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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South Australia Blog and Daily Travel Journal.
Travel Writing, Travelogue
to Mount Gambier
(Sept 15 - Oct 20, 2006)
||Adelaide - Cudlee Creek. We landed in Adelaide on
September 16 and stayed with Ray and Effie Taarnby. They knew Dick
Forcier our friend from Tucson who sadly pasted away 3 years ago.
They also know Maxine his aunt from Iowa. We were in luck, Maxine
planned to be in Adelaide at the same time we were. She brought us
some gear from the USA such as our new built wheels, new mp3 and a new
battery for the computer. Maxine is 86 and an inspiration. I
met her in Tucson just before we left on our trip 4 and a half years
ago. We have been in touch via email ever since. Maxine arrived on
September 21 and was ready to go even after a 20 hour flight. What
Ray and Effie have been fantastic hosts. Oh what a nice
place to stay and they treated us to an Aussie barbeque or two.
They had the most fantastic coffee machine, it was a fancy espresso
machine and I looked forward to getting up every morning because with
just a push of a button it was the best coffee I have had in literally
years. Adelaide is a great bike town too. Ray took us on a bike
ride along the River Torrens and down to the sea. We also went on
a Tuesday night Scuzzi Skippy bike ride that was a lot of fun. It has been a
long time since we had ridden in a road pack.
I really missed my road bike. Tim said he felt like he was driving
a Mack truck among Indy cars.
No matter how much time we have to prepare to leave it always seems
like we are packing up until the last minute. We are on our fourth
continent and this is the fourth time we have been at the beginning of a
new expedition. We have new wheels with Phil Wood hubs. The old wheels
lasted over 15,000 km for us. I have never had a
problem with my wheels but Tim usually does. He has had wheel
problems every year except with the wheels from Koga.
||Adelaide - Cudlee Creek.
have a lot of new equipment. We haven't even set up our new tent
yet. I have bought new clothes, I now have a new riding shirt and
travel pants. New tennis shoes round out my wardrobe. I wore my
old pants for nearly three years and I was not quite ready to give them up until the
zipper went on them.
At Cudlee Creek we camped near the Gorge Wildlife Park and I had to
go visit the Koalas. I was in luck, if I got over to the park soon
I could hold a Koala. I could not pass on that opportunity, Tim
said go ahead he could see that there was no stopping me. The
wildlife park was interesting, I felt like I was on another planet,
never mind a new continent. The animals and birds are so different
from what we have seen elsewhere.
The ride - we followed the River
Torrens bike path upstream for 25 km or so until we reached Gorge rd.
The bike path is a scenic way to ride but difficult to follow. The
bike path would dead end on one side or the other. So in hind
sight, it would have been better to take the road out of town.
Gorge Rd. lead us up into Adelaide Hills and is a windy road but
pleasant to ride because traffic was light. We climbed about 400
meters from town to Cudlee Creek, I certainly felt the time off the bike
so we made camp at Cudlee Creek Caravan Park. We paid $13Au for an
||Cudlee Creek - Tanunda. The birds were up early and the
rosellas were flying in flocks of 10 and 20. They are a colorful
parrot and quite noisy as well, there are two types here the Adelaide
Rosella and the Crimson Rosella. The Adelaide Rosella has more
yellow on their neck and is localized around Adelaide only.
out that we were only a few kilometers from
the turnoff to Williamstown. We were lucky because we had a
tailwind all the way to Tanunda which is in the heart of the Barossa
Valley. We stayed in the Tanunda Caravan Park, the unpowered site
was $20 Au.($15)
The ride - 2 km from Cudlee Creek to the turnoff to Williamstown the
28 km to Lundsta. The right on Bx and 13 kilometers through rolling
terrain and eventually into
||Tanunda Barossa Valley wineries. We decided to do a
tour of the wineries today. We did not have to travel far.
We choose an area where there were three wineries on the same road.
We started with Richmond Grove and were lucky enough to go on a wine
tour with a group. Then were were back to the wine tasting area. I
am not much of a wine drinker but decided to try just about everything.
The man behind the counter was new so it seemed that we were all trying
out the brands. I must have tried 10 different types of wine from
sparkling wine to ports. I tend to like the rose, a light red.
Since I do not drink much it did not take much to get a good buzz, by
the time we went to the second winery I was quite tipsy and had to slow down
at the second winery. The third winery was one of the oldest in the
area, Liemiel, some of
the vines were over 150 years old. Lutherans settled in this area
years ago and started the vineyards then. We happen to meet a couple of
Americans here, a couple wan on their honeymoon and a few were on business.
I must of talked one guys ear off, what can I say. When we headed
back to the caravan park I had a little more difficulty driving my bike then I
expected. I then learned that the police can give you a breathalyzer test
while riding a
bike and give you a fine (and points on your drivers license but I do
not have to worry about that), it known here as getting done.
||Tanunda - Blanchetown. We planned to ride to
Blanchetown today, it is located on the Murray River. Trevor and
his wife Barbara invited us over for the long weekend and Ray and Effie
and Maxine our friend from Iowa were going to be there. In the
morning the winds were light while we rode to Nurioopta, yes I know, the
names of towns in Australia can be more than a tongue twister and I
thought I was going to be speaking English all the time. It turns
our the Nurioopta is a German word and I am not sure what it means. It
is nice little town with a Lutheran church or two around. We are in the
heart of wine country, imagine Napa valley. The vineyards go on
forever. Once we passed through Nurioopta we took a right on the
highway to Blanchetown. What we did not realize is the wind was at our
back and getting stronger by the hour. When we stopped for lunch
it was obvious we could not put anything down because the wind would
take it away. As we traveled east we rode through the foothills
that we steadily getting drier and down to the Murray river valley.
The road down to the river was steep and long, Tim let it rip in front
of me and got up to 75 km/hour Yikes I do not like to go faster than say
50 but I must of got up to 60 something fast enough.
Everything is brown in this area and looks like a desert, it turns
out it is not a desert, the area is in a drought. How familiar this is,
when we left Arizona it was in a drought. The difference here is
that people rely on rain water more than ground water, they call it bore
Now we new that it was going to be a little tricky to get to the
shack on the river. We had the directions and when we got close to
town we pulled over to look at our directions. Luck was with us
because as we slowed down Ray pulled up with Effie and Maxine. All we
had to do was follow Ray down to the shack. Just as we arrived it
started to rain, it never really rained much but it was good to be out
of the wind.
The shack was full and had a festive atmosphere, we had a nice view
of the Murray river with stunning cliffs on the other side. We sat
on the porch and watched the water fowl come and go. Ray took us
out to find kangaroos, we have not seen one yet. They are usually
about at dawn and dusk, a time we are not usually on the road. We
did find a few but we also had the luck of finding a wombat. A
small round creature that borrows in the ground. He looked cuddly
but can be vicious if provoked. Now isn't that true with most animals.
||Blanchetown. We had a nice day off and socialized most
of the day, I think I ate all day long :). It was nice to sit and
talk with Effie, Barbara and Maxine. I don't often get an
opportunity to hang out with women and just talk. It was a nice
change of pace for me. I have to remind myself that Maxine is 86
years old, she has a lot of energy and is sharp as a tack, as we say,
meaning she still has a sharp mind. We enjoyed the quiet time when
we could sit and watch the birds on the river. I am quickly
turning into a birder again. It started at the beginning of the
trip when we met Robin and Frank in Portal Arizona a fine birding place.
Now I have a book on wildlife, including birds, on Australia and I will
be hunting them, with my binoculars of course.
I was feeling a bit
worn out, maybe it was a hangover or something and we decided that we
would not ride far today. Everyone was planning to go back to
Adelaide in the afternoon. As we were packing to push on to a camping
site, Trevor came down and said that Ray and him were staying an extra
day. To our relief we stayed an extra night with Maxine, Ray and
||Blanchetown - Mannum. Since we were basically
packed from the night before we set off without too much trouble, that
is until Tim could not find his watch. We flagged Ray down as he
passed and we all ended up at the shack again, looking for Tim's watch.
Turns out that it was a false alarm, Tim had it in his pocket.
Back on the road again we we rode through Blanchetown and onto the other
side of the river. We turned south and had a nice tailwind again.
We were cruising along at 24 km/hour and decided to keep going, all the
way to Mannum. Mannum is a nice river town and the caravan park is
next to the Bird Sanctuary. We set up our tent next to the only
bench we could find open because it is school holidays.
||Mannum, rest day and a very windy day. The wind was
from the NE and it brought the hot air, the temperature rose to 35 C
about 86 F. We first went to library to check email and the community club
for lunch. The community club can be found in most towns and consists of
a pub with pokies, we call them slot machines, and lunch and dinner
specials. The specials are pretty good so it is better than going
to a tourist restaurant where the prices are higher.
internet has been a challenge for us in Australia. We were hoping
that there would be wireless hotspots all over the place and yes there
was even one in the caravan park. I though oh boy we could get some work
done, then it turns out that they internet service provider wanted us to
pay $10Au ($7) for one hour on the internet, that is highway robbery in
my book and we refused to pay it. If was a bit cheaper we would have
considered it. It seems that there is a monopoly on the telephone
and internet here, what they need is some competition to bring the
prices down. So we are learning that internet connections will be a
struggle here. It was so much easier in Asia. The good
thing, and there always is a good thing if you look for it, the library
has free internet all we had to do was sign up or book an hour on the
internet. The tough part is connecting our computer. But we always are
up for a challenge and will figure this out too. In the mean time
our reports will not be so frequent.
||Mannum - Murray Bridge. Our original plan was to
ride to Strathalbyn near Macclesfield but it just wasn't in the cards.
The wind was from the southwest and we were riding to the southwest.
I guess this is a pay back for all the
tailwinds we have been having. To put the icing on the cake my chain
began to feel funny and I looked down and one of the links was bent, I
must of jammed in on the hill. So we pulled over off the road and
laid the bikes down to fix the chain. We were on a rural road with
light traffic, so I thought. I sat on the ground while Tim bent
down to fix the chain, this must have looked awkward because in 5
minutes three cars stopped to see if we were all right. The
thought we had an accident. One guy stayed and chatted for a few
minutes and then invited us to his shack on the river. Well that
is what I call hospitality! Next time I need a place to stay I
just lay down on the side of the road and see who stops. It was
quite nice to feel looked after. Australians are alright. So
we meandered into Murray Bridge rather than push on to Strathalbyn, a
bit out of the way be we had no choice. We went to McDonalds, a
local hotspot and tried to sign up for Telstra wireless and their page
was not working, all that marketing and web page work does nothing if
the submit button does not work. Frustrating to say the least.
We cruised into the local caravan park and paid $21 for an
unpowered site, Yikes.
||Murray Bridge - Macclesfield. Ah the morning was
beautiful and the day was perfect for riding. We headed back
towards Adelaide, with this little detour we would be 40 kilometers from
Adelaide. So much for a straight line on the map. We were going to
visit Lydia and Dennis. They invited us to visit so time ago, Lydia has been
following our web site for 3.5 years. Wow and we thought why not so we
rode in on a Friday afternoon. The ride there was stunning, in the
foothills and much greener than the Murray River area. Rolling
hills with grazing sheep, cows, and alpacas. We arrived in the
suburbs of Macclesfield I would guess population 700 or so. Lydia
and Dennis live in a ranch house and their only source of water is rain water
collected from the roof of their house. They have 4 tanks. Three
small tanks are for the garden and then a large tank for the house.
The large concrete tank holds 40,000 gallons. This is the first
time I have seen a fully functioning rain collecting system. The
water is collected then filtered for use in the house. The water
is tasty too. It was a real treat to take a shower, I felt like I
was outside in the rain, the water is soft rather than hard with
minerals. Lets just say I would not mind showering everyday there.
Oh but I it has to be quite, can't waste water. I wonder why we do
not do this in Arizona. All the water collected is from the roof of the
house. Lydia and Dennis conserve water and use about 40,000
gallons a year, that is 110 gallons a day for the both of them and that
includes cooking, laundry, toilet, the works. I am more than
impressed and at the same time wonder why we don't do more in Arizona.
A water collection system will be going in at my house when I get back
there, well when ever that is. In the evening we had a barbeque
and got to try some kangaroo, did not taste too much than beef, ok a bit
||Macclesfield. Lydia and I had the opportunity to
have girls day out. We went to Goolwa, Victor Harbor, Granite Island,
Port Elliot, Ashborne and a number of other places in between. We
strolled around Granite Island where the little Penguin nests and we
even saw one sleeping in a burro. Cute to say the least. The
island has a walk way all the way around it with nice views of the
ocean. It would be a great place to whale watch too. The
whales have swum south and I hope we see some when we go to Tasmania
later in the month.
||Macclesfield. It was a nice rest day and we hung
around the house working on the internet and such. Lydia and I walked to town
and did some shopping. We had yet another feast and watched a movie
it has been ages since we watched a movie or should I say film.
||Macclesfield - Wellington. We left Macclesfield
and were bundled up for the down hill ride to Strathalbyn. It
never really warmed up but the scenery was nice although the farther we
were from the Adelaide foothills the browner the landscape became.
South Australia is in the middle of a drought, it should be green this
time of year but instead many places are brown from the lack of rain.
This is also impacting farming and conservation measures are already in
place, it isn't even summer yet. It is going to be a long summer here.
The ride - Head wind from the
southwest, terrain flat after the first 10 km from Macclesfield.
||Wellington - Parnka Point What a difference a day
makes, we had tailwind from the northeast. We stopped in
Menengie for lunch and bought our supplies for going into the Coorong
National Park. We wanted to spend a few days checking out the bird life
and wild life there. As we were eating our lunch a friendly guy
came over and started asking us about our trip. Turns out that he is a
cyclist too and invited us to stay with him and his wife in Mount
Gambier, that is about 250 km south of here. We happily excepted
the invitation. Maybe we will see Don and Ilene in the future.
About 21 km south of Menengie we turned right on a dirt road and headed
to the campsite at Parnka Point. We paid Au 2.50 ($1.88) to camp
in the park. The facilities were very basic, water was supplied
from a rain tank and for some reason they put the toilet a full
kilometer from the camp sites. In a short amount of time we saw
shingle backed lizard or stumpy, a red fox which is not native to the
area and a kangaroo. The kangaroo was a shocker because we were just
sitting at our campsite talking and he hopped by us about 200 meters
away. The birdlife was plentiful and would be spectacular in the
summer when all the migratory birds hang out here.
The ride - Tailwind from the northeast, terrain flat the entire way.
||Parnka Point - 42 Mile Crossing. We made arrangements
with Ray, Effie and Maxine to meet at 42 mile crossing tomorrow.
They are passing through on their way to Melbourne. 42 Mile
crossing is located at the southern end of the Coorong National Park and
is the last place to get water before Kingston. We stopped to camp
for two nights, the facilities are basic, a toilet, rain water tank, and
shade (this was a big plus). We arrived at the picnic table just
in time to watch the birds in a nearby nest take their first flight.
They all did well but for some reason two chicks from a nearby nest fell
to their death. We were on safari once again at dusk and were not
disappointed, we came across three kangaroos, possibly wallaby's, by the
way they jumped I think they were kangaroos. We also saw some emus
The ride -tailwind from the
||42 Mile Crossing. Rest day. The northeast wind
brought the hot weather and it was nearly 35 C or 95 F by lunchtime.
Lucky for us Ray, Effie and Maxine showed up and took us to lunch at the
pub up the road. They have good fish in these parts and Tim could not
pass up a big steak. This will be the last time we see Maxine for
a while. She is quite the traveler and has been running around
sight seeing all over Australia, not bad for a lady who is 86. I
would say she isn't acting her age but that is a good thing.
weather forecast said that the winds would shift from the northeast to
the southwest and bring cooler weather. They were right the wind
shifted about mid afternoon and the temperature dropped rapidly.
The evening was quiet with not other campers and the stars were
brilliant. I stumbled out of the tent in the middle of the night
for a run to the toilet and thought, hmm where is that southern cross,
and walla there it was close to the horizon. A beautiful
constellation to see.
||42 Mile Crossing - Kingston. I was worried that the
wind would be in our face all day but to our surprise the winds were
light in the morning and from the northeast again. I am beginning
to feel like a sailor always concerned about which way the wind blows.
Lucky for us it is Spring and the wind direction changes often. We
rolled into the caravan park in Kingston after a quick trip to the
grocery store. It is amazing how different things are from Asia to
Australia. In Asia and in particular China when we saw a city on a map
we would arrive and the city was huge. When we see the name of a
city on the map in Australia it, so far, has been small but they all
have a pub and a grocery store. The caravan part was interesting.
The first women I met could not believe I was riding a bike around
Australia much less the world. It was her idea of pure torture,
everyone is entitled to their opinion. We did not talk much after
that but Tim swore she kept throwing him dirty looks. Honestly Tim
did not make me do this, I want to do this. Really. We also had
the pleasure to meet Andrew from Tasmania. He has had some great
adventures of his own.
He paddled a kayak from Hobart, Tasmania across the Bass Strait and up
the east coast of Australia to the York Peninsula in
Queensland. He would just paddle into the beach at night and set up
camp. It took him 6 months to do the trip. He is sending us a link
to his blog I can not wait to read it.
||Kingston - Robe. We set off for Kingston with
Andrew and the wind was hollowing in our face from the southwest.
It was strong even when I got in Tim's draft and he makes a good draft.
So it seemed like these 45 km took all day. The wind was so strong
that I had to lean into it to keep going straight. At one point a
car pulled up next to me and blocked the wind and I about fell to the
ground, then I over corrected went into the dirt and had to give a good
crank on the pedals to get over the lip of the road. Once again my chain
had a bent ring, luckily it did not break. I had to go easy on it
the rest of the way into town, the wind was too much to try and fix the
dang thing. When we got into town Tim took out the bad link.
We plan on buying me a new chain in Mt. Gambier this chain is just not
working for me.
We stayed at the See VU caravan park, it had a great
view of the sea and the best camp kitchen I have ever seen. We
also could connect our lap top for 5 Au ($3.75) an hour.
||Robe. took the day off to visit the town of Robe.
||Robe - Millicent. tailwind, stopped at a lake for
lunch. We were originally going to go to Beachport but the library in
Robe said that the library in Millicent had wireless. It turns out that
they did have wireless but the outgoing port for our email is blocked so
we could only receive email not send it . All the libraries block
it because they do not want spam sent from there. I am not a fan
of spam myself, it has been clogging my email box a lot lately.
Maybe they should block the port in Russia and China, it would help us
||Millicent - Mount Gambier When we arrived we
called Don who we met in Menengie. Don and Aileen were home so we
rode over to their house at the base of Mount Gambier. Their house
was large and they set us up in our own bedroom. Don is an avid
cyclist and Aileen is a great cook. Don and Aileen are vegans,
they do not eat meat or dairy. Aileen is a great cook and makes
all their food from scratch. Her pantry is full of jars with raw
food, not a package in the place. She uses a machine called a
Thermomix, it's made in Germany. In short it is like a large
blender that you can cook in. I could not believe the stuff she
pulled out of there. We loved the food she made like pumpkin soup,
green pea soap, and oatmeal with ground almonds. Good stuff
||Mount Gambier. We went on a hike with Aileen and
Diane, a neighbor, around the crater of the volcano and to green lake
and blue lake. There was a wildlife park near green lake and Tim
and I strolled around looking at the wildlife such as red necked
wallabies, emus, and parrots. It turns out the Don and Aileen were
pretty busy giving health seminars so we did not see them as much as we
would have liked. Our timing was not very good for them. We
were going to leave on Friday morning but we woke to rain and decided to
stay an extra day. We worked on the web page and answered email.
9-15-06 to 9-15-07
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