week 31...
where the sidewalk ends

Walpole to Albany

Mmmmm... goodies. Better enjoy it while you can; you won't find goodies like artichoke hearts, Greek salad, sweet chilli sauce or sundried garlic cilantro tomatoes East of here for another 500km, and after that, not until the next state! On the Nullarbor Plain, you'd be hard pressed to find a half decent apple.
one for the road...
That's right. This is it. Last stop before the emptiness begins again.

Remember our joy back on Week 24, when we were dreaming about Geraldton? Oh, zounds! we'd say, what a wonderful life this could be, should we never see another place again, For my ship has come home to rest, and we lay dying on the deck.* We've been city hopping for six weeks now, and we're dangerously close to the end. Our toes are practically over the edge. Any closer, and we'd be swinging our arms and saying, "Whoa... whoa, WHOA! Whoa..." Now would be a terrible time for a Cha!

Holy Shamoley! This is our 8000th photo of the trip! Neat!
We have two choices: We could stay here at the Norfolk Sands forever and ever, maybe get a job with Trish while training for the Ironman with Ralph, or we could move on. Why not stay? It's not like we're raising money for anything. Let's be honest: cancer research will continue at its current pace, rain forests will bulldozed for housing developments, classrooms will remain overcrowded and we'll still lose the same amount of topsoil whether we continue cycling or not. I like it here. Maybe I won't go.

Aw... we can't let all of you guys down. You might end up thinking we're just a couple of do-nothing pikers who make promises we don't keep. "9000 kilometres? That's it? I contribute every day by sitting here my Aeron chair every day eating Chee-tos and reading your website, and you can't even be bothered to pedal a measly 6000 more? You stink!" That's what you'd say. And believe me, we'd be so embarrassed.

I suppose we've still got one more chance after this: Esperance. Pretty name, no? In French, it means hope. To us, it means hope for one more decent meal before we go back to plastic-wrapped, lamp-heated, mass-produced meat pies. Eep.

_________
* We actually never said any of this. Zounds? We don't say silly, befiggled words like that! Holy Frickin' Frack, where in the knibberty did we scrunkle that murp from? And the rest just sounds like a habdabbled bit of Oh Captain, my Captain! What an insult to literature.

meet ralph & trish
These two own the Norfolk Sands B&B. While the first B is very comfy, the second B is what makes the trip worthwhile. Even if you don't need a place to sleep, stop by Bay Merchants and chat with these two, and the conversation may sound a bit like this...
Kevin: Morning, Trish! How's business?
Trish: Whew! Busy. Really busy. Can't keep up.
Kevin: Where's Ralph today?
Trish: Ralph's out paddling this morning, so there's no one around to do the coffee. Mind you, not like he's that speedy when he's here. Always stopping to chat.
Kevin: Oh yeah, the kayak race. I thought that was yesterday.
Trish: Nope, today. Yesterday he swam 4km across the bay and ran back by the bike track, then went cycling for the rest of the afternoon.
Kevin: Just for fun? Yeesh.

Astrid, Good Kid:
Daughter #1: Astrid
Fav Singer: Bon Jovi
Fav Movie: Shrek
Achievement: State Triathlon team when 16
Little known fact: Once served Brad Pitt at the Hard Rock Cafe

16, Drama Queen:
Daughter #2: Sarah
Fav Singer: Jimmy Eat World
Fav Movie: Pretty Woman
Achievement: Can imitate anyone to a tee
Little known fact: Was fed Vegemite sandwiches under the table as a child.
Trish: Yep. He competes in just about everything... Triathlons, sextathlons, races, marathons... and usually wins. Here he comes now. I gotta keep moving anyway.
Kevin: Sorry to slow ya down. Hey Ralph! How'd ya go?
Ralph: Ah, boy, those young bucks showed me a thing or two. A couple of new contestants this year, one guy was a former olympic kayaking champ, and another guy who'd paddled from Australia to Antarctica, but WHOOSH, could they go!
Kevin: Gave you a run for your money did they?
Ralph: I'll say, boy, and the wind picked up on the way back so we were fighting currents, and waves... slowed me right down to a crawl. Boy, could they paddle, those guys.
Kevin: So how'd you do?
Ralph: Man, was it rough out there, I almost...
Kevin: I mean, did you place?
Ralph: Huh? Oh, yeah, I came first, but only because I jumped ahead right at the start. After that, everyone was going the same pace, I just had that lucky break at the start. Boy those other guys were good!
Trish: RALPH! COFFEE!
Ralph: Gotta go, Trish needs me. Talk to you soon.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Andrew & Sheila
On Tuesday night, we didn't quite make it all the way to Albany, but the Marshall family was more than happy to let us camp in their yard. Hope the kids are all better, and thanks for the corn!
Allen
"I'm not the boss" insisted Allen, owner of Allen's Cycles in Albany. Yet, when we told him what was going on with our bike, he was more than happy to bend a couple of rules for us, "so long as the boss doesn't find out. Thanks for the cable!
Lorna and Michael
They saw us in the paper a while back, then saw the bikes parked down the side of Bay Merchants, and decided they had to come in for a chat. Sorry we had to rush you out when the newspaper came! Nice to have met you!
Lorry and Rhianna
Our top story today in the Albany Advertiser: Kevin and Aimee! Another town, another photo shoot, and another article we left town without getting to see. Oh well, such in the life of a world traveller.
Kieran & Another Kid
We first met Jimmy (not pictured) at the racing club meeting on Thursday. Jimmy is a Scottish-Canadian-Australian guy with funny, enthusiastic kids (pictured). Shoulda brought my hockey stick!
Keith, Janet & Janet's Mum
Keith and Janet own the Beach House Luxury Lodge down in Middleton Beach. If only there was a spa in every room we stayed in on this trip. Ah, but then it would cease to be a luxury, wouldn't it?
wally's amazin' facts!
Last week, I believe I posed the question: Why do we celebrate Easter with eggs & bunnies? Well, kiddies, the catholic church used to mask pagan rituals by conveniently placing Christian holidays over top. Certain religious sects, at the start of spring (Northern Hemisphere, end of April) would worship Dionysus, the God of Fertility, with, shall we say, 'fertility-based' activities. Of course, when otherwise not engaged in said activities, they would decorate and celebrate with symbols of procreation: namely, rabbits and baby chicks. I would have suggested wombats, especially with my track record!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Bring on the wind! Sitting on the southwest coast of Australia, there's a whole lotta predictable wind patterns that pass through town. So much wind, in fact, that Albany has a Wind Farm. No, they don't grow wind there, but they do harvest it! 75% of Albany's electricity is powered by the nine or ten windmills on the edge of town. And you know what else? Each arm of those windmills is the same size as the wing of a 747 Jumbo Jet!

Now, if you're not too busy watching the footy game, take a moment to think about this: Why is the city of Albany significant to Anzac Day?

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 151kmDistance since Day 1: 9088km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 212: No Photo Available
Distance Travelled: 52.2km Temperature: 30
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 5.0L
Terrain: Ouch!
End Location: 35km from Denmark
swingers
When you go to Queensland (which, in Australian terms, has pretty much everything), they tell you you simply can't miss the Whitsundays. Been there. In Northern Territory (where there are significantly less people, places, things... less nouns in general) the top tourist spot is the Mataranka Thermal Pool. Done that. In Western Australia, everybody talks about the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. Crossed that one off today, too.
   Picture a forest of tingle trees, higher than a 12-storey building and wider than your car. Picture a series of platforms, each 10 metres higher than the one before, placed unobtrusively amongst the masses. Picture an architecturally-dodgy, aluminum-alloy inverted suspension bridge connecting each pair of platforms together. Picture hordes of tourists, at six bucks a head, all wandering along these suspension bridges, some swinging side to side like monkeys, others with acute cases of vertigo, and others still fighting their way against the tide like salmon to get off as soon as possible. Yes, the goal of the Treetop Walk is to give the common mortal man an overwheling sense of common mortal danger.
   I enjoyed the walk. Aimee slightly less so. That meant I had to carry everything, while Aimee tried to see how white she could make her knuckles. I think the highlight of her trip, besides the bridge-swinging, bow-legged marching teenagers, was the time she stopped to calm down, then realized she was standing in front of a memorial plaque 40 metres up.
   Usually I don't write so much. I wanted to paint you a picture, instead. See, it's just that our camera, after a day of over 75 photos of treetop titillation, decided to eat the rest of the disc. Yup. Lost all photos from today. As they say, buggah.

"Yes. The Ewok Village. That's exactly what I was expecting."
- Kevin.
Day 213: Gaga Dada-ist?
Distance Travelled: 65.7km Temperature: 31
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 6.0L
Terrain: Long slopes
End Location: Marshall's Farm, Albany
soon-to-be inductee
You'd think Oliver wouldn't be so surprised to see us again, but he was! Boing! We snuck up on our favourite Spanish pair in the town of Denmark today. It was a short meeting - they're off to find work in a winery, we're off to whine about work. We're just living perpendicular lives in so many ways.
   If we see Marta and Oliver just one more time, they'll be part of the coveted FIVE TIMERS CLUB! To become a part of this exclusive club, you've got to make your way onto the pages of beimers.com at least five times, either in person, or simply being referenced obscurely in the midst of a silly anecdote. You can do this by being a whiz at our contests, by following us around the world and popping up whenever we take a photo, or, sometimes we just like you so darn much that we use your photo every chance we get.

Can you recognize these official Five-Timers?
Email us
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"Hey, she's not pedalling! Haw haw."
- 70 year old dipshit drinking tea in a motorhome.
Day 214: The Sands of Time
Distance Travelled: 30.0km Temperature: 27
Time on Trikes: 4.0h Water Left: 2.0L
Terrain: Tough, but we were tired
End Location: Norfolk Sands B&B, Middleton
sincerely
I don't think we could ever thank the people of Australia enough who have taken care of us. Occasionally, when we arrive in a town, the local tourism bureau will have notified different residents and businesses about our arrival. More often then not, we will receive several offers of hospitality while we're in town. In Albany, we have the pleasure of being welcomed into two different, yet both amazing, Bed and Breakfasts: the Norfolk Sands and the Beach House at Bayside.
   The owners of these houses simply wanted to open their places to in their spirit and love of sport. For love of travel or love of sport they welcomed us.
   We've been welcomed into the homes of fellow cyclists, roadside strangers, expatriate Canadians, the list goes on. We've been offered hot showers on a cold rainy day and cold showers in the humid heat. We are no longer amazed at the warmth of this country, but I hope that we never take it for granted.
   That's why we wanted to say an extra special thank you to the people who have taken us in these past few weeks. It means everything to us and we feel like we've left a trail of new friends behind. Thank You. I think I'm feeling mushy tonight. Gosh.

"Red light... red liiiiight.... GREEN LIGHT!"
- Kevin.
Day 215: Bike Club for Men
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 23
End Location: Norfolk Sands
dream-like reality
It's 6:45am and there are twelve men in spandex around my table.
   Isn't this just like a dream I had once?
   No, no. That dream included Jeff Goldblum and that guy from Northern Exposure. That's right. This morning is something else entirely...
   This is breakfast after the weekly 40km bike ride for all the quickie cyclists in Albany. How'd we fare against such speedy competition? Very well, since we stayed in our cozy bed until they showed up for brekkie!

"She'll be right, mate. They all come out the back."
- Dry Aussie motorist.
Day 216: Green Monster
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 29
End Location: Norfolk Sands
is it anzac day already?
Hard to believe we've been here over a year, but when something as important as Anzac Day rolls around for a second time, you tend to sit up and take notice.
   Last year, the only three things we managed to grasp about Anzac Day were that (1) it had something to do with cookies, (2) there was only one Anzac left (not the cookie), and (3) you can't get tickets to the footy that day. This year, we were lucky enough to be with Ralph, an Aussie Vietnam Vet who had a much firmer grasp on the true meaning of Anzac Day. We joined him for the dawn service this morning at the Albany Anzac Memorial, along with about 300 others from Albany, for speeches, poems, memorials, wreaths, and the sunrise. Afterwards, we went back to the drill hall for coffee and rum with some of his comrades-in-arms, and later that morning was the Albany Anzac parade. It was nice to feel like a part of history.
   Oh, and incidentally, Essendon won.

"Aw, I can't see... Mum, could I stand on the dog?"
- Kieran.
Day 217: Rainy Brekky
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 24
End Location: Norfolk Sands
four simple steps

Woke up late.
Ate. Worked.
Went to sleep early.

It was just one of those days.


"'Neighbours' is one of the first shows we started ignoring in Australia."
- Aimee.
Day 218: Can I Buy a Towel?
Distance Travelled: 3.5km Temperature: 23
Time on Trikes: 0.5h Water Left: 0.0L
Terrain: Bike path
End Location: The Beach House at Bayside
luxuriating in luxury
Whoaza! Did we suddenly slip into the luxury zone! Our second port of call here in Albany is at the five-star (*****!!) Beach House at Bayside where relaxation is the order of the day and the spa is within three feet of the king sized bed, which are both within two feet of our personal DVD player. The most exertion today will be treading to and from the DVD library in the living room.
   If this is how the other half lives, it's no wonder they hide it from the likes of us.

"What could be better than watching a movie...
except watching a movie IN THE TUB!"
- Kevin.


Happy Birthday Dear Nana!

On Sunday, we celebrated Janet's Mum's birthday at the Beach House with a tasty black forest cake. Yum! But it's a good thing we didn't have candles, or we might have run out of space on the cake!

How old is Nana?
First correct answer gets a slice of mail cake!
Mmmm... mail cake...


anzac: (n.) In case we never actually covered this basic bit of information last Anzac Day (which we didn't), ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps. Hundreds of Australians make a pilgrimage each Anzac Day to Gallipoli, to remember their involvement in WWI.


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