week 65...
16,342km down, none to go!

The Big Pinapple! Yay!

I won't attempt to write anything profound and poignant about triumph over adversity or any of that garbage you read about in other travelogues. No bad bike puns, no symbolism, no microcosm alluding to the human condition. We're just happy to be friggin' done. Whew!
We just got even more interactive!

try the faces! they're more fun than the conversation!
here's the triumph over adversity bit...
First of all, did you read about our day on Tuesday? It sucked crap. Mr. Skinnylegs was probably looking up at us and laughing shell casings out his green arse.

I blame Paul Elwood. He wrote a book called Around Australia By Bicycle. Aimee had to review it for Australian Cyclist, and we got to keep it afterwards. Now, you know how I feel about travel guides, but we thought it might help us through the cities. HA!

Here's what Paul said about getting into Brisbane:

376.6 ~ 401.1 : Motorway has wide, smooth shoulder for cyclists.

That's it. That's all the help you get into Brisbane. For the record, kilometre 376 is around Coomera/Wet n' Wild, and 401 is around Beenleigh, one of the southernmost suburbs of Brisbane. Basically, he says "She'll be right mite" for the last 25 into the city.

As it turns out, he's a friggin' poser. That's why there's a picture of a chick in the outback on the back of his book instead of him, because he probably drove this section, poking his head out the window occasionally and saying "yup, shoulder still looks good."

Anyway, here's the REAL way to get there, if you decide to REALLY cycle around Australia instead of just pretending...

From The Gold Coast To Brisbane Without Being Fined
1. You're pretty safe straight up the Gold Coast. There's a bike path or quiet road right along the beach as far north as Southport. And the Gold Coast Highway actually allows bikes.
2. As you approach Helensvale, you'll reach a fork in the road. Left to the motorway, right to Helensvale and Oxenford. Take the right, because the left is the motorway.
3. You'll go over the motorway, and at the other side of the bridge, you should be able to see a sign to Oxenford (if you're in the same place as I was) and a bike path. Off ya go!
4. Somewhere around here, you'll start seeing signs for the V1 Bike Path, which runs along side the M1 for a while. Careful! It's fleeting!
5. When you lose the thread entirely, you should be around Coomera. At the onramp roundabout, take Days Rd toward Pimpama.
6. Right turn on Old Coach Road (Second right, after some lane).
7. Next roundabout at Pimpama, continue straight on Rifle Range Rd.
8. Take the first right, which says No Through Road. Follow the road to the right again, where there's a bike path under the highway. Now you're on the east side.
9. From what I remember (memory's a bit hazy here), there's a service road here all the way up to Beenleigh. Don't forget to pick up a pie in Yatala, which you can have just before bed in the Beenleigh Cemetery.
10. Keep going up the service road, east of the highway, to the Hyperdome (not to be confused with the Thunderdome). Cross the highway, where the service road continues.
11. Around Slacks Creek, take a left on Baker and straight through the lights, moving away from the motorway onto Logan Road.
12. After Eight Mile Plains, we went some weird way that wouldn't make sense to you unless you had a street guide, so I'll put you on some busy streets for a minute... Under the Motorway, left on Mt. Gravatt Rd/Kessels Rd, back over the Motorway, and left on Mains Rd.
13. Just before you cross the Motorway again, look around for a Bike Path (might have to take a left toward the onramp). This is the Brisbane Cycleway. You're home free all the way to Southbank! Nice work!
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

Beenleigh Fire Brigade
The Beenleigh Fire Department will now be fighting all their fires from recumbent trikes! They may not be that speedy, but at least they know they can carry up to sixty litres!
Peter
Peter caught up to us again on Thursday to make sure we'd make it out of Brissie okay. He also had a little somethin' somethin' for us as a wedding present. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, PETER.
John & Family
This happy family is travelling around the world for a year! The ideal adventure to supplement their kids' education, though the school doesn't necessarily agree. I wonder what they'll see next before returning home to the UK? (Note from the future: Us!)
Dave & Louie
We were thrilled to see Dave again, but it was Louie that we really missed. This little pup was a bit shy of us at first, but we must have smelled vaguely familiar because he cuddled up next to us in no time at all. Speaking of Louie...

Louie's sniffin' around for a sitter!

Our mate David is preparing to cycle around this country in the same big circle that we just did. He's moving out of his flat, putting his gear in storage, but the one thing he can't pack away, or bring with him, is his trusty companion,

Louie.


That means that this precious pup needs a home for the twelve months that Dave will be cycling, starting in March 2004. Have you got the space in your home and heart for a big, lovable brown dog with floppy ears?

All about Louie:
Louie's a doberman, four years old, who doesn't have the vicious guarddog mannerisms that go with the breed, and Dave would like him to stay that way. He's an old softie, who sounds tough behind a fence, but wouldn't hurt a fly. He's quiet, well-behaved, and really cute.
   To see more of Dave & Louie, visit Week 18 of the website.
His owner, David Vivian, is hoping for a dogsitter who will treat him with love, and not turn him into a guarddog. David would volunteer to take care of the food and vet bills while he was gone, or, while he'd be sad to part with him, he would be open to giving him away permanently to the right person or family (a year is a long time to a dog). David lives in Camira (south of Brisbane), but would take Louie any distance for the right dogsitter.

If you're interested or if you've got any more questions about Louie, contact David directly at:
07-3424-1454
or through email: davidvivian@optusnet.com.au
 
wally's amazin' facts!
Pineapples don't grow on pine trees or apple trees, silly! They grow in the ground! Good thing, too! Imagine getting bonked on the head by a ripe pineapple falling out of a tree! Yoink!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Did you know that in the year 2000, Queensland produced over 139,000 tonnes of pineapples? The Big Pineapple has a huge plantation out the back, with rows upon rows of fresh, tasty pineapples, ready to eat! By the way, the Big Pineapple may be huge, but you can't exactly eat it. However, the biggest pineapple ever grown comes from Papua New Guinea and weighed in at 17 pounds, 12 ounces! That's a lot of turnovers!

Well, that's it for me! I've been digging up facts for you cats and kittens for the past 65 weeks, and it's time for me to hang up my old spermologer's hat. Hope you've enjoyed my entertaining little figures and factoids! Until we meet again... adios! And a big bye bye to my favourite Year Fours at Horsham 298! Stay in school and be successful! Like me, Wally W. Wombat! Thank you, good night!

Last chance to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 243kmDistance since Day 1: 16342km

What was Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 449: Light Christmas
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 32
End Location: Scott & Karen's
summer wonderland
Last year, we didn't get the full Australian Christmas experience (Although it could be argued that we got the true blue Aussie Christmas experience, being hundreds of miles from civilization in 45 degree heat and calling our loved ones from the petrol station in Turkey Creek).
   What we missed were the decorations. Last year, strapped to the front of our bike, there was a green-felt happy-tree made by my sister. It was the only decoration in sight. This year, we get life-sized Santas in swimmers riding surfboards, towed by nine friendly dolphins. We get light-up koalas and wombats wearing red toques. And we admire it all wearing a pair of shorts.
   Last year, it was tinned spam and Outback steak. This year, we've discovered that pretzels are a holiday treat. And who really wants to spend six hours in a kitchen over a hot stove waiting for a turkey to cook, when you can just have a picnic with turkey cold cuts?
   I guess I'm a Canadian through and through, because if it's not white, it's not right.

"That's the first time I've ever seen a dart in the side of the filing cabinet."
- Scott, commending Aimee's dart-throwing abilities.
Day 450: No Quarter
Distance Travelled: 81.3km Temperature: 35
Time on Trikes: 10h Water Left: 10L
Terrain: Choose your own adventure
End Location: Beenleigh Cemetery
one last arse-biting day
There are a lot of misconceptions about long-distance cylce touring. One of them is that it gets easier over time.
   I'm here to tell you the truth. It never gets easier. Never. Not for a second. Well, perhaps for a second, just to throw you off your guard, but as soon as you think you've got your rhythm, something pops up to bite you in the arse. This entire day was one big arse-bite.
   Let's start at the end, like any good Christian Slater film. We camped in the Beenleigh Cemetery. How's that for a whopper of a good time? Sleeping next to a field of dead people was the best part of our day, if that tells you something. And now, the flashback...
   The day started out pleasantly enough with us having no troubles getting to the Pacific Highway. Apparently, the motorway was supposed to have a nice shoulder for the final 25km into the city. Easy! Our plan was to reach the motorway, and take it all the way up to Brisbane, nice and simple.
   When we got to the highway, we learned that bicycles of any sort were not allowed on it (neither were animals or tractors, but we weren't riding those). Of course, they don't put this sign up until you've already committed yourself to taking the highway by navigating through a complex series of onramps and overpasses. To get out of this deathtrap, we had to back ourselves up the onramp and attempt to find any road that went alongside the highway in the general direction of North.
   To those of you not familiar with the motorway system around Brisbane, it's quite simple. There's a motorway that goes into the city and a Motorway that goes out of it. That's pretty much it. Absolutely beautiful if you're able to use the motorway. Absolute hell if you're not.
   And so began the general pattern for the day. Two steps forward, one step back as we blindly navigated our way through service roads, dead end bike paths and the occasional dirt towards our destination for the night: Beenleigh Pines Caravan Park.
   Of course, the site of the Beenleigh Pines now contained two bulldozers, rubble, and a roofless toilet block. Desperately, we cycled to the only other caravan park in town, about five kilometres away. By this time the sun had set and we were getting advice from police officers telling us to stop cycling or put some lights on the bike (yeah, no shit). As luck would have it, this caravan park was shut up and not accepting visitors for the evening. Then I broke a tooth on a pie. Yeah. That's about right. The broken tooth came between the second caravan park and the cemetery.
   And how did we get to the cemetery? We had ridden by a Fire Station on the way to Van Park Number Two, and remembered the niceness of the boys in red back in Yallourn.We asked if we could camp in their backyard. Their backyard, as it turned out, happens to be the Beenleigh Cemetery.
   We have managed to find a proper campspot every night, for 450 nights, until this one. It never gets easier.

"At least you can take heart in the fact that every Aimee in every alternate universe is having just as bad of a time as you are."
- Kevin.
Day 451: Saint Peter
Distance Travelled: 72.8km Temperature: 32
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 8.0L
Terrain: Thank goodness for Peter
End Location: Sandgate
angel brought us here
Needless to say, we awoke with a bit of trepidation regarding our upcoming cycle into Brisbane. If yesterday was so horrible (have you read yesterday yet? Sheesh!) and we hadn't even reached the city yet, what would today bring?
   What today brought was an angel wearing the disguise of a road cyclist. Peter cycled up beside us with the opening line "Are you Aimee?" and from there, he became our best friend for the day. Not only did he guide us through the city, but he shouted us lunch at a little Lebanese place on the South Bank and bought us a bottle of wine to have with dinner that night. He spent his entire day making sure that we stopped swearing at Brisbane and started enjoying ourselves.
   Isn't it funny how right when you're at the end of your rope, someone like Peter comes along to cheer you up? Many, many thanks, Peter.

"Obviously I had nothing to do with this book because it's so poorly done. In fact, I don't even recommend using it. But, in any case, here you go."
- Kevin's inscription in Around Australia by Bicycle.
Day 452: Night Out
Distance Travelled: 68.2km Temperature: 32
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 7.0L
Terrain: Good shoulder!
End Location: Bruce Highway
enough is enough
It's our last night in the tent!!! We're appropriately camped a mere ten metres from the Pacific Highway, so we should be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the trucks passing by. Ahhh. How we'll miss those trucks.
   Kevin thought that it would be appropriate if we ate tuna and couscous tonight... y'know, for old time's sake. Which is really a dumb idea. I mean, do normal people spend one more day at work getting flak from their boss "for old time's sake"? Does a boxer take one more jab in the face from Mike Tyson after the match "for old time's sake"?
   When it came down to the punch, we ate mangoes and Shapes. A much better celebratory meal, if you ask me.

"Ah Piz-zer-REEE-ah! Itali-AAAH-no! Itali-AAAH-no!"
- Kevin, repeatedly.
Day 453: End of Days
Distance Travelled: 21.1km Temperature: 33
Time on Trikes: 3.0h Water Left: 4.0L
Terrain: DONE!
End Location: Forest Glen Big4
because it was there
Hah! We've just proven that two out-of-shape Canadians CAN cycle around one of the world's largest, driest, most dangerous countries without getting injured or killed by outside influences or each other. "Hah!" we say to the naysayers. We did it and now...um... oooo! Now we can apply for that Guinness World Record we've always wanted:

The World's First Canadian Couple Under 30 to Cycle Around Australia on a Unsupported Tandem Recumbent Tricycle in Under Fifteen Months.

I can practically taste the the sweet tingle of fame on my tongue! Success!

"I must be getting sick, my jokes are getting dumber."
- Aimee.
Day 454: Okay, the REAL last night out.
End Location: Forest Glen
sentimental sook
This is it. This is the last time in Australia you're ever going to see our bikes resting peacefully beside our tent. It's also the last time we're going to be eating out of a cut-up milk container and drinking through squeezie bottles. I'm starting to get nostalgic about a lot of silly things today. For instance, I have no need for the ten-litre water container that's strapped to the back of the bikes. But I just don't have the heart to toss it out. I mean, we've had that since we got married. It's practically done half the country with us. How can I just toss it out like a piece of plastic?
   Wait till we take the bikes apart. There may be tears.

"I've been doing this for so long I don't know if I can do anything else."
- Kevin.
Day 455: Best Mates
End Location: Dave's Place!
v for victory!
Holy Frickin' Frack! It's Dave!
   Sixteen months ago, he was a perfect stranger. Now he's a friend we've relied upon dozens of times throughout this trip, and he's always pulled through. Today he pulled through by coming to pick us up at the exact same location that he dropped us off at exactly 455 days ago. Who knew it would be that long before we'd meet again?
   Dave, we missed ya, mate!

"Here's your pillow... Hey, it's flat. I bet you could eat a lot of those."
- Aimee.
smoko: (n.) a short break...
See you in New Zealand!

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day 449
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and one
last spider
for good
measure

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Eat that, Jackass!