Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 30 Guilderton to Perth 110 kms

The rain didn't let up all night and everyone was so pleased that we were in cabins and all tents dry. Theo got the big bed in one cabin, Georg in the other and Collis and I in the other. The others all shared the bunks amongst them. We were all up and the first rider on the road by 0730 hours. This was our last day on this leg and Joan's very last day as she was not doing the last leg. Poor Chris has only one last day in the car and she declares she will never get in the car again. I am starting to wonder if Collis and I should get a complex as none of the riders like it in the van ( but that is because they prefer to be on the bike).
Morning tea was at Yanchep shopping mall where Collis shouted everybody coffee and cake. They then had 42 kms to ride down Marmion Ave to a spot picked out by Collis where we would again meet up with them. From here Collis would lead them into the War Memorial at Kings Park.
He rode Chris' bike to make sure Georg had put it back together properly after he borrowed Chris' back bike rim.
Chris and I had the route written out by Collis to follow in the car. All was going smoothly until we came to a No Through Road and I had to turn the truck with trailer around on my own. Wasn't the most successful U turn and I had alot of trouble reversing with Chris directing me which way to turn the wheel and when to stop as I was jack knifing.
After about 10 shots we eventually had turned around and were backon the road. Chris and I beat the riders by half an hour but they were all in before the rain started. Theo took off with his relatives before the photo shoot so we will have to try and draw him in.
Lunch plans were changed to the Botanical Cafe at the memorial due to the impending rain and the parking difficulties we would experience in the city. The meals were disappointing small for these hungry cyclists but everyone had a nice time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 29 Jurien Bay to Guilderton 150 kms via the Pinnacles

The wind is blowing up a storm early this morning and it was blowing in the right direction so they were on their bikes early. Ben, Peter, Annie and Joan were all heading out to see the Pinnacles before morning tea. The clouds started to appear quite early but did not threaten rain in the morning at all.
Morning tea was had at a rest area next to a huge sand dune with a wonderful view to the Indian Ocean. I am going to miss the Indian Ocean. It is a different colour to the Pacific Ocean or Port Phillip Bay. It has beautiful clear waters and white clean sands.
The group were just blown down the road to lunch with top speeds over 50 kms/ hour by all riders and the top riders (Annie) gaining speeds of 63.3 kms/hour for the day.
Annie was experiencing a shooting pain in her gluteus maximus going down her leg so she managed these speeds with an injury although when she arrived in camp she was having difficulty walking with a new pain in her opposite hip joint. She states she has had this pain before and it doesn't last very long. I offered to stretch the joint while Chris pushes the head back into the socket but funny thing she wouldn't let us have a go. Truthfully Chris and I couldn't bring ourselves to do it anyway. A nice hot shower and some Voltaren cream seemed to make a difference.
We managed to get in without a drop of rain falling on our heads but as soon as we started to unpack, it bucketed down. Everyone had decided to take cabins due to the rain. Collis was going to make us sleep in the back of the truck but Annie talked him into letting us get a cabin as well. Thank goodness as it hasn't stopped pouring ever since. The forecast states it should rain most of the night but ease off in the morning. I hope they are right and our final day is clear and dry. It is hard to believe this leg is nearly over.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 28 Port Denison to Jurien Bay 130 kms

I had to keep Collis hostage this morning as he woke at 4.30 for a toilet visit and then hopped back into bed for 15 mins when decided he was wide awake and couldn't sleep any more. Rubbish, it was once again freezing out there. There is no way he was going to be allowed to get up and wake the whole camp at 4.45 am. He protested, then slept for a short period and tried again to get out but I held on tight and he didn't get up until 6 am. Woody congratulated me on keeping him for so long as he ,Woody, did not have to listen to his insistent coughing, his fiddling in the trailer, his opening and shutting the car doors and his walking around the campsite looking for things. Collis thinks he is quiet and gets annoyed with me because I can't remain in bed once he is up and rummaging. Theo is another early riser and I was greeted by both of them in the camp kitchen this morning. I must say it didn't feel as cold as yesterday morning so hopefully the colder mornings are a thing of the past. Ha ha!
We had morning tea on the side of the road but with a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean. Georg woke in a bad mood this morning after bad night with pain in his ribs. He wasn't listening to the briefing so he ended up riding an extra may be 10 kms today as he went into Dongara and out again. This did not improve his demeanor at all but lucky we are used to all our different moods so we just ignore Georg until he decides he wants to talk to people again. This usually doesn't occur until the end of the day when he has had his shower and a beer. The routine was the same today and all ended up happy.
Lunch was at Green Head opposite the caravan park. The sun had come out and it was very pleasant spot for a break. A few weeks ago the sand dunes were a vivid red colour, today they were pure white. The changing colors of the scenery is unbelievable. Today we saw lots of new flowers along the way which were all quite stunning.
We got in at the usual time and they placed us at the front of the caravan park right near the camp kitchen. Collis and I unloaded before heading down to the marina. This was quite a long walk but we had read that we could buy some lobsters down there if we were lucky to catch a boat coming in. No boats in sight and the factories situated on the other side of the marina all looked deserted. We turned around and headed back the way we came. We ended up buying dinner from the IGA next door to the caravan park and I am too embarrassed to say what we ended up eating for dinner. It was not a very healthy meal.
We got back and Chris appeared in the kitchen with a new haircut so Annie and I rushed off to the local hairdresser hoping to catch her before she closed up. She was a nice young girl who had bought the shop just a couple of months ago and was making a real go of it. She did a good job giving us both a trim for $32.00 each. Good prices and nice cuts for both of us.
Georg is still suffering with pain in his ribs and he has so far refused to take any pain killers but tonight he has succumbed and taken 2 panadol. I hope he gets to have a decent nights sleep although he is camped close to the car and he does snore quite loudly so maybe not a great sleep please Georg. Actually quite a few tents are very close to the car so it may get noisy overnight.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 27 Northampton to Point Dennison

Freezing cold again this morning but I found my new hot water bottle and Collis filled it so I could at least warm my poor old hands- they just wouldn't work and I had trouble packing the car. Phone call from Annie early questioning if she had taken the correct turn (she wasn't supposed to turn until we were nearly in at Geraldton). I wasn't too sure where she was so found Collis and he put her in the right direction. The road she had taken would add another 40 km onto the day for her. She had cycled about 8 kms down the road before she had turned around. Woody was the last to leave again this morning (all rugged up) but once Annie turned around, she was coming up the rear.
Morning tea was at the foreshore in Geraldton where we were picking Chris up after her night in town to get her stitches out. She was waiting for us when we got there without her crutches or her boot- she looked different as we had got so used to her aids. Then Chris surprised everyone by taking us all out for morning tea at the Dome cafe with everyone getting a cake and drink.
This was Chris saying thank you to the group for all the assistance she had received in her time of need. Chris is a very independent person and it was very difficult for her to accept assistance and she did as much as she could for herself. She has been an inspiration to all of us with her quiet acceptance of the situation and keeping a smile on her face even when she felt miserable inside. Only a week or so and she will be able to ride again.
Morning tea was so good that none of us needed very much lunch today. Lots of canola growing along the road and another crop with a white flower which we haven't found out what it is yet. Lots of green wheat around also. The trees are all leaning in the one direction so the wind must blow pretty hard off the ocean.
The road today was pretty slow and the wind was mainly across them. The riding was good up till morning tea but then it got difficult but on the final turn it improved again.
Everyone was in by early afternoon again and it was lovely walking along the beach at the back of the park. Collis went down to the pub to watch the footy and Georg and Peter eventually joined him. A lot of teasing about Collis barracking for a girl's team (as stated by a little kid the night before).
I wasn't game to go out for dinner tonight after the 2 disastrous meals over the last couple of nights so we cooked in. I threw together a curry with leftover boiled eggs, tomatoes, lentils and chilli. Sounds horrible but it was really yum. We had been donated some food by a camper at our last bush camp so I divvied it up between Ben & Theo who were able to put together a meal for themselves. Then Collis topped it all off with an apricot pie he had been carrying since Kalbarri. Nice hot shower, filled the hottie and climbed early into bed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 26 Kalbarri to Northampton 105 kms

Woke to another cold morning although we happened to be in our lovely warm motel room and didn't realize how cold it was until we got out of the room. The briefing was for 7.15 in the camp kitchen at the caravan park. We arrive at 7.18 and Woody is waiting but there's no-one else around. I had a word to Woody last night about dressing for the cold weather as he continues to wear short sleeves and short pants and no socks and he constantly complains about the cold. Well, this morning he has long pants, socks, long sleeves and a beanie- he was warm at last. (Later in the day he said to someone he was hot with all this gear on but had not started to strip down- we will get it right soon Woody.)
Collis and I were packed up quickly this morning so we stopped off at the bakery to buy them a treat of cream cakes for morning tea as we feel it may be a big day for them. The wind is not favorable at the beginning and they are all fighting into it.
We come across Ben very early (like 5 kms) out of town, he appears to be doing all of the side trips this morning. We decide to do a little of our own sightseeing today and went out to Eagles Point and who comes up behind us but Ben. It is a magnificent view and we leave Ben there to wander down to the beach, the track looked a bit steep for me.
We had morning tea at Lynton Convict Settlement. We had been there last trip but I didn't get to climb the hill last time so Annie and I went up to have a look. Decent climb and we came across Ron who once owned the property and wanted to be buried on the hill.
So his family made a memorial of a man on a motorbike looking out over his land.very cute and some good photos taken. Morning tea was scheduled for 10.30 to 11.30 at 55 kms, well it was 65 kms and everyone was a little late. Woody said he was at the 55 km mark at 11.15.
Anyway we were still there at 1 pm as there was no sign of Ben. A voice message comes through on the phone but due to reception (or lack of) made it impossible to hear what was said and even to recognize the voice. So I sent a text to Ben explaining he would need to send a text as I thought it must have been him. In the meantime I climbed to a higher spot and got enough reception to be able to hear the message which was from Ben. He stated it was around 11 am and he was just at the cliff turnoff and would be late for morning tea. Late is one thing but it should not have taken him more than 2 hours to get to us unless something was wrong. We quickly pack up and head back, we hadn't got far before we came across him pedaling towards us. He was fine but exhausted, the wind was a killer and he had added an extra 20 kms at least onto his day. We gave him some morning tea and a couple of apples plus filled his bottles ( he had run out 10 kms back). He was pleased to hear there was only 40 kms to go.
We all got into town early afternoon and Georg did his usual of heading to the local hotel for a beer. Unfortunately he misjudged the gutter and came off his bike (he says this happened before his beer but I wonder) and he took the skin off the top of one finger, scraped both knees and hurt the ribs on his L) side. He said quite a few people watched it happen but no-one offered assistance. When Ben came in he went straight to the cafe to eat and then came to tell us that he had sprained his ankle just after we left him at Eagles Point whilst he was climbing down to the beach. He had ridden all day with this ankle but said it wasn't painful whilst on the bike, just when he is walking. I gave him some ice as not much else you can do for a bad ankle.
On Woody's recommendation we ate at the local hotel tonight plus they had a special of bangers and mash for $10.0 (Collis' type of price). Well Annie, Woody and I ordered the special but Collis went all out and had the lamb shanks. The bangers and mash were 3 skinny sausages and a lump of cold mashed potato, no gravy, no vegetables. We had waited nearly an hour and a half for this crap and we had ordered sticky date for dessert to be told that they had run out of that and no alternative. Needless to say we were not happy so asked to speak to the manager who apologized and offered us a round of drinks (Collis and Woody don't drink) but we were hungry not thirsty! We left and Annie and Woody got another meal at the roadhouse who were closing up but they could at least get something decent to eat and then they gave us a big packet of leftover chips and gravy for free. That's how to run a business.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 25 Kalbarri Rest Day 0 kms

(Written by Collis)
Kalbarri is such a pretty place. The colors of the sea are deep blues and the waves crash around the inlet as the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean.
Kath and I had a lovely sleep in which is quite rare. Went down to the Bakery and i couldn't believe the price of stuff, almost Melbourne prices ($6.50 for a very large apricot pie-you bewdy!!). Things will probably get cheaper as we head to Perth.
A day of not doing a whole lot,which is just how I like it. Tomorrow we head off to Northampton a nice old town in the wheat fields. Hope it's not too blowy.

Day 24 Galena Bridge to Kalbarri 85 kms

Well thank God everyone had the sense to remain in their sleeping bags until at least the sun came up this morning. It was another cold night and too cold to crawl out before there was at least some heat coming from the sun to help warm us. It was a beautiful morning once the sun came up and we all soon thawed out.
A lovely ride today with the wind mostly behind them after morning tea and no wind before morning tea. Morning tea was at the Ross Graham Lookout which is a spectacular spot with a river walk and a great lookout.
The road into Kalbarri has a great downhill run that goes on for quite a few kms and the scenery is beautiful with the sea peaking out from behind the hills. We had some cultivated pastures today and it felt strange coming back into some civilization after so long in the outback. The shrubs and trees have changed again with lots of wild
flowers and banksia (some flowering) along the side of the road. There were a couple of dead emus along the way as well. Collis commented on how we get upset at a dead emu but think nothing of all the roadkill of dead kangaroos and cows. Maybe because there are less emus around.
Rolled into the caravan park around lunchtime and everyone settled in. Chris went to the health centre here and had her leg inspected with a good report. Now she has to go to Geraldton to have her stitches removed. She has booked herself a cabin for the next 2 nights. Annie & Woody both upgraded to cabins within the park and Collis & I moved out to have some alone time at another abode in the town.