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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Blog and Daily Journal Northern
Travel Writing, Travelogue
Wollogorang Station to
(July 22 - September 14, 2007)
||Settlement Creek made damper for the first time. I made the
simplest form first. self rising flour, water and salt. the
consistency reminded me when I made biscuits when I was a kid.
Instead of putting the bread in aluminum foil I wrapped it on a stick and cooked
it on the fire. The first one I didn't cook enough but Tim loved
it anyway, the second one I cooked longer and it tasted better. We
saw lots of birds, hawks,
sulfur crested cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, blue winged kookaburra, and
more. wallabies and lots of cows, saw a pair of bulls fighting in
the road. interesting, oh and we happen to see a large frog, the creek
is crystal clear and the vegetation lush. It was a nice place to
take a day off.
||Settlement Creek - Calvert Creek. Our first water
crossing was near the Redbank Mine the water was contaminated so I would
not recommend collecting drinking water from here, it was the copper
green color of metals in solution. The next water source was gold
creek although it is not signed. The road was rough most of the
day but it was the worst near the Redbank mine. The road went down
an incline through a sand trap, a rather large sand trap and up another
incline. I knew I had to have a lot of speed to get through this
one. My bike was a bit heavier since we picked up our package at
Wollogorang Station. So I geared up and hit that sand trap as fast
as I could, not two bike lengths into the loose stuff, I hit a large
boulder and it launched my front wheel into the air and when I came back
down the wheel was tilted sideways. I had all the momentum I
wanted at first and now I had the momentum and my bike didn't. The
only natural thing to do was get launched over the handlebars and that I
did and before I knew it I had clipped out of my pedals and landed in
the dirt in front of my bike. Oh I wanted to just lay there for a second
but I didn't get the chance, a car was coming down the road. I
quickly jumped up and picked my bike up. The car slowed and the driver
rolled down the window and said, "What are you doing on this road!" as
in why do you think you can ride on this road. This took me back
and I said, "I want to ride through the outback and was doing fine until
a minute ago." He said, ya ok as if to imply I was lying and drove
on by. He never did ask me if I was alright, the yahoo. The
rest of the road was a chore to ride however in some places it was
really fast. It was not Tim's day either. He was drafting behind
me. We easily crossed Calvert Creek because it was only a couple
of inches high. The for some strange reason Tim and I both lost
our front brake pads. We managed to find the pads and I put them
back on at camp. Luckily Tim had a few extra pins in his tool bag.
Good thinkin Tim. We camped on the west side of the creek and realized
we didn't have to carry water up to camp because there was a creek
running by the camp area. Someone else was camping there too, not
very friendly but had to let us camp near by. A pretty spot all
||Calvert Creek - Robinson River. We both slept
hard last night. I felt awful all day, the same feeling I would
have after wrecking on my mountain bike, achy all over. The road
did not help it was rough with lots of corrugation or washboard. There
is a lot more traffic on the road now then it seems when Ed, Gaye and
Mark traveled in 2000 and Randy and Jody traveled in 2001.
Consequently the road is a mess and the drivers are just plain well
ignorant about the gravel and dust they throw on us as they race by.
We have been lucky that only one large road train has past us, it was
beyond dusty. The caravans don't seem to realize or care, not sure
which that dust and gravel is flying every where. The attitude of
the drivers is get out of my way. We stopped for lunch and a
caravan rolled up and a older man said, "Would you like a cuppa?" that
is Australian for "Do you want a cup of coffee? Tim and I said oh
yes and we sat and had a cup of coffee with a couple from Victoria.
What a pleasant way to spend a break, they really made my day, lifted my
spirits. They too remarked how the drivers were spraying gravel
everywhere, so it just wasn't us. We camped up from the Robinson
River and enjoyed a nice view of the river. Lots of birds around
the river. Something I haven't mentioned is the incredible night
skies. The stars twinkle and the milky way runs directly overhead.
Every night I orientate myself with the southern cross. The stars
twinkle through the trees and can be seen horizon to horizon. Just
||Robinson River - Wearyan River. Feeling a bit
better today. Today is Tim and mine's wedding anniversary, 9 years
with 5.5 of them on the road. We had a nice leisurely day on the bike.
We saw two snakes today, a black snake and a brown snake, we managed to
get a photo of the brown snake. We haven't seen any wallabies
lately, I wonder where they went. We decided to camp at the Wearyan
river, the last water crossing before Borrooloola. We spent a
pleasant afternoon of showering, no swimming here because of crocs,
although we didn't see any.
||Wearyan River - Borrooloola. Another rough day on
the road, it took nearly 3.5 hours to get to town. The road was
heavily corrugated, I pushed on knowing that Borrooloola was just around
the corner. The caravan park is bit run down and expensive at $20
au a night. Tim went to the bathroom during the night and stepped
on a large fish hook near the men's bathroom. Luckily he had his
shoes on or it would have been a trip to the hospital. Losing a fish
hook that large would not have been tolerated in my family when I was a
kid fishing off the Jersey Shore. A responsible fisherman always knows
where his hooks are.
||Borroloola. Spent the day cleaning equipment,
shopping, laundry. Met Ben from Australia, he is traveling around
in a ute (truck) in the outback. He had a nice set up with his
truck a fridge and cooking stove. Ben made us breakfast of eggs and
toast Nice. We met a Swiss man Daniel and his son Pascel.
The made us a great dinner of steak and pasta. We must have looked
like we were hungry all day. We still had a lot of packing to do
and night fall came. So I knew we would get a late start in the
morning. To top it off it is Friday night and the music was
so loud, all night long. The local pub is closed so I can only guess it
was at the civic center. It reminded me of the little towns we
stayed in Laos where they played music all night long. We couldn't
wait to get to the tourist centers where they don't stay up all night.
In this case we could not wait to get back into the outback.
||Borroloola - Heart Break Hotel. We were already
off to late start when Tim noticed that his Brooks saddle was hanging on
by a thread. Ugh it would have been nice if he had noticed it
yesterday. So off to the store we went and the closest store
didn't have any superglue. OK, we can take off and hope it lasts
or turn around back into town and buy superglue at the other store, two
kilometers in the wrong direction. So we turned around, bought
superglue, and waited a half hour until it dried. In the meantime
we had an opportunity to talk with a few of the aboriginal elders in
town so I felt it wasn't a total lose of time. I wish we had more
time to chat actually. So we didn't push off down the road until 10 am.
Ouch, and we had a long day. At least the terrain was flat most of
the day and as we steadily turned west we got more and more of a
tailwind. We arrived at Heartbreak hotel to early for dinner and
to late for lunch. So it was a beer until dinner was served.
We did get a nice reception for the caravaners when we arrived.
||Heart Break Hotel - Rest Area 1. Hmm I could feel
yesterday's kilometers in my legs today. It didn't help that the
terrain was undulating with a medium climb of 150 meters. Not much
but I think I am beginning to feel the heat of the day. Up until
we reached Borroloola a couple of days ago it was warm during the day
and cool to cold at night. We could ride all day long. Now
this can be dangerous because we tend not to get going that fast in the
morning. This will have to change now that it is hot. We
pulled into the rest area at the top of the hill for a nice break.
Oh what a nice view in all directions, shade and a water tank. We
could not resist and after a bit of discussion about how much food we
had and a review of our schedule we decided to call it a day and stay
the night. whoo my legs needed the rest anyway. We had the place
to ourselves for about an hour and then it was grand central station for
an hour and then it was quiet again. We thought we had the place
to ourselves until about 5 pm when all the caravaners came roaring in, 5
in all and a huge bus. Howdy neighbors. Guess it won't be a
quiet night after all. Turns out that everyone was friendly which
is always the case in Australia so everyone got comfortable with each
other which I think is a whole lot better than pretending that someone
doesn't exist. It was a spectacular sunset and a full moon.
||Rest area 1 - Rest Area 2. We know where our rest stops
are all the way to Daly Waters. We have a map that designates
these areas and the caravaners have this great book that lists what is
there like shade, water, a view ect. We are in luck the next stop
is 61 km away and the one after that is 72 km. The bad part is the
second stop does not have any water, just a table. we are going to
have to carry all our water from the second rest area to our last
campsite before Daly Waters. Well at least we had plenty of water
jugs on us, we must be quite a sight going down the road with 5 1.25
liter bottles strapped on the back of the bikes. We always get
mixed reactions from Australians. A few are interested in our
trip, some think good on ya or go for it in American English, some
think we are just plain crazy like why would you want to do that - this
to me is the most understandable reaction and finally but not lastly you
are just plain stupid. Hmm it is interesting the things you learn
when you understand the language. hehe. The terrain was undulating at
first and flatten out at the end of the day. The road turned to
the northeast and made for a great tail wind. So it was an easy
day for my legs.
||rest area 2 to rest area 3. not a very eventful day but
that is a good thing. We took a look in the Australia Camp3 book
to see what amenities rest area 3 had and it said it just had a picnic
table, no shade or water. We decided to carry the water we needed
for the evening and the next day's ride. The weather has turned
warmer and we are going through the water faster. When we had arrived at
rest area 2 the day before the couple we met in the big white bus left
us 5 liters of drinking water so I carried that and Tim carried 14
liters of water. 5/3.75 = 1.3 gallons x 8lbs = 10.3 lbs, so I was
carrying an extra 10 lbs. 14.5/3.75 = 3.86 gallons x 8 lbs. = 30.9
lbs. so Tim was carrying an extra 30.9 pounds. Yes Tim really is
the donkey on the team. We arrived at rest area 3 and to our
delight, well mostly, there was shade and a water tank. So we
didn't really have to carry all that water but when it comes to water in
a dry hot climate it is always better to be safe then sorry. Tim and I
both have run out of water in Arizona and Texas and it is not a pleasant
thing and can be fatal. We had set up our tent about 10 meters (30 feet)
from the water tank where there were bowls of water for the local birds,
so I thought. In the middle of the night Tim and I were both woken
up by the sound of an animal lapping up water from a bowl. Hmm that
didn't sound like a bird or a wallaby. In the morning we heard it
again and when I looked around with my flashlight I thought I saw a
wallaby, only it didn't add up, the sound of a wallaby is thud, thud,
thud on the ground. Tim woke in the morning and the first thing he
said was, "Cindie that was Dingo at the water bowl last night." He
was right, that is what we heard a Dingo which is a wild dog in these
||Rest area 3 - Daly Waters Pub. I was ready to
make the last push into civilization. We were running low on food
and I was looking forward to picking up our third and final food package
at Daly Waters. The road was undulating with small but slow
climbs. We finally made it to the road house at the intersection
with the Stuart highway and had a burger for lunch. The place was
a buzz of activity and had a caravan park as well. For some reason I
wanted to stay there instead of riding the last 7 km to Daly waters Pub,
we pushed on knowing we had a parcel to pick up. The first thing I
did was get a camp site and ask about our box. When I asked for
the our box I noticed the girl behind the counter turned a bit white.
She handed it over to me and I immediately noticed it had been tampered
with and half the contents were missing. I had no energy to fight
with her or anyone else so we went to our campsite and set up. As
we were pitching our tent we were knocked over by the smell of raw
sewage. Welcome back to civilization. The bathrooms were
grungy as well. This place won all kinds of awards in the past but
it has obviously gone down hill.
||Daly Waters - Larrimah. Tim and I got up and
packed to leave. We were originally going to take a rest day here
but no way I can't stand the smell of the place. It was so bad I
could not eat breakfast. The ladies camping next to us, Linda and Sharon
knew were were robbed, cause we told them our story, and they kindly
gave us some food. Power bars to be exact, just what I needed for
breakfast. It got me two hours down the road. We decided to
tell the management that they had a thief on their staff. We
really didn't expect much response. Tim said he would go in and
talk to the manager, thanks Tim I am such a wimp. So he put the empty
Australia post box on the bar counter and asked for the manager.
Every single employee came out to see what was going on. Tim asked
if there were surveillance cameras and one girl said there was.
The manager, Leslie, a guy in a vest jacket, came out and asked what was
the problem. Tim said something like we sent a package here and
when we got it half our food from the box was missing. First, he
wanted to argue that we shouldn't of sent the package there and then Tim
informed him that we could and he was required to hold it for 30
business days. Then Leslie said, "No one on my staff took
anything". Tim said, "I don't believe you" then Leslie raised his
voice, squared up to Tim like he was going to hit him and said "Are you
calling me a Crook". Tim said, No I am Not. In the mean time
I stepped back to get out of the way. Leslie said, You are calling
me a crook, you can piss off and get out of here". Whow that was a
bit of a different reaction the we had expected. In the mean time
Leslie had run away and Tim said rather loudly in the bar for all to
here. Yeah! and your caravan park smells like the sewer because your
septic tank is overflowing. With that we left the bar. I
have all intentions of filing a complaint with the Australian Post,
tampering with the mail and stealing is a crime. We then peddled on to
Larrimah, Tim was so mad he lead the entire way, into a head wind.
When we arrived at Green Park we knew we could spend a rest day there.
||Larrimah. Rest Day. The typical laundry and clean
equipment day. It was cheap to camp at Green Park $4 per person
and it was like being at a farm. There was a resident pig, cows,
water buffalo and her 6 month old, a crocodile (salties) pen, a bird
avary (all kinds of parrots and a few guinea pigs too) and last but not
least a baby grey kangaroo. Yes the baby kangaroo was 4 months old and
was rescued by a family in West Australia and by the time they got to
Larrimah it was dieing so Di and Ben took over it's care and whala that
baby is growing well. They keep it in a bag because it resembles a
pouch. The little guy is 4 months old and barely hops. Ben
and Di are a unique couple who take in injured wildlife and have a
passion for animals. It was a great place to spend a day off and
if you stop by tell them Cindie and Tim said hello.
||Larrimah - Mataranka. We were off in the morning,
it was nice to have a rest day, my legs appreciated it. It was a
tailwind most of the way and before we knew it we were in Mataranka.
Luckily we arrived at the store at 2:30 pm just before the 3 pm closing
time. Since tomorrow is Sunday it will be closed. We went to
the Mataranka Cabins and Camping caravan park
||Mataranka Rest Day. We were camped walking distance
from Bitter Springs. The hot springs, I think they are 34 degrees
so like a nice warm bath. What we really liked about the springs
is the natural setting and the current took us slowly down stream where
we could get out and walk to the beginning again. It was a lazy
day ahh. Towards evening a couple of cyclists came in, they were
using trailers and to my delight one of them had a dog, yes I said dog,
in it. Glen, Jackie and Kona the dog are from Geelong in the state
of Victoria. They had ridden from Geelong. They were heading
towards Katherine as well so we decided to ride with them.
||Mataranka - King River. We all met at the store
and then headed north towards Katherine. Jackie and I talked most
of the way and the day just flew by. It nice to talk to a women
not that I am tired of Tim or anything but a female perspective is
always welcome. Jackie had Kona in her trailer and Kona was not a
small dog. Imagine seeing 4 cyclists riding down the road, two
with trailers and a dog in tow. People slowed down to take
pictures, not of us, but of Kona the dog. A star is born.
She seemed to be use to all that attention. We stopped at a rest
area about 59 km from Katherine and picked up water for the evening bush
camp. We rode 7 or so kilometers and came to King river. We
all agreed that it would be nice to camp on the old bridge above the
||King River - Katherine Glen and Jackie were
meeting a friend in Katherine so they were up and out the door early.
We were a bit slower out of the gate, I enjoyed watching a flock of
parrots in a tree and a group of red finches down by the waters edge.
As I was packing up the last of our things I head something in the
water, I actually thought someone threw something off the bridge but it
turned out to be a goanna or monitor lizard. He was cool, a large
lizard swimming across the stream. That explains all the bird feathers
in the area. The ride was quick into Katherine and we picked a
caravan park down by the Katherine Hot (warm) spring. It turned
out to be the only caravan park that took dogs. So our friends,
Glen and Jackie with Kona in tow, soon showed up. The caravan park
was like a dog show, Great Danes, masiffs, terriers, poodles ect.
I can't believe the size of some of those dogs and they live in a
|Aug 8 - 10
||Katherine . Glen, Jackie and Kona left early
in the morning, they are heading west and we will be heading north. We
stayed in Katherine for a couple of days working on the internet,
grocery shopping ect. Our computer is getting old and it seems
that the wifi card is not working like it should, I think it is time to
buy a new one wifi card that is. We went to town and came back to
a new neighbor, Lorrie and her dog Cowboy, Love that name. Lorrie
is originally from New York but now lives in Sydney, she is traveling
around Australia and plans to go into Kakadu in a couple of days.
We had a great time talking about the states and comparing the
differences with Australia culture. You would be surprised at the
differences, there are quite a few.
||Katherine - Pine Creek. We had to say good-bye to
Lorrie and Cowboy, we miss having a dog around. The ride to Pine Creek
was a warm one and not too many places to stop along the way. We
were glad to arrive in Pine Creek. We found a good caravan park
called Bird Park. It is a little out of town but the grounds are
beautiful, she had more orchids than the Cairns Botanical Garden.
She also had a nice pool and clean bathrooms. She does see a few
cyclists so stop on by and say hello.
||Pine Creek - Mary River Road House. The weather is now
hot and some what sticky. We headed out early I was excited to getting
into Kakadu. The ride was through rolling hills. As we approached
Kakadu we saw a group of
brumbies (wild horses) through the bush. It was four horses: one
stallion and three mares. It was quite interesting to watch the
stallion herd the mares around. A bit further down the road we
crossed a river and looked down the see a fresh water crocodile.
They are the shy ones, he swam to the deep end and hide in the mud.
Then at lunch we saw two water buffalos wandering near a creek. Ok two
of these animals are feral (wild) but they don't cull them in the park
so they are still here. The road house was ok, it had a pool and
that was too inviting to leave. The bad part was the water was not
drinking water quality so we had to treat all our water. We knew
we had a long day ahead of us so we treated lots and lots of water.
||Mary River Road House - Mardugal Campground. We had a
short climb in the morning but I sweated buckets, the humidity is up and
so is the temperature. Somewhere around 95 degrees or 36 Celsius.
The Kakadu hot
||Mardugal - Cooinda (Yellow Water) nice billabong
||Cooinda (Yellow Water) - We bit the bullet and spent
the money on the morning cruise, it was $55 aussie dollars each.
We were up at 4:30 am, our bus arrived at 6:25 am so we wanted to have a
leisure breakfast. At about 6 am I went to the ladies room and to my
delight I ran into Lorrie who we met in Katherine. For a second I
couldn't believe my eyes. Wow. We had a short chat and we
were both off on our excursions, she on a 4x4 tour and me on a boat
trip. I ran back to Tim and we packed to catch our bus. Just
as our bus arrived I realized that I didn't have my binoculars, Yikes.
Lucky for me a second bus was coming so I had enough time to run back to
my tent and get my binoculars. All Tim could say was Cindie you can be a
bit dingy some times. Well I was so excited about the boat trip I
forgot to do a final check before we left the tent. Any who.
We boarded the bus and then the boat. Our boat wasn't full so I
could wander back and forth from side to side during the trip. I
guess you could say I am a bit ansey. Right off the dock was a big
croc well 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long, most of her was under water.
The bird life was prolific, oh so many birds I had never seen before,
the billabong or water way was covered in mist and the sun shown through
with a bright orange and with the sun everyone woke up, the birds, the
crocs, the horses. It was so beautiful it brought tears to my
eyes. We cruised out of the billabong and into the east alligator
river. I have turned into a wildlife nutter since I have been in
Australia and it was just a symphony out there.
||Cooinda - Jabiru
||Jabiru - Merl Campground
||We are now unexpectedly in Darwin. I began this
journal years ago so that my family could contact me in case of an
emergency and that emergency happen while we were in a remote part of
Kakadu National Park. My twin sister looked on my online journal,
worked out our last known location and called the Kakadu National
Park ranger station. A park ranger spotted us on the road and
pulled us over. He said that there was a family emergency at home.
I called my sister Cherie from the Park office and my brother in law
Scott gave me the bad news that my older sister Debbie had died in a car
accident. Oh my heart is broken, I am still trying to digest this.
I am going home for a couple weeks to be with my family. So I
leave a piece of my heart in Kakadu and I am going home (east coast, usa)
to celebrate the life of my older sister Debbie. She too was a
child of the road. She was a truck driver and drove tractor
trailer all over the USA and loved it. She once said to me, Hey we are
doing the same thing ya know. Yes I know we are. My plans are to
go back to the USA until the 3rd of September. Tim will be here in
Darwin so if you want to drop him a line please do. Our plans are
still to fly to New Zealand on September 14 and work on our second book.
Once we get traveling again I will start up my journal again. I
have full intentions of continuing to keep writing so our families know
where we are and can find is in an emergency.
||Need to be at the airport, plane
leaves at 1:40 am on the 15th.
9-15-06 to 9-15-07
Tips & Advice
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Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
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