Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DAY 108: Day 2 off Emu Plains (Penrith)

Mon 21st January 2008
Distance to date 6655 km (4159 miles)
Cloudy, cool, light showers

Ate the last of my food for breakfast but today I’m going to go into Penrith and get stocked up, but just as important, give the bike a good servicing.
As it was raining first thing the bike was attended to first; I have good cover and lots of space to do this. I removed the chain and washed in petrol; adjusted both brakes at the cable; checked the tightness of all nuts and bolts and also loosened each one a bit to make sure they weren’t seizing; pumped tyres up; oiled cables where required, and gave it a thorough cleaning. It looks too new now - hope it doesn’t look too attractive to a potential thief.... Pleased to see that the Rohloff gearbox is still not leaking oil as it was when it came off the plane at Perth - it’s only been OK since I changed the oil in Melbourne - why is that??
Around noon headed into Penrith on very busy roads - and no shoulder so went on the paths; problem then is you have to wait to cross each junction (and there are plenty) like a pedestrian. I must have spent more time stood waiting for the lights to change than actually riding. Anyway I somehow forgot to put my helmet on - they’re compulsory here, even off the highway) which was weird - forgetful me. Reminds me of the T-shirt a middle-aged man was wearing in Sydney yesterday with the motif “Adventure Before Dementia” - I want one! Anyway I was not wanting an $80 fine so I slunk around trying to look invisible.
Internet first - and tried the library first, but they wanted $10/hr from non-residents grrrr! The nice lady did brief me on where I could surf for $3.30 though, and I duly found the place, which unfortunately was like a hothouse and there was a lady surfing away ignoring two screaming kids who were real pests. The broadband speed was super-fast though and the pics uploaded in seconds. I’ve discovered that with my new phone that Gareth kindly sent to me, I can take pictures at 25k which should just be about right for uploading to the blog instead of having to upload the 1Meg images from the camera - and I am able to send the camera images to the Dell Axim PDA via bluetooth, so I can store them on an SD card to easily upload. This means i ca n set the camera to take maximum definition images of 7 Mega pixels instead of 3 at the moment.
There’s a bit of a food court at the main shopping centre in Penrith, and I decided on carbonara which turned out to be a bit wet and soggy. Representative of my whole experience of the city which feels overcowded, pedestrian unfriendly, and done out entirely in bland concrete structures from what I could see. I’d very soon had enough and returned to base. I wasn’t inspired to take any photos today, although to be fair it wasn’t supposed to be that kind of day anyway. I also had an e-mail that upset me a bit, so I cheered myself up with a fresh muffin with a new purchase - Red Gum Honey - spread on it, which was delicious.
It was a bit breezy to cook dinner under the covered area so I shared the well-equipped camp kitchen with a few others, which was a more sociable thing to do anyway.
I’ve decided to stay here a 4th night and get the train to Katoomba tomorrow, the notional ‘centre’ of the Blue Mountains. I’m going to pretend to be a tourist again and do the tour bus bit of what appear to be the many beautiful things to see in and around the town. Then on Wednesday I will depart for the north - possibly onto the remote highway 69 which passes through the Wollemi and Yengo NP’s where there’s bound to be some wild camping to be had.

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