week 23...
in the wind

Nowhere Fast

I guess we are getting closer to a populated area. It's about friggin' time, too. I'm still waiting for the day when the Internet costs less than $5 for 15 minutes (and you wonder why we never write back to you).
signs of civilization...
Internet that costs less than a Roadhouse meal isn't the only sign we've seen that we're approaching Tourist Country again. It's amazing the silly things you forget about as you gradually leave the people behind.

The obvious signs are there: more choice in the ice cream freezer, more sedans than utes, the occasional sign that reads "Don't Drive Tired" or "Take a rest, Survive the Drive" to remind you that the distance may be longer than you think (the folks in the North already know that stuff). Anybody could guess those. It's the little things you'd never expect...

Top Five Unexpected Signs of Civilization...
  1. Petrol stations now accept petrol station credit cards.
  2. Not only are there McDonald's wrappers in the roadside rubbish, but the occasional Hungry Jacks and KFC, which proves the upcoming town is large enough to support more than one franchise.
  3. The rack of "Honk if you're Horny" bumper stickers.
  4. More of the traffic consists of "offroad" vehicles, most of which have never actually been offroad.
  5. Roadhouses are selling "Somebody who loves me went to PULLYAPANZUP ROADHOUSE and bought me this T-shirt", as though Pullyapanzup roadhouse considers themselves a destination.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Linda's medical training has taken her all over the world. She lived and worked in Africa for many years, and here in Australia for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Like most doctors we meet, she asked if we had any ailments or problems due to the cycling. Just mental ones!
Late last week, we met a guy named Robbie from BGC, who thoughtfully offered us the last of his cold water at the end of a very hot day. Today, he was chatting on the phone to his friend Jeff about us, and lo and behold, Jeff spotted us on the road. He gave us more cold water!
Maki & Keiko
In a country this big, it's amazing how often we see people more than once. Maki (sitting on Kev's bike) first met up with us way back in Victoria River, Northern Territory. Now she's ditched the other three and found a new travel pal, Keiko. See you again soon!
Lew & Lorna
Lorna, a Kiwi, is visiting her son Lewis, who lives in Perth. She's only got a few days here in Oz, so Lewis decided to take her on a little car trip... about 3000km worth! Lorna's country isn't nearly that big, but she's walked from the bottom of South Island to the top of North. Took her three months! And she's over 70!
Mavis, Mervin & Mum
The best thing about approaching populated areas? People go home by Sunday, and they usually have a bag of leftover food! Mavis was happy to pass on oranges and grapes and juice and water and plenty of support for a couple of weary adventurers.
Bernie, Nole & Roger
Who would have thought that the closer we get to Perth, the scarcer the water would become? Thank goodness for truckies! These three boys from Patience Trucking Company always carry 50-60 tasty litres on board, which saved our bacon at the Billabong!

What is this ghastly device?

* In case you haven't figured it out, this is a contest. As always, the most creative answer wins, though the prize is merely our admiration and the possibility of your name displayed prominently on a future page of the website, unless of course we're near a cheap souvenier shop AND a post office, which is rare.
wally's amazin' facts!
The Westernmost mainland point in Australia is called Steep Point, almost due West of the Overlander Roadhouse. If you take the road to Monkey Mia, which, sadly, contains no monkeys, but turn off and go 150km down a dirt road, you'll be there! Hey, nobody said it would be easy.

This Week's Amazin' Fact: One of the reasons the three of us decided to go anti-clockwise around this country (that's counterclockwise to you North Americans) is the wind! Eventually, when we travel from Perth to Adelaide, the wind should be behind us the whole way there. Even in a car, you'd use almost twice the petrol going west than going east! That was smart thinking! Unfortunately, nobody told us that the winds on the West Coast always blow to the North! It's been pushing us backwards since Broome, and will be all the way to Perth! Bugger!

We'll be old by the time we get out of here, but not as old as the oldest form of living organism. The question is, what, and where, is said organism?

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 357kmDistance since Day 1: 7577km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 156: Another Sign of Civilization
Distance Travelled: 41.4km Temperature: 41
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 7.0L
Terrain: Windy
End Location: Halfway to Wooramel
thicker than water
No water for 423 kilometers? Oooh, I'm so scared. Hey, shouldn't that mean that people travelling north should see a sign that says:

Limited Water
Next 7,000 km
Good Luck.

"Great, we take precedence over garbage."
- Aimee.
Day 157: Biting the hand that feeds them
Distance Travelled: 62.2km Temperature: 41
Time on Trikes: 10h Water Left: 14L
Terrain: Windy
End Location: Wahroonga
dallyn's worst nightmare
When it comes right down to the nitty gritty (and we've said this before, but what the hell): it's not the heat; it's not the humidity; it's not the isolation; it's not the greasy bore water; it's the bloody flies. These miniature spawns of Satan don't bite, they just crawl and suck any dribble of moisture they can find on your body. If they can't find moisture, they just hang out in your eyes until you open your mouth or sweat. We can learn a lot from the patience of a fly. Or we can be driven stark raving mad by the grossness of it all. The choice is yours.
  Kevin has learned, however, that he's more comfortable with 90-100 flies on him than with one single, independent, persistant pest, especially since he shaved his beard. Before Carnarvon, they'd crawl on his beard and he wouldn't feel a thing; now, he keeps thinking something's penetrated his outer defence. Don't ask me how he can sleep like that with a hundred buggers. I couldn't. He's weird.
Kevin: "That fly just fly right up to your face and said 'Whatcha eating? Can I have some?'"
Aimee: "Yeah! Just like Colin!"
Day 158: Crazy about MILK!
Distance Travelled: 57.2km Temperature: 44
Time on Trikes: 9.0h Water Left: 17L
Terrain: Windy
End Location: Halfway to Overlander
new and improved!
Since we're on the subject of signs this week, we should mention our favourite sign of all (besides one that reads "Free Roast Beef!", which we've still never actually seen, but are sure must exist somewhere in theory). Our favourite sign is the one that states:

Under New Management

What does this mean? We may have mentioned it way back on the Stuart Highway, but we might as well pound it into you so you remember. Under New Management usually means that the place you're stopping at used to be a rat-infested heck-hole, not worth the blink it would take to avoid looking at it at 110km/h. Used to be. Now, there's a new owner who is trying really really hard to shape the joint into something wonderful, and has to overcompensate greatly for the poor quality of the former owners and operators. Thus, it'll be cheap, clean and friendly. As was the Wooramel Roadhouse. Stop in and say hi!

"Haha! Your money is both of ours but my money is OURS! I mean MINE!"
- Aimee.
Day 159: Just Say OV!
Distance Travelled: 43.0km Temperature: 48
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 13L
Terrain: Windy
End Location: Overlander
lesson learned #476
Just because you've had one hundred and fifty-eight days of forty degree weather doesn't mean that you're immune to heatstroke on day one hundred and fifty-nine. It's our own fault for being over-eager beavers and biking through the day to get to the Overlander Roadhouse. Rule of the wild: if you feel drunk, dizzy and disoriented whenever you change the altitude of your head, find the nearest bench, drink and power outlet and plunk yourself down until the feeling goes away (or until dark, whichever comes first). We're just lucky ducks that the camping is free and they've got the best Burgers With The Lot this side of the Northern Territory.

"I'm getting tired of slapping myself in the face."
- Kevin.
Day 160: Swim At Your Own Risk
Distance Travelled: 32.3km Temperature: 46
Time on Trikes: 5.5h Water Left: 10L
Terrain: Windy
End Location: Halfway to Billabong
tie me ningaloo down?
Since we're hangin' at the Overlander for another day, the temperature being 48 friggin' degrees and all, we figure we should raise a flag about Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef, the local World Heritage Site, and the West's answer to the Great Barrier... soon to be exploited!
   Yes, Ningaloo Reef is in trouble! Off the coast of Western Australia lies the greatest untouched reef in the world. Filled with mantas, turtles and more amazing fish than we'd ever be able to name, this reef is amazing (so we've heard, though we regretfully never made it out there on the bikes). But, like all things of beauty, The Man wants to build a gigantor resort development that no doubt will ruin the place. That does so not rock!

So do your part by petitioning at

Never heard of Ningaloo Reef? Write in anyway. Do it for the turtles.

"Tell her to take it back for a refund and send the money to us, where we will use it for more important things, like food and water and shelter."
- Kevin.
Day 161: No More Cashier's Dirty Looks!
Distance Travelled: 37.7km Temperature: 37
Time on Trikes: 5.0h Water Left: 7.5L
Terrain: Not as windy
End Location: NR160
aim & kev's last stand
That's it. We're finished. D-O-N-E. Never again will we have a choice of Burger with Soggy Salad or Special Hot Dog, overpriced Coke or outdated milk. Today we say goodbye to the cruddy toilets that point us to 'Shielas' or 'Blokes'. Today we say goodbye to the busloads of tourists that all eat ice cream and then get back on their air conditioned buses, taking photos of adventurous-us along with them. We'll wave a fond farewell to cautiously asking for water when we know it can't be spared.
  Because, you see, today is the day that we hit the LAST ROADHOUSE BEFORE PERTH. Every other dot on my map from here on is a TOWN! I feel like I've just written my last exam before summer break. Ahhhhhh.
Aimee: "Darn! Shoulda got some Milo!"
Kevin: "Darn! Shoulda taken the bus around Australia!"
Day 162: Shade!
Distance Travelled: 82.9km Temperature: 34
Time on Trikes: 11h Water Left: 16L
Terrain: No wind, but big hills
End Location: Kalbarri Turnoff
geez, geez, look at da treez!
Holy Frickin' Frack! A tree! An actual, honest-to-goodness, taller-than-us, could-be-made-into-paper-or-a-telephone-pole TREE! Alert the media, call in the marines. This is the first tree we've seen since the Kimberley! We innocently rounded a corner today and, God Bless Australia, there were trees! Fields of trees. Trees lining the road, shading our path. Trees wherever we look. I think we're in love.

"Something with sugar, hmm... okay, your choices are: one Butter Menthol, or drinking maple syrup."
- Kevin.
the lot: (sl.) the works, preceded by "hamburger with". In North America, 'the works' usually only consists of pickles, onions, and maybe some special sauce. 'The Lot', however, can have carrot, cabbage, beetroot, egg, bacon, pineapple... you name it.

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© 2003 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. That oughta blow ya hair back.