Theaussiechallenge Post # 79 Grass Patch

Day 100 41 days to go. Distance today 160km total 7942km. It’s 7.30pm Monday 15/10/2012 Grass Patch. This stretch of highway from Esperance to Noresman has a history steeped in Cob and Co transport and natural water supplies for the bullocks, horses and folk utilizing the services dating back to the late 1800s. It’s also one of the most beautiful stretches we’ve ridden through in WA and that’s saying something. The forecasted rain did a no show yay for us but big bugga for the farmers and locals who are now on water restrictions according to the manager at the Grass Patch Tavern. I said to Rube in the morning, ‘I’m looking for the rain but I can’t see it ’cause the sun’s in my eyes!!!!’ And that’s how it stayed for the day which was just awesome. Heather behind the bar at the Gavin Soak Hotel said the morning clouds in Esperance had three drops of rain in them before they were exhausted and disappeared in disgust. Apparently Mother Nature doesn’t mind Mondays at all or at least the one today yay 🙂

The landscape was stunning with an abundance of wild flowers by the road and fields of wheat waiting for harvest in a weeks time. The grain silos are a real feature in each of the towns and will be in full force during this time with wheat and canola. There are so many dry salt lakes vivid white against the blue skies and green fields and despite their barren feel, looked amazing and made for photos. The fauna consisted of mostly flies and flies and their buddies and rellies and neighbors and every ‘drop in’ guest fly imaginable. Mum Ive said it before today, but I’ll say it again, thank you for lending me your fashion accessory head net x It got such a work out today and I’m sure saved my sanity. I can do flies except on my face or moreso the eyes, nose, ears and mouth where they want to beeline in droves. I did take some fun pickies but with them gathered on the head net desperately wanting to to get to their favorite orifice. Sorry guys you’ll have to wait for the next cyclist who doesn’t have such a smart Mummy!!!! x I passed a herd of dairy cows in a paddock. When they spotted us the whole herd came running up to the fenceline and lined up staring at us. It was the oddest and funniest thing and cracked us up. Of course we had to stop for a picky. They’re obviously very wild and vicious when their not being hand fed by the tough farmer. They even chased us down the road for a bit when we headed off apologizing for not having any treaties for their three stomachs. We past a section of road that was lined with pine trees and home to nesting magpies. Now these guys were tough and bombed dived us like WW3 ’cause clearly we wanted to attack their babies. Go figure!!! I never get that with Magpies. If I was doing a Winnie the Poo up their tree stealing a handful of honey I could understand their full scale attack!!! I’m sure they just have a new age gene that loves bombing the passing human. Rube called them names I can’t repeat and we were happy to fall off their radar once past the pine tree war zone. We did see an awesome spectacle that I’ll remember right up there with riding alongside the emu. We past a huuuge flock of yellow underwing black cockatoos who were in the low branches over the roadway. They then all took off with deafening squarks and circled above our heads before settling again as we rode past. It was only a few moments but the sight and sound was truly amazing and against the blue skies they were a flash of brilliance. I looooove black cockatoos!!!!

The history is really interesting. I took a picky of info for Gibson and another historic town we stopped at, called Scaddan so I could remember the cool stuff to share. Scaddan was first known as 30mile being 30miles from Esperance and the first water condenser. Condensers were situated about every 15miles along the Esperance to Noresman highway for supplying water to the public, camel, bullock and horse teams. In 1910 the first settlers arrived in the area from Australia and overseas to farm land that had been allocated to them. Scaddan became a town of bush timber shacks lined with hessian and earth floors. The conditions must have been so tough as it gets crazy cold here well below zero in winter and not much over 5 degrees on chilly spring nights like this one!!! In 1915 a hotel was built to offer food and accommodation for the Cob and Co travelers. The tin shed hotel still stands in the town and made for a great photo along with the iron ring stand used to tie up the horses during its era.

The Gibson Soak Hotel was built in the late 1800s. Since this time, it’s not only been quenching thirsts and supplies from the bar but also supplying fresh water from the soak it’s built on. This is like a natural underground spring and the water is still bottled and sold to the public. It was first discovered by a local bloke called Billy Gibson, the first white man to come across the soak while he was searching for stock. The water source was surveyed in 1886, the same year the pub opened and named in his honor.

Rube and I arrived in Grass Patch around 4.30pm and stopped in at the Tavern where their was a sign to make enquiries re camping. We gotto talking with the barman and a bloke sitting at the bar enjoying a few rums. He’s travelled around Australia a squillian times but was telling me he now has a ‘lady friend’ and they head in the new year for their first trip round together. He was very cute and excited and was keen to have a chat about all the places they want to visit in their travels. Not bad for a bloke in his 70s at a guess. Bit hard to tell as he was very weathered with lots of smile lines and didn’t mind a yarn or two or twenty. We eventually got around to asking the manager if we could score a free tent site which he hapilly agreed. The grounds are a bit down the road and have free laundary servives bonus bonus!!!1 So the gear and me have been washed good and squeaky. The laundry room is really warm. My cycling gear is strung up like Christmas decos to dry so its a good thing we’re home alone in the camp. Tomorrow it’s onto Norseman about 130km away. If we can find internet access we’ll download our photos since Perth and stay there overnight. Otherwise we may end up 20 odd kms into the Nullabor at a rest area. We’ll see what the day brings. This one however has been awesome and it’s been equally awesome to share it with you. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 78 Munglinup

Day 99 42 days to go. Distance today 83km total 7782km.It’s 7.30pm Sunday 14/10/2012 Munglinup. I’ve had such a cool afternoon getting in early with a tail wind straight from Mother Natures generous Heart thank you darling Deva !!!!! I stayed up late o’clock last night watching 007 ‘Tomorrow Never Comes.’ Just awesome and that’s from a chickadee who doesn’t watch TV usually!!!! The TV adds were fascinating all targeting the mining and farming workers like ‘We’ll take the worry out of setting up your mine site,’ and ‘Here’s the product that debugs your stock of all ailments in one dip’ and ‘workwear that’ll outlast the harshest of conditions.’ There were even adds about bringing together the mining and farming community – ‘working together to look after our one land’ How incredibly progressive!! Clearly there’s a different TV audience in this corner of the country. So when the alarm went off at ‘far too early’ am, I questioned my need to indulge in Pearce Brosnan. But after a couple of coffees we were packed and heading with a thank you note left under the office door. The ride was superb assisted by a tailwind delish that got us up and down the roller coaster road and big fun speed. Especially those declines!!!! We even had to feather the brakes a couple of times. Only a little but just to keep on safe side of serious some big fun. Going with the wind, it was easy to forget just how strong it was until we stopped for a coffee and were blown over literally when I tried to park Rube. She wasn’t impressed so I inhaled the fix and did the next 40kms with the ‘Kings of Leon’ also on full throttle. Happy girls!!! We were all smiles arriving in this tiny tiny dot town. It’s home to a roadhouse and a few houses and the best free rest area we’ve come across so far in WA. It has a hot shower for $2, drinking water, a BBQ area and heaps of shade to park or camp. There’s no stops now until Gibson on the Esperance Highway. This is the road north to Norseman and the start of the Nullabor. Look out!!!! The Gibson Rd connects us to the road heading north bypassing Esperance. It’s another 80km to the turn off then 20km to Gibson and another 50km to Grass Patch Campgrounds where we’ll aim for tomorrow night. Totally weather dependent of course so we’ll water up in the morning for plan B if we have to stop before then. It’s suppose to be rainy tomorrow so we’ll see how the day goes. I have checked the road conditions with the folk at the roadhouse between here and there and all good. We’ll just have to see if Mother N likes Mondays and take it from there 🙂 I have met very big fun and cheeky couple Kerry and Nick from Sydney doing a loop run to Perth. Their full of good natured bad manners and naughtiness and I’ve loved their company this arv. We have shared a lunch of steak and eggs (minus the steak) and pawed over maps and itineraries from here to Brisbane. Nick then cooked up a storm of pancakes and maple syrup spectacular spectacular!!! I couldn’t believe it when I routinely checked for Telstra and Optus service expecting non for such a small place but there’s Optus reception of all things. I’ve been able to check emails and upload the posts from the last days. I’m deliriously weary with a very happy tummy. It’s now off to bed for this quaky duck and an early night of sweet Zs. Today’s been a big fun day of it that’s been savored to the max. Lets see what tomorrow brings! I like not knowing yay. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 77 Ravansthorpe

Day 98 43 days to go. Distance today 165km total 7699km. It’s 7.30pm Saturday 13/10/2012 Ravansthorpe. I was sitting outside before having a coffee and chilling out after arriving late o’clock at Ravansthorpe Caravan Park. I have put their sticker on Rube’s trailer sign and thinking life’s pretty dam fine. It’s been a good day!!! We had a solid side wind for the most part that swung to our tail as the road wound through the semi arid countryside changing to green grain pastures for the last 20km. There were some descent hills but also some very descent descents so we had lots to entertain ourselves during the 165km over the day. Yay us!!!! It was so satisfying to knock out some descent k’s and although we worked hard for it I loved the workout after slogging it slow for the last week. We’re happy girls tonight with good reason. The folk here have shouted us a room so now we’re sitting on the bed squeaky clean and looking forward to dinner and bed in a real bed yayayayayaya. It’s totally basic and totally perfect with a kettle, toaster, stove and TV, all spoiling essentials to make for a big smile 🙂 I can’t remember the manager’s name so I’ll check in the morning, but he’s an endearing quirky man who has equally spoilt many of the other fundraising folk I have heard about in our travels, when they’ve had a stop over in town. He has this tiny dog who’s name I’ve also forgotton but it’s a cross wee breed with a reflective vest so the campers don’t run over her. What a darling little creature and I got pickies with her and dad at reception. She was very brave but trembling keeping a keen eye on dad while I took her picky. Outside the office he has a collection of old toilet bowls now used to pot wildflowers crazy cute stuff. Anyway I like him allot and his generosity was given with a huge thankyou hug in return. We cycled out of Ongerup this morning at early o’clock with a couple of other cycling lads who I met at the campgrounds last night. They’re from Collie east of Brunbury and doing a circuit cycle for a couple of weeks. Steve and Gary are both in their late 50s and love their bikes. They have all the fancy gear and do regular trips to try out new toys and get their regular fix away from the wives and kids. They’ve been mates for years and remind me of the odd couple Felix and Oscar enjoying lots of good natureed bantering while we chatted about gear and travels. Steve gave me a tube of ‘Butt Cream’ which was awesome and got good use today easing the chaffing I’m getting from my cheepy new seat. Apparent;y you get what you pay for so my $40 from Anaconda doesn’t really make the grade compared to their $200 seats. The lads were saying that I need to get my bum bone measurement taken and buy a size and shape that fits that’s not too soft otherwise it chaffs. Mine way too wide and soft so we’re dealing with the cheepy. Ive set it up to work as best as it can so it’ll do for this trip. The butt cream will help but!!!! A perfect and appreciated gift Steve thankyou!!!! It was fun cycling out together this morning all in our reflexives pulling our trailers. The locals were waving us off and we parted ways at the highway junction with the lads heading ack home. While I was packing up this morning I got two more donations from Yulanda ($15) and Fran ($20). I chatted for a while with Yulanda. She is from New Caledonia and runs a domestic violence Shelter there setting it up 15 years ago. She’s traveling around Australia with her husband and may be in Brisbane when we cycle in on the 25/10/2012. So if it works they’ll join our celebrations down on the Sandgate foreshore which will be really cool!!! We had our break at Jeremungup and stopped at the IGA to do a top up shop that should get us through to Port Augusta. While packing up Rube with the supplies we received two more donations from a local farmer Rory ($10) and Jenny ($5) who’s a nurse at the health clinic. A TV dinner is calling as is beddy byes so I’ll finish up there.Cash donations $2245km. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 76 Ongerup

Day 97 44 days to go. Distance today 73km total 7524km. It’s 7.30pm Friday 12/110/2012 Ongerup. I bet most of you haven’t heard of this tiny tiny dot town. I certainly hadn’t and stopped only to escape the wind when I saw a caravan park sign on the roadside turn off to the town centre. It’s usually a one horse town pretty much, but this weekend happens to be it’s 100 birthday so it’s full of past residents all gathered for the local community celebrations. Many of the past Ongerup-ians are staying here in the caravan park so it’s a hub and hive of happy folk meeting and greeting and enjoying the reunion atmosphere. They’re totally friendly and I’ve spent the afternoon chatting and enjoying the contact immensely. I scored another $20 in donations which is always a wonderful bonus. Many of the towns in this area end in ‘up’ and I asked the young owner/manager Chrystal why. She said ‘up’ is an Aboriginal name for ‘place of’ and ‘Onger’ is a male kangaroo. So I’m camped tonight at the place of the male kangaroo usual population 100 but this weekend it’s seems are bursting hosting about 1000. They have let me camp here for free very generous given how busy they are. xx Chrystal and her husband are from Perth and moved here only 2 months ago wanting a country life to raise their toddler away from the yuck of a big city. They’re already making inroads with the park which has a homely feel with lots of plans as the bank balance improves. They’re here ’til their old and grey so are in no hurry to enjoy the challenges ahead managing a business in a small country town. Today’s been a soul searcher for me and Rubes. It was probably one of the hardest days I can remember and also one of the most significant. We only managed 73km in 8 hours as the headwind was stronger than anything we’ve encountered. When we arrived at Borden 45km into the day, I was wondering what the hell we were doing. We then met Julie in the main street who managers the corner store. She invited us up for a coffee and soon we were enjoying a delish flat white and chats in the kitchen with her and her daughter. She was so lovely and positive and gave us some water bottles that she uses for her bike. She also donated $50 as the ‘least she could do to help.’ I don’t think she appreciated just how much she helped me get my head right today. I realized during the break that my focus had started to be about what money we still had to raise and the kms still to cover each day. The reality is that we have received already so many generous donations and covered so many kms. The experience to date is something I treasure and what I’m taking away from the experience is priceless. I get that this is my good and right focus as it has been….. one day at a time safe and sound with everything else steak knives. Steak knives come everyday and I have an impressive set that any chef would be proud of. So Rube and I continue the incredible experience of our aussiechallenge not for what’s still to do but to honor the folk who support and encourage us everyday. This is the richest of help and paves the way for us to ride with a clear head, positive mind, and energized soul to tackle the everyday challenges ahead. Our country is wild and this corner will continue to show us its bold color over the next weeks through to Port Augusta. It’s so unpredictable which makes planning set kms per day impossible until we’re into it. So we’ll start nice and early and chip away at what kms we can manage given the day on the day with all it’s surprise packages and unplanned events. It’s means we won’t be able to commit to any events that folk want to organize for us, but we need that flexibility to manage the days and cycle into Brisbane on the route that works for the 25/11/2012. So that was the resting place for the soul searching day of it and it’s a good place indeedy. I mentioned those little surprises and there were a couple of cool ones today worth sharing. Firstly I realized just short of Borden that we had taken the wrong road out of Albany. Oppsy!!!!!! The bonus however is that the alternate route took us through the Stirling Ranges and Bluff Knoll which was perfectly stunning. It was every bit as beautiful as Ive read in the Australian Geographic. I was told today that a few weeks back all the canola flowers were out but have since been harvested so we missed the yellow effect. That aside the green paddocks, mountains and blue skies were a treat so I owe whoever intervened to put us on this road a huge hug and thank you xxxxxxx We also stopped where the ranger told us to this morning and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves when uploaded. It was an insignificant crossing called Paper Collar Creek but when you walked down to the banks, they were alive with wildflowers and a tucked away treasure. Another treat was calling the folks when I arrived in Ongerup. I was in need of a debrief and as always they were totally supportive and helpful. I had also asked them via email in Albany to follow up on some local contacts in sandgate to help promote our challenge. They have already done heaps of follow up stuff and running around for me. Thankyou Mops and Pops our chats today were soooo needed and appreciated and your help as always the bestest ever. I’m one pretty lucky daughter and I love you biggest ever xxxxxxxxxxxxxx The campgrounds have gone all quiet with everyone at the local Tavern for the opening evening. A good time to dine and settle before the merry hordes return. Cash donations $2195. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 75 Sterling Ranges

Day 96 45 days to go. Distance today 76km total 7461km. It’s 7pm Thursday 11/10/2012 Moing Up Springs camp area, Stirling Ranges National Park. What a treat it’s been this afternoon cycling towards the Stirling Ranges with the small but sheer range sticking his chest out on the horizon. Mt Bluff is bold and handsome to the right of the Range and tempts many hikers to climb his peak. The landscape has changed dramatically again since entering the National Park with native low lying shrubs,white sandy ground and wild flowers abundant and blooming bold. There’s a park ranger hut next to the camp area and the ranger, Peter has been showing me some of the wildflowers including a ‘spider’ orchard. It’s white and shaped like its name suggests and so delicate. There’s also heaps of dark colored wallabies with white flashes around it’s eye and tail. I’m not sure what type it is and forgot to ask Peter but they’re new to this area and cute as. Peter said there’s a creak crossing about 10km further along that’s worth a stop to check out the wildflowers along the banks so that’ll be a definite 2nd cuppa tomorrow morning. It time for some early starts to try beat the sea breezes that build in the morning and blow ugly and head on unmercifully into the afternoon. That should change when we turn northwards from Esperance which is still a couple of days away. It’s light at 5am so the plan is to be on the road not much after. I have my new tent purchased in Albany this morning. It’s called ‘Buddy’ as it’s brand is Companion, and hopefully he’ll be ours for the weeks ahead. Grasshopper is in the post going back to Anaconda after his inglorious end with a pole snapping last night. ‘That’s not good’ came out of my mouth as I was setting him up. We managed to use a couple of pegs and zip ties to brace the pole for the night but it’s back to the maker for the grasshopper. He’s seen us comfy safe through WA for the most part so thankyou. Buddy is very much alike in color and shape being a 2 person free-stander and light at 2.5kg. He’s easier to assemble and looks smick moo with his christening tonight – welcome onboard Theassuieadventure mate, may your poles be sturdy and your green outer weatherproof. I also lashed out and bought another 3/4 mat as my repair attempt on the air mat was unsuccessful bugga. So it was a late start this morning leaving the Albany campgrounds at lunchtime. I spoke to the manager Sue at the Big4 campgrounds as she had left before we arrived the day prior. She let us camp for a freebie totally generous because it was $28 otherwise so bigtime yayayayayaya. That was a bonus end to a hard day Wednesday. On Wednesday we had our break at Denmark a small dot town in the hills and arrived tidy wides and a bit deflated. What’s deflating is that it takes so long to cover any distance so the bottom lip was out a bit when I pulled up in front of the IGA for a supply top up. This couple said, “how’s it all going’ and I replied, ‘hard!!’ ‘I’ll say’ they agreed and headed off. When I came out there was a box of Lindt chockies on Rubes seat which brought a smile to the face and were tasty treats for the next 60km to Albany. Despite the hard conditions the weather is currently blue skies which is suppose to hold up until Monday when showers are forecasted. We spoke to a lady at the roadhouse 15km back and she said that 7 days ago it was 7 degrees max and wanting to snow and rain. Nuts!!!!!! Needless to say we’re on a mission to be north of Esperance before Monday where the weather patterns are different to the coast. It’s hard ti imagine with it so clear now and perfect weather for the Ranges and Mt Bluff to show off their good sides. We’ll do a sunrise to sunset day of it tomorrow and see how far we can get to chip away the kms to Esperance. It’ll mean probably a bush camp but there’s a couple of very small dot town we can ask to fill up our water bottles for overnight. The roadhouse lady obliged today but said that they’re not suppose to as it’s tank water and not guaranteed purified but it tastes pretty good to me. Peter said the tank water here is fine despite it having a ‘not suitable for drinking sign.’ He is a lovely chap and after chatting and showing me about said on the quiet that he’ll waver the National Park fee to help the cause sweet man. He came over before to say goodnight and make sure we had everything. It’s nice to be looked out for!!! There’s another couple camped here and I was talking to them about bikes. They have a couple of mountain bikes and tomorrow are doing the 40km offroad circuit around the Bottom of the Ranges, sounds awesome!!! Their BBQ dinner smelt so good cooking up a storm on the hotplate so it’s time to fill the tum. Rubes crank is cluncking a bit from the huge hilly effort over the last 6 days. I’ve given her a good waxy oil up and hopefully she’ll come good tomorrow. She’s already passed out and snoring!!! It’s been a bit of an enigma this part of WA. In one respect it’s stunning countryside but in another the cycling’s been on the wrong side of hard. I thought today that we haven’t had some easy kms bar the 5km descent to Walpole. With an early start tomorrow we may be able to chip off some descent kms before the wind blows up. The roadhouse lady called it a ‘sea breeze.’ Sea Breeze my ar$e, way too nice but I’m a biased cyclist heading into it 🙂 I’m sure it’s very delightful from a car seat. I’ve got back into the truckee wave swing of it today leaving Albany with the roadtrains back on highway 1. They take the direct inland road from Perth to Albany and it was cool to say hi again today to my big brothers with cool tonkers 🙂 I met a NZ couple this morning at reception who were all smiles and chatty and donated $5 thankyou Mr and Mrs C. They’re on their way back home now to start teaching again Tuesday morning. Good luck getting back into the working swing with the year 6’s. In closing I hope all you fellow chickadees out there savored our first International day of the Girl Child. Us chicks really can do anything we put our minds too. Cash donations $2125. Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 74 Albany

Day 95 46 days to go. Distance today 115km total 7385km. It’s 9pm Wednesday 10/10/2012 Albany. It’s so late o’clock so a short post tonight from downtown chilly Albany!!!!!! Rube and I finally got in at 5.45pm and I think it’s been the longest day for that distance so far. Hills and headwind and beautiful countryside. I grabbed a handful of pickies today to share when I get the next gallery downloaded. I was hoping it would be tomorrow before we left but instead I have to buy another tent!!! One of the grasshopper’s tent pole’s broke setting it up tonight WHAT THE…!!!! My partner’s chasing up a refund but in the meantime we’ll need to do some shopping before heading. It’s good timing that we’re in Albany as it’s a big dot town with lots of camping stores. I found one online that I think will have a good supply so we’ll check it out in the morning. Gives us a good chance to check out the town also yay!! I got an email from my big sfessie today letting us know that tomorrow is the First International Day of the Girl Child. So from two girl childs we wish all the chicks out there an awesome GO GIRL CHILD DAY for the 11/10/12. Here’s a copy of Katie’s email for your reading. Time for dinner and bed I’m shattered and Ruhbe’s already dribbling. Talk soon x

Hi Widdle XO
Tomorrow is the First „International Day of the Girl Child“ It`s been organized by the United Nations and Plan International (an international charity that I support)
Here`s a little more info in case you`d like to know a bit more.
YOU GO GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 11 is Day of the Girl!

International Day of the Girl
Why is it important?
Equal opportunity for girls is good for all of us. Girls throughout the world face higher rates of violence, poverty, discrimination. There is a growing recognition around the world that support for girls and their basic human rights is key for healthy communities. Improving girls’ lives has a ripple effect. What is good for them is good for all of us.

This international day will promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse.
The United Nations has declared October 11 as ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, following an extensive campaign by Plan.

“By designating October 11th as Day of the Girl we are all agreeing to put a special focus on the rights of girls throughout the world. We know that in many countries girls get left behind in all areas of life from school to work and many are prevented from fulfilling their true potential by severe discrimination and prejudice,” said Plan Chief Executive Officer Nigel Chapman.

Many girls have been calling for a Day of the Girl – including Lil Shira, a young woman from Cameroon who was among a Plan-supported delegation of girls at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year. “Girls are being neglected, marginalised, and discriminated in families and society. Most of the girls are ignorant about their rights. The Day of the Girl will make girls feel respected, recognised and their contributions valued in society,” she said.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, a long standing supporter of Plan’s Day of the Girl campaign, said: “I think the International Day of the Girl Child would be a great day for the issues of the girl child to be brought to light for media institutions, for government institutions, and for educational institutions to take the time to think: Girls are the future of the world and we definitely need a day dedicated to their issues.”

Theaussiechallenge Post # 73 17km south of Walpole

Day 94 47 days to go. Distance today 100km total 7270km. It’s 7.30pm Tuesday 9/10/2012 Valley of the Giants Eco Caravan Park 17km South of Walpole. The Valley of the Giants refers to the Karri, Red Tingle, Yellow Tingle, Marri and Karri Oak that towers the forests east of Walpole. It is home to the Giant Tingle Tree at 24metres, this is the largest girthed living eucalyptus known in the world. There is a famous treetop walk, drive and hike in the area to take in the spectacle. It’s a drive inland from here so we won’t be sidetracking but keep it in mind if you’re in this part of the woods. In fact make the south west and great southern regions in WA a must on your list if planning an Aussie trip. I know Ive said it but it really is beautiful and to cycle the area continues to be a treat and a highlight to date. Albeit hilly and super hard work, it’s worth it as Dave Alley recommended. It’s been three days now of working hard for the money honey and Rube and I are sore and tidey wides but all smiles. What I was thinking of today for some inspiration was the fact that my big sister Katie is arriving early for their visit at Christmas and will be here on the 24/11/2012 to welcome us into Sandgate. This is soooo special and means the world to me and the family you count big sfessie and thankyou thankyou for changing your flight to come earlier xxxxxxxxx

The ride today was through more national parks and forests of massive eucalypts. It was a clear day and the sun through the towering treeline cast great shadows and perfect for photos and savoring the kms. Jeff passed us on his way to the Treetop walk and stopped for a roadside chat. He’s a cool guy and is from Warrnambool at the start of the Great Ocean Road. He’ll be back home early November and there when we arrive for the welcome event Roxanne’s organizing. He has invited me on a plane trip with him over the coastal treasures how incredibly awesome and generous and cool and exciting and ‘yes please!!!!!’ Obviously it’s subject to the weather but what a great offer if Mother Nature plays nice on the day. Here’s hoping, I may have to sacrifice a toffu bean or two to appease her as she can be a bit temperamental as we all know good and well. Fingers crossed at any rate 🙂 Just before Walpole we got our first glimpse of the great south coast and stopped at the lookout for a picky. It had been all uphills for ages prior, then 5km downhill into town with not a break pad in sight weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee awesome fun for me and the girl!!!!! ‘What goes up….must come down…….’ In Walpole we stopped for a coffee and met some cool locals wanting to know about our travels and challenge. While chatting a bus load of trippers from AAT Kings Coach Tours stopped and gathered round Rube checking her out and her signage. They all chipped in donations totally $48 how awesome. they were all cheek and giggles and made the passing comment that their donations means 1/300th less off the target. How incredibly true fine folk enjoy the rest of your tour and thankyou!!!! We were aiming for a rest area at the turnoff to the Valley of the Giants but it’s now closed. Luckilly luckilly there was a caravan park back 1km so we turned on our tires and have been treated to a freebie stay yay. The shower and clean up has been totally delish and necessary I might add. Even Rube commented that I was a bit on the nose if she had one!!! 🙂 It’s really chilly this evening no more than 5 degrees and I’m rugged up cosey with everything on including the gortex weather jacket. I scored this jacket from Thea and Graham back in Stanwell east of Rocky and what a long time ago does that seem. My fond memories of our stay with them however are still fresh and treasured and I hope you are both well and planning your next trip!!!! I mentioned the extra chill in the air to the manager here and like he said, ‘we’re pretty close to the Antarctic you know!!!!’ How very true!!!! Whilst at Walpole I also checked emails and will finish up with a copy of two I got, one from Ma and Pa and the other from ‘The Scrambled eggs & bacon brekky lady’ as she referes to herself LOL. I met Jenny way back in Duaringa on day 11. Great to hear from you Jenny and thanks for the tips re Port Augusta and encouragement. Cash donations $2120 yayayayaya. Talk soon xxxx

‘Congratulations on reaching your half way mark, I love reading your blogs and the wonderful explanations of beautiful places of our country, many we still need to explore too. Before you get to Pt Augusta, there is a sheep station call Nutbush with a small caravan park, great place for an overnighter! They even have a community dining room, you may get a home cooked meal!
It is about 30kms before Pt Augusta and I am sure it would be a better camping place for you compared to Pt Augusta. Wishing you all the best for the rest of your treck! From the Scrambled eggs & bacon brekky lady!
Jenny (now home in SA)

‘Darlin girl, A quick email but I do want to have mail waiting for you when you next have internet xxoo.
Your recent Posts are great reading…..but NO I wouldn’t have dug up some of the freesia bulbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do hope you have taken photos of them though………..Ree, wanted to mention that at Jill Meagher’s (the young woman who was murdered) funeral in Melbourne on Friday the family wore the White ribbons as the symbol against violence against women. This was mentioned on the evening new’s coverage.’
Mops and Pops

Theaussiechallenge Post # 72 Shannon National Park

Day 93 48 days to go. Distance today 120km total 7170km. It’s 7.30pm Monday 8/10/2012 Shannon National Park. We so landed on our feet and tyres again tonight big time good fortune. It poured down rain for the last hour so we were passed relieved when we reached what I thought were going to be campgrounds. It’s a camping area but self registering with minimal facilities and no power or running water. Thank goodness we were able to charge our gear up last night at Greeenbushes and thank goodness for Jeff, a fellow camper we met staying here who kindly offered to filled our water bottles. Another great bonus is that there’s a tiny hut with wooden bunks that works on a ‘first in’ basis. Being a Monday and I suppose with the weather being a bit crappy, there’s no one else to share so we have the belly stove to ourselves. The stoves been lit and the wet gear laid out to dry and now I’m sitting on my bunk posting you fine folk. It’s an end to a mixed day but overall really interesting. The scenery continues to show off bigtime. Dave Alley the white ribbon Ambassador for our fundraising challenge, was telling me that the south west is worth the extra effort for the hills and he was spot on thanks Mate for the tip. Jeff is an interesting man. He retired from plumbing some five years ago when his doctor recommended he do his Australia tripping he’d been talking about for years. He was suffering a bit of stress and his doctor authorized his golden retriever,Shannon as a ‘companion dog.’ This means Shannon can travel with his dad anywhere including National Parks. What a very happy couple of lads having a ball living their dream. He is a keen diver and flys a parachuted plane and carries it all in his caravan to explore Australia by land, air and sea. He showed me his photo album of his dive and flying expeditions. He’s got the best shots including sunken WW2 ships, 4 meter Bull sharks, a pod of orcas, and aerial shots over lake Ayer, the Ocean Road and 80mile Beach off WA, just to name a few of plenty postcard quality stuff. All the while Shannon’s nearby and it was special seeing the clear adoration between the men.

I then worked out our kms to Warrnambool. It looks like we can realistically get there by the 6/11 so I’ll email Roxanne when I have reception with the date.

We had an awesome ride today despite the legs complaining from the last days of hill work. Soon out of Greenbushes we past a roadside patch of wildflowers that had french lavender growing amongst other varieties. We got some cool micro shots. It’s fabulous seeing plants that we have in our gardens growing wild here. We reached bridgetown at the 20 km mark. It’s a historic town with buildings dating back to the late 1800s all lovingly restored and functioning as originally purpose built. We enjoyed the atmosphere and checked emails over a cuppa then headed through more dairy, stone fruit and vineyard countryside just beautiful. We passed many historic homesteads functioning still as farms dating back to the early 1900s and restored grand and clearly loved. The gardens are exquisite and a real feature is the purple flowering wisteria growing over barns, verandas or some feature in the grounds. Of course the red tailed cockatoos continue to keep us company by the roadside eating their gum nuts. Hopefully they check for any fairies before noring away at their favorite native treats. The scenery then changed for the last 50kms. Instead of grassy farmlands we came into the National Parks of dense pine forests then towering grey gum bushlands. The road narrowed but was smooth with good roll that made going down the hills bigtime fun. The sky had been threatening all day and we were managing to dodge the rain until our luck ran bout an hour before finishing bugga. It’s quite cold in the overcast conditions I’m guessing 10 to 15 degrees and the rain made it super chill bill. So it was good to get out of the wet gear and into the thermals and grape when we arrived. That’s about it for today and I’ll finish up with a copy of some emails I got from new and old male friends of mine. The guy I talked to yesterday his name is Ben thanks for the email mate and I look forward to keeping in touch. John is an old work colleague of mine who’s just got back from holidaying in Iceland with his wife and another couple. The women ran the Iceland marathon which I think is sooo quirky and super amazing. A couple of cool woman and very inspiring stuff yay. Talk soon x

‘Hi Maree, Nice to see you again,Hope you got to Bridgetown OK.Couldn’t believe we bumped into you again keep on going and keep your spirits high.I Will keep track on your progress and have a chat every so often.Looks like the weather will be in your favour Good Luck BEN’

‘Your ride is amazing. I look forward to reading your blog. Keep safe and look after yourself and Rube. JOHN’

Theaussiechallenge Post # 71 Greenbushes

Day 92 49 days to go. Distance today 112km total 7050km. It’s 7.30pm Sunday 7/10/2012 Greenbushes Rest Area. It’s my sister Janet’s birthday today happy birthday Love hope you had an awesome day doing cool adventure stuff. We scored a great unplanned rest area stop this arv just oustside of Greenbushes. From Donnybrook it was a stunning ride but hard as it was really hilly Maleny style through the rolling hills of dairy farming country happy happy black and white cows. We were aiming for Bridgetown Caravan Park to charge up the electronics and have a shower but spotted this place 18km short. It has drinking water and a club house a few hundred meters away where’s there’s toilets but best of all I found an outside power point perfect!!!!!! I can do stinky until our next campground. It’s a nice grassy spot here with trees and a small rotunda which I’m siting under now posting you fine folk. Theres another van parked a distance away. Last night we had the rest area by the river at Harvey all to ourselves but We can share :-). It’s a good end to a hard but beautiful day’s ride. We had our first break at Boyanup where I met Tracey and her family from Armadale. We chatted about our challenge, the joys of cycling, and their tripping in the south west. Friendly family full of support for our endeavors and donated $5 thankyou x. The next section was again beautiful through stone fruit groves and vineyards. There’s heaps of boutique wineries and it would be a mecca place if you were into wine tasting. Donnybrook was a cute historical town with lots of visitors savoring the restored buildings and parklands. We had stopped for a short break and was sitting on the footpath people watching, when a fella I met outside the Namatura roadhouse came up to say hi again. He sat beside me in the gutter and had an awesome chat about cycling and his 32 years of being a truckee. He’s a real keen cyclist into time trials and is really curious and encouraging of our challenge. I can’t remember your name mate I’m sorry but I enjoyed our chats heaps. He gave me heads up that the road to Bridgetown was extra hilly so we got underway to tackle the inclines eeek not shi# Sherlock!!!! We had a break at the top of a rise to hoover a mini snickers and some almonds and take in the view looking back over the lush cow country. The wildflowers are continuing to show off and we passed a patch were there were about 50m of freesures in full bloom up the embankment by the road. How incredibly stunning with assorted colors I’ve never seen in our potted varieties back home that are mostly yellow and white. These ones were hues of pinks, purple, white and blue breathtaking stuff my mum would have drooled over. Actually I think she would have been tempted to dig up a few bulbs given half the chance. We were in the National Park area where I saw a sign off to the start of the Mundi Bindi bike trail. I’ve read about this long distance cycle and walk in the Australian Geographic and going on the countryside it would be an awesome experience. I did some more itinerary planning late this arv and we’re now up to Port Augusta. The kms aren’t too crazy and we’ve got 26 days left from there to Brisbane which averages about 125km a day again pretty respectable and very doable particularly given we’ll be two horses bolting in the last few weeks. Crazy to be thinking that far ahead but it’s still one day at a time and today we’re safe and sound albeit a bit weary and thinking food and zzzzzz’s. Cash donations $2072. It’s really chill bill tonight with clear skies and a starry blanket of nighttime delish. Love it!!!! Talk soon x

Theaussiechallenge Post # 70 Harvey

Day 91 50 days to go. Distance today 95km total 6938km. It’s 7pm Saturday 6/10/2012 Harvey Rest Area. I’m listening to the ducks have their last say for the evening as it’s time for the frogs and crickets to have their turn. We’ve found the best rest area outside a tiny dot town called Harvey. I stopped in at their info centre as I haven’t been seeing the handful of rest areas we’ve past already according to the camp 6 and wanted to check if they’re sign posted differently and or been closed. As it turns out they’re rarely sign posted in this corner of the State and the tourist info centers are our best source for details. I’m chuffed to have fluked that one indeedy. The frogs are going off in socks!!! The rest area is right on the river that runs through the town and it’s grassed and shaded with wildflower and drinking water and just beautiful. The bugs and bities are full on so I have three coils keeping them at bay and doing the trick yay. They’re attracted to the head torch so I need some local bats to pay us a visit. Critters have been a highlight today and very much at home in the south west. It still blows me away what a contrast it is here. The barren stretches of semi desert have been replaced with rolling green hills very hinterland looking and much like our home in Maleny. There’s even a range that runs parallel to the roadway dotted with grand homesteads. The properties are access by the road but they are perched up on the range enjoying the scenic countryside. I catch a glimpse of them from time to time and it’s definitely a rich area for some. The homesteads are mostly cattle and horse studs with some winery groves, and sheep and wheat pastures. Although the weather is clear presently, it must get heaps of rain given the lush greens and plentiful running waterways, wetlands and topped up ponds. No wonder the animals look so happy and fat and calving or pregnant. ‘Tis the season to be mating clearly so good luck to them I say!!!! The area is home to Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. It is believed that May Gibbs drew much of her inspiration for her bush babies and stories whilst living in here in Harvey. Her family migrated from England in 1881 when May was four years old. They lived a farm life on the banks of the Harvey River and she was home schooled by her mother. She pursued writing and illustration when they later moved to Perth but continued to visit family in Harvey over the many years to follow. May died at 93 in 1969 and her books have never been out of print since released in 1918. That’s a bit of trivia I stole from the info centre cool hey!!! Someone else who loves the gum nuts are the black cockatoos. They feed on the nuts and the roadway is blanketed with chewed nuts from the gums. I startled so many today in the overhanging branches and the effect was breathtaking. The cockatoos were taking off just above my head and flashing their underwings with a red burst against the blue sky stunning stunning stunning. I lost count of how many I told how handsome they are!!!!! Actually I pretty much chatted to the local critters all ride long and loved it. The first hour or so was really hard work as there was this wicked easterly that blew up overnight rocking the poor grasshopper. It was tricky to cycle in but then stopped as suddenly it started during the night. Crazy stuff but I was happy for the change that’s for sure. I was planning to cycle on to Brunswick Junction today but it was too nice here not to enjoy the spot. Plus with the new seat I have a rub mark on the butt that’s ouchy. So it made for an early finish and I was able to do a spot of washing, play with gear and plan three weeks of itinerary. I got an email from Roxanne who I have met in our travels. Roxanne commented, ‘A huge congratulations so far! When will you be arriving in Warrnambool Victoria…I would like to organise an event as a celebration of your arrival in our seaside town!’ This is the bestest so I’ve been trying to realistically plan ahead to give her a day. I’ve just reached the South Australia/Victoria border roxanne so I should get that date to you tomorrow hopefully. Thank you again so much for your enthusiasm, kind gesture and help. It’s really cool to be a part of and an exciting plus plus for Rube and I yayayaya. It’s my sister Janet’s birthday tomorrow so I want to get an email off to her tonight so I might pull up stumps there. Great day and beautiful corner of the State to be enjoyed and savored more over the next days. Fingers crossed the weather stays good as forecasted. Talk soon x