week 15...
a monumental week

To Fitzroy, and Beyond!

The last sunset of 2002. A fine photo. By the way, if you enjoy photographing sunsets, the Kimberley is the best place to do it. Coincidentally, the Kimberley is also the best place to be bitten by something poisonous.
our most memorable days of 2002
I could go on and on about what a busy year it's been, but you've already read about it. We've gone back over our first publicly-documented year and picked out our most memorable days in 2002. Not necessarily the best, not necessarily the funniest, just the most memorable, for whatever reason.

January 22: Golden Arches
What better way to spend a day than strolling through one of the most geologically stunning National Parks in Southern Utah? Arches National Park is a wonder of wonders. See for yourself.
February 19: Loving Las Vegas
No, Tom Jones was not the highlight of the year. Breakfast at Circus Circus, a stroll down the strip, $40 lost at the roulette tables at the Luxor, and seeing Tom Jones perform in Las Vegas... priceless.
February 27: Price Hike
The show may seem like just an hour when you're watching at home, but trust me, it's a whoooole day. A long, slow morning, that crescendos into an afternoon frenzy of screaming numbers. One dollar!
July 22: Fantasy Island
No, not Fraser Island... Magnetic Island! It's just one of those places like... like... well, take that Steve Buscemi guy. You can't explain to someone exactly why you like him, you just do. That's what Magnetic Island was like.
August 8: Party On! Ekka-lent!
When was the last time you spent a day at the fair? When was the last time you spent a day at the biggest fair in Queensland? When was the last time you laid your eyes on a champion beef carcass? Now's your chance.
September 17: Happy as a Box o' Bikes
The day the bikes arrived. Sigh. Actually, that whole week was pretty darn good. For David especially! Finally, we'd be moving out of his house after a month.
September 23: Next of Kin-Kin
The second day is always the worst. You're stiff, you're sore, you're weak. You've just slept on the ground with no mattress. Then, Mother Nature bends you over a chair and feeds you the Kin Kin Mountain Range.
September 28: Raising Cane
Being a bushman would be so bad if you had dinner like this every night. After our first long week of cycling and shrinking stomachs, the unexpected Avondale Bushman's Dinner reminded us of how great life can be.
November 15: The Birthday from Hell
Ninety kilometres of slow, mind numbing inclines. 38 degrees of sweat-drenching, muscle-sapping heat. Nothing to look forward to at the end of the day but an overpriced roadhouse and a lukewarm meat pie. But hey! You've got chips!
November 30: Blue Streak
It's nice to be reminded now and then how fast the rest of the working world travels. The first 400km in four hours, The last 40 in six. Life ain't fair.
the best and worst of 2002

Peppered Roo,
Richmond Club Hotel

Roo is better than moose any day! Just ask Skippy!

best & worst

Fresh Caught Catfish,
Fraser Island

We should have let that dingo take it.

Honeydew Melon Ice with Coconut Jelly, Bubble Cup
Refreshingly Un-American.

best & worst

Barkly Station Bore Water
We think petrol somehow seeped into the pipes, it was so awful.

San Francisco

Well worth the tour, in a morbidly fascinating sort of way.

best & worst

Giant Koala,
Grampians, Vic.

Somehow they're not so cute and cuddly when they're three storeys tall.

Yellowstone National Park
Elk, wolves, coyotes, buffalo, you name it. And all of them covered in snow.

best & worst
wildlife luck

Mission Beach, Queensland
No cassowaries, no tree frogs, and no barramundi. Three strikes, we're out.

Allan Rogerson's, Richmond Qld
Huge soft bed after six weeks of cycling.

best & worst

Hyde State Park,
Santa Fe NM

The coldest night ever spent in a tent, and a psychopath on the loose.
what a difference a year makes!

Kevin 2002

Kevin 2003

Aimee 2002

Aimee 2003
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

The Downs Family
New Years Eve Eve dinner was fantastic too! Richard and family from Wyndham were the only others staying at Mary Pool, and invited us over for a BBQ! Yum!
Anders, Tobin & Ashley
Another chance meeting with Canadians travelling Australia scores us two more beers and three more friends. Tobin sounded so much like Mike Lamers that Kevin got dizzy and had to sit down!
The NW Territorians
Nope, not Northern Territory, North West! They're Canadian too! And if there's one thing Canadians in Australia all agree on, it's that we just can't get into Christmas.
Carl & Joanna
These two were forced into being our rest area friends when they realized they couldn't leave! Three flat tyres, and not a towtruck for 160km (unless you can pay $1.50/km). Good luck!
wally's amazin' facts!
If you're going to be swimming with the crocs, you shouldn't eat... croc! Salties have an oily scent that, after you've eaten one, seeps out of your pores. The other salties can smell it, and they come to defend their territory. But what are you doing swimming with crocs anyway?

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Thinking of proposing to your one and only this New Years? If your diamond is pink, chances are good that it came from the Argyle Diamond Mine located in Wyndham, WA. Argyle is the largest diamond mine in the world, and the world's largest producer of pink diamonds! If that's the case, then why the heck did they name the mine after a sock?

If you're not in the market for a ring this year, think you can tell me which holiday statistically ends with the most number of one night stands? What's a one night stand? Go ask your mum and dad!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 357kmDistance since Day 1: 5291km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 100: Yes, we have goannas
Distance Travelled: 9.8km Temperature: 40
Time on Trikes: 1h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Rough Wind
End Location: Mary Pool
death by numbers
What a difference a hundred days makes. There's so much we've experienced, yet we still feel as though we're merely beginning. When we pushed off from the Big Pineapple 2400 hours ago, we had some expectations of this journey, but they were vague and hesitant: hard cycling, rough days and good days, amazing wildlife, meeting the people who call Australia their home.
   We've experienced the amazing wildlife, had more than our share of good days and very few bad days. We've experienced a diverse range of cultures that make up this country, and grappled with the challenges of the Outback. We've cycled to the point of no return and kept on pedalling past it. When all is said and done, this country has treated us amazingly well, much more graciously than we could ever have hoped for.
  We can only cross our fingers that for the next hundred days live up to the good reputation of the first hundred.

"That's bigger than the Iguana Lady outside FAO Schwartz!"
- Kevin.
Day 101: No Leftovers Tonight!
Distance Travelled: 53.8km Temperature: 37
Time on Trikes: 7h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Smooth
End Location: Truckie Park
he carved the roast beast...
Today, New Years Eve, we finally ate our Christmas dinner.
   Don't fret; nothing went bad. It's not like we were cycling frantically looking for a deep-fryer to cook a frozen turkey. On the contrary, dinner turned out to be one of the tastiest meals ever! And the best part, it could have all sat in the storage bin until Valentine's Day! Here's what we had, if you want to try it at home:

Everlasting Christmas Dinner:
1 can of spam
1 can of pineapple rings
1 packet of instant mashed potatoes
1 can of corn
1 sachet of instant custard
1 muffin-sized luxury Christmas pudding.

Light a fire. Slice the spam into four thin patties. Toss the spam on the fire, and place the pineapple slices on top. Meanwhile, add water to the mashed potatoes, stir it up, and place on the grill, not too close to the centre of the fire. When the spam's done on one side, flip it and the pineapple to grill the pineapple. Yummy! Don't forget the corn!
Dessert's just as easy! Make the custard in a mug, then drop the muffin sized pudding into the custard. Plop! Now you're cooking with evil gas. Happy New Year!

For more Spam ideas, read about the day we visited the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. Yes, there is a Spam Museum. It's great too.

"If we were alone, I would have just dug a hole."
- Aimee.
Day 102: MMMMM!
Distance Travelled: 68.3km Temperature: 36
Time on Trikes: 8h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Mostly Down
End Location: Another Truckie Park
the big five-oh-oh-oh
A lot of people ask us the question "How do you do it?" I thought that since today's our 5000 kilometre, it would be a suitable time to answer that one. So how do we get from Point A to Point B?
   Patience. Patience is a commodity more precious than water. When the cars are whooshing past, and you've got a headwind that's slowing you down to 5km/hr, and it's 250km to the toilet, patience is a virtue.
   Endurance. We didn't do the entire 5000 kilometres in one day, you know. We did it bit by bit. And bit by bit. Many, many bits add up to one big bit.
   Imagination. It's takes a strong imagination to escape when the landscape, diet and schedule don't change for weeks at a time. Imagine that tuna is actually Yip's Chinese Takeaway!
   Dirk Pitt Novels. By far the greatest cycling tool ever created. Simple plots, memorable characters, and packed with more pulp than a Kununurra orange. Read them out loud with silly voices and sound effects and watch the kilometres fly by.

"Where's Andy Weiler when you need him?"
- Aimee.
Day 103: What the Canuck?
Distance Travelled: 53.4km Temperature: 39
Time on Trikes: 5.5h Water Left: 8L
Terrain: Up, Up, Up, Down, Down, Down
End Location: 10km From Fitzroy
national highway
The stretch of highway from Halls Creek to Fitzroy Crossing is the longest unbroken stretch of sealed highway in Australia. We know this because we're very, very interested in such things. At the moment, on the sweltering bitumen, it also feels like the hottest. So here we are in the hottest, and most deserted section of the continent, and guess what we find? It's crammed with Canadians - all kinds of 'em!
   We've met Canadians from Calgary, Regina, The Northwest Territory (incidentally, I've never met anyone from the Northwest Territory in my entire life and it is beyond bizarre that we would meet one here). We've even met Canadians from Bangkok.
   It's as though at this point in the year Canadians know that they've got a long, cold winter ahead of them, and they've escaped to a land that is hot enough to melt away even the memory of snow. Consider the Great Northern Highway as preparation for the world's harshest polar bear swim.

"I hope you've stopped to reward us with some ice cold Coca-Cola!"
- Kevin.
Day 104: Kids Love It!
Distance Travelled: 46.4km Temperature: 38
Time on Trikes: 6h Water Left: 14L
Terrain: Easy
End Location: Parts Unknown
australia's toughest town
"Oooooo. Watch out for Fitzroy Crossing." "You're not going there, are you?" From what we'd heard, Fitzroy Crossing was the roughest, toughest, root'n'est-toot'n'est, most ornery town in the West. In the country, even. "Don't stick around too long in Fitzroy," they'd say, "or you might not ever make it out."
   By the time we arrived, we didn't know what to expect. Maybe we'd walk by the saloon just in time for a guy to sail out the plate-glass window with a crash. Maybe we'd look down an alley to see two rival hordes of thugs engaged in a fist to knife to brass-knuckle to glock all-out gang war. Maybe even... maybe all the teenagers listen to rock and roll!
   But no. Another town misrepresented by the fears of the common traveller. Fitzroy was just like any other Kimberley town ('any other' giving you a choice of Halls Creek). Give the kids a ride on your bike and everybody's your friend. Ride through town with a big Canadian flag, and everybody waves and smiles and yells out their name. They're so friendly!
   Of course, we've only ever been in any (either) of these towns during the day. Maybe from what everybody tells us, the towns are populated by reverse-vampires or something.

"If you can give me a five-dollar reason why I should give you two dollars, I may consider giving you one dollar."
- Aimee, to young humbugger.
Day 105: That is the spare...
Distance Travelled: 54km Temperature: 41
Time on Trikes: 7h Water Left: 15L
Terrain: Flat, Pituresque
End Location: Rest Area
this creek's not on the map
Today we spent a few rest area hours with a couple from Perth who were having a run of bad luck. They'd just busted three of their tires (including the spare) and since they were as far from civilization as you can get before you start coming back, it was a tough situation. Luckily, they were in no need of starving or dying of thirst, it was mostly their pocketbooks that would feel the pain: the bill for bringing them and their truck to the nearest town and replacing the tyres would run close to $1000.
  Their troubles kind of got me to thinking that being on bikes does have benefits. Sure, we're slow and hot, but we are truly self-sufficient. Barring death by poisonous snake or boredom, we can pretty much get through the rough spots. Running out of water? Just ration and bike after dark. Something broken on the bikes? Just get out the duct tape. Puncture? $12 for a new tube. On this tiny machine, we've got enough food to last for a month and enough water to last 5-8 days with rationing. If something really goes wrong, we could probably hitch a ride with the next road train.
  There really is pleasure to be had in knowing that we'll never need to deal with the mechanic at the BP in Derby.

"How many people have told you you're crazy?"
- Kamahl.
Day 106: Beneath the Mighty Boab
Distance Travelled: 70.8km Temperature: 42
Time on Trikes: 8h Water Left: 15L
Terrain: 1st Half Down, 2nd Half Up
End Location: Rest Area
guzzling by the tonne
Here's a milestone worth talking about: Today we drank our 1000th litre of water. A thousand litres. Let's put that in perspective, shall we?

Volume: There's about 3.78L in a gallon, so roughly, we're talking about 265 gallons (I'm sure Danny the Actuary will be emailing me later about my conversion rates and significant digits, but I'll continue anyway). Now, take Mel the Jeep (May He Live Forever), who, even after driving 100km on empty through the Mojave Desert, was still only able to gulp down 15 gallons. That means, with all the water we've had, we could have filled Mel's tank seventeen and a half times!

Price: You can pick up a 500mL bottle of Poland Spring at any Manhattan Starbucks for around $1.50 (that was two years ago, of course. No guarantees now). We've drunk a retail value of $3000 worth!

Weight: This is where the metric system is a beautiful thing: 1mL of water is equal to 1g. 1L of water is equal to 1kg. 1000L of water (which I suppose could be referred to as a kilolitre, which doesn't sound nearly as impressive) is equal to 1000kg. This is what's known as a metric tonne, and a tonne is about 200 pounds heavier than a ton.
   Now, a ton is a really big thing. Trucks are measured in tons. Ore is measured in tons. Bridges limits are measured in tons. When you have an unbelievable, uncountable, immeasurable amount of homework, you've got a ton of homework.
   Imagine drinking an elephant. That's how much water we've had. What more can I say? We've drunk an elephant.

"I forgot Nintendo even existed."
- Aimee.
esky: (n.) cooler. In the Aussie quirk of shortening every word to one syllable with an "ee" sound (footy, brekky, mozzie), I'd hazard a guess that it's a shortened form of Eskimo. Nothing colder than that!
"You guys need an Esky on your bikes! Keep your beer cold!"

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We've inspired someone...
We received this rather long email a couple of weeks ago and thought we'd share. Enjoy.   - k&a.

Ok, you guys, I finally finished your (original roadtrip) website.

Now, I didn't just madly flip through the pages while downloading porn. No. I read EVERYTHING and looked at ALL the pictures. I think I went through 5-8 pages a night over the course of 2 months. (when I wasn't downloading porn or playing Return To Castle Wolfenstein.) I'm very suspicious about the guy who claimed he read the whole thing in one sitting.

In fact, I KNEW that I was compelled to finish my "journey" of reading everything..that I was going to create my own "roadtrip.read.beimers" site. (with fake, recreated graphics and everything.) But I decided it was going to be too much for, just for the one joke, so I decided to go back downloading porn.

(Note: I will now attempt to stop referencing "porn" for the rest of this correspondence. I really don't do (that much of) it, and I think I've wrung all the potential humor from it.)

Let me fill you in a little of who I am: 40 year old (am I officially middle aged?) video editor who managed to avoid the typical nagging wife and kids. Been self-employed for years now and have a problem with authority and the corporate life style in general. Thought that my life was leading up to the creation of this movie I directed (http://www.altsexmovie.com/), but when nothing happened with it, I realized I needed a new direction in life.

Let me warn you what happens when middle age approaches. You and your friends start to get fat. Your hair and teeth start to loosen up. You start to collect a lot of meaningless possessions. If you have kids, your life is basically put on hold for the next 20 years. I'm sure you've heard all of his before, but it's kinda weird when it starts to happen to you.

I've avoided the kids up till now. (I knew there was a reason for that.) The only good thing about approaching middle age is that people tend to pay you more for what you've done all along. Thus...I was getting paid very well to sit in a corporate office and make the worlds dullest videos. OK, I've got less hair and loose teeth, but the money is finally rolling in.

Then I found your website. (actually my girlfriend turned me onto your site. More on her later.)

I actually started telling people this: "I think I've found a website that could change my life". I started showing all the corporate drones at my job your website. "Isn't that COOL?!", I said.

Blank stares.

"They fucking DID it! They just went out and DID it!"

Drone: "That's nice. But I've got kids, a mortgage, car payments, health insurance and college tuition to pay for. I could never do that. I kinda like it here in my cubicle."

The fools! Didn't they SEE?? *I* could do it!! (Triumphant music starts to play) There was a REASON why I have no children at my age! (Nothing physical) I can do my OWN roadtrip! (Standing on desk, the office cheers) YES!! YES!! I-CAN-DO-IT!!

The next day I get another check from my work. I tell myself there's no reason to get rash...right away.

OK..so here's the plan: I'm 40, I *USED* to sleep in tents when I was 12 back in Boy Scouts...I wasn't crazy about it then, my hats off to yooz guys, but I'm 40 fa chrissakes. :-)

Continue sucking on that giant corporate nipple until I have enough to buy me a big hokin' truck to pull a big honkin' RV trailer. (I figure 6 months from now, got the dough for the truck right now.) Sell the house, quit the job, load up the girfriend and dog and we're outta here.

The ultimate plan is to find a different place to live once this wanderlust is outta me.

OK..I can hear you guys scoffing now. Go ahead and scoff! Do it! Get it out of your systems. :-)

Yes, you guys will be fighting dangerous snakes (I've been watching Steve Irwin for months now) and heatstroke while I'm sleeping in a queen size mattress someplace in an RV park in Florida.

Go ahead and scoff. Go ahead...continue.

It ain't easy pulling your mouth off that giant corporate teat. Remember the Matrix? Did you notice how Joe Pantoliano's character WANTED to be hooked back up to the Matrix? People spend their whole lives being pacified with money, possessions and central AC.

OK, maybe my live isn't that bad as the Matrix, but I'm still gonna do it.

Let me show you: the girlfriend and I rented an RV vehicle for a week and drove down to Washington DC. (During the shootings no less) Here's a picture:


There...that's where we slept at a rest stop in New Jersey on a 4" foam mattress. Now THAT was roughing it. ;-) (I still hear scoffing. Whatever.)

So there. That's what you guys have done. You've compelled me to give up my comfortable life for a slightly less comfortable life that has more verve and a misunderstood meaning.

Tell ya what...when I'm sitting in that RV park, I'll go without AC for a couple of days in honor of your Bikeabout.

Hey I got an idea: since there are places coming up in your Bikeabout that are pretty scarce on water, could I get FedEx to deliver a cases of Perrier to certain mile markers?

Or better yet...how about pints of Ben & Jerrys packed in dry ice every 5 miles? You'd be the only people to GAIN weight on a cross continent Bikeabout tour!

Another thought: what if you guys become famous during this trip...like in Forrest Gump? You'd have a whole line of air conditioned RV's trailing behind you! :-)
- Anonymous

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© 2003 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. This has been... The Bitumen Report.