Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DAY 144: Rockhampton to Marlborough

t that time

102 km at 20.3 km/hr

Sun 16th March 2008

Distance to date 8652 km (5407 miles)

Cloudy, 26 deg C, rain in afternoon

Up at 7 and realised I had a friend sharing last night without knowing it - the Green Tree Frog in the pic. It was resting on top of the inner mesh tent just over my head. They’re a very vivid colour and seemingly quite tame as it took it’s time going home, wherever that is, a tree presumably.

Rain before dawn had ceased by the time I rose so I just had to dry the tent out a bit with the chamois. I spent quite a bit of time looking for somewhere open to buy bread, and I also phoned Lyn back home, so it had turned 10 by the time I left town. The good ol' SE tail wind was blowing away, and after the first undulating 10km or so the road became flat and I was cruising at well over 20 km/hr without much effort - this is the life! Compensates for all the hard headwinds on the Nullabor!

The Bruce Highway is in pretty good shape here with some 90% of today’s route having a good shoulder, plus it was Sunday and traffic was fairly light with few lorries. Around half the vehicles seem to be campervans or caravan rigs. Apparently central and north Queensland is entering the busy holiday season (the rainy season is ‘supposed’ to finish soon, but this has been an abnormal year by all accounts so we’ll see).

There is nowhere to buy food or drinks for some 80km today so I was glad of the bread and scones that I bought this morning. I stopped at a rest area at around 50km and had jam butties and some of Rocky’s best tap water.

Today’s ride was pretty pleasant; nice scenery, light traffic, not too hot, tail wind, so I felt good and well-motivated. I got quite a few toots from passing motorists, and even long hoots from 2 trains - the railway line (from Cairns to Brisbane) runs next to the road for a long way. It seemed funny to think that Lyn and I travelled on this line in December 2006; at that time I had kept a close eye on the quality of the road and shoulder when I could see the road from the train. It was nice to chat with her this morning; I am missing her a lot after we were together again for 2 or 3 weeks, and I read again the beautiful words she wrote on my birthday card (7 March).

Wildlife tally for the day also included a gang of Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos, a family of Kites (I think) and a live snake slithering off the road. I stopped and went back to have a look again at the latter but it had gone.

At 90km disaster struck and my rear tyre went flat. Luckily there was an embankment at the side of the road where I could lean the bike and strip everything off the rear end. A piece of the outer tyre had lifted away to expose the lining beneath, plus there was a metal staple stuck through into the (new extra-thick K-Mart) tube, so after 9000km, mostly on the rear wheel, it had reached the end of it’s life. It’s a Schwalbe Marathon Supreme, a fairly slick road tyre, and the new one is the first of a pair of Schwalbe Hurricane Raceguard which is quite knobbly. It seems to ride well though with no noticeable loss of speed.

After 95km a BP service station materialised and I had an iced coffee and asked for some water, but was refused - the lady assistant said they didn’t have mains water and weren’t allowed to let anyone have ‘untreated’ water - that’s a new one after 5 or 6 months here; I’ve never been refused before.

As it was around 4 I decided to call it a day at Marlborough, and rather than stay at the CP, which is quite close to the Highway, I cycled the 2km off the highway to the village pub where you can camp for free, pay $2 for a shower, and get some peace and quiet, not to mention a pub dinner - I haven’t eaten out for a while. There weren’t many other campers so it should be quiet, and after a shower, cuppa and Sudoku I went over and ordered Barramundi and chips, washed down with a couple of beers.

1 comment:

camper said...

Hi David ,I am from Rockhampton I just read your story on the Blogger Rockhampton to Marlborough via your pushbike I think it was not to many campers or caravans on the road now as the fuel is to expensive at $1: 50 a lt
I have traveled up that road manny times email is pdok@hdc.net.au
Cheers any way from paul