week 13...
chasing rainbows

In & Out of Kununurra

It's Western Australia, the biggest, fattest, tallest, widest, most cumbersome state of all. And we're just at the beginning part of it! Let us fill you in on what we're about to encounter...

First on the agenda is the Kimberley, also known to Australians as "The Last Frontier". If the Aussies think it's empty, it must be really friggin' empty. It's about 1100km from the border to Broome (the only city in the Kimberley with a McDonalds), with two of the roughest, toughest, meanest towns along the way (and one of the fastest growing tidy towns).

After we hit Broome (the only city in the Kimberley with a McDonalds) it's still over 2200km ride to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, which undoubtedly has a McDonalds. Not much in between the two as far as McDonaldses go. We might get lucky in Carnarvon... what am I saying? I hate McDonalds.

Even once we're in Perth, we still have to escape Western Australia via the road to end all roads: The Nullarbor. 1500km of flat, empty, treeless plain. Hooray! And that's all we have to do! We love Western Australia!
the western australia gorge...
Thanks to to grocery stores of Darwin, we were entirely stocked up with enough food to take us through to Broome. Then, we hear the word that will have a profound effect on our daily eating habits for the next five days:


It's a little unfair. At the very least, most folks would pick up a load of food at Katherine to stock up for the long empty drive West. Only after one gets onto the Victoria Highway does one read a sign: "Be Quarantine Aware in the Kimberley". Better start munching...

Western Australia has a very strict fruit, vegetable, nut, honey, meat, and plant quarantine at the border (sure, like fruit flies stop at the fence, but that's another issue). The last two items don't bother us much, but nearly everything we've bought in Darwin, with the exception of our canned tuna and couscous, falls into one of the other categories. To make matters worse, we can't get a straight answer on whether the quarantine applies to dried fruits and nuts or just to fresh items: "Should be awright, but you never know. Best not to chance it."
We've Got to Gorge...
2 Kilos of Mixed Nuts
3 Kilos of Dried Fruit
1 Jar Raspberry Jam
1 Jar Red Gum Honey

This leaves us with a decision to make: eat a month's worth of food in the next five days or take a chance that we'll have to eat a month's worth of food sitting beside the quarantine station.

Let's just say Kevin's enjoyment of peanuts was very short lived.

meet haydn mccormack
We think we're sooo special, well, we're not the only ones who have pedalled from Brisbane to Kununurra. Haydn and Sharelle did it too! They travelled it on a tandem (though a conventional tandem), so we've got lots of stories to swap...

Which way did you go? It was close to the same route as your trip, but we added on Cairns. Sharelle had never been to Cairns, so we decided to go up, then back down to the Barkly Highway. We also did the trek into Kakadu.

We were planning on driving to Kakadu one day. How was it? The mozzies were pretty fierce. We'd have to set up the tent and crawl in as soon as we stopped, and it was one of those tiny 2-man tents. The worst was if you were sleeping and your leg brushed against the screen, the mozzies could still get you.

So what made you stop in Kununurra? Money. We ran out in Kununurra, so Sharelle got a job here. I planned on continuing on to Geraldton, but only made it as far as Halls Creek before phoning Sharelle to pick me up.

And since then? Well, Sharelle's now the manager of the child care centre here in Kununurra, and I've been working towards setting up a bike shop... I would like to one day finish the rest of Australia, though.

Think you will? Definitely. Of course, we've got a flat here now, and a baby-- HI! HI! GOOGY MOOGY MOOGY! --yeah, the baby. I'm thinking once Eilish gets to be two or three, we'll attach her to the back of our tandem, and off we go again! She'll love it-- WON'T YOU? YES! YES, WON'T YOU! HAHAHA! HI!
Hay Hay Hay:
Age: 27
Birthplace: New Zealand
Claim to Fame of Birthplace: Home town of Vitafresh!

Skills: Bike maintenance, changing diapers
Job: Stay at home Dad, Corbin's personal mechanic

Wife: Sharelle
Daughter: Eilish
Family: Happy!

these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Barry & Adam
When you spend all day at the WA Quarantine station, there's two things you learn... It's the nicest border we've ever crossed! No nasty guards, no prying questions, just hand over the mangoes and away you go! The second thing is, if you're on a bike and hang out here all day, sometimes they give the mangoes to you! Yummy! Thanks boys!
Wayne & Beth
Shift change at the WA border brought us two more friendly patrollers. Wayne was actually the first guy we met on Monday night, and we think he told a couple of orange smuggling tourists that, if they didn't want to throw out good fruit, give it to the bikers in the tent. We were asleep, but we had oranges for brekky!
Corbin was an interesting chap. He and his friend Buffalo popped by Haydn's every night we were staying there. Not to visit us, but to get Haydn to make a few adjustments to his "new" bike. By the end of three days, he'd stripped it down to a few pipes and a couple of brake pads. Word of warning: keep an eye on your shifters when the C-man's around.
Jenny & Jeff
It's unheard of: two Canadians, Jenny & Jeff, coming to Perth to train for hockey? Hockey? Oh, the grass kind. I just don't get that sport. There's none of the raw human angst of tossing off your gloves and pounding a player of the opposite team into submission. Ah, well. Stay out of the Penalty Box, you two! (And for heaven sakes, get out of that jacket! J... for Jacket.)
wally's amazin' facts!
Owen, Owen, Owen. You may be single handedly responsible for ruining the entire tourist trade of a small Irish town... well, here goes anyway. The Blarney Stone? The one all the Americans fly over to kiss for luck? It used to be a public urinal! Dude, that's just gross!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Did you know that Barry and the gang at Quarantine WA have more power to search your car than the police? It's true! The Quarantine Search Act in WA legislature hasn't been updated or revised since 1913, whereas the Police Search Act gets a revamp every decade or so. But, they can only take fruits, veggies, and honey. They can tear your car apart looking for a smuggled peach, but if you're carrying any herbs purchased in Nimbin, they can't technically take it away. They just won't let you be their friend.

By the way, whenever you see a picture of an apple with a worm in it, have you ever wondered what kind of worm it was? Answer next week! Until next time, be nice to your teachers, and don't do drugs!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 179kmDistance since Day 1: 4561km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 86: Teva 4 Eva?
Distance Travelled: 33.0km Temperature: 40
Time on Trikes: 4.0h Water Left: 11L
Terrain: New & Exciting!
End Location: Quarantine Station
adventure my foot
It's unnerving when an inanimate object chooses a significant location and time to go kaput. Take Kevin's sandals, for instance. Today we jubilantly reached the Western Australia border, and within ten minutes, they'd snapped and broken.
   It's as though they'd been hanging on just long enough so that they could say that they made it to WA, then, they breathed a huge sigh of relief and died a contented death. Let's hope we fare a bit better in Western Australia than they did.

"The best Coke is the unexpected Coke."
- Aimee.
Day 87: I See Billy, and Michael, and Ari...
Distance Travelled: 30.8km Temperature: 43
Time on Trikes: 4.5h Water Left: 8.0L
Terrain: Hilly, Twisty
End Location: Just outside of Kununurra
we'll eat your fruit
Putting a sign on the back our our bike entitled "We'll Eat Your Fruit!" only gained us a couple of oranges, left there by pixies in the middle of the night. Apparently more people would rather toss their fruit into the bin at the Quarantine station (or hide it in their swag) than hand it out to a couple of crazies like us. But no matter. We just went to the source: the Quarantine.
   Haven't you ever wondered what happens to your fruit when it's quarantined? Do they burn it? Do they eat it? Do they put it behind a fence for six months? Inject it with vaccines? Boy oh boy, did we learn a lot from By-the-Book Barry, the head quarantine keener. Barry knows his job, alright, and not a single mango got by his watchful feline eyes!
  And if you're wondering what happend to your fruit, well, it was eaten by us! We sat outside the quarantine station and enjoyed fresh oranges, apples, mangoes, cold drinks and informative conversation. Yum!

"This is why they didn't let women in the Army for so long."
- Kevin.
Day 88: Aidin'
Distance Travelled: 14.3km Temperature: 45
Time on Trikes: 2.5h Water Left: 10L
Terrain: Easy ride into town
End Location: Haydn & Sharelle's
kununurra kook
"Aren't you the guys from Australian Cyclist magazine?" said the man with the funny bike to the girl with the funnier bike. "Mm-hmm!" replied the girl with the funnier bike and the mouthful of milk. She was parked out front of the Coles on her funnier bike while her front-man was examining treads for the funnier bike in the bike shop for mostly non-funny bikes. As it turned out, his bike was funny for three reasons: 1) it didn't seem to be one whole bike, but many pieces of other bikes attached together precariously, 2) it had a shiny new trailer on a pivot from the rear wheel, with 3) a baby in it.
   So the girl with the funnier bike followed the baby home and stayed for three days.

"My brother was hypnotized by a witch. Two weeks ago. He woke up yesterday. He's okay."
- Corbin.
Day 89: Because so much is riding on your tires...
Distance Travelled: 0km Temperature: 45
End Location: Haydn & Sharelle's
You know what I can't stand? People who don't know the difference between a cute baby and an ugly baby. "Oh, there are no ugly babies!" you say? Well, if that's what you were thinking, then you're one of the things I can't stand. There are plenty of ugly babies.
   There are babies with big fat faces, and babies with squishy lips, and babies with buggy eyes, and babies with funny shaped heads. The worst is when people put photos up on the walls of their babies fresh out of the oven, frozen immortally in time with a portrait taken in that first blissful hour of life when all babies still look like Mini-Me eating a sourball.
   Now, take Eilish here. She's not one of those. She's a genuine, bona fide, wholeheartedly cute baby. There's no mistaking Eilish as a run of the mill "baby", that simply falls into the cute box because its fingers are smaller than Q-tips. This is a cute baby. Period.
   Now, for those who don't know the difference, please take a look at the following photos (especially #3):
Photo #1     Photo #2     Photo #3     Photo #4

"The Rapture's been here! And I missed it!"
- Haydn.
Day 90: Leftovers
Distance Travelled: 0km Temperature: 33
End Location: Haydn & Sharelle's
tool time
We've travelled how many kilometers now? Our trip-o-meter is nearing 4500km and we've done all of this without really paying as much attention to the bikes as we should have. But don't frown, Mr. Penninger!
   It's not our fault. It's the heat. The heat makes you so groggy that you don't want to do anything... here's an example: At one point on this adventure, Kevin didn't wear his sunglasses for over two weeks because he couldn't be bothered trying to find them in the backpack. Based on this track record, if something minor needs repair on the bikes, we're more likely to do a quick fix and continue on our way than really give them the attention they deserve.
   It's a testament to their manufacturing that the bikes have been able to put up with us for so long, with nothing more than the occasional whimper. But we can't tempt fate forever. We're about to enter the Kimberley, and the bikes need to get us through with confidence. Today is the day to get out the Q-tips and the methylated spirits and really give these bikes a checking over. It helps that we're staying with Kununurra's resident bike expert, Haydn. Haydn and Kev spent the entire day making sure that the chains were degreased, the derailleurs were functioning properly and the treads were all changed. By the time they were done, they were slick and operating smoother than ever!
   Now let's see if we can do this again before Adelaide...

"And now, the Bible on Tape, read by Fat Tony: 'In da beginning, Gwod created da Heaven and da Oith...'"
- Kevin.
Day 91: Hayden's Other Half
Distance Travelled: 47.6km Temperature: 38
Time on Trikes: 6.0h Water Left: 10L
Terrain: Mostly uphill
End Location: Wyndham Rest Area
take five, everyone
We've got a really bad habit of not taking any photos when we take a "break". To us, a "break" means we get to do the work we like more than the regular work we have to do... like writing the website, and drinking Vanilla Coke (somebody has to). Somebody says "breaktime!", and within moments, we've set up the computer and spend so much time documenting the past that we tend to forget to document what's going on in the present.
   With the exception of all the photos of Eilish, who deserves as much attention as she gets, we were totally lax in taking photos of Sharelle and Haydn. In fact, this is the only photo we have of Sharelle. Eep! Sorry!

"No matter how meager or pathetic an existence you have after this, you'll always have this to look back on and say, 'I don't have to do anything else.'"
- Officer Zimmer.
Day 92: No photo available
Distance Travelled: 53.4km Temperature: 35
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Lots of ups and downs
End Location: Truckie Park
the new plan, man
The biking schedule we've been on until now, let's face it, just lately isn't working. We've been using the 'bike while you can' method: if it's cloudy, go! If the sun goes down, go! If it's anything other than 40 degrees, go! We needed to devise something new so that we wouldn't kill ourselves before we arrived in Broome, twenty long days from now.
   So today we begin our new schedule, which only offers us two choices:
1) If it's sunny, we leave at 4pm and bike until midnight (or suitable rest area nearby); or
2) If it's cloudy, we leave at 2pm and bike until midnight (or suitable rest area nearby).
   So, now our schedule is sleep, eat breakfast, rest, eat lunch, bike, eat dinner, sleep. Nice and easy! A far cry from what it used to be: sleep, assess temperature, skip brekky, bike, sweat, stop at noon, nap, snack, nap, read, bike, stop, make dinner, force self to stay awake for dinner, sleep. Yes, much nicer.

"Do I still have the computer in my pants?"
- Aimee.
shifter: (n.) adjustable wrench or crescent wrench.
"Oi! Bruce! Chuck us that shifter! Me nuts are stuck!"

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We've got mail...

Kevin and Aimee:

Shame on you for biking around Australia. Have you no heart, have you no compassion? What about those of us who went to highschool with Kevin and who (let's be honest) never thought he'd amount to much. Suppose we sit in office buildings in the dog-eat-dog world of smog-addled downtown Toronto while you two galavant upsidedown saying 'Oy' and drinking Fosters. Did you ever, for an Australian minute, think about how that might make us feel?

Now leave that ridiculous bike in the nearest flower-strewn ditch and get back here and join the rest of us shuffling and mucking through our grey November lives.
- Eric, Toronto ON

And we thought you two seemed so sensible! What kind of example are you setting for our little girl? Mikki & Charlie's Oz adventures were bad enough for their poor parents' health, but you certainly take the biscuit - actually with your lack of water, biscuits are probably not such a good idea.
What it is to be young. Keep trekking, but be safe. Looking forward to hearing all about it when you are in England again. Love the website.
- Ken, UK

I hope you are having a great time in this wide brown land of ours. You will probabaly see more of Oz than most of us Aussies will see in a lifetime. I am currently reading your US roadtrip reports and am thoroughly enjoying it. Good luck and if you need a guide if you are in Melbourne again then let me know. My family and I live in Williamstown (just over the Westgate Bridge).
Have a safe journey.
- Michael, Williamstown VIC

I haven't read everything in your web sight but I am impressed anyway. I wasn't sure you could do it but you're doing well. From a purely safety point of view, would you recommend it to others. I mean a recumbent is an awful wide vehicle and there are some real ass holes out there. Not many but there are some. How much water do you carry on your longer stretches? Good luck. I shall keep watching for more installments. Don't forget to enjoy the moment just like you are doing.
- Paul, Parts Unknown

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© 2002 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. "I think we go over," said Rooster.