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Sleeping on four-leaf clovers.

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 9 December 2011 | Views [2057] | Comments [2]

Neralie and Jack plotting ways to make my stay even more enjoyable

Neralie and Jack plotting ways to make my stay even more enjoyable

If luck does come in strokes, this one was particularly well lubricated. I could not have imagined a better start to the trip, except perhaps for it coming at the start of the day, rather than the end. While not being epic compared to the day that followed, it was epic in one sense for being the first day of my bike ride to Melbourne.

I slept pretty well considering I felt like a kid the night before Christmas. Being on holiday for the next three months means I don't intend to use an alarm for anything not related to catching a plane. I was awoken by a friend in Broome who had considerately called up to wish me luck; at 4am W.A. time. Excess partying had left them unaware where they were though, or whether they even existed. Suspecting a rambling, inconclusive conversation of incoherence, I made enough polite silence to be hung up on eventually.

Everything had been packed and prepared the day before so I hopped on my bike and tried not to think about the fact that I had 2,500kms ahead of me. Rolling down the road away from Matty's house, the bike wobbled almost uncontrollably. “That's interesting; and rather shit” I pondered aloud to Brisbanites making their way to church. Uneven packing was the most likely cause, but I was more concerned with the anchor I appeared to be dragging behind me.

Carting around a few tins of paint in Broome had given me an indication of what lugging the trailer might feel like, in the same way that drinking pond water might closely approximate eating caviar. It felt like I was towing a two-tonne pendulum. Too many people knew of my trip to turn back at that point, so I continued on staring at the horizon to counter the sea-sickness.

Unfortunately for me, and anyone else who might find cause to rely on a map, the bike maps supplied by Brisbane City Council don't have many road names on them. No problem when you have a rough idea of the city's layout and don't mind the occasional detour. A big fucking problem when you have 80 odd kilometres to do that day and dead weight capriciously dragging you backwards, left and wrong-ways.

And the maps are at least 5 years old meaning the council probably printed up 10 billion of them thinking cyclists would just take them by the bundle. Obviously not, cause every route is so well sign posted; for inner city sight-seeing. 'Bulimba Creek – 500m'. 'Arts Centre – 2.5kms'. 'Next sign – 20m'. Unsurprisingly I never saw a sign saying 'Beaudesert – 85kms. Don't forget anti-nausea pills'.

Once I found the road I wanted, I sincerely wished I hadn't. I've been on flatter roller coasters. These 'rolling hills' didn't undulate, they erupted. It was like board riding in the middle of the ocean during a perfect storm. My legs had gotten better since Mt. Coot-tha set them on fire with lactic acid and it wasn't long before I was out of town and cruising along like I had always dreamed, minus the drool.

The first thing of interest to come along was a small taste of what it would like to be run over by a car. Beaudesert road has some ongoing issues related to last years floods ie. it's still a bit pissed off with temporarily being a river when it thought it was a road all its life. Pot holes are not a problem, as there are more of them than there are flat spots. Cars going past in either direction is an inconvenience, but to be expected at least all of the way. The trailer feeling like it is doing barrel rolls behind me is growing exponentially into a game changing concern. All three things came at a place where helpful road maintenance people had erected barricades over what's normally the shoulder. Thanks to the prayers I uttered in the form of a shart, the ute behind me recognised the signs of a sea-sick sailor and slowed down until he was able to give me a very wide birth.

The remaining kilometres I did until reaching Beaudesert were ridden on DEFCON 1. Such a heightened state of readiness meant I knew the size and colour of a car before it got within 300 metres of me, but it also used up a lot of mental energy. Signs of glycogen depletion comes over you when you are are about 10kms away from your destination or a convenient place to stop. You push yourself through those last few kilometres by flaying your flanks like the Melbourne Cup is on the line. A wave of exhaustion and stupidity washes over you and your IQ suddenly quarters. That bad news if you happens not start off with big IQ in beginning ie. instant Encino Man.

I rolled into the Information Centre in full zombie mode and the ladies automatically assume I am on crack, looking for my cousin/wife, or my second head, or that I am a lovely young man undertaking an interesting adventure and just happened to have momentarily mistaken myself for a horse. Unbelievably they agree on the latter, then begin to take a shine on me like I am homecoming prodigal son, even though I looked more like Ash as he readies himself for work. I inhaled a banana like ventolin as soon as the bike slowed down to 5kms/hr and once it kicked in I could see that I wasn't really Phar Lap.

“What does beautiful Beaudesert have to offer me in the way of fine camping establishments, I politely ask of you attractive young lady”, I politely asked of a lady who wasn't really either of those attributes. “None” came her long considered and under-whelmingly disappointing reply. “Great fucking start!” laments I, thankfully inaudibly. The second lady, long a mute witness to what I fear was going to be the first of many probing, but pointless inquiries, then offered an even longer considered and overwhelmingly redeeming rejoinder. “You are welcome to just throw your tent up somewhere on my ten acres?”

“Piss off! And have you rape me, cut me up and feed me to your pigs?” my mind yells out without my vocal chords being stupid enough to follow through, opting to just neigh instead. This was met with bewildered looks that accurately portrayed the quickest change of heart a human has ever experienced. There was no other choice, even if I hadn't have thought it was an amazingly generous offer and far too good to turn down. Fortunately my vocal chords responded quick enough to accept the offer before it was rescinded and transformed into shouts for help.

Neralie, now introduced and quickly becoming my new best friend, drew up a map that would ensure any hidden treasures would never be found. Roads didn't verge in any direction when they were specifically told they would. Road names were wrong when they were included, but then again who really needs road names on a map? No one of merit that I can think of. From the average person on the street, this could be expected, especially if the person giving directions was holidaying from another country. From someone who works in an information centre sending people around to see the many highlights that Beaudesert has to offer, it was concerning. Not in the rape and mutilate sort of way, but still slightly worrying.

I did end up finding Neralie's place and was warmly welcomed in by Jack, her white American Bull-terrier pup. Momentarily suspicious of a stranger, his obligations to protect were quickly forgotten when he realised I was someone to play with. Charging at me as he prepared to rip me apart with his tongue, I readied myself for attack, but hoped for a hug. It came in waves of slobber and I felt like I had come back to my own home.

Neralie came home soon after struggling to follow her own directions and laid out the red carpet for me. A bed inside was offered and quickly accepted. Dinner was turned down fearing explaining a carb and protein loading vegetarian was not the easiest person to cater for. Neralie was a vegetarian and probably enjoyed a meal far surpassing the dehydrated curry I had planned to fry in front of my tent. We watched a documentary on Egypt and chatted cordially into the night. I retired to a room I never expected to be enjoying and tried to accept that not every day of this trip could end so well.

Tags: adventure, bicycle, people

Comments

1

what a wonderful and highly encouraging way to start. all the best with the trailor of death you are truely a rapeable man amongst men.

  Trevor Pedersen Dec 11, 2011 7:37 PM

2

That's actually why he left Broome, 'Paedo'.

  Filth Peake Dec 12, 2011 9:01 PM

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