Monday, March 31, 2008

DAY 158: Ingham to Tully

the ride

99 km at 17.3 km/hr

Sun 30th March 2008

Distance to date 9540 km (5962 miles)


.........And Tyto Wetland was perfectly peaceful, just the occasional Wallaby-type noise half in my dreams, half-out. It rained heavily in the night and the tent needed a good wipe over with the chammy before packing away. Despite there being prolific mozzies here I was careful enough in keeping the tent flaps closed, and spraying with repellent, such that I wasn’t bitten - amazing my my usual standards.

The wetlands were deserted as I left - despite the high quality and size of this facility hardly anyone is using it seemingly - such a shame, it's a real asset to the area. Probably needs a burger joint to attract more people. I only travelled 2km to the far side of Ingham when I passed Brumby’s Bakery and the smell of fresh bread drew me in. I sat and ate a sausage roll with a Dare Double Espresso Iced Coffee, and bagged an apple scroll for eating later. As I ate I chatted to an old (ex) Sicilian man who was selling avocados and olives from the back of his ute (pick-up). He said he grows the olives himself ‘up on the hill’ and prepares them for sale himself too - this entails bashing the picked olives with the bottom of a beer bottle, removing stones, and steeping the olives in water several times. Seemed like a lot of work, but he’s retired and just does what he feels like doing. The product was delicious and I bought a half-litre (for $6.50). Ingham has a very high fraction of Italian immigrants, some are now 6th generation.

Underway at last, around 9, there was little assistance from the light SE wind but there was a good shoulder, however it drizzled most of the day and I got pretty wet my mid-afternoon, but still quite enjoyed . There’s a nice rest stop at 5 mile Swimming Hole some 8km S of Cardwell, and yes there is actually a large swimming hole - on a hot day I would have been tempted in, but the rain kept the temperature down today. There's one big hill about 15km in (see pic of sign) but I just plugged away for nearly 2km and enjoyed the subsequent downhill - although it wasn't a 'screamer' as I only got up to 59.9 km/hr - drat!

I took a short movie of the oncoming Cairns to Brisbane Tilt Train which I will try to post on here (it didn’t work last time). I had considered staying at Cardwell, which is on the coast, but the gloomy weather did nothing to enhance this very ordinary town, which is essentially a 2km stretch of the Bruce Highway with lots of motels and cafes, and I decided to press on (it was only 1320).

The rain intensified and the wind picked up a bit, still SE (as it has been for over 1500 km - lucky me!). Due to the bad light I wasn’t wearing shades but my eyes started to sting badly, from the spray being thrown up I suppose, and I had to put them on, whereupon my eyes stopped stinging but I couldn’t see very well.

Around 15km south of Tully the shoulder disappeared completely, and by this time the traffic had increased considerably from a quiet morning, including lots of lorries and wide loads, and I suddenly felt quite vulnerable. I couldn’t see too well through the mirror either due to the rain on it. The road was built on a steep-sided embankment so there was nowhere for me to go to get out of the way of the crazy demon trucks.

All of a sudden some sugar cane railway tracks (400mm guage or so) which run everywhere in N Queensland appeared, running at 45 degrees to me, and as my front wheel hit the first track it veered to the right, and both I and the bike crashed to the ground unceremoniously. All the panniers came off and got tangled in the wheels and I couldn’t get the bike out of the middle of the road - luckily there had been no traffic behind me at the time so there was time for a couple of people who stopped to check that I was OK to come and help me. It’s testament to the quality of the bike and Ortlieb panniers that no damage at all was sustained, and even I only suffered a minor graze on the knee - my clothing was undamaged too. I was probably travelling at around 18km/hr when it happened. Lucky me again then. I hadn’t had time to turn square on to the line which I would have done if possible, because I didn't see the tracks in time due to the rain see pic of tracks).

Somewhat chastened I got back on the bike for the last 4km into Tully. There is one caravan park here and it was pretty busy, but only $12. The field where I camped is pretty wet too, but hopefully the tent is still waterproof. There is internet here but no uploading so that’ll have to wait. I cooked a nice spaghetti dish and smothered it with the olives I bought this morning - delicious - whilst chatting with 2 Japanese lads who also enjoyed the olives. I’ll probably have to put wet clothing on tomorrow as there’s no chance oif getting it dry tonight.

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