Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DAY 130: Murwillumbah to Coolangatta

Tues 12th February 2008
31 km @ 16.3 km/hr
Distance to date 7783 km (4864 miles)
Rain all day, warmish

Today I entered a new state again - Queensland, although Coolangatta is only a km or so on the Queensland side. There is yet another tome change and from 11 previously there's now 10 hours time difference compared to the UK.

It was a dull morning when I woke around 0730 and rain threatened imminently. I enjoyed toast and some organic apricot jam I bought yesterday for breakfast for a change, said my goodbyes, and hit the road just as it started raining, lightly at first and not that uncomfortable. I’d phoned my next host, Linda, and she said she wouldn’t be riding out to meet me as arranged as it was raining where she was, which is fair enough, and we arranged to meet in Coolangatta where she would show me to her home. I was there within 2 hours by which time it was raining more heavily but still bearable. The road between these 2 places is flat as a fluke as it follows the Tweed River for most of the way, which was nice, and there was also a good-width, good quality surfaced shoulder. It gets a bit hairy as you approach Tweed Heads and Coolangatta as lots of motels and cafes appear, and there are quite a few sets of traffic lights, but I took my time and traffic was courteous.

Within minutes we were home; only a couple of minutes from the town centre and beaches - the latter will be better seen when the sun reappears!
After a quick shower I had dry things on again and was enjoying a hot cuppa with Linda and her friend and Linda’s 3 dogs. Linda and Arie, who works for a bicycle-manufacturing company are avid cyclists as well as keen cycle racing fans. Being an experienced cycling tourist Linda understands how hungry we can get and this was reflected in the very large (and welcome) lunch of cheese and tomato on toast that she rustled up for us. Later on I spent some time on the internet catching up with e-mails and stuff. This is getting pretty time-consuming as I am getting quite a lot of e-mail, but it’s very welcome guys, don't stop!

Still teeming down at 1800.
These are Linda's 3 dogs - the Bichon Friese is Fluffy, the Jack Russel is Jet, and the poor old blind and (I think) deaf 14-year-old is Marco. That's a view from the window looking east towards the Coolangatta beach. That bright light is not the sun but the camera flash!

DAY 129: Day off in Murwillumbah

Mon 11th February 2008
Distance to date still 7752 km (4845 miles)
Very warm / humid / cloud again

It took me a little time to get to sleep last night, and I didn’t want to get up this morning and so slept until nearly 10. The others in the dorm are very quiet and best of all no-one snores! At least I wasn’t aware of it. I had fresh fruit salad for breakfast with mango yoghurt over the fruit, which is fast becoming a favourite of mine. As I head north into tropical areas fruit is becoming cheaper and more easily available, at the roadside, markets etc. so I will be eating more of it. It’s nice with muesli sprinkled over too, but I don’t have any at the moment. Had a chat to one of the guys who is leaving today and who delivers boats for their owners for a living. He brought a yacht from somewhere in N.Queensland down to Brisbane for repairs, and is ‘waiting out’ until the boat is ready for return - what a job! He lives on the Whitsunday Islands off central Queensland which is where Gareth and Jen (Lyn's son and daughter-in-law) spent their honeymoon in ecember 2006.

I’m going to have a very lazy 'recovery' day today, and am typing this up sat out on the balcony over the river. As you can see I have a reptile friend under the table keeping me company - I think it's called a Dragon Lizard. It's supposed to be harmless.
I feel a bit weary today so will do very little. I went to see whether the library offered free internet but no go - it was $6/hr or so for non-members, so it was cheaper at the nearby internet place at $4, I had already noted, so that’s where I went and got up to date. I had a read in the afternoon sat on the balcony over the river, had dinner, then got together with the other 6 guests and we had a long and interesting discussion about the state of the planet / environment for the rest of the evening. Owner of the hostel Tazzie showed us a short video of some inventions, such as the high-pressure air motor that was fitted into a small car, that never got off the ground despite the apparent attractions, due it was alleged to pressures from oil businesses. He also gave us ice cream again at 9 which seems to be a tradition here - a good tradition I say! Did I mention yesterday that he's been here for 36 years?!
After all this excitement I was well ready for sleep and was away with the fairies in no time at all.