AUSTRALIA Page 3 - Western Australia - November 2006.

Australia, the adopted homeland of both Mal and Lee. The only continent under one government and the country we both love. The picture above is the “skyline” of our city, you can click on the picture to get a larger image. Perth is one of the most isolated regional capital cities in the world. There are so many things to say about our country that I simply do not know where to begin...

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Wednesday November 1st 2008 Valley of the Giants to Denmark
58k's Average Speed 9.09kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 57kph Max temp we recorded °C
Mountainous Road Conditions: Good Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard, (Cycle Friendly)

We left the “Eco-tourist” park at about 09:40 after some bike maintenance on Lees Brakes, the brake lever was too slack and I tightened up the whole thing. Added air to my tires – Lees were OK. We stopped at Bowbridge General Store... The toilets here were filthy and unusable, we did not find this out until after we had purchased... Oh well. The terrain became easier and the tailwind added to our high spirits, we made one stop on the side of the road for a cup of tea and called in a small place that produces toffee spices and ice creams... 

They had no tea only coffee, however the lady graciously went and made me a cup of tea and refused payment.. such was their wonderful hospitality. As we approached Denmark town centre we were probably 250 metres apart.. Sadly someone took it upon themselves to throw an egg and a hot coffee over Lee, whilst she was driving. Naturally it upset her quite a bit and her only thing was not to spend any longer in this town than absolutely necessary We are staying at the Riverbend C/Van park... 

The park is average with pleasant management. Rain prevented an early start and confined us to our tent.. There were a couple of dry spells which allowed us to cook breakfast and make a cuppa.. We chatted with a few people and had an interesting morning...

Thursday November 2nd 2008 Denmark to bush camp about twenty k's from Albany on the scenic route
41.70k's Average Speed 9.52kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 54kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Poor Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard, (Cycle Friendly)

Decided about midday to brave the remaining showers.. Donned the wet weather gear and took off. We did not get too wet and the day cleared at about 1.30 to a magnificent afternoon. Whilst driving along we spotted a alternate route to Albany Which suggested it was “scenic” On one ridge there was a beautiful view of the bay and the “windfarm” was evident in the distance.. We stopped at a very small community called it seems “Young's Siding” and had a late lunch and FREE Internet (limited).. 

We then peddled on until about 5pm and are now set up in our bush camp, having had our dinner of Mashed potatoes and fish in pepper sauce.. Soup of the day was “miso”. Washed down with plenty of tea. The local “cocky” came by to see if we were ok all he asked was “no fires” and wished us a good night... We awoke about 0530 and were packed up by 6:50 an uneventful night.

Friday November 3rd 2008 Bush camp to Albany
20k's Average Speed 9.02kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 37kph Max temp we recorded °C
Flat Road Conditions: Very Poor Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard, (Cycle Friendly)

Lots of traffic and a VERY poor road leading into Albany, absolutely full of potholes ... We stopped at McDonald s to check out the “free” Internet only to find out that it was attached to that corporate VERMIN Telstra.. They want your mobile number AND CREDIT CARD... They refuse to tell you their charges (Typical).. UNLESS YOU WANT TO GIVE A COMPANY SUCH AS “TELSTRA” YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER AVOID MACDONALDS  ALLTOGETHER!!! There is no way they will get money from me. I will not frequent MacDonald's again given they are complicit in this despicable scam. Telstra have owed me money for years.. they keep sending the statements.. They have absolutely refused to refund my money, such is the nature of this disgusting entity. We will carry on to the Post office to collect any mail.

Sorry to all those we owe emails to but there has been no opportunity to date.

Will continue this evening.. Back again, set up camp at the “big4” C/van park Albany... 

This is by far the best c/van park we have been in.. Put the washing on (washed near everything) and did a general clean-up of our gear. Tomorrow is a scheduled “rest day” (only our second). Went to the Internet (This c/van park has it) and they allowed mail uploads and FTP, so we could update our site. We sent emails to family and friend's and did a partial upload of our site. We spent the evening adding pictures which we intend to upload tomorrow. Rode up to a small supermarket and picked up some fresh meat, veggies and fruit and made a nice dinner..

Saturday November 4th 2008 Albany Rest Day
20k's Average Speed 9.02kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 37kph Max temp we recorded °C
Flat Road Conditions: Very Poor Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard, (Cycle Friendly)

Serviced our bikes as much as needed – lube'd the chain and running gear Plus a general check over... Spent the day to ourselves. Uploaded our site again this time with pictures..

Sunday November 5th 2008 Albany to Bush Camp just outside Many Peaks.
30k's Average Speed 7.42kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 53kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Very Poor Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard, (Cycle Friendly)

Our bikes are heavy today due to the extra water. It is fairly desolate between here and Esperance (for a cyclist). I have about 15 litres on my bike and Lee about 9 litres Our total capacity - between the two of us - is 28 litres. 3-4 days depending on weather. Rain was going to be the order of the day, however, it did not happen by 9:30am so we decided we will pack up and chance it. 

We were ready to roll about 10:30am and headed out towards Esperance approx 500k away. As we left the rain started – very light drizzle. We travelled about 15 K and stopped for lunch at “Dymesbury Shoppe”, here we watched the sun come out whilst we ate our lunch. After lunch we got on our bikes and commenced travelling in the rain. The weather became increasingly ominous so about 4:15pm we started looking for a place to camp.. We found a good spot almost straight away, set up and cooked dinner. Korean Noodles with Tuna in chilli sauce and an orange for desert. A drink and some “nibbles” of dried fruit and nuts was “supper”... A hard day but a good one.

Monday November 6th 2008 Bush Camp just outside Many Peaks to Bush camp just outside Wellstead
52.57k's Average Speed 7.39kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 45kph Max temp we recorded °C
Undulating Road Conditions: Very Poor Overnight Accommodation: $. Standard,

Toughest day yet, a stinker of a headwind coupled with freezing rain.. We cycled in full wet weather gear. After 4 hrs. cycling on mostly flat ground we had averaged only 6 and a bit kilometres per hour... In this terrain we are usually 50% better The rain eased at about 1 pm but nothing about the day was easy. We both just knuckled down and peddled... 

Our day started at 0530 and we were in the saddle at 6:45am We started the setup in our bush camp at about 4:45pm... Difficult to find a private area to camp.. When we did the ground is/was “Rock Hard” We got some tent pegs in but are less than optimal... Coupled with the winds we are experiencing I can only hope we don't start flying in the night. Nothing more of interest ............. at this stage!!!!

Tuesday November 7th 2008 Bush camp just outside Wellstead to Bush camp about 60k's from Jerramungup
40.04k's Average Speed 8.50kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 46kph Max temp we recorded °C
Undulating Road Conditions: Very Poor - Gale force headwind, morning thunderstorms O/Accom: $. Standard,

Awoke at about 04:50 to light drizzle and thought we would get up and make up our camp as quickly as possible. This was not to be the rain got heavier and the sound of thunder in the distance was audible. It soon became deafening! We had taken the precaution the night before of putting our waterproof covers over as much as possible... Thank goodness, as the sky opened and water was everywhere. Coupled with a howling wind the storm was concerning, however, our gear held up and we were safe and dry. It was about 10am before the storm(s) passed and we could survey the damage and break camp... We commenced cycling about 10:50 and thought it best to forgo the morning drink and breakfast and hope we could get them in Wellstead.

It turns out Wellstead is a hub of sorts with Internet, a community centre, Hot showers and much more We had a nice brunch of Ham and salad rolls with coffee. We hit the pedals having lost much of the morning . Putting up the tent this evening was very difficult in the gale force winds.. We can only hope it copes with another windy night.

Wednesday November 8th 2008 Bush camp about 60k's from Jerramungup to C/van park Jerramungup.
63.85k's Average Speed 8.76kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 45kph Max temp we recorded °C
Undulating Road Conditions: Very Poor - Dead calm to light tailwind - Very hot. O/Accom: $. Standard,

What a difference a day makes.. About 30 minutes after we made camp the wind stopped and it remained dead calm all night... It was a warm night and we had rigged for cold and windy... We opened the flaps to let air in – pushed off the sleeping bags and had a good nights sleep. We awoke somewhat refreshed and packed up our gear. After a breakfast of “oats” and coffee we took off at about 7am. The day rapidly warmed up and we were plagued with flies. We also were attacked with a small beetle.. They were not as agile as the flies so many got murdered :-) We decided that after a couple of bush camps a shower and fresh clothes were the order of the day.

Jerramungup C/van park does not cater to Campers and has little or no facilities. The owners are nice people but the place is filthy. We will be happy to leave tomorrow. Normally after 4 days on the road we have a rest day... UPDATE: Awoke this morning to a nice day, little choice but to take our rest day here.. We are 2-3 days from Ravensthorpe and Lee's Knees need rest.

Thursday November 9th 2008 C/van park Jerramungup - Rest day no cycling.
No Statistics - VERY Hot

We had breakfast at the Ampol Garage in town. The owner of the C/van park said it is better food than the Pub. The food and service was good and prices reasonable. The town of Jerramungup has about 800 "ratepayers", an IGA supermarket, bank, post office and Community Centre with Internet. We  replenished or food stocks and other things we needed and settled down to our day. Morning was taken with "Wash Everything" and dry on the line, in the sun. No (apparent) maintenance required on the bikes other than the daily checks.

Called into the “telecentre” to update our site... It is amazing how many small communities have these facilities.

A word about Jerramungup C/van park. No one we spoke to had a good word.. It is very dirty everywhere. Poorly maintained facilities and he seems to have collected undesirable permanents? Some shout and scream, seemingly all night. One moronic clown had computer games, Nintendo or the like on full bore late into the night. I get a little “fiery” sometimes and wanted to “crack some heads”. Lee ordered me to let it go.... or else!!! I did not want to find out the “or else”. Regards the owner. There is a saying in Asia “don't break a man's rice bowl”. Few will ever read my ramblings, besides he's doing a good job of breaking his own bowl....

Friday November 10th 2006 C/Van park Jerramungup to Bush camp 60 k's from Ravensthorpe.
60.14k's Average Speed 10.21kph Cycling time 5Hr(s) 53Min. Max speed. 51kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Good Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Good strong tailwind and few steep hills kept our speed and distance up. We are still in the farming belt and the countryside is very “same” every day now. We were both saddened today to find a Kangaroo in the early (smelly) stages of decomposition.

In it's pouch was a live Joey. I extracted the Joey and it took off into the bush.. I do not know if it will survive but it certainly would not have, stuck in it's mothers pouch. The flies that had surrounded the decaying mother were simply horrendous. I gagged many times trying to free the Joey... Certainly felt very “green” afterwards. I can only imagine the stress the animal felt... We can only hope it survives.
Our tent is up now and the wind is strong.. A cup of tea and some dried meat for supper then off to bed....

Saturday November 11th 2006 Bush camp 60 k's from Ravensthorpe to Ravensthorpe. Strong tailwind,, warm
60.59k's Average Speed 10.95kph Cycling time 5Hr(s) 32Min. Max speed. 56kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly - one huge hill Road Conditions: Good Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Left early today with threatening weather.. the rain surrounded us but never fell on us :-).. We made good time today but the ride had no new scenery. We met a Russian from Novosibirsk Siberia and two Polish guys on (hired) Harley's. The Russian guy “Glazkov” invited us to his family home in Siberia – our long term plan is definitely to go to Russia. Lee now wants to tour on a bike ???? 

Too late darling :-( BUT!!! I love the picture  

We arrived at Ravensthorpe about 2pm and were treated to an “On site van” by the proprietor – for the same price as a tent site... Fantastic.. We bought some fresh food and cooked up a nice “fresh” dinner. Now we have, TV, a soft bed, cooker, fridge... What a contrast to Jerramungup C/van park. 

Ravensthorpe is virtually on top of a hill and is hard to explore by bike... Especially when we have just done 60k's . I already biked up a lengthy 10% grade hill to the supermarket and was not game for more. We washed all our gear and scored an empty dryer... Well sometimes we get things running our way... all to infrequent I say :-)

Today was Remembrance Day We stopped at 11am and paid our respects.. As a Royal Navy Air Mechanic I thought of you all. Rev if your reading this mate... Benbow 29 Mess was strong in my thoughts. I offered my thoughts to those “of us” that have died... May they rest in peace.

Sunday November 12th 2006 Ravensthorpe C/Van Park REST DAY
No Stats

Monday November 13th 2006 Ravensthorpe C/Van Park to Bush camp, 60k's further towards Esperance -
59.55k's Average Speed 9.42kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. 50kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Good Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Left the C/van park about 8.30am and cycled about 5 k's where we stopped for breakfast... Long story why we did not have b/fast at the c/van park... Battled a strong headwind all day... On one of Lees flagpoles she has (had) three flags A red pennant, a Thai and an Aussie Flag. The wind was so strong that unbeknownst to Lee it tore the flag pole from it's holder and she lost one of her poles. Not a huge concern but it is indicative of the wind strength. Not much of interest today... 

Our bush camp is a “spoon drain” but its OK .......... for one night :-)

Tuesday November 14th 2006 Bush Camp 60 k's from Ravensthorpe to Bush Camp 85k's from Esperance
48.17k's Average Speed 7.67kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 16Min. Max speed. 33kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Good - Gale Force headwind, strengthening. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Hard day with VERY strong headwind... even stronger than yesterday... We now need to replace Lee's second flag as the wind has “flapped” it to bit's. We had hoped to make more mileage today, but it simply was not possible to push any harder against the wind... On one occasion Lee was in second gear pedalling DOWN a slight slope. Met some nice people today and stopped to talk for too long... A couple from Perth and a single guy from Perth. They do a lot of Motorcycle touring and were knowledgeable about the pitfalls of touring in general – as well of course as the enjoyment of travelling.

Most of the rest of our day was battling headwinds.. The Statistics do not properly represent the time in the “saddle” as the “clock” stops when you do... There were many stop's today... We started our day (cycling – not breaking camp) about 7am and finished about 5:45pm with about two hours for lunch. It is possible but unlikely we will make Esperance tomorrow... We will see what “mother nature” throws at us :-)

Wednesday November 15th 2006 Bush Camp 85k's from Esperance to bush camp 30k's from Esperance.
56.91k's Average Speed 8.55kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 39Min. Max speed. 48kph Max temp we recorded °C
Hilly Road Conditions: Good - Strong headwind, sunny, cool.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Sort of knew we would not get to Esperance with the strong headwind... Although our average speed increased by about 10% the head wind proved too much. The terrain today was mostly flat with only two or three hills over the rivers... This meant we were pushing hard against the wind practically all day... Very tiring, but that's cycling :-) We are bush camped for the third night in a row and had only planned two.. Our water is down to about 3 litres... However, we should be OK – there are plenty of farms along the road if need be, where we can beg.

Found a bird today that had it's wing ripped off in a collision with a vehicle.

Found the wing with the bone having had a clean break... Nothing we could do for the animal sadly ... Should be in Esperance tomorrow all being well.. The road is just chockers with “Road Trains” picking up the “grains” from farms during the harvest. Every few minutes we are avoiding them – it is very tedious, but very necessary for our country.

Not many choices for camping so close to a major town. Tonight we are in a “main roads” gravel storage compound. Lets hope the workmen don't arrive at 0430am tomorrow ... Catchya tomorrow...........

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