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Blog Updates - July

26th July - Bamaga to the Tip

Gordon says ...

Since the blog has largely been Nigel's baby, and since this is our last entry, I thought it only fitting that he have the final word - so I'll kick off today.

A bitter-sweet day. We made the tip of the Cape in late morning. It's been a wonderful achievement for Nigel. 42 days of non-stop pedalling. He is one tough monkey, and he has more than earned my respect. It wasn't to be for me, but so be it.

After leaving Bamaga, and 34 kms of the worst road on the entire journey, we got to the end of the track, at which point there is a difficult 15 minute climb over rocks to get to the very top. Nigel wanted to take his bike, which he dragged with him. When we got there, Nigel was mobbed by about 30 tourists who asked him where he had come from, how long it took etc, and took turns queuing up to have their photo taken with him - with Nigel loving every minute. I sat on a rock over to one side. A couple of people came up to me and asked if I had cycled anywhere, since I was wearing cycling gear, but it just seemed easier to say 'no'. A couple of Austrian boys turned up, who had cycled from Cooktown, and they had their pictures taken with Nigel as well, so I wandered back to the beach by myself and had a swim. Like I said, a bitter-sweet day.

That said, this disappointment - tempered with pride in Nigel's achievement - paled into insignificance with what happpened next. After half an hour on the beach, when there was no-one left in the whole of Cape York to congratulate Nigel, he meandered back for a swim, whereupon a women in her fifties came up to him - one of his new-found fan club - and told him he had great quads! That's right, somebody walked right past me, to tell the Pilsbury Doughboy he has good legs. For f..ks sake, when will it end?

Anyhoo .... as for the ride to the Cape itself - a very bad idea, in retrospect. First, I don't think it had the desired effect of giving me closure for the trip. I just felt like an interloper. Second, it hurt like an absolute bastard for 3 solid hours. Terrible. In spite of the drugs. And as if that wasn't enough, in something of a metaphor for the injuries sustained on our trip, we cycled through a swarm of wasps, with Nigel breezing through untouched, and me getting stung on my arm, and then just underneath my eye. As I said ... when will it end?

To my cycling mates in Brisbane - Anthony, Amir, and Big Jim - I cycled 34 kms on the world's crappest road, in agony, on the world's crappiest rented mountain bike, with no brakes, one gear, and one arm ... all without crashing. I am Lance Armstrong. I am John Wayne. You will all call me Lance Wayne next time you see me ... for at least a week ...

OK. Enough of this. I'd just like to make some acknowledgements before I sign off. I'm guessing Nigel will do a much more formal and comprehensive thank you later. So here''s just some personal ones:

1) I can't remember exactly who you are - an amalgam of several people I think - but to whoever told me you could cycle the Cape on a touring bike, with 35 mm tyres, you are a f.....g idiot, and you should never dispense cycling advice again as long as you live. Pratt.

I'd actually like to thank:
My family. Thanks for the time away. Difficult for all of us, and as I've said before, I don't really think I thought this through. In particular, thank you Belinda.

Thanks to my friends and colleagues at work. Once again, you've shouldered the burden of my workload ... even more than normal. And thanks to my school, and the faculty, for being so supportive.

To all the friends who put us up, and were so wonderful - Denise, Jenny, Jim, Mark and Lindy, and even my in-laws, Nikki and Shaun, and Jan

To everyone who sponsored us. Thank you.

To all my friends who kept sending messages of support. It really kept me afloat. The offer made by Anthony and Amir, when I first got sick and lost touch with Nigel, to fly down and shield me from the wind for a couple of days, until I caught up with him again, was very special. For two such complete bastards, very out of character ...

To Colin. I don't care what Nigel says, without you turning up for the Cape, we were totally and utterly screwed. It's been great having you here with us.

Finally, Nigel ... Hmm ... First the bad: 1) speaking as a philosophy lecturer, there is more to the notion of 'a coherent argument' than a series of assertions and prejudices, delivered with a posh accent and a self-satisfied grin. 2) there is more to Australian cuisine that deep-fried seafood baskets, meat pies, and giant tubs of ice-cream. You should have availed yourself of some of it. 3) You snore. Really really bad. And now the good: 1) I think of myself as a relentlessly happy guy, but you make me look miserable. I've never met anyone so 'up'. Actually, maybe this belongs in the previous section - since it almost doesn't seem natural, and can get on your tits after a while. I'm sure you could achieve the same effect in monkey if you drill the front of their brains. 2) You are one tough guy, a toughness I relied upon on several occcasions. Mind you, see previous theory about monkey brains and drill bits. And finally 3) You have been great company. In 7 weeks, we haven't exchanged a single cross word - in spite of nightly political discussions (oh ... apart from that time you tried to take us down yet another cow-path, just as it was getting dark). When the disappointment of not succeding in the ride has faded, and when my wrist has healed, and I've forgotten how much I missed my family, and how much it hurt everyday ... I'll remember the most important thing ... that we have laughed the length of an entire continent. We have laughed in roadhouses, in pubs, in shade under trees, in tents, in motels, and while we rolled along. Well ... more specifically ... I have laughed at you ... because you are a pompous twerp.

Over and out.

Nigel says.... Peculiar feeling to be writing the blog for the last time and I am still absorbing what we have done.

The final day started normally enough, except I awoke at 0530 hours to the sound of torrential rain. Some nervousness that the road would be awful as a result - but it wasn't. I got up, washed and shaved when the alarm went off at 0600 hours, Gordon layed in bed and switched on the TV. I ate weet bix out of a mug and make tea for us both and drank water. Gordon switched on the computer. Surprisingly, we were ready to go just after 0700 hours and Gordon went to pick up his 'mountain bike' from the hotel reception.

Gordon returned with a cheap girl's mountain bike ...... I didn't say anything at that point as he seemed very pleased with it. At least there was no cross bar to take out his tackle when he fell off.

With Gordon loaded up with pain killers we set off for the Tip. The first 17 kilometers or so up until 'The Croc Tent' were pretty atrocious with lots of corrugations, and a fair number of sandy stretches. Problems ocurred quite early when it became clear that Gordon did not have brakes that worked! He was using his feet to slow down coming down hills. The brake pads required a spanner to adjust them which I did not have - fortunately Colin came to Gordon's rescue again and he was able to continue the journey with a reasonably safe bike.

Gordon was looking a little grey and in pain from his arm by the time we reached the Croc Tent for a break but was surprisingly uncomplaining about it. He was bleating on about his 'wasp' stings - all I could hear behind me on the track was "Owww, OOOW, OOOOOW" I think what upset him more was that I escaped being stung.

At the Croc Tent a number of tourists had disgorged from various vehicles and were very interested in what we were doing. A number of them had seen us on the road earlier. There was even someone from QUT in Brisbane who had heard about our ride through internal e-mails.

Continuing on along the track, the road conditions improved markedy, and I thought that the last section of our ride was one of the most pleasant of our trip. It took us along a relatively smooth narrow, flat track through the rainforest. It was hot and humid, probably around 30 degrees. Much excitement and anticipation when we had to do a creek crossing. A tourist bus was behind us so we had spectators when we rode through the water which was about 3-4 feet deep. Fortunately neither of us fell off. I followed the strategy of going into the water first to take any crocs by surprise leaving them the opportunity to get Gordon....if they could be bothered.

We finally arrived at the beach just 500 meters or so away from the Tip which was at the other side of a rocky climb. It is a spectacular view which we have waited a long time to see - white sand, turquoise sea, palms, islands off the coast. Today we cycled 34 kilometers (21 miles) Just one final climb to finish...

Gordon did really well to make the ride today. He was clearly in a lot of pain and it was obvious to us both that there was absolutely no way he could have possibly ridden on through the Cape after breaking his wrist. I think today eliminated any nagging doubts he may have had that there may have been an opportunity of continuing the ride after the accident. You have done tremendously Gordon and whilst you might be understandably disappointed, you have still completed a mega ride and can be very proud.....even though you winged, coughed and pontificated the whole way up Australia! Remember, there are times when rubber can be too thin, and I promise you that I would have buried you by the roadside with a bike wheel as a headstone - in later years you would have become a tourist attraction......

Once we arrived there was a discussion as to whether I should take Winona up the rock climb to the Tip. I decided that, unlike at Wilson's Prom, bikes were allowed here so I had to take her all the way to the top. There was a feeling of completion to dip Winona's wheels in the ocean and to press the button for the final transmission of the Yellowbrick tracker. Job done! We had quite a large crowd of spectators all asking us questions about our trip and what we were doing it for. We raised about $100 in donations as a result.

Just as we were about to wander back to the beach for some champagne two Austrian lads who we had heard about several days before came riding their mountain bikes down the rocks to the Tip - flash bastards! They were very good mountain bikers. I shook their hands and they said: "So you are the crazy guys who have cycled from Melbourne!" The jungle drums seem to let each cyclist know about who the other cyclists in the area are and what they are doing.

We ambled back across the rocks to enjoy ice cold champagne on the beach and a paddle - a number of people came up to talk to us including a rather attractive lady who showed a close interest in my cycling shorts, the hardness of my saddle and was particularly impressed by my physique "Oh look at his quads!" I quite enjoyed the attention and the look of despair on Gordon's face.... We then set off back to Bamaga ready for our next challenge - finding something to eat on a Sunday up here!

This afternoon was spent taking Winona apart and packing her up ready for flying out. This evening a few beers at Loyalty Beach with the Austrians and Mick, who goes for the Tip tomorrow - good luck mate!

Final thoughts and comments:

Today I saw a Big Crocodile at the Croc Tent
We have taken 42 days to complete the journey.
I have cycled 5049 kilometers (3156 miles) Gordon cycled 4388 kilometers (2743 miles).
Useful and important items of kit have been: Sugoi cycling nicks, butt cream, headtorch, iPod, camelback.
Item of kit of the trip: Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres -neither of us had a puncture. Outstanding!
Most unrequired item of kit: handheld satnav
Confectionery of the trip: Jelly babies.
Tune of the day: Handel 's Messiah- Hallelulja Chorus
Tune of the trip: Lou Bega - Mambo No 5
Snack of the day: The Croc Tent - snakes
Snack of the trip: The Aussie Pie
Meal of the trip: Seafood basket ......with salad......but not too much....salad that is......
Toughest day: Orbost to Eden - 185 kilometers - mainly uphill
Longest climb: 'The Big Hill' 8 kilometers - Cairns to Mount Molloy
Steepest climb: The shocker south of the Royal National Park near Sydney
Biggest tosser of the trip: The sausage thrower between Lennox Head and Broadbeach - especially for missing Gordon.
Biggest disappointment: Missing the Big Banana at Coffs did I do that?
Most impressive Big Thing: The Big Prawn at Ballina - should be listed and not demolished.
The ride has been a big undertaking for us both and for our families, and neither of us could have done it without their fullsome and wholehearted support. We owe them a great. Thank you - we really could not have done it without you.

Colin, we both really appreciate your support to our effort in the Cape - to have done it without you would have been an arduous, painful and difficult experience. The sight of your car at Capt Billy's Landing Track Junction was in particular very welcome - sleeping rough under road signs is fine in it's place, but not as nice as Elliot Falls. Thank you for giving me a break from having to listen to Gordon drone on.

We have been really encouraged and boosted by the support from friends everywhere who have put us up en route, called us, e-mailed us, blogged us, and texted us. This support has been tremendous and you have helped to push us along the Highway like a tail wind. Thank you.

We both benefit from having understanding employers. I would like to thank Reliance for enabling me to take up this challenge and also my friends and colleagues at Reliance for their staunch support in particular the Bunker Boys.

We don't quite know how many people have taken the time to read our blog, but from feedback we have received, it has been a real bost to think that anyone is interested in our ramblings.....especially Gordon's ramblings. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure.

I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the charity we are riding for, the Association For International Cancer Research (AICR), and the team at AICR and Peter Mac at Melbourne who have helped us with publicity and support in general. This cause became very personal for us when Gordon's brother Alan was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the start of our ride. We have asked that all donations we have raised goes towards AICR's Spotlight Fund which focuses on research into prostate cancer. If you have not yet donated - the website remains open for some months yet.

Finally, I would like to thank Gordon, my cycling buddy for being such good company. The trip was always better and more fun when he was riding, and we have had a lot of fun......even though he bores for Australia on most subjects. You have done tremendously, don't beat yourself up...

Tomorrow - going fishing. Looking forward to NOT wearing lycra and to wearing underpants....


25th July - Official Communique

My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to inform you that at 1115 hours local Queensland time James Nigel Denison of Yorkshire, England accompanied by Gordon Warley Tait of Brisbane, Queensland completed the journey by bicycle and on foot from South Point, Victoria, the most southerly point in mainland Australia, to The Tip, the most northerly point in Australia.

Fair dinkum...

24th July - 18kms South of Jardine River Ferry to Bamaga

Nigel says..... Very strong winds and some rain during the night. The weather over the last few days has apparently been very unseasonal. Colin heard this afternoon that the Development Road had been closed where I had fallen off and had to drag Winona - there must have been more chaos yesterday. Am very pleased I decided to press on a few days ago and get ahead otherwise we would have had some problems.

After breakfast and packing everything into/onto the car we went for a swim in Elliot Falls to set us up for the day. Gordon was camera man and chief worrier. "Have you done a risk analysis on this?" - of course I hadn't! He was concerned we were going to leap onto jagged rocks and Colin would not be able to drive him about and I would not be able to get to the Tip. Entered the water in a moderately sensible and self preserving way and was then swept downstream in quite a strong current - minor gravel rash suffered only - great fun though.

Colin and Gordon dropped me off where I had stopped yesterday and went on to have coffee in Bamaga and to sort out a mountain bike for Gordon. He appears determined to do the last 35 kilometers. I hope he does not hurt himself in the process as he has nothing to prove - "Have you done a risk analysis on this Gordon?". I have told him that if he breaks his other arm he is on his own...he will have to persude someone else to get close up and personal with him for his morning ablutions - it will not be me!

Got to the Jardine River Ferry at 1155 hours to find the place locked up with a sign saying closed for lunch between 1200 - 1300 hours. The bloke on the ferry saw me and took me across as the last passenger of the morning session which was lucky. A bit of a sad place really - empty fridges, a broken fuel pump and no visible enterprise. How can they not have cans of coke and ice cream to buy at a place like this? You can buy a selection of batteries however....

Across the other side I hit an incredibly strong head wind which slowed me right down and tired me out. It also felt hot and humid today which also sapped my strenght more than I anticipated. I missed Colin's ham and salad wraps. The road was also very undulating with a surprising number of quite long hills. I was very glad to hit the tarmac and to see Colin and Gordon about 1 kilometer short of the hotel who attempted - and failed - to wind me up about going for the Tip today to see if I would rise to the challenge or not.

It was great to relax at Resort Bamaga, although I would not wish anyone to get the wrong idea about this place. It is more motelish than resortish with lots of signs warning guests to lock the doors and not to leave any property on the verandah. Great to have a few cold beers and a nice barramundi for supper.

Thoughts and comments:
Visiting the toilet block at 0600 hours this morning I saw a shithouse bat, but not the shithouse rat.....perhaps this is what the screaming guy saw yesterday?
The ferry fare at the Jardine River Ferry for a private vehicle is $88 and $11 for a wonder they don't bother selling anything.
There are two security guards manning the entrance to the bottle shop in Bamaga.
Colin was offered drugs whilst standing on the hotel balcony by a passing pedestrian...
We have stored the bikes inside and everything else is locked in the car...
Snack of the day: top of big hill approx 4 kilometers north of Jardine River Ferry - peanut bar
Tune of the day: Elton John - Mealticket
Fact of the day: Diesel is $1.95 a litre in Bamaga
We have been told to expect poor road conditions tomorrow to the Tip. No problem at this stage. Big day tomorrow - starting early to avoid the headwind as much as possible.

Gordon now asleep - he will add his bit tomorrow.

Gordon says ...

It's 6.30 am on the 25th. I am just about to take my painkillers, hop on the bike, and head to the Cape. I hope this goes well ...

23rd July - Captain Billy Landing to 18 kms south of Jardine River Ferry

Nigel says ... Took a long time to de-gunge Winona last night. The chain, gears, brakes, wheels etc were all completely clogged up with orange mud. Rinsed my cycling kit, camelback and bar bag in a bowl - the water turned orange. Ate some very welcome bacon and eggs and got to bed about 2300 hours.

We had a series of debates about what I should do this morning if tthe road conditions were as bad as yesterday. I lay awake and listened to the wind and rain showers and I resolved that I would carry Winona the 2 kilometers or so out of the road works to a firm section and continue the ride from where it was possible to do so. Not to do a section with Winona wopuld mean that there was a gap in the itinerary as far as I was concerned - it was an obstacle I would just hhave to get over the best I could.

We arrived at capt Billy's Junction at about 0930 hours. We were all delighted to see that the graders had improved the conditions going north and that the conditions had dried out sufficiently to at least allow me to wheel the bike. Morale improved dramatically! No carry involved! The road I had dragged Winona along yesterday remained a quagmire of glutinous orange mud and in my opinion was impassable to bikes and probably most motorbikes. Horrible! I pulled on my stinking and mud covered kit by the roadside and set off. I was able to ride very slowly and gingerly through most of the roadworks and was soon out of the other side onto a firm road to give Colin and Gordon the thumbs up. They had waited for me to get through and now set off to see what things were like up to the Jardine River Ferry and to get a cup of coffee.

The route north of the roadworks was initially sandy with bad corrugations in a number of patches. It was also quite undualting and winding. Parts were very narrow - no more than a single lane and I had to be quite careful of traffic which does not slow down. Fortunately the traffic was much less on this road than the main Weipa Road. Later on, the road opened up to a well graded firm surface which in parts was as good as the Bruce Highway and I was able to get along quickly.

After a brief stop for a welcome snack lunch, I pedaled on to the junction with Fruit Bat Falls where I hid Winona in the undergrowth and Colin drove us all up to have a swim. No crocs here. It was a great location. The water was clear and I just dived in with my kit on leaving an orange trail behind me. Gordon took a dip as well taking his pot off for the occasion which he later regretted...
I decided to pedal on until 1600 hours and get as faar as I could to give us the option oof going for the Tip either tomorrow or Sunday. I packed it in for the day some 18 kilometers south of the Jardine River Ferry as I wanted to see Elliot Falls in the light and have a swim. I was also more tired than I realised and needed a break. The humidity takes it out of you. Today I cycled 88 kiloometers (55 miles)

On the way back to camp, Colin and I came across Mick who we met the other day. We watched him cycle through a creek. Very impressive. He joined us tonight for supper.
When we got back to camp, Colin and I left Gordon doing the cooking and went down to the Falls for a dip. We saw a remarkable sight whilst we were swimming - thousands of fruit bats flying from their roosts over the Falls. The sky was dark with bats - something similar to a Hitchcock movie.
Gordon excelled himself at cooking this evening - a really excellent roast lamb with vegetables. It was one of the meals of the trip. I had three helpings - should he be on Masterchef?

Thoughts and comments:

A man came screaming out of the toilet block this morning saying there was a rat....I was in there earlier and completely missed out on seeing the proverbial shithouse rat.
Showed Gordon the roadsign that he woulld have slept under last night if Colin had not been with us....He thinks I am joking!
Gordon talking a lot about hot showers, plasma TV and Masterchef....
Snack of the day: Junction with the Old Telegraph Track - ham wrap.
Tune of the day:Today I hummed JC McCall's Convoy a lot - thats a big 10/4!
Can nearly smell the end now. Bamaga and a modicum of comfort tomorrow - although still have to share a room with Gordon. Have not yet decided whether to go for the top today or on Sunday.

Gordon says...

Almost there now. Nigel is doing really well, under very difficult conditions. I wish I was still pedalling, but sitting in the Landcruiser eating Mars bars, and dozing with my pillow, comes a reasonable second, I suppose.

Made the rash decision to go for a dip at Fruitbat Falls. My cast is the type that allows you to take your hand out if necessary. A dumb idea - for two minutes of splashing around, I had three hours of throbbing pain. OK now though.

A fine night sat around eating dinner and drinking wine with a stray long-distance cyclist called Mick. Only one more night under canvas, and then a few days of relative comfort before heading back to see my family - something I'm really looking forward to. I arrive in Brisbane at 7.30 am Wednesday morning, first tutorial at 9.00 am. Jeez ...

I have decided to try and ride from Bamaga to the tip of Cape York on Sunday. I've got my drugs ready ...

22nd July - Frenchman's Track to Captain Bily Landing turnoff

Nigel says... An eventful day...

It rained during the night. We all slept in the one tent to save time breaking camp this morning. Once again Gordon claimed sleep deprivation. Checked the road when I got up – it looked to be fine which was good. Pulled my wet and stinking kit on again and had breakfast and was on the road at 0700 hours.

Progress was good to the Moreton Telegraph Station. The road was good with few corrugations. Moreton Telegraph Station is a wide open area just next to the Wenlock River. A nice place which is run by a really friendly and helpful bloke, Ron, who gave us advice about routes and so on and also free coke and coffee. We decided that I would push on and try to reach the Kennedy Memorial on the Development Road and then Colin would pick me up and take me on to Elliot Falls where we would stay for two nights. The theory was that there were toilets and nice swimming and it was a more pleasant place than the side of the road or the various Roadhouses

Whilst at Moreton Telegraph Station we met up with Mick, from the Gold Coast, who was cycling the Old Telegraph Track. I loaded up with some bits and pieces to eat en route and agreed to meet up with the guys at Bramwell Junction. Colin and Gordon would test the Old Telegraph Track as I still thought it might be possible to do a stretch of it and save some distance.

Got to Bramwell Junction and had a burger with Mick who arrived just after me. When Colin and Gordon arrived it was clear that they had had an adventure. Trying to get into Palm Creek on the Old Telegraph Track the running boards of the car had been badly dented. The strong advice was that I should stick to the road where progress would be straightforward……Whilst there we heard some stories about problems on the road with vehicles spinning out of control where the road graders were working.

Peddled off into a headwind and up a number of long gradual ascents. Stopped every hour and ate something and drank a lot of water. The wind was blowing up and there were dark clouds. It was trying to rain, and had obviously rained in certain parts en route, but no real problems. Finally got to the Kennedy Memorial at 1600 hours. No Colin. Decided to push on to the Captain Billy Junction another 11 kilometers up the road.

Coming down a hill a bloke stopped his car and told me to “watch out for the muddy bank mate!”. I went on quite cautiously. The road surface was very flat, graded and shiny. There had been some rain and the road was sticky but rideable. Several kilometers on, the bike suddenly and without warning slipped out from underneath me and I went crashing to the floor. I was completely covered in mud and bashed my right arm. Good job I was wearing a helmet. I got up and found myself standing on a mud skating ring. It was impossible to ride the bike. I began pushing. I could only push the bike for a few yards before mud clogged the wheels, chain and brakes. I had to stop to free them up every few paces. It was one of the hardest pushes I have done, and by the time I saw the very welcome sight of Colin’s vehicle I was absolutely covered in mud and the bike was un-rideable anyway.

The road graders who were there said that it had rained very heavily last night, and at least three motorbikers had come off together with numerous vehicles who had gone into the ditches.

We had to wrap the bike up in a tarpaulin and put it onto the roof. I then had to completely strip and put all my clothes in a bin liner. I had a towel and an old shirt to get back to camp. Colin helped me to wash off my arm and to dress the wound and eventually we got back to Elliot Falls in darkness at 1920 hours. Thanks Colin for assistance above and beyond the call of duty! So much for swimming in the falls! Gordon a little anxious about what might have happened by this stage. Today I cycled, pushed and dragged 137 kilometers.

A very welcome meal back at camp and some rehydration.

Thoughts and comments:
• Saw 3 pigs crossing the road this afternoon
• Saw an enormous wild pig this afternoon after loading the bike onto the car
• Saw what appeared to be a vulture this afternoon – bit ominous…
• There were no warning signs at all about the road conditions today
• My marmite shirt is now mainly orange
• Snack of the day: Bramwell Burger – Bramwell Junction
• Tune of the day: Today I hummed “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer” – must be loosing it again, and I’m definately not Welsh. Maybe I should have gone on the Old Telegraph Track???
• Fact of the Day: Moreton Telegraph Station was established in 1883 by JR Bradford.

Hard day expected tomorrow as Colin drops me back off in the mud. Hopefully only about 2 kilometers of pushing......

Gordon says ...

Cheered up a bit today. Colin went mad in his 4wd, and smashed the shit out of his $90,000 landcruiser - fabulous. It hurt a bit when we crashed into things, but I had my wrist resting on a pillow, so that helped a bit. The things Colin will do to make me feel better ... what a champ ...

Have settled into my role as Nigel's flunky a bit better too. One of us has to get to the tip, and I have to say, the going is REALLY tough. Tough but stupid, Nigel is just the man to make it.

Still think about riding from Bamaga north ... the more I drink, the more plausible it ges.

21st July - Coen to Frenchman's Track

Nigel says....Nice accommodation last night with pleasant and helpful hosts, but unfortunately the most uncomfortable bed of the trip. I think the bedsprings had collapsed. Got up in the night and found a cane toad in the hall....

Donation from Flo who works for the Aboriginal Land Council last night - must have been Gordon's witty and uplifting conversation that inspired her.....or perhaps not. Thank you Flo.

An early start again with reveille at 0600 hours. Had breakfast with Colin and some of the other guests who were going out to fix up security screens on various buildings. Gordon still comatose. I know I keep going on about the mornings being the best time for cycling up here, but rolling along the 25 kilometers of bitumen to Coen airport as the sun was rising, temperature perfect, and the birds singing just reinforces my view. Saw an enormous Brahmin bull on the road and gave him as wide a berth as possible....he was a big lad with lots of equipment dangling.

After the airport, the road turned to dirt again. The road is quite varied. This morning it was very wide, sandy and flat. Later on it became narrower with steep cllimbs in and out of creek beds. The main thing, however, with the exception of just a few spots, the road condition is so much better than before and I was able to make good progress.

I got to Archer River Roadhouse by 1100 hours where we had a break. Everyone on the road is very friendly - lots of waves and thumbs up. One guy drew alongside me and asked me where I had come from and what I was doing. He could not quite believe we had come from south of Melbourne in 5 weeks. "Bugger me! You're bloody mad! Good on yer mate!"

Stopped for lunch and Colin's catering gave me a real boost and I was able to pedal beyond the planned destination which was the junction with the Telegraph Road. It had been sunny for most of the day, but then this afternoon it became overcast and started to drizzle - this was quite good as it dampened down the dust and kept me cool and fortunately did not affect the road conditions. It has been very humid.

As I pedalled north, Colin and Gordon went to find a campsite by the road. The road north here is much quieter and more narrow than the main drag to Weipa. It was also pretty smooth for a dirt road. The iPod was back for this stretch. Gordon had selected a good campsite in an open area. On arrival, I had a strip wash in a bowl. I was covered in orange dust. Although it was still drizzling, I felt a whole lot better for the wash. Today I cycled 147 kilometers (92 miles) - quite pleased to get the contingency distance under the belt.

Tonight Gordon cooked Moroccan Chicken - very tasty. Colin is trying to contact home with his satellite phone complete with personally manufactured worked!

A good day.

Thoughts and comments:

There do not appear to be emus at the Archer River Roadhouse, but there are a number of fine looking horses.
I have absolutely no doubt as to the moral virtue of the girls who serve at Roadhouses in this part of Queensland. Gordon thinks otherwise....
Fact of the day: The telegraph system in the Cape was started in 1886. The southern section began at Fairview where we stayed the other day.
Snack of the day: Archer River Roadhouse - Archer Burger(burger, egg, salad, cheese, bacon, pineapple)
Tune of the Day: Today I was humming The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody
Tomorrow we have planned to stay at Bramwell Junction but intend to go further if possible.

Gordon says ...

I'm not sure at which point during the last month and a half, for Nigel, the blog changed from being an adjunct to the bike ride, to it being the other way around - but change it did. The masterpiece above took over three hours, for Christ's sake ...

A further gripe. Nigel keeps writing ' Gordon still comatose', 'Gordon feel asleep when we got to the motel' etc. All kidding aside, the only time I can sleep is when Nigel doesn't. I think I am now in the final stages of severe sleep deprivation. In contrast to Nigel's happy 8--9 hours sleep per night, I am getting by on between 3 and 4, which is just not enough. Fair enough, I think I'm probably quite a light sleeper, but Nigel snores so loudly, that ear plugs and two pillows over my head make no difference at all. Day after day, I've woken up having hardly slept at all - staring down the barrel of 150 kms on the road, only to face the same thing the next day ... and the next. The day I crashed, I don't think I had slept at all. In fact, that morning, a guy at the campsite complained to Nigel in the morning about his snoring ... and he was camped 10m away, inside a campervan... yes, INSIDE a soundproofed van ... and Nigel was still deafening - something like an elphant seal being skinned alive. Imagine being three feet away from that, night after night. As the guy spoke, Nigel loooked like he was sucking the world's bitterest lemon. Did Colin and I laugh ... Now I realise Nigel doesn't do it on purpose, but I feel I need to put the record straight on a line of blog humour that makes me look like a lazy slob.

As the above rant probably indicates, I am currently finding it a bit hard no longer being a functioning part of the ride. My role now that of making sandwiches for Nigel as he heads for the top end. Not quite the finish I had in mind.

Do you want tomato on that Nigel?

20th July - Musgrave Roadhouse to Coen

Nigel says.....A good night's sleep at the Musgrave Roadhouse. A peculiar feeling setting off by myself again. Gordon comatose when I left. Colin joined me for an early breakfast at 0615 hours - I started pedalling across the airfield and cricket pitch with the mist hanging at 0645 hours.

It is great cycling early in the morning. It is cool. There was hardly any traffic - just the road mending guys who were in the next door rooms at the roadhouse who gave me a friendly wave as they trundled north. The bush was noisy and the sun was just coming up - the road wasn't that bad to start with either.

I soon got into the routine of trying to find the best path through the corrugations. Early on it wasn't too bad. After a couple of hours I was faced with a 2 kilometer climb of 8% which was fine as it was on bitumen. I decided to be a bit kinder to myself today and have a brief rest every hour, and I think I was better hydrated and less tired than yesterday - certainly early on. No need to take myself to the cleaners every day!

The route today was more narrow and had more twists and bends. This meant that I could not see the oncoming traffic miles ahead and had to be much more ready to get across the road to avoid oncoming traffic. There were also lots of creeks to get across which meant steep descents and short sharp climbs out. The road was mostly ok, but there was one dreadful section where I had to get off and push several times as it was so sandy and corrugated - really awful cycling conditions.

Gordon and Colin arrived at 1100 hours to give me some cold water. Good to see Gordon looking and sounding better. By that stage I only had 52 kilometers to get to coen, so I was pretty pleased with the progress. I batted on until 1300 hrs when the guys met up with me for lunch.

I drank quite a lot of water today, but even so around midday the heat must have been around 30 degrees and it became a little tiring. The humidity also takes you unawares unless you are careful. Fortunately, after I left the guys to do a little off road winching practice, the road was pretty good and I quickly got to Coen arriving at the accommodation at about 1530 hours.

Accommodation is comfortable and the hosts pleasant. Coen is an interesting place..... Everyone knew Gordon had been to the medical centre the previous day. We dined at the Sexchange Hotel as the only other eating establishment, 'Grunters Beastro' is shut - good meal. Gordon bored for Australia on a range of issues....politics....philosophy... sex in ancient Sparta...tequila...tribal customs in Borneo...radishing (look it up - not sure if he is telling the truth or not, always difficult to tell!)

Thoughts and comments:
The Sexchange Hotel used to be the Exchange Hotel......
As a result of seeing me on the road today, one of the young road fixers now has a bet of $250 with his mates that he can cover the 109 kilometers from Musgrave roadhouse to Coen in 4 hours- he was a really good cyclist but is out of condition and was pissed - money safe for his mates I think!
They sell two flavours of slushi in Coen....
Snack of the day: 56 kilometers north of Musgrave Roadhouse in the bush - a manadrin orange.
Tune of the day: Today I was humming 'My Old Man Says Follow The Van' - definately need to get out more...
They are grading the section of road south of Laura where Gordon fell off today! It is being renamed 'Gordon's Landing'.
Tomorrow going to a road junction somewhere north of Archer River Roadhouse.

No more bog entries possible until Bamaga unfortunately.

Gordon says ...

Feeling pretty depressed really. Drove around all day like the Queen of England in Colin's Landcruiser - which was great in itself (but which still hurt a lot, in spite of excellent suspension, such is the crappyness of the road) and Colin was fine company - but I felt rotten each time we pulled up next to Nigel to give him food and water. Nothing much I can about it I suppose.

Late drunken news flash: have had a small idea which has cheered me up a bit. The nurse here in Coen gave me six days worth of heavy drugs to get over the initial pain of the injury. I've decided (in consultation with Nigel and Colin, who have given tentative approval to the plan) to take the first two days quota, and save the rest. Then, when I get to Bamaga, take anything I've got left, and see if I can ride the 34 kms to the tip. Sure, I'll be completely zonked, but I may be able to cope with the pain suffiently to get there. That way, at least I'll finish the trip on my bike - not the same as doing the whole thing, but better that nothing. I'll let you know how it goes in a few days.

19th July - Fairview to Musgrave Road House

Nigel says....Big concerns about Gordon last night. He was definately not well (properly - not manflu). His wrist was hurting him and he appeared dehydrated. This morning when we awoke it was clear that Gordon was not going to be able to ride today. Thankfully Colin was here to help him and get him away for medical attention after he had rested properly, but it did not feel good cyling off alone at 0700 hours. Both Colin and I were concerned about him.

Gordon's condition distracted us from the great location we had set up camp. The dawn chorus started early again and we heard dingoes howling during the night. I thought that there was someone creeping around the tents during the night. No I wasn't being paranoid, on investigation it was loads of cane toads hopping around on the leaves and undergrowth. This morning we had breakfast to the sounds of the flock of galahs.

The corrugations were dreadful to start with, but soon cleared up and I started to make 12 kilometers per hour - but much slower on the soft shitty stuff. Made really rapid progress when a stretch of bitumen appeared, and I was at the Hann River Roadhouse well ahead of schedule at 1030 hours.

The Hann River Roadhouse must class as one of the best servos I have visited in Australia, or annywhere for that matter. As I cycled across the Hann River a bloke was leaning on a post and said: "Bugger me mate! You're keen." I was going to explain that appearances can be deceptive, but decided not to bother...

On arrival at the roadhouse I was met by the lady who ran the place. She knew all about us and had passed us on the road the previous day. She had a rainbow lorikeet on her shoulder when I met her. This was 'bunji' who had been raised as an abandoned chick and thought he was human. He was quite happy to sit on anybody's shoulder and spent most of the time hanging off the lady's shoulder/bra strap. Whilst at the roadhouse I was introduced to the tame emu whose legs had been painted the Queensland colours to mark the State of Origin series. I even witnessed a bloke with a traffic cone on his head topped with a cap walking round after the emu in what I can only assume was a sort of mating ritual. Well we are quite far north.... Kookaburras were flying in to pick up meat that had been left for them. All in all it was a wildlife extravaganza.

It was then back to the grind of the road. The Development Road is almost completely straight. A red line stretching through the bush as far as the eye could see. It was punctuated by dust clouds of approaching vehicles which could be seen miles ahead. Vehicles again did not slow down, but all very friendly and most waving. I was absolutely covered with a thick layer of orange dust. The road conditions were really variable. There were terrible corrugations which shook both me and the bike and progress was really slow. Where this was combined with soft gravel I had to get off and push. Fortunately this was not too often. I also had stretches where the going was good and I got along nicely. There was a blissful section where the graders were actually working which was better than many sections of the Bruce Highway! I had to go from side to side trying to find the best route, so I had to be very aware of traffic. No iPod today as I had to concentrate the whole time.

Around 1200 hours Gordon and Colin drew alongside. Gordon did not look good and was clearly in pain. Colin was taking him to the clinic in Coen. We agreed to meet up at the Musgrave Roadhouse later in the day. I was feeling quite battered and tired when I rolled into the Musgrave Roadhouse at 1600 hours completely orange and the subject of some curiosity from the campers. I cycled 120 kilometers today. Whilst waiting for Gordon and Colin, Hildegarde, a nice lady from a pensioners tour gave me $5 as a contribution. Thank you Hildegarde.

Colin and Gordon arrivedd shortly afterwards - Gordon with his arm in plaster and a sling. He has broken his wrist and now has to stop pedalling. He is absolutely gutted and I share his disappointment.

After a few beers and some excellent local barramundi morale has improved.

Thoughts and comments:

  • The majority of the traffic today was southbound.
  • Butt situation sore but surprisingly stable ... so far.
  • Hands have taken a real battering today.
  • Snack of the day: Hann River Roadhouse - corned beef salad sandwich with cheese.
  • Tune of the day: No iPod - but hummed Una Paloma Blanca quite a lot... I hope I am not loosing it...I blame Gordon for placing the tune in my mind earlier in the trip...
  • Fact of the day: The Fairview Cattle Station has over 1000 kilometers of track to maintain.

Tomorrow Coen - hills and Colin and Gordon say there are some real shitty patches - Ho Hum...

Gordon says ...

One of the most disappointing and upsetting days of my life.

I woke up at about 3 am with a bad pain in my wrist. Woke up again with the alarm at 6 am, but apparently was very disorientated, and didn't really know where I was, started vomiting, and passed out on the bed. When I woke up later, Nigel had gone, and I was a mess. I had no real recollection of the night before, or even much of the afternoon. Apparently, I had crashed my bike a bunch of times on the terrible track we were on, said next to nothing at all over dinner, then collapsed unconscious against the tent. Colin and Nigel dragged me to bed, and then by checking my water consumption over the day, figured out I'd let myself get completely dehydrated, a situation probably exacerbated by my ongoing poor health. They force fed me water for a while until they thought I'd be OK.

Still pretty much off my nut, Colin drove me to the hospital at Coen, where the full consequences of all of this has finally dawned on me - I've broken my wrist, and my ride is over - over 4000 kms and I'm not going to be able to finish. To say I've been upset doesn't really cover it.

The worst thing is that I may have done this to myself - the guys I ride with in Brisbane have often told me I don't drink enough. On the other hand, I have a big lump on the back of my head, and a corresponding bash mark on my helmet from one of the times I came off, so maybe it wasn't dehydration, but rather concussion. Also, it turns out the tyres I have on my bike are half the width they need to be up here, so the locals say - 'No wonder you crashed, poor thing ...' - but I don't suppose it really matters either way - it's all over. To those who sponsored me, sorry I didn't make it. I tried my hardest.


18th July - Palmer River Roadhouse to Fairview Station

Nigel says..... Awoke to a really loud dawn chorus at about 0500 hours. It was a really good sound so didn't mind too much. Gordon complained that he had had no sleep and could I inflate his airbed properly next time....."when I were a lad we slept on gravel....if we were lucky!"

After a quick breakfast we set of towards Lakeland. Again the road was good, but there were ominous clouds and sure enough after a few kilometers it started to rain. I decided to carry on and get wet - Gordon stopped to put his 'pac a mac' on. It was quite an undulating ride through the bush with one big hill which gave us a workout. Great views from the lookout and a fantastic long "yihaa" ride down the other side. We seem to be on a flat plain with quite pronounced hill features. There are no foothills here. We cycled along for quite a long time with the forested hills of the Looking Glass Bluff Feature to our east - a very steep looking long ridge line.

After a snack at Lakeland we turned onto the Development Road which will be our home for a number of days. The white lines were orange with dust which was quite ominous and quite quickly we started to get patches of dirt. We made good progress on the bitumen and Colin provided us with a really healthy lunch about 15 kilometers short of Laura. We decided that we would go beyond Laura tonight and try to crack about 20 kilometers of dirt track. This would take us to Fairview Cattle Station. Our experience of the dirt road short of Laura was grim. It was a thick sand like surface with terrible corrugations and progress was slow. Gordon fell off a few times and resorted to pushing - morale not high....

After a break in Laura we pushed on up the road. We are now on dirt. The road conditions will absorb most of our physical and mental energy over the next few days. As expected this is going to be the most challenging part of the trip. There is no relaxing as we have to find the best route through the rough patches. Passing vehicles do not slow down as it is dangerous for them to brake, so we are covered with a thin clinging film of dust. Our butts are taking some punishment from the road, but so far, my butt at least is standing up to it. Progress is variable, as road conditions vary so much, but an average of 20 kilometers per hour is now a distant memory.

It was great to roll into the Fairview Cattle Station and enjoy the hospitality of Ringer and his family. The people have been great allowing us to use their showers and toilets, and have even cut us off some prime steaks for us to eat tonight. I am writing this as flocks of galahs are flying around and Colin is trying to get the cooker going. Gordon is starting to smile as he opens a bottle of Shiraz....

Thoughts and comments:

The Lakeland Horse Sports is on 14th August - be there!
There is a $300 prize for a wet tee shirt competition in Mareeba on 28th August for anyone who thinks they might win....
Snack of the day: Laura - caramel ice cream
Tune of the day: Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
Fact of the day: The Fairview cattle Station is 700 square miles and runs 10,000 head of cattle. They have a helicopter in the shed to help manage the cattle. It is small in comparison to neighbouring stations.
Tough day tomorrow to Musgrave Roadhouse - up early.


17th July - Mount Molloy to Palmer River Roadhouse

Nigel says.... A great day cycling up the Mulligan Highway from Mount Molloy to the Palmer River Roadhouse. The Mulligan Highway is an excellent road. Not much traffic, smooth surface and a wide shoulder.

We had a good evening in the pub. We ate hige steaks and drank a number of beers with Kurt and Sam, a local couple who were seated at the same table. Kurt is a German who came to Australia in the early 1980s. He is, by his own admission a very direct person who always wants to get to the root of a problem. We discovered that he did not understand that the answer the the question: "Does my bum look big in this?" is always NO! He also challenged Gordon's fluffy views which was quite amusing....

As a result of the beers we slept in a bit and heard Colin calling out our names as he tried to find us. Gordon hugely pleased to see Colin and a vehicle, but more importantly he was relieved and grateful that he was now reunited with his makeup bag and platform shoe collection!

After a cup of tea during which we sorted the day we set off pedalling north. We made good progress and were in Mount Carbine at 0930 hours. Not much in Mount Carbine!

Hundreds of termite mounds along the route. Am told they get bigger further north. Cattle have free range across the road. I managed to cause a minor stampede. Must have been the marmite shirt...Saw buzzards circling above the road.... I figured they had spotted Gordon. En route drivers have been really friendly, most of them waving. One driver even stopped his vehicle to have a chat.

North of Mount Carbine we had a shocker of a hill. It was a 10% climb over 1.5 kilometers, but the views from the lookout were great. It gave us a good workout and was not that much of a problem. Gordon ate half a pie at the top. Bring on another hill and stop being a pansy Gordon.....
A few kilometers up the road, Colin had pulled up the vehicle and set up an awning and we had lunch. There was not much shade, so it was very welcome. Gordon happy and beaming...

After an undulating ride north to the Palmer River Roadhouse we rolled into the campsite where we were greeted by the welcome sight of pitched tents and Colin with cold beer. Tonight Gordon cooked the meal and washed up, and has not laid on his bed there something wrong with him?.....Today we cycled 114 kilometers.

Thoughts and Comments:
There is bull riding in Mount Carbine on 14th August - be there!
Most of the rivers are dry and rainforest replaced by dry bush
A number of dust devils seen - we had a strong tail wind for most of the day.
Snack of the day: Mount Carbine - sausage roll
Tune of the day: Elton John - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Tomorrow Laura and the start of the dirt road

Gordon says ...

I hope everyone out there in blogland is smart enough to realise that all Nigel's dribbling bravado about 'bring on another hill ...' is some kind of deluded defense mechanism, since it takes him about 20 minutes to haul his sweating, rubbery carcass up the most moderate of slopes, where I've normally been waiting for him at the top having a nap. Each time we get to a hill now, he wanders around at the top telling anyone who'll listen that he wishes it was bigger, or that he hopes there are more down the road. They all examine him with the same look of bemused pity that I have now mastered. I think it's getting a bit weird ...

Needless to say, very happy to have Colin here. We have a very civilized camp, and Nigel has even had a shower. Only seven days of peddling to go, if all goes according to plan. I don't have much more petrol left in my tank - mostly, I think, because I'm missing my family a lot. In retrospect, I'm not sure nearly seven weeks away was a brilliant idea, but like most of my ideas, I didn't really think this part of it through.

Note to self: remember to contact my publisher to have my philosophy book pulped. I have made a terrible mistake in the chapters on epistemology and logic. Silly me - thinking that truth is largely a phenomenon shaped within given social contexts, and according to a variety of specific logical rules. Not so. It seems the universe is constructed of two ontological forms - 1) those things that Nigel thinks, and 2) all other states of being, which are 'Wrong!'. Can't wait to start publishing this revelation in the journals. I have some hilariously spectacular examples of my new-found 'wrongness'.

Seven days to go ...

16th July - Cairns to Mount Molloy

Nigel says.... A day of sensory overload and variety after the Bruce Highway.

We had a good meal last night of sushi and ice cream. Lutzi joined us. Cairns was humming, and we finished of with a pint at an Irish Bar. The evening marred by the theft of Gordon's bike light.
Woke this morning to the sound of aircraft taking off - didn't realise the motel was so close to the airport. On waking, Gordon said he had been dreaming of doing unspeakable things with a baseball bat to the people who stole his bike, I'm not being funny, but that was not the sort of reaction I had expected from a person of Gordon's supposed left wing political leanings. I was expecting a dry and rather dull lecture on social policy along the lines of "what do you expect if they don't get enough jam on their sandwiches when they are younger..." But no! A rant! He did feel better after it though....

We said goodbye to Lutzi (again) as she went off to dive on the Barrier Reef and pedalled off down the Captain Cook Highway towards Port Douglas. The road to Port Douglas is quite narrow and undulating as it winds its way right alongside the ocean, quite often through shady sections of rainforest. There are fantastic views of the beaches stretching out into the distance and wooded headlands in the distance. It is one of the most spectacular rides so far.

We reached the turn off for Port Douglas and had a cold drink before continuing on towards Mossman and turning inland through cane fields towards Mount Molloy. It was here that we encountered a real shocker...."The Big Hill". We had an 8 kilometer continuous climb of about 10% along a winding road up through the rainforest onto the Tablelands. It was hard work, and we were both drenched with sweat, but I enjoyed it. Quite a lot of the route was shaded by the rainforest, and there was a lot of noise from the forest. If you are going to have an 8 km climb, then at least this was in a nice place and the road was not too bad. I think this may have been the longest climb of the trip so far. Bring on another....

The ride to Mount Molloy was pleasant and relatively gentle. It was so green and and felt so temperate after the summit of the "Big Hill" that it almost looked like the Yorkshire Dales in some places.

We are staying in the National Hotel in Mount Molloy. It is an old fashioned pub with rooms off a wide balcony. Very basic facilities, no room keys or soap, but clean and comfortable. Gordon collapsed on the bed winging about the lack of daytime TV. I feel a beer coming on....

Thoughts and comments:

Today there is a banana packing championship in Innisfail....
Traffic heavy up until Yorkey's Knob today.
Lots of colourful butterflies on the 8 km climb.
Temperature much cooler on the tablelands around Mount Molloy than down at the coast.
Today the views were: shopping
Snack of the day:Clifton Village - Danish Pastry
Tune of the day:Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
Fact of the day: Mount Molloy sprang up in the 1890s as a timber and copper mining town.
Tomorrow Palmer River Roadhouse...still on tarmac though.

Gordon says ...

Thieving bastards ...

Anyhoo ... Nasty climb today, but a very beautiful one, up through rainforest - for the Brisbane cyclists amongst you - its the back of Mt Coot-tha, times 4. Thank God I have one of those granny cogs. And when we got to the top, all of a sudden I was in the Yorkshire Dales, except without the Tetley Bitter, and the little old men in flat caps, with collies - bizarre - I never even knew this part of Australia existed.

Before that, the ride along the beach north of Cairns was pretty, but a very narrow road, and a lot of particularly stupid drivers. Mt Malloy is not what I expected - ie. a dusty, one-horse hell-hole, full of drunken misfits. Rather, it's quite a lush little oasis in the mountains, full of drunken misfits. I'm sure they won't notice one more for the evening ...

Re: my ongoing literary education. I wish to formally thank Jo Lampert for recommending 'The Little Stranger' - once it got going, I thoroughly enjoyed it - Edgar Allen Poe meets 'Remains of the Day'. Still smarting from my Tolstoy experience, I went to the itunes store and downloaded what appeared to be one of its most popular books (surely millions of people can't be wrong?) - 'Pillars of the Earth', a mystery about the building of a medieval cathedral, by someone I'd never heard of - Ken Follett. Mother of f.....g God! - what a pack of utter drivel - it was like it was written for toddlers. I don't think a single sentence had more that 6 words in it. I lasted about an hour, by which time I wanted to puncture my eardrums with a pencil. I have now embarked upon 'The Blind Assassin' by Margaret Atwood. It's a bit flowery and girly, but after having had my brain partially Follettized, I'm prepared to be patient.

Colin should turn up soon. I'm looking forward to no longer having to talk to Nigel. And I don't know what Nigel's dribbling on about: 'Bring on another' for more big hills. Bugger off. I think the stupid pratt is hallucinating.

15th July - El Arish to Cairns

Nigel says....Cairns!!!! We have completed a major section of the ride, and thankfully our time on the Bruce Highway ended today. We embark on the final section of our ride tomorrow - the Cape.

We left El Arish at 0730 hrs. It was dull and overcast and there was a fine but steady drizzle. I quite enjoyed cycling in the rain as it was cooling and you quickly dry out when the sun comes out. Gordon had to get out his 'pac a mac' poncho to stop getting wet befrore we could proceed - what a pansy!

We made pretty good progress along the Highway. The sun soon came out again and we passed through loads of banana plantations and cane fields all against a background of steep hills covered in rain forest. The route was a little undulating today, but it made the scenery more interesting. There was a strong tail wind today which we enjoyed, but it brought occasional showers. Fortunately we were sheltered having lunch in Babinda when there was the heaviest downpour. Cycling in this temperature is great, but it is quite tiring. Plenty of water required, and cold drink stops are very welcome.

One of the really good things I have found in Australia is the tourist information offices. They are usually staffed by elderly ladies, most of whom seem to be volunteers and they have been universally helpful and informative. The lady at the Information Centre in Babinda gave us manadrin oranges and told us all about the cape north of Bamaga from personal experience. Very pleasant and helpful.

We pushed on to Cairns and had a celebratory photo at the city sign. Unfortunately we could not stand in front of it without being run down on the carrigeway, so a photo from the bike lane had to suffice. Today we cycled 127 kilometers (79 miles)

We arrived atThe Reef Palms Motel - probably one of the nicest we have stayed at just after 1500 hrs. I had just put all the clothes into the guest's washing machine, leaving Gordon in his normal position lying on his bed with a towel round him, when Lutzi turned up to say "Hi". It was fun to see Gordon floundering around trying to secure his towel!

We are going out for a Japenese meal tonight.

Thoughts and comments:
Saw a giant Captain Cook in Cairns...
We might not have internet contact for daily blogs in future days - please follow the tracker. We will update the blog when we can.
Snack of the day: bacon and cheese toastie - Innisfail
Tune of the day: Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm
Tomorrow Mount Molloy.


14th July - Ingham to El Arish

Nigel says.... A good day today with plenty of variety. We set off as normal at 0730hrs. It had been raining in the night so it was pleasantly cool. Lutzi joined us - she had been camping across the road at the sports field.

We had a good flat run north out of Ingham until we reached the 'hill' that everyone had told us about. There was a big sign saying it was 1.8 km long and varied between 10% and 12%. After the flat terrain of recent weeks, it gave us a good workout and could be described as a 'mild shocker', but really it did not compare with the monsters south of Sydney. full marks to Lutzi who rode her fully laden bike up it. I think both of us would have struggled to do the same as quickly as she achieved it. I got to the top and had a good drink of water at the lookout and took a photo. Gordon had a strepsil.....

Later in the day quite a number of people asked if we had ridden over the hill and seemed to be impressed when we told them that we had. There was an excellent 'yihaa' ride down the other side.

Cycling with Lutzi, our pace increased by a couple of kilometers an hour and we arrived in Cardwell mid morning. The beach looking out over to Hinchinbrook Island was a welcome stop after miles of bush north of the 'hill'. The bush this morning had the humid smell of the rainforest and early on was quite noisy with the sound of birds.

We reached Tully, the wettest place in Australia, this afternoon. Fortunately it was dry when we were there, but the smoke from the sugar cane plant drifted right over the main street where we stopped for a drink and ice cream. The smoke was really thick and the smell quite pronounced - it must annoy the locals.

We said goodbye to Lutzi when she turned off towards Mission Beach. We have enjoyed her company. Good luck for the remainder of your trip Lutzi, and here is to a safe and happy return to Bavaria. Ho hum....I suppose I will have to talk to Gordon again....

Gordon and I ambled our way north and decided to stop at the Diggers Creek Motel and Van Park in El Arish some 6 kilometers short of Silkwood our intended destination. We wanted the 'luxury' of a motel rather than a pub of indeterminate quality which we would have had to accept in Silkwood. Gordon flung himself onto the bed on arrival, and as I write this has not yet moved from his recumbant position even to get a shower!

Today we cycled 116 kilometers. (73 miles)

Thoughts and comments:

Beware of crocs signs at many creeks and rivers.
Saw The Big Crab at Cardwell.
Nearly left my camelback behind a couple of times - worried I am becoming like Gordon....
Saw the Big Wellington Boot at Tully - there are stairs so you can look down from the top of the boot....
First fact of the day: The average annual rainfall in Tully is 4490mm of rain.
Second fact of the day: The Big Wellington Boot is 7.9 meters high which is the record amount of annual rainfall measured at Tully in 1950.
Third fact of the day: El Arish was founded as a soldier's town and named after the Wadi El Arish in the Sinai from which the Anzac Mounted Division started their successful attack on the Turkish held town Magdhaba.
Snack of the day: Cardwell - Original Magnum ice cream.
Tune of the day: Tony Orlando and Dawn - Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree - Gordon's special request.
Big day tomorrow - Cairns. This will mean the completion of our time on the Bruce Highway and the start of the final phase up the Cape. Bring it on...

Gordon says ...

Not much to say really. I'm tired, physically and mentally, and as if that's not bad enough, I feel permanently grubby - a fact that bothers me as much as it doesn't appear to bother Nigel. Smothering my legs two or three times a day in sun-block means that at the end of the ride, my legs are almost black with road grime, and even after scrubbing myself in the shower, the towel ends up a grotty dark grey colour after I've dried myself off. I wash my clothes each night, but it's normally by hand in the sink, with shampoo, so it's a pretty amateur affair. Nigel, after years of crawling around in jungles, is more of the opinion that by not washing your clothes at all, you reach an equilibrium with nature, ie. you stop noticing that you stink. Jesus Christ ...

It has been good riding with Lutzi - she's a tough little cyclist. Now that she's gone, we can stop showing off, and go back to riding like slugs. Interestingly, she seemed amazed we were doing this ride without rest days, which makes me feel a bit better about feeling so crap - a view not shared by Nigel, who regards even admitting to having feelings at all as akin to publically announcing that you are homosexual.

Cairns tomorrow, and then Colin turns up at Mount Malloy the day after that. I still remain firmly convinced that Colin's decision to do the Cape with us, is the only thing that stands between me and sitting utterly lost in the wilderness somewhere, listening to Nigel say: 'Oh don't be so pathetic Gordon ... we can survive for a least a week by eating our own s**t ...'

13th July - Townsville to Ingham

Nigel says.....Tried to find a disco in Townsville last night, but everything was shut. We even had difficulty finding a restaurant that was open on a Monday night, but found a good Indian. Gordon reluctantly admitted that the large double ice cream cone he consumed on the way back to the motel was "quite nice."

Departed the motel around 0800hrs and made our way through the rush hour traffic back onto the Bruce Highway. The highway today was very flat and very straight. For approximately 50 kilometers a large white pipeline ran alongside (water?) Gordon bleating about a category one tear in his calf muscle and saying he was tired. I think he is nearly back to normal and feeling a lot better.....

We stopped at a very basic service station at Rollingstone for lunch when in cycled a Rhine Maiden who further hastened Gordon's long term psychological decline. Andrea (Lutzi) is from Augsburg in Germany and has been on the road for about 11 months around Asia and has also travelled extensively by bike around the world. She is carrying four panniers and is camping. Her bike was so heavy that neither Gordon nor I could lift it, yet she has been up and down dale across Asia and Australia on up!

Lutzi suggested that we cycle towards Ingham together - we agreed. Lutzi seemed to want some company, I was pleased to have someone else apart from Gordon to talk to, and Gordon was pleased he could tell someone else how sick he had been and how tired he was, and how his own children wouldn't recognise him he was so thin - everyone happy!

Lutzi took the lead on the road and tore away down the road setting the pace. All thoughts of Gordon's tiredness and category 1 muscle tear in the calf forgotten - we had to keep up! It transpires that Lutzi is something of a cyclist and was the German amateur mountain bike champion when she was younger which explained a lot. I think she may have been better than she lets on as well.

Gordon was comparing his own uncomfortable experience on a Brooks saddle with Lutzi who also rides with the same saddle in perfect comfort. Within several minutes it was diagnosed that Gordon's numbness in fingers and toes could well be due to saddle problems, his saddle had been oiled and the method of adjusting the saddle explained. Gordon's saddle oil and adjusting tool are safely stored in Brisbane and available for when he next needs them...

We arrived at Ingham at 1500 hrs having cycled 115kilometers (72 miles). It was fortunate we had booked a place, as there were no other rooms to be had anywhere in Ingham. Since we had arrived early Lutzi and I cycled round a wetlands park (approx 2 kilometers) that was directly across the road from the motel. Gordon lay on his bed as tarmac was not involved and extra mileage was required. It was a really pleasant ride -loads of wallabies, and birds. Lutzi found a spot where she would pitch her tent after dark.

Thoughts and comments:

Loads of 'pet resorts', catteries and kennels on the Bruce Highway north of Townsville.
Business of the day: Pet Heaven NQ - pet crematorium and garden cemetary.
A steady drizzle for much of the morning which kept us cool. Very little sun today.
Countryside was mostly bush this morning, cane this afternoon.
Surprisingly good meal at the pub this evening - Thai green curry.
Gordon horrified that Lutzi chose fish and chips for supper....someone else who enjoys the odd bit of crap food.
Got some ideas for rides in Mongolia and China.....
Snack of the day: Rum'n raisen and mint choc chip ice cream cornet - Frosty Mango
Tune of the day: Queen - Bicycle Race
Big hill north of Ingham - tomorrow Silkwood. Cairns getting closer.

Gordon says ...

Too late, too tired. I'll write something tomorrow.


12th July - Ayr to Townsville

Nigel says..... Woke up at 0430hrs to watch the World Cup Final. I managed to see the important bits...the start, the big foul, the sending off, the goal and the end. I think Spain deserved to win. We then snoozed on and left the motel at 0900hrs because Gordon wanted breakfast at McDonald's......were there comments about eating crap food last night?

Gordon's long term psychological well being suffered a serious blow when the McDonald's girl asked him if he wanted a senior's deal!! Pale, gaunt, grey bearded and dressed like a weird tramp, I suppose she had a point. Gordon as ever failed to take advantage of a situation and did not take the deal - could have saved a few dollars! Saw a few retirement options for Gordon around Townsville - he will be on that special deal off season coach tour before he realises it....I realise now, that this trip is an exercise in looking after the elderly!

We then had to stop whilst Gordon purchased some new sunglasses in town. His old sunglasses keep slipping down his nose and he then finds it difficult looking through his Davros eye. I think his skull is shrinking - or perhaps his brain? He was going to throw his old sunglasses away, but I persuaded him to keep them as a backup for the inevitable loss/damage/theft etc of the new ones.

The Bruce Highway was not so good today. The early stretch had little or no shoulder and the road surface was quite rough for most of the way, although there were welcome stretches of hotmix. We had a couple on non descript service station stops and started to see the outskirts of Townsville some 10 kilometers out from the centre. It was the hottest day so far today with temperatures around 27 degrees. We cycled 93 kilometers (58 miles).

I suppose the clue is in the name - The Summit Motel. I think there is only one hill in the whole of Townsville and we are on top of it. Very pleasant for a motel however, and thankfully we are getting the washing done as we were both starting to pong a bit...If I can paint a very unpleasant picture - Gordon is sprawled on his bed wearing nothing but a towel watching the telly every item of clothing he possesses is in the wash. I shall see if I can speed up the drier by watching it go round...

We managed to get some time this afternoon to have our hair cut - mine was getting a bit long....Had a walk round Townsville. Gordon couldn't be bothered and went back to the motel to watch the Count of Monte Cristo - I think I might have been better doing the same, although I did manage to purchase a decent map of the Cape which we needed.

Thoughts and comments:

Queensland Police seem to spend quite a lot of time in McDonalds.
Saw more police on the roads than any other day.
Saw a 'Big Brolga' (bird) just outside Townsville.
The countryside was flat with cane, mangoes and cattle along the road. Some very big ky and tree clad hills in the distance.
Snack of the day: Road sign south of Townsville - meat pie
Tune of the day: Dire Straits - Walk of Life
Fact of the day: In the wet season, Brolgas inhabit the swampland at the back of the beaches on Horseshoe Bay.....
Tomorrow Ingham. Cairns getting closer....

Gordon says ...

I knew I was looking pretty awful - like a sack of shit, actually - but for some dumb-ass Mcdonalds drone to ask me if I wanted a 'seniors deal' is just about the final straw ...

I realised things weren't going well when, while I was sick and stressed in Victoria, my beard went white within the space of a couple of days. It's the kind of thing you expect to happen slowly, and almost unnoticably, so I was shocked it went in front of my eyes - as if to signal 'this is all really bad'. And as my weight kept dropping, I've slowly looked worse and worse - I don't think my kids are going to recognise me. I'm starting to look like some kind of 17th century shipwreck survivor - all ribs and ragged clothes. Weirdly, I still have Popeye cyclist's legs, but my body-builder's torso, and wrestler's arms are now all but a memory ...

Nigel, of course, is happy as Larry. While I have gone from 'normal' to 'emaciated', he has gone from looking like a 'pregnant person who also has a severe goitre problem', to looking like 'someone who might almost pass for normal' - especially if you've have a lot to drink.

Apart from this appalling start to the day, everything else went OK. I'm currently listening to a book suggested by Jo - a work colleague - called 'The little Stranger' by Sarah Waters. I am undecided as to whether this is going to pass the newly created 'Tolstoy Test' of utter boredom. I''ll let you know in a couple of days. If it doesn't, the ridiculing will start ... although I should be too mean, as she is currently shouldering most of the burden of my professional absence (unit planning etc), for which I am very grateful.

Ingham tomorrow. Jeez ... Townsville is a dump.

11th July - Port Denison (Bowen) to Ayr

Nigel says.... Gordon feeling much better I think. He tried to be witty at breakfast this morning and the bottom lip didn't quiver when I suggested we should cycle on past Holme Hill to Ayr.

We departed Port Denison at 0745 hrs and we were quickly back on the Bruce Highway. Looking at some of the alternative motels we could have stayed at in the cold light of day, I think we stayed at the best one in town . Beautiful morning, almost cloudless.

We had a really good run to Ayr today - we flew along with a tremendous tail wind. There was plenty to look at, several stops and most importantly, there was light traffic, a smooth road, a decent shoulder and it was flat. Yes, Mr Hotmix was back. There were long stretches of perfectly smooth road surface - Gordon was actually smiling today.

The Bruce Highway presents a challenge on several different levels. You can never relax because whilst the vast majority of drivers are responsible and courteous, there are a small number of complete tossers who are either willfully dangerous and agressive, or who are just bad drivers. You have to be ready for these people at all times. Today a lorry passenger tried to throw water at us (I think it was water), and a git in a Holden overtaking in the opposite direction drove straight at Gordon. Then there are potholes, large cracks in the road, dead animals, glass and debris, large lumps of tarmac etc which have to be negotiated otherwise you will be off. The road conditions are never consistent.

Then there is the butt factor. I think we have both reached a kind of equilibrium of butt pain, although I suspect Gordon suffers more than I do - he certainly looses the daily competition for who will say "Oh my arse!" first. Perhaps when his Brooks saddle is broken in things will be better. I reckon the saddle might be broken in by Cairns..... Mornings for me are ok, but by lunch time the bruising becomes a constant background factor. Not an unbearable pain by any means, but a constant pain in the butt nontheless.

Finally there is the boredom factor. For long stretches there may be nothing new to look at. Here my daughter's iPod is an essential tool to keep the mind occupied and motivated. A running songs album is especially good as an accompanyment for getting up the hills, the BBC Radio 4 History of the World in 100 Objects (first 40 objects only) feeds the brain. I find I can dip in and out of whatever is being shuffled through the headset according to what is going on around me. No intense concentration or intellectual application necessary. Also, by continuously looking around at the surroundings and taking an interest in what is going on, it is amazing how much interesting stuff is around. The collection of 'Big Things' is just part of that process!

Gordon is heavily reliant on his iPod to get him through the day and has taken to listening to audio books as well as Abba songs. Today he finished his series of John le Carre books and will now have to see if he can persevere with War and Peace. I always thought that War and Peace was a metaphor for the endless and impenetrable.....I think he would have been better off with something lighter like the Mister Men audio book series. He would enjoy meeting Mr Weedy, Mr Messy, Mr Poorly, and Mr Picky.....

Thoughts and comments:

Lots of mango plantations north of Bowen.
Saw the Big Watermelon Slice at a fruit stall at Gumlu.
Countryside today was: mangoes...tomatoes...cane...cattle...bush
Big bridge over the Burdekin River, but quite narrow.
Tune of the day: Jeff Beck - Hi Ho Silver Lining
Snack of the day: Gumlu - bacon and cheese pie
Poster of the day: Working Safely with Mangoes - a health and safety guide
Up early for the World Cup Final - late start tomorrow, then Townsville!

Gordon says ...

I'm feeling a lot better today, and the nature of the ride certainly helped - 120 kms of hotmix and a breeze over my left shoulder - I couldn't have been happier ... head down, tail up, 28 kms/hr for about 5 hrs. Nigel vanished in my mirror after about 5 minutes - although apparently he reached speeds of 17 kms/hr on the downhill stretches.

I have been forced to ask myself over the last few weeks, how come I've been sick for a lot of the ride, and Nigel hasn't - or rather - has been sick for significantly less of the time than me. By Nigel's own calculations, I'm about twice as fit as him (... and the rest ...) - so what is it? I've decided it's all about food.

I've been making the terrible mistake of eating well - breakfast cerial, salad sandwiches, and steak or pasta in the evening - obviously wrong. Nigel has a different approach ... let's call it the 'saturated fat' diet ... and clearly it's working. In the month we''ve been on the road, Nigel has had a deep fried evening meal every night but one (that was pizza - extra cheese). He almost always has something called a 'seafood basket'. which everyone in Australia would know is all the seafood crap scraped off the kitchen floor, smothered in three inches of batter, and then deep fried in lard - add that to a pile of chips you couldn't cycle round, and you have Nigel's dinner ... I feel queasy just thinking about it. In the last month, I've seen Nigel put more deep fried crap in his body than your average fish and chip shop wheelie bin. And he always smothers in tomato sauce, or complains loudly if he can't get enough. It's like a cartoon version of an English tourist. I'm going to start putting a knotted hankie on his head while he eats.

But that's not all. As I've mentioned before, Nigel likes to start the day with a full English breakfast, where available, and in the last couple of weeks - he's taken to having a Magnum as part of his morning tea (for those in England, a giant slab of very rich ice-cream, smothered in half a kilo of chocolate). Today, he made the observation: 'Australian's eat a lot of pies, don't they ...' as he was shoving a cheese and bacon one in his maw - part of his normal lunch. When we finish the ride, he skulls a pint of full cream milk ('Good for the legs ...'), and then normally (as he is now, as I write) he eats a bags of crisps the size of a small rucksack while watching telly, and waiting to go out and get his seafood basket.

Jesus Louise ... Is this what he eats at home? I'm guessing there aren't enough digits in our numerical system to calculate his cholesterol levels. But what the hell - the joke appears to be on me. I've been the sick one.

Of course, an alternative explanation is that the inside of Nigel's body is such a terrible place that even bacteria refuse to live there. Oh well ... it''s nearly six o'clock ... time for Nigel's seafood basket.

10th - Laguna Quays to Port Denison (Bowen)

Nigel says....Both of us got a decent night's sleep. Gordon went to bed coughing after our supper of Morton Bay Bugs, whilst I watched the film after finding that the resort disco was shut....

Gordon feeling better today and we only had a short ride to Bowen. We set off just after 0900hrs and coasted the 5 kilometers or so back down to the Bruce Highway. There was a tailwind and a slight decline, so we flew along.

Rejoining the Bruce Highway we quickly reached Proserpine where I insisted Gordon saw a pharmacist and got some cough medicine. He wouldn't have done so otherwise, and his mobile pharmacy needed to re-stock. We then continued north along the Bruce Highway expecting to have a couple of stops en route, but as we have previously experienced, just because there is a place shown on the map does not mean it is there on the ground.... all part of the fun.

The road was quite good again today. Arrived at Bowen in time for a late lunch of pizza (the only place open) before finding good accommodation in Port Denison (port area of Bowen) at the aptly named Port Denison Moter Inn. Gordon was hoping it would be dreadful, squalid and poor value so that he could have a rant, but I am writing this from a clean and well appointed room (good rate too) looking out across Port Denison to the Whitsunday Islands in the distance. Not bad at all. Today we cycled 100 kilometers (63 miles)

Tonight we will be eating at Bowen's premier dining location - The Denison Hotel. I thought this might cheer Gordon up and make him feel better. He is currently crashed out.

Thoughts and comments:

Saw the 'Big Mango' just outside Bowen. I'm sure this cheered Gordon up...
Route was flat with lots of cane fields and some cattle grazing. No real mangos seen.
Great views of the Whitsunday Islands from Port Denison.
Lots of murals painted on walls in Bowen, all with various historical themes.
No Guy, the State Flower of Queensland is not Gordon... deduct a point.
Snack of the day: Proserpine - meat pie
Fact of the day: The Kensington Pride mango is the most popular variety of mango cultivated in Australia accounting for approximately 80% of production.
Tune of the day: X-Press 2 - Lazy
Tomorrow Home Hill.

Gordon says ...

I'm sick of bleating on about how sick I am. I'll contribute something when I've got something worth saying - unlike Nigel, who doesn't appear to have the same quality controls ...

9th July - Sarina to Laguna Quays

Nigel says.... "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It's the smell of..........Victory!" A classic line, although in our case delete napalm insert lemsip.

Last night Gordon decided to seek medical attention and went to the local hospital emergency department. The duty doctor could not be bothered to get out of bed for a bloke with a cough, so he saw Matron who checked him over. Matron told him he was excused games and should go and stand on the touchline with the weedy boys....Gordon said that he would carry on pedalling. Matron gave him $20 towards the charity and as encouragement to make him go away. Thank you Matron much appreciated.

When he got back to the motel, Gordon seemed relieved to have seen someone medical, and was especially cheered up to discover he had infections that he had not previously realised he had. All in all a good night!

As the ride to Laguna Quays was 150 kilometers (94 miles) we set off early at 0700 hrs because Gordon was not feeling great and wanted plenty of time to get through the day. I am sorry to say that Gordon will not be completing the ride without the aid of drugs - about the equivalent of a small branch of Terry White (UK readers read Boots).

The Sunshine State returned today. It was a lovely bright warm day with mist settled on the top of the hills in the early morning. Cycling in the early morning is the nicest time of day - sun rising, wildlife, birdsong, cool... The Highway was really good for nearly all of the ride today which enabled us to make good progress, and I think we benefitted, unwittingly, from a good tail wind. There were some hills, but nothing resembling a shocker. Above all, we had quite long stretches of hotmix - the smooth road surface makes such a difference to speed and the butt situation. Gordon loved it. I could see a little ray of happiness shining through the germ laden biohazard cloud that made its way north up the Bruce Highway today.

We cycled separately today. Gordon just wanted to plod on and I was happy pottering along looking at the view and chilling out. Gordon may be headed for "The Heart of Darkness"but I am on my holiday!

We arrived at Laguna Quays after turning off the Highway and battling back into a very strong headwind. Tonight we have a 2 bedroom condominium for the price of a motel room. The invalid can cough and splutter in his own room. Late start tomorrow.

Thoughts and comments:

  • Saw a giant cane toad in Sarina
  • Countryside consisted of cane...cane...cane...cane...cane...cane...cane...cane...bush...cane
  • Cane harvesting machines work very fast
  • First outing of my marmite cycling shirt today - Gordon thinks it is a fashion crime. (Pot and kettle situation?)
  • Snack of the day: Calen -Pepermint Magnum
  • Tune of the day: Buddy Holly - Valley Of Tears
  • Answer to yesterday's Quiz Question: The Cooktown Orchid - a point to Nikki.

Tomorrow Bowen - Another $10 donated at dinner tonight

Gordon says ...

To translate Nigel's stuff about Matron and weedy boys ... at the end of my tether, I finally went to hospital last night - no doctor there, but was seen by the head nurse. She ran a bunch of tests, and apparently I have a throat infection, a chest infection, and even an ear infection. She said well done for getting this far, but my ride was now over ... I said no it isn't, and she called me an idiot, and gave me a bunch of drugs, and $20 for our fundraising.

I took so many drugs today, I don't really remember much of the ride - just a long, fuzzy bad dream of mindless peddling. One more day of hoping I wake up feeling better ...

8th July - St Lawrence to Sarina

Nigel says... Watched the State of Origin match last night in the companyof Ron Coote, a many times capped Australian Rugby League player between 1970-1974. Ron was passing through St Lawrence with some friends en route to Cape York and was very interested in our trip. Much emotion in the pub and outrage from some customers that Queensland were not ahead by more points....

Slept well in my box room, in spite of visiting cockroaches, but awoke to the sound of pouring rain and a persistent cockerel at 0500hrs. The Sunshine State deserted us today as it was very overcast and dark.

We started pedalling at 0730hrs. Because of the amount of rain we gave the dirt track short cut a miss. Neither of us wanted to get covered in mud, besides I couldn't stand the sight of Gordon's quivering lower lip, so we went the long way round on tarmac.

The Bruce Highway was pretty good today. A shoulder all the way, quite a few stops and mostly flat. Today we cycled 130 kilometers (81 miles). Gordon suffering today. Much more pathetic than usual - have purchased lemsip. In a motel - upgrade from the pub. Pizza in front of the telly tonight - no disco - shirt in the wash.

Thoughts and comments:
Vehicles had lights on most of the day.
Saw two wallabies on the road this morning.
Raining this afternoon.
Pleasant "off piste" section along the seashore at Clairview - good views of islands.
The countryside consisted of: bush...bush...cattle...bush...sea...bush...cane...cattle...bush...cane...cattle...cane...cane...cane
Saw our first cane train today.
Snack of the day: No award - all stops below par.
Tune of the day: Jack Johnson - Breakdown
Instruction of the day: Notice in Gents Toilets Kalarka Roadhouse -"Please help us to control the mosquito population by closing the toilet lid after use." (see snack of the day)
Advert of the day: Poster promoting Sarina Beach shopping complex - "We have a medical centre, newsagents, pharmacy, bottleshop and much more....."
Quiz Question of the day: What is the Queensland State Flower?
Long day tomorrow, but staying at a resort which should be good.

Gordon says ...I was looking through the list of books I could download for my ipod, mostly as a way of trying to distract me from the fact I've been coughing up blood for three days now. I thought about Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', but it seemed a little too close to my current circumstances - ie. a bizarre trip into nowhere that slowly descends into madness and death. Actually, come to think of it, it's more directly like 'Apocalypse Now', with me as Martin Sheen, and Nigel as an English version of all the other mad army bastards on the boat, rolled into one person, but unfortunately without the drugs ...

Didn't think I could ever get as sick as I was during the first week of the ride, but I'm almost there now - I'm so pathetically weak, even Nigel is cycling past me. In fact, Nigel is now nagging me to go and see a doctor - but I'm not sure I see the point - first, where? And second, they're only going to tell me to stop cycling, and I'm not going to do that - only 19 days to go to the top.

Tonight, I have very much been buoyed by the fact that Colin is going to join us from Mt Malloy onwards. As such, the part of the ride I have been dreading the most - the Cape -may well turn out OK. All joking aside, while Nigel's indefatigable nature has been crucial to us getting this far, I also think that he may have underestimated the difficulties associated with the Australian wilderness - I can picture Nigel saying: 'The surface of Mars? No problem, let's just keep peddling'. Colin is an experienced outback guy, he's sane, good company, and reeks of competence - unlike Nigel, who just reeks ...

7th July - Marlborough - St Lawrence

Nigel says..... Watched 'Top Gear' at the pub in Marlborough whilst eating supper last night. Thought about going to a disco, but went back to the motel to watch a film instead - Gordon not up to the bopping.

No bowls in the room, so it was weet-bix in a mug again before setting off on the road north. We decided to buy some pies, cans of Coke and Mars Bars to get us to St Lawrence as we were told that the Toolloomba Creek Roadhouse had closed down, and that there was nothing before St Lawrence.

A flat pedal all the way to St Lawrence. There was a small shoulder for most of the way, but again stretches where we were on the white line. Traffic was light, fortunately. Most truckers are pretty good and give us a wide berth. Some of the caravanners don't realise how wide their vehicles are.

En route met a German couple - they must have been in their 60s - who were on a big cycling trip. They had started in Cairns and were making their way towards Sydney. They were camping and were quite heavily laden. Hans had previously cycled from Melbourne to Alice Springs - quite a trip, and appeared to be a very experienced tourer. They did not know Holland had qualified for the World Cup Final. We wished Germany good luck for their semi final against Spain, but both of us kept our fingers crossed!

Arrived in St Lawrence about 1400hrs. We cycled 85 kilometers (53 miles). We either had a short day today, or we would have had to have cycled about 185 kilometers all up to get to the next place.

St Lawrence is the place that time forgot. It is a picture of the 1950's and is really interesting. Since the rooms are $35 each, we have splashed out and got a room each! Not that it makes that much difference because I can hear Gordon coughing and spluttering next door. Our rooms are small wooden boxes just along from the pub bar with a comfortable bed and ancient furniture. The rooms open out onto the pub veranda where I am writing this blog.

The showers and lavatories are communal. There was no soap supplied with the room, but there were plenty of used bars to choose from in the soap dish. Had a good hot shower. I was a little concerned initially that the corroded bathtub might actually collapse (daylight can be seen around the plug hole), but I then just concentrated on keeping the mouldy shower curtain from wrapping around my legs.

When we arrived, we went down the road to the General Store (large tin hut) and had one of the best burgers I have had in Australia. Tonight is the third State of Origin match between Queensland and New South Wales. I cannot think of a better place to watch the match. Motels are fine, but this place has some character.

Thoughts and comments:
Lots more roadkill here - mainly wallabies
You can really smell the roadkill some distance before you get to it - yuck!
The countryside consisted of bush...bush...cattle...bush...bush...bush...cattle...bush...cattle.
Tomorrow Gordon is going to have to go "off piste" on a dirt road for about 6 kilometers - or ride an extra 12 kilometers.
Snack of the day: Cheeseburger - St Lawrence General Store
Tune of the Day: Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
Fact of the day: St Lawrence's fortunes reached their zenith in the late 19th and early 20th century with the establishment of the Newport meat processing plant. The plant closed in 1919 due to competition from similar plants in Rockhampton and Brisbane.
Tomorrow Sarina - another pub.

Gordon says ...

I finally have proof that Nigel is, in fact, not a human at all - as I have long suspected. What he actually is, I'm not sure yet.

About 1 hour into today's ride, Nigel is about half a km in front of me on a 5 km dead straight stretch of road (yes, Nigel was in front of me ... now do you believe I'm really sick?) -just a small yellow dot up ahead. In my Sci-fi mirror, I see very bad news coming behind me - giant trucks moving very quickly - so I pull off the road and three triple-jointed monsters belt past me at about 120km/hr, all the same, with hardly any distance between them at all - going so fast I nearly got sucked in behind them. I can see Nigel peddling oblivious, to the right of the white line, and with a bunch of caravans coming towards him - leaving the trucks nowhere to go but right over top of him. The first thing I see is the last truck lock its wheels, and smoke start to billow everywhere, a tyre exploded, and the middle truck fishtailed out to the left, up onto the grass siding, the whole scene now half hidden in smoke and bits of tyre - with caravans slowly appearing, some on the verge, some not. I was absolutely sure Nigel was road-kill, and started to slow down, I think in a state of shock ... then, in among the carnage, I saw a little yellow dot, still peddling the same line he had been 10 seconds before - utterly unaware, it turns out, that anything untoward at all had happened. (Yes, I think he needs to turn his ipod down - marching band music can drown out almost anthing - and yes, I think he needs a mirror, no matter how stupid you look)

Obviously, the only explanation in that Nigel is some kind of spectre, a ghoul that doesn't occupy normal space and time - and that would certainly explain his politics.

The whole event has freaked me out a bit. Intend to cycle tomorrow with a hangover.



6th July - Rockhampton - Marlborough

Nigel says..... After a rip roaring night out in Rocky at the noodle bar we set off at the normal time of 0730 hrs. The road was flat and pretty good for most of the day. Gordon has a cough and a sniffle which has made him weaker and more feeble than normal, but we still covered the 116 kilometers to Marlborough by 1430hrs.

Tonight we are staying at the Marlborough Motel and Caravan Park (last motel for 150km). There is a sign at the petrol station across the road saying last fuel for 100 kilometers. We have to cycle about a mile to Marlborough which consists of a pub, a shop and a few houses as the motel no longer does food. We need to get to the pub around 1800hrs to order food. At least we can get our washing done here, and there are films on the telly.

Thoughts and comments:

  • We stopped at Merimal en route - a really weird place which was a truck stop and consisted of a junk shop (or rubbish dump)that also sold pies and fruit and veg. We both got the impression that the owners spent too much time in the company of their own family.....
  • Overcast today with drizzle leaving Rockhampton.
  • Winona behaving - gears much better - flying along.
  • Davros' new eye working fine...
  • Gordon's lemsip was going to cost $21 here in Marlborough, which even he baulked at. We have a lemsip free zone currently...
  • Large swathes of savannah like country. Flat grassland with the odd tree stretching out to hills in the far distance.
  • Snack of the day: Bacon and cheese pie - The Caves.
  • Tune of the day:Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl.
  • Slogan of the day: Parkhurst Sate School noticeboard - "Reports out next week. Remember "C" stands for Celebration"............ (or could do better?)

Tomorrow St Lawrence...where? Staying in the pub. Not sure that there is anything on the way there.

Gordon says ...

Didn't write a blog yesterday. At 11 pm, gave up on waiting for Nigel to finish his nightly 3 hour freaking masterpiece and went to sleep instead. (Note to self: on returning to academic life, remember to write a paper entitled 'Blogging and the Art of Self-formation' - after all, silly me, thinking the purpose of a blog was just to say where we are, and that we haven't been run over yet).

Actually, interesting little vignette a few minutes ago - I'm in the shower, while Nigel worked on his own daily 'War and Peace', when I suddenly hear shouting and swearing - and not just a bit, and not just 'Oh Rats' ... I mean the full military version ... words I haven't heard for a long time, and at about 120 decibels. Yes, 'teddy out of the cot' doesn't come close to describing it - I mean I thought we were going to get the full Keith Moon hotel room demolition. And what was wrong, I hear you ask? Was it a collapse of the Tory government in the UK? Was it Louise asking for the divorce, like I suggested? No ... nothing that trivial ... no, it was that the computer appeared to have crashed, and Nigel thought he had lost the blog he had been working on - i mean, did Tolstoy ever have to suffer such creative difficulties?

Far more importantly, feel even crappier today than I did yesterday. And still heading south, I think. Having not been sick for years, I've now been ill for most of this ride - as if it wasn't hard enough already. I guess the distances must be screwing my immune system. And even Capt Robot has been sick for about half the time. Never stops whinging about it either ...


5th July - Calliope to Rockhampton

Nigel says...... An interesting day!

Set off from Calliope at 0730hrs and pedalled happily along the Bruce Highway towards Rockhampton. We made really good time and reached the BP service station at Marmor about 40kms short of Rockhampton for lunch.

For the previous couple of kilometers my gears had suddenly started slipping, so I checked them over - couldn't see anything wrong and so just tightened the gear cable a touch to see if that would improve things. About 400 meters north of the service station, one of the jockey wheels came off my derailleur and I was stranded unable to pedal anywhere. Completely knackered!

I called Gordon who had set of a few minutes earlier and told him to keep pedalling to the motel as there was nothing useful he could do. Next, I made use of the list of bike shops I had prepared in UK - I knew they might come in handy! I called a bike shop in Rockhampton from the roadside and booked Winona in for repair. All I had to do was find someone to give me and Winona a lift to Rocky.

I could have got several lifts to Bundaberg! No Utes seemed to be going north. I tried hitching on the road - no luck. I tried begging in the service station - no luck. I must have tried for about an hour. I decided to give it a bit longer before calling a taxi and incurring a massive fare and loosing the chance to get back and finish the day's ride today. Finally a bloke pulled up in a Ute. I explained the situation and asked if he was headed towards Rockhampton - he was and said I could put the bike in the back and he would be right back.

I could not have been luckier with my lift. When Andrew returned from the service station, he had a bottle of iced coffee, a pie and a chocolate bar for me - what a good bloke! It turned out that he is a cattle farmer whose family have farmed the same station since 1881. He was good company and was kind enough to take me right to the door of the bike shop. It was also great to drive past Gordon who was still pedalling and give him several encouraging hand signals. Thanks for your help Andrew.

Different Cycles were ready to receive Winona. They tried to fix the jockey wheel, but it needed a complete new unit. By the time the new derailleur was fitted, Gordon had arrived at the shop having booked into the Sundowner Motel. Davros King of the Daleks had dropped his helmet mirror and cracked it, so he needed a new one.

I then had to decide whether to go back to Marmor to complete the ride today, or go back tomorrow and do it, which would make tomorrow a monster day. Everything hinged on how quickly I could get a lift back to Marmor. I went into the reception of The Sundowner Motel and asked the gorgeous Kylie if she knew of any taxi firm or service that might be able to get me back down the road. Kylie very generously said we could take the motel's Ute - with Gordon driving me back. This meant that I was back at Marmor at 1555 hours with 39 kilometers to cover before it got dark. Achievable - although lights would be needed for the last section. In the event I really pushed it and was back in the motel in 1 hour 40 mins - not bad going on a vicar's bike hey Gordon! Thanks Kylie for your help and support - really appreciated.

Thoughts and comments:
Lots of really helpful and generous people in the Rockhampton area.
Has the naming of Winona caused these mechanical problems?
I saw a Big Bull on the roundabout at Rockhampton.
Snack of the day: curried steak pie - Big Mamas Mount Larcombe
Tune of the day: Caesars - Jerk it Out
Not much going on in Rocky on a Monday... tomorrow Marlborough.




4th July - Miriam Vale to Calliope

Nigel says..... After a rip roaring night clubbing in Miriam Vale.... we set of at 0930hrs to cycle the 65kms ( miles) to Calliope. Today was a nice easy rest day.

The Sunshine State was back to the norm. A beautiful day. Today we also had stuff to look at. No sooner had we started than we saw 'The Big Crab' on top of the service station. I had missed it on my walking tour of Miriam Vale the previous day. Miriam Vale also boasts a Heritage Fig Tree.....

Another 12 kilometers down the road we stopped for a can of coke at Bororen at the same time as a group of pensioners on a coach tour. I reckon that in 20 years time Gordon will be on a similar tour as"the oldest swinger in town" figure in an ill fitting shell suit and trainers that are just too bright and clean. I suggested this to him. "No in ten........minutes" was the reply. He is feeling tired and overwhelmed by "manflu" and the fast pace of Miriam Vale. "Man-up Gordo" I hear you cry!

A nice flat ride to Benaraby. En route we were passed by about 75 Harley Davidson riders on a 4th July HOG Ride (Harley Owners Group). We crossed the River Boyne into Benaraby and ordered toasted sandwiches for lunch at the service station. In the service station I met a Danish guy called Anders who had cycled from Beijing and had started his Australian leg in Darwin. He had a heavily loaded bike and was camping en route. He was making his way to Brisbane to watch the World Cup Final and was eager to hear who was in the Semi Finals as he had not heard the latest results. We swapped info about routes.

After Benaraby we stopped at a fruit stall recommended by Anders and bought a fresh pineapple, bananaa and apples. We arrived in Calliope at 1430hrs after a pleasant day.

Thoughts and comments:

"The Big Crab" should be bigger! It is more like "The Medium Crab". If you advertise "Big" you have to be "Big"!
Saw a sign which said 1193 kilometers to Cairns today.
Not much opportunity for clubbing in Calliope....
There is quite a long climb to get out of Calliope in the morning....
The drive through bottle shop doubles as the motel reception......
The women in the bottle shop initially gave us a room with only one double bed...(problem promptly resolved!)
Snack of the day: Snickers bar - Bororen Memorial Park
Tune of the day: Di Capua - O Sole Mio - The Three Tenors in Concert
Fact of the day: In ancient Greek mythology Calliope was the muse of heroic poetry, and daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne.
Tomorrow Rocky. Looking forward to having a crab sandwich.

Gordon says ...

Bit of a rest day today - just as well, as I feel rotten. I'm guzzling Stepsils and Lemsips, which would make me feel better, if it wasn't for a ranting Nigel in the background, fiddling disgustedly with the remote control for the TV: ' ... Oh I say, Gordon ... that last channel was in Greek, and now this program's in bloody German ...' (said in a very posh English accent). Yes Nigel, it's a multicultural society we have here ... For those of you who've never met Nigel, just think of Capt. Mannering from Dad's Army, with little bit of Prince George from Blackadder III thrown in.

For most of the day, my gears didn't work, and in the absence of a bike shop, I had to spin my legs like a hamster - which may be good technique, but meant I couldn't get the bike over about 20 kms/hr (still 6 kms/hr quicker than a sprinting Nigel). In the motel, I set to work trying to figure out what was wrong, until Nigel poked the gears with his finger and a big, trapped pebble fell out.

I took the plunge and downloaded War and Peace from itunes. It's 60 hours long - I listened to 30 minutes lying here on my motel bed, and promptly fell asleep - which doesn't bode well. I'm also thinking of trying Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children', which I've tried to read before, but couldn't get past page 30, in spite of Belinda's recommendations. Maybe if someone's reading it to me ...

Rocky tomorrow. Hoping I'll wake up feeling better. That's assuming I get to sleep at all of course, as it's only 5.30, and Nigel is dozing on the bed next to me, easily drowning out the roar of the trucks from the Bruce Highway. Jesus Christ ...

3rd July - Gin Gin to Miriam Vale

Nigel says......What a terrible night's sleep! It didn't bode well when we arrived back from the pub to find the police "interviewing" one of the other residents. Awoke at 4am to a persistent buzzing somewhere in the room. After about 30 mins of ripping the place apart finally traced the sound to the smoke detector. Gordon was useless. "Gordon, can you hear the buzzing?" "Yes, irritating isn't it!" This was the limit of his assistance in stopping the mental torture. Then at 0500hrs the road menders next door decided to slam their doors and rev their engines and at 0630hrs room service delivered breakfast to one of the neighbouring rooms with a cheery "Good morning, breakfast!" Groan.....

We left at 0830hrs. We couldn't see anywhere on the map where we could stop, so we decided to pick up a pie each as we cycled past the bakery. Good move. Today we cycled 100 kilometers (63 miles) and the only thing of note was the abandoned and derelict Colosseum Creek Motel and Roadhouse (pets welcome). This establishment taunted us with signs like 'Cold beer in 10kms' 'Coffee in 5kms'.

It was quite a hilly route mainly through the bush, with some stretches of cattle grazing. I saw two houses in the whole 100 kilometers. The weather was quite overcast and cold this morning, but warmed up late morning. I saw a heat haze coming off the road for the first time today. I suppose this is a taster of what we can expect.

Thoughts and comments:

Lots of boats being towed north
Lots of outsize loads on the road this morning.
Traffic volume low and drivers generally courteous today
Bruce Highway generally ok today.
Snack of the day: Sausage roll - Roadsign 25kms north of Gin Gin.
Podcast of the day: History of the World in 100 objects - No 12 - The Standard of Ur
Slogan of the day: Welcome to the Gladstone Region - The Region of choice.....
Fact of the day: Miriam Vale is the commercial and governmental hub of the 'Discovery Coast' area.
Going clubbing in Miriam Vale tonight...Calliope tomorrow

Gordon says ...

If Nigel had a bad night's sleep. he managed to disguise it well amid an 8 hour cacophanic masterpiece of inter-galactically loud snoring, so I wasn't really overly sympathetic to his concerns over some tiny little noise coming from somewhere else in the room. Truth is, I'm in the process of coming down with a cold, so I didn't sleep very well myself anyway (nothing like the death-virus I had a couple of weeks ago, and since I peddled through that, nothing to worry about) I'm slurping Lemsip as I write.

The ride was OK today - 100 kms of nothing. Even though I l look like a complete dick, the mirror on my helmet is turning out to be a pretty good idea. I can see the trucks coming a mile away, and beach the bike well before they arrive. I know my roadie cycling buddies -Anthony, Amir and Big Jim - would rather be run over than wear one, but they can kiss my ass. This isn't like racing 60 kms around the river loop 3 times a week. Half the truckies don't appear to care whether they have to scrap you off their tyres at the end of the day, or not. And the 4x4s towing boats are no better. Basically, I've set myself the target of seeing my children again, and if this stupid mirror is the price I have to pay, so be it.

Have stopped listening to music. Alan gave me three audio books to listen to, so I'm currently lost in the world of John le Carre - cold-war spys and all that. Not necessarily the choice I would make for myself, but it makes the time pass just that little bit quicker. I'm thinking of biting the bullet and going the whole 3000 hours of War and Peace from the itunes shop, which I've never actually read. What an intellectual snob I am ...

Short ride tomorrow - hopefully my cold will thank me for that.



2nd July - Howard to Gin Gin

Gordon says ...

My turn to talk first today - for reasons which will become obvious.

We stayed with my brother Alan and his family last night, and had a wonderful time - great hospitality and a lot of laughter. This is a testament to the strength of my brother's character, because if anyone had the right to be miserable, it's him. A few days before we set out on this 'ride for cancer research', Alan was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He's 51. I have to say, if this is some kind of cosmic joke, I don't get it.

Alan has surgery in Brisbane on the 6th of July, and we'll find out a couple of days later where he stands. We are all optimistic he will be fine, and we wish him well. He said it was OK to mention this in the blog, particularly as it has given the ride extra meaning for myself and Nigel, who has know Alan for over 40 years. We will be asking AICR that the money we raise from the ride be devoted specifically to prostate cancer research.

Probably needless to say, the ride was particularly glum for me today.

Nigel says ... A milestone day today - we have passed the half way point! For those who thought we might fall over and sack it at Brisbane or earlier - we are still going strong. From South Point we have walked 31 kilometers and cycled 2519 kilometers, a total of 2550 kilometers (1594 miles). Bring on the second half!

Between now and Cairns, we need to prepare Gordon for the nail varnish free zone of the Cape, but I think you can see from his blog tonight we both have plenty of incentive to get to the far north. Our current challenge is dealing with the Bruce Highway.

It was great to see Alan and family last night, also to catch up with June (Gordon and Alan's Mum) Our bikes were not ready until 0930hrs, so Alan took us down to Hervey Bay where we had tea on the beach - very pleasant.

The bike shop had done well with the bikes. Sally had extra padding on her handelbars and Winona had a new chain. We had loaded the bikes onto Alan's bike rack and were ready to drive off to Howard when the bike shop man came running out with Davros, King of the Daleks', helmet complete with mirror. It must be his age....I also give Gordon 3-1 odds that he will have stood on the replacement ipod headset Alan gave him before Cairns. (He stood on the last one)

Alan dropped us off at Howard where we had come off the Highway and we started pedalling north towards Gin Gin. The day was very overcast with rain at times. Unfortunately the sun was missing all day from the Sunshine State. The road was much better than yesterday, with only a couple of poor sections just south of Childers. Gordon was a lot happier with the mirror on his helmet. It seems to work as he saw me giving him V signs as I was cycling behind him...

The route was hilly in parts, but mostly flat. There was not that much to look at. We saw a variety of countryside from bush, sugar cane, rolling savannah like terrain and large orange groves. Only a couple of towns/villages en route. One interesting sight was tens of thousands of oranges dumped in a field where the cattle appeared to be eating them.

We arrived in Gin Gin at 1600hrs having cycled 90 kilometers (56 miles).

Thoughts and comment:
Much less traffic on the road today
Single carriageway for most of the time.
Much further between anywhere and noticeably fewer houses.
Snack of the day: Anzac biscuit - Childers
Tune of the Day: Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes
Slogan of the day: Nil
Mirriam Vale tomorrow.

1st July - Gympie to Howard

Nigel says ... Today we spent all day on the Bruce Highway.....116 kilometers (73 miles). We were hoping that the road would be better with a decent shoulder. There were parts where the road was fine, but many parts where the shoulder was non existent and it was single lane traffic. Not good - especially with the lorries. I find it hard to understand how the quality of the road can be so variable and why the quality of the Bruce Highway (one of Australia's major roads) can be so different to the Princes Highway and the Pacific Highway.

There was one point where there was no shoulder that both Gordon and I chose to cycle along a rough old track running alongside the highway. I think this must have been the original highway.

We cycled on without many stops, aiming to meet up with Alan (Gordon's brother) at Howard. He would then pick us up an take us back to his home at Hervey Bay dropping us back at Howard in the morning.

After a break in Howard, Alan arrived to pick us up and took us via the bike shop in Hervey Bay. Gordon wanted some extra padding for Sally's handlebars as his nail varnish was becoming scratched and also a helmet mirror to see the traffic better. I wasn't going to ask them to look at Winona at all, but the gears had been slipping a bit so I asked them to take a look - result is I need a new chain and rear sprocket as they are worn. Has this problem arisen because I have named the bike?? Fortunately we have the time tomorrow to get the issue sorted.

Thoughts and comment:

  • I reckon there are more men per capita in Australia than in UK with Santa beards.
  • Australian apples taste better in Australia than Australian apples do in UK....
  • A number of retirement homes in Hervey Bay suitable for Gordon...
  • Had a fantastic meal this evening Aurora, thank you.
  • Snack of the day: Fruit cake - Tiaro
  • Tune of the day: Iggy Pop - Lust for Life
  • Going to Gin Gin tomorrow. Good to see Alan and family tonight.









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