Tuesday, October 09, 2007

DAY 3: 8 Oct 07 - Harvey to Bunbury

63 km @ 16.2 km/hr, light tailwind yessss!

The rain fell heavily all night, amplified by the tin roof, and everywhere was wet and smelling of damp earth. I felt much improved after a great sleep though, my best for many days. I got the gear together, checked out and thanked mein hostess once again, and cycled the 400m to the nearest cafe, where I had a mega-breakfast - bacon, eggs and everything else, about 1200 calories I reckon. As I was finishing the rain eased and I headed to the Telecentre to check e-mails etc., but had no luch with updating the blog due to the Blogger script being in some Oriental language that neither I or the staff could correct.
The road west (back onto Highway 1 Mandurah to Bunbury) was pleasant, quiet and tree-lined and after 16 km or so I reached the main road, where there was a decent-width verge for cyclists to stay safer. I has abandoned yesterdays route, Highway 2 Harvey to Bunbury, due to the lack of verge. I believe there will be more unverged road further south, and all I can do is to be as visible as possible with my orange gilet and little Scottish flag sticking out the back.
Around 22 km from Bunbury I went off onto the coastal route via Australind, on the shores of the Leschenault Estuary. Cycle tracks all the way, even if they do go up and down over road junctions they make for more relaxed riding. A friendly parrot greeted me sat on the welcome to Bunbury sign. Note that I do plan to post pics whenever I find internet access that allows this - many do not let you upload (for security reasons). The 4 km or so pedestrian / cycle tracks on the approach to Bunbury from the NE are very enjoyable - right away from the traffic, over boardwalks over the water and winding around a mangrove conservation area.
The pic showing all the gear is me testing out the solar panels - they did manage to charge up the phone and Garmin bike computer but only when the sun was shining - still. expecting plenty of that!
I had arranged to stay with A*****, a fellow Couchsurfer who had very kindly agreed to put me up for the night. She is a long-life supporter of environment and animal causes and works for the Australian Forestry 'Commission', not sure what it's called. I was disappointed to learn that the forests, despite protection, are not thriving - mainly it seems due to a plant disease (whose name escapes me) that is increasing, probably being spread by increasing nos. of forest users.
A was an excellent host and I enjoyed my evening, and once again had a great sleep. I was introduced to her pet python and handled a snake for the first time in my life - wonderfully muscular and tactile animals.

DAY 2: - 7 Oct 07 - Mandurah to Harvey

84 km @ 14.3 km/hr, light headwind and lots of traffic

First thing I noticed today was the intense itchiness of all the mozzie bites, so I packed up as quickly as I could and escaped the caravan site. Just up the road was a bakery and I indulged in cheese toasties and donuts and coffee to set me up for the day, whilst chatting to a honeymoon couple looking for a church (by the shape of the lady it was to arrange for a christening (;->).
I headed out of town and along a fairly featureless and very hot road, and the only excitement for an hour or so was being overtaken by an old man on an old bike and shouting "hi" to each other.
I passed through Pinjarra and Waroona and nothing much occurred to heighten the senses, and after 60 km I was feeling pretty tired, and worn down by all the traffic. Then the previously reliable 3 to 5ft verge disappeared and I was right up against the traffic, with several single-articulated road trains giving me a good waft evertime they passed. As I approached Harvey it started to rain, to add insult to injury, and I arrived wondering weather to stay at the motel (I hate motels, the rooms usually stink of tobacco and stale sweaty sex), or camp. Not much fun putting up a tent in the rain, but luckily the nice ex-Yorkshire hostess at the campsite offered me the 'backpackers room' for only A$15 (6 quid!), and I gladly accepted. I was feeling a little low at this point bhut felt considerable better when she arrived on the doorstep with a pot of tea and a couple of scones with jam and cream - how did she know that was one of my favourites? What a star - I throughly recommend this site if you're in the area.
After a mediocre fish and chip supper (again) I hit the sack to the noise of a tele blaring next door, but thankfully got to sleep OK. It will get better - won't it? Of course it will. I'm feeling quite stressed with all the stuff I'm trying to get right; I was the same when touring the Alps last year during the last few days.