Monday, April 7, 2008

Good things do come to an end.

After spending a few days in Fremantle Harv and I both agreed to make this our final destination for the bike tour. There are a number of reasons why, including some financial difficulties, some time difficulties, and also the problems we are having with our hands to name a few.

I’m so proud of effort throughout the tour, and it’s certainly proved a great friendship between Harv and I. People would ask, “So have you guys had any massive fights yet?” And honestly we had to say, “Nah we’re all good.” Sure we both had our mood swings and got a bit grumpy from time to time. But we both understood what was going on in the others head, because sure enough along the say one of us had felt the same.

Its kind of disappointing to not make it the whole way around Australia, but I’m definitely not disappointed in myself. A few months ago I was in Europe throwing down way to many beers with the best of them, and here I am now having cycled across Australia feeling the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been. It’s definitely a great start to future journeys to come. I set out on this trip in search of some form of inspiration and freedom from whatever was going on in my life, and I certainly found it. One thing for sure, I’m proud to be Australian. We have the most amazing country and I hope everyone out there can feel as lucky as I do living in this place. Please lets all look after it so it can be possible for future travellers to have a chance at possibly experiencing what Harv and I experienced on this trip.

First of all thankyou to our families for helping us every step of the way. We couldn’t have achieved our goal without you.

I give tremendous thanks to all of the people we met along the way and specially to those of you who took us into your homes, and fed or accommodated us. Also thankyou to those who believed in us, and to those who didn’t, thanks for the inspiration!

Day 42, Wednesday 26th March. Preston Beach Road Stop - Fremantle

Day 42

Wednesday 26th March

Preston Beach Road Stop – Fremantle

102 kms

“Hey Rob there’s some dude out the front in a ute that looks to be some kind of road side patrol” Harv called from outside the tent. “Just tell him it was late and your chain snapped dude, we’ll be right.” I packed up my things and crawled outside. The guy was just sitting in his car and didn’t seem to be of any threat. We packed up our things and tended to Harv’s broken chain. Frustration kicked in when it took us at least 40 minutes to snap the chain back together with a recycled chain pin at early hours of the morning. Eventually we got moving.

My legs weren’t excited about pedalling again, and nor was my backside excited about spending hours on the bike seat. The ride was slower than ever as we both knew we were reaching a major destination, and it meant we had days off. We stoped at a servo feeling dehydrated after not drinking enough water the day before. We filled our water bags up and drank a heap of water and got moving again.

Eventually the city started to reclaim the beautiful countryside I had been enjoying so much. A head wind made its way into our final hours of riding, and every hour seemed to last at least a week to long.

I felt some form of depression cycling along the freeway making our way to Fremantle. The air stank. I couldn’t take a full gasp of air with out feeling sick. My ears filled with the sound of cars hammering past carelessly. I eventually pulled off the road onto the footpath to try and relax a bit. I felt overwhelmed with the presence of the buy lives now surrounding me. Everyone had somewhere to be, and not enough time to get there it seemed. We kept moving at what felt like slower than ever.

We stopped for some lunch at some sort of shopping complex. After sitting down it felt hard to get motivated to get up and keep moving again.

We cycled, and cycled, and then cycled, and after that we eventually made our way into Fremantle past a monstrous looking industrial estate and a sea of houses. A few nice downhills came our way to finish off the ride, but at the same time traffic lights made there way into existence to start slowing things down again. We were to stay at a friends house in North Fremantle and we were almost there when I looked back to see Harv once again yelling out to me. He was off the bike and I soon realised that his chain had snapped. Time to walk. Harv waited for the lights and picked up his chain off the road. We laughed about it all and walked our way to our friends Suzette and Doug’s house. They didn’t know we were coming but fortunately whilst crossing a bridge to North Freo we ran into Doug and he gave us some keys get into the house and have a shower. We arrived at the house and sat down on the couch. Oh the feeling of a couch. You’d think the last thing you want to do after sitting in a bike seat for so long is sit down. Sitting down is the best, as long as it’s not on the bike seat.

We had a quick show and made our way to Scarborough to play a gig with Loren and the Grow Your Owns. It was nice to meet up with some friends from home. I felt really tired at the gig but it still felt great to play. I also ran into some mates from QLD and it was great to be able to share some stories from the trip with the audience. Harv and I had a few to many beers and a bowl of wedges for dinner to celebrate our Australian crossing by bicycle. Loren’s parents kindly let us stay at their house for the night. Harv passed out snoring on the couch and helped myself to some vegemite on toast in the kitchen. 

Day 41, Tuesday 25th March. Margaret River - Road Stop near Preston Beach

Day 41

Tuesday 25th March

Margaret River – Road stop near Preston Beach


I woke up in the morning feeling quite good considering the awesome party we had the night before. Wheetbix and Banana for brekkie. We put our bikes back together and said our goodbyes to our wonderful new friends that no doubt we would meet again somewhere along future journeys.

We made our way out of Margaret River with the intensity of Easter weekend traffic. It was quite daunting and felt pretty unsafe to be riding on the road. A sea of caravan’s and people in a rush to get back to life in the city for work commitments.

We pulled up at the beach in Busselton near a huge pier for some lunch. Harv was keen to check out the Busselton pier because of a huge Triathlon race that goes on there once a year. A spaghetti sandwich for lunch and we head off on our way.

Next stop was Bunbury. We headed into town to get a good feed before some long kms that night. I got myself a huge Pasta Salad and Harv hopped into a Chicken Parma. Before leaving we went to a supermarket that ended up being closed, and when I came out of the shops I found my back tyre completely flat. So I pulled everything off the bike and changed the complete tyre. Pumped her up and no worries. This just happened to be out the front of the bottle shop just by chance, and for some reason both Harv and I felt inclined to have a couple of drinks. We grabbed a six pack and headed to the lake side in Bunbury to relax and have a chat on a park bench. We sat and enjoyed our beverages as people completed their afternoon exercise of cycling or running around the lake. We met and interesting young fellow who spoke about living in the bush’s around Bunbury, eating out of the bins, and protesting to save the trees. After a bit of a chat it felt as if we were in some way escaping as we headed off on our bikes.

The road felt dark but the riding went quite fast as I listened to Harv ahead of me working on his singing techniques. After some hours of riding we had made good progress, but we both felt tired and needed to eat something. We pulled up at a road stop in hope there would be a good place to camp. It was quite open and right next to the freeway, but I didn’t mind and was keen to camp anywhere in my state of fatigue. Harv wanted to keep going and see if we could find somewhere more sheltered. I agreed and we had a can of tinned stew each to keep us going. We jumped back on the bike and headed off. I rode about 20 meters and could hear Harv calling out to me. His chain had snapped. We made the decision to camp there the night and lock our bikes to a power pole. I set up the tent and instantly past out into a deep sleep.

Day 40, Monday 24th March. Margaret River.

Day 40

Monday 24th March

Margaret River

No riding

My alarm sounded and I jumped in the shower. Part of the deal with our room was we get a free breakfast of our choice bought to the room in the morning. Eventually their was a knock at the door and a girl handed me a tray with two massive egg and bacon breakfasts. Harv and I couldn’t be any happier! I remembered that the washing was still in the machine. We constantly forget to hang our washing out, so this was nothing new. We grabbed it from the machine and spread it around the room hoping it would dry before we started to ride.

I got a message on my mobile phone from the girl named Sally I had met at the tavern the day before. She said her friend Michelle has a gig around lunch time at a place called he Colonial Brewery and I could go play some songs if I’m interested. I gave her a call and sure enough it sounded like a good idea. It was only about 10kms on our way out of town, so we packed up our things and started moving towards the venue. Because of my wet bike gear, I stupidly decided to ride in my jeans. The sun was quite warm and I was so uncomfortable.

We rocked up at the brewery and it looked like a great set up. I had $20 stashed away with my cd’s so we decided that being at a brewery and all we should get some beers. I went to the bar and ordered a tasting pallet. About 6 different beers in 150ml glasses so that you get to taste them all. Not bad beers at the old Colonial Brewery.

Michelle turned up and set up the Pa system before informing us that we can get a free lunch, and free beers over the bar. Ripper! The sun was in full force and it looked to be a positive day.

I jumped on stage and felt really good playing my songs. Sally and Michelle and her mates all looked to be really enjoying what I was playing, and so did the crowd sitting around hopping into their beers. After I played the manager had a word with me and told me I’m welcome to come back and play a show any time. It’s amazing what comes out of meeting nice positive people. A few pints later, Michelle and Carolyn started whipping out some mellow Jazzy tunes. Harv and I ordered some Fish and Chips and started discussing the reality of us actually leaving Margaret River to do some riding for the day. It was just to good a day, the sun was shining, good beers, good people, good music, the decision was practically made for us. Michelle and Carolyn played some great tunes and then joined us for some beers. We met Michelle’s brother John who invited us round to his house to have a feed and stay for the night.

So after the show was all over, we headed off to John’s house via the supermarket. Harv and I were in full party mode so we bought some more drinks, and I bought a heap of stuff to make the crew a big salad to eat with dinner.

Over the dinner table John told us of some of the adventures he’d been on. My favourite was a 6 month sailing trip on an old 20ft Catamaran around Indonesia. Definitely an inspiration! He was also into spear fishing, and had surfed some massive waves in his time by the looks of the photos on the wall, and was about to head to his home land of New Zealand to take part in a kayaking trip. He also took pride in his veggie garden out in the back and took us for a bit of a tour. Harv took a real interest in Vegetable Gardening from that moment and started asking questions excitedly, thinking about future possibilities or his own garden. We had an awesome feed. A big curry, and a massive salad. We sat out the back and spent the rest of the night passing the guitar around playing songs, and singing harmonies to one another’s songs.

I retired to the couch for some sleep with the realisation that we had to ride the next day.

Day 39, Sunday 23rd March. Brockmans Rest Stop - Margaret River

Day 39

Sunday 23rd March

Brockman Rest Stop – Margaret River


We rose nice and early at around 5am. We decided to get up early and then we can get to Margaret River to do some washing and organise a few things. The Easter bunny left us each a Chocolate Cadbury Cream Egg. I didn’t realise chocolate would taste good in the morning.

I rode in a jumper because the morning was cold. We sat on a good average of around 20kms although my legs weren’t to happy about more cycling. Even after my super pasta the night before, and a good sleep, there was still no quick and easy way to refresh my muscles.

After around 30 or 40kms we pulled up along a slim windy little rode surrounded by lush paddocks and grazing cows at a small little store as we were both quite hungry. We decided to have some Chocolate milk being Easter and all. On our way back to the bikes we came across an old Italian bloke who was really inquisitive into our travels. He asked us questions about the weight, balance, and some general questions about the bikes and the gear we carry. Now retired at around 70, he and his wife live on a small little hobby farm. He told us of how he used to do triathlon, but one day his ticker (heart) just went crazy and he had to go hospital. He can’t do strenuous exercise any more, but he said he bought himself a bike and he still rides a return trip weekly of about 100kms to Augusta and home. Not bad for an old fella. We left with grins on our faces, finding some sort of joy and inspiration in what he had to say.

The hills we existent but they had somewhat mellowed out. The worry now was directed at the Easter traffic on the road. People rushing around to get somewhere along the same busy road, that we just happened to be cycling down.

It felt like a long ride because we were eager to get to town for some breakfast. We rolled into Margaret River around 10am and sat down at a café for a combination of eggs, bacon, mushroom, spinach etc. How delightful.

We both stank as it had been a while in between showers so we decided to go check into our room at the venue and change out of bike clothes. Bike clothes are great on the bike but you soon get sick of walking around town in lycra bike shorts, getting strange looks from everyone.

The room wasn’t ready yet so we found some Internet access and caught up with what was going on across the world.  We returned to the hotel and checked into the room. It just happened to be some kind of deluxe suite or something. Everything was made of dark polished wood, and looked as if it was fit for some kind of royalty. Harv headed to the bottle shop and got some celebration drinks while I had the best shower in the world. We kicked around in the room and made some phone calls to friends and family. Once again we forgot to put the washing on, and eagerly headed into town for some beers at a local tavern. There was a Sunday music session on the veranda so we hung out to watch a few tunes.

Whilst sitting around we randomly met a girl named Sally who buy chance told us that she to had taken part in a cycling mission, only she road from Fitzroy Crossing down to Perth, raising money for a charity. We sat around and compared stories from our cycling journeys. Sal introduced us to some of her mates including a girl from New Zealand called Michelle. Michelle is a singer, piano player, and also teaches vocal training. We hung out while she played a few awesome songs as part of the veranda session. Her friend Carol played saxophone during the songs and as a duo they sounded great. It was a shame we had to leave, but we told them to come up to the pub for a few drinks and watch me play a bit later on.

We sat down and had a meal at the hotel, before I set up my gear for the show, and Harv headed off to get the washing into the machine. The room I was playing was quite empty and the manager told me in a relaxed manner that they didn’t think many people would be coming. That’s ok, I was just happy to sit and play some guitar.

I started my show and there were a table of 6 people having dinner. I played some easy listening stuff and worked on a few ideas I had been looking forward to working on. Its interesting playing to a pretty empty room. Sometimes it can be really disheartening, and sometimes it might be one of the best gigs. I wouldn’t say this was the best gig, but I still really enjoyed playing. We had spent so much time on the bike, that there had been no time to play my guitar. Eventually Harv jumped out of his seat and got up for a dance, which put a big smile on my face. On leaving the room, one of the blokes who was having dinner got up and handed Harv $20 and said good gig mate. Harv informed him that for $20 he could have a cd, so he hooked him up. They left the room just as some more crew turned up. Only another 6 or so people but it was nice to have some faces in the room while I finished off my set.

I packed up my guitar and leads etc, and half expected the manager to be quite disappointed with the way the night went. He was actually just happy to get home after the rush of Easter weekend. We threw the gear upstairs in our room and headed off to see if the tavern was still open. Everything was shut, including the late night kebab shop. With a bit of luck some random bloke started knocking on the window of the kebab shop and they opened the door. The guy inside told him he could only buy Turkish bread for $3.50. I jumped on the trend and we bought a massive Turkish bread and headed to the room for a feast. The bread was massive, at least a few foot long. We didn’t really need it, but its just so much fun to eat food late at night after a gig.

It was no drama drifting off to the land of sleep on such a full stomach.

Day 38, Saturday 22nd March. Windy Harbour - Brockman Rest Stop

Day 38

Saturday 22nd March

Windy Harbour – Brockman Rest Stop


The mornings were starting to get colder. Outside the tent I could here the campground keeper having a go at a bloke for bringing his dog. He was yelling, “No dogs allowed here mate, pack up your things and leave ey?” I just sat inside the tent and ate a bowl of cereal and packed up my things. We hadn’t checked in or payed camping fee’s because we turned up late at night, and we were hoping to get away without paying to save a bit of coin. Eventually the bloke left so I got out of the tent and finished my bowl of cereal by the waterside. The place definitely seemed windy and quite cold, but still a beautiful isolated national park with plenty of fishing going on by the looks of all the boats being towed around.

We packed up our things, filled our water supplies and rode out the campground entrance only to pass the campground keeper that I had dodged earlier. He looked at us but didn’t seem too interested. I told Harv not to look him in the eye and just ride. And off we went! No dramas.

It felt like a shame to have to ride an extra 60kms into the trip, but I felt for some reason we were meant to have ridden down that road. The isolated national park that surrounds it is beautiful. The morning was frosty and we looked forward to a hot breakfast in Northcliffe at a nice looking Café we had passed the day before.


We rode back up the hills that we had so happily cruised down the night before, with the luxury of daylight on our side so that we could take in the picturesque surroundings

It was only a 28km ride to Northcliffe, but we were both so hungry it felt like an eternity. We hit the café and ordered ourselves a nice big hot brekkie of good old egg and bacon. The supermarket next door kindly exchanged our dollars and cents for a bunch of fruit, some bread, and a couple of cans of home brand spaghetti tins.

Finally back on course and off to Pemberton. The sign for the turnoff was really quite small so we weren’t surprised we had missed it in the state we were in the night before. Back on the course and the hills fired up for us once again. We had heard from an American cyclist we met the day before that Pemberton has a really great bakery so there was no doubt that we wanted to stop and check it out. And what a worthy stop that was. Pemberton happens to have one of the best Bakery’s in Australia I’d say. Well out of those that I have already visited anyway. On the way into town we rode down a massive hill that lasted for around 7kms. It felt amazing to fly down, and I knew the bakery was at the bottom, but it wasn’t to flash passing the turnoff we needed to take at the top of the hill, knowing we would have to ride back up again. But the bakery was definitely worth it.

During the hard slog back up the hill we ran into an old bloke who was cycling alone. He said his trip had started in Asia cycling with a bunch of other people across Asia. He didn’t have a lot to say, other than he had started his trip in Darwin and we were the first cycle tourists he had come across so far. I told him how good the Bakery was, we said our goodbyes, and we continued slogging it out up the hill.

The roads swept and climbed across the winding countryside. I couldn’t help feeling the presence of the continuous groups of Red Tailed Black Cockatoos screeching above us, as if they knew we were coming, and laughed at the reality of our crazy little tour.

The map showed a little roadside stop that looked like the perfect destination to set up the tents for the night. With 30kms to go we started to run out of steam. It had been a day of relentless hill climbing. Finally the undulation mellowed out and we both hopped into a least 6 apples each to get us through the final stretch.

Sure enough the map didn’t lie, and we found an awesome little roadside stop where we could camp for the night. We were both really happy with our effort for the day because we still had daylight to set up camp, and then have a big pasta cook up with some ingredients we’d purchased in Pemberton. The 2-minute noodle phase still excited us but we decided it was time to pump a bit more energy back into the body. The pasta was a huge success and within an hour or so bedtime called. Harv laid in his and enthusiastically shouted out delicious sounding recipes to me from a cookbook he had bought earlier in the day. Mmmm food.. Mmm… Sleep… Mmm cycling?

Day 37, Friday 21st March. Walpole - Windy Harbour

Day 37

Friday 21st March

Walpole – Windy Harbour

124 kms

The morning air was fresh, and once again we rolled our wet tents away and jumped on the bike. The bloke at the pub told us nothing would be open, because of Easter Good Friday, but I was keen to get some more food so we went for a look. To our delight all the shops were open, and we couldn’t resist hopping into a big breakfast of Egg, Bacon, and all the extras.

Our surroundings were still amazingly beautiful, but the hills were still consistent. The bush was dense and their were native grass trees everywhere. While leaving Walpole we found a stall on the side of the road that sold bags of the most delicious looking Royal Gala apples for $4. So we bought a bag for the road and headed towards Northcliffe. It was a long intense ride. My left knee was getting really sore after all of the hills. It had been compensating for the damage I had done to my right leg, and all of the hill climbing was causing it to feel similar to the pain I had received in my right earlier in the trip. We got to Northcliffe and no shops were open. Harv called his parents on the pay phone and I laid on a park bench for a while feeling dehydrated, and pretty hungry. We only had 30kms to get to Pemberton and then we would crash for the night. So on we road.

I felt in some kind of zombie state as the sun slowly sank away. We went down some amazing downhills through dense forest, and eventually road along a nice flat section of road surrounded by nothing but scrub for at least 15kms.

We reached a turn off and I could see a lighthouse. I said to Harv, “Dude I didn’t know Pemberton was on the coast, this is awesome!” I remember Pemberton on the map in my head so I decided we should check the sign at the turn off. I went ahead and read the sign at the campground, and Harv checked out the sign.

The camping area sign said Windy Harbour. I rode back to Harv and he said, “Dude, we’ve taken the wrong turnoff from Northcliffe!” He showed me the map and told me how we had ridden 28kms on a one-way road to the ocean. I looked up at the lighthouse, laughed and said, “Yeah, I didn’t think we were meant to be on the coast.”

We had ridden enough for the night so decided to stay at Windy Harbour. It seemed like a beautiful place so we might as well check it out. Down a dirt road and into the campground we found what seemed to be another ocean of its own. Full of caravans, four wheel drives, and campers alike. We found a spot in the campground and set up the tents for a well-deserved feed of our favourite 2-minute noodles We were hoping to get to Margaret River the next day for a bit of Saturday night party action, but it wasn’t going to happen. The mistake we made by not turning off to Pemberton meant we had to make up an extra 60kms the next day, on top of our already planned 140km ride to get to Margaret River early. My knee was feeling a bit ordinary so there was no way I could push it that far.

Day 36, Thursday 20th March. Albany - Walpole

Day 36

Thursday 20th March

Albany – Walpole


Both Harv and I woke quite early because we couldn’t sleep. The washing I had put in the dryer was still wet. So no dry bike clothes. We hung some things out around the room and went to the shops to get some brekkie goods. After breakfast the clothes were dry enough to pack away in our bags so we got moving.

Our first stop for the day was Denmark. I wanted to show Harv a cool little café I had been to there before so we dropped in for a Chai tea, and an Ice Chocolate. You probably may have noticed if you’ve read this far that the tour is evolving around food ey? We ate some tinned spaghetti in sangas, and chatted with a local bloke who was drinking beers at a park bench over lunch. He had a bike with half a slab on the back, but he didn’t really have to much to say.

From Denmark we made our way through the hills to Walpole. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this area. Surrounded by huge Tingle wood forest, it was the most amazing part of the trip for me. We were both exhausted from the intensity of the hills, and we were putting in a good effort averaging around 21kms an hour through the hills for around 120kms. On the downhills I took my hands of the handlebars and felt like I was flying. Its hard to describe the feeling, but I guess I felt in someway I had found part of what I was searching for by doing this bike ride. I guess it was a feeling of freedom, an amazing state of living.

Everywhere in Walpole was closed except for the pub. We had a huge day and we decided to get a good dinner, and have a couple of beers. We got a few strange comments from dodgy looking locals when we showed up in bike gear, and then proceeded to spend $20 on the dodgiest Roast Chicken I’ve eaten. The bloke who worked behind the bar told us we could camp behind a big shed next to the pub so we set up the tents behind it, had some more 2-minute noodles, and hit the hey. 

Day 35, Wednesday 19th March. Boxwood Hill - Albany.

Day 35

Wednesday 19th March

Boxwood Hill – Albany


We woke up with wet tents again. So decided we should go to the roadhouse and get a drink to let the sun dry them out before packing them up. Egg and Bacon sangas were just to tempting so we had one each and packed everything up.

I needed to get some bike tubes after spending way too long on the side of the road trying to patch a tube. It took me 3 goes before I realised that I had to let the glue dry before sticking the patch on. I don’t think Harv minded because he just laid back on the side of the road for a bit of a snooze.

Both tired, and hungry we finally made it to Albany in the afternoon. It was nice to reach our next destination, but frustrating to roll into another big city. The afternoon traffic didn’t seem to like taking us into consideration with their driving skills on the road. I didn’t feel to safe so I moved onto the footpath. It was nice to have the conveniences of shops, but the fresh air that once had healing qualities with every  gasp was now gone.

We eventually found a bike shop that had the right tubes I needed for my bike, and then headed into town. I was still dizzy so had a couple of sushi rolls to fill me up a bit. I knew of a backpackers so we decided to stay there and wash our bike clothes. It had been at least 4 days without a shower to so it was time for a wash.

After a good wash, and a couple of beverages to celebrate another landmark in the journey we joined the rest of the crew staying at the back packers for a bit of a bbq.

All day we had been talking about getting some pasta for dinner so we left the bbq and found a good pizza/pasta restaurant and sat down for a meal. We both opted for the carbonara and it was so good! Harv noticed that the restaurant was BYO so I ran for at least 10 minutes to the bottle shop and bought a bottle of wine to have with dinner.

Harv was keen to head out and try and find some crew to mingle with so we walked up and down the hills of town searching for an open pub but no luck. So it was back to the backpackers with the realisation that we needed to wash our clothes. There was a que for the washing machine but finally we got our clothes in before bed.

Day 34, Tuesday 18th March. Rest Stop - Boxwood Hill

Day 34

Tuesday 18th March

Rest Stop – Boxwood Hill

The tents were wet in the morning but not due to rain. Harv seemed somewhat refreshed from a good sleep. We ate some cereal for brekkie and hit the road. More hills just for a change.

I keep noticing birds throughout the trip. They seem to give me some kind of motivation to keep going when I fall into a trap looking at the pedometer on my bike and counting down the hours till we get to the next destination. Whilst passing the Fitzgerald national park area I became quite interested in the local vegetation wildlife.

It was entertaining to fix my attention on the native trees and the birds beside me.

The first half of the day went quite fast, although the hills were still intense. We arrived at Jerramungup and once again hit the supermarket for some kind of refreshment. A fair bit of time which riding is spent thinking about what you are going to buy when you get to the next town. Ice cream? Lemonade? Chocolate? Fruit? Quite a crazy thing considering the beauty of you’re surroundings, and how lucky you are to be surrounded by nature completing such a journey. But I guess with all that physical activity your body craves sugar or something?


We got to Jerramungup and bought Ice creams once again. Next we went to the roadhouse in hope of buying a salad roll or something healthy. Studying the menu startled us with the value of the local Truckie Burger. A massive burger full of Bacon, Egg, Steak, Hamburger, Cheese, Salad. Quite a massive burger but we couldn’t go past it! We hopped into that lot and got moving again.

We road till it got dark. The hills were still evident but not too intense. We turned up a little road stop called Boxwood Hill. There wasn’t really anywhere to camp near the road side, but there was a big grassy area next to the roadhouse. The roadhouse was closed but there was a bloke out the back feeding the chooks or something. I asked him if its cool if we camp and he said yeah go for it. You gotta love country crew who are happy to help you out.

We started setting up camp and a dog started barking and running towards us. Looked to be quite big, and I could imagine a big German Shepard coming to mall us both. A bloke started yelling and cursing the dog. It quietened down but started barking in small spurts. I suggested we move behind some trees to camp so the dog might settle down a bit. The tents went up a breeze. We’re really good at setting up and packing up camp at this stage in the trip. 2-minute noodles for dinner, just for a change. 2-minute noodles may not seem like they’re much. But they are just the absolute ultimate cheap, easy, tasty, effective dinner travelling around. And we were so excited every night to have noodles again.

Day 33, Monday 17th March. Munglinup - Rest Stop Past Ravensthorpe

Day 33

Monday 17th March

Munglinup – Rest Stop Past Ravensthorpe


I woke keen to ride. Still feeling great after our days off in Esperance. Harv wasn’t to motivated to get out of bed, but he did. Some cereal for brekkie and we started making our way towards Ravensthorpe.

Much to Harv’s disappointment the hills started to show up again, and they didn’t let up all day. Up, down, up down, all day. We got to Ravensthorpe extremely hot and sweaty from the intensity of the ride, and the hot sun. There was a massive steep hill as we rode into town just to finish it off. We pulled up at the local supermarket and bought some lunch. I ate a couple of bowls of breakfast cereal and a heap of fruit. Harv opted for a can of Irish Stew or something. We sat around for a while until we gave into temptation and bought ice cream. Back on the bikes and into a nice downhill out of town. The hills just got worse. One felt as if it was constant for at least 5kms. Harv was really struggling and he told me it’s the worst day of riding he’s had the whole trip. I pushed him for at least 30kms until he couldn’t go anymore.

We pulled into a little section of bush on the side of the road and set up the tents. We ate 2-minute noodles for dinner again and headed to bed. It felt like it was going to rain, and it was quite windy.

Day 32, Sunday 16th March. Esperance - Munglinup

Day 32

Sunday 16th March

Esperance – Munglinup


I woke early, and poured a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I filled the bowl with milk only to find out after a mouthful that the milk was off. So I had an apple and ran down to the pier where the race was to start. The weather couldn’t be any better. Harvey was there all ready to race. He got a special mention before the race to let everyone know about his mission across Aus on a pushbike.

I stood back with the video camera and watched the race kick off. In the swim it looked as though Harv was having trouble seeing where to go, which slowed him down a bit. He later told me that the goggles he had borrowed were fogging up. He borrowed a road bike off a local guy, and said that it was weird to stand up off the bike because it was so light. No trailer, no panniers, kind of strange. Most sections of the race he said felt pretty average, and harder than ever without constant training at high intensity. I stood back with the video camera and filmed him whenever he ran, or rode past, feeling quite lazy watching a bunch of people exercising while I did nothing. He got a time of 2:18 in the race, which he said is ok, but definitely not his best. I reckon he is a legend for giving it a crack after our effort of riding across Aus.

It took a while to get Harv motivated to start riding towards Munglinup after the race. And who could blame him really, but the truth was we had to keep moving. Our old mate at the caravan park helped him fix his bike rack, and eventually we got moving.

I was feeling great. Probably the best I had felt during a ride for the whole trip. And it was evident that Harv was really feeling it. He was lagging behind and looked to be in quite a bit of pain. I felt really sorry for him, but we had to get through at least 100kms. It felt like quite a fast, easy ride for me and I pushed Harv to make sure we got some kms done. We eventually found a rest stop and pulled up to get some sleep.

Some 2-minute noodles for dinner, then off to bed

Day 31, Saturday 15th March

Day 31

Saturday 15th March

Esperance Day Off

A good sleep. I woke up at a good hour and started writing some things down. A shower and a pack up and we made our way back to the caravan park.

We had a pretty quiet day and got some things ready to start riding again the next day. Harvey organised a bike to ride on in the race. The triathlon organiser came to the caravan park and took us for a drive around the course to show Harv what to expect the next day.

Another massive barbeque for dinner. For some reason I absolutely stuffed my face with food to the point where I felt sick. Harv had to race the next day, and I think we learnt our lesson by drinking too much a couple of nights before, so we decided to have a quiet night. There was a good movie I wanted to see at the local cinema, so we went and watched that, and then headed to bed.

Day 30, Friday 14th March, Esperance Hotel Gig

Day 30

Friday 14th March

Esperance Hotel Gig

I woke in the morning with a dry mouth and the familiar feeling of feeling pretty ordinary after a big night. Harv felt even worse I’m sure. But for some reason he decided that he wanted to enter a local triathlon race that was to be held on Sunday. An Olympic distance race that consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride, and 10km run. It meant we would have to stay an extra day, and make up kilometres, but for some reason it sounded like a good idea. And Harv was keen so he called the local organiser and set everything in.

Harv was star fished on the ground lying in the sun looking as if he was dying of a hangover. Our old mate we met the day before came over to our camp to stand around and tell Harv what to do. Don’t lie in the sun, go for a swim, why are you doing that, why don’t you do this, blah, blah, blah. It was a bit annoying, but quite funny. Harv wasn’t enjoying it with the state his head was in. Eventually old mate asked us if we wanted to go for a drive so he could show us some beaches around Esperance.

We jumped in the car and started by driving to a huge look out. You could see all over Esperance, and out to the surrounding bays and beaches. A really beautiful sight after spending some time in the desert. I couldn’t believe how many islands there are around Esperance. We drove along a windy ocean road that followed the coastline and dropped in at a couple of beaches. The water was coloured with a refreshing blend of blues and greens, and looked so clean and untouched. We got out at one of the beaches and Harv went for a swim. I thought it might wake him up a bit, but we returned to the car where he fell asleep.

I refer to the guy driving us around as old mate because I cant remember his name. We asked him numerous times but just cant remember. So I do apologise to him if he ever gets to read this. We kept driving and he wanted to show us a hill where there is a local billy cart race every year. We drove up the hill and spun around and stoped at the starting line. He kept raving about how good it would be to ride down it in a billy cart. It looked quite intense actually. He put the car in neutral and we rolled down the hill from the starting line. The car picked up quite some speed and I was almost worried that he wouldn’t break for any of the corners. But he threw on the breaks and we cruised down. He took us to a lake where he goes fishing and then headed to the caravan park. It was such a nice thing for him to do for us. We thanked him and started packing up our tents and things to head to the pub.

That night I had to play a gig at the Esperance Hotel and there was accommodation included in the deal so we headed there and checked into the room. Ahhh… a nice bed to sleep in. We both settled in for a bit of a snooze before the gig, but for some reason couldn’t sleep, so we went and had an earlier dinner.

I sat by the bar for a while talking to some of our new found friends. The pub was quite empty, and the only crew that were there were obviously there for the alcohol. I delayed my starting time with a few lemon squashes and eventually got on stage. It felt pretty empty but slowly the room filled out a little bit.

I could really feel my left hand struggling on the guitar. After all of those hours on the bike Harv and I were both still feeling the effects on our hands. My left and was week and it was a real effort to get through some of the songs. And some of them I had to change because it was physically not possible to play with the condition of my hand. In some moments it felt like it was cramping up, and just felt kinda grose.

But I got through the show ok, and after a while a few people showed up who were really appreciative of the music. Including one girl who seemed to know all the words to my songs. Another old bloke spent his time dancing strangely and squealing like a pig. At the end of the show he jumped on stage and asked me if he could squeal like a pig through the mic. It wasn’t to pleasant but I figured it’s the only way he will leave me alone, so he let rip much to the crowds disappointment.

A bit of a chat with some lovely people, and straight to bed. Oh sweet sleep.

Day 29, Thursday 13th March, Esperance Rest Day

Day 29

Thursday 13th March

Esperance Rest Day

I woke up sweaty in the heat of the sun, and startled at the sound and vibration pulsating through the ground at the Caravan Park. But at the same time, I had such a great sleep. Bacon and Eggs for breakfast on the barby was high in priority, and it absolutely ruled! Our English mate joined us for an egg and bacon sanga before heading off for a stroll to the shops. It was a really windy day, and he kindly brought us back some pegs for the clothesline. We had unsuccessfully tried to hang out our clothes to many times in the wind, and it was obvious we weren’t going to buy pegs ourselves, so he kindly made the offer.

We kicked around town for a bit, bought some bits and pieces, and used the internet to catch up with all of our friends, and see what had been going on back home.

Esperance had a massive Woolworth store so we headed there to have a huge cook up for dinner. After not going to a big supermarket for ages it was quite overwhelming to walk into a huge store. So many options! We walked around the store for a while throwing everything we felt like in the basket, without even thinking about whether or not we needed it. Dinner was set to be quite massive. Fortunately, but unfortunately Woolworth’s also had a big liquor store, and we were ready to celebrate our journey across the Nullarbor, and make quite a night out of it. So we bought a slab of drinks at a good price and started making our way back to the caravan park.

Harv received a call from Dave at the local bike shop saying our bikes were ready to be picked up. It was quite a mission trying to get home with two bikes, a slab of drinks, and numerous grocery goods. But we managed!

It was nice to hang out at the camp for a bit. Play some guitar, and talk about what had already been achieved, and what was to come.

A bloke came over to our camp that was curious about what we were doing. We later realised that he was curious about what everyone was doing. He was on holiday in Esperance, but pretty much the whole time we were there, he seemed to just wander the caravan park and talk to everyone. He knew where people were going, where they were from, who has what business, etc. We told him where we were going next and he whipped out a map to try and show us faster ways to go, but I don’t think he understood that we actually wanted to follow the coast. He was quite an interesting fella. Short, round, he wore glasses, and had a little bucket hat covering his patchy white hair. A good bloke, and he was quite envious of our trip.

A few drinks under the belt and it was time for a cook up. We gathered our goods and started heading over to the barby area. Whilst walking past a well set up camp, carrying heaps of food and a slab of drinks I received a shout out from some young crew who looked like they were keen for some company and a good time. So we headed over to the camp and ended up staying there all night. A good crew consisting of two guys and a girl, all travelling around Western Australia in a couple of 4wd’s, in search of good fishing spots, and a good time. We cooked our food and proceeded to finish all our drinks. They got all excited and eventually headed to the bottle shop to buy a couple of casks of wine. I held off the wine, but Harv was in full flight and got stuck into it. Eventually we headed to the Esperance Hotel because someone mentioned there was karaoke, and that for some reason sounded like a good idea. Karaoke was on at the pub, full of local ladies singing quite poorly, but having a good time. They told us they didn’t have time for us to sing anything. So after a few more beers we headed back to camp.

I crawled into my tent and left Harv with our new friends and their wine casks.