week 43...
headed for the hills

Bernie's to Pat's

Yet another example of South Australian hospitality. Climbing the road to Horrock's Pass, we saw an orange car pass us by, stop 500m up the road, then take off again. That was odd, we thought.

Then, as we approached the place he stopped, we found a little bundle of goodies on the shoulder: milk, Vanilla Coke, and a Carlton Sterling. How about that? We drank the milk right away, saved the Coke for the next day, and the beer waited until the end of the week.

(Explanation about the beer: The beer was coldest in the morning, when we didn't want it, and warmest in the late afternoon, when we did. We had to wait for a cold night, which didn't exactly require refreshment since what we really would have preferred was a hot rum, but when the world is both your refrigerator and your oven, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. That's why when I grow up, I'm going to live in the mall.)

When's the last time someone just left a prezzie for you on the side of the road? That's South Australia for you. Unless of course, it wasn't for us. In which case, sorry.
South Australia has put a major cramp in our plans to finish this trip in a year. Schedule? Out the window. The people here are just too damn nice.

We were supposed to get to Ceduna, stay a day or two, motor to Adelaide via Port Augusta, then out to Victoria. We figured, hey, no reason to stop, we don't know anybody.

That was five weeks ago. Since then we met Raelene & Kingsley of the Peninsula Pedallers in Port Lincoln, who hooked us up with John & Diana from the Tumby Bay Caravan Park, Terry & Tony's Beachhouse in Port Neill, where we stayed the week, and Bernie & Ben in Port Augusta. The Calderwoods of Coolibar invited us in from a windy night, and Rob, who we met at the Whyalla Westland mall, helped us fix our bike. By Sunday, we'd been invited back to the Hill family's home in Mintaro for a roast dinner and a place to sleep! It's uncanny!

And in Adelaide, we know that someone who we've never met has offered us a place to sleep, simply because he likes our site and he's a touring cyclist himself. To top it off, we've got two bed & breakfasts offering places to stay once we leave Adelaide!

The question is, are we getting more offers simply because there are more people? The South Australians would probably answer, "Naw, mate, we're just nice. Everyone else are bloody ratbags in the Eastern States." Hey, we can only hope that we're treated as nicely for the rest of the trip as we have been here. We may need to apply for another visa extension.

Better to be delayed by hospitality than fatality.
Origin of Mr. Skinny Legs:
Stuart Hill, 13 year old boy genius and all around footy star (with a season record of 10 goals 10), used his superhuman intellect and sculpting skills in an effort to create the most frightening, malevolent, wicked, nasty, evil creature known to man.
He failed.

meet mr. skinny legs
What makes Mr. Skinny Legs so scary? What makes him so evil? What makes children cower in fear at the sight, nay, the mere mention of Mr. Skinny Legs? Get a look at his special powers, if you dare...

Creator of Mr. Skinny Legs,
Stuart Hill.
Height: 25cm
Weight: 150g
Construction: Papier Mache
Disposition: Grumpy

Weaponry: "Nipples turn into guns when being attacked by big people."
Defence: "Chops up little people with his claws."
Strength: "Kicks big people away with legs."
Intimidation: "Muscles are used to scare people bet he is not strong at all."
Enviromental Concern: "His bullets are stored inside his body and the shells come out his arse."

*quotes taken directly from
Stuart Hill's school project.
Final grade: C.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

This is so embarrassing. Clem's a Peninsula Pedaller. A week and a half out of Port Lincoln, he passed us on the highway and saw that we had only gone 80km. Today, three weeks later, we've only made it here. Don't tell anyone, okay Clem?
Mark, Ellie & Esther
Another Horrocks Pass freebee! Mark thought that a couple of hard working cyclists like us who managed to reach the top of Horrock's Pass deserved a beer. We agreed. Then we learned that NO ONE deserves a West End Draught.
Laura's Deli Cappuccino Spokesman
I hate it when other cyclists sneak up behind us on a quiet country road and say, "Hi!" It scares the crap out of me. He shouted us a coffee at the next town, so that made up for it.
Mary & Mike
Mary's from Ireland, and she has heaps of stories to tell. She talked so much, her husband went deaf! Ha! Just kidding. I mean, he is deaf, and she did talk a lot, but, er, hey, she's met the President of Ireland! What a friendly couple.
wally's amazin' facts!
The name of Coober Pedy, the strange mining town in the middle of South Australia, stems from the aboriginal words "kupa peti". What's that mean, you ask? Literally, it means "white man in a hole." Isn't that hilarious? No, of course I didn't make that up!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: The area we're travelling through right now is famous for being South Australia's Wine Centre, but it also has another major export: sweet, delicious honey! The Wirrabara region is the leading production area for honey in South Australia. Did you know that honey is one of nature's perfect foods? Yuppers. Eat a spoonful of honey for energy! Honey and water make a great sport drink. Besides honey, bananas and beans are some of the best foods a human can eat, while a wombat like me just eats roots, shoots and leaves.

Speaking of things to put on toast, what's the buzz on Vegemite? What's it made of? I'll bee back!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!

what did happen to wednesday?
In case you haven't been paying attention, somehow, we lost a day this week. Wednesday, we think. It's just gone.
   It must have been at Ben & Bernie's. We couldn't decide if we had left their place on Wednesday or Thursday, but it was definitely Sunday when we reached the Hills'. Go figure. Maybe we watched more movies than we thought.
   In any case, tune in next week, when Wednesday should be back with us.

Distance this week: 222kmDistance since Day 1: 12097km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 296: The Sandals of Time
End Location: Bernie & Ben's
in my shoes shoes
It's time to replace the Tevas.
   I'm usually a Payless man. I buy cheap shoes, tear through them in six months, and buy a new pair. Before we left on this adventure, I decided to splurge and get myself some Adventure Shoes: Teva Sandals. Guess what? 13 weeks into the trip... SNAP! Just before Kununurra. Then down in Albany... SNAP! Three months later, I bust the other one. Adventure shoe, my foot (I believe I said that at the time, and it was rather clever then too).
   Being past the warranty date, I knew I needed a good story. Luckily, I had one. It's not like I ripped through them on my way to the post office. I wrote them a long sob story about the premature demise of my "adventure" shoes, and included pages from the journal kept by my Right shoe. We'll see if it works. Here are some of the excerpts:

Day 5: Went for a walk in the Dandenong Ranges today. Looks like I got stuck with another one of those pseudo-adventurous dorks who thinks a weeked walk on a groomed pathway is some kind of grand expedition. Probably thinks he's "changing his lifestyle". Sheesh. Well, it's a start. Now I know what it feels like for a 4x4 bought by an 40 year old Sydney woman who's never left Abbotsford.
Day 155: It's friggin hot here. Kevin's got a wicked sandal tan. He keeps making jokes that soon he won't need his Tevas anymore, since the shape is permanently engraved on his feet. At least, I think it's a joke.
Day 208: Left is becoming more and more distant. I'm not sure if it's guilt, or sympathy pain, but he seems to draw into himself more each passing day. It appears our relationship is closer to what it was. Over the past few weeks, anger gave way to pity, then pity to a sort of complacency. Still reclusive. Maybe he's just not used to being around the handicapped. I begin to sleep lightly...

To read the whole diary of Right Teva, click here...

  As for my replacement $4.85 sandals from Woolworth's, they, um, ripped through on my way to the post office. Today.

"If you need me for anything, don't."
- Aimee.
Day 297: Taters
End Location: Bernie & Ben's
i am overburdened
On a day like today, there's nothing I like better than hacking apart a troop of Maw Gashers with my Broad Maul of the Bear. Troop of Maw Gashers? Maybe that's a gaggle of Maw Gashers? A bevy? Whatever it is, they're dead. Booyah!
   When we depart Bernie and Ben's, the only trace of our presence will be a couple of missing Coopers, a scorch mark on one of the pots, and a Level 27 Barbarian named "Dean."

"We should start a suck-on-a-rock campaign!"
- Aimee.
Day 298: Happy Meal
Distance Travelled: 53.3km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Horrocks Pass
End Location: Mt. Remarkable
oh bother!
"You're not doing Horrock's Pass, are you?"
"Horrock's Pass? You must be mad!"
"Good luck, mate."
   Sound familiar? We'd heard it all before. Our ears were ringing with the memories of the Jackass who's told us that the Outback was uncycle-able and we'd die at the first sight of a roadtrain. It seemed like everyone this side of the Flinders Ranges thought that Horrock's Pass was the cycling equivilent of climbing the Eiger. It might not have the flair of Everest, but it's still a big enough challenge to make you think thrice. Note to Kevin: I know you're going to try to edit out my "think thrice" comment, but I like saying it in my mind so you'd better darn well leave it in!
   I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Never to trust the word of a car owner. A motorist will never be bang-on with his description of the road ahead. If he says it's impossible, you'll probably be able to do it in a couple hours, if you don't mind breaking a sweat. If he says it's just up the road, he probably means he passed it a half hour ago, which means another whole day for you so you might as well camp right now.
   Horrock's Pass was difficult, yes. But compared to our ride into Port Augusta last week, it seemed like a slice of heaven. Just wait and see how easy it gets from here on down...
Q. What do you call an adolescent from the town of Quorn?
A. A Quorn Teen!
Day 299: Cafe a l'eau?
Distance Travelled: 76.0km Temperature: 17
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Ideal!
End Location: Gladstone
let's stop for slurpees
It's happened. It's finally happened. We feel like we're on a bike ride.
   Before you start breaking out the phone book to look up the number for 000, let me explain: Up until today, we've felt like we're on a bike expedition. An adventure the likes of which Shackleton and Columbus would have been proud. We've braved the weather, fought off the snakes, etc., etc. Hell, you know. You've read it.
   Now that the towns are only 15km apart, we feel like we're on a bike ride. The type of ride you'd take with your best friend when you're trying to kill a hot summer afternoon. You've got no worries and nowhere you need to be. That's us. Best friends riding around our neighbourhood. It's just that our neighbourhood is a little bigger than most.
   Man, this is great!

"Oh God, I tried bore water once. I tell you, worse than childbirth."
- Nationwide traveler in a Land Rover.
Day 300: Sunny Side
Distance Travelled: 68.7km Temperature: 17
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 2.0L
Terrain: All Uphill
End Location: Clare
egg on our faces
Holy frickin' frack, we've left the notepad in Georgetown! Quick, Kevin! (Quick!) Flag down a car! (Flag!) Jump in! (Jump!) Ride back to town! (He did.)

Aimee's Story: This is how I found myself standing by the side of the road on my tricyle built for two, minus my husband. It had happened so quickly, we didn't even think about how Kevin was going to get back.
   Within seconds, we had done a number of firsts: first hitchhiking, first separation, first time we'd left something behind and actually went back for it.
   It didn't turn out to be such a big deal though, when Kevin returned with the notepad faster than I was able to eat our mint slices. He must have sensed I was up to no good.

Kevin's Story: This is how I found myself careening up the Koorong Highway at 140km/h, listing to Bon Jovi, minus my wife.
   The bloke's name was Chris (my brother's name!), and was on his way to Laura for a business meeting that started 10 minutes ago. He could drop me off in Georgetown, but I'd have to find my own way back. No problem... look how easy it was to get there!
   The notepad was where we'd left it. Phase 2 complete. Now, it occurred to me that I needed to flag down a car to get back. It's one thing if you're in farmland on a ridiculous bike... everybody stops. Chris stopped, and he was late for a meeting. But who was going to pick up a dweeb in a country town wearing grease-stained pyjama pants with no luggage?
   The answer: Sue (my mom's name)! She asked what the problem was ("My wife is 5km up the road on a bike and I had to hitch back to town because I left this notepad behind") and she bought my story, continually reassuring herself that picking up a hitcher was against her better judgement, and she'd never ever done this before. Maybe I just have an honest face. Yay!
   By the time I got back, Aimee was already into the Mint slices. Sneaky monkey! Onward!

"Say what you want, but dates will always look like cockroaches to me."
- Kevin.
Day 301: Table for 11, please.
Distance Travelled: 24.4km Temperature: 20
Time on Trikes: 3.5h Water Left: 1.5L
Terrain: Loopy
End Location: Hill House, Mintaro
crazy like sunday evening
Oh, what a family! As we cycled out of Clare this morning, Pat Hill stopped us and invited us back to his house for dinner and a good night's sleep. Being on a bike ride (as opposed to an expedition where we had deadlines and hardships to bear) we said we'd love to! Little did we know that the Hill family makes up 10% of the population of Mintaro. This huge family was crazy in a good way (except for Caitlyn, who was so crazy she had to be put in the backyard kennel while Stu watched the footy). The night was spent telling stories about what we'd been through and laughing at the antics of all the kids. The Hill family, besides introducing us to the wonders of having seven children, gave us the best present of all: the latest addition to the beimers.com family: Mr. Skinny Legs.
  They wanted us to take Caitlyn, but we hear she eats everything in sight and there's only room for one person like that on this trip. That, and we didn't have enough duct tape.

"So if this is Sunday, what happened to Wednesday?"
- Kevin.
cripple-nipple: (n.) a big-brother or schoolyard-bully technique in which the victim's nipple is pinched by the assailant to the point of bruising. Hurts for days.
American equivalent: titty-twister, or purple-nurple.

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Australia's Future.