week 16...
off the deep end

Swept Into Broome

Eighty-two days ago we left the Pacific Ocean. Within seconds we were engulfed in the outback lifestyle: heat, sweat, flies and open-road adventure. I remember thinking the night we left Townsville that it really felt like an awfully long way to get the other side of the country. It seemed like this enormous unknown mass of land that we'd have to pedal across. Now that we've done it, and reached the other side, I can say that I was right. It was.

But we did it! We rode every sweaty kilometre across this gigantic country and reached the beautiful, blue Indian Ocean just in time for sunset. You'd think it knew we were coming.
phase III : completed
I know you already know this, but WE'RE IN FRICKIN' BROOME! As Inspector Gadget would say, Wowsers!

Each phase of the trip gets a little bit harder than the last. For example, we consider Phase One to be the stretch from Brisbane to Townsville: fairly well populated, lots of traffic, lots of water, plenty of stops to pick up forgotten supplies. The testing ground.

The second phase was the outback, all the way to Katherine. The distances were a little longer, the heat was more intense, and we learned the importance of being self-reliant. This is where we taught ourselves little tricks like 1) bike at night, 2) top up your water every chance you get, and 3) road trains should not be trifled with.

Leaving Katherine, we entered Phase Three. The advent of the Wet gave us renewed strength to race the clouds. Between Katherine and Broome, there were a total of eight stops in 1500km, so this was the true test of endurance.

But this week, I had a scary thought. Each phase has handed us a small sample of what we should expect in the next. For example, the East Coast fed us a stretch from Rockhampton to Mackay with a few hundred kilometres of isolation. At the time we were only carrying a ten-litre of water, so we learned what to expect from Phase Two. Two gave us the Barkly Homestead, a jump of 265km. This was our biggest jump yet, but a fairly common distance up in the Kimberley.

I have the feeling that the storm Thursday was a mere foreshadow of what we may come to expect down the West Coast, Phase Four. We may have cheated the Wet, but cyclone season is just beginning...
how to survive a torrential downpour
Since most people who go camping usually get to their destination in a vehicle, the answer is easy: Put everything in the car, get in a car, and go to a hotel. People like us don't have it so easy. When you're hundreds of miles from a town, a roadhouse, the weather channel, or even a rigid shelter, you've got to improvise. Here's what we did...
 
Before you begin, ensure that you have placed the tent in the lowest plot of land in the immediate area, in order to fully test your survival skills. No sense doing things halfway.
1. When gale force winds begin, use your body weight to hold up the sides of the tent.
2. When the wind abates to mere pounding rain, attempt to get some sleep. Wake quickly if you detect water in the tent.
3. Move all the delicate computer equipment to the middle of the tent, and attempt to stop flow of water into the tent by lifting the sides. Once you realize that this method simply pools the water already inside around the equipment even more, go to Plan B.
4. Wrap the heavy stuff in plastic trash bags you always have onhand, and dive out of the tent in your socks.
5. Relocate the tent to higher ground with an almightly tug, spilling the rest of the contents of tent into the mud. Collect wet things, and climb back in with heavy stuff. Put heavy stuff into corners to act as pegs.
6. Locate shoes, which have floated away. Collapse from exhaustion and wake up in puddle.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Fred
We met Fred at the Willare Roadhouse, located at the Derby Turnoff. Fred's from the UK, but his brother owns Willare, so he pops by from time to time. Nasty luck: A friend of his was going to take him on a flight across the centre of Australia back to Sydney, but his plane was grounded by a dumb inspector. Phooey!
The Halls Creek Nurse
Imagine being told by your company that you're being transferred to Australia. Yippee! Then, they add that you'll be spending your first two years in Halls Creek. Eep! This is exactly what happened to our friend. She lasted two months, then asked to be transferred again! Better luck in Newman!
Michelle & Michele
These two crazy ladies from Melbourne drove straight by us on the highway without stopping. Boy, were they embarrassed when we showed up next to them at the Town Beach Caravan Park. Luckily, they bought our friendship with a six-pack of Cascade (Tazzy beer), two cans of beans and some tortillas. Good trade, eh?
Mies
Mies (rhymes with 'geese') livened up our evening at the campground by pulling out here guitar and serenading Michelle, Michele and us with some of the classics. The only song she couldn't play was Happy Birthday Dear Michelle, but it didn't much matter since the rest of us knew the words anyway. Thanks for dinner at your caravan!
wally's amazin' facts!
It's not Mother's Day, it's not Groundhog Day, and I sure hope it's not Take Your Daughter to Work Day! Nope, the holiday that concludes with the highest number of one night stands is... Halloween! Imagine all those people waking up and saying, "My goodness, she really is a werewolf!"

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Broome's primary export since the 1880s has been pearls. The pearling industry was huge in Broome in the late 19th and early 20th century, and workers were brought in from all over the world in search of pearls and prosperity.

But, do you know what simple invention nearly collapsed the pearling industry? I'm bettin' ya don't! Answer next week!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
miche's amazin' fact!
A fact is a little furry animal that runs along the seabed with a pickle jar in one hand and a butterfly net in the other collecting octopus farts to sell on the black market for bubbles and spirit levels. And that's a fact!
Distance this week: 262kmDistance since Day 1: 5553km

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Day 107: Open Your Ears
Distance Travelled: 65.0km Temperature: 43
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 12L
Terrain: Half up, half down
End Location: Derby Turnoff
fifth sense
Here at beimers.com, we're always striving to paint you a complete picture of the diversity of our adventures. We like to think that you can almost touch the vastness of the outback, almost feel the heat that radiates down upon our poor reddened scalps, taste the 25% protein extract as we sink our teeth into a Four n' Twenty, smell the cloying stench of a freshly flattened wallaby.
   But can you hear Australia? Have you ever been on our site and felt that you could hear the squeaking of Kev's left tire? How about the incessant jangling of the Girl Scout jackknife as it bangs against the crossbar of the luggage rack? I thought not.
   That's why when we found ourselves over a particularly noisy creek we just had to share. So turn your speakers up, crack open a Swan and imagine yourself in the...

Kimberley at Midnight
(Kev's Mom: just like the rest of our .mpg links, you won't be able to hear it until you download Quicktime or Media Player or something. Ask Danny.)


"He's skirted the shitumen!"
- Aimee.
Day 108: Feet of Strength
Distance Travelled: 37.6km Temperature: 45
Time on Trikes: 5.5h Water Left: 9.0L
Terrain: Wicked Wind
End Location: Drainage Ditch
so close, and yet...
Remember last Friday when we arrived in Fitzroy Crossing? If you look at a map of the Great Northern Highway, you'll see between Kununurra and Broome there are two cities: Halls Creek and Fitzroy. Reaching Fitzroy flipped a switch in our brains to say "Hey! We're practically in Broome." Puppy puppy no no no.
   From Fitzroy, it was over 200 to the Derby Turnoff (that's today), where we've encountered the Willare Roadhouse. At this point, our supplies have dwindled down to nothing but plain tuna, oatmeal and licorice. Our minds are stuck on bad Eighties tunes (Who's bad?) and we don't have a clean pair of anything to call our own. Still we say, "We're at Willare! We're practically in Broome!" But it's still another 145 to another roadhouse, and then another 35 to Broome! We're practically in Broome! AUUGH!!
   The only way to deal with this breakdown of patience is to find a spot to cool off for the day, and luckily, Willare is more than happy to let us take a dip. This ought to chill our excitement a bit. But, can you blame us? I mean, we're practically in Broome!

"Huh. Here we are, at the gateway to Hell, eating a Go-Fruit snack."
- Kevin.
Day 109: They're Alive!
Distance Travelled: 59.6km Temperature: 40
Time on Trikes: 9.0h Water Left: 14L
Terrain: Hot & Nasty
End Location: Magical Mystery P
frankenpants
Kevin has a problem and that problem is his pants. No, sickos. The trouble is not in his pants. His pants themselves are what's causing him stress. Following the brave rebellion of his Tevas, his favourite (and only!) pants have decided to disintigrate.
   What started as a small rip a week ago has now become a social problem. He's taken to wearing his shirt waiter-style around his waist or alternately just refusing to stand up when company arrives. I say it's time for him to buy a new pair of pants. As he reaches for the needle and thread, he says he's never giving up on them... stay tuned.

"That would ROCK! I mean, you'd die, but what a great photo!"
- Aimee.
Day 110: The Wet Look
Distance Travelled: 50.0km Temperature: 34
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 14L
Terrain: Not very bad
End Location: In a puddle
told you so
Wow. You were right. Yup. No one should be out in this weather, least of all a couple of schmucks on bikes. We could drown out here or get washed away in a flash flood after being struck by lightning or even lightening and the least that could happen is we could catch pnemonia or dengue fever from all this wet or we could even freeze to death wouldn't that be something in the kimberley man we've got to get outta here.

But wait.

The only way to get out of here is to step out of this tent and pedal our way out and we can't step out of this tent and pedal our way out until this storm has passed and once the storm has passed all of this won't seem so bad especially if the weather is nice and cool to bike in so we'll be able to keep on going until the next storm hunts us down and we'll be thinking all this all over again and we'll say kudos to you again for being so right and dry.
  But then, kudos to us for keeping on, eh?

"Um, yeah? Could be because we're floating?"
- Aimee.
Day 111: Greased Lightning
Distance Travelled: 26.1km Temperature: 36
Time on Trikes: 3.0h Water Left: 8.0L
Terrain: Flat with nasty headwind
End Location: 13km from Broome
calm after the storm
Gnuph. Yesterday slowly turned into today, the rain slowly stopped and we dragged our storm-torn bodies to the Roebuck Roadhouse in time for their 6am opening and a free coffee for the driver. We warmed our souls with the coffee, a breakfast built for two, and the episode of Family Ties where Mallory feels that her Mom is spending too much time with her friends and Alex is addicted to Scrabble. Ahhh. Michael J. Fox is the best storm-remedy ever invented. Besides bacon and beans, of course.

"Do we get some kind of certificate for this? I'm going to write to John Howard."
- Kevin.
Day 112: End of the Road
Distance Travelled: 17.8km Temperature: 38
Time on Trikes: 2.5h Water Left: 9.5L
Terrain: Heavier Traffic
End Location: Town Beach
sweet victory!
What's the best part about getting to the other side of the continent? Is it the knowledge that we've accomplished something amazing, that few people will ever have the courage to do? Nope, that's not it. Is it the pride we feel when we think back to all those days we pushed harder and kept on going through adversity? Nope. That's not it either.
  It's not any of those regal self-proclaiming reasons like pride or accomplishment. The best part of making it to Broome is knowing that from this point on, we will never have to go any further North on this continent than we are right now. Every movement of our pedals after this point will be bringing us closer to the cooler air of the South. Now that's something to celebrate.

"I'll go to my grave shouting 'Those balls had eyes!'"
- Miche.
Day 113: Caught Fresh Today!
Distance Travelled: 6.1km Temperature: 39
Time on Trikes: 30m Water Left: 7.5L
Terrain: Only 1 roundabout
End Location: Clare & Kamahl's
fish fear me
There's always a fear that when you meet someone at a rest area and invite yourself to stay at their house that they'll end up being weirdos when you see them again.
   Luckily for us, Kamahl and Clare were just as nice the second time around, and this time they had fresh fish!

Yum!

  

"It's just not socially proper to go to someone's house with two bags of chips and not be prepared to give them any."
- Aimee.
cock-eyed bob: (n.) unexpected wild storm, like the sky suddenly throwing a temper tantrum.
"Did you get caught in that cock-eyed bob the other night?"


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© 2003 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. Underneath a blue suburban sky.