Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DAY 152: Bowen to Ayr

115 km at 19.9 km/hr
Mon 24th March 2008
Distance to date 9227 km (5767 miles)
Hot / sunny

I had trouble getting to sleep due to some neighbours talking loudly until very late, but felt OK this morning anyway. I was away soon after 8 on what seemed likely to be a hot sunny day, and indeed it was just that. Traffic was pretty heavy from the start, presumably folk returning to Townsville after the Easter weekend; happily there were few lorries, and a decent width of shoulder most of the way.
Scenically the ride was good; wooded mountains looming up all over the place and although the land has been cleared in the past natural vegetation seems to be making a comeback in between the mountains. I saw a lot more of the birds of prey that I thought were Black Kites, and occasional flurries of Black Cockatoos - big, foolish, noisy and lovable birds. I got a lot of toots on the road again, and one long hoot from a freight train - the line runs next to the highway.
I had been told that the first ‘services’ were at 50km, and this was exactly right - that’s the first time a woman’s given the correct estimate of distance in my recollection (oops) - and I enjoyed a litre of Gatorade, having resisted the usual iced coffee. The roadhouse had a copy of the camping sites details book that I should have bought at the start, and I thought of buying it, but it’s probably not worth it now; it’s $55 and pretty heavy; anyway I have some good info from Cairns on in the “Cycling Outback Australia” book which I already have.
At 80km I was feeling tired and the ‘sores’ were bothersome, so I stopped at the only rest area on this section and stretched out for a while, and felt much better for it. At 95km there was another roadhouse so an iced coffee was my reward, and I was surprised and delighted to see 2 other touring cyclists there. This was Jacob (originally from Brisbane now living in the Gold Coast) and partner Honorata, originally from Poland. They are cycling around Australia too, the same way as me, though giving themselves 18 months compared to my 12, taking in the Cape York track too which I won’t be doing. They started at the Gold Coast a few weeks ago. It was great to chat and compare notes, but eventually it was time for me to move on and get the long day finished. The last 20km was less enjoyable with little shoulder for most of the way, and a long bridge without anywhere for cyclists to go to contend with, however it soon passed and after a bit of food shopping at Home Hill I rolled into Ayr. I hovered around a bit hoping to see Jacob and Honorata and whilst in Macdonald’s (purely in the interests of research you understand) I saw them pass, heading towards the CP. Later I saw they were checking in there so I did the same. I couldn’t be bothered cooking so went out for chicken and chips and a few beers, then ate it back at the tent chatting to my new friends. The last few weeks have been very sociable one way or another. It is very humid tonight and I’m sat typing this up in just my trunks, sweat is pouring off me. Yesterday I did my washing in the morning and hung it out to dry straight away, however even though it didn’t rain it wasn’t dry by this morning - big difference to South Australia where stuff dried in a couple of hours. This humidity will hopefully lessen though as the wet season ends ‘any time now’. It usualy coold down OK during the night.

No comments: