Gra Nomad Wanderings

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bike for Bibles Ride Report (Thurs)

101 km today…but 45 of them were against a strong wind. We went out to Wongarbon and returned to Dubbo via Ballimore. There was one casualty when a rider went down going round a corner where there was a bunch of gravel. He lost a bit of skin but still had his sense of humour. He reckoned he was able to save his bike from real harm. That’s how you can tell a real cycling addict. When you’re as old as I am, you don’t fancy coming off your bike because it seems to take ages to heal. Guess that comes with the territory as you get a bit older eh?
I had another turn on the Meers’ tandem with Cheryl….a Cannondale called Dale (original guys!) Some of the riders hit around 70 kph coming down into town but I figured I’d take it a bit easy and was content with 54.
So tomorrow we head off for Molong (a tougher ride than we’ve had around Dubbo) and then the next day to Blayney and then finally to Blackheath (Blue Mountains). Fay will come and collect me in Blackheath and we’ll probably head home on Sunday night… or Monday!
Recent rains have broken the back of the drought in many parts of NSW. The countryside that we’ve travelled through has been magnificent with a fair bit of water lying about in paddocks. The crops look great too. Knees are holding up well I must tell you. Maybe by the end of the ride I’ll be in top shape. Let’s hope so. I’ll write a post when the ride is over.

Canadian Visitor Arrives

It's great to have family arrive. Brother Bill has arrived from Vancouver Island in Canada. He's been living there since the late sixties, so it's always a treat when he comes to visit Dubbo.
Unfortunately I haven't been too successful in getting him on a bike this trip, but then I've only seen him for a matter of hours. There is certainly a range of bikes in town if he wanted a ride.
Daughter Debbie rode yesterday - first real ride this trip as she's been crook (sick). Even though it's wet and windy this morning, I think Deb will ride with me today. We have just 105 km today to Wongarbon and back through Ballimore. So it won't be a long day in the saddle... we hope. Guess Bill and my wife Fay (pictured) can have a sleep in this morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Narromine Loop

Hey Rodney! The body managed to do 126 km today!
Conditions were ideal. Fairly flat country round here and we started off quite sedately. I like the bloke in Dubbo (he had to be a school teacher) who once said, “We start off easy and then we back off!”
I had a turn at captaining the Cannondale tandem. What a beautiful bike. Thanks Peter and Cheryl. It has flat bars and mtb wheels. An easy bike to ride which responds beautifully when you ask it for a quick bit of grunt. I was on our Burley road tandem on Sunday following them as they went through an S bend under a railway bridge. They sure can ride that bike. I wonder if Cheryl closes her eyes like Fay does on some of those tight corners? Tomorrow is an easy day of 60 km. Even Debbie (daughter) might be well enough to cycle tomorrow. There were team photos taken today. I’ll see if I can get one on here tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Bike for Bibles Ride Report

The ride didn’t start off in great style. I boxed the road bike and it (Mongoose) and I jumped on the train for Katoomba (Blue Mountains.) Unfortunately only one of us got off at the correct station! So, the Mongoose finally arrived too late to put it together for the start of the ride the next day.
I finished up riding my daughter Debbie’s bike 44 km. Then she was feeling a bit better and said "how ‘bout we ride the tandem"? So, we got the tandem down and rode 20 km before she conked out. Then another young bloke (Ross Handley) jumped on the back and rode the next 70+ with me to Blayney. We both worked pretty hard. Ross is a 20 year old rider with plenty of guts. He found that you’ve really gotta put it in when you’re the stoker on the back of the tandem. Total distance was 140 km. Deb wasn’t well, so I arranged for Fay to come and pick her up from Blayney and take her back to a warm house at Dubbo with real beds and proper showers…and TLC from Mum!
Day 2 was not as flash a day but turned out to be an ideal touring day on the bikes. There are just over 50 riders and about 15 backup crew on this ride.
It was sad to leave the beautiful Blayney facility with its indoor pool and all. Much appreciated. Molong Central School hall was quite small in comparison, but we SQUEEZED in. It was a total of 116 km which was the same distance today (Monday). Only difference today was it was raining at the start of the day and it rained a fair bit during the day. Our B team (there are 4 teams), rode extremely well, with no punctures all the way to Dubbo! There are between 9 and 12 riders in our team and 2 roadie vehicles… one at the front and one at the back. We ride as a team and support each other. I ran out of "fuel" both yesterday and today in the last 20 km, but somehow managed to make it into the destinations. You might say, “limped in”.
I have a sore butt at present and am fairly weary. The left knee is hanging in there. I don’t think it’s up to too much tandem cycling though. That certainly puts quite a bit of extra pressure on it.
So, tomorrow is another day! Narromine and back…. Yes, it’s 116 km again! Wonder what bike I'll ride this time!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs

In 1950, Jack Murray, famous outback car racing driver, drove from Darwin, Northern Territory, south to Alice Springs in 16 hours. 954 miles. The road of course was unsealed. That’s an average speed of 60 mph (95 kph.)
In 1951, Les Taylor and a guy called Rendle, drove the journey in 10 hours 32 minutes. They covered the 954 mile (1526 km) journey driving at 120 mph! Yes, 120 MILES AN HOUR! They averaged about 90 mph. Roos, brumbies and cattle were the biggest problem. And they did the trip in a Jaguar XK120! The other problem was that they were fined when they arrived. I believe they were fined for dangerous driving, driving without a Northern Territory licence, the car not being registered in NT and of course speeding.
In 1955 Stirling Moss, with a big back up team, beat that record in averaging 98 mph.
I found this information when we visited the Transport Hall of Fame in Alice this year. Fay and I drove this route in May this year, although we went from Alice to Darwin - always tougher uphill! It is now a sealed bitumen road all the way.
Please do not pass this on to people under the age of 50.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bike Ride Begins Saturday

Wow... it's about to start. The bike ride I've been training for for days... maybe 3 or 4 days even. Isn't that terrible?
Actually I feel pretty good and the left knee is holding up really well (thanks Lord.) So, it's a 9 day ride covering about 1,000 km (600 miles.)
I am going by train to Blackheath (in the Blue Mountains) on Friday. I've had to box the bike, which means take it apart a bit. Maybe if we buy a Bike Friday tandem in the US next year we'll be able to cart our bike around a bit more easily.
The Bike for Bibles ride (BFB) is raising money to support Kenya and Uganda in the fight against HIV/AIDS and also to develop reading materials for the young kids. Seeing I have a desire for a good education for all, it's a pretty good issue to be fundraising for. Feel free to support me if you'd like to. I haven't reached my goal yet.
Next time I log on I'll be able to give you a bit of information on how the ride went/is going.
Oh by the way, my brother Bill has arrived from Canada! Great news. Hopefully I'll catch up with him shortly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Magpies Welcome Home Keast

Well, I was out having a quiet peaceful ride with four cycling buddies today, when whoosh! Along came a magpie ( and attacked me. He actually pecked or hit my helmet 11 times until I finally swung my arms and told him to buzz off. He's not the only one that's welcomed me back in such as fashion. Maybe they were just waiting for me to return to Dubbo. The maggies seem to be worse than I've ever remembered them. My helmet looks like it was rescued from New Orleans last week. I hope they keep some of their energy for when the 50+ cyclists from the Bike for Bibles team arrive here next week. (Sorry I couldn't paste the damn magpie here for you... guess they're all out attacking cyclists! The photo of me is what I looked like BEFORE the maggie struck.)
Managed 50 km on the bike yesterday and today. So the training is underway.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Trip's Over

Yep, we finally made it back to Dubbo. And in time for the Saturday night party! Our trusty rig (turbo diesel Pajero towing an Avan Cruiseliner - Matilda) didn't let us down at all during our 24,400 km 5 month trip through NT, WA, SA and Vic. That's 15,250 miles. We used 3,124 litres of diesel which cost just over $4,000. Accommodation cost us $1190 - thanks to the many folk who had a bit of space in their back yard for us to park Matilda. Why sometimes we were even upgraded to an inside bed!
Now to the coming events:

24 Sept - big 1,000 km bike ride starts - I'd better start training eh?
20 Oct - some cycle stuff happening in Sydney... and other stuff - doc appointments
07 Nov - golf tourney/trip around Murray River area, Yarrawonga to Wentworth with Canadians
15 Dec - maybe time to head to The Retreat, Cudmirrah, down the pretty south coast of NSW.
Yes, a GREAT trip with heaps of happy memories and tons of photos. Hey, did you see I have learnt how to insert a photo? It was taken on our last day... 15 September.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ashes to Ashes

Well, maybe it was my fault. I said it'd be great for cricket if England beat us in this series! But what a great series.
Congratulations to Glen McGrath. He only played 3 tests. He came 4th in the batting averages (yes, batting averages) and 3rd in the bowling averages. He had a better batting average than Haydos, Gilly, Katich and Martyn. He had a better batting strike rate than everyone except Warne, Lee, Gilly and Kasper. Yes, better than Punter and Langer!
I enjoyed the cricket, especially in WA when it finished just after midnight! Quite acceptable. A great series that will be remembered for a long time.

What Do You Do On A Friday

We've sure had a great trip! Departed Dubbo 13 April and we need to be back there for a party on 17 Sept. We're not home yet! Seen heaps of NT and WA and even SA and Vic.
Oh, we also have to be back for the 1,000 km week long bike ride I'm going on which starts in the Blue Mountains on 24 Sept.
Five months is a long time to be on the wallaby. You sure learn a heap as you travel around. Yesterday I had my first ride on a Bike Friday ( It was something else (which means "cool"). I love the advertising..."What do you do on a Friday?" They fold up and you can put them into your boot (or trunk if you're North American). There's one guy, George, who puts one into the boot of his Audi TTi! (Not a very big car.) I wonder if anyone's ridden across Australia on a Bike Friday yet? They have a tandem called Tandem Twosday. The guy who let me have a ride (Graham Brown) has enough bikes for every day of the week I think. He's off to England to cycle Land's End to John O'Groates. Even Fay had a ride on it in Rutherglen complete with STIs and drops. Well we've got a folding caravan so maybe we need a folding bike or two!!!
Off to Dubbo via Temora. Don't forget the party is on Saturday... so we'd better keep moving.
Stats on the trip in a few days.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Limestone Coast - Mt Gambier

Where else is there a city like Mt Gambier, SA, with about 25,000 people, which is about 450 km from Adelaide and also 450 from Melbourne which has such fantastic facilities? And they've got sinkholes, caves and the beautiful Blue Lake which is also their never-ending water supply. Sporting facilities are heaps better than many much larger cities (not mentioning any names, Dicko!) Wouldn't it be good if we had a velodrome and two golf courses? We wanted to stay a bit longer and see Julie Anthony and Simon Gallagher performing together. It seems big name acts are not unusual at Mt Gambier.
We stayed with great Servas folk - - Colin & Jeanette. We enjoyed pizzas, steak in onion gravy, home-made muffins and home baked bread (just like Bob and Wendy made in Perth.)
Coming from country NSW we really love the beautiful stone buildings we saw in Adelaide and Mt Gambier. [Sorry I haven't learnt how to add photos to this blogspot yet - maybe I need another lesson, Rodney!]
Meanwhile the cycling training isn't being done is it? (Don't tell Jim.) Oh well the big ride doesn't start till 24 Sept and that's a long way off...
Currently in Narrawong (near Portland, Vic) with the mad Burches (also Servas) and getting ready to head north. Lady Di cooked us a beautiful fish in puffed pastry last night. Spoilt!
Hey diesel fuel was cheaper than unleaded in Mt Gambier! Can you believe that? Maybe that's another reason that we love that city. My mate Burchie says, "Buy up Keasty, it'll never be this cheap again!" (He's been saying that for many years.)
PS Just in the middle of a 40 km bike ride and posting this in the Portland library. Quite flash, but I should have done it in Mt G where it was a free service!
19 degrees is the norm round here this week. Good luck to the Aussie cricketers!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Crossing The Nullarbor

I love the Nullarbor.
Last time I went across it was by bicycle in Sept 03 with a Bike for Bibles team. It took the team 10 days to cross from Norseman to Adelaide stopping at Balladonia, Caiguna, Madura, Border Village, Nullarbor, Nundroo, Ceduna, Kimba, Pt Augusta and Clare. We were averaging 165 km/day which was a good way to celebrate turning 60!
The bike went even faster this trip, attached to the roof of the Pajero. This time we covered 784 km on day 1 from Kalgoorlie to Madura. 2nd day took us 606 km tonear Penong. We did alot of whale watching. There were 131 in the bay at Head of Bight. Unbelievable. 3rd day we planned to get to Port Augusta, but as we were going so well, we continued on to Crystal Brook covering 698 km. We set up our Avan on Everetts' farm. Great folks, and parents of Brad who rode with me in 2003.
That left us 234 km to get to Adelaide the next day.
Going across the Nullarbor we saw roos, emus, a very bold dingo and stacks of birds (mostly parrots). Not a camel or a wombat excepton the sign posts.
We were fortunate in having strong winds behind us which helped with our speed and our fuel economy, giving us 13.5 L/100 km. We also managed to avoid the fuel stops where diesel was over 160 c/L. Thanks truckies.
I love the way the terrain and the shrubs and trees vary as you travel across. I hate to say it (I can now), but the best way to cross the Nullarbor is by bicycle! Maybe next time I'll take a leaf out of Ross and Anne Pearson's book and ride by tandem. ( Anyone want to join me?
We're currently resting in Adelaide before heading for Mt Gambier, about 550 km away (I think.)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sched 3.2

2 Sep Adelaide
6 Sep Mt Gambier
8 Sep Portland
10 Sep Port Fairy
11 Sep Bendigo
12 Sep Springhurst
14 Sep Temora
15 or 16 Sep DUBBO (home)
Stay tuned for alterations and deletions!

Seven Wonders of the World

Do you know what they are? I'll tell you.
One is Fay's mobile phone so the kids can contact us while we travel.
The second one is my mobile phone which allows me to SMS very cheaply.
The third is my magic iPod which has tons of music and miraculously plays it through our car radio as we travel long distances.
Fourth is the inverter which means I plug it in to the cigarette lighter (that's what everyone calls it) and then I can plug electrical items in to it such as my shaver, while Fay drives.
Fifth is the laptop which sends and receives messages and stores all our photos and can balance on my lap plugged into the fourth wonder.
Sixth is the digital camera which allows us to take umpteen photos of whales we see from Head of Bight (sorry I haven't learnt how to insert photos yet.)
Seventh.... seventh.... is my Palm (handheld) which stores all contacts, heaps of docs, calendar, the Bible and guess what? It doesn't need a PASSWORD!
Of course an eighth one is Fay who's doing all the driving while I play with the toys... I mean wonders.