rear cog. I did get a couple of versions to work, but in the end wasn't happy with the robustness of them. I elected to use core-flute in the end as its light, was easy to fit, and if it does get bashed too much its easy to get off. It looks a bit agricultural at the moment, but I didn't have a lot of choice in the core-flute. The sign I used, I found in the shed under the lawn mower. It was squashed flat in places, and has bends in the wrong spots - part of the reason for the chain ring being visible. It was also a tad to small for what I needed. It will do as a prototype to find how it works.  It stays in place by resting on the frame behind the chain ring, and on the chain stay. One cable tie holds it all together.  Only found two problems so far with it - getting access to check the chain adjustment means cutting the cable tie and centering the wheel is harder as you cannot see the chain stay. It has enough clearance that nothing rubs on it. We'll see how it lasts on the road. 


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Rest time!!

Well, woke early and was on the road by 5am. By 1pm was in Cardwell. Decided to press on. Closed the day at 220km. A bum numbing, leg tiring record day. That distance is via a map - the speedo stops working when the light is on - something that I need to fix..
It was a hot and humid day. Had fun with the trucks passing at one stage - the gust of wind pushed me along. Other times had a head wind and trucks passing the opposite way almost stopped me dead.
Found a leaf blower on the side of the road in the grass. Tried to take it with me, but it was too big and heavy. Left it on the side of the road where it was visible. Saw a car stop and grab it.
But here now and planning on resting for about three or four weeks before heading west at a much slower pace.

Townsville

The day started late due to heavy fog. I started out on a high, but the day had other ideas. Drivers! Met the nasty cases this day. (Some really bad moments - disappointing after so long on the road. But lets not let a couple of drivers taint all the nice ones out there.) Not just them, but it seemed most people I met were unhappy.  Had hassles getting a camp spot in Townsville - the camp option turned out to allow camping - but no tents. Arrggghhh.. By this time it was just before sun down, and I'd clocked up over 100km. The nearby caravan park - I declined politely the $28 tent site option and was abused for that. That was it. I decided to get out of Townsville. Found a spot and while I wasn't sure if I was strictly allowed to be there, no one kicked me out. Even though it was right near the road, I got enough sleep.
Random thought: Do they make special car seats for really fat people?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Boat on the Road

Riding from Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers, the day was hot and still. I was suffering. About midday, I was slowly pedalling along on the idea that just moving was cooler than sitting still. Testing if riding was better than stopping, I stopped. It wasn't.. While under some shade I could see the water mirage effect looking down the road. A semi emerged from the water and roared past. Time to get back moving. I blinked and looked again. Floating along on the water mirage was a ??? Its a boat my brain was saying. I blinked and looked a few times. Still a boat. Wow. I was in a bad way. The boat was growing larger as it come towards me. I thought maybe I should lie down and rest, drink more water, have some salt. Things are bad if I'm seeing things... Arh, sanity. It really was a boat. A really really large boat on a tiny trailer, pulled by a small ute. This boat was big! Think of a baby to the QE2. The sort of boat with a live on board crew, that the owner rocks on board for a bit of sun on the weekend. It was a big boat.
I really suspect that it wasn't legal on that trailer, towed by that ute. After it went past it had a sign hanging off the back "Wide Load" - yeah. It was wide too, and tall. It was also wobblying and swaying all over the road.
Phew, not my mind going in the heat. I had a drink and rode slowly on.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Springsure, Emerald, Clermont, Belyando Crossing, Charters Towers

Been a bit slow on the updates. Part of that is no net acceess, the other part is just lots of space and time and not much to update.
Spent the night in a gravel pit near Springsure. Was to tired to make it into town and the pit turned up at the right time. Gravel is warm in the afternoon, and then all the moisture condenses on it in the morning as it cools. Saw some meteors that night. Next morning the first road I came to was Meteor Downs Road. The next was Orion Road.
Springsure was a quiet town. Had a pack of $2 Tim Tams. Yum.
Virgin Mountain was impressive for its rock formations. No, you cant see the virgin there any more. Aparently once there was a rock that looked like te Virgin Mary, but its since eroded away.
Had a surprisingly good night sleep in Emerald near the main road. Put in the ear plugs and just slept well.
Capella has a look out just before you get into town, but I couldn't for the life of me see what your suppost to look at. The land there is flat, and I couldn't see over the crops.
Clermont as a town - I didn't like. I only stopped there long enough to get some food and water and then left. Slept that night in a cow paddock.
Belyando Crossing. 172km from Clermont and not much in between - well unless you count cow paddocks. Wasn't too bad a ride. Wind ended up being a head wind for a fair bit of the way. Bummer. Stayed the night as need a rest and its a good a place as any.
Broke another spoke next morning 15km out of town. Thats the first in a while. Hope this isn't going to be regular again. I was carrying 20liters of water since Clermont as I was told the creeks where empty. Well, some are, but some do have water in them. Dirty water true. If you want water at Belyando Crossing you have to buy it. They only get rain water so if their tank runs try they have to truck in more water. Thats pricey.
Crawled into Charters Towers this morning. Was up hill the end and a head wind. Stopped and cooked up pasta at the first picnic area.
While sitting there eating I watched a 4x4 drive over the curb, across the park and stop near the play area. Maybe they felt my contempt and loathing of them, they drove off without getting out. Why couldn't they walk the 20meters from the curb to the play area?
Weather is warmer up here. Showers should start soon also.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Moura

Seems like the road is open. Well I decided to go have a look. I won't be the only one there if I'm wrong.
Moura was a small town. Large Donga farm on the outskirts. Guess the miners all fly in fly out. It was odd that all the people crossings in the town had the "Give way to traffic" signs, yet the crossing on the highway didn't.
Stopped briefly on the Dawson River, but was too early in the day to stop. Found a camp by the side of the road in a cow paddock.
My excitement for the day was running over a small live snake! Yiks!! It was on a dirt road, and I was watching the birds and not looking closely at the ground. It seemed okay and slithered off.(What was I going to do if it wasn't okay?) I put my feet back down from the handle bars and kept pedalling. I'd seen a few as road kill during the afternoon. Lots of long grass about with the good rains. I was extra careful about my tent site.
Next morning rode on and met Karl. Karl has traveled over 46000km on his bicycle. He put my kit to shame. He only had a swag, a change of clothes, small tool kit, and water bottle. He averages 25km/hr to my 19km/hr. Neat. But I couldn't stand the noise.
Over another range today. Funny after the last one it was down to sea level and then back up to this one.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Isa Gorge, Theodore

The view from my tent waking up near Isa Gorge. It was a long day getting there. Really was in need of a rest more than anything. The weather as stayed gray with a rare short shower. As I ride, I've seen some go past ahead of me. Once or twice i stopped to let them pass by before I got there.
Arrived in Theodore the next morning. An easy 40k of rolling hills. Theodore was another town that was completely evacuated in the recent flooding. Looking about its hard to find any evidence of it though. I expected to see debris in the trees, or water marks on the houses.I've not spotted anything. A few of the shops are still shut.
Planning where to go next. The road from Emerald to Charters Towers is cut with flood waters, and there is still more rain falling.How long before its open? Do I risk heading there hoping it will open before I arrive? The coast road has also been cut at Proserpine and Mackay, but it doesn't take too long before its open again. I'm not that keen to do the coast road again, so may look at other options to get north. Mean while, I rest my weary legs and try and dry my gear.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wadoan

Condamine was a bust. Woke up and was lazing about, ate the last of my non cook food. Then was talking with a local. The supermarket shutdown and the only food in town is from the servo.Yiks! End of lazing. Packed up and headed to Miles to do some shopping. I thought this would be bad for the town, but the local reckoned that no one shopped there and that the center of the town is the pub. Guess either everyone drinks within the limits, or there is no RBT out this way.
30km to Miles. There isn't any point in stopping in Condamine any more I reckon. If I had of known the shop was closed, I wouldn't have stopped the night. I did was my clothes and have a shower, but had to put the still wet clothes on to leave.
Rode on and stopped the night in the same spot off the edge of the road that I stopped at last time. Grass is higher though and more mossies. This morning had to crap in a bag in the tent. Too many mossies outside for me to want to bare my butt out there. Also the ground was very hard - rock covered by a thin soil layer. After lots of shitting in a bag, I must say the doggy bags are the best yet. No worries about holes in them and they are biodegradable.
Random thought: Why are trucks so brick shapped? Wouldn't they get better fuel economy by being a bit rounder?
There is a lot of truck traffic out here now. Mining or drilling for gas, then moving livestock about.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Monte Christo, Condamine

Passed over the QLD border two days ago and rode to Monte Christo. Its a rest stop. I didn't actually stay there, but that is the closest name. I slept in a paddock with 100's of little mice. They kept me awake. I could hear their feet on the tent, and would jump up to scare them away. I worried they would chew through looking for food. Lots of them on the road also - measuring their lengh.(road kill)
I'd eaten lots at Goondiwindi and was going to have an easy day. 100km was perhaps not that easy a day.
I swore I could smell chocolate milk early in the morning. Was wishing for some then. A bit down the road.. hmmmmm Round up. I'm in the country...
Moonie - ouch.. $5 for 1.25liter of soft drink. I decided I needed sugar.
The owner of The Gums road house offered that I could sleep in their Donga (a shipping container set up like a room; used for workmen's quarters in remote areas) I don't like sleeping inside. Will do if I have to, but still not happy about it. I thought about camping outside, but there was a strong soap smell. So on I went. Unfortunately, the road to Condamine is low on the edges and with all the rain, was water logged. Tricky to find a spot. Got showered on a bit also.
The days so far have been overcaste. A gray sort of day with only a couple of short glimpses of the sun.
Will rest in Condimine for a day - was the salt out of my clothes, eat up (I'm loosing weight) and let the legs rest a bit while I figure out which way to go now. I want to avoid the coast road, but not sure if the inland route is open to traffic. Its still damp up north and there is a lot of water about.
Oh, the mossies here did miss me. I'm back to using Aerogard like BO spray.

Monday, 28 March 2011

North Star

Restless restless. A restlessness of the spirit. Left Barraba at 6. Bingera was a food stop - baked beans, scotch finger biscuits and a carrot. I watched the guy fugitively filling the rubbish bins in the park from the bags in his car.
Warialda - more baked beans. The information center had no maps. Sights I'd seen before apear like familiar signs. Tall silver metal silos, the turn off to North Star. A broken letter box - the end of the long flat straight, the start of the hills. Rolling hills disappearing upwards- lots of walking time.
190km after starting, I was no longer restless.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Barraba

Didn't sleep well. Wanting to get up early to get into Tamworth early I think. Left Woolomin at 4:00. The road in has no shoulder til about 6km out, when the truck traffic started - even at 5am.
Only surprise was one house where the dogs barked - a small white yappy rat like thing run out. I ignored that and just cruised along. But then there was a deeper bark and noise of a bigger dog running. Heart rate leaped and so did the legs. I didn't look back to see what it was, but could hear it. Heavy sounding paws, and panting breathing chasing along for a while before giving up. Phew...
Near Tamworth there is a bike path, but don't be conned onto it. It looks great at first, but stops and starts whenever the mood took the builders. Ramps are missing from streets. It has gaps infront of some houses: looks like they never got back to finish that bit. And then finally runs out a few km of garbage bin and parked cars later. Why are morning dog walkers dressed in black, walking black dogs? Stick to the road shoulder. The bike path has been like that for the past few years now. I don't think its going to ever be finished.
Found a bakery open and had hot cross buns, just out of the oven. Waited about for the shops to open. Talked with a local: Sonja for a bit. (Plan well Sonja and do what you want to.)
Tamworth Cycle Shop on Peel street was very helpful. They made me some spare spokes. A little tool that presses the threads into the spoke. Neat.
Missed buy music. The first shop in middle of Peel street I went to had lots, but the staff were very reluctant to help. So much so that I gave up asking and left. The next shop: Music P&B didn't have anything for me, but was way helpful. They sold out earlier; because the staff are so helpful!
Got tired of Tamworth, and headed out. Nice day, sunny and touch of coolness in the air. First day of sun in a while. Pedalled on and rolled into Barraba at 6. Just shy of 140km. Hovered up a lot of food, had a quick hot shower, and crashed. Best nights sleep. Will stay a few days and then continue on.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wooloming Still

Well, still resting. Spent the past couple of days sleeping. The routine has been: wake, have breakfast/lunch/dinner then sleep. Today the hacking cough has died down. Glad for that.
One advantage of Woolomin is the book exchange at the shop. Lots of books to read. Thinking about when to leave here. I've food for another few days yet. But need to pass through Tamworth on a week day.

Woolomin

It wasn't great waking up. My cold is way worse than before. I really need to rest somewhere. The long day yesterday really knocked me about. Can't stop in Timor though. Asking people what was there when I was in Scone, I was told: a pub, a shop, a corner store. There are a few houses, but the pub and shop have been closed so long the buildings aren't even there. There is an old church, but its closed.
Nundle was 50km and a large climb away. 1.5hours walking up hill. Stopped in Nundle and ate fruit and veges. Rested and then thought I'd try Chaffy Dam. But ended up in Woolomin again. Love the hot chips here. Will rest here a few days and try and get this cold to clear up a bit. Its really knocking me about.
On a good note, no more broken spokes yet. And the wheels had a pounding with all the dirt roads between Scone and Nundle. I had started trying to be like on egg shells, but in the end, just went for it.

Timor

Well the machines stopped about 5ish, but that was just to lul everyone into a false sense of security. I woke up about 2am - what is that noise! They had started up again. With no hope of sleep - I left. A big Hi to Phil, Frazer and Brian, who invited me to their camp. Phil is chasing fish - not any fish. Carp. These are the fish every other fisherman i've met curses and throws out. Phil is only after carp. He's looking for big ones only - up over 20kg would make him really happy.
The road to Musselbrook is not that wide, but has some shoulder. Same for the road to Scone. Not much traffic as you can expect at 3am. A worrying bunch walking along the streets in Mussellbrook when I stopped at the lights. Had me worried for a bit until I could read the signs on their shirts - pest control. Shooting birds as night. I didn't ask what type the rifle was.
Arrived in Scone at 5am. Quiet it was. Just the way I like towns. Coles opened at 6. Got some food and went to find a park.
As expected I broke another spoke. This time I've loosened some of the other spokes. I've tried to get them all the same tension and have the wheel true. Last time the wheel was true, but some spokes felt tighter. Feeling a bit more confident this time. Hoping this is my last one. I'm almost out of spokes.
Wasn't feeling the best so hung out in the park trying to nap. But more road works. When the thumpers started, I new it was time to move on.
Gundy was nice, but with a wedding on, it was going to be busy. Timor was only just down the road lets head there. The road got hilly. I was feeling tired. At 6 i arrived, found a spot and just about to sleep when a car stopped. I'd picked the tennis grounds. And it was tennis night. Didn't matter I fell asleep anyway.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Lake Liddell

My early start was not to be. 2 km and 'pong'. Another broken spoke.I went back to the tables at Broke and replaced it, then headed to Singleton to get more. Most annoying. I'm expecting at this point to break more:( Time i think to learn wheel building.
The shop in Singleton didn't have spokes or disk pads. The next town with bike shops is Tamworth. I'll be there Monday.
Leaving Singleton was very hot and humid. Stopped at a servo to top up on water, and just as i'm leaving it starts pouring. A before lunch thunder storm.
The road is mostly with a wide shoulder, but every so often one of the blue "watch for bicycles" signs appears. This is when the shoulder shrinks or vanishes. Bummer! Usually its not for long. Though i'm about 20km from Musselbrook and the shoulder isn't to wide now. Lots of traffic here now. Lots of trucks. But so far everyone has been good.
Some water entered my panniers:( I need to roll them more. Luckily the sun is out, and its blowing a gale. I should have everything dry by dark.
I hope that the machinary that is working near by stops tonight, else it'll be earplugs to sleep. Talking to a local, it has been running 3 days non stop, but it should finish today, but you never know. Lake Liddell supplies 3 power stations. The machinary is putting in new rail tracks.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

On the road again: Broke

Finally I'm travelling again. The tooth seems to have healed. It is a bit sore still, but I'm hoping that it will not be a problem.
I stayed with some friends for a week, then left on my usual route. This time was different though - I didn't travel as far as I usually do. Maybe its the effects of the tooth extraction, too much eating, not enough exercise, an immune system upgrade thats underway (I've a cold). Probably its all of them. First day was 30km. Second day was 30km. And was that a struggle. An hour after starting I was in survival mode: don't think, just pedal, or walk. Only thinking was to pick the next tree/rock/hill to get to. I didn't go anywhere yesterday. Just sat about a campsite and ate, rested and read books. It was so peaceful where I was, I almost turned around this morning and went back.
After all the weighing up, shaving grams off small items. I left my friends house way over loaded. 8 books was the start of it, "gifts" that I needed to delay sending, the "extra" food that I bought because it was soo cheap, (and I made the mistake of shopping when hungry!). Today was able to post the "gifts" off. 4kg gone. 7 books given away, And by considerable effort, Over 3kg of food eaten. (Well that was over the last 3 days)
The Troll is feeling much lighter now. I'm still carrying a couple of spares that I could get rid of. My Shimano sandals - I've a new pair, but am still wearing the old pair I patched with a cable tie. I've also a spare pair of thongs - still wearing the old pair patched with a cable tie there also. Lets see how long the old ones last..
All my gear should fit in the rear panniers. Having the front ones helps balance the weight about. It also means that any food buys, I have lots of space to carry them. Finding anyting in the bags is also easier.
I'm back in the town of Broke. Dennis doesn't live here any more, so I'm having a peaceful time.
Not many pictures so far. Was stuggling too much, and then just didn't feel like taking any. Here is one of my Troll.
The frame size is 16" by Surly's measurements. The Norco was an 18.5", but everyone measures differently.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tooth no more

Done. Its out. So far, relatively painless. But I should wait until the anaesthetic has worn off to say that.
There is a flap of bone on the side of the jaw that is fractured that may need to come out. We're hoping that is will heal though.
So, now to rest up and wait for the bleeding to stop.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Indecision (again)

Tooth is still in my mouth. Dentist discussed the pros and cons of pulling it out verses root canal. So thee end of the appointment came without anything happening. Well, except talking. So, tooth is still there, root canal appointments booked for all of March. And I've still got another week to be certain to pull it out. Arrrgghhh.. Choices. Choices.
Pros for pulling it out: cheap, its done, can move on and deal with any problems later, other teeth could move affecting bite, more stress on other teeth, risk of damage to sinus, visible when smile.
Cons for root canal: 70% still fail. Expensive. Need crown which is also expensive. Worry about infection not being visible on x-rays, pain.
One argument says risk the root canal and it can always be pulled out later. This morning, I'm back to thinking pull it out,, get it over with and lets move on.
Ordered some panniers from Wiggle in UK last Friday. Same time I ordered some other items from a Sydney based internet only shop. The UK gear has arrived. Yes. It was processed, shipped, and delivered in 5 days. The Sydney based gear has as far as I can tell, not even left the warehouse. Dispite email saying when it was expected to ship and that further email would arrive if there was any problems, I've got nothing yet. Any wonder why we order gear online from overseas?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Schmitt returns

Finally my wheel is back. The bearings were good, the problem was rust- a component inside. The hub is sealed, with a vent hole inside the axle. So never grease the quick release skewer as the grease can clog the breather hole. Since i use Pitlock skewers, i've never greased them. I've also never had the hub underwater. So not sure why it was rusty. We'll have to see if it happens again.
It is good to have lights again.
Broke another rear spoke. Had the wheel checked for tension and trueness. Hope thats the last.
Heart stop moment, i dropped the Pitlock key down a manhole. Yikes!!! This was in Newtown. Luckily i was able to lift tin cover up. Down i jumped and retrieved it. I also put the cover back.
Got asked for ID by the security guards again. Picked the wrong moment to move about. Still, least i was awake then.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Sydney again

Just missed the train and waited 2 hours for the next one. I was damp. It was cold and windy. I returned to Sydney hoping to collect my front wheel and be gone again. Alas, this was not to be. Still waiting. How long does changing bearings on a Schmitt hub take?
Had a day of shivering in the park. Weather is cool and showery. Not the weather to have a cold wash in, or dry clothes. I need to do both.
Ate some Fava beans. Probably not a good seller with the name they have on the tin.
Slept in the park last night in my tent. Was okay. Not as good as out of Sydney, but better than the bench with security guards at midnight Was up and packed up by 5:30 to avoid the morning joggers and dog walkers. A spot to return to.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Escape the City!

The city just seemed too crowded. The press of people too much. So after being frozen in indecision on Thursday morning, I packed up and headed out of town that afternoon. Been camping in the bush for the three nights and will do a few more before moving on.
Happiness is my tent in the bush with me in it:)
The bike has been going good. I found that I needed to put the tent at least on the front rack to give some weight to the front climbing hills. Other wise all is as I expected.
About the Troll: I'm running 165mm road cranks, because I like the shorter strokes. It also improves pedal ground clearance that little bit.
Back has a Rohloff hub, laced to Rigina (spelling) rims with black spokes. I'd probably to for silver spokes next time. They seemed to be thicker and don't rust. The hub gear gives easy positive changing all the time. I know you can change under load, but I tend to ease up and then change. I like the neat chain line, the low maintanence, no derailer hanging down and solid build of the wheel. Solid build because there is no dish needed. Also the cogs can both be turned around doubling their life.
Tires are 26x2.00 Schwelbe Marathon Tour Plus, wraped up in Planet Bike Zefal mud guards. These guards are old and I haven't seen them in the shop in a long time. I think they are the best, as the clips that hold the guards in place can disengage easily. This is useful on the front wheel on bush tracks when a branch gets caught in the spokes. The clips pop open allowing the wheel to turn. The branch usually clears the forks, but certainly the mudguard doesn't scrunch up into the fork. A few minutes restores it all to as good as new. There is heaps of clearance at the front fork for fatter tires. The rear is another story. I could go to larger tires if I put the wheel further back in the rear dropouts. Since I'm running 2.00 tires, and have the wheel almost all the way forward, there isn't a huge amount of space left. About 2.5 cm more and the tire would hit the rear stay brace behind the seat. The is a bit more clearance at the bottom chain stay brace. The Tubus Cosmo rack has heaps of clearance, and isn't the limiting factor for tire size.
I can get measurements if people want of the spaces. I know that there is some info on the web on the Surly site about how large a tire can be placed. I think its 2.75 if you have the wheel right back in the dropouts.
I'm presently running Shimano hydraulic disk brakes, but might change them to mechanical disks sometime. Since I want a front rack with a platform, the hoses from the brakes exit the levers at a bad angle, and want to project forward. A change of levers would fix this. But also the rear brake caliper bleed point is right were my foot will knock the cap of all the time. Previously I made a cover to stop this. My hoses on the brakes are too long still and I'm not sure I'm going to get a nice neat line of the hoses at the front. Sticking out as they do, they are a concern for snagging them. Least with mechanical brakes, I can easily fix up a new cable. I don't carry spare hose and brake fluid. Something to think more about.
I've used the Tubus Cosmo rack on the front also. I might cut the rack down a bit - where the platform bars slope upwards. When I had the spring to stop the front wheel flopping, the rack didn't hit the frame. The cable tie holding the spring broke, the wheel will flop around until the rack hits the frame. Either I make a better mount for the spring, or shorten the rack so it doesn't hit the frame. The front wheel floping also stresses the hydraulic hoses and gear cables. I feel the gear cables will survive that better, where as I'm not feeling so good about the hydraulic hoses being twisted so much.