Archive for July, 2007

Day 47 Way Cool

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Route details: Boreen Point – Tin Can Bay
67.5Kms; 6hr 10m

The day started at Boreen Point camp ground where over night we have been drenched by the dew and our tent had a bit of a problem with the fly which seems to no longer be water proof (icky). Our new mate was not amused.

Looking forward to a bit of unsealed mayhem later …

The warning at Eulama, I had just played with my GPS in Noosa and so now had the Gradient figures available, generally a 6% climb that notched up to 12% in places.

What it must look like riding behind me and my trailer up a climb …

Colette grits her teeth and makes a comeback late on the climb …

The warning at the start of the Cooloola Way Forestry track, there was no way we were going to go around as that would have added a large distance to our trip. Colette sucks back hard on the H2Os …

Directions at points were not so clear … we picked right, cause right is always right (wisdom dispensed to me in form 3 by Jonathan Knauf, in a cave under the Mangaotaki, class of 30 kids, 2 adults and 2 touches between all of us (try getting away with that at a school these days), we followed the water that time which went left), but this time we went right, cause you guessed it …

Our first attempt at getting the photo for the Fully Loaded Touring website of other mad nuts like us … ( I am sure we will be able to do better later.

Time for lunch, no expense spared, noodles, chocolate, and peanut butter sandwiches, hmmmm yummy.

To demonstrate the difference of traveling by bike verse car, first what you see from a car, who would ever guess what is in behind those them there trees …

And now off the bike through the fore-trees and what a view.

Cooloola Way road at is best. This is a 30km track that varies from hard dirt track to unrideable sand, well worth a look at once you have your fitness up, interesting thing about much of the roads we ride in Oz is that there will be one kind of forest on one side of the road and something completely different on the other.

The Noosa River crossing, I think I found where the swamp of dead souls scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed …

Once out of Cooloola Way it was back to sealed rode and the hills to Cooloola Cove which Colette had decide was our end point as she was buggered, problem was there was no camp grounds and so we had to continue to Tin Can Bay which luckily had a nice bike track all to way there. We decided that as we didn’t need to get to Hervey Bay for another 3 days and only had 2 days left we would stay here an extra day to dry out the tent. Which was still wet for tonight.

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

Day 46 All the beautiful colours

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Route details: Noosa Heads – Boreen Point
24Kms; 1hr 50m

Today was short, flat and sweet as … for me this was an absolutely brilliant ride.

For a beginner if you were to go for only one MTB or road ride in Australia I would definitely advise you to hire a bike (or even a scooter) in Noosa and ride around this area. Once out of Tawantin and heading towards Boreen Point most of the ride is through amazingly colorful and varying types of woodlands. Oh and first day in short sleaved cycle shirt, appropriate of the end of the Tour de France.

First the tempting MTB areas … with lots of single track that were just visible from the rode and made me jealous I wasn’t able to get a taste of them.

Next the excellent light greens, yellows and grays of the Paper Tree forests.

It seems the further north we go, the taller the trees want to grow …

Then we saw our first termite mound (I have realised now it is an Ant Hill, QLD is full of them) of the trip, there were bigger and better specimens later on but this was the first.

Following on there was the first of the pine forestry plantation where I would be mesmerised by how parallel the rows of trees were and how they seems to drift off into infinity. More native forests and then just out of Boreen Point was the everglades (no photos of this, as you should really go see for yourself), this is a magically part of Australia and I don’t think I watched the road for more than 2 seconds the whole way.

I don’t know how many people would notice this but is this guy giving everyone the ‘bird’?

The lake at Boreen Point camp ground.

The directions from the camp ground …

Karl doesn’t wait for an official invitation …

A truly beautiful rural pub, that has some weird trees (not pictured) in the out door areas. By the way rooms are available, so you could ride back the next day …

It was then back to camp and the moon made for some great night-time playing with our cameras. Colette seems to have captured Voldermort in the trees …

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

Day 45b Snakes every where

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Route details: Last day in Noosa
0Kms; 0hr 0m

We have had a great time chilling out in Noosa. Colette has been trying to talk me into a tour package for Farser Island, Whitsundays … I have been to the super fast internet cafe and got the blog all updated, and found a client that makes it easy to write offline … met various people at the backpackers happy hour …

Colette pleased with herself after, as we wait for our package tickets to be processed …

I’m doing a bit of handle bar position adjustment to try and fix the pain in my hands while riding. (It worked)

Later I meet Nev (the Python guru) at the happy hour and he tries to give me a quick coding lesson over $8 jugs of beer.

Yes that is a laptop on the bar, with linux and previously with python running in a terminal …

The good thing is Nev also gave us our next quest to undertake on our way to Cairns, but the details will have to wait until we reach Tully.

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

Days 40 to 45 – And the sun shines again

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Route details: Caloundra – Noosa Heads
66Kms; 5hr 10m (Oh the hills)

Again with the no bikes on the motorways, what is wrong with Queenslands Road authorities. And this annoyed Colette as we had estimated 40Kms for the days ride, but once we had to ride around all the straight motorways it end up at over 60Kms. This ride finished with what had to be the most up and down section of the trip to date and from the tops of the hills near the end of the ride looking north indicates the next few rides will be the same.

This ride also had the best bike lanes too, and that was appreciated by the local cyclist who were out in force. I even chased one lady rider down, catching her just as she turned back homeward bound. It was an interesting chase, me fully loaded estimated to be weighing in at 180kg (15kg bike, 40kg panniers, 30kg trailer, 95kg self) vs her 60kg (7kg bike, 50?kg her). I spotted her probably 400m ahead, it was flat and easy going, but self took me probably 5km to catch her. Even had time to take photos …

For all the climbers out there this was that distant hill (Mt Coolum) …

Looking to noosa heads at the top of one of the first hills

Sunshine Beach

We arrived in Noosa at end of school so both Colette and I nearly got collected by some of the silly school mums who think you should overtake bikes on roundabouts … but they are not the only sector of society to think thats how it should be done. The ride had been very hot and I had drunk plenty of water (more than usual), it was a good sign as it means we are get further north …

The only downer was that there is a big steep hill to finish off to get to the information center.

Again Colette and I decided to rest our heels a bit so 5 more days of R&R. I watched the tour de france, yay for Rasmussen still in yellow. (Whoops that was a bit soon, damn Rabobank …) From what I have seen Rasmussen looks like the only other guy than Evans not to be doing drugs, if you watch the way the two time King of the Mountains got attacked by ??? (who made it look ‘vinokourov’ or ‘landis’ly easy) while Rasmussen looked a deathly shadow of pasty white, with salt stains around his mouth. Interesting thing is that having just got the ‘tour de force’ (lance armstrong) book to read, in the middle there are a bunch of riders photos, and all on the same page are Ullrich, Vinokourov and Landis, all proven drug cheats. enough said.

Next we are away to Hervey Bay, Fraser Island and the Whitsundays … I would say I will try to update more regularly, but hey this is meant to be a holiday …

But first its time for a feed so I’ll leave you with this …

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

Days 38, 39 – A road with no sides

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Route details: Burpengary – Caloundra
62Kms; 4hr 00m

Todays ride was partly territory we had covered days before when visiting the Ozzy Zoo, but I can tell you that what seems flat in a car is not on a bike. Passing strawberry pickers in there chariots …

Near Landsborough, south of Landsborough (Steve Irwin highway) there was no shoulder to the roads and sometimes not even a white line, to the east there was a nice bike lane sides shoulder.

And both Colette and I enjoyed the Little Mountain (thats its name) just outside of Caloundra, NOT!

We were keeping our label as the rain makers on this trip, starting with a light shower or two while riding, but the heavens opened over Caloundra once we had got there. Colette decided to rent a on site caravan instead of getting a room so we’d get a TV. I watched the Tour de France happy to see that Rasmussen was in Yellow. And cause of the rain we decided to stay another night, booked it up and it immediately the sky cleared and was fine again, til that night …

I also went to the Chiropractor in Caloundra due to my back being put out by one of Tepa’s mates at rugby training days before, it was meant to be a game of touch and I got an unexpected stiff arm, winding me and stuffing my back …

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

Days 29 to 37 – Bundy and Run anyone (Venomous)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Route details: Brisbane – Burpengary
43Kms; 1hr 10m (All on the train)

After breakfast it was straight down to the train to be whisked away to Burpengary to stay with former team mates of ours. Suzie use to play netball with Colette and Tepa play rugby with me at Ponsonby. They had kindly invited us to stay with them (or Colette had invited herself). They may have regretted saying ‘Stay as long as you like’, cause we were glad to get a free room for once.

While staying there we watch two AB tests (and the bledisloe is back in its rightful place). Join Tepa and Suzie at their Rugby training and Netball, muscles (and head) were very sore afterwards and wasn’t sure I would be able to ride again. Had a few beers. Cooked some meals for our hosts, including my famous sticky date swirl with butterscotch cream & sauce. Some bike maintenance. Our tax returns. Visited Australia Zoo.

We also visited Colette’s Ex-Auntie Judy and saw her amazing gardens, it is amazing that anything grows in level 5 water restrictions, but they have rain tanks for the garden. Also amazing they were within 6kms of where we were staying in a country suburb outside Brisbane, 6 degree separation stuff I guess.

Visiting Australia Zoo

Here Colette stands defiant, camera in hand immediately after the PA announcement telling everyone to remain seated during the live bird show, for the safety of the birds.

Colette gets Yellow carded soon after.

The in-flight program …

This guy was no Steve Irwin, and the fear was clear for all to see.

Elsewhere in the zoo the lion sleeps tonight …

And finally, we found the Collett snake a venomous creature. The venomous snake section was cool.

Colette tired me out with her child like enthusiasm to see every creature in the place, but might as well and $50 for a ticket in. Colette got excite over the baby Koala. Maybe able to get a picture of it at a later date once we brighten it up.

Special thanks to Tepa, Suzie, Sian and Noah for letting stay in there warm house while the coldest weather most QLDers had even experienced passed over head …

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

Day 28 – Riddle me this

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Route details: Main Beach – Brisbane
104Kms; 6hr 10m (most on train, first 24kms on bike over 4 hours)

We worked out today would be 80kms+ and so got up early to get going. The first 6 were OK and then found a sign saying ‘follow signs to Brisbane’, so we started to do that but they lead us straight to a motorway and Colette yelled out to me to stop I was not sure why and she pointed past me. I turned and saw nothing, then repeated that a few time before I saw the sign less then ten meters away telling me Bicycles were prohibited on the Motorway (I hated Queensland already).

There was a bike track to the side of the road that went off into the urban flora, so we took that and soon we hit a dead end where the University was building something new and so had to back track down another road. Again we saw a sign saying Brisbane and off we went then bang, Bicycles Prohibited … Another bike track, this time is was more like a single track MTB route behind some factorys and then another dead end. At this point we were lost and had no map.

I asked at a petrol station and the Brisbane highway was just down the road. But you guessed it another Bicycles prohibited sign. Now we had been riding for 2 hours, done about 18kms and had actual gone a little bit south of where we had started. As the sign stated Brisbane seem to have a bit of a bicycle complex.

So I gave up try and called for lunch, to re-plan our day.
The options were:

  1. Train (but we had no idea where one was).
  2. Hire a van (we had seen a hire company a few Ks back).
  3. Ride into the hills and around the motorway.

We went with option 2 as Colette wasn’t interested in the hills, and we had no map. As we got back to the van hire depot, a fellow local cyclist came to check out my trailer. Colette found out the company had no van available. But they gave her some photocopies of the local roads to the close other hire company. The cyclist and I started talking and he told us we were only a couple of K from the Nerang station. And he had many times used the train with his bike. So we were sold, cheaper option with less stress.

The trains were great, far better for bikes (and disabled people) than the Sydney trains. And we tried our bikes up and tried to unwind.

Colette want to celebrate making it to Brisbane so we hit the town.

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

Days 26, 27 – The border crossing

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Route details: Tweed Heads – Main Beach (Gold Coast)
30Kms; 2hr 40m

Today we were excited as not only would we be leaving New South Wales and all the bad weather it was having, but we would be going to the playground that is Gold Coast.

As we rode out of Tweed Heads I was surprised to find no sign that we had past over into the enemies territory of Queensland, I had hope that maybe there would be a sign, but I missed it. And though the less they could do is have blue flags on the side of the road which changed to Maroon flags once in QLD. But there was nothing. No armed guards, nothing!

Only this, looking toward Surfers from Coolongatta

As we knew there would be no time problems today and we could pretty much see up the coast I decide to ignore the maps and just ride up any old road, at one point we hit a hill that was in our path and I road up it to cries from a stroppy Colette moaning about the hill. It looked like a path would go straight over but mid way up the path down the other side turned into stairs. We I knew that there was only one way to go, up! and so push my bike to the top still hearing Colette’s cries in the distance at the bottom.

But at the top the view was brilliant and Colette once she eventually came up even got this pic, was saw lucky as I hadn’t thought to get the camera out.

A long straight road into surfers

We pitch our tent at the main beach camp ground before venturing out to dinner at the surf club (no), then the yacht club (no) then the local food strip (no), back to camp to cook our own. Beer will make you do strange things. At the yacht club we meet a elderly couple who had clearly lost there marbles, the lady asked Colette where we were from 4 times in a row before inviting us to stay with them, I think she wanted the company. We politely declined the invitation as the husband seem to be concerned she was inviting two strangers back, plus we didn’t want to scare her in the morning when she had forgot she’d invited us.

The camp ground had a swimming pool and we took our first dip of the trip, still a bit cold for me! But at least the sun was out and hot.

We also decide to go to the latest Harry Potter movie (rubbish, give it a miss …), but not knowing that the cinemas (@ Australia Fair) were down our end of the Gold Coast went to the ones at the other end (@ Pacific Fair) which turn into an all day outing as we decided to walk.

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

Day 25 – Last day as a blues supporter

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Route details: Byron Bay – Tweed Heads
66Kms; 4hr 30m

Unfortunately there are some days that even though the camera should come out and be used it doesn’t, this was one of those days.

From Byron Bay to Tweed Heads there is some big hill in the middle. And while road works is being done to iron these hills out the roads weren’t ready for us and we were force onto a detour that excited me with a massive climb over a hill next to the dug away hwy road, which gave the feeling of nearly falling off the hill, great stuff. I was worried for my poor brake pads on the other side.

As we neared the freeway that would take us straight to Tweed Heads, Colette was worried that we would be allowed on the freeway, I didn’t care and just rode to it as fast as I could … in fact once on it there was one of the best cycle lane we’d had all trip and it was fast too.

Once at Tweed Head we were amazed by the Bowling Club, all lit up in neon blue like something straight out of Las Vegas. Definitely worth a gander if you are you that way in the evening.

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

Days 21, 22, 23, 24 Hippy Living

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Route details: Ballina – Byron Bay
31Kms; 2hr 10m (lots of down time)

Today we rode over the hills to Byron Bay, most notable part was all the one lane road works, which we made worse for the people in cars as they waited for us to get up the hills before they could go. Had to make it look as though I was trying to get out of their way quickly as we neared the tops.

Then it was into Byron Bay and my first Kebab on tour, yum. Colette then point us in the direction of a hippy backpackers called The Art Factory (Brent would love it), I wasn’t that keen as inland and out of town. But this has to be one of the most relaxing places around. And we’d decided to stay for 4 days, so pitched our tent and slung up the hammock my sister had given us for xmas, and I had carried all 800kms. It was gold!

Colette glowing after a curry at the camp bar. My Jamaican curry was one of the hottest I had had in years, it was an accumulating heat too, I recommend you try it if you are ever up that way.

Also found a bust that looked a lot like my rugby mate whose place we would be staying at on the other side of Brisbane.

We lazied around camp mostly and found no fishing was allowed other than surf casting, so it we rode up to the lighthouse on the eastern most point of Australia, spectacular 360 degree views. Have to work out how to make the panoramic pic of multiple photos.

Felt very tour de france like riding up to the lighthouse.

The one problem with The Art Factory and Byron Bay is that you don’t really want to leave. And in fact many of the campers had turn up for a weekend and found they were still there 3 months later. There was a real mix of people, while we were there we meet Ross and Jason, two surfers from Santa Cruz (US), Ian a surfer from South Australia, a kiwi born in US who decided that anti-conformity was the way of the future, he was a bit angry (poem given in talent quest), but he had dreams of stating his own eco village up the road with his british DJ mate …, a flute playing Irishman, a toohey beer drinking french girl. Another girl who would just wander in the bush from time to time, and I mean outback style. More french people, more irish people, and germans …

Colette wanted to stay …

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