Thursday, March 13, 2008

DAY 141 - Miriam Vale to Gladstone

60 km at 20.0 km/hr
Thurs 13th March 2008
Distance to date 8408 km (5255 miles)
Sunny, hot

Another early start, but a relaxing hour over lazy breakfast watching the birds - close-up Kookaburras, various types of Honeeater, a Brahmini Kite and the ubiquitous Noisy Miners. Not to mention Butcher Birds and Peewits. It had been a noisy night with hundreds of lorries speeding past - I understand that the police were called out to try and deal with excessive speeders; someone called them apparently (me no dob ‘em).
Straight onto the Bruce Highway (Highway 1) today but the lorries were notable by their absence; just as well as there was virtually no shoulder for the first 10km and I just pulled off and stopped about 10 times as lorries tore past. After this the shoulder was much better. I reckon in 5 to 10 years time all of Highway 1 will have been ‘upgraded’ which means a good 1 metre minimum shoulder - there’s clearly a rolling programme of section upgrade. It’s SO much safer for bicycles.
It was HOT from the start today and remained so all day - little cloud to deflect the sun, and I applied sun block 3 times as it felt like I was burning. The road was less busy than last night, thankfully. The tail wind was still with me and I coasted along over 20 km/hr without much effort. I decided to take the detour around Tannum Sands after about 40km, but I shouldn’t have bothered! It was not a rewarding ride - Tannum Sands is a mundane, yuppified settlement of yuppies and retirees; it’s brand new, has no obvious centre apart from a large shopping complex - you can’t get to the sea although it is a seaside town (not that I could see anyway), so it was a waste of time. It was also pretty hilly to add insult to injury. Anyhow you have to try these things I suppose, sometimes it reaps dividends, sometimes not. I just found this place soul-less.
It was much further to Gladstone from tannum than I thought, and i was withering in the heat for another hour before rolling into town.
I sought out the only seaside caravan park but it was $27 a night and the only tent site was shadeless, so no go. The manageress was pretty unfriendly too despite my trying to chat. The nearby beach has a sign warning bathers of Stingers - I think these are jellyfish?? I therefore had to ride another 3 or 4
Km to another CP, but it was worth it - $18 and nice shady sites to choose from. There are also plenty of big stores nearby for supplies. After setting up I headed into the CBD to try the library - free internet but no pic uploading, so after checking e-mails I sought an internet cafe which also sold ice cream - cool - well, it was for a few seconds till the heat got to it. When I’d finished uploading I realised I’d forgotten my wallet - oops! The guy was fine about it and as it happened the lad that worked for him was staying at the same CP as me, so I could give it to him later.
There are afew decent cycle tracks in Gladstone, but although it’s a big place the traffic isn’t too bad on most roads. As with Bundaberg, there are lots of wide streets to contain the traffic. It’s a very modern city with only a few buildings in the CBD looking what you might call (in Oz) old. I picked up a big rump stake for $4 and a few veggies, for a barbie supper tonight, where I hoped for some socialising, however there was only one other person using these facilities and she was just cooking dinner and then taking it back to the van.

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