week 46...
crossing the mighty murray

Murray Bridge - Kingston


The Bunyip is a legendary beast who haunts the few waterways of Australia. They live in creeks and swamps, and spend most of their spare time terrifying and occasionally eating aboriginal children. Don't get too close!

This particular bunyip is made of fiberglass, and doesn't get out of bed for less than a dollar. He's about as mean and scary as Mr. Skinnylegs, but that doesn't stop him from trying. You see, according to the little info-panel out front of the Murray Bridge Bunyip, the British settlers and explorers "disproved" long ago that the bunyip ever existed.

But you know what they say: You can prove something exists, but you can't prove that something doesn't. For all we know, like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Second Gunman of the Grassy Knoll, the Bunyip still lives in the furthest reaches of Australia, revealing himself only to those unfortunate few who fall into the "those who went looking never returned" category of exploration.

One thing I can tell you though: it probably doesn't look anything like this.
lou's party tricks...
Ever wanted to be the life of the party, but don't know how? Lou here can teach you a thing or two. Lou did everything short of wear a lampshade on his head, although if a lampshade had been available I wouldn't have put it past him. Here are a few party tricks to get you going on the right track...

Trick #1:
Lou can drink a glass of port while balancing a spoon on his nose! He claims he can do it with a 10 oz beer! Neat!

Trick #2:
Lou can get his lips all the way around this vase! He claims he can do it with a 10 oz beer! Neat!

Trick #3:
Lou can make an Irish Space Shuttle out of a teabag! He claims it usually works! Neat!

how to make your own irish space shuttle
1. All you need is a plate, a match, and an ordinary teabag (according to Lou the Irish rocket scientist, Tetley is best).
2. Separate the string and label from the bag. Excess weight will hold it back from achieving escape velocity.
3. Remove the staple.
4. Dump the contents of the teabag (a.k.a. the tea). Toss the tea over the side of the balcony.
5. Puff up the teabag and stand it upside down on the plate. Whilst the spectators countdown to zero and shout "IGNITION!", set fire to it.
6. We have liftoff! Watch out, moon! Here come the Irish!

Here's what happened when Lou tried it. Maybe it doesn't work, and that's part of the joke, or maybe it does and someone at the party works for NASA and will offer you a job.

Let us know if it actually works for you!
Let's talk about sausages. They say Aussies are famous for their BBQs, and the staple of the BBQ is the sausage. Why is it, then, that Aussie sausages are crap? They're all frickin' mushy, like the grinder is on too high a setting. They're frickin' gross. It's like whatever meat is left in the grab bag after the pet food and meat pie companies are finished is put in the blender with some rosemary and served up at the neighbourhood sizzle.

Don't like my attitude? Stiff bikkies, dude. If I sound grumpier than usual it's only because I lost a nipple this week.

I'm Mr. Skinnylegs, and I reckon that's crap.

Be sure to read "I Reckon That's Crap" every week, only on Beimers.com!

*The opinions expressed by Mr. Skinnylegs do not necessarily reflect those of beimers.com. If you have any complaints, direct them to mrskinnylegs@beimers.com.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...
Not everyone who lives near the Murray River is a bunyip, and thank goodness for that! Meet some of these crazy folks!

Pat runs the Balcony Bed & Breakfast in Murray Bridge. According to a famous Australian who's name I can't remember but I'm pretty sure it isn't Russell Crowe, she makes the best lasagna in the country! Book a room at the Balcony at (08) 85 311 411!
Brian O'Riley the BBQ chef and co-owner of the Balcony. He makes darn good lamb chops, and he's got that classic Aussie sparkling dry wit after you get half a bottle of port into him. If you've got any questions about the Pedal Prix, ask him!
Peter & Peter
These two Peters live at the Balcony B&B. The Peter on the right (click the pic) is from Geelong, and works at the local abattoir. The Peter on the left works at the onion packing plant, and owns the Australian rights to the name "Freddy Fuddrucker"! Would I make this up?
The Tazzies
Not everybody in Tasmania acts like Lou. In fact, Bev, Debra and David added a measure of balance to the Tasmanian ambassadorship, making us want to visit the South Island of Australia even more when we get back around to Melbourne. Keep those Cascades cold for us!
What's a visit to a medium sized town withough being interviewed by the local paper? Nothing! That's why Corinne came out to visit, ask a few questions and snap a few shots. Thanks!
Who ya gonna call when you need to cross the Murray? Sheridan, of course! I guess Murray Bridge is the only spot on the Murray with a Bridge, since both Mannum and Wellington have the ferry. It was cool!
wally's amazin' facts!
A group of kangaroos is called a mob! Funny, I've never seen a roo with a tommy gun in its pouch! Ha ha ha! Yeah, okay, that was pretty weak.

This Week's Amazin' Fact: The Murray River may be the mightiest river in Australia, but it's a mere creek on the ladder of world rivers... it ranks a paltry 16th place! The Murray-Darling River System, which forms the border between Victoria and New South Wales before dumping out into the Great Australian Bight, is a grand total of 3720km long, not much more than half the length of the Nile!

It may not sound like much, but here on the driest continent in the world, we're pretty proud of our mighty Murray. Can you guess how much of Australia's wine production takes place on its banks? What a grape question!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 281kmDistance since Day 1: 12601km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 316: I'm A Frayed Knot
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 14
End Location: Saunders Gorge
the 102nd use
If you're from Canada, like I am, you know that the handyman's best friend is... da da da dat da daaah... duct tape. You can level a shelf, seal a window, mend your shoes, patch a tire, even house-train your dog with a bit of duct tape (or, gaffer tape, as it's called here in Australia).
   As it turns out, the handyman's second best friend is the oxy welding torch, or, failing that, the guy who knows how to use an oxy welding torch. It (or he) has solved the only major breakage on the bikes so far. That, a lathe, and a soldering iron. That's all a bloke needs to survive out here.
   Ha, you say. That may be fine for big clunky heavy things, but what about delicate stuff, like, say, the power cord to the laptop? That thing's been on the fritz since the Pilbara, and every time you want to plug it in you have to wiggle it. Could our laptop really be fixed with power tools and a bit of duct tape?
   According to Brenton, apparently so.

"Hey listen, in two hours, you'll have another two hours for the next two hours."
- Aimee.
Day 317: For man nor beast
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 10
End Location: Saunders Gorge
another lucky break
A day like this makes you just wanna sit around and do nothing. And that's exactly what we did. Sort of. We're not good at nothing.
   The lucky part of all this is to be located in a spot where we can sit around and do nothing if we want. We're still at Saunders Gorge, and they like us enough to keep us out of our tent for one more day. And good thing, too. When the wind is strong enough to lift up your helmet and toss it across the field, imagine what it would do to our tent. After all, the only difference between a tent and a sail is where you put your pegs.
   Incidentally, today's the day that our Just Married sign was torn from the bikes by the wind, never to be seen again. I suppose that's alright, since we never would have had the heart to throw it away, and it was starting to get a little grotty.
Kevin: "Well, I vote no. And since you're riding to Palmer you also get to cast your v--"
Brenton: "NOOOOOOOOO!"
Day 318: Buckaroo Brenton
Distance Travelled: 53.0km Temperature: 16
Time on Trikes: 4.5h Water Left: 1.0L
Terrain: Slight downhill with even slighter tailwind
End Location: Balcony B&B, Murray Bridge
the great leveler
At this point in the trip, if there's a way for one of us to avoid riding the trikes, we'll find it. The deal was, after all, that the trikes have to make it around the country, not necessarily with us on them (although we can safely say that for every click of the trip, there's been at least one Beimers on it).
   This morning, we convinced Brenton that he had to "have a go" on the trikes by riding to Palmer, the next town over. Due to leg length and sheer luck, I drew the long straw and got to stay behind with Nadene, having a bit of a ree-lax while Kevin and Brenton tackled the Westerly wind and hills. Sure, I could feel guilty, but I justify it to myself my reasoning that Kevin is a much stronger rider than I am, so if he gets fifteen kilometres up on me, it helps to balance out the rest of the day.
   Congratulations, Brenton! You made it all the way to Palmer, 15km away, with your recent knee operation and all. Bet you'll never again make a crack about the guy in the back not pedalling.

"I won't be worried until the day I see you peel a banana with your feet."
- Kevin.
Day 319: Sleep with one eye open
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 16
End Location: Murray Bridge
if i had a million dollars
If we owned a very large piece of land in the Outback, and, say, a couple of million dollars, the first thing we'd do is buy ourselves a slew of African animals - tigers, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants. The works.
   This idea is really inspired by the landscape of Australia. We've never been to Africa, but often we get this strange "Out of Africa" feeling as we cycle along the wide open plains. We've had this conversation many times on the bikes. (We tried to bring it up in dinner conversation once, but it wasn't received well.)
   Even just one animal. A large herbivore, like a rhino. I mean, how different can grass get, really? You could fence it in, let him roam around with the kangaroos... could you imagine the look on a truckie's face when he tells his buddies that he swears he saw a hippopotamus somewhere between Julia Creek and Cloncurry? Priceless.
   Once we'd imported an animal, we'd have our own private Safari. How cool would that be? What a way to spend some cash! That, or we'd build our own roller coaster, invitation only.
   Today we were shocked, and awed, to discover that some enterprising fellow has already done it! Not the rollercoaster, the safari!! The Monarto Wildlife Park has secured a large portion of the Murraylands so that endangered animals from around the world could roam freely (within their designated areas) for repopulation and rehabilitation. We jumped on board their 11:15 safari shuttle for a close-up look at the wildlife. For the next hour, we got to gawk at all those animals we would have had in our own safari.
   It was a great way to spend the morning, looking and learning... too bad the day was soured by the theft of our million dollar idea. Oh well, there's always Mop Socks.

"Oh, I don't know. I've grown to love the tattoo parlour. I've come to realize that we're all part of the great tapestry of life."
- Brian.
Day 320: She's going under!
Distance Travelled: 71.8km Temperature: 19
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 2.5L
Terrain: Pretty good
End Location: Lake Albert
walking on water
It is so much cooler to ride a ferry across a river than going across a bridge! For a cyclist, especially one riding a metre-wide contraption (whenever I type contraption, I have this internal fear that I'm going to accidentally type contraception instead, causing confusion and embarrassment), a bridge offers nothing but danger. Still with me?
   A ferry, however, gives you an alloted space amongst the scary cars, and you get the added pleasure of taking photos of your bike floating mysteriously over the river. Plus, you don't have to pedal! Ahhhh. If only every half-kilometre were this easy.

"I guess that's why I'm Britney Spears, and you're not."
- Kevin.
Day 321: Foof!
Distance Travelled: 77.8km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Wavy
End Location: Coorong NP, Salt Creek
parks pass
Show us a National Park and we'll show you a couple of adventurers turned Weekend Campers*. Something happened to us when we saw the sign for the National Park today. Maybe we were just giddy with joy at camping in a designated area (instead of the usual ditch or quarry), but we suddenly felt like we'd just pulled up in the Winnebago for the night. Let's have a fire! Let's toast something! Who brought the mustard? Let's stay up late and tell ghost stories! Maybe camping can be fun, after all.
*For a complete definition of the Weekend Camper, please see Day 189 of our United States Road Trip.

"You were going to put that knife away dirty like that? Wipe it on your pants first! Jeez, were you born in a barn?"
- Aimee.
Day 322: Old friends
Distance Travelled: 78.2km Temperature: 7
Time on Trikes: 8.5h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Bloody Cold
End Location: Kingston
not so bad after all
It's another drizzly day here in the Murraylands, the United Kingdom temperate zone of the South Pacific. I popped my head out of the tent this morning and immediately forecast doom for the day. I was pretty much on target too; it's not that tough to predict the weather when you can't tell where the sun is.
   Except for the one bright spot in this dreary day: seeing our ol' Nullarbor pals Geoff and Gil again! These folks from Perth, along with their friends Janet and Bill, first met us two days into their round-Australia trip, at the first rest area on the Nullarbor Plain. Since then, they've been all up and down the East Coast, as far north as Cairns, and now they're on their way home. Us, well, we're still plodding on towards Melbourne...

"Watch our for Mr Skinnylegs, he's looking for
somewhere to spread his man goo..."
- Kevin.
fritz: (n.) if Mr. Skinnylegs doesn't like sausages, he certainly won't like Fritz. Fritz is the equivalent of South Australian bologna. If you were to ask a butcher what meat is Fritz, his answer would be "Luncheon". "Caitlyn! Do you want Vegemite or Fritz in your sandwich today?"

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. The Febreze of Nature.