week 38...
off like a raw oyster
Ceduna, South Australia

They said it couldn't be done, but we DONE IT! And look at Kevin! He's happy as a... as a... um... hmm. Happy as something, anyway.

The Nullarbor is officially in our wake. Nothing can stop us now! Except maybe the Great Ocean Road. And the Blue Mountains. Possibly city traffic. Melbourne weather? Drop bears? Eep! Guess we're not out of the woods yet!
goodbye nullarbor road...
To all of you motorists around the country who said the Nullarbor was boring... PAH! To a cyclist, who already knows he's not going to make it across in a single day, there's HEAPS to see and do! Have a burger at a roadhouse! Have a toasted egg sandwich at a roadhouse! Have a cellophane pie at a roadhouse! There's no end to the excitement. Count 'em: Eleven major stops! Here's what you need to know about each...

Km 193: Balladonia
Balladonia reminded us of how much we hate roadhouses. They seemed nice enough, and had a fine outback museum, but $2 for hot water is a little steep.
Features: Museum, Skylab    In a word: Touristy!
Km 374: Caiguna
Great welcome at the end of the 90-Mile Straight. Passing cars said they weren't very nice, but we didn't have any problems. Don't ask for water, though.
Features: Blowhole, Time Zone    In a word: Humdrum!
Km 440: Cocklebiddy
Your classic, forget-what-it-looks-like-the-second-you-leave roadhouse. I think we were here for ten minutes. Cute pictures of roadkill on the door.
Features: Old Magazines    In a word: Forgettable!
Km 532: Madura
Ruined a good downhill, but worth the stop to get clothes dry and watch Winnie the Pooh. Hint for future cyclists: The dryer will run indefinitely on one token.
Features: Can Opener, Anonymity    In a word: Hidden!
Km 648: Mundrabilla
Great breakfast: Pick six items for $12. Trust me, this is a bargain! Not only that, they even filled our water bottles with hot water! For free! And they smile!
Features: Aliens, Guestbook    In a word: Friendly!
Km 714: Eucla
They had our package! Isn't it ironic that the only Post Restante package we've ever successfully received was in a location with no Post Restante? Curious.
Features: Telegraph Stn, Whale    In a word: Busy!
Km 726: WA/SA Border Village
There's no better welcome to South Australia than a ruder-than-rude publican. Thanks a lot, jackass. Good customer service is no substitute for parallel beer coolies.
Features: Free Fruit at Q    In a word: Rude!
Km 912: Nullarbor Roadhouse
Wow, can these folks talk. Get them started and you'd better be prepared to stay the night for a good feed and a few beers. In fact, that's exactly what we did!
Features: Dingoes, Gary    In a word: Relaxing!
Km 1006: Yalata
The friendliest welcome ever! Also, a huge collection of Aboriginal artwork by the community. According to Sarah, they also make a mean bowl of pasta.
Features: Art, Whale Info    In a word: Stopworthy!
Km 1056: Nundroo
As with most roadhouses, it's the people that make the difference. We began our stay at Nundroo in front of the fire and ended it jammin' wit da locals. Word!
Features: Arcade Games, Videos    In a word: Modern!
Km 1136: Penong
Penong is actually a 'town' that consisted of a pub, general store, petrol station, and a laundromat. If you're coming from the west, it's practically a metropolis. The petrol station makes a burger to die for at a great price.
Features: More than one building    In a word: Cheap!
Name: Gary
Origin: UK
Reading: Basics of Buddhism

Start: Perth
KM/day: 90-100
Intended End: Sydney
Probable End: Adelaide

Previous Trip:
South America
Opinion: Wouldn't recommend it by bike.

meet gary the pommy cyclist
Believe it or not, we actually CAUGHT UP TO SOMEBODY. No joke! Gary is taking his time riding from Perth to Sydney, stopping everywhere and meeting everybody. As a result, at every stop someone asked us, "Have you met Gary yet?" In Ceduna, we finally did...

So how is the trip going? I've made it this far, so it must be going pretty well. I've just spend three days here in Ceduna and I spotted you on my way out of town. I've heard about you.

We've heard about you too. How's the wheel? Don't talk to me about the wheel. $800 for a wheel and it breaks out in Nundroo. I sat there for days waiting for the replacement to come in. Bloody hell.

We arrived at Nundroo the evening after you left. The gang at Nullarbor told us about you too. Yeah, I'm on holiday, not a speed trial, so I decided that if I liked a place I'd stick around. I checked the windsock every morning, hoping for a tailwind. Stayed there for three nights waiting.

By the way, Sarah told us to say hi. Sarah? You ran into her too? What did she say about me?

Nothing, just to say hi to you. You're sure she didn't say anything about me?

Not that I recall. Just hi. Okay, good I guess.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Three nights at Barb's holiday house (just up the street from Barb's regular house) was more than enough for us to get rested up for the next leg of the trip. If you're ever in Ceduna and need a place to stay, call into Barb's! Book it direct and save 10%! Call her at 8625 2471!
Don just got home from a very interesting job... he was working on the radiation cleanup crew up in Maralinga, Central South Australia. About 20 years ago, the Yanks were testing nukes in the Aussie Outback. And Don got to clean up their mess! Neat!
Barb's hyper pup loved to run! Run and run and run and run and run. And he loved people. But, for some reason, whenever I took out the camera, he yelped and ran away. Must be under Witness Protection.
Barb's even more hyper dog was so hyper, he had to be kept in the other room. Otherwise he would have gotten out and went FREAKY! He still managed to sniff our presense.
wally's amazin' facts!
The Right Whale was called the Right Whale by whalers, because by all hunting standards, it was the right whale to hunt. It had a good blubber content, and unlike some other whales, it floats after being harpooned. I guess if you hooked the wrong whale you'd have to hurry before it dragged your boat to the bottom! Har dee har!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: As you know, we've arrived in South Australia. Despite the rain we've been getting pretty much every day, did you know that South Australia is the driest state in Australia? If that doesn't knock your wet socks off, it's the driest state in the second driest continent in the world! Somebody get this wombat a drink!

The area we're in down here has some really old convict houses and early settlers' dwellings. One thing I can't figure out is: why are the windows on these early buildings so skinny? Maybe I'll have the answer for you next week. Toodles!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
super big thanks, erin!
Here's a letter we just got someone called Erin!

Aimee & Kevin,
Just read about your journey across the US and was sucked into the Australia trip. Wouldn't you know, I was searching the web for a high resolution photo of the "world's largest ball of twine" and came across your travels.

In any case, I don't want you to starve on your next leg. Rationing tuna? Not acceptable! And it's just plain wrong that there's a food boss at all. So hopefully, my paypal contribution will be enough to fire the boss. Well, at least, lay him off for a day or two!
Happy trails!

With it, she donated $100 to our adventure, and that paid for all the accommodation this week! Wowser Yowser!

Hey! You can donate too! Buy us something nice!
Get yourself something too!

Distance this week: 53kmDistance since Day 1: 11111km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 261: No more tuna! We're in Ceduna!
Distance Travelled: 13.0km Temperature: 16
Time on Trikes: 2.0h Water Left: 0L
Terrain: Short Morning Ride
End Location: A1 Cabins, Ceduna
where did the time go?
Well, that went by in a big blur.
   The Nullarbor wasn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Or maybe it's a case of tempered expectations... you know, like when you walk into a movie that everyone and their neighbour has told you is magnificent, and you know that it will never live up to the hype. In the case of the Nullarbor, so many people warned us about the huge expanse of nothingness, that we made the mistake of bringing along enough "activities" to keep us from getting bored. Our main weapon of choice was the Time Police Series, sent over from Canada, thanks to our enterprising pal, Danny Nawrocki!
   By the time we'd read the first one over again (you have to get into the mood for Time Police, you know), we were already at the Border Village! We were just able to sneak through the second in the trilogy, (Time Police: Trapped!), when lo and behold, we were in Ceduna! Were we too, just like Jackson, victims of time? Where were we? When were we? What were we? And why does it smell like ammonia and oranges around here?
   Anyway, it's over. The self-labelled biggest hump of the trip, done just like that (snap!). I feel like Chris on Christmas morning, opening all of his presents in ten minutes, then saying, "That was it? Sigh."

"You and that fish could be second cousins!"
- Aimee.
Day 262: Champagne Wishes & Stir-Fry Roo Dreams
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 14
End Location: Ceduna
shaken, not stirred
Time for that bottle of bubbly that we've carried 1,200 kilometres! It tastes even better knowing that we've got real food to go with it. If you choose to call honey sesame stirfry kangaroo real food.

Here's to another
chunk of this continent

Kevin: "The room came to $81 for three nights, but she only charged us $80!"
Aimee: "Awesome! That pays for the butter!"
Day 263: Kevin indulges in an adventure novel
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 15
End Location: Ceduna
Nineteen days of sun-up to sun-down pedalling without more than two consecutive hours of down-time has finally slammed us like a road train full of piddling sheep. The only thing on the menu today is a whole lot of solid sleep, recuperation, and maybe a little Dirk Pitt.
   Thank goodness for A1 Cabins. If not for them and their $27 per night Kozy Kabins, we'd be sleeping it off in our tent. Not exactly the kind of atmosphere that inspires you to hit the snooze button.

"I'm feeling very violated by Yamba right about now."
- Aimee.
Day 264: Makin' Bakin'
Distance Travelled: 3.1km Temperature: 18
End Location: Barb's Holiday House, Ceduna
home for the holidays
Today we moved into Pam's friend Barb's house. Barb's in the process of renovating the house so that she can let it out to tourists. In the meantime, she didn't mind us taking up some space and using her kitchen. We've done so much baking that it's starting to smell like the holidays around here. Add to that the freezing temperatures outside and we've got the manufactured feeling of Christmas in June! Somebody call Hallmark!

Cheap as Chips Cookies:
About 2 cups flour
4 tablespoons rice flour
8 tablespoons icing sugar
250 grams butter
Bunch of scrounged toppings

1. Squish everything together with your hands until it forms a nice ball of dough. Knead it a bit more to be sure.
2. Roll chunks into little cookie-sized balls.
3. If you've got anything appropriate to put on top of them, like cherries or almonds, go crazy and shove one into each ball. If not, just press each one down with a fork.
4. Put them on a tray and into a 160C degree oven until they turn slightly brown. (If you don't have an oven, don't try the grill on the lowest setting. It doesn't work.)

Cost: $8.00 for 200 cookies! And, they're Marijuana-Free!

"I find Yamba much more stressful than Doopa. Like 'brush your teeth and wash your face and turn around and turn of the telly and grab a dream bubble and hurry up and get to bed!!!' Doopa didn't need dream bubbles."
- Aimee.
Day 265: Let's call the whole thing off
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 13
End Location: Barb's, Ceduna
the perfect excuse
Never again. I just won't do it. I don't care if it's impolite or un-cosmopolitian or I'm dining with the Queen. I will never eat oysters again.
   Oysters Rockefeller? Maybe. Oysters Kilpatrick? Perhaps. After all, those are just a whole heap of cheese and onion and bacon on top of something squishy and fish tasting. That's easy. But raw oysters served on a paper plate topped with chunks of shell and a live centipede? Never again.
   In fact, I think I'll just tell everyone I'm allergic to oysters. Yup. That's right. It's a darn shame, since I really enjoy sliding living, slimy shellfish that look like grey inside-out vaginas down my throat. Sorry. Can't do it. My tongue would swell up and I'd die. A real shame.

"I'm NOT your wife. I am an IMPORT. I mean, I am an IMPOSTOR!"
- Aimee.
Day 266: I don't do windows.
Distance Travelled: 3.5km Temperature: 16
End Location: Barb's, Ceduna
time share
Whoops! Looks like we're being put to work today! If Barb wants to get her holiday house ready for guests next week, she's got to do more than wash the windows and paint the sills. Kev spent the day moving furniture around, giving everything a good scrub and generally readying the place for rent. Let's hope he gets a share of the profits!

"It must suck to have such conviction behind your ideas when they're so BAD."
- Aimee.
Day 267: The Eyre Out There
Distance Travelled: 36.8km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 4.0h Water Left: 1.0L
Terrain: Nice!
End Location: Smoky Bay
to eyre or not to eyre
It was decision time: do we continue straight to Port Augusta (which we've heard only good things about...) and cut 300 kilometres off the tripometer or do we head south into the Eyre Peninsula and continue to stick to the coast? The shorter trip offers more of the same: small mining towns and endless terrain. South offers quaint seaside villages and a few cities along the way.
   For the sake of our sanity, we chose civilization. Next stop, Port Lincoln!

   Garfield: "Mr. Fez? You?! You're the Supreme Ruler of the Universe?!"
   Mr. Fez: "Myes. Have a seat on the Death Machine over there and I'll explain..."
- Segment of Kevin's Dream.

a final roadhouse rant...
First off, no offence to the Balladonia roadhouse. In fact, everyone who told us about the stops along the way told us that Balladonia was rather nice. And it probably was. But, for the sake of this rant, it had the unfortunate circumstance of being geographically first. First of a long line of roadhouses. Sorry guys.

Anyhoo, as soon as we hit Balladonia, we were struck with the realization that we despise the roadhouse experience. Sure, roadhouses are nothing new to us, but with the luscious break we'd had in civilization, we were able to push them into the dark recesses of our memories. It's similiar to childbirth... you have to wait for your memory to fade before you give it another go. It's only once you're in the delivery room that you recall the anguish of the last time you put yourself in that situation. So says my sister, anyway.

Balladonia was our delivery room. We should have been thrilled at making our first milestone of the trip, but instead, we were smacked in the face by roadhouse reality and feeling left out of what appeared to be a buying frenzy of reheated pizza and seven-dollar Pringles. Of course, it was all beyond our budget (on this segment of the trip, so is milk). All we could do was wonder how people could possibly spend three dollars on a can of Coke and four bucks on a muffin. Basically, there wasn't much for us to do except stand around twiddling our thumbs for a few minutes and then get back on the bikes to leave, depressed and frustrated.

The difference between roadhouses on the Kimberley and the Nullarbor is that in the former case, we depended upon them for survival. We used a roadhouse stop to have a full day out of the sun and rest a bit. Here, there was no such excuse, which probably added to our frustrations. There's nothing like cycling for three days to get somewhere and leaving it after a three minute toilet break. That's like driving to Toronto, taking a pee in the Tim Hortons and turning around again. You'd begin to wonder what you came for, wouldn't you?

But, our hate-hate relationship with the Roadhouse is over now. Penong was officially the last one on this entire expedition. That's almost as big of an accomplishment as crossing the Nullarbor.
melting moments: (n.) shortbread cookies. On no less than two occasions, Aimee offered someone a shortbread cookie, and they said, "Ooh, melting moments!" And, while we're on the subject of baking...
hundreds & thousands: (n.) sprinkles. The hard, coloured ones.

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Hail to the Beer King!