Thursday, March 31, 2011


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, March 30, 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, March 28, 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, March 25, 2011


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, March 24, 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.


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.


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, March 17, 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, March 16, 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, March 8, 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, March 2, 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, March 1, 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.