week 12...

Slithering towards WA

With Mom and Dad saying farewell Monday morning, we couldn't have them go home without a Brush With Death of their own to tell their friends about. Of course, brushes with death aren't the kind of thing you can foresee or predict, so in their case, we had to fabricate our own.

The answer was found at Dollars & Sense, in the form of a rubber snake (that's him up above). 100km out of Katherine, while Aimee created a diversion, I carefully laid 'Wheels' out front of their tent. Obviously they didn't know enough to check the terrain before going to bed that night, but the next morning, feigning sleep, we overheard this whispered conversation...
Dad: Susan!
Mom: What?
Dad: It's a snake!
Mom: A what?
Dad: A snake!
Mom: Where?
Dad: Outside the tent!
Mom: What kind of snake?
Dad: Well, I don't know, what do I know about snakes?
Mom: I mean, is it poisonous?
Dad: I don't know. It's not moving though.
Mom: Is it dead?
Dad: Could be. I must've... maybe I stepped on it last night and killed it.
Mom: Throw a rock at it.
Dad: It twitched, but I think it's dead.
Mom: I read somewhere that snakes mate for life, and if there's a dead snake sometimes the mate is still around.
Dad: Where'd you read that?
Mom: Not sure. At the information centre, I think.
Dad: I'm going to fling it away.
Mom: Okay, careful... don't use that!
Dad: Why not? I'm flinging it.
Mom: You'll mess up their flagpole. Get a stick.
Dad: Pass me my cigarettes.
At this point, Aimee and I were giggling into our inflatable pillows. We snored for a few more minutes, then woke up to see what was for breakfast. "Oh, Kevin, you should see what was outside of our tent this morning." I was pointed towards a snake-like tangle, flung far from the tent. It wasn't until I picked up the rubber snake and bit into it that they discovered the truth, which elicited Monday's Quote of the Day.

No wonder they left.
Double 'O':
First Name: Owen
Car: Datsun
Colour: Blue

Last adventure: Kayaked the Missouri/ Mississippi river from Montana to New Orleans.
Time: Three months.
Almost died: Twice.

Life goal: To have his name never come up on a web search (which is why he wouldn't tell us his last name).

Hates: Ritz Crackers

meet a secretive irishman
A talkative and energetic fellow, Owen had heaps of questions about our biking adventure, and us about his kayaking adventure. Then we asked about the job industry in Ireland, and learned a little more about his occupation...

What was the last film you worked on? It was an American ABC documentary about the tabloid press of Prince William. Everyone on set knew it was rubbish. Prince Charles told us that none of us would ever receive an OBE if we kept on.

What was the last film you worked on, that I would have heard of? It was a piece of bloody shite called "Reign of Fire", something about dragons in the future being fought with helicopters. Before that I worked on the sequel to Leprechaun.

I think I saw that. Was the guy from Willow in that? Yeah, The Unlucky Little Leprechaun.

He was just running around saying "where's me gold, where's me gold"? No, that was the first Leprechaun movie.

And then he'd find the guy and kill him. Kill him? Hang on, this is a kids movie.

No killing? You mean the guy from Willow made two Leprechaun series, one a slasher, the other for kids? Warrick Davis must just get all the good little people parts.

Who's the first girl you ever kissed? I'm not going to give you an answer on that, so I'll just say "Britney Spears naked" to raise your hit count.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

David & Joy
These two happy travellers arrived at Monday's rest area less than an hour after my parents left. David was on his way to Broome to take up his new career as the chef of the Town Beach Cafe. We'll be there for a feed! In a month!
(By the way, David's also the inventor of Go Keg. Cool!)
Liz & Stuart
We spent nearly an hour out front of the Victoria River Roadhouse chatting away with Liz and Stuart. And wouldn't you know it... they live in Horsham, right across the street from Primary 298. Wally was so happy to chat with folks from his home town! He was so homesick! Now he's back to his perky self. Thanks you two!
Kaf & Amber
Remember Paul with the baby wallaby from Week 7? Just as we left the rest area, a red car pulled up and we yelled, "Getcha cameras out! He's got a baby wallaby!" Guess who was in that car? Why, Amber and Kaf. We caught up to them over a month later at Timber Creek of all places.
Edwina, Sarah, Hayden and the Gang
The funniest kids in Timber Creek. We shoulda charged them admission to ride our bikes (or at least left the odometer on... We could have racked up an extra twenty kilometres pushing them around!)
wally's amazin' facts!
The School of the Air isn't a place to get your pilot license. You won't learn to levitate, and it's not where they teach you to dodge cyclones. It's a radio school that services all rural schoolchildren in the Northern Territory and Western Australia! The children learn by listening to the radio each day and talking to their teachers through teleconferencing. What a way to learn Indonesian!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Are those flies bothering you as much as they're bothering Kev and Aim? I let them in on a little secret: the lemon scented gum tree is a natural fly repellent! They just have to rub it all over themselves and they'll be fly-free for the whole day! Buzz off, mozzies!

Our Irish pal Owen told us a nasty yarn today about the Blarney Stone... You know, the one in Ireland that everyone kisses for luck. Do you know what the Blarney Stone was originally used for? You won't be happy about it!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 354kmDistance since Day 1: 4383km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 79: Nice job! Hit the showers!
Distance Travelled: 27.0km Temperature: 38
Time on Trikes: 3.0h Water Left: 7.0L
Terrain: Slightly Hilly
End Location: In a field somewhere
they're outta here
I think I'm going to cry. There's something about being left in the middle of the Northern Territory Wilderness when you know that others are returning to showers and cold milk that makes me weepy.
  But there is a part of me that's ready to get back into the adventure; we're both well rested, well fed, and mentally ready to face what lies ahead.

P.S. What lay ahead was the biggest lightening storm we'd ever seen and we ended up huddled in a ditch inside of our new tent trying to think 'low' thoughts so that the lightening would pass us by.
P.P.S. Aimee really did cry. Where's Nelson Muntz when you need him?

- Dad.
Day 80: Pizza Hut and nothin' but!
Distance Travelled: 56.6km Temperature: 42
Time on Trikes: 6.0h Water Left: 8.5L
Terrain: Smooth
End Location: Victoria River
shade is shade
"Where is this frickin' frackin' rest area?" says a hot and humid Aim. Kev, being on the rear bike and seeing everything after Aimee, soon added, "Where is this frickin' frackin' rest area?" Why we had travelled over 25 kilometres and had yet to find the rest area that we should have found about an hour ago was beyond us. Waaaaay beyond.
   Perhaps now is a good time to talk about N.T. Math.
   Nobody knows how far it is between things in the Northern Territory. The signs say one thing, the map says another... sometimes signs contradict each other, even the ones right next to each other. More times than we can count, we'd pass a sign that read something like:

   Bung's Gully Rest Area: 30
   Sneaky Creek Rest Area: 70
   Bugroff: 220

Looks fine, right? We would eventually reach Bung's Gully, which could be anywhere from 23 to 37 from the posted sign, and get the next update:

   Sneaky Creek Rest Area: 44
   Bugroff: 207

Whassa? The first sign may have been wrong for the distance to Bung's Gully, but how did the distance between Sneaky Creek and Bugroff jump 13km? You'd think they make all the signs at the same place, and somebody would check the differences... But that's N.T. Math. Nobody knows.
   We had just about reached the point of looking for a tall tree when we spotted this magical corrugated iron hut materializing out of the bush. It may or may not have been the intended rest area from the last sign, but who really knows in N.T. We flipped the off-road switch on our bikes (gear down and pedal harder) and ploughed our way to the relative (40 degree) coolness of permanent shade. Or perhaps not so permanent... who knows if it will be there for the next traveller?

"Sorry, babe. Ya snossed, ya lost."
- Kevin.
Day 81: Sucks to your assmar!
Distance Travelled: 52.5km Temperature: 36
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 14L
Terrain: Mountainous, but picturesque
End Location: Skull Creek
prize in every pack
It was a day of starts and stops. Since we're travelling at a speed that allows us to see everything, we tend to get distracted by objects. Today, we thought we'd fly out of Victoria River and make some good time before we lost all our daylight. Then we saw our first boab tree... had to take a picture of that! Then we saw some amazing scenery... had to take a picture of that! Then, we found a pair of shoes. Had to try those on (they didn't fit). Then, we found this pig carcass. Had to put it back together and place the head on a post to scare small children... The reflector stuck out of the mouth and everything! Had to take a picture of that!

"Y'know, with a little duct tape we could probably put this pig back together."
- Kevin.
Day 82: Happy campers
Distance Travelled: 47.7km Temperature: 42
Time on Trikes: 5.5h Water Left: 15L
Terrain: Half uphill, half downhill
End Location: Timber Creek
dome is home
It's not that didn't greatly appreciate the tent given to us by Andy From The Isle Of Mann, it's just that, well, it was starting to do us more harm than good. The pint-sized two-man (cough, one-and-a-half-man) tent was built for the British Isle weather, not Australia in the Wet. I'm sure it's great for containing the heat on a miserable, rainy camping weekend in the UK, but trapping heat is not our goal here in the Top End.
   Now we've got a new tent. This improved model is covered in silver to reflect the sun and it's got enough room for us, our gear and probably even our bikes if necessary. It's so big, it feels like a palace in here! Maybe we'll have a party.
   Don't fret, Andy. The new tent will be making it's way to New Zealand, where it will be much happier.

"Creeks with water scare me now."
- Aimee.
Day 83: Sarah friend!
Distance Travelled: 48.1km Temperature: 45
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 15L
Terrain: Pretty
End Location: Bulla
put to the test
What a stir we caused in Timber Creek! I think we had every child within a twenty kilometre radius trying their hand (and short legs) at our trikes. Those who were too little to reach the pedals did their best by climbing on top of those who could.
   We figure that if the bikes can survive what we put them through, they can easily live through the abuses of fifteen energetic and curious children. Just don't step on the silver thing. Or touch the chain. And don't switch the gears when you're not pedalli-- Hey, get off there! Watch it! You're gonna run ov-- LOOK OUT! Okay, everybody off.

"I'll have what she's having."
- Kevin.
Day 84: If you please, draw me a sheep!
Distance Travelled: 74.3km Temperature: 46
Time on Trikes: 10h Water Left: 17L
Terrain: Fairly flat
End Location: Amanbidji
winds of change
One of the truly incredible things I'll always remember about this trip is biking our way through the different landscapes of Australia. We've seen the lushness of the East Coast, the dryness of the Outback Centre and now it's a joy to be finally getting close to the wonderous raw beauty of the Kimberley region. We're seeing boab trees, wildlife and more water than ever before! How we love water! Too bad we forgot to get any before leaving the Bulla rest area! Oopsie!

"Maybe that's how things are done here."
- Kevin.
Day 85: No doobt aboot it!
Distance Travelled: 47.6km Temperature: 46
Time on Trikes: 6.0h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Hilly
End Location: Newry Station
It's Sunday night. You're miles from nowhere. You think you're going to end your week on a quiet note as you bike into the darkness. Then, over the hill comes a fire-engine red car, with two white racing stripes hand-painted down the hood. It's full of fellow Canadians (and one British bloke, don't know what he was doing hanging around with the likes of Canucks) and before you know it you're making jokes about growing a beard for the Hockey playoffs and exchanging Canadianisms... "No way! Right on! For sure! No doubt, eh?" It just proves that you never know what's comin' round the mountain.

"You can no longer wear those pants in polite company."
- Aimee.
keen: (adj.) How you might describe a child building a moon rocket in the garage. Somewhere between brave and stupid. On this trip, we've been called keen more times than you can count.
"Biking around Australia, eh? Well, you're very keen, aren't you?"

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day 79
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hello my baby,
hello my honey,
hello my
ragtime gal

We've got mail...
Great to meet you at Timber Creek,Kev and Aimee. What a great website you have. You must be computer wizzes. It was great reading all the stories and getting the travelling from a 'foreigner's' perspective. You really have picked a hot time of the year and the winds are not very favourable. I would imagine that if you do get a wind with you you won't need much of a sail because you have enough area there to catch wind. The Kimberleyland at Kununrra is a nice campsite by the lake. You don ' t seem to take much time off. Try and take a couple of days off at Broome and enjoy the beautiful cable beach. If you like roadside fruit stores, there was one, quite unbelievably and unexpectedly 200kms south of Broom on the Left Hand side. Its the longest distance in Australia on the no. 1 highway with out a junk food stop. 300k from the turnoff beyond Broome to Sandfire. If you want a cooler place to stop for a while through the Great Sandy Desert and elsewhere, don't forget the water tunn e s under the road. Rock Melons at the smaller Supermarket in Kununurra are usually really cheap and delicious. Have a great trip, and put in a few more breaks. It's great for the morale and you are not in a hurry are you? I used to do 5 days on a then a couple off in a nice place. But I'm sure you are younger and tougher. Pity I didn't see you ealier, you could have had a comfortable bed with airconditioning and cold beer. Good luck. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
- Tim, Timber Creek NT

Bloody hell pedal power!! Congrats guys... i day dream about you both all the time and try and feel ya pain!!! We hope to meet ya somewhere next year, we are also tinking of moving to europe, maybe we should join forces and create the worlds best business ever!!!! :) Keep cyclin..nutters!!! Love ya loads, may the force be with ya xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx PS we missed sending ya bits to Darwin i tink, where will be ya next stop???? Let us know, Love ya!
- Mikki & Charlie, Fareham England

Hi guys,just seen your effort in the Australian Cyclist mag, and looked up your website.(so to speak)Jules and I are setting off on Jan 5th from Sydney on our Greenspeed Tandem Trike, and like you, going right around. Our friends Andrew and Joanne are also in the midst of an Aussie circumnavigation by trikes, and at present are holed up in Atherton awaiting the passing of the "wet" What are your plans for this time of year? are you just planning to keep going and suck it up and see? You might be lucky this year, given that we are in drought, but it's generally not a good idea to be on the road in the top end at this time. Good luck.
- Bill & Julia, Sydney NSW

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© 2002 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. I think it's time to leave now.