week 42...
a grip

Pt Neill to Pt Augusta

It had to happen sooner or later. Almost 12,000 km without a problem (well, except for that snapped tandem hitch back in Geraldton, but that was Kev's fault). You may think a problem like this would slow us down or have us crying into our Bart Simpson cordial, but not us. Find out how we solved the problem, and still put in a full day's ride... right after this.
all's welded that
ends welded...

First of all, three cheers for Penninger Recumbents. Three quarters of the way around Australia without a single, er, hitch (we're actually on our second hitch now). We've put these bikes through more crap than a latex glove at a proctologist's office, and they just keep giving and giving and giving. They're awesome!

v v v   s h a m e l e s s   p l u g   v v v
Gosh, if I were to cycle around a continent, Penninger would definitely be the brand I ride! Check out www.penninger.com to buy your own right now!
^ ^ ^   s h a m e l e s s   p l u g   ^ ^ ^

At any rate, nothing lasts forever, and our unbroken streak had to end sometime. Luckily, the problem was tiny enough to be temporarily mended with the handyman's best friend, duct tape. Also, just as luckily, the snap happened on a welded joint, rather than an actual metal fatigue fracture (as we've heard about in numerous other cycling travelogues). Even more luckily, we were only 10km out of Whyalla, the root'n'est toot'n'est downhome steeltown this side of Port Augusta. Surely we'd be able to find a welder!

But first, to the mall. We hadn't seen a town in almost 100km, a city in almost 300 (for those of you who just tuned in, that was sarcasm. those distances are ridiculously small for Australia) and needed to restock. At the mall, we met a gentleman with a slightly less interesting bike than ours but still a far cry more interesting than the general populace. As it turns out... Rob's dad is a welder!

See that guy welding? That's not Rob's dad. Rob's dad (hereafter cited as Reg) had the gear for an acetylene weld, but he said that would have just shredded the aluminum seat (good thing he knows). He took us over to Paul McRitchie's place, who had an oxy welder. BUZZ! CRACKLE! POP! SPSSSHH! Good as new. He even painted it black again.

And just like that, we were on our way. Paul even gave us an autographed poster of some super fancy race car to remember him by. For all we knew about racing, we'd just had our bikes fixed by the pit boss of the hot rod champion of Bathurst! No wonder he was so fast!

Just shows you, sometimes it's okay to talk to strangers!
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

How weird is this: Two weeks ago we ask a random farmhouse for a place to stay, and we meet Brian and Rosalie. This week, we reach Cowell, and meet Rosalie's mum! Holy Frickin' Frack!
Hannah, Skye, Alex & Phyllis
Just another bunch of roadside kids! But, unlike some who give us water and fruit, they gave us what we really wanted: KFC and jam rolls! And the chicken was still warm!
Terese, Maddy & Kye
Every now and then you meet a mom who seems like a really great mom and some kids who seem like really great kids. Today was such a day. Terese would love to cycle around Oz, but Maddy wasn't so keen on it.
Besides riding a vintage bicycle and having a dad who's a welder, Rob's an interesting sort. He may be dressed like a freedom fighter, but don't let that fool you. He's only been arrested a couple of times.
Reg & Gladdys
Rob's parents. Gladdys made us a great cuppa, while Reg buffetted us with stories of his days as an outback truckie back in the days of yore. Dirt roads back then, and you were better off carrying a gun. Eep!
Paul McRitchie
That's the man with the oxy welder. Got a problem with your bike or hot rod? Ask Paul. Say what you want about Whyalla, but we found it the most convenient, friendly and helpful steeltown ever!

what the hell is this?
Two contests in two weeks, you lucky dogs!
We spotted this gadget in the supermarket in Cowell.

What do you think it does?

Eric Grant knows, but you'll have to find out on Week 66.
wally's amazin' facts!
Heck, if your first question last week was "Who's Pete Best and replaced from where?" then you've already lost. Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr! That's right, Pete Best was the original drummer for The Beatles, back when they were still called "The Clarences". Did you know that I once dated a gal named Eleanor Rigby? She loved my hair back in the day. Said I looked just like Mr. Spock.

This Week's Amazin' Fact: About 400km northwest of Port Augusta on the Stuart Highway is a little town called Coober Pedy. What makes Coober Pedy so unique is that everyone lives underground! It's an opal mining town out in the Red Centre, where it's always super hot, so all of the houses are dug into the ground! It may be 45 degrees outside, but in the caves it's always a cool 25. Not only that, but miners can get from work to home without going outside! Just pop your head out of the trapdoor in the floor and say "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Coober Pedy is an aboriginal word. Guess what it means! I'll tell you next week. Until then, remember, all you need is love!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 274kmDistance since Day 1: 11875km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 289: Where the Hamburglar goes on holiday
Distance Travelled: 60.5km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 1.5L
Terrain: Twisty
End Location: Number 310
objects in motion
Hah! Just when you thought we'd moved into Port Neill, we keep you on your toes by jumping back on our bikes and pedalling like mad out of this town! I can't believe you'd lost faith in us. Did you really think we'd stop forever? Who said yes?
   We said we'd leave Monday, and Monday it is! Sure, you have to forgive the previous four days of farting around... but at least we finally did leave.
   I think it helped that there was a town only thirty-five kilometres away. If we'd had to go into the three digits to get a loaf of bread, we may have moved into Port Neill for good.

"Frankly, I'm more excited about miniture fish furniture."
- Kevin.
Day 290: Cheap as chips
Distance Travelled: 60.0km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 3.5L
Terrain: Steep up, followed by steep downs
End Location: 30 out of Cowell
lunch money
It's been months since someone randomly stopped and gave us cash. What? This doesn't happen to you?
   Day after day we've been treated amazingly by Australians, yet we're still shocked when someone jumps out of their car, hands us some money and sends us off to buy ourselves a lunch. This is especially fortuitous when we're only ten kilometres outside of Cowell, where we had planned to have lunch anyway.
   Immediately, sandwich plans were switched to pie, chips and iced coffee! Food tastes best when bought by somebody else.

"I'll go anywhere, so long as it's forward."
- Dr. Livingstone, quoted on a Johnnie Walker T-shirt.
Day 291: Unscheduled Rest Area
Distance Travelled: 58.3km Temperature: 16
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 2.0L
Terrain: Over a peak
End Location: Whyalla
don't you eat here?
A benefit of living your life on a bicycle is that the world is your home. See that cushy looking patch of grass over there? It becomes your bed for the evening. What about that pile of rocks? A perfect place for a fast game of cards.
   You, as someone who lives a sheltered, peaceful life, might think that the road train passing within two metres of our picnic would bother us. To tell you the truth, we didn't even bat an eye as we enjoyed freshly made veggie sangas. New Yorkers and their nonchalance to ambulance sirens have nothing on us.

"Well, that's an Info-Bay waiting to happen."
- Aimee.
Day 292: Our Lucky Day!
Distance Travelled: 57.5km Temperature: 21
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 4.0L
Terrain: Flat as
End Location: Halfway to Pt Augusta
mall rats
As I mentioned yesterday, we're comfortable anywhere. This morning we arrived at the Whyalla Westend Shopping Centre. The shopping centre being our first port of call in each and every town.
   First: the toilets to freshen up, change the clothes and make an attempt feel less homeless than we look.
   Next: breakfast in the food court. Nope, we didn't spend our money on a croissant and coffee. We pulled out our own cereal, ran into the Woolies for milk, and had a nice brekkie using our own tin mess kit. If we'd had a Chronicle Journal and a radio playing 94FM, it would have felt like home.

"We spent the entire day in town, like, 10 to 4, but still covered a full day's biking distance as well. I don't know how we did it! It's like an Eric Steurken work day!"
- Kevin.
Day 293: Where the name has no street
Distance Travelled: 38.0km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 1.0L
Terrain: Gale Force Headwinds
End Location: Bernie & Ben's, Pt Augusta
welcome back, cotter!
The Eyre Peninsula is just full of amazingly nice people. Bernie and Ben Smith are a prime example of this. We'd met their friend Martin in Port Lincoln, and, through Martin, they'd contacted us to say that when we cycled through Port Augusta, we'd be able to stay at their house.
   They thought we'd be there soon, but as we've all learned by now, this quincycle is unable to speed through South Australia. We ended up planning our arrival for school holidays, and they're teachers.
   Otherwise nice (but not amazingly nice) people would have said that it was "too bad we'd missed them and stiff bikkies for us." Not Bernie and Ben. If you can believe it, they told us where they hid the key, how to get to their house, and to help ourselves to anything in the house. Wow!
   But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start with this morning. It was pure, unadulterated, crap.
   This morning ranks as one of the all-time crap mornings. Last night we'd cycled well into the dark so that we'd be able to get close enough to Port Augusta to be able to do a nice, easy cycle in the morning. Unfortunately, Kev made the mistake of saying, as we tucked ourselves in, that "wouldn't it be funny if we had a headwind."
   As every cyclist knows, this is the equivilent of waving a red flag at a bull. Not only was the wind directly against us no matter how many right angles we turned, but there was a duststorm that completely concealed Post Augusta and covered us and our lungs in grit (this was the same duststorm that closed down the Adelaide airport). Add to this enough traffic to choke on and the final mileage was a grand 36 kilometres in seven hours. I'll let you do the math on that one.
   Ahh, but arriving in town was not the end of the fun. Remember Bernie and Ben, the nice people who said we could stay in their house? Well, they'd given us directions, but as usual, I'd stuffed them up. This resulted in us not being able to find Cotter St. We looked in the street directory - no Cotter St. We asked the locals - no Cotter St.
   It got fuzzier when even the Post Office denied that Cotter Street even existed. They'd never heard of it. This is the Post Office! The only people who know the streets better than the pizza man! After an hour of asking and riding around, Kevin spotted the street out of the corner of his eye! Bingo! We'd found Cotter St.! Guess where it was? Only two streets away from the Post Office. Bloody postmen.

"Oh, this must be Aimee's Notion of the Week. Quick, show her a shiny object."
- Kevin.
Day 294: Our very own B&B
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 20
End Location: Bernie & Ben's
tell a book by it's cover
After staying at Ben & Bernie's for a day now, we feel like we know them. Here's a few things that we think we know about them, but are really just based on our own judgements of their belongings. Let's find out if you really can tell a person by the stuff they own...
   1. They've gotten married recently, since they still have a lot of wedding-gift looking things around.
2. They are adamant about recycling.
3. Based on their living room reading collection, they're learning how to garden and do home renovations. This makes us think that Cotter St. is their first home. By the looks of their garden and home, they're got a talent for both.
4. Bernie's an identical twin.
5. Ben likes Jet Li movies.
6. They have wine, but prefer beer. Cooper's, actually.
7. Their musical tastes range from Primus to Tracy Chapman.
8. They like to entertain.
9. Bernie likes crossword puzzles.
10. They both seem like totally cool people that we would have loved to have met! Next time we'll have to make sure they're home.

"On purpose? You know your record for making fries."
- Kevin.
Day 295: Our Very own Blockbuster
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 19
End Location: Bernie & Ben's
home alone
An empty house. A cupboard full of movies. A wicked combination. Here's what we watched:

Men in Black: II
Black Mask
Star Wars
Romeo Must Die
Death to Smoochy
Lord of the Rings I
Vertical Limit
Almost Famous
Grosse Point Blank
Office Space
The Skulls
The entire Season 1 of Friends.

"This movie's making me miss Monroe at FB."
- Aimee.
cobble-co: (v.) fix something with the inferior tools at hand. "Cobble Co." was a horse & cart delivery company. When one broke down in the outback, the driver fixed it any way he could. Like MacGyver.
"We'll cobble-co that with ducttape & a shoelace until the next town."

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Thick, I tell you. Thick.