week 2...
livin' on the edge

Miriam Vale to Carmila

Meet Ken, the Banana Man. You want a banana, Ken's got a banana; some say Ken's got the best bananas in the banana business. Yum!

Ken's a dinkum bloke. Every day, sometimes a couple times a day, Ken drives out to the Banana Van, and hangs a few more banana sacks for the banana munchers of North Queensland. And does he sit there with a shotgun to guard his stash? No! There's an Honesty Box inside the truck... take some bananas, leave two dollars in the little box.

What a great guy! Nothing like this next chap though...
the jackass report
This man is a jackass. Oh, he may look like an expert fisherman on the outside, and he may even have a second career. But whatever he does in his spare time, first and foremost, he's a jackass.

We've encountered many a jackass on this trip. Some just in passing, others we've spent ample (too much) time having a jackass chat with, but this one? This is the jackassest jackass we've met to date.

"Come on," you say, "sure he looks a little slow, but surely he can't be as bad as you say. What makes a jackass a jackass?"

It's very simple to define a jackass. A jackass is anyone who finds joy in discouragement. A jackass is anyone who, rather than saying, "Good on ya!" says, "What a bloody stupid idea." A jackass would like to be there on the day you fail. Or, if you do in some small glimmer of a chance succeed, God forbid, a jackass would like to be at the finish line just to say, "I still think it was stupid."

Top Five Things the Jackass will Warn You About*
1. The heat
2. Lack of Water
3. Emptiness
4. Drugged truckies
5. "Centre people"

*for starters. If this doesn't work, he'll surely find something else.
The jackass pictured above was particularily adamant about our failure. "When I see a cyclist on the road, I just think 'Dead Man Riding'," he told us. "And you're going North? Turn around, that's all I gotta say." But that wasn't all he had to say at all. He actually talked and talked for another 45 minutes about more reasons why we shouldn't have even bothered leaving the house that morning.

We didn't even learn his name. To us, he, and anyone else who has nothing encouraging to say, will always be known as The Jackass. Enjoy your fish, Jackass. Enjoy your fish.
snappy answers to stupid comments...
Just about every jackass we've met can be assessed as a jackass by his first few comments. Sometimes all it takes is a good look at the trikes, but for others, they don't start trashing our trip until they know we're going all the way around. One thing's for certain: they always think they're the first to let you know how dumb you are.

But we've heard them all before. What we need from you are some clever answers to some of these jackass comments. If you've got a zinger, let us know and we'll put it into practice. Let em' have it!

Jackass: Hey, she's not pedalling in the back!
Jackass: Did you even look at a map before you started?
Jackass: You're going North? Aw, turn around, mate.
Jackass: It'll be easier going South 'cause it's all downhill.
Jackass: Don't drive at night, the truckies'll think you're a roo with taillights.
Jackass: Better you than me.
Jackass: You should sell the bikes and buy a train ticket!
Jackass: Good luck... you're gonna need it.

Give us your email, so we can credit you with your zinger on the site...
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Don & Pam
We met this happy go lucky couple at Calliope River Rest Area, a very beautiful, very free camping area near Gladstone, Qld. They shared a their barramundi with us, making Tuesday's dinner the best meal we'd had in weeks! For another fine meal, Pam suggests road-roo. I don't think we're that hungry yet. See you in Ocean Grove!
Terry & Ed
Back on Day 1, we received a cryptic message from a man in a trailer park: Go to the Raglan Tavern, and ask the man behind the counter for "a glass of water and two straws". We did exactly that, and met Terry and Ed, owner and son of the Tavern, a couple of funny guys. What did our cryptic message get us? A glass of water and two straws.
The Driver Revivers
This is Peter, Fred, Agnes and Leonie, members of the North Mackay Lions Club, and savers of lives. At the Waverly Creek Rest Area they were running the coffee and snack station, the perfect break for a hard-drivin' truckie or a couple of hard-ridin' Canadian cyclists. Note: don't spell Agnes with a 'u': she was almost arrested because of it once.
Anyone who gives us water we consider a friend. Anyone who gives us beer is a good friend. Anyone with a unicycle in his combi-van is the best a friend can get. Paul had all three! He also had juggling clubs, a digeridoo, heaps of bananas, and so many other wonderful things. His van was practically the Tickle Trunk! Mr. Dressup would be proud.
wally's amazin' facts!
Did you think about how to get rid of sandfly bites? Sandfly "bites" aren't really bites at all... it's actually pee! The sandfly pee causes the sting, which spreads when scratched. The solution? Soapy water.

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Did you know that you are legally allowed to camp on any town showground in Queensland? It's the law! Just make sure there's no Early Bird's Rodeo scheduled for the next morning. Ouch!

Until next week, ask yourself this: Before cars or camels, what was the most common form of transportation in the outback? Toodlee doo!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 461kmDistance since Day 1: 940km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 9: Paving the Way to Refreshment
Distance Travelled: 38.0km Temperature: 27
Time on Trikes: 4.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Hilly, downish
End Location: Miriam Vale Stinky Park
strong truckie bones
The preliminary results are in: East Queensland transport drivers are in no danger of developing osteoporosis.
  When you drive as slowly as we do, you tend to keep a mental inventory of roadside rubbish. It's mostly petrol station snacks, quick bites, fast food wrappers, and the occasional article of clothing (75% of the time, underpants). The remnants of truckies past frequently taunt us by leaving half-full bottles (to them, I gather, half-empty) of spring water, Coke, and lemonade. They taunt us further with half-full bottles that look like lemonade at first, but are actually pee.
  But the predominant snack drink of the Queensland traveller is, would you believe... milk? Flavoured milk, more precisely. Heaps and heaps of Breaka, Big M, Chill and especially Paul's Ice Break line the highways of the Sunshine Coast. It's good to know our truckies are getting the calcium they need.

"Smells like poopies."
- Kid in campground.
Day 10: Roadside Rendezvous
Distance Travelled: 69.4km Temperature: 28
Time on Trikes: 6.0h Water Left: 4.0L
Terrain: Easy stuff
End Location: Calliope River Rest Area
celebrity sighting!
We've been waiting for this day for a long time. Since the beginning of the American roadtrip, we've been picturing a day in our minds, where a car comes to a screeching halt on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere, people jump out with cameras in hand, and say, "Are you Kevin and Aimee?" A day like that would mark the beginning of our lives as self-made, online celebrities.   Today, it finally happened. Fiona and Stella, the two lovely ladies pictured right, swung by us on the highway, waving excitedly, then pulled into a driveway shortly up the road. As it turns out, they work in the office next to Billy Gusset, father of Justin Gusset, who is the hotshot fixit dude at Frank's Cycles who tuned us up in Brisbane just days before we headed out on this adventure.
  Technically, I suppose that makes them a friend of a dad of a friend, but since we didn't know them and they knew us, isn't that practically the definition of a celebrity? How soon before someone snaps a candid photo of Aimee at a Kennedy Compound shindig? How soon before cool kids everywhere are wearing a grubby, smelly Tony's T-shirt to school, since that's what I wear almost every day? How soon (gulp) before our 15 minutes of fame are up, and we go the way of Kirk Cameron, Tiffany, Cabbage Patch Kids and He-Man? Only time will tell.

"You could die tomorrow and then all the jackasses of the world can say at the same time, 'well, at least I was smart enough not to leave my house today.'"
- Kevin.
Day 11: Wobbly Wallaby
Distance Travelled: 111.1km Temperature: 26
Time on Trikes: 10.5h Water Left: 7.5L
Terrain: Flat, nice ride
End Location: Rocky Big4
doing what we can
We came across an injured wallaby today. The poor little guy had come a little too close to the road that morning, and had been clipped by a car. At first it looked like he only had a small cut on the side of his head, maybe just a mild concussion that made him forget how to hop, but on a closer inspection, we realized his leg was twisted pretty badly. He was in pretty rough shape.
  As far as we could determine, Australia is lacking in the way of predators, especially for something wallaby-sized. Given the chance, maybe this little guy future could turn out all right. We left him a few pieces of bread, soaked the bread down with water, and gave him a little cup of water on the side. He accepted it thankfully, we bid him adieu, and promised to ask at an animal hospital in the next town.
  The next town wasn't much more than a pub and a general store. We asked at the store if there was something they could do for him. With all the downhome country charm he could muster, he replied, "Bash 'im over the head wiff a rock; that's how we do fings 'round 'ere." We can only hope that our nursing methods did the wallaby more good than his suggestion. Good luck, little guy! Don't give up the fight!

"If we found out he was related to your neighbours it wouldn't surprise me."
- Aimee.
Day 12: Rocky Road
Distance Travelled: 0.4km Temperature: 27
Time on Trikes: 5m Water Left: 4.0L
Terrain: One speedbump
End Location: Rocky Big4
a day of rest
If you didn't happen to notice the distance we covered yesterday, go back and look now. 111.1 km is a big day for a couple of slowpokes like us... our biggest day yet, actually! (For those of you who haven't entered the Bikeabout Betting Pool yet, there's a benchmark for you for question 7.)
  Rockhampton (also question 9) is located right on the Tropic of Capricorn, and when you're heading for the equator, you know it ain't gettin' any cooler. We took a day's rest at the Rocky Big 4 Caravan Park, resting, relaxing, swimming, sleeping, and of course, working on the website. Sigh. For us, a day off usually means the computer's on.

"$8.00? How about giving us the nationwide internet cyclist discount?"
- Kevin.
Day 13: As Good As Anywhere
Distance Travelled: 79.5km Temperature: 26
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 6.5L
Terrain: Slight incline
End Location: Near Kunwarara
whenever, wherever
On a bike, you can't always make it to the next town. Sometimes you can barely make it to the end of the next kilometer. This means that very quickly we've had to find "alternative" sleeping spots.
   The first few times you decide to roadside camp, you may be a bit outside of your comfort zone. With the same level of quality that you've come to expect from beimers.com, we're compiling a handy starter's guide to sleeping outdoors. Check this spot in a few days for the full scoop!

"Gimme a pack of Peter Jackson Extra Mild and a... and a... lighter.
I mean, a sausage roll."
- Petrol Station Patron.
Day 14: If you can't beat him...
Distance Travelled: 89.8km Temperature: 26
Time on Trikes: 9.5h Water Left: 7.5L
Terrain: Hilly morning, flat arvo
End Location: Waverly Creek
cirque de restarea
Typically, we create a bit of a hullabaloo when we pedal our Penninger quincycle into a popular camping area. Within microseconds of having pulled in, it's practically a press conference. Kev fields the questions, Aim sets up the tent. (Kev's more of a people person. I'm not necessarily a tent person, but I make do.) You can imagine our surprise when we pulled into the Waverly Creek Rest Area to find that there was already a commotion going on - a commotion that had nothing to do with us!
  The Lions Club of North Mackay had set up a Driver Reviver program, a great little pseudo-cafe and snack bar to keep truckies & travellers awake. The Lions were offering anyone who stopped an assortment of wonderful goodies - coffee, tea, bikkies, cold water, cordial, even some corned ham if you happened to look pitiful enough (we did). All free of charge! It was a feast for kings. All we needed was a court jester...
   Then, Paul showed up. At first he looked like just an ordinary bloke - I mean, a nice bloke, since he did top up our water, and supply us with bananas and beer (I told you this was a great rest area). But it wasn't until we looked in the front seat of his combi-van that we realized he was exactly what this gong show of a rest area needed... He had a juggling set and a unicycle! The jester had arrived.
  For that other family of seven kids driving back from Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo during school holidays, the Waverly Creek Circus probably did them better than free coffee.

"How did I get stuck with these bloody cats?"
- Lorry Ward.
Day 15: Tell the Hole Bunch!
Distance Travelled: 73.0km Temperature: 31
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 5.0L
Terrain: Slow Uphill
End Location: Carmila Beach
fruitstand by me
There's nothing better than a roadside banana stand to make you feel like you're in the tropics. If it were entirely up to me (wait until I'm the one steering, and then it will be...) I'd stop at each and every fruit stand this side of the black stump. Heck, I'd buy whatever a farmer was selling if he wrote a homemade sign and put it on a table beside the road. Doesn't really matter what it is, it could be apples, turnips, pizza, camels, or stepladders. "Hey Kev!" I'd say, "There's a roadside stand! Hey farmer, are those pizzas fresh?"
  "Sure thing, sweetpea. Picked 'em myself this morning. And they're seedless!"   "Gimme two then. But not too ripe, we'll probably eat one today and the other tomorrow. That one's good, it's still a little green." And off we'd go, onto the sunset, with a bag of fresh-picked pizza. Best deal in the state!

"Daddy put water in the fuel tank by mistake!"
- Chicken.
go troppo: (sl.) snap, lose it, go psycho from the crazy North heat.
"I heard about these two guys in Kununura, one of 'em got up and fluffed in his mate's face and the other one went to his ute, pulled out his gun and blew the first bloke's head off. Went troppo, he did."

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We've got hate mail...
We received a angry letter not long after publishing this page, in direct response to the comments we made about jackasses. The letter stands as follows:
I wouldn't bother telling people about your website if I were you.....might find you will be getting more than bottles of 'truckies delight' thrown at you!!!

Are you trying to be funny? Satirical??? HA!!! Guess what....... your site STINKS!!

There are people out there that have lived and experienced the terrain and, in their own way, just want to give you some advice. Yes, you may hear it constantly and there may be SOME that go overboard, but you don't have to make everyone who thought they were helping feel like idiots.

I know a couple that spoke to you and thought they were helping out with some local advice. When they checked out your website, which I am assuming you gave them so they could see the jackass story and prove your point, they were extremely disappointed.

Basically, if you can't hack it GO HOME!!! We don't want you here. No wonder the truckies give you a hard time.

In short - take a good look in the mirror at the JACKASSEST OF JACKASS'!!!

Wonder if your sponsors want some feedback???

The letter was not signed, nor did it have a return address. Still, for complete clarity's sake, we would like to respond publicly to this letter to ensure that we are only offending the intended jackasses, and not helpful travellers.

It was never our intention to say that everyone who tells us it's too hot, or it's too dry, or it's too anything, is a jackass. Far from it. We frequently ask the locals and other travellers about their opinions of the North, especially since we are attempting something out of the ordinary, and they more we know, the better prepared we can be.

And yes, when you tell someone for the first time that you're crossing the outback by bicycle, the first response is usually, "Do you know how hot it is?" This doesn't make someone a jackass either.

If you re-read the jackass report (which we did again to ensure the correct message was being sent across), one should be see that we're not refering to the average word of concern or helpful tip. We love advice about the road ahead, and we're thankful for it in (almost) every occasion. Instead, we're referring to a person who simply won't let up until they've tried everything they have to break your spirits, and if they can't break you, will be sure to leave you with words of discouragement.

I can think of a solid three jackasses we've encountered since the trip began. One of them was at the Ampol petrol station between Rocky and Mackay, who began the conversation with a snarky "a smart person would put a motor on that," and ended it with "Enjoy the hills," without even a clue of what direction we were going. The second jackass was staying at the Koala's resort in Airlie Beach. And the third and most prominent jackass was the gentleman pictured above. You want the jackassest of jackasses? That was him.

And so, to the couple who referred you to our website, we're sorry to have offended them. And if anyone else thinks this was directed at them, after you may have said something about the heat or the lack of water, don't worry, it wasn't. We apologize if you thought it was.

However, we would like to add a few comments directly concerning the email above:
1. We have never had a problem with truckies, and as far as we know, they've never had a problem with us. Most give us a toot-toot on the horn, and we give them a wave in return. And by the way, we never said they were drugged; the jackass did.

2. The jackasses have nothing to do with whether or not we can "hack it". We're hacking it just fine. It's only the jackasses that think we can't.

3. We're assuming that by 'truckie's delight' you mean the bottles of pee. We can't say that we've every had any thrown at us (as I said, the truckies are rather friendly). Strangely enough, there's only one other person we've every met that's used the phrase 'truckie's delight'...

So, to the rest of you who have given us so much helpful advice, thanks, it is very much appreciated. And to the jackasses, keep it to yourself.

- Kevin & Aimee.

hey, firstly i'd like to say that you guys rock. it's good to see foreigners out there enjoying our beautiful yet dry country. i found out about you from my brother in law who is in the army and met you guys. so secondly as my own response to your jackass hate-mail. You Jackass!!! Anyone who will friggin spend apparently an hour trying to think of something cutting in response to something that has no effect on their life whatsoever and will probably forget about within two days is obvi o usly a bigger jackass than they have realised. i'm an aussie, so i know aussies, and believe me there are some Jackasses out there. we are a country full of wankers, i'm not vain i'll admit it, i'm a wanker at times "how about this heat?" Thirdly, i think you guys a damn hilarious, i've told almost everyone i know to visit your site, if they don't i'll have to use some charm or force call it what you will. i've got plently of numbers left and not enough ideas so i think that'll be it. Love ya stuff mate! See you on the road one day, when i get off my cushy air conditioned ass!!! (see its that jackass aussie thing.)
Lots of Love and best wishes.

- Laurel-Jane, Australia

Hi, you don't know me but I've been following your trip via the Thunder Bay Post. What a fantastic adventure. You guys should be very proud of the journey you're making. Not many people get to go to Australia, let alone treck around it on a bike. I however have spent a great deal of time there. I was pleased to see the picture of the games room at the Tropical Wanderer in Rockhampton. I actually used to live there. My girlfriend at the time was Sue Rixon, the daughter of the owners of the establishment. I hope that Noel and Kay treated you well. Hopefully you mentioned that you were from Thunder Bay, they would have gotten quite a kick out of that. Anyway, good luck on the rest of your journey. I know that the road from Rocky up to the Whitsundays is a beautiful trip. A little hot though. I actually melted the cylinder head of my car just as I reached Proserpine. Something in the range of 58 degrees that day. Good Luck

- Callum, Thunder Bay ON


In this week's edition of "As the Wheels Turn" you have a photo of Kev (at least I hope its Kevin) knackerd and sluffing by the roadside. The full frame version shows what looks like your flag on the ground. Its not just pretty cloth. It is the emblem of a sovereign nation the produces really cool people like you. Manners please. Flag up! Especially when you are flagging. We cubical drones can only share your adventure vicariously (& with a little Tony's on the Tuna Curry)so it is important to us that you show us, and the Aussies, Canada's best (Que the Mountie Chorus "...Oh Canada. . . ") Ride on, Gentleones. You ride for Adventure. You ride to Glory. Your ride and your reporting of it, is the second best thing about Friday.

I remain sincerely yours, in the expectation of your continued success, et ceteram, et ceteram et ceterae.

PS. How do you fans arrange delivery of light weight and/or high nutrition Christmas goodies to you when you will be somewhere (who knows where) out there? M

- MajMike, Parts Unknown
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© 2002 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. Faster than the speed of government.