Saturday, August 23, 2008

DAY 302: Day 2 off in Kalbarri

Thurs 21st August 2008
20km @ 12.0 km/hr
Cloudy, 21 deg C
Elevation of /destination 5m
Distance to date 18687 km (11679 miles)

I slept very well last night, possibly better for having fitted foam earplugs that John had given me (because he thought he snored and would keep us awake!). I hadn’t really been aware of the snoring but the floorboards creak a lot when anyone walks around.
At 1000 myself and a few others who had hired bikes from the hostel got them loaded up into a trailer behind the minibus that dropped us 17km south along the coast road. From here the idea is to cycle back taking in the viewpoints along the coast back to Kalbarri. Unfortunately it was extremely windy and the ride was quite unpleasant; of the 7 or 8 viewpoints I only looked at 2 or 3 of them, since one has to descend 1 or 2km to the coast each time only to have to battle back onto the road against the strong E wind again. To be honest I wasn’t that impressed with the viewpoint scenery; maybe I’m spoilt after seeing the Karijini gorges and other places but these today weren’t anything special in my opinion. I was glad though that I wasn’t riding on today, and was spared over-exposure to the horrible winds. It wasn’t too warm either and I was glad to get back and get warm.
I planned to have a nice sandwich somewhere so tried 3 different cafes with no success. At the first there was a bad-tempered and screaming toddler whose mother was doing nothing to control him; at the second, an ‘organic’ cafe, the menu outside advertised home-made rolls, but when I ordered it turned out that no rolls were made today since it was ‘quiet’ and there was only sliced bread. The third place looked OK but the price of a chicken and avacado sandwich was a whopping $18, and I begrudge paying that much I’m afraid, consequently I went back ‘home’ for toasted fruit loaf and coffee! The upside of lack of choice here is the fact that it’s very quiet - I guess I’ve now moved into the WA winter, and holidaymakers are heading for the warmer climes of Broome and Exmouth i.e. several 100km north. I like quiet!
Next task was the Kalbarri health centre and checking out my gastric problems, but there was no doctor there today (it is a very small place really), but I found out there will be one there tomorrow. Then I tried to buy an inner tube since I’m low on spares, and I was directed to a guy called Ashley who repairs bicycles and sells spares. I got my tube, plus a free ‘recycled’ one to go with it, plus a lot of chat and good advice from Ashley (nickname ‘Crank’ lol) about all things bicycle-related. I had a chance to examine his Bob trailer, and was quite impressed with them. Others had advised me to choose that option instead of panniers, and I have to agree they are pretty impressive. I can see that in terms of wind resistance and stability they score highly, and if I do any more tours I may choose this option after testing one out. Ashley said I could have stayed there, but I’ve already booked the hostel until Saturday morning. Anyway I accepted his invitation to a barbie tomorrow afternoon, which I look forward to. I still haven’t heard whether the flight to Monkey Mia is on or not for tomorrow (they need 4 to go ahead).
The 2 tubes I got from Ashley were good, heavy thorn-resistant types and I decided to fit them straight away to deter future punctures, and I’m glad I did, because I found a thorn embedded in the rear tyre and protruding through to the inside - by some miracle it hadn’t entered the tube. Later on I watched a bit more of the Olympics, but the coverage here is not as good as in the UK - mostly, only events where Australians have a chance are shown, and they are not doing as well as usual.
Lack of pics is due to my camera being set wrongly - the switch must have moved and they are all too bright so no pics tomorrow either.

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