Archive for June, 2007

Day 15 – Fairy Crossing

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Route details: Grafton – Illuka 30/06
73Kms; 5hr 40m (includes 5km on the ferry)

As we woke after a nasty day yesterday neither of us were all that interested in continuing the journey, so we switched on the TV and watched ‘Cinderalla Man’, but check was looming and we slowly packed up readying ourselves to go, not knowing what was to come today.

In fact it ended up being one of the nicest days on tour. Riding through various crops and along the sides of a river, most of which was flat.

Line dancing trees

A pick for Caroline who had a baby a day or two ago. Funny story about these two is that both were standing in the flood water behind them (you can see the muddy tracks) horse on the right eating grass through the water, horse on the left takes a dump … noble animals …

As we rode we were able to see the crews of sugar cane harvesters at work, and this is the raw sugar on the way to the refinery, it seems just like cut hay. We are all waiting for the next ferry.

Karl and a truck full of sweets, crossing the river.

Having crossed the river and now following it down hill to the coast, both Colette and I were able to pick up the pace and I was averaging over 29km/h, while Colette was doing 25km/h, not bad. this meant getting to Yamba for the ferry to Illuka with plenty of time to spare so I decided on a bit of bird watching.

On the ferry to Illuka, first the sunset on one side of the boat,

Then a Jedi moon on the other.

Oh and Colette and I have lost motivation for riding every day and are deciding to have a relax at Illuka for a few days.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
History lost for new history … dang

Day 14 – The Two Towering Hills …

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Route details: Coffs Harbour – Grafton
86Kms; 8hr 20m (lots of down time)

After a well needed rest of 3 nights in serviced apartment luxury put on by Colette’s mum Julia and husband Robert, time was up and it was back to the road with our bikes fully ladened again. The weather seemed to be putting on a show with clear blue sky and little wind. But that was because we were sheltered from the wind that lay ahead by the hills that we had no idea were standing right in front of us.

So we were away and before we had done a K up the road we hit the first ugly hill just at the north end of Coffs Harbour, urban highway traffic, covered in glass, then another hill, then another… And as we climbed slowly towards Grafton the wind started to pick up, and without realizing it was not going to be our day.

Worse was to come on one of the steeper hills mid way, I noticed that the trailer was feeling a bit sluggish, so put it to the back of my mind as if there was a puncture in the trailer tire I’d fix it at the top of the hill. Or at least that is what I thought, but as the hill dragged on, I knew I had a puncture and not that I cared about the tire condition from riding while flat (I secretly wished the wheel would be ruined and I’d then dump the trailer for good). But soon I just wanted a rest so I stopped to fix the tire. Colette was a while behind and I hoped that I could have it fixed before she arrived. Now with my nice new steel tire levers just for the trailer tire, I got to it.

Well this was one of the worst repairs I have ever made, first the new tube just bought had already been pinched (could have been my nice new steel levers). Then I got the old tube, repaired one hole only to find that it had another only after refitting. So it was three repairs for the price of one, plus I noticed the glass fragments were being embedded in the trailer tire waiting to surprise me at a later date, so I picked all of these out. All up we stood on the no-shoulder side of the road with a steep drop on the other side of the barrier for 1 hr, I was steadily getting hotter under the collar but by the end I had come to the conclusion ‘S#|+ happens’ and decided to just go with the flow.

After a long day in the saddle we could see the sun setting and so now it was a race to get to Grafton before dark. But Colette had slowed down considerably as we hit the rolling hills just south of Grafton, the problem was that she had pulled a muscle, she said it was her gluets and she was not happy. Riding conditions were now horrible on the rolling hills, the wind blew strong enough in our face on the down side to stop us getting speed for the up on the other side and the wind would disappear behind the crest on the up side so we would get overheated before being chilled by the head wind at the top.

Then just as we’d made it 2kms from Grafton we saw this beautiful red KFC sign, and I don’t think it was the pain, but the though of the tender chicken for dinner that made tears stream down Colette’s face.

After KFC we rode straight over the road to a motel and crashed into bed.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
Missing data on GPS unit as the history got automatically deleted for new history … trap for young players.

Days 12, 13 – Downtime

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Route details: Rest days
0Kms; 0hr 0m

The legs are saying thank you, it’s RnR time. Just washing the view …

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T is for Terminator and Tractor

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Colette’s first toboggan ride

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Karl’s an old hand

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Proof we made it to Coffs Harbour

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Day 11 – One more time!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Route details: Macksville – Coffs Harbour
56Kms; 3hr 59m

We have both been looking forward to this, the last day before a rest. Yay.

Again we thought 60Kms nice and short so 3hrs. But again we were wrong and spent the next 4 hours going up a hill then down the other side, in the rain. But our spirits were up as we would be stopping for 3 days so both happy.

Could tell if we were riding in Oz or Nz.

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But just have to complain about this one thing as it really annoyed me, I had my route worked out and should have stuck to it, but a stupid road sign indicated to get off the Highway near Sawtell and take a bike track. Well the highway is flat and has lots of good signs telling you where you are, but the stupid bike track is fill of hills and dips, which for people not having just rode over the range at to the south it might be fun, also you have to guess which street you are on. Then at Sawtell you get more unwanted hills and a few extra Kms to boot. My advice for anyone doing this, just ride straight up the highway until Stadium Drive and ignore the bike signs … I Saw-and-am-telling you to skip this hilly part of town.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
011 Macksville to coffs Harbour

Day 10 – Creepy Crawlies

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Route details: Crescent Head – Macksville
78Kms; 5hr 30m

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The rain was back and after riding 5 hours in either down pours or constant drizzle, at 3 Kms out it was not good to get our first puncture. So on the side of the road with trucks spraying us from one side and being attacked by Leeches from the other road storm drain side. It was just good to get to the Star Hotel for a hot shower and a beer.

Here is the leech I didn’t know I had picked up, luckily it only made it to my sock. Cause neither of us smoke so had no means to get it off otherwise. Might have to take up smoking if going to the tropics.

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
010 Crescent head to Macksville

Day 9 – Caught in a sand trap

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Route details: Lake Cathie – Crescent Head
56Kms; 6hr 10m

Both Colette and I are feeling the sore legs from so many days without a break, but we have no rest day available if we are to get to Coffs Harbour on time.

Today we were feeling good a nice short ride and we should be able to do some clothes washing, etc. Boy we couldn’t have been more wrong. After a nice quick first 20Kms in an hour, I got a puncture at Port Macquarie, and so thinking the day was nearly over relaxed while fixing it.

Finally we got a break with a ferry and it was running, and we got to the dirt section of the journey, and this is where things started to go a little pear shape. First, I rode off and not thinking I was getting to far ahead of Colette until I sat for 40 mins at the start of the 4WD track. Finally after thinking Colette had be kidnapped as I didn’t get the usual ‘Puncture’ txt, I rode back. Then there she was rocking up the road having fixed the puncture. Still thinking only 30Kms to go (maybe an hour and a 1/2), relaxed and had lunch.

Then we hit the pot holes and sand traps of the 4WD track. At points it was off the bike and pushing, at points it was off the bike because the sand had gone from hard to foot deep soft unexpectedly and over the handle bars was the result. We were having fun … something different …

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Finally we were back on the dirt track which was in desperate need of being graded, and the corrugations from lots of vehicles use made it slow going on no suspension bikes. All the while we we getting closer to Big Hill (I love the way aussies name things … 4 mile road …) which as it name stated, it didn’t disappoint, it was a big hill.

Eventually some 6 hrs after starting we rolled into Crescent Head and found our way to the camp ground, and one of the nicest views on the trip, but of course the rain started and so it was off to bed.

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
009 Lake Cathie to Crescent Head

Day 8 – Down to the flats

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Route details: Taree – Lake Cathie
66Kms; 4hr 30m

Some of the nicest riding so far, flat and fast, tried to pace Colette, but she was having none of it, which gave me time to grab a few pics every now and then. Just one of the nice rivers that the highway crosses.

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The guide book caught us out again, as we cruised passed Bonny Hills with its 3 camp grounds, and on to Lake Cathie with what the guide indicated was a camp ground, only to find it had sold up years ago.

Looking to Lake Cathie from Bonny Hills.

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
008 Taree to Lake Cathie

Day 7 – On the road again

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Route details: Bulahdelah – Taree
78Kms; 5hr 20m

Sick of the ferries and the guide book we’re following, so I said lets just make up some time and get to Coffs Harbour, the quickest way we knew how, the Highway, all the way. Up down, up down, but still quick and steady on the beautiful concrete, even recorded a max speed of 72Km/hr towing the Bob, that is only 32Km/hr faster than the limit suggested by the makers.

Taree is a great little town in the middle of nowhere and must go off in summer. We saw our first KFC and boy did it taste good, possibly the best KFC I had had since I was a kid. We camped near a river and this meant everything was wet as soon as the sun went down and it made if freezing during the night.

taree-kfc.JPG

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
007 Bulahdelah - Taree

Day 6 – Guess what?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Route details: Nelson bay – Bulahdelah
86Kms; 6hr 20m (excluding the last 20Kms on the bus, Colette wimped out on her first ton!)

Up early and ready to go, but guess what ferry cancelled and ‘wait til 11am, cause it will definitely be going’ we were told. So it was a nice sit down for 2 hours in the park overlooking the wharf. 10.30 rocked up and you got it all ferries canceled for the rest of the day cause of a little bit of wind …

I was having none of it and is was time to go we had to get to Coffs Harbour by the 26th. So we back tracked 30Kms into one of the worst head winds that caused us to ride 10Km/hr less than the day before, over the same sections. At 50Kms mark were finally hit the beautiful concrete of the Pacific Highway and spirits picked up. This was short lived as the concrete and shoulder of the road disappeared, but the big trucks and trailers didn’t.

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At 84Kms both of us were running out of steam and it was getting dark, but I was looking forward to celebrating Colette’s first ton only 20Kms down the road.

At 86Kms a bus had pulled over and as we rode up the driver got out and offer us a ride, I said we were alright, but when Colette pulled up moments later, without hearing the offer she was already saying, ‘Yes, Yes, Yes, thank you!’. So the ton disappeared at the same speed as the light. And it my have saved our lives.

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
006 Nelson Bay to Bulahdelah

Day 5 – Canceled again!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Route details: Stockton – Nelson Bay
49Kms; 3hr 10m

One of the most boring, flat and uneventful rides of my life. Marsh Rd was pretty cool to see a completely different land scape on the side of the road and the recent floods made it even better, pity Australians think the side of the road is the prefect place to dump there waste, so expect old tires and matresses …

Nice big hill to get into Nelson Bay and guess what another ferry canceled, we are having no luck.

Some flooding north of Marsh Rd.

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And it looks like the drought is over.

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GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)
005 Stockton to Nelson Bay