Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rest, Recover and Repair.

Well I arrived at my parents place at 10am on Friday 23rd.  So now for a big update.

Dululu to Yaamba - the riding in the night was awesome!! It was a no moon night, and out of the streetlights there is so much of the night sky to see. I annoyed my neck with twisting around so much while riding to look at the milky way.

Yaamba to St Lawrence;  Marlborough. I meet another cyclist outside of Bowen -> Colin. Talking with him about camping at Marlborough Hotel - he had a much better experience than me.  He also got water off them. 

St Lawrence - Thanks to the couple that gave me the tin of baked beans and some bread. That was dinner when I arrived.  Another couple gave me some fruit and veges from a food hamper that they had won earlier up the coast. They didn't have a fridge and couldn't eat all the food. It was much appreciated. Food prices at St Lawrence shops where much more reasonable - so I bought other food there. Actually, when I left the I had much too much food in my pannier. But this was soon fixed.

St Lawrence to Sarina; Well the day was to have stopped at Ilbilbi.  But when I arrived it was blowing a wind - a  wonderful tailwind.. What can you do - you keep going.  It was showering by this time also, with heavy rain just outside of Sarina.  The ladies at the Sarina Information Center were very helpful - and found a caravan park 10km further North that only wanted $10 for an unpowered site.  It also had the advantage of being opposite a fruit and vege shop and was out of town.  It was a good spot. I ate  a bag of mandarins and bananas for dinner :) 

Sarina to Proserpine:  Well actually I camped about 30km from Proserpine. More tail winds and showers. 
Proserpine to Guthalungra: More tail winds. This was when I caught up with Colin. We rode from Bowen to Guthalungra.  Colin had started in Melbourne and was doing the round Australia trip. But was travelling to fast for his plan. So we parted company the next morning.  I got to check out his tent and gear.  His tent was only 1.5Kg - was so envious!!  Mine weighed in at just over 3kg.  

This was the day that one set of clothes died. The shirt and shorts had rotted too much, and had too many holes in them by this time. With it damp, and no chance to dry them it wasn't going to be safe to wear them another day.  Now they were both worn when I started, so it was to be expected. Still it was a bit sad. 

Guthalungra to Alligator Creek:  Stopped in Home Hill for a bit, but had the "want to keep pedaling" urge. So kept going. It was still showering on and off.  I was in a mood that I just wanted to get North.  Was wondering about this cycle touring business. And probably more importantly was tired.

 Alligator Creek to Kennedy. This was my biggest day. 197km. A definite "keep pedaling". Though the travelling after Ingham was not energetic. I had planned to wild camp outside of Cardwell - but it was low lying land and very very wet. Yes it was still showering, but there had been recent heavy rains I was told, and all the water was still lying about the land.  I thought about cycling up and down the road to get 200km for the day - but was too tired to be bothered to do this. I also thought that I could have finished the trip to my parents that day by continuing to cycle as it was only 70km to go - but arriving after 9pm would have been a problem for my folks.  

It rained during the night and I was clear that my tent was leaking again!!! Hard to miss the large drops hitting you in the head. Doh!!! Moved over and then put a container for the drops to splat in. 

Kennedy to Parents Place :)  Managed to get a leech on me riding along the road. How was that possible - did it drop from the sky - or is it a gliding variety?  Met a Scottish couple just outside of Silkwood. The first that I've meet travelling south.  They had wet gear on. I didn't. It was cooler riding in the rain.

The Future.
Okay so now that I'm here, now what?  Title of this post says it all. Just stopping pedaling for a couple of days now has improved my thinking. I was travelling fast. Too fast in hindsight.  A bit obsessive compulsive of me. In future need to have more rest stops and not go so far each day.  

Parts of me a sore and hurt. Legs felt a bit tired. But with the 197km day that was to be expected. Bum wasn't as  bad as you might think  - I was used to the saddle. Been on that one for years now. Bit tender, but nothing that painful.  My left shoulder hurts. Pinched or twisted something and it hurt for most of the ride. Colin when trying my bike commented that the position was a lot of weight on the arms. This might be right - will have to look at this and change the riding position. I notice that my new grips - the right hand one has a worn spot, the left one not-> me leaning more on my right side to take the weight of the left arm.

I need to send my tent back for another warranty claim. My Thermarest is also in problems - so it goes also.  

I was thinking about vans and travelling with petrol/diesel for stretches of the ride. But now that I'm rested, sanity has returned. I'm looking at how to lower the weight of the gear I have, and perhaps increase the luggage carrying to have more luxuries with me. 

Things that I found important on the ride - being able to dry my clothes. This would have been helped if I'd stopped and rested more days.  

Being able to sit out of the rain and away from all the ants. Some places lying on the ground out of the tent wasn't comfortable for all the ants that wanted to check me out for food. 

Books - I missed reading.
Charging the mobile - I had ebooks, but the phone needed charging at times. This is part of the reason for the missed posts. Stopping and resting would have helped this also. But will sort out some charging off the dynamo for next section.

Need to chuck out the stuff that sat in the bottom of my panniers - or at least examine it closely. If it didn't see use in a month of the east coast - what was I carrying it for still!!!

Water purification - will look at some filters to see how to get water from all the ground sources. 

So, at the moment sitting about, eating, looking at new bike frames like Surly Big Dummy and Xtracycles. Looking at two wheeled trailers. There are bicycle mobile homes. Thinking of options.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

St Lawrence

Yaamba turned out to be nice roadside stop. The pub had a good feed on also. I couldn't bring myself to stop in Rockhampton. The only shops i saw was in Stocklands shopping complex. Think of a brick with doors.
I had planned on stopping at Marlborough and did initially. But the town so annoyed me i left. Had to pay for water there. The pub or the shop would not give me any.It takes my worst town award. 151km to St Lawrence it was. I arrived at 6pm.A much nicer place. Been resting today. Might move on tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Well Banana had only two servo's, and a post office. No big or little bananas.Since i'd arrived early (8am), haven riden since 4.30am i decided not to stay and headed to Wowan. It wasn't that nice a place when i arrived. And the only person i saw wasn't that nice, so i headed to Dululu. And there i stayed as that was 140km for the day. I was tired.
This morning i left early. It was a no moon night. The milky way was visible. Oh so beautiful! I twisted my neck a bit looking up and around.
Just before Westwood the Leichhardt highway came to an end. I'd riden the whole length of it. I was sorry it was over.
Rockhampton- not nice. The drivers are bad. Heaps of traffic.Noisy. I'm missing the country roads.
Stopping in Yaamba today at 120km. Enough for today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another restful day

It showered today. Its cooler. And hopefully this cool weather will continue. Tomorrow is an easy 60km to Banana. Reckon it will have a giant banana?
I ate up well today again.My chickpeas sprouted.More yoghurt.Corn.And some biscuits.:)

Monday, April 12, 2010


Have i seen this range before?
Resting in Theodore now. Days and nights have been baking hot and humid. Rode during the night to avoid the sun, but it was still hot. Where's the cool?
Have started using Areogard as had so many mossie bites i looked like a plague victim. Now i bath several times a day in the repellent. Is this the same as washing?
My clothes and me have not been dry for days.Constant wet cloths, the humidity, get smelly fast.With mossie bites, wet clothes, and i'm looking thinner i get lots of personal space at rest stops.
You can eat 2 minute noodles with out cooking. They are yummy!Even the flavour packets are good-but some are hot and spicy.Save them for the baked beans.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Well the last few days have been pedal, pedal, pedal. Into a headwind the whole time. Been doing 100km days.Long and slow.
See if you can spot the difference on the from and to photos. Big empty spaces. The headwinds keep the flies down though.But watch out at night, the mozzies are bad. I sleep to there buzzing - outside the tent.
Been camping by the road, but today a combo of tired and needing a wash, have had a short day. To celebrate 1000km tomorrow, i've my first shower in Qld. The clothes got washed also.:)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

North Star

Well the might sleep was not good. Too many dogs barking all night.Used earplugs.The next day was feeling like pedalling. At 110km the feeling passed.But still another 15 go.Was tired that night. Now i'm in Queensland:) at Goodiwindi. Will go further today, but not as far as yesterday.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Finished reading my books.filled my belly and had a rest.Hot shower was nice also.But was restless, so today moved to Bingara.
Was easy 60km ride. Got new max speed of 73.78km/hr.But there didn't seem to be much of an up hill.
Check my camp site.
Thanks to the Sims and the Bailey's for a yummy hot x bun, sandwich, easter eggs and ginger beer.thanks to another couple for home made biscuits. Very spoilt I am today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My tent

This photo will not capture a fraction of the light that the setting sun shows about my tent. The day ends beautifully. The air is cool (finally), my belly is full, Pachelbel on piano is playing. Its been a restful day.


Total Distance: 548km

Arrived yesterday afternoon! Was good to see the silos as you come into town again. Means that I get to rest for a few days while this pesty Easter business gets over with.

Now I can give a better summay of what has been happening.

Day 1:

The ride from Morriset to Wollombi was hard. It was hot, and the ride seemed to be always uphill. I did a detour in the Watagans to visit my old camp site. Yep it was still there.. This 20km detour I was to regret as the day went on.  My days of sitting about had reduced my fitness and expanded my waitline. I wheezed and huffed and puffed along.

But it was good to be back on the bike. Only saw a couple of cars all day.

Day 2:
Wollombi to Broke.  Was feeling so tired this day. Riding slow. Sore legs. By the time I got to Broke I just wanted to rest. So I did. Met up with Dennis again. Lucky this time he was not all doom and gloom about my travels. I had a bit of the flu - nose runnign, sore throat. So ate oranges and rested.

Day 3:

Broke to Denman.
Felt stronger and got to Jerry Plains just on 12. But then it started getting really hot. In the next three hours, only went 2km. Lots of resting in the shade of trees. Even at 4pm the sun was still burning. I was a bit worried about being lost - as I'd taken a side ride. And well, a very rough map, and my sense of direction, I was hoping that it would go to Denman in the end.. It did.  Hung out in the park and drank lots of water. Road out of town as the sun set and camped by the road.

Day 4.
Denman, Musselbrook, Scone. Hung out in the park for a while then rode out to the Washingpools Camp area. This is in a National Park - so you have to pay to camp there. I'd been told it was free. Had a good swim, and a wash, set up camp, and started to sleep. But then all these cars started to arrive, kids with alcohol, loud voices, and a duf duf box. I packed up about 9pm and left. Cars where still arriving. Music thumping. I pity the poor people I left behind that where hoping for a quiet night. Riding in the dark by moon light (and my lights) was good.. It was quiet, cool, peaceful. Even on the highway, you got lots of warning of cars/trucks comming. Ended up stopping Widgen. There was a horse event the Saturday/Sunday - so lots of people (and horses).  Could have had a hot shower here also if I'd waited long enough.. But I didn't - figured that I'd be hot and sweaty before to long so why bother...

Day 5
Widgen to Wallabadah
Car drivers know nothing about hills. Been hearing about the Murrurundi Hills. But it turned out that it was easy as. 30 minutes climb and then a long downhill. Easy...  See the last post of "A big Hill'.. The harder part was the long climb out of Willow Tree to Wallabadah. The climb seems to go on and on... It was also very hot that day, so that didn't help.  But like all things - it passes and Wallabadah was a great spot to stay the night. I had planned on being in Woolomin, but was too tired to go on.

Had the first puncture today in Murrurundi. Wasn't watching and rode over a tent peg on the road. Clang, crash, clang, it rattled about with the wheel until pissssss.. Then it fell off. This was right outside a servo, with a broken air pump.. Least it was shady patching it..

Got the great comment then from on the the drivers:

"Gee you got a lot of stuff"   What could I do but laugh.. He was walking to his 4x4 packed to the roof with stuff,  the roof rack heaped, and towing a caravan..

Day 6
Wallabadah to Woolomin
Another not so flat rode. Went over some "Gap" Was moving too fast to read the name.. But it was a lot of uphill then a long downhill. Got 68Km/hr on the downhill - a new speed record for this trip. Serious downhill. Woolomin was nice - stocked up with heaps of books from the General Store, and ate lots of their hot chips - had a real craving for them, so had three lots. Best chips I've tasted. Talked with a few of the people from the last trip there..Rested, slept...

Day 7
Woolomin to Attunga.
A nice ride. Stopped and talked to Terry on the side of the road. He has a drinking water business. Rode into Tamworth and meet up with Claire and Wayne  as soon as I stopped. Found Tamworth too busy feeling, so after a quick stop for a screw for my sandals, some food, I kept cycling to Attunga.

Thanks to Barry and Margaret of Attunga who let me stay in their back yard, feed me, and gave me a hot shower. My first since leaving Morriset.

Day 8 Attunga to Barraba.
A slow day, seemed be a lot of gentle uphills. Apart from a stop at the Manilla cake shop (yum!!!) nothing much to say. Arrived in Barraba and met up with people I knew. Lots were surprised to see me back so soon. A nice place to hang out for easter when all the busy people are on the roads.. 

Washing day!!! Had been washing my clothes when I could. I didn't think they smelled, but had a lot of salt in them.