week 3...
pie fighters

Whitsundays by Sunday

"Dah dla dat da!" says Kevin, as we crest our 1000th kilometre. Only 14 or 15 more of these to go! Now that's something to sing about.
magpie magnets...
The worst a crow does is wake you up early on a Saturday morning. Too many geese just end up leaving too many "deposits" on playgrounds and public parks. And the biggest threat you'll ever get from a seagull is if you were dumb enough to park at the marina and throw Cheetos on the hood of your car.

Canada's got its crows, seagulls, geese and pigeons (hell, everyone's got pigeons). The average Canadian would look at a magpie and say, "Pft. So what? He looks like a crow," and he'd be right; he looks like a crow. Maybe a crow in a tuxedo. But if you're too careless, and too slow, the last sound you'll ever hear is "SPANG!"

You see, pies are apt to swoop during nesting season. Canadian birds don't do this, which is why it came as such a surprise when Aimee first said, "Hey look, there's a magpie followi-- AUGH! Duck, Kevin, duck!"

Since then, we've added the word "alert" to our tandem-trike vernacular. Once Aimee shouts "Alert!", we start pitching and rolling faster than Snoopy's doghouse, in the fleeting hope of losing the Black & White Baron before getting spanged.

Don't believe us? We dressed Wally up as a magpie and sent him behind enemy lines, and he came back with this...
how to swoop a cyclist (a magpie's guide)
1. Hide in the tall grass on the side of the highway until a potential egg-thief approaches. You'll recognize an egg-thief because he's moving slower than the cars and closer to the road's edge, looking for YOUR EGGS.
2. Once you've spotted one, retreat to a high point to observe.
3. Continue to monitor his direction. Don't let his nonchalant attitude fool you; he may not seem interested in your eggs, but he knows they're there, and he'll be back for them.
4. Strike! Dive from your vantage point in a low arc. Do not flap your wings or make noise; it will only make the egg-thief hungrier for YOUR BABIES.
5. SPANG! Ricochet off the head of the unsuspecting bastard! He'll think twice before messing with you again!
Byrne Baby!
Established: 1932
Hours:
8:00am - 1:45pm
Bestseller:
Traditional Meat
Pies Eaten Per Day:
900 - 1000
Pies Eaten By Rhondell Per Day:
None, She's on the Atkins Diet.

Thanks for the
new shirts!
meet the pie lady
There are two types of pies in Australia: magpies and meatpies. Rhondell McHugh, owner of Byrne's Pie Factory in Mackay, makes the good kind.

How did you get into the business of making pies? It was my Grandmother's family business. I took it over when my dad passed away five years ago. I'm a third generation pie girl.

Has the pie industry changed a lot since the 30's? Since Maccas and KFC came along, we've been selling less pies. Before then, we were the only fast-food stop for people around here.

What about the flavours? We've added a few new ones, like the Pepper Steak and Tomato & Onion. But nothing beats the good old fashioned meat pie and mushy peas.

Do a lot of people order the mushy peas? That's something we haven't tried yet. Most men around here would consider their meat pie 'naked' without the mushy peas. But I like them with the peas and black sauce.

What's the secret to a good pie? The pastry should be flaky, not dry or hard. There's a family technique to making the pies that I think I'll keep in the family.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Ron
Owner of the Sarina Sports & Pet Centre (located across the street from the Giant Cane Toad), Ron's the man with all the answers. Kev's derailer twanked out in the 20km South of Sarina, and Ron twinked it back into shape using only a Philips screwdriver, his hands, and some good old fashioned tough love. Thanks Ron!
Alko & Maarten
What did we tell you... the Dutch love to travel. Is it because their own country is so small and flat? Is it because the Dutch drink so much coffee that they can't stay in one place for too long? Or is it because they just love to meet people? The answer is D. All of the Above.
Jordan & Shannon
Jordan and Shannon are from Kuttabul. Don't bother checking on a map; you probably won't find it. One thing we learned about Kuttabul, people love to yell out of their car windows at you. At least these two had the decency to stop for a chat, and give us directions to the next rest areas. Nice guys!
Brett & Amanda
After our brief stint of fame on the Mackay Local Channel 7 News, these two passed us on the highway on the way to Airlie Beach. They saw us on the highway during their drive up, and spotted us again on the way home. This time, they gave us everything they had left in their cooler. Even beer!
wally's amazin' facts!
In the good ol' days, the main form of transportation in the outback was... the bicycle! Yes it was! The best thing about a bike is that it doesn't require food, unlike a crummy horse!

This week's Amazin' Fact: Australia holds the market on ants. They've got heaps. Big ones, little ones, red ones, black ones... but there's something interesting about the green ones... Apparently, if you're starving in Australia, and there isn't a petrol station nearby, you can bite the bum off a green ant! They taste sweet!

Yummers! Now here's something to think about... How do you stop a magpie from swooping you? This is Wally W. Wombat, signing off.

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
who's your daddy?
Hey, remember this contest? It was way back on
Aussie Fathers' Day, three weeks before we started cycling, and we forgot all about answering it! If you're still curious, let's ask the babies... Qui est ton papa?


Noam says:
Michael's my daddy!

Andie says:
Mike's my daddy!

Matt says:
Dean's my daddy!



Sadly, C.B. is not yet a daddy, but he has a fatherly enough face to fool most of you!

The winner of Who's Your Daddy goes by the cryptic title of Astroboy, who lives in Canberra, Australia... maybe it's John Howard himself! Congratulations, Astroboy! As the song confirms, you truly are brave and gentle and wise!

By the way, that Two Truths and a Lie contest is still up for grabs. The closest answer we got was from Tom's dad, and he only got 4 out of 5!
Go take another stab at it!
Distance this week: 285kmDistance since Day 1: 1225km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 16: Sunny delite
Distance Travelled: 70.1km Temperature: 30
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 6.0L
Terrain: Flat, but slow
End Location: Sarina Caltex
the magic words
Today was a great day. We knew it would be the moment we saw the handpainted sign for "free showers, 17km ahead." The kilometres melted away until we finally saw the Ampol Roadhouse in the distance. The Wonderful, Beautiful Ampol! Our first water supply in four days (with the exception of Paul). It was the best excuse we've ever had for not doing the dishes.
   No one has enjoyed showering at a gas station more than we did today. We found out that Kevin's sandal-tan really isn't so much of a sandal-tan, but a grime-stencil. And we found our that Aimee's hair is actually black, not grey. Most of it, anyway. We left behind enough layers of sunscreen, grit and slime for the Caltex to open a new pump labeled Eau de Bruce Highway.
   Never mind that within another three kilometers we were stinky and sweaty again. For those few brief moments, we were clean again.

"Don't look now, but I think that nipple is following us."
- Aimee.
Day 17: CROAK!!!
Distance Travelled: 50.4km Temperature: 26
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 6.5L
Terrain: Flat, bad wind
End Location: Mackay Big4
warts and all
We thought when we left the United States, we'd be leaving behind all the cheesy "big things." We definitely underestimated the human spirit and love for capitalistic tourist attractions. Look at the start of our trip: the Big Pineapple. It's big, it's attached to a gift shop and it's so well done that my nephew thought it was real and they were growing genetically monstorous pineapples in Australia. Real care, love and thought went into creating the Big Pineapple. Probably rightly so, since it's such a yummy fruit. Much like, say, a giant apple, orange, banana, or even mango.
   One must wonder that if they do such a good job on their tasty "big things", what do they do when dedicating a sculpture to one of the most hated (and inedible) creatures in the country: the cane toad?
   Apparently, they spend as little cash as possible creating a hideous copper (tin? bronze? papier mache?) sludgy-looking re-creation, then not advertise it on the way into town. Nowhere did we see a sign: "See the amazing Giant Cane Toad of Sarina!" Why commission something to be built, then hide it? Well, to put it bluntly, it's damn ugly. Probably the best P.R. move the town ever did.
Aimee: "Did you put on deodorant today?"
Kevin: "Why?"
Day 18: To Die For
Distance Travelled: 44.0km Temperature: 28
Time on Trikes: 4.0h Water Left: 5.5L
Terrain: Hilly out of MK
End Location: Palm Creek R/A
cirque de media
Last week: a rest area circus. This week: a media circus.
   We're starting to feel a bit like celebrities today. A little bird let it slip to the Mackay media that we were pedalling our way through town and wouldn't it be great for Channel Seven and the Daily Mercury to stop by our campground for a few interviews?
   It was our first real taste of "multi-media" attention in a city, and we loved every minute of it. We posed for the cameras, we cycled around the block about twenty times for the cameraman, we re-did "grabs," we made the television crew wait while we completed our newspaper interview. We tried to appear even more intelligent and attractive than we already are. And we succeeded, of course.

"Oh yeah, you're almost there, just over this mountain and down the next mountain."
- Jordan.
Day 19: Paparazzi
Distance Travelled: 83.3km Temperature: 28
Time on Trikes: 9.0h Water Left: 6.5L
Terrain: Long ups, Long downs
End Location: Goorganga Ck
fame, fortune and free food
We were riding up one of those deceptively steep slopes today and we saw a van parked at the top. Several people were clamouring around on the roadside hills. "Those people aren't waiting for us, are they?" I cautiously asked Kevin. "Don't be ridiculous. We're not that famous." he replied.
   Hah. They were waiting for us. They weren't the first and the wouldn't be the last of today. Our spot on Channel Seven last night has made us "road heros" today! The Olivier family gave us strawberries, a nice chat and took enough photos to fill two vacation albums.
   Actually, the nicest bloke we met today was someone who hadn't seen us on the news. He stopped for a chat once, then stopped again to offer us a cuppa and some topographical maps of the road ahead. His name was Keith, a cane/cattle farmer in the area. A nicer guy you would not be able to find. The fact that he went so out of his way to make the maps for us and catch up with us twice warms our heart. We are feeling loved by Australia! What a country!

"Look at those people running while sitting down."
- Cane farmer on UHF 38.
Day 20: Mad, I tell you, MAD!
Distance Travelled: 30.5km Temperature: 30
Time on Trikes: 3.0h Water Left: 3.5L
Terrain: Easy Stuff
End Location: Airlie Big4
mad money
Typically, we live in the Land of You Don't Have a Choice. This means that there are no special treats, no splurge purchases, no nuthin'! We're on a strict food budget of $40 per week, and an even stricter diet of tuna, couscous, dried fruits and more couscous. But today we decided to go all out and celebrate making it to Airlie Beach (nearly every day, there is some reason to celebrate, but usually those celebrations consist of us having two tunas for dinner, instead of just one). So Kev turns to me and says, "Hey Aim, when we get to Airlie Beach, let's each have ten bucks to buy whatever we want! Whee!"
   Holy Frickin' Frack! I gave that idea the executive stamp and the next few hours we were like kids at the Ekka with an advance on their allowance. We spent nearly two hours talking about how we would each spend our ten dollars. This is not sad, in case you're feeling sorry for us. It's about appreciating the little things.
   Here's how we thought we'd spend our money... I immediately knew I'd spend at least $2 on a bag of salt and vinegar chips. That's a no-brainer. Kev immediately topped his list with a bag of gummies. Another no-brainer. Once our favourites were out of the way, we got creative. Kev considered a Coca Cola, I considered a coffee. Both were tossed out because we can always drink more water - liquid doesn't seem a good value for our money. I came up with the brainstorm of a block of my favourite cheese - Brie. I may have blown the rest of my money on a magazine, but I had just picked up a couple off the side of the highway this morning so there was no need. Thinking about how we were going to spend the money was almost as good as actually spending it!

Note from the Future: Despite our dreams, we left Airlie Beach with Aimee having spent $6.50 (chips and brie) and Kev having spent a mere $3.50 (all on lollies). Now that's sad.

"Prisoners eat better than us."
- Aimee.
Day 21: Hostel Environment
Distance Travelled: 6.0km Temperature: 30
Time on Trikes: 1.0h Water Left: 3.5L
Terrain: Super hills
End Location: Koala's Hostel
backpackers vs. travellers
Only when we stay in youth hostels do we realize how different from the rest of the young travelling world we really are. They worry about how to keep their clothes from wrinkling; we worry about whether a second shirt is too much baggage. They're angry when they have to wake up at 10am to check out; we're angry if we wake up later than 5:30am, since we'll miss the early morning cool weather. Their funniest travel stories usually end with passing out or vomitting; ours... do not.
   Ah well, it's free.

"My legs are just getting to the point of saying, 'So, this is going to be a regular thing, is it?'"
- Aimee's Legs.
Day 22: Real Time
no escape from reality...
Back in Cairns, we booked a bus package that included 15 hostels, unlimited stops from Cairns to Sydney, a Fraser Island 4x4 Safari and a 3-day Whitsundays Cruise. We did Fraser Island on our way down the coast, but saved the cruise for the way back up, figuring we'd really and truly appreciate it after three weeks on our bikes.
   Did we enjoy ourselves? You'll have to tune in next week to find out the full scoop... same bat time, same bat channel!

"I'm finding it very difficult to eat with knife & fork."
- Kim (from Korea).
dead horse: (sl.) We've mentioned it a few times in the past, but never clarified it: dead horse is simply tomato sauce (ketchup to you Americans, or catsup, if you prefer the weird spelling).
The mushy peas just ain't enough for me pie. Pass the dead horse!


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You Go gang. Actually I am having tuna curry for supper. No Worry. Spin on, mates.
- Majmike, Parts Unknown

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