The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
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Cindie's Blog and Daily Journal
for Queensland Australia.
Travel Writing, Travelogue
Maroochydore to ???, Australia (June 21 - ??, 2007
||It has been some time since I have updated this
journal, we have been busy working on our second book and after that our
families came out to visit from Indiana and Alaska. Having a brood of nine around was
certainly a change of pace. There was always activity. We
enjoyed the beach at Maroochydore, Lamington National Park, Lady Elliot
Island, and various attractions in the area like the Australia Zoo and
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Half of those sights we would have
skipped if the family wasn't here, so it was a nice change of pace. We were tourists for a few weeks
rather than travelers. Before we knew it it everyone was leaving,
I can say the hardest part is saying good bye to family. Tim and I will
family was here I received an email from our good friends in Adelaide
Ray and Effie and they gave us the sad news that Maxine our friend from
Iowa passed away. She was 86 but never acted her age and that was
a good thing. She was always up for something new and had a keen
interest in everything around her. We were glad to have an opportunity
to know her.
After everyone went home it was Tim and I again and that
change took some time to get use to. We busied ourselves for the
next week changing almost every moving part on the bikes. Our
family brought us new bike parts from the states. We changed the entire
drive train including new cassette, chain rings, derailleur pulleys and
chain. We also changed our brake and derailleur cables,
brake pads, replaced a broken bottle cage, and added new bar ends for
me. Tim got new water bottles and we both ordered new shoes.
The old ones were over two and half years old and wore out. We
also got new jackets, actually our old ones we used in Mexico and South
America. Our jackets from China were completely worn out. We
now have to carry these jackets for three months across the top of
Australia where we most likely will not need them. However, we will need
them when we get to New Zealand. Tim wants to find an address in
Auckland to mail them to.
While we were working on our bikes I received more bad news from
home. My former boss Bill Wellendorf, had unexpectedly passed away
at the age of 57. Bill was my mentor both at work and in life.
He was a leader in the field of hydrogeology in Arizona. I had the
pleasure of working for him in Prescott Arizona for 5 years. Bill
was the type of guy who filled a room when he entered it. I will
always remember his sense of humor, his laughter was contagious and he
always looked on the bright side even when I had bad news from the
field. Bill just had a way of bring out the best in a person.
I will always remember when I told him I was quitting geology and riding
my bike around the world. He just said, "Cindie, I always knew you
were a hippie", and then he roared with laughter. This explained all the
packages arriving at the office lately (our equipment for the trip).
He helped me with our transition the best he could and our last night in
Prescott I slept near the copier in the office. I didn't see him
the day we left, Bill was never one to say good bye, and I wondered when
I would see him again. Little did I know the answer was never
again. So when I heard about him passing away I had an
unbelievable urge to go home but I couldn't make the journey in time for
his funeral if I wanted. So Tim and I did the next best thing, we
went to the local pub and had beer to Bill. My sympathies are with
Colette his wife and all his friends and family members.
When we arrived in Australia 9 months ago we ordered a new tent from
the states. A Big Agnes Parkview 3, this is a huge tent for us. We
have been using it almost daily for 9 months. One night while
camping as usual we returned to the tent to find it was completely
collapsed. Someone who was most likely drunk, had stumbled and
landed in the middle of our tent. Yikes, you can only imagine our
thoughts when we saw our collapsed tent. Oh shit comes to mind. Tim immediately wondered if something
had been stolen, nothing was missing. Things looked bad and so did
the tent, take a look below.
We were in luck, the family was coming
soon so we ordered a new tent and my sister brought it from Alaska.
We now have a new tent called the Taj 3. Most of our tents in the
past have been rectangular shaped, this one is not a rectangle. We
will see how it is living outside the box.
|June 22 - 23
||We were ready to go at the same time that school
holidays started. Our timing was off, so when we made reservations
on the train we were informed that it was fully booked so we had to take
the dreaded bus. We went to board the bus and were immediately
told that there was no room for our bikes. We managed to get our
bikes on the bus only to be bumped to another bus down the line. A
first for me, bumped off a bus. So our 23 hour journey from
Maroochydore to Cairns turned into a 33 hour journey including a broken
down bus. So by the time we arrived in Cairns we were pretty worn
out. The next morning Tim and I were both sick, headache and an
upset stomach, I felt like I had motion sickness, and entire day was
wasted recovering from the ordeal.
||Cairns. We managed to find a bike shop open on Sunday
in Cairns called Bike Man located at 99 Sheridan St. Cairns. It is
a well stocked bike shop so if you need something stop by and they will
give you a discount. We just couldn't find an internet cafe open
today so we will have to finish our interneting tomorrow. We are
planning our route across the north and have been looking at friends
journals. Ed Burke and Gay made the crossing from Cairns to Darwin
mostly on the dirt. It is nice to have their diary for road
conditions, camping spots, and water and food sources. Water spots
and food sources are scarce and Ed recommended sending food ahead to
towns along the way. So we are busy buying supplies and picking
out drop off points. I love getting ready for a big expedition and
this is the first where we have sent food ahead. I will report
here how it works out. Shopping has been a shocker lately, the
price of vegetables have doubled since we have arrived in Australia.
This has been attributed to the drought. I suspect it will cause
hardships for some. I wonder why they do not import some food.
Here are some of the prices in aussie dollars, bananas $5.50/ kilo (I
have seen them as high as $19/kilo), lettuce $2.38 per head, zucchini
$6.85/kilo (I don't get it zucchini grows really fast), cherries
$24/kilo (I think these are from the states), broccoli $8/kilo To convert to cost
in US dollars / pound divide the cost in half and subtract 15%. Yes the
US dollar continues to slide.
||Cairns. Just finishing up chores like going to
the post and to the internet. I can't wait to start riding again.
Since we have been in Australia Tim has not seemed to be riding very
well. His performance was sliding, he was tired all the time, and
his stomach bothered him all time. I gave Tim some time to improve
but he didn't so I had to take action. I literally bribed him to
go to the doctor. He agreed, kicking and screaming saying nothing was
wrong with him. So when the doctor told him he had a number of
things wrong with him he about fell out of the chair. It appears
that Tim has been carrying a parasite around for quite some time.
The parasite took over his upper intestine so he was not digesting his
food, it just sat there and his food fermented creating large quantities
of gas. This caused all kinds of discomfort, mainly for Tim.
Lets just say I wanted to check myself into a new tent. He was
also anemic and his protein level was high indicative of tissue damage.
Oh not so good. The best thing for him to do was take an
antibiotic, increase his iron intake and rest. He was retested
again and the parasite is now gone. I am interested to see how Tim
rides across this next stretch.
||Cairns - Bush Camp on the beach. It looked like
rain all morning but I continued to pack as if we were leaving, that was
a good thing because it eventually cleared up and we decided to push on.
The caravan park was a bit grungy anyway. Cairns itself was not
all that impressive to me, it had a real transient feel to it and that
means hold on to our stuff to me. Everything feels new on the bike
for me every point in contact with the bike has changed, new seat post
meaning new seat position, new shoes so I had to reset my cleats and new
bar ends that put my hands in a new position. So the entire day I was
stopping adjusting my seat and feeling overall uncomfortable on the
bike. Tim on the other hand was flying like the wind, we had a tailwind
hence I had no draft and had a hard time keeping up. I am
interested to see if I my sore knee returns. When we stopped
riding over 8 weeks ago my knee was still sore although not as bad.
I suspect the sliding seat post may have had something to do with it. It
seems that Koga sold us seat posts that were too small for the bike, I
always assumed I was not tightening my quick release tight enough but on
close inspection the seat post was sliding ever so slowly and over time
the grip just got loose. Tim changed his seat post in Thailand and I
thought my was fine, so now I have a new seat post and hopefully the
knee pain will go away. It is school holidays and the traffic is
medium to heavy. The scenery is nice but hard to enjoy with all
the buzz of traffic. We stopped at ellis beach to camp and they
wanted $26 au (US 22) and we thought that was a bit steep so we pushed
on to a bush camp on the beach. Nice spot, we saw a white bellied
sea eagle in the evening and a pod of dolphins swim by just off shore in
the morning. Ah the sound of birds in the morning was awesome,
most of them I don't recognize, time to investigate. Went to sleep
to the sound of the surf.
The ride, the road is newly sealed, wide shoulder in some places and
no shoulder where we need them around the corners. Traffic heavy.
The road is flat and fast with a tailwind from the southeast.
||Bush camp - Mossman. A nice but cool morning and no
rain over night. It has been raining almost every day over the last
month so hopefully the dry will start soon. I think I set my seat
where I wanted it today. I don't remember that being so hard to do. The
area is more built up then I thought, a large IGA supermarket at the
turn to Port Douglas made a nice lunch stop.
The ride - windy road
with no shoulder in some places and a wide shoulder in others. The
terrain undulates slightly with no steep climbs. Tailwind from the
southeast. Traffic heavy because of school holidays, could not
wait to get off the road. Weather cool in the morning, humidity lower
||Mossman. We took the day off to check out Mossman Gorge.
It is only 5 km away and a flat ride too. When we arrived it was
packed with people and cars too, it is school holidays. I few more
bicycles would have alleviated the congestion, we saw only two other
bikes. Anyway it was a nice walk in the rain forest and we did see
three wild boars, ok two were little piglets, at first I thought they
were domestic then when I got a look at their face it was obvious they
were wild. I also saw a bandicoot and a Ulysses butterfly which is
a bright blue until it lands and then it is brown and blends in. We did
find internet over by the Woolworths and the caravan park was reasonable
at $16 au.
||Mossman - Mt. Molloy. We did a little more
interneting in the morning and then it was up the hill towards Atherton.
We didn't know where the top was so I expected a long hard climb.
It turns out that it was a nice climb with no steep sections through the
rain forest on a sunny but not too warm day and we only climbed 400
meters (1300 feet) to the first plateau. I found my climbing legs
and it was nice to be comfortable on the bike again. Tim is doing
ok too. I don't want to push him too hard, he was pretty sick only
a month ago. About 2 km outside of Mt. Molly we came across a rest
area with tables, water, and bathroom. we decided it was easier to
stay there then bush camp down the road. It was a pleasant spot
and one of the local farmers dropped off bags and bags of mandarins for
all the campers. that is the aussie way. they were really
sweet and added to our breakfast of muesli. We eat muesli every
morning and it has lots of oats in it, one of the things that Tim was
checked for was his cholesterol and it was excellent. When we had
our cholesterol checked in Bangkok is was borderline high for both of
us. I am pretty sure that eating muesli every day and cutting down on
our meat consumption has really changed that number. Towards
evening two cyclists came in, Steve and his brother from England.
||Mt. Molloy - Atherton. It was a cold night and we
were up early ready to go, I wanted to do some birding at the lake down
the road. So we stopped by the other cyclists camp before we left
and talked for an hour at least. They weren't quite ready so we
left and did some birding at the lake and stopped for lunch near the
wetlands area. We met up with the boys from England and rode with
them to Maceraba where they turned off to Kurunda on there way back to
Cairns and we rode on to Atherton.
The ride was flat to Maceraba then
a steady 400 meter climb over 30 kilometers to Atherton. The traffic was
occasionally heavy, it is still school holidays. It was a bit cold
last night, the temp dipped below freezing.
||Atherton. It is Sunday and all the shops are
closed. Luckily the caravan park had free wireless, a first for
us, and we surfed the net a bit.
||Atherton - Curtain Fig tree. It was a busy day
from the start, the tent had to be dried in the sun, we had so much dew
this morning it might as well have rained on us. In the middle of
the night I heard animals down by the creek and I did a bit of spot
lighting at 2 in the morning. First I heard a rustling in the
grass and then I followed the movement all the way up to the grassy area
where I was camping. At first the animal hopped along like a rabbit but
when I got a good look at him he had a long nose like an anteater.
Very cute, it was a long nosed bandicoot. They have the most
fascinating animals here. He was very timid and I soon found out
why, as I was watching him I felt a whoos by my head. Something
like an owl or other large bird. Scared the shit out of me so I ended up
back in the tent, all out of breath. No harm, Tim was still
snoring. The next morning I told a neighbor what had happened and
he guessed it was a fruit bat not an owl. Yuck. Then it was
off to town to buy more provisions for our trek across the top as they
say. I sent two more boxes down the road to the Northern Territory. That
took quite a bit of time so it was late by the time we left town.
I really wanted to see the curtain fig tree. So we took a detour
toward Yungaburra. We road through open farm land and then whala
we were in the rainforest. I then realized that these hill were once all
rain forest. We easily found the curtain fig tree and even Tim was
impressed. The fig starts in the upper branches of a host tree and
its roots grow down towards the forest floor. The host tree is
eventually strangled and the fig tree is literally hollow in the middle
and a tangle of roots to the ground. Well this particular host
tree fell and leaned on another tree so the roots of the fig grew down
in a curtain shape. A wonderful tree to look at and the local
animals like the tree kangaroo call the place home. I was
determined to see a tree kangaroo so we found a place to camp down the
road and then walked back at night. Most animals in Australia are
nocturnal so the forest literally comes alive at night, such a curious
phenomena. Well we waited on the platform for the tree kangaroos
to come out. I was sitting on the ground with my binoculars in my
lap. I spotted the tree kangaroo with my spot light and was so
excited that I stood up fast and when I did my binoculars crashed to the
ground with a loud thud and off went the tree kangaroo, never to return
that night. Oh want a yo yo I was.
||Curtain Fig Tree - Milla Milla. The evening was
cold and the morning was heavy with dew and it seemed like in was
raining. We packed up camp and went back to the fig tree for one
last look and then on to Mananda. One last stop at the store for
some things I forgot, I am already having withdrawals about leaving the
big supermarket behind. I know what it is like not to have to many
choices at the store. We decided to ride to Milla Milla and bush
camp after that. The road was rolling and my load was heavy.
I started feeling a cold coming on. No matter how hard I pushed I
felt terrible. I gave in to stopping at Milla Milla. I went to bed
feeling awful. I wore my pants, socks, thermal shirt, jacket, hat,
and gloves all under my sleeping bag and I still was freezing, I had the
chills from a fever. In the morning I had a back ache and a stuffy
nose. Great I have been riding a week and I get a cold and I was
worried about Tim. Tim seems to be doing ok.
||Milla Milla - Innot Hot Springs. Happy Birthday
to my big sister Debbie. I had one thing
on my mind when I was packing up and the was the thermal pools at the
caravan park in Innot. The lady at the caravan park told us if we
took the back way to Ravenshoe (that's Ravens - hoe, I made the mistake
of calling it Raven - shoe) it would all be downhill. I could tell
by looking at the terrain that she was wrong. But boy was she
wrong. We climbed many hills the next one higher than the first, 800
meters, then 840 m, 950 m and finally 1140 m. After the last hill
we could see Ravenshoe. The road was hilly but beautiful and
traffic was light. I am already tired of the school holiday traffic on
the road, all we can do is wait. My cold was worse but I pushed on
anyway. Tim pulled me up and over the hills when he could. After
we turned on to the Kennedy highway it was mostly downhill with a few up
hill climbs. Tim would race down the hill with me coasting in his draft
and then pedal as hard as he could and sometimes pulling us up and over
the top of the next hill. What a work out. We made the 30 km from
Ravenshoe to Innot in an hour and ten minutes. We arrived and we
jumped in the thermal pools. The problem was it seemed to make my
head cold worse. Ya just can't win.
||Innot Hot Springs. Well I wore myself out so much
yesterday that I just didn't have any energy to move. As Tim would
say! Donkey down. Oh and I have now passed my cold to Tim,
but I knew that would happen. Poor Tim. We did have a chance to soak in
the thermal pools today.
||Innot Hot Springs (670 meters) - Forty Mile Scrub
National Park Picnic area (800 meters). So far the road has been a
normal two lane road with a shoulder on the side most of the time. The
caravaners at the hot spring warned us of the changing road conditions.
Apparently the road goes from a two lane down to one lane here and
there, willy nilly. To make things more interesting there are road
trains going to and from the mine. These road trains are carrying four
trailers behind them and can be up to 50 meters (164 feet) long.
Yikes. They said we had to get off the road when one was coming.
Ok easy enough I thought. They seemed to think we had a death wish
for riding on this very dangerous road. So we set off and made
good time to Mount Garnet 15 km away. About 5 km from Mount Garnet the
road went to one lane which was not bad when no one was on the road but
when the caravans started flying by so did the gravel in our face.
We quickly realized we needed to get off the road when they saw us so
they would stay on the road and not throw gravel at us when they drove
half on the road and half in the dirt. We decided that we would
ride in the dirt when we were riding up hill and on the pavement when we
were riding down hill that way we would not come face to face with a
vehicle at the top of the hill. That worked well. We thought
we would ride and camp by water near the turn to Georgetown. It
turns out that there are no running water sources past 20 mile creek.
We were lucky to find the picnic area that had a rain tank. So if
you go this way either carry a lot of water or get water at 20 mile
The ride - hilly with some climbing, road conditions change
from good to bad to good again, traffic was light to heavy, on and off
headwind. No water so pick up plenty at Mount Garnet.
||FMS National Park (800 m) - Einasleigh River (365 m)
In the morning a couple in a caravan filled our bottles with drinking
water. Yeah we did not have to filter. We were 4 km north of
the turn to the Savannah way, we started heading west at the turn and
what a difference we now had a tailwind and were riding along at 25 to
30 km an hour. Wohoo. The rock type is now basalt and you will not
find any running water here. No water until Mount Surprise. Mount
Surprise is a nice little town with two petrol stations, a pub, and a
cafe. We filled our
water bottles and road the 33 km to the Einasleigh River.
We met an
American family at the cafe, they were a lot of fun to talk to.
The kids loved the outback. As we were talking the dad said, "We
saw 18 kangaroos today and one of the was alive". He was quite sad
about that. It is one thing I will never get use to and that is
seeing all the road kill in Australia. It is a fact here but it
still bothers me to ride by a dead animal. Mostly kangaroos, I realize
they are nocturnal and it is difficult to avoid them at times. It
does not seem to bother most Australians especially those with the 'roo
bars' that protect their car and plow the animal off the road. In
my opinion the Australian wildlife really needed Steve Irwin to bring
them to the forefront, the wildlife here are really unique and like
nowhere else in the world.
the ride - rolling hills, nice tailwind in the morning switching to a
light headwind in the afternoon.
||Einasleigh River - Georgetown. Had to ride over
the New Castle range today, a bit of a climb, I was glad that it was not
hot. We are now in the outback. Gum trees and tall grasses
with termite mounts dotting the landscape.
the ride - undulating hills
all the way to Georgetown, the road continues to go between a two lane
and one lane road. Traffic is light so it is easy to see someone
coming and get off the road. A few water holes, one at the top of
the New Castle range looked like a good source of water. Nice light
tailwind, sunny warm, perfect riding conditions.
||Georgetown. Had a busy day of laundry, buying a
few supplies, visiting the fresh water crocodile and the old cemetery
which was very interesting. This area certainly had a wild past, a bit
violent and tragic. I saw many graves for children and young
adults. Georgetown has two caravan parks, three stores - the Ampol is
well stocked and reasonably priced, there is internet at the Terrestrial
where you can plug in your own computer for $6 an hour, nice.
||Georgetown - Gilbert River. Happy Birthday
Cherie. Happy Birthday to youoooo. We are heading west and
having a great time riding in the outback. Just Beautiful.
We are riding into Crocodile country, the big salties. Haven't
seen a croc yet but the birds are prolific. We saw our first wedge
tailed eagle today, he was on the road eating the latest road kill.
We had a late start so by the time we arrived at the Gilbert river it
was getting pretty late, so we didn't have much time to get water, cook
dinner and pitch the tent. In our haste we rode down near the
river and collected water. I got a big fright when I saw a
crocodile print the size of baseball in the sand bank. No need to
worry too much yet, it was a fresh water croc print, they are not
aggressive, still we didn't want to startle him. We collected our
water, and a few goat head in our new tires too. Goat heads are a
three pronged thorn that is the scourge of cyclists. It will
screech any riding day to a complete halt. We made it over to
camp, made dinner, and flopped into bed just after dark. Tim
changed his pulled about 20 thorns out of his rear tire and changed his
flat just before sunset. I knew we had a pleasant job of pulling
thorns out of our tires in the morning.
the ride - undulating hills to
rolling hills for the first 40 km and then relatively flat. The
Gilbert river is the only water source in this section. Traffic
light, road continues to go from one lane to two lanes. The two
lane road is more common. Warm sunny day, good riding conditions.
||Gilbert river - 2 km past Croyton. I woke up to
the thump thump thump of kangaroos (possibly wallabies) jumping past our
tent. I love that sound. It was a cold night and a bit wet
because we camped in the vicinity of the river. We spent the
morning pulling thorns out of our tires, I didn't get a flat, that was
most likely due to fact that our tires are new. Still there were
plenty of thorns to pull out. We stopped at the Little river and
enjoyed the birdlife. What a nice spot, much better place to camp,
quiet and no generators to listen to. As we were snacking we saw a
brogala flap by. We arrived in Croyton a little after 2 pm and all
the restaurants were closed except the general store. For some
reason I expected a bigger town. This is the end of the line for
the Gulflander, a train you can take from Normanton
the ride- flat,
and more flat. Nice slight tailwind. 22 km past Gilbert river is
the Little river I recommend it over the Gilbert river camping area.
Since the Gilbert river the road has been two lanes, nice we don't have
to dive into the dirt when a car goes by.
||2 km past Croyton - Hayden Creek.
The ride is flat
and there was no wind. I had to work hard all day to keep up with
Tim. We stopped at Bull Haven, 56 km from Croyton, for water.
The signs said the water wasn't drinkable. There is a
caravan park there so there must be water some where. We met some
caravaners while we were eating lunch, we met them yesterday in Croyton
and they gave us about 15 liters of drinking water. Tim carried
the 10 liter bag and I carried an extra 2 liters to our camp site at
Hayden Creek. The creek had a little water in it but it was better
to have clean water than filter muddy water. Croyton has a caravan
park, supplies and internet although we did not look for it.
||Hayden Creek - Normanton. We had a nice fire in
The caravan park in town is crap, they made us move our tent so a
caravan could come in, they already shoved us under a small tree where
they could have put us in a better spot. It has been nothing but a
battle with the caravan owner I really don't recommend the caravan park
a block from the Purple Pub.
||Normanton. Normanton has at least three stores,
two butchers, a bakery, a couple of pubs, two caravan parks and internet
at the library where you can hook up your computer for $4/hour.
||Normanton - L Creek. We got an early start out of
Normanton and the road were quiet because it was Sunday. We
originally planned to visit the monument to Burke and Wills the
explorers but decided against it because it would have added an extra 4
km round trip. Soon after the turn off to the B and W monument we
crossed the Little Bynoe river, the river was low and the crossing dry.
Then we crossed the Bynoe river and the crossing was dry also. The
Flinders river was running across the concrete causeway. We
watched a couple of caravans drive across and it looked like we could
cross as well. I stood on the bank and filmed Tim riding across
the river. He then he came back and followed me across. I
was a bit nervous and concentrated on not slipping as I crossed. I
didn't know that Tim was filming me as we crossed together. It
really wasn't as deep as I thought, my feet barely hit the top of the
water. How he pedaled his bike and filmed me at the same time is
beyond me, he is a crazy man with a camera. We continued to ride
until L - creek which is not marked but is the next water crossing. We
camped away from the river and watched the incredible bird life fly by.
Near the creek there were at least 40 - 50 hawks circling. Near
sunset we watched flocks of little cruellas fly by, hundreds noisily
passed over head within thirty minutes of sunset.
The ride - The road is sealed for a few kilometers and then it was a
well graded road for 65 km. One river crossing at Flinders river.
Sunny, warm days and cool nights.
|65 km dirt
||L - creek - Leichhardt Falls. We woke to a
beautiful sunrise and had a nice fire to start the morning. We
started early for us (8:30 am) because we knew we had a long day.
Ed Burke's and Randy Millers journal has come in handy for this area.
The ride- the terrain was mostly flat with a few small hills, the
road was fast in some areas and heavily corrugated or washboard in other
areas. We stopped at M creek about 37 km from Leichhardt falls to
filter water. Just as we stopped a caravan went by and asked us
what we were doing, I said filtering water. They immediately said
hey we have a tank full of water, you can have some. That saved us
a bunch of time. The days have been sunny and warm and the nights
cool to almost cold. I have been using my jacket that I thought
would be a waste of space. This afternoon proved to be the warmest
yet and we really went through the water. Tim drank about 6 liters
today and I drank nearly 4 liters and it wasn't even that hot. We
met Rob, Bev and Ray at the falls. Bev gave us some TimTams an
Australian cookie covered in chocolate, ummm chocolate.
|97 km dirt
||Leichhardt Falls - Burketown. The falls were dry
and the camping area sandy and a bit shadeless so we decided not to take
a day off here. Rob, who we met yesterday gave us our day's supply
of water so we shoved off early. We were in luck the wind was from
the south and we were heading north also to our delight the road was
paved all the way to Burketown, a new improvement. We had a
leisurely ride all the way to town. On the way we saw wallabies
hopping about and a huge flock of little corellas, I am sure the locals
find them destructive and noisy but the were awesome to watch move
through the air like a wave. There were at least 500 birds in the
flock. We cruised into town across the Albert River and quickly
looked for crocodiles but we didn't see any. We have not seen any
crocs yet and we really have been looking. We arrived in the
caravan park and were happy to see lots of shade and a nice camp kitchen
area. I had a Barra (fish) and coleslaw sandwich, it is was tasty.
I wandered over to the general store and was about to buy bananas and
then found out they were $11 a kilo. I couldn't resist I was just
craving a banana and winched as I handed over my money. We met a
couple from Sydney traveling around the outback, they had the super
rugged type trailer that pops out to a tent. We do not have anything
like this in the states and I think they would be really popular there.
Burketown has two stores which are really expensive, a library where you
can connect your laptop for $3.50 an hour a really nice service for the
area. The information center is the old post office, a really nice
||74 km paved
||Burketown Once again we ran around doing laundry,
internet and a tad bit of shopping. Talked with Frank at the
information desk, I told him that I sent a box of food to the
Wollogorang Station and he called them and handed me the phone. I
talked with Stuart and yes he had our box of food. Great I had not
worries. Frank was also a wealth of information on the road ahead
and the birdlife in the area.
||Burketown - Army Camp. Some days we are
just at the mercy of the wind and today was brutal, the wind was coming
from the south and we were traveling to the southwest. At times it
was a battle to keep the bike up right. The road was better
because it was half paved and half dirt so we did manage to get the
kilometers in that we wanted. We decided to go visit the army unit
that was constructing new buildings at Domadgee the aboriginal community
near by. We collected water from them and camped down the road
from the unit but away from Elizabeth creek.
||90 km dirt/road
||Army Camp - Cliffdale Creek. We were up early and
enjoyed a quiet moment before sunrise and before the army was up.
I expected to hear reveille at 6 am but then again we are in Australia
and they played loud music instead. At 6 am they played white
stripe's Seven Nation Army and AC/DC until everyone was up and out of
bed. I suspect they skipped calisthenics too. hehe. We
quickly road into Domadgee and to the grocery store. We had to
ride into town to find the bakery, sorry no fresh bread that I could
see, other snacks though and around the corner was a large grocery
store. The place was a dream, it had most vegetables and fruit in
a store since Atherton and the prices seemed reasonable. I could
have easily stocked up on supplies here. The people in the store
spoke a different language. We got lost on our way back to the
main road and took a tour of town. It was a bit dismal, may houses
were dilapidated and had walls with large holes in them. Possibly a sign
of violent behavior. The first thing I noticed was that most
people were friendly and a few people were a bit more subdued. The
second thing I noticed was there was a bunch of bored people hanging
around with nothing to do. The bakery also had signs about what
foods were healthy for diabetics like whole meal bread instead of
white bread and soda water or diet coke instead of coke. We
stopped a Cliffdale creek for a break and decided to stay the night.
We actually camped a half a kilometer before the creek at a water hole
with great egrets, herons, and storks, you couldn't pull me away.
We also had the visitors around dusk, a family of wallabies who had come
to the water hole for a drink and were curious to see what we were all
||Cliffdale Creek - Settlement Creek. the road was rough
we pushed on to pick up our box of food. the people who had our box were
friendly but not inviting. they let us fill up our bottles with
fresh water and told us there were camping spots near Settlement Creek.
9-15-06 to 9-15-07
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground