"France and Iwould like to welcome all our friends to our webpage. Ride along with us as we undertake a year long cycling adventure to circumnavigate Australia on our tandem.We have no hard and fast agenda - no set plans - Indeed, we are going to take things one kilometer and one day at a time, enjoying the experience,for what it is , as it happens.Knowing that you are following our steps and sharing in the moment, makes it all the more rewarding." Cheers ...
Jean and France
What do you mean we seem anxious? 20 years coming and now it's one day away All that's left to do is relax. No problem... hope I packed the bike OK... wonder if we have too many clothes... How long is that stay-over in Hong Kong?... I wonder if I will ever be able to enter text into theis damn website all by myself.... Hmmmm?
Sorry we are a bit late in getting any kind of correspondance off to you.
We seem to be having some "technical" difficulties with respect
to our website "www.lifeparttwo.com". Anyway, we have arrived. It's
Tuesday, I think and we're still feeling a bit jet lagged, at least I (Jean)
am. Our trip over was absolutely perfect. I had been a bit concerned about
getting the tandem over. When we arrived at the Air Canada counter in Ottawa,
the counter person told us we had to ship the bike box via "cargo".
I took a deep breath and suggested that maybe tha was not the case, we smiled
at each and I made a few jokes and the bike was on - no problem - no fees
no nothing. As we were waiting at the gate, we bumped into Heather Ireland
who was working there that night and she upgraded us from "cattle class"
to business class. Thank you Heather. Great start so far. As we were waiting
at the gate in Toronto for our Hong Kong flight, my name was called over the
P.A. Cathay Pacific wanted to know what was in the box, that they could not
fit through the x-ray maching. The counter person relayed the message from
me that it was a bike - She was incredulous, but never-the-less, she said
, no problem, the bike would be on the flight to H.K. -
We stopped in Hong Kong for 15 hours!!! We spent most of the time walking
downtown through all the streets. Food is cheap and plentifull and you can
get anything you want. You have not seen "treet meat" until you've
been to H.K. Actually, a lot of the food looks more like something a Klingon
would serve up...;-) Very busy , noisy and dirty place. Nice place to visit,
but would not want to live there.
Tired, but full, we hopped on our flight to Perth. We arrived without incident at 7:29am, 6 minutes ahead of schedule. ;-) Now, will our equipment be there? We make it to the luggage area and find everything, although I did notice that someone had opened and retaped our bike box. We told the customs people about and they we're very accomodating. In fact , they made us feel like we were family!! Very friendly. We were in and out of there in less than 20 minutes!! Incredible.
We look outside to see what we can do about transport to our hostel. I see a fellow by a bus, ask a question or two, he says "no worries Mate!, I can take you to the front door" plus he has room for our bigass bike box!
Pretty cool eh?
So we arrive at the hostel, meet Frances the landlady and she sets us up in our room. We immediately meet two canadians staying at the same hostel...By now we are dead tired, but it's only 8:30 or so....
Our first day was pretty quiet. We took a short walk then came back to the hostel. I spent most of the rest of the day putting the bike back together. I was done by about 4 or 4:30. The rest is a blurr. I hit the sack by 5:30 and slept through to 6:00.
On Monday, we decided to try out the bike on the "wrong" side of the street. Dodgy business when you're still jet lagged and dont know the city, but we made out okay. Spent the day looking for bike equipment that we did not get in Ottawa. We decided we needed a front rack and paniers. We struck out at 4 or 5 five shops then decided we should sit down with the yellow pages to find a place that sells front racks for a road bike.... We eventually found what we needed at Fleet Cycles on Queen St. Mark was very helpfull as we both worked on installing the rack in the middle of the store.
Did some grocery shopping for supper. Went to bed early - got up early.
We bought a phone yesterday as well. We now have a "mobile". Our first call was to Antons' aunt and uncle, Kevin and Hania who are graciously going to put us up for at least one night, tomorrow, before we actually head out onto the road. Many, many thanks Anton for setting that up. By the way, they are super nice people and were happy to see us.
Got the last of our equipment today - need something to carry LOTS of water and was able to find something at a shop called Paddy Pellins (spelling??) something like M.E.C.
Oh ya, we rode about 30km today, mostly into the wind!!! There's wind everywhere here!! Saw a pellican as well.An other thing, it's bloody cold!!! Single digit temps at night and high teens during the day. It's gonna get hot soon though....
That brings us pretty much to now, which is supper time and we're hungry. So, that's all for now -
Jean and France
Well, we have now left the hostel behind. We spent yesterday morning loading up the tandem. It took the better part of the morning to do so. We took our time meandering along the Swan River bike path on our way to Kevin and Hanias' place in Waterford. On arrival and after we had unloaded to bike, we noticed that the rear panier rack was a bit off centre. I saw that the bolt securing, the rack to the frame itself (at the drop-out) was loose, so I tried titghen it...My drwa dropped when I realized that the threading was stripped!!! There was no way I was going to be able to fix this myself and it absolutely needs to be fixed as we need a rear panier. So, back on the bike and we motored to the "Fix Bike" shop on Canning St. The mechanic says he can fix but needs a special tool that he did not have available just yet, byt that he'll have it done for us the following day...Today is the following day and I'm hoping all will be okay. I'll let ya'll know later.....Meanwhile, Kevin and Hania have made us feel supremely welcome in their home. We fully expected to be on the road today, but because of the bike boo-boo, we'll be spending a second night them. So, for today, we'll just take it easy befor heading out.
We spent a very pleasant day at the Botanical Gardens in Perth with Kevin. We learned more about the many species of plants , trees etc. After an easy lunch, I called up the bike shop (Fix Bikes on Canning Highway) and was told that the "beast" was ready for pick-up. Yesss! Gotta give John at the bike shop a million thank yous for taking care of our problem so quickly. He's the best!!! It was a quiet day - We spend our last night here and then go Hard-Core tomorrow. Zoikes!;-)
Jean and France
France and I left Hania and Kevins' under clear blue skies with temps reaching
about 24 degrees. Great
cycling weather. The tandem was fully loaded down and the work that John did
at Fix Bikes seems to be holding up. Our destination was to make it to Mandura,
about 70 kms from Waterford. We figured we'd take it easy on our first day.
We stopped for lunch under an overpass on Highway 1 and had
the sandwhiches we made at Hanias. Off we went again and reached Mandura at approximately noon. All in all, by the end of the day, we put 90km on the bike. After stopping at the Information Center for a local map, we headed along Mary street to one of the many beaches. No one in the water these days, just a tad cool.... We had a couple of choices of places to stay and eventually chose to stay close to town at the Lucky Caravan Park. Not far from Skimpees" (peeler bar) , The Bottle Shop, a fish and chip spot and near the beach, where, in fact, France and I spent the evening watching the sun set with a couple of beers. Met India, a 6 or 7 year old who was looking for shells. I found her a crab which she put in her bag.... We walked back to our campsite which was only 500 meters away and made an early night of it. Our first night in the tent was not too bad, considering the huge rain, wind and hail storm which raged on just about all night..;-) At times, we thought that the tent was going to be blown away, but it held up okay... Success!
However, it was still raining and extremely windy this morning, so we decided just to chill (literally) here for the day. It gave us a chance to visit the town a bit more. I expect, we will go out to one of the winneries. The break gave me an opportunity to try out my Wisperlite burner.... Zoikes! Just about blew myself up with it.....Way to windy!! No porridge today! Tomorrow, we head out to Bunburry, rain or shine.
Jean and France
The rack job did not hold up after all, but curiously, nothing has exploded
yet??? I'll have to fix it up somehow. We'll stop at a hardware store today.
Meanwhile, the ride was good. Mostly all flat with some long rises which made
us work. Plus, we had a headwind. We are still working out the bugs with regards
to the bike and the equipment in general. Lots of creaks, squeaks and jiggles.
I've used the Wispewrlite without incident thus far!!! Beautiful countryside.
We arrived Bunburry at about 2:30. Found a really nice caravan park and set
up camp. Just missed the boatshow. Found a pizza place, right next to a bottle
shop , so had wine with our 15 inche pizza...we were
HUNGRY!! We are headed to Busselton, slowly today. First we stopped to watch some surfers at a beach accross from the Port Authority... wicked waves!! Now to find the hardware store - By the way, beautifull sun today!!
Left Bunbury under clear blue skies. We decided not to work too hard on our way to Busselton. Our first stop was at a beach just accross from the Bunbury Port Authority. We headed out onto the highway towards Busselton. With about 20km to go, we took the "scenic" route which took us through the Tuart Forest national Park. Man, what a ride. The road was perfect, great cycling route. The calla lilies are all over the place. they grow wild like our Trilliums... The bush is not dense like in our area, there is no "underbrush". the tress are massive. I'd say it would take at least four or five people to actually "hug" one of those trees. Stopped at Wonerup Beach...on our way into Busselton. Actually, there is a sign just befor you enter the town that advertises it as a "Tidy Town of 24,000" . We founf ourselves a caravan park and settled in. Once done, we had lunch and doubled back 10km to Wonerup House. We went to visit a conservation area to see the water birds in the area. We parked the bike in spite of the warnings that the mosquitos carried the Ross River Virus...Yikessss!! It was worth the risk as not 300 meters into our walk that we came upon a bunch of kangaroos just grazing in the field. Too wild!!!! Took photos with the phone camera, but dont think they came out to well. Anyway, we had our best bike travel day since arriving. We ended up riding 90km again today, but it was tolerable! Tomroow, we head out to Margaret River, the scenic route!! We are serioulsy over budget!! But the wine is good! Cheerz from Downunder,.......
Since Busselton we cycled through Dunsborough to Margaret River wher we camped out at the Alexandra Bridge Campsite - Met David and his wife Sue who travel in their camper at least once a month. David was telling us that he did the Bibbulmun walk which runs from Perth to Albany, a 970 km treck. Alfie and Lorraine invited us to stay with them in Queensland. Alfie, if you read this, I've lost your business card - PLEASE write back !! The ride to Pemberton seemed mostly uphill and with constant head winds. Got rained on a bit. Chad at the YHA set us up nice for the night. I actually got in a run to the Cascades, about 14kn round trip. We went to Gloucester Tree, which you can actually climb, 61 meters high !!! Also hand fed the wild birds. After 2 nights we left for Walpole, 130km away - Got there in time for supper and started chatting up John and his wife Dian who travel 5 or 6 weeks on the road with their two wheeler, which has significantly more power than ours. Anyway, one glass of wine led to another and we were both feeling no pain. Indeed we we closed the place down. Not too sure how I made back to my room. France though I had gotten lost. Had a really good time - We are looking forward to meeting up with both of them at their home in Sidney - I'll make sure to be wearing your Australian Cap when I arrive , eh Mate?! Befor leaving in the morning , we stopped to talk and exchande pics with Smon, Ling and Purdee. Three people travelling from Hong Kong. We set out on a gorgeaous day - Stopped at the Valley of the Giants. Tingle trees that are roughly 300 to 400 years old. We did the Tree Top Walk, a walk way built up to 41 meters in height, amongst the tree tops - What spectacular views of the forrest and country side from up their. Some school kids were selling "street meat", fundraising- stopped to chat with Craig. 60 or so km later we arrive in Denmark - a cosy, laid back town with great health food shops and cafes and many art shops... Had supper at the YHA with Lea , Greta and Emilie. Speaking of whom, they just walked into the Hostel we are staying at!!!!!(lea and Greta) The 55km ride to Albany, where we are now was quick, but punctuated by rain, thunder showers and HAIL! Indeed we just got ou of the rain in time to see hail the size of....big things...cover the ground. Imagine , we had to leave Canada, to get snowed under, downunder ;-) We took shelter at Youngs Siding General Store , where Ann and Martin served hot cofee. Hey Martin, your forcast was bang on !!!! In spite of the rain and the freezing temps, we are still smiling anf grinning ear to ear. The ride on the the "pushy" is the best way to travel and see the country - More later guys
Well, we did it. We crossed the Nullarbor and have our "We crossed the Nullarbor" sticker and Certficate to prove it!!! What a blast! This has been our intinirary since Esperance.
Oct 04th - Esperance to Salmon Gums - 104kms
Oct 05th - Salmon Gums to Norseman - 98kms
Oct 06th - Norseman to Fraser Range Station - 103kms
Oct 07th - Fraser Range Station to Balladonia - 97kms
Oct 08th - Balladonia to Caiguna - 191kms
Oct 09th - Caiguna to Madura - 156kms
Oct 10th - Madura to Border Village - 199kms
Oct 11th - Border Village to Nullarbor - 187kms
Oct 12th - Nullarbor to Nundroo - 146kms
Oct 13th - Nundroo to Ceduna - 151kms
We could go on about the weather and how the seemingky ALWAYS had a head wind, but there are other aspects that far outweigh that trivia. Needless to say, the treck accross the Nullarbor was a mental and physical challenge that tested our spirit! The trip was made all the more pleasant when we met up early with Dean and Sue Hadlow in Balladonia. France and I had just set up camp when Dean came over to us as he noticed we were travelling on a tandem. We explained what we were up to and he described that he and his family were on the tail end of their trip, doing "The Big Lap". Dean started out last February. While Sue drove the car and caravan with the kids in tow, he would cycle either ahead or following behind. Talk about your support crew! As it stands, he ONLY has 4500kms oor so befor he completes his tour and heads home near Melbourne!!!
We hit it off quite well that day in Balladonia and ended up cycling with each for the next few days into Ceduna. We truly enjoyed each others company and mutual encouragement. There were times out there on the Nullarbor that we would be quietly and sometimes loudly, be cursing the wind.
It was'nt until after Border Village that we met up with a lone cyclist coming from the opposit direction. His name is Ivan Faure a Spaniard from Barcelona. He is travelling solo on a mountain bike with big knobby tires and a trailor. He was happy to see us and said he had been meeting lots of cyclist along the way, all of them going East. He was beginning to wonder why he was the only one going West. Most people doing this would go East as to take advantage of the Westerly winds this time of year... smart planning no? Well, I think Ivan may have had the last chuckle, because we have been facing opposing winds ever since we started the crossing, Aye Caramba!!! We met Kathy and Gerry in Caiguna, who gave us some apples and chatted with us for a while. Thanks Kathy, we'll hook up with you later in Unanderra!!!
John and Toni gave us a crash course on Dingos when we were at Nullarbor Roadhouse. See ya'll in Melbourne ;-)
Denise and Leon from Adelaide stopped along side the road on the Nullarbor just befor Yalata while Peter and Marian were making coffee and sharing their fruit cake with us. Too wild. Dean and France and I could not believe that this was happening out in the middle of nowhere. Indeed , there was a lot of action in places where nothing usually, happens...Prior to that, we had made a stop at one of the look outs along the Australian Bight and had lunch all together and took photos of the spectacular cliffs. We had hoped to catch a glimpse of some wales, but none were around today. Regardless, the view was breathtaking. At one level you have the Ocean then the cliffs rise up, perpendicular to the water about 60 meters at least. Then you see nothing but flat planes of salt bush for as far as the eye can see.
For the most part the roads are flat here, with some gradual rises. Not always very interesting, which makes for part of the challenge. We were happy to be riding with dean as we ended up encouraging each on as we went.
Although we are enjoying the natural sights and sounds, it is the people contact that is truly making the trip memorable. Meeting Dean and Sue has added to the pleasure of our travels. It was nice to have "home cooked " meals with Dean and Sue in their caravan. They have truly made us feel at home.
Dean will let you all know that you should always make sure the shower meter works befor you take all your clothes off....I think I taught him a few choice Quebecois curses that day ;-)
The last day into Ceduna was a killer. After having lunch in Penong, Dean hopped onto his trusty steed and cycled off ahead of us, again, into to the 18kph or so wind.... The man was ON FIRE or just wanted to get the hell off the Nullarbor, because we did not see him until 80kms or so later at the ceduna check point!!! Man it was windy.
saw lots of dead and live snakes today. Cursed the wind as well. My eyes hurt!!! ;-)
We arrived tired and hungry, but totally thrilled to have made the treck! Dean looked particullarly satisfied, in spite of feeling a bit of soreness from being in the saddle for so long. Good on man!!! Your almost done with the "Big Lap"....
Waddyaknow??? Later on that eve. theres' Ivan!!!! Last we saw, he was 120km from Border village....What's he doing back here almost 500kms in reverse??? Seems he blew the hell out of his rear rim and hitched a ride back to ceduna to buy a new one. He tried in vain all day yesterday to hitch a ride back, but no one would pick him up....Yiiikes!!!
Dean was prepared to drive him back - I said I'd go with him for the road trip and to keep company, but after a few inquiries, dean was able to find a caravaner who was going in that direction, nice eneough to give him a lift. EXCELLENT!!! So Ivan is happier today. What a guy, he never stopped smilling in spite of his misfortunes...I think Sue may have been relieved that Dean was not going to add anotther 1000kms on the car:-)
France and I and Deans family had a well deserved big meal at the hotel last night. Nice end to a very long, but rewarding day.
We consider ourselves very fortunate and priviledged to have met such genuine and delightfull people has Dean and Sue. We are going to carry the memories of this time with us forever. Never, in our planning of crossing the Nullarbor, did we consider that we would be making the treck as we did with Dean and Sue. This was certainly a welcome surprise, the memories will be lasting and the time, that much more special.
The journey continues -
Thu Oct 20th - Port Lincoln - rest day
Fri Oct 21st - Port Lincoln - rest day
Sat Oct 22nd - Port Lincoln to Port Neill - 92.44km
Sun Oct 23rd - Port Neill to Cowell - 82.10KM
Mon Oct 24th - Cowell to Whyalla - 114.35km
Tue Oct 25th - Whyalla to Port Augusta (Sterling North) 93.46km
We took some much need time off in Port Lincoln as our legs were still "feeling" the Nullarbor. We took a tour of the Fresh Fish Factory and got a bit of a lesson on the fishing industry in the area. Also got see the owner sample one of his own, freshly opened oysters...Sorry folks, no samples for the "gallery".... We left for Port Neill under fair skies. The view at the top of the hill while leaving the town was impressive. I think we took some time to snap a couple of pics.
I hate to say it, but we went straight into a head wind...again. Neither France or complained, we just take it in stride. It was short ride to Port Neill anyhow. We were actually looking quite forward to arriving in Cowell the following day as we had hoped to do some "crabbing" from the jetty. Sure eneough, Ted, the owner of the caravan park was fully prepared to provide us with the crabbing net and bait, but would'nt you know... it was to windy to do any fishing!!! Dang!! A couple of days later, however, we heard from Sue and Dean that they had stopped at the same park, went crabbing and Sue caught six Blue Crabs!! Good on ya!!!
Meanwhile, we picked up satkes and headed to Whyalla. We were about 25 km away from Whyalla and you could see the town at the end of the road. This time, we made a right hand turn on the road and caught a full on tail wind and actually sped into town at 45kph!!! Interesting though, because the town, although, 25km away, never seemed to get any closer!!!
We planned our next ride based on some info we picked up from fellow cyclist Jeff Lock, whom we met while having lunch on the road side just befor arriving to Port Lincoln. He suggested we go to Streling North , just outside Port Augusta, then take the A1 to the Willmington exit.
So off we go - Meanwhile the scenery has changed quite a bit. Gone is the Salt bush and arid landscape, now being replaced with more farmland and gently rolling hills....
The Flinders ranges are up next....
Jean and France
Into the Hills...
Wed. Oct 26th - Sterling North to Melrose 63.08km
Thu. Oct 27th - Melrose to Gladstone 58km
As we turned left onto the B56, there was this guy sitting quietly on the side of the road , just off the Highway. We learned that he had spent the night in his tent just off inot the small bush. He was waiting for his "mate' who was coming to meet him all the way from Coober Peddy! Go figure?. Anyway, we chatted a bit and gave him some of our water. It was about 9;15am and we were starting to feel the sun....Up until that left hand turn, the terrain was quite flat, but things were about to change as we were headed straight for the mountains. The ride from the highway to the base of the hills was about 5kms, and did not look too challenging, but we were inded starting a very slow and gradual climb. The sweat started to glisten off my forearms and my eyes were stinging from the sweat from my forehead...We dug down and started to climb ever more and decided to take a bit of break to catch our breath. We just stood there, for a few moments and took in all the views from around the hill in which we were surrounded. Very inspiring... We climbed steadily, with no break in the ascent for a good 8 to 10km until we reached the top. For a while during the climb, I secretly thought we had made a mistake in taking this route. I had visions of the whole treck to Adelaide being as hilly... Yiiiikes!!! But,nooooo.. We crested the top and as we did, the whole valley opened up to us and we could see for miles, the winding Descent into the valley towards Willmington.
The landscape has indeed changed altogether and as a bonus, the weather could not be any more pleasant. A very nice way to arrive in the lovely , quaint town of Willmington, where we had lunch outside the General Store. Our destination today however is still a few clicks down the road.
We arrived in Melrose in pretty good shape. the ride was not as difficult as we thought it would be. Melrose is a gem of a town. We had coffee at Bluey Blundstones Blacksmith shop. An old shop that was developped as a coffee house and B & B. Wow!! what a place, too bad our budget does'nt permit!!! The owners have done a magnificent job in converting the place. Very rustic and very inviting. We settled in at the bunkhouse in the caravan park and did a walking tour of the town. Visited Joes Antiques and walked to the old Jacka Brewery. Of course, some of our most interesting moments are when we meet and speak with new people. In fact, we chatted with Andrew, who works in Port Pirie, was originally from Adelaide and has a house in Wirrabara , just 28kms down the road. He was in Melrose with a group of people having Coffee at Blueys when we started talking. He offered up his house in Wirrabara to us. Unfortunatly, we were a bit tired and did not want to saddle up for another 26km. But Thanks Andrew, that was a generous offer!!!! Actually, we went by your place today and considered stopping to stay the night...The ride from Melrose to Gladstone today had to have been one of the most pleasant rides to date. The road is winding and gently rolling. The sun was shining warm and there was a gentle breez at our backs. We were only the road about 37kms when we came upon the Old Backery just outside Laura. Holy Cow!!! They had every possible pastry and then some. Actually, France and I shared a Camel Pie!!!! One hump for her and one for me... No kidding , real Camel Pie...tastes like ground beef...;-)So , one Camel pie, one Eccles pastry and two Capucinos, in the garden, near the road , accross from a small grove of trees... AHhhhhh, This is how I had imagined things would be. Laura is just as quaint and well kept as both Melrose and Willmington... the towns are closer together, all appear to be very well maintained and each seem to have large groups of aged Australians dressed in their Sunday Best to play.....Lawn Bowling. These guys take their game seriously here...;-)
Gladstone differs little from the last couple of towns.. We feel right at home and again, we take the time to walk to the points of interest and just to get to know the area. Today we visited the Gladstone Gaol and spoke with the owner of Trend Drinks. One of the few remaining, independant soft drink producers in Australia... Gotta try his Ambrosia!!!!
Bernie at the caravan park seems a lovely lady. They've done some work to the place in the last few months and as far as France and I are concerned,it's one of the better parks we have been in...great campers kitchen...needs a door though.. ;-)
We head to Clare tomorow...wine country.... yesssss
Fri Oct 28th - Gladston to Clare - 88.72km
Sat Oct 29th - Clare to Gawler/Adelaide - 97.74km
Sun Oct 30th - Adelaide - Rest Day
Mon Oct 31st - Adelaide to Murray Bridge - 117.03km
Tue Nov 01st - Murray Bridge to Meningie - 85.52km
Wed Nov 02nd - Meningie to Kingston SE - 159.99km
Thu Nov 03rd - Kingston SE to Millicent - 112km
Ever since we took that left hand turn up Horacks Pass, into the Flinders
Ranges, we have been blessed with much better weather and ever changing scenery.
The vinyards abound in the Clare Valley. In the town of Clare, France and I visited a local winery and were given a "sample" bottle of thre fine Shiraz...Thanks Gail...shhh!
For the first time on our trip, we took an off road route. We took what is called the Reisling Trail from Clare to Auburn. It's a 25km stretch of hadr packed gravel, converted rail line. No traffic to worry about, it winded through numerous wineries and was mostly flat or slightly downhill tyhe whole way. We stopped in Gawler, about 45 km out of Adelaide. We thought we would be hooking up with people nearby but it didnt happen. We took the train from Gawler to Adelaide the following day and did a walking tour of this pretty city.
We were fortunate that today was the last day of the food and wine festival,
held behind the arts centre in Womma Park (I think?). Spent the better part of
the afternoon at the botanical Gardens , just downtown. We kept busy being tourists all day long. We aimed for Murray Bridge via the southern part of the Barossa Valley, a
premiere, wine producing area in Australia. The roads were hilly, but it was an enjoyable ride.
From Murray Bridge we made are way to Meningie, Kingston and now Millicent. We
have a short and easy 45km ride to Mt Gambier wher we plan on taking a couple of days off.
We spoke with Mike and Steph a couple of times - We aim to be in Melbourne to
spend some time with Elises' parents -
It's been a while and although we've covered some ground, we are taking things
much slower these days.
Nov 09th - Warnambool to Port Campbell - 70.94km
Nov 10th - Port Campbell to Lavers Hill - 53.87km
Nov 11th - Lavers Hill to Apollo Bay - 49.94km
Nov 12th - Apollo Bay to Torquay - 98.52km
Nov 13th - Torquay to Queenscliff - 46.00km
Nov 14th - Queensclif to Sorento (via Ferry)
Nov 15th to Nov 21st Croydon to King Valley
Nov 21st to Nov 23rd Croydon - to Melbourne
Total Mileage to date is 5104km
1- Great Ocean Road
2- Otway Mountains
3- King Valley
By far, the best riding France and I have done so far, has been along the Great Ocean road, in particular, the section between Port Campbell and Anglesea. The road hugged the rugged mountainside , kilometer afet kilometer, offering staggeringly beautifull vistas overlooking hills and ocean. It was of such beauty that we completely forgot about the steepness of the climbs but relished the speedy descents.
We had to climb 19kms up to Lavers Hill through the lush and fairly dense, Ottway Mountains. Peter at the roadhouse at the end of the climb set us up nicely in a cabin room. We joined up again with fellow cyclist, Brian, a young "old timer" from Perth doing a treck to Sidney, we think...anyway, we had supper with him and shared a bottle of wine.
The most of the rest of the road was downhill and just a bit thrilling!!!
We spent a night in the beautifull town of Queenscliff befor taking the ferry the following day where we would meet with Mike and Steph in Sorento. We were anxious to finally meet each other after so many months of communicating via e-mail or phone. From there, we headed to Croydon whith the tandem and equipment in the trailor in tow...We wasted no time and head to the King Valley thye following day. Mike and Steph hauled us around the countryside like we were a couple of children in tow...;-) It was great, as we had our very own personal tour guides. We both learned a lot about some of Australias vegetation and wildlife. Of course, we also got a crash course in wine tasting for the next few days.
We cant say eneough about how gracious, generous and welcoming both Steph and Mike have been. Along the way and during the week, we were also introduced to many of their friends including Mike and Polly and of course (John)Stewart Walker. Stewart is an avid 4x4 enthousiast and an obviously knowledgeable outdoorsman. We took a couple of side trips with him and visited Paradise Falls and other, more remote forrests and trails.
We also collected our dayly firewood in old fire road tracks... France and I now know what a Trigger plant is thanks to Mike. It was fun to see Steph organize everyone for the dayly visits to the different wineries...I think we got everything in that she wanted. We capped off the winery visits with lunch at Francescos with a heaping plate of penne and home made salami, Mikes' favourite!!
One of the first things we did when we arrived at Mikes place was to fix the rack situation on the tandem... Mike as a workshop to die for. We probably could have built a whoel new bike in his shop!! We also got to know Elise a little bit better through her parents this past week. We have been off the tandem for a little over a week now and we are itching to get back on the road. Today, we head downtown to Melbourne and will take the ferry to Tasmania.
The adventure continues!!!
We spent a couple of days in Melbourne. I actually got a swim / bike /run done on the 25th!!! First time since August.
Nov 24th/25th - Melbourne - rest days
Nov 25th/26th - Melbourne to Tamania via ferry.
Nov 26th - Devonport to Deloraine - 59.75km
Nov 27th - Deloraine to Launceston - 56.4km
Nov 28th - Launceston Rest day
Nov 29th - Launceston to Scottsdale - 67.43km
Nov 30th - Scottsdale to St Helens - 102.78km
Dec 01st - St Helens to Bicheno - 78.94km
Dec 02nd - Bicheno to Coles Bay to Bicheno - 82.75
We have indeed arrived in Tasmania. Our first stop of course was Devonport,
right off the ferry, on time at 7:00am. We met up with Phillipe, a french
cyclist who is on his second tour of
Australia. He's also crossed Canada!!! What a maniac. Anyway, we get off the boat in Devenport and decide to head straight for Deloraine, but guess what? We get lost in the only two streets in own! The sign said "This way" so we went...Then we come to a "T" intersection and there is no more signage... so we go back to check the signage again....and we go back again and again. We finally found our way out of town... Aye Caramba, the signage is pityfull here!
We arrived in Deloraine and set up camp at the Caravan Park down by the semi overflowing Meander River. Our French friend was already set up. He obviously had a better map than ours ;-)
The park was not so good, but the folksy atmosphere of the town made up for that.
We headed out early for Launceston under variable , but mostly fine skies....The riding is hilly , but very pleasant, as the countryside is ever changing. We did the tourist thing again upon our arrival and took some pretty nice pictures at the Alexandra Bridge Park. The bridge is a suspension bridge built at the turn of the Century. Great views!
The 28th was a rest day and we were expecting to see Dean and Sue. Indeed they showed up at about noon and we "rejoiced"... It was great to see them again. The kids were a little less shy with us this time around... I think?...
We had a "family" supper in the camp kitchen and some laughs. Exchanged travel stories and shared futur plans. We might hook up with them again in Hobart around the 4th or 5th.
For the time being, we are in Scotsdale , today , the 29th... We decided to book into Lords Hotel. Nice , old style hotel with tall ceilings and plaster walls. Nice and comfy!... Sweet! WE did well to take the hotel room because we need the good rest to tackle the road to St Helens and onward to Bicheno. Although we got caught in a downpour, we still enjoyed some fantastic scenery and grand forests. The bush was dense and fragrant. We are always impressed with the Fern Trees. Makes things look exotic.
We decided to take a side trip from Bicheno to Coles Bay. A little 40km detour.
What do two people on a 20,000km bike ride do on their day off? They go for
a bike ride!
We cant get over how fragrant the air is in the area. I cant remember the name of the plant that gives off this sweet aroma, but it resembles honey made from buckwheat, but with a twist?? Anyway, you could just sit there all day and enjoy it!
Deans' Dad, Ralph, was very generous in offering up is beachouse for France and I to enjoy for a couple nights. Believe us, it sure feels good to be able to sleep in a real bed and bask in the comforts of a real home. Have'nt seen a bathtub in a long while too!! We went to bed rather early and slept like babies. After breakie, we packed up our gear to do our dayly pilgrimage to the grocery store for our lunch and supper.
Dutyfully and responsibly, we made sure we left the house in good order and locked up behind us. However, it was only when we pulled the door behind us and looked at the key chain we were given, that we realized we did not have a key for the lock in the door knob!! Yiiikes!!!! "No worries" we thought, surely the neighbour has a the other key and we'll be in "in like Flint"...Ahhh, but the neighbour is not at home and we are securely locked out of the house.
Plan "B". Sheepishly, we phone up Ralph and explain our predicament.
"No problem, we have a spare key hidden at the back of the house".
We find the carefully place key box, only to find out that it is a duplicate
of the one we already have!!!! Aye Caramba! I suggested that I call a locksmith
to come over to pick the side door lock, but apparently there is no one in
town to easily do the job, so ralph suggests we get the neighbour over to
force the lock! Oh boy...France and I looked around the house to see if there
was'nt another way of getting in, but for sure, everything was locked down
tight. However!!!! The bathroom window has diagonally positioned window panes,
that if removed, is "skinny assed" , "has been triathlete",
could maybe squeak through - Plan C, I tell Ralph, "gimme an hour and
we'll call you back".! France and I start our work. First, we go to the
shed and pull out the ladder and place it up along the outside wall, beside
the window. The first pane, comes off rather well, okay, only need three more.
I'm keeping in mind that, even if I get the panes off, I still have to negotiate
squeezing myself betwen the fram and the downspout pipe that intersects the
window!!!. The second and third panes come off as well, only need one more
and we're set. Zoikes!!!! the fourth one wont slip through, Ayyeeee!! I push,
prod, encourage, nothing doing, it's too tight. Meanwhile, France is rummaging
in the back yard
and comes back with a three foot long axe handle and suggest I wrap one end of it with my underwear and "tap" the pane on it's edge to slip it through it's guide....Okayyyyy, lets give it a shot, "just dont break the window!!!. A couple of well placed taps along the edge, evenly done and yesssssss!!! the window
slips through and we have space!! I get my head in between the frame and the downspout and perform some delicate gymnastics and get into the house! We're on the phone to Ralph immediately with the good news. My misbegotten youth coming in handy in a pinch!
Alls well that ends well.
Our B&B was more like a "B&E"...good thing the neighbours did'nt see us ;-)!!!!
It was exciting though!
Jean and France
We pick up form Bicheno from our last report:
Dec 03rd - Bicheno to Triabunna - 96.88 km
Dec 04th - Triabunna to Hobart - 96.93 km
Dec 05th and 06th - Hobart - Rest Days
Dec 07th - Hobart to Ross - 112.04 km
Dec 08th - Ross to Longford - 69.14 km
Dec 09th - Longford to Devenport - 99.27 km
Dec 10th - Devenport to Melbourn - Via Ferry
We woke up to variable skies this morning and had just enough time to pack
all equipment and get on the tandem just in time to be rained on. So it was
until we reached Triabunna. Too bad to... because the road followed the coast
for a good part of the journey. Unfortunately we could'nt see it because of the
rain and the clouds. However, we have been told, by those in the know, that the
road is quite beautiful and the views of the peninsula from the road are
spectacular... we'll just have to trust the reports;)
The silver lining today was the "smokin'" bakery in Swansea... Yummmmm. We
stopped at the Avanti for coffee and pastries. We attracted a lot of attention
again today as we rolled up in the tandem, dripping wet from the soaking rain...
The coffee helped. We met two German guys on singles, just starting out from
Hobart. We must have spoken for about an hour in the pouring rain... We played
travel guide and directed them to the bakery!!! us cyclist have to stick
We got lucky at the caravan park that evening and we were able to snag a
the night. Good thing too, because absolutely everything was wet. Our fingers
and toes looked like ripe old raisins for hours afterwards. We bumped into
Philippe (the Frenchman), in Sorell on our way to Hobart. He shared his fresh
strawberries with us, what a guy!
Crossing the causeway, we were targets for motorists who tried to push us
the road and into the drink, however, thanks to my superior cycling abilities we
were able to avoid any real dramas ;).
The next challenge was the Tasman Bridge, geez, even the bridges over here
hilly!! Anyway, there is a special cycle/walk path on either side of the bridge,
with just about enough width to allow the bike to fit. Zoikes, squeesy fit!!!
the engineers must not have anticipated tandem cycles with Bob trailors in the
construction of the bridge, as the only means off the path was approximately 6
to 8 stairway steps down to the road. Aye Caramba! Try negotiating a fully
loaded tandem down a flight of stairs. This was one of those very few times
that France and I yelled at each other;)
So on our merry way we go and with about 150 meters to go before we are to turn
left to go to a caravan park to meet with Dean and his team, France spots a
cyclist coming behind us in her rear view mirror; "Geez, that guy looks awfully
familiar" she says. "Zoikes, it is! it's Dean coming up behind" how weird is
that? After 5,700 km and going in slightly opposite directions, we meet 150
meters before taking a WRONG turn.. Yup... he gets there just in time to say "no
way guys, we keep on going straight, it's the other park we're going to"... too
We were pleased to meet up with the crew and to spend some relaxing time
them for the next couple of days. Sue, France and I took the Cascades Brewery
tour which was both interesting and above all... refreshing (read, tasting the
Dean and I got the munchies about 15 minutes after supper and went cruising for
a pizza joint, which we found. That pizza was one of the best I've had. We went
to the ATM shortly after Pizza and some guy who had taken a few too many "angry"
pills wanted to send Deans car back to Victoria and was looking to tangle with
me... We let him be to cool his heels... The morning of our departure was a bit
difficult for France and I. We knew, that in saying our goodbyes today, that we
would very likely not ever see the Hadlows again... Needless to say, we were
very emotional. I dont think either family ever expected to strike up a
friendship of this kind, considering the unlikelyhood of it's origins, in the
middle of nowhere Balladonia!!! Go figure! Way too cool eh!!!?
Teary eyed, we headed into a fierce head wind towards Ross up the center of
Tasmania along the Heritage highway. Ross is a beautiful
old historic town with many of the original buildings still standing and very
well maintained. I believe the town is more reknowned for the Bridge, which was
constructed by convicts in the 19th century.
From Ross we pushed against the wind to Longford and then the following day
Devenport where we are today.
Along the route we met with an Aussie who was cycling up the opposite direction.
He just completed a cycle tour of Europe, didn't know what to do with himself
after that, so he decides to do a lap of Tasmania, before, he says he "should be
looking for another job", so that he can go back out and do a lap of mainland
Australia. Crazy or what?
So we're looking forward to getting back to the mainland to resume our treck up
the East Coast. We hope to meet up with our buddy Stewart (aka Johnny Walker).
We might be able to hook up in Orbost or may be Lakes Entrance prior...
People love Tasmania for all it's greenery, open spaces, hills and mountains
friendly people... Sound familiar? truely, there are a lot of similarities with
Canada. The trees are different, we don't have Tasmanian Devils, but we have
beavers? True, we don't have Scallop Pies (Tasmanian specialty and yummy!) but
hey!! we have POUTINE!!! Yeah!
That's all for now folks - cycle on!
Jean and France
Tasmania is behind us now ;
Dec 11th - Melbourne to Inverloch - 151km
Dec 12th - Inverloch - Rest day
Dec 13th - Inverloch to Yarram - 103km
Dec 14th - Yarram to Sale - 75km
Dec 15th - Sale to Lakes Entrance - 111km
Dec 16th - Lakes Entrance to Cape Conran - 102km
Dec 17th - Cape Conran Rest day
Dec 18th - Cape Conran to Cann River - 61km
Dec 19th - Cann River to Eden - 113km
Dec 20th - Eden to Bega - 56.91km
The ferry trip over to Melbourne was uneventfull and relaxing. We met a couple
of interesting "youngish" nomads. They were on their way to meet their 17 year
old daughter at the airport in Melbourne. She was returning from the USA after a
year long stay. Seems the parents neglected to advise the daughter that they
quit their jobs and sold their house!!!! They are on the move and living out of
a modified van!!!
So we did the Inverloch thing and I sent a special report out on that. Moving
along, we met a Brit on our way to Yarram. This guy has already cycled Europe,
Africa and the USA.
In Sale, we meet Chris. His last "fixed" address was Port Augusta. He's been on
the road, on his bike for the last 3 years, just wondering along. He enjoys the
solitude he says. he aslo says that he is well known by the Federal Government
and the local police in many "localities".... okaaaaayyyy...
We were about 10km on our way in to Lakes Entrance when we had our very first
"TIRE DECOMPRESSION ISSUE". The front tire just could not handle a small piece
of the bitumen and just exploded with a bang as we were going downhill. Good for
us , we were not going to fast as we just about lost control.
Trevor, a local, was riding up behind us and thought we did well to stay up.
Made it Cycle Passion and bought two new tires and a spare. Martin was filling
in for absent staff and a sick owner. He helped us jerry rig the G'damned rear
rack. Yup. It was giving us some grief again, but we think we have it under
control for a while longer. Just want to say thank you to Martin for bailing us
We made it in to Orbost on our way to Cape Conran, just in time to avoid a
downpour. Had a great coffee and treat at the local bakery. Gotta love the
The next couple of days we spent "bush camping" with our friend Stewart (John)
Walker. We met Stew while we were in the King Valley back in late November.
Stewart has been coming to this place for a number of years and holds many fond
memories of the area. We felt privileged to have been able to create a few more
with him over the last couple of days. He took us up on Forrest rides on 4x4
tracks. Man, you should see that vehicle climb a dirt hill!!!!
We went to Cabbage Tree Falls where we saw a unique stand of Palm trees, called,
I believe, Cabbage Tree Palms. They are prehistoric and are the only palms
native to Victoria. It's like they live in a small universe all their own.
We did the pub thing with Stewart for supper. We all must have been quite hungry
because we made multiple trips to the salad bar. Back at the campsite, we
chilled with a small glass of port and hit the sack!
Morning came too quickly. We were packed and ready early eneough so as to beat
some of the weather that was coming over the ranges. Said our goodbyes to
Stewart and wiped tears from Frances' eyes...We are going to miss our dear
We had cycled about 10kms and I my mind must have been wandering, because I ran
over a branch and it got caught up in the timing chain and sent the chain off
the chain rings!!! Zoikes!!! What trouble is this? My heart started to beat
again when I saw that we had not broken the chain. If it can come off, it can be
on again. Sure enough, we had it on and we were on our way again.
France was complaining that the bike seemed to be pulling more to one side and
thought maybe I had overdevelopped my left leg....I did not notice much of
anything., It was not until we stopped for a pee break that France saw that our
pedals were not in synch!! Yiiiikes, I did'nt put the chain on properly. Stp the
bike, pull the chain off and reset both our crank arms at bottom dead centre and
we're on our way...
We 're getting to be pretty good with some of the mechanical stuff!
We headed off to Bermagui this morning, but once we arrived in Bega, about half
way, Frances' legs were feeling a bit weary. The hills are substantial around
here and we had just ridden 110km the day befor in similar conditions. So, we
stopped here. I'm the one who ended up pasasing out in the tent for an hour or
We met another cyclist at the park this aft. He's been here 5 or 6 days waiting
for his BOB trailor to be delivered from Sydney. He had been travelling, up
until then , with all his gear in a pack sack, on his back!!!! Yiiikes!
We expect to be in Campbell Town around the 26th and meet up with John and
Diane, whom we met in Wallpole back in October! Had a great evening then and we
are looking forward to seeing them again!
We'll speak on this more later, but we want to send out a special thank you
John and Diane Graetz who treated us like long lost family at Christmas!
Dec 21st - Bega to Narooma - 82.8km
Dec 22nd - Narooma to Ulladulla - 134.5km
Dec 23rd - Ulladulla to Kiama - 115.2km
Dec 24th - Kiama to Campbelltown - 98.56km
Dec 25th - Christmas with John and Diane in Mount Annan
Dec 26th - Mount Annan to Sydney via train
Dec 27th - Mount Annan to Sydney via train with John and Diane
Dec 28th - Campbelltown to Emu Plains - 54km
Dec 29th - Emu Plains - Katoomba - Emu Plains (train/bike) 54km
Dec 30th - Emu Plains to Gosford - 110km
We were thinking we'd spend Christmas at Billi Beach, just outside Wollongong
and Campbelltwon, then scoot up to se John and Diane on the 26th and 27th. John
would hear nothing of it and insisted we travel the extra few kilometers to be
with them on Christmnas Day. We are happy we did. But first....
Whoever said Australia was flat, did'ny to his homework very well. Aye
Caramba!!! The hills came at us one after the other, relentlessly without
respite. Up we'd go a couple or three kilometers and down again, only to be
climbing up again. This has been the norm basically since Lakes Entrance. No
worries though, because the countryside more than makes up for it. We heard the
Bell Birds all the way from Lakes Entrance. They make a sound similar ti the
"ping" of a submarine.. cool eh? Take our word for it!
We met Leo in Bega. He had been waiting at the caravan park for about 4 days for
his BOB trailor to arrive. He sent word a few days after that he finnaly
received it and he's on his way.
We cycled a few too many kilometers to get into Kiama. Zoikes! The signage is
lousy. Kiama is a beautifull little beach side town. Had a great swim in the
surf. Watched kids body surf and made note of the three beach bunnies working on
their tans!!! Sweet!
Took some great pics of "Seven Mile Beach" once we made it up the climb from the
bottom.! Wow!!!! We could have just parked ourselves there and stayed! But...
As we approached Wollongong, we hooked up with a couple of roadies who probably
saved us lots of unnecessary hill climbing. You should have seen her face cringe
when we said we wanted to take Bulli Pass to get to Campbelltown. Ouch!
"Take Mount Kierra" she said. "It's steep as nobodies business, but nowhere near
as bad as Bulli!!!" We climbed for one hour befor reaching the top. France was
really looking forward to the anticipated descent on the other side, but it was
not to be. We reached a plateau and it was relatively flat, more a very gradual
descent for the next 40km to Campbelltown...all good.
We called John to let him know where we were and he gave us final instructions
on how to get to his place.
A couple of kms and a couple of turns and there he was, sitting at a bus stop
waiting for our arrival.
We first met John and Diane in Wallpoll WA on Sept 25th. Hard to believe we are
here 2 months later to share Christmas with them and their family.
Diane was working when we arrived so it was just the three of us for the
evening. We actually were in bed before diane arrived. We felt like we were
simply picking up from where we left off last Sept. Nice easy feeling.
All four of us began geting re-acquainted with each other on Christmas Day. Had
a beer in my hand at 11:00am. Nicole and Scott arrived with Paul and Kerri just
after noon. The table was soon laid out with all the food for Christmas supper.
No turkey or tourtiere here - Way to hot for that kind of food. Instead we had
cold ham and prawns and more prawns and then more prawns!!! What a feast. The
festivities continued on all afternoon and into the evening. Managed to give
everybody a little ride on the tandem.
The following day france and I went into Sydney on our own. Diane dropped us off
at the train station and we did thye tourist thing. First stop was the Sydney
Tower. Took lots of pictures from the top and went downstairs and did the Oz
Trek. A video retrospective of Australian highlights!
After the Tower we walked around the Opera House and took more pics. We could
not have asked for a nicer day as well.
The next day, all four of us went into town and took the ferry accross the
Harbour to Taronga Zoo. You start at thge top of the hill and work your way
down. Getting hungry around noon so we took the fery back and hopped onto the
Monorail for the ride into Chinatown for some an awsome lunch.
We worked that off with a walk through Paddys' Market and took the rail to the
fiah market and just hung out there for a while. Actually, France and I wanted
to try "Balmain Bugs". Looks like some prehistoric underwater lobster/crayfish
bug thing without claws. Anyway, we bought eneough for the four of us and
satisfied our curiosity...We prefer caryfish/lobster....
Back on the train to get home as Nicole and Scott will be arriving for supper.
We spent much of the evening at the table telling stories and having a great
time. It was going to be a difficult departure in the morning. No doubt.
Diane was the first to go. She had to work in the morning. France followed soon
after and John and I closed the place down again!
The morning came way to quickly. Neither France or I wanted to be leaving. We
had been made to feel so much at home. We could easily have stayed much longer.
We thoroughly enjoyed each others comapny and we plenty more stories to
tell....but as they say, all good things.....
Diane said a teary goodbye and went to work while France and I continued to get
our gear together.
A further teary hug with John and we off on the road again.
France and I barely spoke 2 words on our way to Emu Plaines. I can hardly
remember how we got there. we were completely distracted and sad to be leaving
our good friends.
I'm certain we'll see each other again!
We arrived in Emu Plains and chilled for the rest of the day. We hopped the
train for Katoomba, the following day and took the Tandem with us. We visited
around Katoomba and Echo Point where we took a walk and visited the Three
Sisters rock formations. High peaks overlooking the valley. Mighty impressive.
We aimed to stay in Berowra, 70km from Emu Plaines today, but they closed down
the caravan park 8 months ago, so there was'nt any place to crash, so we motored
on to Gosford, an other 37km up the road. I hope the tandem is still where I
parked it when we get back to the caravan park......France is looking at me
right now with a big question mark!!!
We head off to Newcastle tomorrow..see you there!
We have never experienced heat as the heat we felt between Swansea and Singleton
- Zoikes - 45 degrees - It does not get much warmer than that.....
Dec 31st - Gosford to Swansea - 59.5km
Jan 01st - Swansea to Singleton - 99.8km
Jan 02nd - Singleton to Scone - 80.8km
Jan 03rd - Scone to Tamworth - 131.1km
Jan 04th - Tamworth to Armidale - 115km
Jan 05th - Armidale rest day
We must be travelling under a lucky star. We were actually thinking of staying
in Woy Woy instead of Gosford. Had we done the former, we would have been caught
in the middle of one of those awfull bush fires they have been experiencing in
NSW. The highway from Gosford to Swansea was good with wide shoulders. We met a
few roadies along the way and some Ironman trainees as well.
It's busy everywhere these days and many of the parks are booked solid,
especially New Years Eve. But we lucked out and found a great spot at
Blacksmiths Beach. So we spent the rest of the day playing in the surf on the
beach. Too bad I was nursing a bit of a burn, I would have stayed in the water
longer. New Years Eve was quiet, we went to bed early as usual. We knew it was
going to be another scorcher the next day.
AYE CARAMBA!!! Talk about your heatwaves! We were about 35km out of Singleton
and at the top of the day and the temp was 45 degrees. The heat just came up
from the bitumen and slapped you around. The breeze was not much relief either
as it felt like someone was hold up a hair blow dryer to your face. Zoikes!!!
Good thing we had plenty of water. Neither one of us has eaten so many popsicles
or icecream bars as we've done here!! This ride was outrageous, but we were
extermely satisfied with our efforts. This will be good practice for when we are
up in the Northern Territory.
We had het like this for a couple of days. Our tires have been taking a beating
too. Had to change our two, new Hutchinsons which we paid $35.00 each for. The
$14.00 tires are doing better than the expensive ones???
Anyway, it was Suunday morning and we need tires! The fellow at the Info Center
called his Cycle shop owner friend and next thing you know, we are at her shop
and have 2 new tires! Cool eh?
We scored a "budget" unit in Scone and enjoyed air conditioning for the night.
Slept like babies!!! The road to Tamworth is going to be hot and hilly. We had
decided back in Gosford that we would skip Newcastle and the coast and instead
go inland along the New England Highway. We had been told on several occasions
that the scenery was spectacular and worth the effort. So thats what were doing.
One of those forks in the road....
Back to Tamworth - It was indeed warm and uphill. Then again, what do you expect
of mountain ranges???
The road to Armidale was no less hilly and our legs are now turning to "mush".
We decide we need an extra days rest so we park ourselves here for an extra
night. As we arrived in Armidale it started to rain buckets worth and stopped
just as abruptly, politely long eneough for us to pitch our tent. Although we
are pooched from all the hill work, we are most definately enjoying the scenery
- no question. Armidale, by the way, is the highest CITY in Australia, we have a
car sticker to prove it....
Okay, we're enjoying the countryside, but our legs are screaming for pity - We
ask around a bit and we decide to amend our route again. An other fork in the
I'm trying to catch up
Do your things and please post
Okay - so we go from blistering heat, to days of torrential rain, overnight
We're getting it all, over here ;-)
Jan 06th - Armidale to Ebor - 77.49km
Jan 07th - Ebor to Coffs Harbour - 117.71km
Jan 08th - Coffs Harbour to Grafton - 90.73km
Jan 09th - Grafton to Ballina - 141.56km
Jan 10th - Ballina to Brunswick Heads - 64.03km
Jan 11th - Brunswick Heads to Kingscliff - 52.88km
We wake up to overcast skies and have just eneough time to pack up our gear
befor the rain started to come down. We head to Ebor today. We decided yesterday
on our day off, not to go Glenn Innes and Tenterfield as we had planned. We are
going to take a slighly longer but decidedly , flatter route, back towards the
Well, our Armidale sticker confirms that Armidale is the highest CITY in
Australia but NOT the highest TOWN. That honor rests with Ebor!!! You guessed
it, we had to climb UP to Ebor, befor getting out of the ranges.
Regardless, we are absolutely thrilled to be riding along this stretch of road.
We are seeing some of the prettiest countryside yet. We are high above the
valleys and we can see the ranges through the mist and clouds. The rain has not
dampened our spirit, but we are gratefull to arrive at the Ebor Hotel/Motel.
Ebor is a "one horse town" - It's claim to fame are the "Ebor Falls" which we
visit and take plenty of pics of. The evening was not boring as we hooked up
with some of the locals at the motel bar and proceeded to have "a few too many".
Lots of fun and plenty of laughs. The guys laughed louder when we told them we
were continuing on to Coffs Harbour along the Waterfall Way....They thought the
ride down "the mountain" was going to be too dodgey for us....
Up and at 'em early as usual and we head out into the deluge again today. We
climbed just a bit befor arriving at Dorigo. We had to find some shelter off the
road because the rain was coming down just too hard. Nice thing though, the rain
is warm...wet, but warm...
The fun begins just after Dorigo and we start our 15km decent down a hill that
drops 700 meters. It's just "pissing" rain and the road is filled with
switchbacks and barely has room for two cars. We are torn bewteen watching for
traffic and the cliff and valleys and waterfalls and just trying to stay upright
on the tandem...then our brakes give out!!! Zoikes...my hands were cramping on
the levers and we still could'nt stop. It was so wet , we were not getting any
traction, but the pads were wearing down as well.
We had to stop every 500 meters or so just so that I could give my hands a rest
and the brakes kept on failing.
It came to a point we could not take too many chances and we actually had to
walk the bike downhill!!!! Not uphill - downhill!! can you believe it?
We still had a few kms to go and we had a brilliant idea. We got out of our
cycling shoes and into our regular shoes and used our feet as brakes. Each of us
sitting on the top tube of the bike and one foot down on the road - braking with
our feet as we went - what a sight!! We rewarded ourselves in Thora with a
Sausage Roll and a Pie!!!
We made it Coffs with a little less traed on our shoes but we're in one piece.
Doing our grocery shopping, we meet some fellow travellers. France had detected
a "Quebecois" accent and sure eneough, they are canadian. In fact, the girl was
from Champlain Park, Aylmer Que. go figure, small world eh??
Not much happenin' in Coffs expect more rain so we're off first thing in the
morning. We were treated to coffee and biscuits by a resident who bordered the
caravan park we stayed at. He had seen us unpacking the day befor and saw us
gearing up in the morning. He just came over to the fence, asked us in s strong
Spannish accent if we wanted a coffee and Voila! Nice way to start the day!
The roads are not the best in NSW. Indeed the stretch bewteen Coffs and Grafton
was one of the worste. Not only did we have to deal with poor surfaces and crazy
drivers who just about ran us over, but it was still raining buckets and some
idiot threw a lime at us from his car!!! It hit the seat tube of the bike, just
between me and France and made a wicked noise!! And it hit hard too. Scared the
crap out of both of us.
We've had a couple of things like this happen over the past months. One of these
days we are going to get "even" with on of these "yahoos". Both of us are
training oursleves to read plate numbers...One of these days.....
Into Grafton in the rain and out of Grafton in the rain all the way to Ballina
where we were able to get the brakes replaced. We dried out at the Hibiscus
We were "surprised" to see that it was still raining when we woke up the
following day....We were heading to Byron Bay. This was a "must see place" on
our route. We arrived and the sun was shinning and the place was absoluetly
jammed packed with people. We hung around a while, had a bite to eat, cycled
past the shops and eateries, could'nt find a place to stay in town and decided,
Byron Bay was not for us...just wayyyyy to busy and "touristy" - So off we went
to Brunswick head befor settling here, in Kingscliff.
We staying just 2kms out of the town center, but we have a nice secluded camp
spot and can easily make our way to a HUGE beach and play in the water, just as
easily as we would have done in Byron Bay, but we have more room......
We're outta the ranges now and our legs are back on speaking terms with the rest
of our body, but we still plan on taking a couple of days here just to relax and
take it all in.
No idea what our next stop will be?
I'm trying to catch
Jan 25th - Bundaberg to Agnes Water - 129.48km
Jan 26th - Agnes Water - Rest Day
Jan 27th - Agnes Water to Tannum Sands - 122.65km
Jan 28th - Tannum Sands - Rest Day
Jan 29th - Tannum Sands to Rockhampton - 150.12km
Jan 30th - Rockhampton to Marlborough - 103.8km
Jan 31st - Marlborough to Clairerview - 110.07km
Feb 01st - Claireview to MacKay - 143.66km
Feb 02nd - MacKay - Rest Day
Feb 03rd - MacKay to Midge Point - 104.79km
Feb 04th - Midge Point to Airlie Beach - 61.48km
Feb 05th - Airlie Beach - Rest Day
Feb 06th - Airlie Beach - Rest
Although our original intent was to go to the Town of 1770, we did not get
further than Agnes Water.
The saddle sores today were such, that I did not have the courage to go the
extra 7kms to make it. As it
turned out, Agnes Water was a wonderfully quaint little town and we were quite
pleased to spend the
couple of days there.
Next on our agenda was Tannum Sands. This was the first time we saw "Beware of
Croc" signs. Dont
know how serious the situation really was, but belive me, you dont want to tempt
We arrived at the "cowboy" town of Rockhampton and took pictures of ourselves at
indicating the Tropic of Capricorne. On the one side it is the Temperate Zone
and on the other, its the
Tropical Zone... cool!
Our timing was not too good however, because we arrived on Sunday...and
everything closes down on
Sundays in Queensland.. arghhh! Need groceries and were hungry.
We left the following day looking to make it to Mackay via Marlborough and
Claireview. Marlborough is a
one horse town, just a whistle stop, but the local burger shop and motel , where
we stayed, were quite
nice and friendly. At about 1:00am , however, we were awakened by some guy
banging like a lunatic
on the door of our room. Just about fell otta bed....In fact, France was first
up and she was telling the
guy off from inside the room. I got up to go see what it was all about. The guy
was looking for a
girlfriend and he was trying to wake her up. Okay bubba.... you've had one too
many, but he' s nice
about it and apologizes for the ruckus.
Turns out, the following day, France and i stopped at a roadhouse a few clics
down the road and there
are a bunch of people there befor us... Well would'nt ya know it? I recognize
the lunatic who was
banging on the door. He's a canadian from Saskatchewan travelling with 2
Canadian friends and a
couple of irish guys...Those crazy Cannucks!!
Claireview is even smaller than Marlborough, but we had fun watching the turtles
swim up and down
along the shoreline cruising for food. Apparently a couple of them were laying
eggs along a stretch of
that beach a couple of days ago.
We could have taken a tour in Bundaberg to watch a bit more closely, however, we
would have had to
cycle an extra 30kms for the option. Thats' one of the disadvantages of being on
a bike... it is not
always easy or practical to be taking side trips....it's just a bit too
demanding, so sometimes we miss
out. But, then again, we kinda made up for it by accident in Claireview!
The caravan Park situation was looking pretty grim when we first arrived, but
thanks to a very kind sole
at the Central caravan Park, we ended up staying at the Andergrove C. Park.
Turned out to be a MOST
excellent place to rest up for a couple of days.
Brian, a fellow doing some concrete work in the park, gave us a whole lotta
first hand info on Darwin.
Seems he lived there for 35 or 40 years or so....invaluable.
Whistle stop #3 Midge Point. The place is populated by THE most aggressive
We stopped in Proserpine on our way to Airlie Beach and chatted with George,
another ex Darwin
resident, and spent a good two hours with him....See the pics coming up for
Into Airlie Beach and we find oursleves a van at the Seabreeze C. Park...ahhhh
The place is a quaint, ocean side resort town with more Youth Hostels then you
can shake a stick at. A
bit of a party town. Airlie Beach is located on the Whitsundays, a grouping of
about 74 very picturesque
islands, to which there are many single and multiple day tours. All these
islands can be accessed by
boat, helicopter or plane....
We got up yesterday morning and the sun was shining again, so we decided to call
one of the
companies, it was 7:45 am , to see if we could get on this morning ' "no
worries" the lady said, "My
husband will be there to pick you up at 8:10" Okay... giddy up!.
We're at the corner and the guy is there. We pick up a few other passengers and
make our way to Abel
Point marina where we board the "Mantaray". We were only about 12 passengers.
The skies were
clear and the water calm. The air temp was 32 degrees and the water was pushing
29 degrees. Our
first stop was Whitsunday Island where we walked up the Hill Inlet Lookout
and then to the beach.
we had rented a lycra "stinger suit" as the little critters are fairly active
this time of year. These little jelly
fish are only as big as your thumbnail but can pack one hell of painfull sting
that more often than not
requires medical treatment. Better safe than sorry. We spent about wo hours
lunging and wading on
the beach befor heading back to the boat for a great lunch,
Next stop is Mantaray Bay, about a 45 minute boat ride from Whitsunday, where we
get to jump out of
the boat and do some snorkeling in the coral reef there.
France was a bit apprehensive. She had never done any snorkeling and there can
be a feeling of
claustrophobia at first.. until you get used to it. She got some instruction
from the Boat Guy and off she
went like a torpedo!!!! I had a hard time keeping up with her....she was a bit
nervous, but within just a
few minutes, she realized... Heh!!!! This is not so bad... her breathng slowed
down and she relaxed,
she was on Auto Pilot!!! Turned out she was the last one out of the water, she
could not get enough!
The coral bed was spectacular and we were surrounded by "clouds" of tropical
fish....It must have
taken a whole lotta aquariums to fill this bay with so many colourfull and
diverse species of fish. Just
We go to Bowen tomorrow and according to George from Proserpine, we can do some
right off the beach there. As well, we might even look to do some "picking"
while we're there and make
a few bucks, under the table....
"Well, we left the East Coast beaches and surf. Time for some serious
Feb 07th - Airlie Beach to Bowen - 78.39km
Feb 08th - Bowen to Ayr - 128.14km
Feb 09th - Ayr - Rest Day
Feb 10th - Ayr to Townsville - 102.69km
Feb 11th - Townsville - Rest Day
Feb 12th - Townsville - Rest Day
Feb 13th - Townsville / Magnetic Island 26.27km
Feb 14th - Townsville - Rest Day
Feb 15th - Townsville to Charters Towers - 148.38km
Feb 16th - Charters Towers to Torrens Creek - 164.75km
Feb 17th - Torrens Creek to Hughenden - 91.8km
As we moved up the coast from Airlie Beach, we had had to resort to swimming
pools as it became more and more unsafe to swim the ocean due to all the
poisonous jelly fish. Some of these guys can make you very sick and in some
cases be fatal.
We found Townsvile to be one of the nicesest cities we've visited. The city has
all the essentials of a big city , but without the big city feel. Indeed, the
place has a small town feel, very relaxed, nice neighbourhoods , plenty of
activities and Townsville has Magnetic Island, a real charmer of an island....
We were ripe for some time off. Our butts are still raw like hamburger and they
need to heel a bit. Our bike also needed a bit of TLC, so we took a day to bring
it in for repairs.
The timing chain needed to be adjusted and the drive chain and cassette are
showing signes of the road. We still have 7100 km to go and there are NO bike
shops that can handle the tandem.
We brough the bike to THE high end bake shop in town. The cassette and chain
replacement was no problem, but I was not comfortable with how they adjusted the
timing chain. Anyway, we thanked them and left. It was not until the next day
that we realized that indeed, the chain was too tight and we noticed that the
drive chain was bunching up a bit and that the hub was a bit noisy and sticky.
We brough the bike back on Tuesday and no one knew how to work on a Hugii TD
hub, but everyone agreed it need to be either serviced or replaced. But no one
in the shop knew how to do it. In fact, they told me that no one in Australia
had Hugii Hubs!!!
So here we are, getting ready to undertake the most challenging portion of our
journey accross the "Öutback" with a hub that might explode on us and you can
rest assured that no one out there would be able to help us....
I left the shop somewhat dejected and decided to hop on the internet and e-mail
Josh at Rebec and Kroes in Ottawa, where we got the bike in the first place.
Maybe Josh can help us from there?
Well, Beth got back to us first thing in the morning responding to my URGENT
request from the Outback. Fortunately, France and I rode to an other shop,
closer to where we were staying, to buy tubes!! Just for fun , I asked the guy
there if he knew anything about Hugii Hubs and he said : "Ya mate - I had these
on me Mountain bike - good hubs - no worries eh!" - I said : Aye!!! Can you take
a look at this??? He said : Aye mate - Yup - you got a problem - thats gonna
seize - dont be wanting to be out there braking down!!!
Anyhow, we brought the bike into the shop and the head mechanic, Glenn Turner of
the Bicycle Centre, worked on the hub from 3:30 to 5:30 . He had to make a call
to the supplier for some guidance because the hub was not EXACTLY like the one
he had done befor. Once we got the hub housing off, prying it loose from the
cassette with tire irons, we could see that it was in desperate need of
cleaning. In fact , one of the sealed bearings need replacement ands we had to
drive to the bearing shop to buy one!!!
After a bit of elbow grease he finally got it all done and the hub is like new.
Believe me, France and I are feeling much more confident knowing that our
machine is up to snuff!
So we hit the road en route for Charters Towers, going West into the heat
dust. The Nullarbor was good practice for what we are about to undertake. There
are sections of road out there where you can ride 160km and not come accross a
gas station. The mid day temps can hit 40 degrees and it's a dry and burning
heat. We took 16 litres of water with us on wednesday and it really was not
enough. We bought ourselves a cooler that we put on the back rack. We can hold 4
2 litre juice bottles and keep them cold for the whole day. To that we have a 10
litre Dromaday water bladder that we drape over the BoB. The water there gets
warm fast. We also have room for two more 2 litre bottles at the back of the
Bob. I expect, we'll need it all. We also have 3 water bottles attached to the
frame. I think we have room for 2 more bottle cages....
Townsville to Charters Towers was , as expected hot. But the road was good, some
small rollers but nothing serious and the wind , was with us. Same with the ride
from CT to Torrens Creek and into Hughenden, where we are now. We might stay
here a couple of days. the bums are sore still and the pool is refreshing.
There was barely a cloud in the sky when we departed Torrens Creek. The sun was
at our backs as was the wind and we just flew over the flat terrain. The country
side is not barren as was the Nullarbor, but you have "short-ish" trees on
either side and you can see for miles...Gotta watch the sun though and we are
coming up to some pretty long days ahead... but we're up to it....the adventure
"We bought a great bike, well equiped with excellent components to minimize
possibility of mechanical breakdown. Problem is, when it does break down, it's
almost impossible to service unless you are in a major city centre, or if you
know Glenn Turner at the Bicycle Centre in Townsville"
Feb 18th - Hughenden to Richmond - 119.79km
Feb 19th - Richmond - Rest Day
Feb 20th - Richmond to Julia Creek - 152.63km
Feb 21st - Julia Creek to Cloncurry - 146.31
Feb 22nd - Cloncurry to Cloncurry - 2.11km **
Feb 23rd - Cloncurry
Feb 24th - Cloncurry
The outback in summer is Hot with a capital H. The weather forecast permanently
predicts hot temps and thundershowers. We have'nt seen rain , however, since the
The plains are predictably , flat. The countryside is remeniscent of the
Nullarbor, in as much as there are a lot of wide, open spaces with not a whole
lot in between. Still, we find that our rides are peacefull and enjoyable, in
spite of the afternoon heat...
Marj and Terry, the temporary managers in Richmond made our stay pleasant and
comfortable. Both have travelled extensively throught Australia and they were
very eager to share all their wonderfull experiences with us.
We rode into Julia Creek, the town where the famous "Dirt and Dust Triathlon" is
held every year and settled in at the caravan park. Marj had warned us that the
park was a "dive", but the single Mom lady who ran the place was very friendly
and accomodating, allowing us to store our perishables in her fridge, because
the "camp kitchen" fridge door was falling off its' hinges...
We were kinda eager to get outta there, but we enjoyed a great meal at Mom and
Dads Cafe and got to speak and chat with Karina, the "Triathlete" owner of the
shop...she made anexcellent Lot Burger!!!
Just bewteen you guys and us....the butcher from whom we purchased $5.00 worth
of meat, held it for us in his fridge while we continued shopping. We returned
20 minutes later to pick it up and went back to camp.
I opened the bag, and there is a note attched to it with a $5.00 bill. The note
described how impressed he was with our cycling efforts and wanted to "buy us "
a meal...Cool guy! Thanks !
February 21st is Frances' birthday. We are rolling towards Cloncurry and
are leaving a roadside rest area, the we catch a flate , front tire. The culprit
was a common thorne in these parts. No worries, we change the tube and off we
go. A short time later, as we move off after a short pee break, I noticce the
front tire is low and again, have to change the tube. Annoying, because we have
to strip the bike of all the equipment. Off we go for the last 30km or so and
KA-BOOM, the front tire explodes!!! Zoikes, another flat and this time I need a
new tire!!! Okay, France has just about had enoeugh of this and so have I...Only
20km to go and I'm thinking, "Geez, the back end feels sluggish". We stop the
bike and discover that the BOB tire is now flat as....Cripes!!! Change another
tube and gingerly make it into Cloncurry - Happy Birthday France !!!
Well, after we have settled into the Gilbert Park Caravan Village, we hop on the
tandem to ride 1.5km or so into town for groceries. We did not make it 500
meters when we both notice that the rear tire feels "funny". Yup , you guessed
it, the rear tire is totally "thread bare" and is about to EXPLODE!!! Ayr
Caramba!! By this time we are tired and hungry and decide to just walk accross
the street where, conveniently , we enter the Road Runner Roadhouse and have
absolutely THE best Lot Burger since we arrived in Australia. And a beer!
So, at last count we had 1 blow out, one near blow out, one puncture and 2 tire
decompression issues...all in one day. Sheesh.
Anyway, we get everything sorted out and bed down for the night. We were up
early as usual and we are on the road the following morning, in the complete
dark, at 5:55AM, headed to Mount Isa....
We made it approximately 2 or 3km from the caravan park and without warning and
all of sudden, we spinning freely and the bike is going nowhere, real fast... It
did not take long to figure out that the rear hub, a Hugi Swiss Dt TD hub worth
hundreds of dollars and purportedly indestructible, exploded on us and gave up
We could not beleive our good fortune!!!!
This could have happened 20 or 30kms down the road and we would have been up
holy shit creek. But as it was, all we had to do was turn the bike around and
walk it back to town...
We waited around "Douggos", a shop that sells bikes and toaster ovens and weed
whackers among other doo dads hoping that the shop owner was also a bike
Well his daughter got there befor him and told us that he would be in council
meeting all day... besides, she said, neither he nor anyone else would be able
to help us with this problem, maybe he could change a flat , but thats' it!
Okay.. what next?.
We called our friend Glenn Turner at the Bicycle Centre in Townsville. He had
helped us with the hub a few days ago and got us on our way. I explained the
situation to him and although he was stumped as to why the hub would give on us,
he made a couple of suggestions as to how I might be able to fix it.
France and I followed his recomendations and we were actually able to get the
thing going again. I gave it a test ride and all seemed good. So we loaded up
the BOB and started on our way again. We did'nt make it 500 under load and the
hub gave out again.
We tried everything we could and went to EVERY store in town to find minor parts
to help us , without any luck.
On the phone again to Glenn and he comes up with a suggestion given to him by
Dave at Dirtworks in Sydney, the reps for Hugi Hubs in Australia.
By this time, I have taken Jed MacKennas offer to help. Jed is the owner of the
park we are staying at. He JUST happens to be a mechanical engineer and his
field of expertise, JUST happens to be mechanical parts like the ones inside the
hub... go figure eh???
So we open the hub up again and fiddle around and follwo Glenns' suggestion with
a variance or two. The end result is that the hub is back together again and is
working... HOWEVER, Jed feels that this is only a band aid solution. He is
concerned that one of the drive plates and the inside spline are too worne down
to risk heading off deeper into the Australian Outback. Both France and I
agreed.. So what next? Glenn!!!
The guys at Dirtworks are skeptical that the hub is actually stipped "Does not
happen", but concede that what we are saying is true. We are givenm two options.
One is buy a new hub, have it importedfrom Switzerland or the USA, pay $650 or
whatever for the new hub, transport etc OR send to dave in Sydney and he will
rebuild the hub.
Jed re-assured me that it is mechanically possible to rebuild the hub. Dave is
100% certain that he can do it and Glenn at the Bicycle Centre seems to have
confidence in what Dave has told him.
So after having received all this "expert" advice, we sent the wheel out by bus
freight and the witing game is on.
Going the rebuild route will be a little less expensive and likely faster. Even
so, we wont be out of Cloncurry any sooner than March 10th!!!!
Strange how things go... We had deliberately built in some extra travel days,
some "down time" just in case we would need more time to traverse the outback.
we "reckoned" that we should give us more time than we need to cross this
difficult part of the country in the event we ran into trouble. We probably gave
ourselves Too much time, but even though we will be held up in Cloncurry, we'll
still be on schedule to meet Mother in Broome....
The stop over here in Cloncurry will allow us to rest up and refresh ourselves.
maybe even resolve our saddle sore issues!
We still have some MAJOR real estate to cover when we do get going again, but we
think we will be even better prepared for it after this "forced" rest.
Once we do get going and if we leave when we think we'll be able to, we will
still have a few days "banked" to accomodate some other set back....cool eh?
We may have to skip over a destination or two, but hey, thats' life and we'll
deal with it.
Anyway, Glenn Turner at the Bicycle Centre has been the most helpfull person in
the world. Ever since that first day when he bent over backwards to help us we
only have high praise for him. He continues to help us now and is trying hard to
get us back on the road....Stay tuned for the continuing Adventures In The
France wants a new Birthday.....
"We finally got the bike bits fixed, now we need to fix bits on the body"
Feb 24th To Mar 08th - Cloncurry -
Mar 09th - Cloncurry to Mount Isa - 134.03km
Mar 10th - Mount Isa to Camooweal - 192.08km
Mar 11th - Camooweal to Barkley Homestead - 256.74km
Mar 12th - Barkley Homestead - Rest Day -
Mar 13th - Barkley Homstead to Threeways - 191.15km
Mar 14th - Threeways to Darwin - 989km (Yup!!! but read on....)
We spent a great 14 or 15 days waiting for our bike bits to be delivered
and returned to us. Our sincere gratitude goes out to Dave Tamsett from
Dirtworks in Sydney and especially to Glenn Turner at the Bicycle Centre in
Townsville, who co-ordinated everything for us.
Meanwhile, we kept busy at the Gilbert Tourist Park doing odd jobs to help out
owners Ged and Marianne McKenna. We also were priviledged to have met and
befriended Margaret and Steve, the groundskeepers, who, incidently, arrived
there 2 days after we did. we will miss our afternoon pool sessions.
We got the wheel in good order and were able to hit the road on Thursday.
Everything was working fine and we were pumped to be rolling again. The time off
did us lots of good as we had some serious mileage to complete in the next few
We've had people ask us why we ride so long...It's not by choice, it's simply
that there are HUGE distances to travel between two points with virtually
NOTHING in bewteen.
We hit the road at 3:45am out of Camooweal to Barkley Homestead. Obviously still
dark and made darker still with the cloudy, overcast sky. In fact it started to
rain about 25km into our 256km ride. We could not have asked for better weather
to handle this distance.
The topography was mostly soft rollers with some verrrry long false flats, rises
and declines....mostly rises...;-)the wind was coming off our left shoulder for
the most part until, with about 5okm to go, it shifted to a head wind.
I started to feel a bit of strain in my right knee which waas unusual. After a
bit , I checked my cleat to see if everything was in order and noticed that it
had loosened and shifted. I think by then , the damage was done, because I was
having a harde time pushing even just a little bit. By now, we had about 45km to
go and we were well committed and had to push on.
We rolled into Barkley after a cycling time of about 10:35hrs and 11:45hrs from
when we started.
My kneww felt fine all afternoon after that and during the whole rest day.
As soon as we saddled up to ride the 190km to Threeways, I could feel some
discomfort in the knee. I decided to to continue on. We had a strong, full on
tail wind for the first time in weeks and figured we should take advantage of
The road was flat as, all the way to Threeways, but in spite of this , my knee
only got worse and it took everything I had to limp into the roadhouse.
I knew I was in trouble befor we even started out this morning, maybe we should
have held back an extra day...too stubborne I guess?
Anyway, the bottom line folks is, our cycling treck is now over! My knee is too
tender to be putting it through more stress.
All it needs, is a bit of R.I.C.E. and or B.E.E.R. for a few days and I would
likely be pretty good.
I suppose we could take a few days, rest it up again with some nsaids and ice
and whatever, but our concern is, we have some major distances yet to cover. It
wont make much sense to heal the knee then load it up with three consecutive
220km days and blow it up again. Importantly, if the knee flared up where we are
going next, there are NO "escape" routes. We'd really be stuck in the middle of
Soooooooo, looks like we will do the rest of the treck on 4 wheels instead of 2.
We are currently in Darwin and will take a few days to do the tourist thing.
After that, we'll rent a Wicked Van and travel through the Kakadu and Litchfield
Although we are very disapointed that the cycling portion of our trip has come
to an early stop, the bright side is that we will likely be able to do and see a
lot more with 4 wheel transportation. One of the major disadvantages being on a
bike is, once you've complete the 150km or so ride to get wher you're going, the
last thing you feel like doing is going for a tourist bike ride....
We said from the get go, that this trip was going to be one big adventure. We
did not set out with the sole ambition of circumnavigating Australia by bike
alone. We set out with the idea that we were going to experience an adventure
and it has been that indeed thus far...just a little differnt means of
So, how did we manage the 989km from Threeways to Darwin in one day?
We got lucky and got a lift from Mick, a road train Truckie driving for T.N.T.
Norma, the Roadhouse manager at Threeways knew we were looking into
transportation to Darwin and she started asking around for us. We were just
about ready to cycle into Tennant Creek to hop a Greyhound bus that was to leave
at 2:10am and there was no guarantee that we'd be able to fit the bike in the
We could not believe our good fortune. We loaded up the bike on the rear trailor
and started driving to Darwin and arrived at about 11:30pm.
I had called forward to the Caravan Park earlier and our room key was there
waiting for us upon our arrival....Ahhhhh a roof over our heads and a nice
comfortable bed to sleep in. Especially nice since the monsoone rains have been
So thats how things go....but we'll just roll with the punches. It's been three
days now that I've been off the bike and my knee is still not right. Obviously
it needs the down time. We are , however, looking forward to travelling a little
bit more leisurely through the top end. Having a vehicle will allow us to see
and visit places we otherwise would not be able to access on a bike....
"At the outset, we promised ourselves we'd be flexible. We sorta had to make a
decision but then we reckoned we'd go with the flow".
Mar 15th to Mar 23th - Palmerston, Northern Territory
Mar 23th to Mar 30th - Darwin, Holliday Inn (Darwin)
Mar 30th to Apr 01st - Darwin to Litchfield National Park
Apr 01st to Apr 04th - Kakadu National Park,
Well, the knee is 100%. Nothing a little R.I.C.E. and B.E.E.R. was not able
Even though the knee is good and we are both healthy, we decided to follow
through with the van rental anyway and we are glad we did. We spent a very quiet
few days in Berrimah, near Palmerston. The caravan park had everything we needed
and we were able to rest up nicely. On the 23rd, we moved into some luxurious
"digs" at the Holliday Inn Darwin, thanks to Milenas Dad, Arturo. We actually
had a real room with a real T.V. , a bar fridge, a washroom you did'nt have to
hike a mile to to go for a pee or whatever. Man, it was pure heaven and right
downtown to boot. We spent a week visting Darwin. I think we know the streets
and whereabouts as well as the locals now...Thanks again Arturo!!!!
However, all good things must come to an en and it was time to leave the "soft
life" and hit the road again, mind you, we were looking forward to being on the
We packed up the tandem and made our way to the Wicked Campers depot a few
kilometers from downtown to pick up our camper van. You guys should see this
thing (I'll try to send a pic). We were actually able to chose the van we
wanted. It's basically just a regular panel van that was converted to accomodate
some storage space and some foam mattresses and a small kitchen at the back end.
The exterior is painted all sorts of different cloloured flowers. It looks like
something right out of the mid sixties, flower power, "fried out" combi , hippy
van kinda thing. It is so cool! I'm gonna let my hair down, wear a head band
,learn how to play the harp or something and France is gonna give up shaving her
The van is also long eneough that we can stash the tandem and BOB in there. It's
a bit inconvenient having to remove it everyday to set up the bed, but it beats
the hell out of having to set up the tent every day!!!
So far the van has proven to be just great. We have already been able to visit
places that otherwise we would not have had access to on the tandem. In fact, we
were able to visit just about every main attraction in Litchfield National Park.
From there, we headed to Kakadu national Park. Indeed, we just completed a 2 or
3 day stay in Kakadu and thought that we were fortunate to be on four wheels as
opposed to being on the tandem!!! There is not much to see in Kakadu unless you
are driving a 4x4 or are willing to spend BIG $$$ to take guided tours or
flights over the gorges.
We did take a couple of good walks in areas that were accessible and some some
spectacular, ancient cave paintings at Noorlangi Rock. We could not go to Ubire
as the road was submerged under 2 meters of water....something to do with it
being the "wet season"...;-)
We spend a few $$ yesterday and took the Yellow Waters cruise from Cooinda. All
in all , quite pleasant, but we enjoyed Litchfield much more!!!!
We woke up this morning thinking we have some extra time on our hands and we
have decided to make a run for Uluru (Ayres Rock) in Central Australia, it's
only a 3264km round trip from here, so what the hell!!!
Visiting Uluru was NEVER on our radar. But it seems, we've come this far, we
might as well pop for the extra expense and go for it. It's not like we are
going to have many more opportunities to do this...
The pace has slowed considerably these last couple of weeks. We feel fully
refreshed. Our batteries completly recharged and we have a renewed enthousiasm
for the road. Not that we did not thoroughly enjoy the cycling experience and we
do miss it, but this new mode of transportation is definately a refreshing
We are indeed able to go places we otherwise could not. Still, we remain very
active. France has resumed running as have I. In fact, I even get some cycling
done. I leave early in the morning on the tandem while France goes for a run and
she meets up with me down the road a few hours later and picks me up, wherever I
might be. On the days I dont cycle, I'll go for a run....
If we are not cycling or doing a bit of running, we are forever walking
somewhere. Most places of interest involve a good amount of hiking or
The rain has not let up here for a while now...According to the locals, the area
is having "the best wet season in years".............Great.;-) Usually, the
monsoon rains subside in April and they experience what the Aborigines call
"knock 'em down storms"...However, it seems that this year, the monsoon is
hanging on a bit longer... which for us is not such a problem, in fact, we are
happy to experience this aspect of the Top End...
Only one concern and that is the main road between Katherine and Broome has a
tendency to get flooded and is sometimes closed for ....days at a time... So we
have our fingers crossed that by the time we are ready to make our way to
Broome, that we wont be held up too long....we may have to swim accross the
Dont worry Mother, we'll be there to greet you in Broome...maybe;-)
April 04th - Cooinda to Daily Waters
April 05th - Daily Waters to Alice Springs
April 06th - Alice Springs to Yulara (Uluru)
April 07th - Yulara
April 08th - Yulara to Alice Springs
April 09th - Alice Springs
April 10th - Alice springs to Three Ways
April 11th - Three Ways to Mataranka
April 12th - Mataranka to Timber Creek
April 13th - Timber Creek to Kununurra
April 14th - Kununurra
April 15th - Kununurra to Broome
We woke up to cloudy skies in Cooinda. The day before was rainy as it usually
happens up North in the "Wet Season". Our cruise on the Yellow Waters
watersystem was comfortable and informative. We saw some interesting birds such
as the Jabiru and small Kingfishers.
As I said, we were up early and started to talk about how far and where we would
go today. Now that we have the "Luv Van", we have all sorts of options opening
up to us that were less available just using the tandem. "How about Uluru?"...
What the hell, it's only an extra 3200 km to drive , so off we went.
By the time we drove through Mataranka, heading south on the Stuarty HWY, the
rain was coming down in sheets. We would learn the following day that Katherine
had been very nearly flooded out. In fact, a couple of days later, they had to
close the roads into and out of katherine because it had indeed flooded. Places
in Kakadu National Park had also become impassable due to water over the road at
We made it to Daily Waters Roadhouse after making a quick stop at the Pub in the
Town of Daily Waters. Great place for a meal and beer at this very unique and
We decided to drive the long haul to Alice Springs in one go. It was only a
440km drive from Alice to Yulara after that.
We stopped along the way to snap some pics of Camels grazing in the
Yulara is a very expensive resort town just outside Uluru. Of course, the main
attraction is the Rock. We were lucky these past 2 days as the weather was on
our side. Beautiful sunshine and a comfortable 26 degrees, perfect for the 9.4km
walk around the base of this magnificent Rock.
We had an early supper and made it to a vanatge point for taking the mandatory
sunset pics. Indeed, as the sun sets, the colour of the rock changes with the
diminishing light, very impressive.
We returned to Alice the following day and rested up again before heading back
north. We stopped along the way to take a whole mess of pics of the Devils
Marbles. These are unusual , round rock formations, formed into "balls" due to
We were still a bit concerned about raod closures, but things were starting to
We stopped in Mataranka, hoping we could visit the thermal pools, but the water
levels were too high due to the recent flooding.
Same thing when we got back to Katherine. The gorge was closed as well as Edith
falls. We did'nt hang around to long. Both France and I were looking forward to
moving out of the Northern territories. We'd been here since Mid March.
So, we hit the road and headed to Timber Creek. Not much there!!! However, we
did get to see our very first, very live and wild crocodiles!!!!
These were the fresh water crocs or "freshies", not the estuarine crocs or
"salties" as they are known. The salties are the big bad nasty guys. The
freshies are a bit more shy, much smaller but could still hurt you if they are
provoked. Some salties are big enough and strong eneough to make a meal outta
They like to grab onto you, bring below the water surface to drown you. Stick
you under a log so that you ripen nicely for a furtur snack... yummm.
Back to Timber Creek. These crocs were only 25 meters from where we were
Only one night in T.C.. The drive to Kununurra was very picturesque. We started
to see a lot of Boab trees and we had mountain ranges on either side of us. Very
pleasant. Some of these Boab trees are as big as houses!! They look like an
upside down tree, or a broccoli!
We spent a couple of days touristing in Kununurra befor doing the 1064km to
They were selling air tour packages to visit the Bungle Bungles, for about $240
p/p, an amount we did not have to spend. These are interesting, 350 million year
old rock formations in the Purnullu(sp?) National Park.
So instead of the Bungle Bungles, we self toured the Mirima National Park, which
is a smaller version of the MAIN attraction. We dubbed the place the
We stopped in Halls Creek and Fitzoy Crossing for fuel. We had often been warned
about these two towns and how they had a reputation for having local, indiginous
"problems". Neither one of us was too disappointed for not going through these
two towns on the tandem. We had NO inclinitaion to stay here any longer than
needed... too bad...
So here we are in Broome. We have to give up the "Luv Van" on Tuesday, tomorrow
and go back to living in the tent. Our neighbours in the Caravan park a pretty
relaxed and fun to talk to. Adrian is trying to teach me how to play the
Didgeridoo, but the only sound I seem to get out of it sounds like a Moose
call!! Need some practise!
We are looking forward to Mums' arrival. We have a bit of a plan mapped out.
There are still plenty of places to visit and things to do...more
Jean and France
May 04rd - Exmouth to Carnarvon
May 05th - Carnarvon to Denham
May 06th - Denham
May 07th - Denham to Geraldton
May 08th - Geraldton to Perth
May 09th - Perth
May 10th - Perth to Bunbury
May 11th - Bunbury to Busselton
May 12th - Busselton
May 13th - Busselton to Margaret River
May 14th - Margaret River
Before driving all the way to Denham, we stopped to check out the Stromatolites
at Hamelin Bay. These "living rock" formations are possibly the oldest example
of life on earth and are found in only a couple of places on the planet. Another
intersting thing in Hamelin Bay is the beach. It was formed by vast millions of
shells that have been deposited there over thousands of years. The shells are
compacted and made solid base. In fact, the early settlers used quarry blocks of
these shells to make foundations and walls for their homes. The quarry is still
used today but only to effect repairs on buildings originally built with these
Up the road a few kilometers, we stopped at "Shell Beach", another example of
billions of shells washing ashore to form a huge expanse of "shell beach".
Apparently, many people use the shells for landscaping purposes and other uses.
Denham is a sleepy but very pictutesque litle holliday/resort/fishing area. We
stayed at the Shark Bay Caravan Park. It was only a 25km drive to Monkey Mia,
where we went to view the feeding of the Dolphins. These wild dolphins have been
coming to this beach for the past 40 years to feed and interact with humans
along the coast.
It was back in the early 60's when a group was reserching dolphin behaviour,
that they began encouraging a dolphin to feed from humans, that the following
generations of this dolphin contiued to return...the story is more elaborate ,
but you get the idea...
Bofore arriving in Perth, we stopped at Jurian Bay for lunch and made the 25km
drive to view the "Pinacles" , the name of the Nat'l Park escapes me right now.
Interesting rock formations that seem to have been planted there, in the
sand....makes for a forest of rocks.
After the Pinacles, we headed to Perth and to Kevin and Hanias' home.
Hard to believe that France and I are "closing the loop". We originally left
Kevin and Hanias' home last Sept 16th. Seemed odd also that when we started off
we were on "two wheels" and here we are, rolling in on "four wheels".
Neither one of us is disapointed that we did not come cycling back in. Looking
back, it was probably a blessing in disguise that I developped a bit of
tendonitiis in my knee. We never would have had the time or the ability to visit
all the places that we eventually did visit in the van.
In fact, it is kinda nice to just sit back and let the van do all the work for a
change. After all, we did ride 12,200km.
Anyway, we rolled into Kevins driveway at around 5:30pm and were greeted with
open arms at their front door.
All througout our trip, Kevin and Hania kept "tabs" on us. Making sure all was
good and giving us tips on what to see and do and generally just keeping in
touch., It made France and I feel like we had a "home base", if ever we should
be in difficulty, we knew we could count on Kevin and Hania. It was really nice
to see them again, we felt "at home".
Kevin broke out the champagne and toasted our arrival. Hania "hunted" down a
fabulously delicious "Pavlova" for dessert that night. What a treat!
Still, we had a hard time believing that we had completed "The Lap". It all
seemed sureal...Only a month or so left to go and we head back home.
Our trip is complete, now we embark on Mothers' trip. Both France and I are
delighted to be able to show Mum the South in Western Australia. Hopefully the
weather can hold out just a little bit longer.
We are retracing most of the road France and I had cycled on last Sept, but are
also covering many areas that we did not see. So far , so good. We've found some
very pleasant spots to just take everything in and relax. Bunker Bay was just
such a place. We thought we were going to visit more that day, but sorta just
stayed put because it was so nice and comfortable.
We're going to spend 2 days here in Margaret River, maybe do a winery or two and
visit the Chocolate Factory then head to Augusta, where the Indian and Southern
May 15th - Margaret River to Augusta
May 16th - Augusta to Pemberton
May 17th - Pemberton to Albany
May 17th to May 22 - Albany
May 22nd - Albany to Esperance
May 22nd and May 23rd - Esperance
May 24th - Esperance to Kalgoorlie
May 26th - Kalgoorlie to Fremantle
May 26th to May 31st - Fremantle
May 31st - Fremantle to Perth...............
France and I are beginning to feel like tour guides, privately hired out by my
mother for her sole use.....We both enjoyed remembering the places and sights we had seen and to be recounting these to Mum. We stopped briefly at Hamelin Bay on our way to Augusta. The weather was decidedly testy and the wind blowing accross the bay was chilling. When we rolled into the town of Augusta, we made a beeline for the nearest bakery and tucked into some chocolate cake and hot coffee. On our first go around of the area, France and I had been discouraged by some not to cycle in this area becuase of the hilly terrain. We still dont know what the big deal was as we've ecountered lots more challenging roads than the road leading into Augusta, in fact, the road was nice and rolling, lined with tall trees. Challenging maybe, scenic, definately. We were anxious to show Mum the Gloucester Tree, near Pemberton. She did not make the perilous climb up the "fire tower" tree, then again, nor did I. Nevertheless, she seemed very pleased to and satisfied to be feeding the friendly assortment of tropical birds that would casually and sometimes boldy land on outstreched arms to be fed pieces of bread or seeds. Often, the birds would perch themselves on your head for a better view. We thought we'd be staying at Walpole but ended up cruising by to eventually end up in Albany. It was in Walpole that we had the distinct pleaseure and honor of befriending John and Diane Graetz. When we arrived in Walpole last September, tired and cold from the continuous "shocking" weather we had ben experiencing, we decided to take a room at the YHA Hostel. The set up was great for travellers. The kitchen was well equiped and capable of handling many cooks at once. The dining area was a bit differnt story. I seem to remember only three, maybe four tables with 3 our four chairs each and tightly squeezed together. It was while trying to "saw" through my overly cooked piece of meat that I just about elbowed my dining mate...John. After that little encounter we just exchanged a quick He Mate each and we did not stop talking fore the rest of the evening. Both tables kinda "merged" and we were like old friends. I'm not sure of the exact details, it's been a while, but when John noticed that my wine glass was empty, he hauled out is supply of "Chateau Collapsable", which seemed to have no end to it's suoplly of wine and we eventually closed the place down...I dont have any real recollection as to how I found my room that night and I know now that John was confused as well, but it seems that Diane and France know precisely how and when we made it home.... I wish my writing skills and vocabulary were sufficient eneough to convey how special an evening that was to turn out for France and I. Back to today. The weather was holding good and decided to stay in Albany and enjoy the sunny skies. We visited the small museum in town and I took Mother to visit the "Amity". We took a comprehensive tour of the old whaling station which has since been turned into a great and informative Museum. I think they stopped whaling in Australia, at this location in 1979. Mum was terribly impressed with the amenities at Middleton Beach Caravan Park. In fact, she has numerous pics of the "ensuite" toilets we had the use of. After having travelled completely around the country and spent all of our nights in caravan parks, we consider ourselves minor experts in the matter of caravan parks....Middleton Beach Park is by far the cleanest, best maintained and freindliest park we have had the pleasure of staying at! Mum was sad to leave. She was a bit concerened that we would have to take a step down in park status, but, it was time to leave. We had originally planned to vist Bluff Knoll and Wave Rock, but we decided that the climb of the Bluff would be too strenuous for Mum and Wave Rock entailed a bit more driving than we felt like undertaking, so we made our directly to Esperance. We took a walk along the foreshore to the jetty and got lucky to see Sammy the Sea Lion. This guy is apparantly a fixture at the jetty. He was about 15 meters from the sandy beach, in about 6 feet of crystal clear water, just bobbing repeatedly, waiting for someone to toss him a free meal. A few people were fishing off the jetty. Most people were catching fish, but this one guy managed to catch a gull. Stoopid gull attacked the business end ofa fishing line and got its wing caught up in the lure and line. The fellow hauled it out of the water and fred it from its tangle.... We took the 36 km scenic ride around to Pink Lake. Although the ride is only 36km, it took us pretty much all day to complete as we were compelled to make various stops at some of the most beatiful beachs and rock outcroppings with extraordinary views.... France and I remaked at how pleased we were to be able to see these areas that we had missed on our first go around. When we were cycling, we could not always go off on tangents as easyly as you can in a car. So, sometimes you get to see more when in a car, but at the same time , you miss so much. When we were cycling, we got to actually see a lot more. Yoo had time to assimilate the information as the scenery rolled by, not like being in a vehicle where things zip by at warp speed. Also you got a sense of FEELING the country as you rode along taking in not only all the sights, but the sounds, smell and taste of the countryside. I remember listing to the bell birds in Cann River and the smell of the Wattle... these things are sometimes missed when travelling by car. Still, we were gratefull to have four wheels to see areas we'd missed and enjoyed seeing Mum appreciating the experience for herself. Kalgoorlie was our next destination but we stopped in one of my favourite places in Australia. A small on horse town (if indeed it even qualifies as a town) of Salmon Gums. We had stopped there last Oct and met Carol and her son Wade. She had just taen over the hotel there. We were disapointed, upon our arrivale, to be informed that she had since sold out and left 2 months ago. On the plus side, John and Glynnis were still running things at the service station and so we caught up on things over a cuppa and said our goodbys. Kalgoorlie has a bit of USA Wild west kinda flavour to it. They've been mining gold here since the mid to late 1800's. Back a few years ago, a fellow by the name of Bond, bought up and or consolidated all the individually owened and operated "claims" and created one huge "consortium"..and began mining as one compnay. The resulting product is called the Super Pit, a huge hole in the ground some 3.5kms round and at least 500 meters deep...I think... Another attraction is Hay street. Personally, it was for me, a huge disapointment. The place is advertized as a small red light district with active, operating "brothels", they even offer tours of the bordellos....Well, we crove by and all we saw were 3 brothels in very non descript buildings, actually looking very business like. They wanted $35 per person for the tour and there were no samples included.... Regardless, we enjoyed the place, it had a good feel to it. The next stretch of road was to be the last long haul of our trip. We roledinto Fremantle, just a short hp from Perth, in fact, I believe it is considered a suburb of Perth. We spent a good deal of time exploring our surroundings and we were able to get Mother off to see a friend of hers who lives in nearby Maylands. We eventualy made our way to Kevin and Hanias' place in Waterford. We delivered the van back to Apollo this morning and packed away all our gear in preparation for tomorrows flight out of Parth and home to Ottawa. Although we are anxious to see friends and family at home we are in no hurry to leave Australia.... We'll send out one final report upon our arrival home. Please stay tuned!!!
"Every day should be a Holiday"
Today is Sunday June 11th and, admittedly, I have been procrastinating about sitting down to the 'pooter to start writing our final report. I feel that to write this "Final Chapter" is to admit that our Australian adventure has, indeed, come to an end. Although in the end, both France and I were definitely looking forward to seeing our family and friends, neither one of us was in any great rush to leave Australia because that would mean we would also be leaving behind, good friends....ironic.
We spent our last few "camping" days in Fremantle. As we packed up on the final morning before going to Kevin and Hanias', we left behind our tent with a sign on it offering it to anyone who thought they could make use of it. We did not want to bring it back home. It was full of little blood splatter from killing countless mozzies over the last few months. Anyway, the tent owed us nothing....
Kevin and Hania are putting us "up" for the Third time, or is it
they are putting "up" with us for the third time....;-) They saw
us off when we began our trek, then they shepparded us through the "transition"
with Mother and finally, they took us in to see us off on the plane back home.
I cannot say enough about Kevin and Hania who took "care" of us
throughout the whole trip. We always felt we had a home base.
We all went out for Thai food on Friday June 02nd, Penny, their daughter joined us as well. Departure day was sad and we had difficulty holding back the tears. On the other hand, we were happy to have made such good friends and to have created everlasting memories. We hope sincerely that we will have the opportunity to see each other again.
Along the way, we often asked what the "best part" of the trip was and I repeatedly say it was "all about the people".
In the very beginning, we met Kevin and Hania Roe. They are Antons' uncle
an aunt. We spent our first 2 or 3 days in Oz with them before setting off.
About a week or ten days into the bike ride, actually it was Sept 25th, we met and became good friends with John and Diane Graetz. What a night that was. Little did we know that we would be spending a memorable Christmas with them and their family.
Elise Lebrun set me up with her folks many months before we even started our trek. In fact, Mike and I and Steph had been communicating via email long before arriving in Australia. We felt like we'd known them for years. We were looking forward to actually seeing them later in November at their home in Croydon.
We bumped into Dean and Sue Hadlow in Baladonia, on the Nullarbor. Dean was also cycling around Australia, however, he had his two young children in tow as sue did all the driving. Dean would cycle and Sue would drive up ahead and make camp.
We ended up covering most of the Nullarbor together. One of our most memorable moments together was when we were about 25km away from Yalata, Peter and Marion Robinson, a couple we had met a day earlier, were waiting for us on the side of the road with coffee and fruitcake. Pretty remarkable when you consider where the "bloody hell" we where...
We finally met Mike and Steph in Sorrento and they made us feel at home with there friends in Kings Valley where we spent a few days relaxing and enjoying the local wines.
We got to know Stewart John Walker, an ex Scot who has been living in Australia his whole adult life.
A few weeks after leaving Mike and Steph to go to Tasmania, we hooked up again with Stew and spent a few quite days with him doing some 4x4 driving...We're gonna miss ya Stew!!!!
Ged and Marryanne, the new owners of a caravan park in Cloncurry put us up for about two weeks while we waited for the bike wheel to be fixed. Steve and Marj, the caretakers of the park also became good friends.
All these people touched our lives in very special ways and we will always remember them fondly and miss them dearly.
We met so many other people and wished we could have gotten to know them better.
Carol and her son Wade at the Salmon gums Hotel. John and Glynnis at the Roadhouse in Salmon Gums.
George, the Mall Manager we met in Proserpine, he was a fountain of information with regards to Darwin, his home town. Astrid, a Dutch ex-pat, who ran a B & B in Palmer, just west of Adelaide. She does not have a computer so I think my Mum is mailing her my log entries. I hope she reads this stuff so she knows we still think of her. I cant forget "The Boys", Adrian and Callan whom we met and chilled with for 2 weeks or so in Broom.
Thanks for trying to teach me how to play the "Didge" mate! And Callan...I'll be "rootin'" for ya..;-)
All these people touched our lives in very special ways and we will always remember them fondly and miss them dearly.
So we are back "home". France is pumped and all enthusiastic about finding a job. I, typically, still don't know what I want to do when I grow up and am still vacillating....Both of us are still basking in the afterglow of our time spent trekking in Oz. I will enjoy the rest of the summer and do the things I enjoy doing like riding, swimming and running with all my mates here who are training for various events. I'm looking forward to sharing their company.
To the friends we left behind, we hope that we soon shall met again, we will miss you dearly!! To our friends here in Canada, we missed you terribly and we are happy to be with you again....France and I are truly blessed.
Life Part Two, indeed , begins today.
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