Wednesday, April 09, 2008

DAY 167: Cairns to Mossman

Tue 8th April 2008
98 km @ 17.0 km/hr
Distance to date 10016 km (6260 miles)

A poor night’s sleep last might due to things going around in my head, but up at 7-ish as usual and got packed up before breakfast. Hugs, photos and goodbyes abounded as I sadly took leave of Renee and Sarah, who are first-class hostesses, lovely people, and are highly recommended! I hope all goes well with the prospective house purchase they are into at the mo - please keep in touch guys...
Getting out of Cairns was easy and painless, quiet roads even in the rush hour, and I was soon onto the Captain Cook Highway. Things went OK for the first 23km i.e. while there was a good shoulder, but thereafter things became pretty pear-shaped.
I popped down to have a look at Palm Cove (only 1.5km off the highway) which is quite nice but a bit yuppified and lacking character I thought. There is a nice beach there but why 'Cove?' A cove is a short beach contained by cliffs, I think, but this beach is about 3km long and encompasses other resorts / villages too. OK, I’m in pedantic and none-too bright mood today for various reasons as you may have guessed.
And my demeanor plumetted once back on the highway with the disappearance of the shoulder for around 40km.

Health Warning: the Captain Cook Highway from Palm Cove to near Port Douglas is dangerous for cyclists.
Although this stretch is not excessively busy, because there are few sharp bends the traffic is going fast at around 100 km/hr, and many drivers don’t like slowing down before passing. I was buzzed closely many times, most significantly by one articulated lorry going like the clappers within a foot or so of me, which made me very angry. There was nothing coming the other way on a clear, straight road. I was so angry that if that lorry had stopped ahead of me I am sure I would have dragged him from his cab and beaten him to a pulp with the strength of 10 men. Yes, I was angry all right. Why don’t the transport authority put lorry drivers through a stringent psychological test before allowing them to drive a 25-ton killing machine? That might weed out the nutters like this one and make the roads a safer place for everyone, not just cyclists. Why don’t the Queensland Roads Department get their fingers out of their arse and add a shoulder to this long-known dangerous road? There are even signs saying it’s an accident blackspot - why don’t they address the issues causing that?
The scenery is very nice with the sea on the right and occasional sandy beaches fringed with palms, but it was totally lost on me due to the anxiety associated with the fast traffic. I can’t decide whether this road is more dangerous for cyclists than the North Road from Gawler to Adelaide or not - it’s a close-run thing. People are dying out there guys! There were no big hills though, just little rises of no more than 40m.
I snapped a few pics occasionally for posterity but was relieved to reach the Port Douglas turn and a 5km detour to have a look around. Although it’s not my kind of place - all marble ‘retreats’ and ‘country clubs’ with people being helicoptered in because they can’t bear the 30 minute drive from Cairns Airport - it has been built quite tastefully with lots of tree cover and smart buildings. I fancied a nice sandwich but the 3 cafes I checked out didn’t have much choice and didn’t look too clean either so I resorted to a ham and pineapple roll at Brumby’s Bakery which was fine, and a good bit cheaper than the ‘posher’ places. I was feeling somewhat tired by this time (1530) so planned to stay in a CP here, but at $25 and $24 respectively for unpowered tent sites for 1 person I decided to move on and try my luck in Mossman, only around 14 km north of here.
The road now had flattened out, was dead straight, and passed through wall to wall sugar cane fields. I still had a slight tailwind but all day it had not been that significant. Mossman is a pleasant little town, for me it has more character than Port Douglas, and the CP is quite good. It has a 50m swimming pool and a well-equipped campers kitchen, although at $20 it is still on the dear side. I treated myself to a decent bottle of wine - that’ll cheer me up lol! In fact there was a Canadian couple in the kitchen so we had a right old blather for a couple of hours, and this made me feel much better. I didn’t feel as hungry as usual so I just had cheese and tomato on some fresh crusty bread I bought today, and a couple of glasses of Cabernet.

No comments: