Day 16 154 days to go. Distance: today 95km total 1369km. It’s 8pm Sunday 22/7/2012 Balcadine. Ive realized Im officially dating our magnificent country and have a serious crush on the outback. Ive had folk ask me, ‘Why are you peddling?’ ‘Aren’t you afraid on your own?’ ‘Don’t you get lonely on the road?’ As far as why pedal. This is best answered by sharing some moments from today. The smell of the native tree’s along the roadside is so strong particularly so now the sun is shining and the air is warm. The scent is intoxicating and euphoric. I totally understand why the prolific birdlife is so active amongst it all. Its alive with green parrots and fan tails and finches all busy singing as they work. Rube and I hear an orchestra of the most beautiful songs as we travel along. I stopped along the roadside for a break and whilst eating the orange that Geoff gave me this morning, I watched a family of fantails swooping a pond to catch bugs and other tasty treats. earlier I had seen families of camels and emus roaming the pastures. They were just as interested in us as we were amazed by them. Of course the cows and horses are a constant and I call out to them how beautiful and handsome they are. They watch us go by chewing their cud all in a day’s graze. Why peddle indeed 🙂 Are we afraid? Hell no not any any time in our travels. We have discovered first hand the universal kindness of folk and the strength of this kindness as part of the human spirit. This karma is so powerful. I would rather live my day to day a part of this strength. If I let my fear of the ‘what ifs’ determine my choices then Id be missing out on the pure joy of sharing unique moments with unique folk. I’m such a creature of habit and am proud of my new addition of waving to ‘passer byers’ knowing we’re on the same side, sharing the road ahead. I love feeling so open to people and opportunities to cross paths with new experience. I know that ‘no comfort zone’ is by no means uncomfortable. In fact its quite the opposite. This space builds acceptance for change and the unplanned for and above all, a feeling of being part of the One human spirit. I believe it to be universal and a good good dam good good thing indeedy. So no… We don’t get lonely on the road. Rube and I have each other and share a common belief in this stuff.
We arrived in Balcadine this arv and I thought I’d try my luck asking at the Artesian Hotel if I could get a cheap room. They have let us stay free of charge as their support for Theaussiechallenge. Thankyou to Phil and Shona and their son Quade. What generous and caring folk. I shared a diet coke with Quade and some mates of his who were great company and fun and cheeky and so incredibly real. Quade happily did an oath and Kerry told me of a 75 year old woman who cycles around Australia living a nomadic life of travel and writing. She has apparently written a book called ‘Pedals-The cycling Grandma.’ She told Kerry it’s this or an ol’ peoples home so her choice is to live while she still has life. Has anyone heard of this book? The Artesian Hotel is 1 of 11 hotels in Balcadine. Built in 1887 its the only original pub standing and has a red cedar cellar. It’s classically country and genuinely warm and welcoming. Across the road is the ‘Tree of Knowledge,’ memorial. As taken from the Lonely Planet, ‘Barcaldine gained a place in Australian history in 1891 when it became the headquarters of a major shearers’ strike. The confrontation led to the formation of the Australian Workers’ Party, now the Austral-ian Labor Party. The Tree of Knowledge, a ghost gum near the train station, was the organisers’ meeting place and now stands as a monument to workers and their rights.’ The tree stands under a box structure thats a huge wind chime. I was taking pickies of the site when I met a couple from Mapleton. In our short meeting we had the most interesting conversation about politics and human nature. I exchanged details with Elsa and Nick and I know we’ll be crosing paths again. what a cool couple. They donated $10 and Nick made an oath.
Before leaving Jericho this morning I stopped at the local cafe. I chatted with the manager, Stacey over a coffee on the house. She was telling me how Jericho has lost many of its residents to the mines over the last 10 years. The townsfolk are trying to attract young families to rebuild the health of the community. I so wish Stacey and the Jericho folk all the best. Its a small dot town with a huge heart and character. Thank you for your $5 donation x
I had breakfast with Geoff this morning and he told me heaps more about places on route around Australia. He’s one interesting man. He said his ‘lady friend’ reckons GEOFF stands for ‘Geriatric, Eccentric, Old Flammin’ Fart.’ Sounds like she’s as cheeky as he is. I hope our paths cross again.
So our cash donations are $137.50 with 21 oaths in 16 days. I have taken so many photos today of cool folk and moments. Why peddle ‘Theaussiechallenge?’ Because it’s a dam fine thing to do for the soul, for the cause and for the story to share with you. We’re safe and happy with a bunch of bonus steak knives each day. And thats a good good thing to be part of. Talk soon x