Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Blog for Pedal4Parkinson's 2010

Hi All,

It is that time of the year again and you can keep up-to-date with the progress of Pedal4Parkinson's 2010 by visiting the new blog at:


Look forward to hearing from you soon,


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 13 - Final Stand when your legs would rather sit

I have to say it was exceedingly easy to get up this morning, my alarm went off at 4AM and I was up like a flash. For Adam it did not appear to be so easy. Once we were up we rushed around to pack up camp so we could make it back to Ballam Park to meet with Max. I was so grateful to have a caravan park kitchen as it meant I could have a pipping hot coffee and egg on toast, which was required give n the cold temperatures.

We ended up being a few minutes late for poor Max who had begun to question if he had come to the correct location. Once we arrived we introduced ourselves, checked bikes and went on our way. Along the ride I was able to find out a bit more about this mystery rider. It turns out Max is also about to head off on the same pedal for Parkinson's in Vietnam as Karyn, who I rode into Bega with. The first leg with Max was 19km and was perfect conditions and a wide shoulder so we could chat more. After the first rest we called those meeting us at the finish and informed them we were on time then headed of on the final leg of 28km. This leg would have been great out of peak and without drivers like registration number WOT:007 (Green ford) who thought it would be smart to get close enough to knock Max with the side of his car. After simply brushing it off we moved on.

I was amazed by the number of people that cycle in Melbourne, it walks all over Sydney. On that note though I do see why, the city is made for it. It was just so simple to get into the city, no one way streets no ridiculously tight one lane roads and well signposted, I thought I was in heaven.

Yay we made it!!!! Still hasn't hit home yet.

On arrival we were greeted by Glen and Cath (from Pakinson's Victoria) as well as a sleepy Adam. Again this was the first time I had met both Glen and Cath and I was very lucky that they had the time to sit down for some coffee and breakfast (on a seat much more comfy then my bikes).

Eventually we all had to head our separate ways, Glen and Cath to work, Max to his car, Adam and I to shopping then home. My original plan was to get some clothes that fit while I was in Melbourne but that failed as I am the worlds worst clothes shopper, I get frustrated, thus we began to drive home. We are currently entering Yass and will be spending the night in Canberra with my parents who are very excited to see me, then we will head back to Sydney tomorrow.

Adam eating lunch in a classy Melbourne Cafe (Anyone would think he didn't like my camp cooking...)

I would like to thank all of you for keeping up-to-date and reading my stories as this cycle has meant a lot to me and I have most certainly been touched by all of you along the way. Please don't be a stranger, email me, let me know how things are and your ideas as to how we can make next years ride even better.

Toilets on the way home, you have to ask do they mean under the age of 18??? and why?

Look forward to hearing from you and seeing you all again next year (If not before).



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 10 - The budget GPS will get us there...

Firstly I would like to let everyone know that I discovered this morning the "creature" previously thought to be a marsupial mouse was in fact a big rat... YUKO. Secondly you will all be please to know I got rid of him this morning so we now have a nice clean car and my iron pills can be reassured that only I will be consuming them.

Today was a long day, but lucky for me it didn't end up hot as we had originally thought. Our first stop was Warragul where we were met by the Warragul Parkinson's Support group who kindly pried themselves from bed on such a drizzly morning. Even after getting lost on the way to the meeting place I still managed to find time to eat an egg sandwich, some nuts and drink tea while talking with the group.

The Warragul Support group, a lot more awake then I was

The next stop was Bunyip North, it was a fairly quiet rest stop here and Adam and I decided we'd cook toast. Well I originally decided then Adam stole some while I wasn't looking, then thought he should cook his own as gluten free bread doesn't really do it for him. It was here I also discovered a new favorite toast topping, peanut butter and sultanas (best energy kick ever!).

Yes I understand you may think it looks gross but it is really quite nice, just try it.

On the way to the third rest as Berwick show ground I was making fantastic time, then I passed an elderly couple having some car trouble and gave them a hand sorting things out. I would have still been ahead if it wasn't for the strange sign posting and weird way of getting off the Princes Freeway onto the C101. Not only did I get totally lost and confused (which would happen if you told me to follow a straight line) Adam also got thrown off track. Good news is I have discovered a fool proof budget GPS, permanent marker on legs. There are still a few bugs I'm ironing out but it's better then nothing.

Worlds cheapest and easiest to work GPS

When we finally made it to the show ground we were provided with a warm welcome by the Cranbourne Parkinson's Support Group and their most magnificent sign. Here we stood around and chatted for a bit over a very much needed coffee. One of the members of this group Anne has started Paint for Parkinson's within Victoria which provides an opportunity for sufferers of Parkinson's to express themselves and socialise through art. If you would like further information as to weather there is a group near you or how you can start your own group drop me a line and I will put you in touch with Anne.

Cranbourne Support Group and there fantastic sign.

The final stop for the day was Frankston and bot was this leg painful. Between having to navigate through roads, avoid very rude truck drivers who knock you off and keep my legs moving I am surprised I made it. But I did, which means only one more leg to go :o)

For dinner tonight Adam and I decided we'd go out as we really didn't want to shop and cook tonight. To our great amazement we found an all you could eat restaurant which served mussels and prawns as well as a decent salad selection all for $16.90 each. So while Adam stocked up on everything and three deserts I raided the seafood and salad bar and definitely ate more then three times the value we paid (I don't think they expect cyclists who've ridden from Sydney much).

Look at my yummy seafood, plate 1 of god knows how many

Now this may have been a world first for Sizzler style dinning... a whole plate of salad??? YUM!

Adam became traumatised after the 3rd bowl of dessert, I just went back for more seafood.

On a totally random note the bellow picture of a tap had to be added in as the most random thing we have seen as it is not just attached but it is apart of the show ground fence.... ummmm

Yes that is a tap-fence you see, it works too!

Hope you are all as excited about tomorrow as I am.

Sleep well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 11 - Hide and seek in the car

The fantastic tape job holding together my shoe

I would like to start by simply saying the mouse remains in our car. That's right despite our ingenious plans, traps and various methods it still remains. As the mouse had previously eaten my entire collection of iron pills I felt I best be careful as to where I put my replacement pack, and nothing is more safe in any car than a glove box. This morning I was proved wrong, just as I was about to leave I remembered I had to take my iron and opened the glove box to find again that the lid had been totally consumed along with my tablets. I don't want to know how the mouse got in there and I really dont want to know where else in the dash/car internals it is going and what it is eating along the way, I just want it out!!! So far the following things are on the list of what I have learned the Australian marsupial mouse likes to eat:

  • Iron Tablets
  • Orange GU Electrolyte powder (GU20), he doesn't like lime at all
  • Potato
  • Drink bottle tops (the rubber pop top bit)
  • Pain killer gel
  • Road Cycling shoes (particularly smelly ones)
  • Used coffee grounds
  • Egg shells

I really can't wait to totally unpack the car to find out what else he has indulged in.

Today was again a bit of a late start as Adam and I wanted to be on top of the fire situation before I began cycling. Lucky for us we appear to dodge all fire activity at this time but we are keeping an eye out, particularly as the winds and temperatures increase.

The first stop was at Rosedale where Adam kindly cooked me an egg and made me a coffee before I rushed off to try and catch up with time. The next stop was Traralgon where I was greeted by a pleasant surprise of a group from the Moe Parkinson's Support group. Lucky I had caught a bit of time and was able to have a chat with the group while I fed myself a very needed dose of protein and carbs before heading off to tackle the last leg.

First part of the Moe support group who met us in Traralgon

On arriving in Moe we encountered some drama as the name and location google maps had given us for the Oval we said we would meet the support groups at was wrong. So after cycling around town to try and find Moe Oval and the support crew who we had been informed would be waiting my legs finally gave in and we headed to tonight's caravan park while I tracked down a contact number for the support group to apologise. On arrival to the caravan park we were greeted by the support group who as it happened thought that was were we were going to meet all along. So it all got sorted and I finally got to meet the rest of the Moe support group.

The rest of the Moe support group who came to greet us at Moe.

So far this afternoon Adam and I have been exploring the town to find essentials like more iron tablets, another plastic tub to store all the stuff we thought wouldn't get eaten but still did and dinner for tonight. We have also unpacked and repacked the car in a hope of again getting rid of the mouse. Oh and Adam dis some work.

Adam busted doing work, no rest for this boy.

All in all I know today was meant to be an easy day and it would have been a very pleasant ride, if it wasn't for the head on winds the entire way. I honestly do not think my legs have ever hurt that much ever, to the point I had tears in the last 5 km. I really do hope tomorrow the wind is either behind me or just not there as I have my last big day and I am tired as anything now.

Hope you are all well, only two more days to go.

Eat lots of yummy food.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 10 - The flat, sun and fire trucks

Today started with a massive reminder as to just how lucky i am. I awoke to not only find the car packed ready to go but also my clothes for that day laid out ready for me to put on. As you would imagine I was totally wiped out the night before and had dosed off after dinner, meanwhile Adam had stayed up to the wee hours packing and organising.

Adam definitely had a good eye for shots, this was taken at Apex Park.

Once we were both up and ready we headed out to Apex Park and got the bike ready to go. Here we had to wait to recieve a call from ABC Gipsland who wanted to conduct an interview. Once the call was done it was back on my bike and pedal, pedal, pedal, no matter how much my legs told me it was a bad idea. Now I have dreaded leaving Lakes Entrance the entire trip because a few months ago I drove down the hill I'd have to cycle up. I must say I had no troubles up the hill this morning and was very chuffed at the fact that I screamed up it without raising so much as a sweat. The rest of the day was exceptionally flat, with gradual ups and even more gradual downs. I found myself just continuously spinning and my bum could feel every turn. As it turned out, even with the late start I still arrived early to the rests and I really did appreciate that extra 5-10min rest.

Today heated up quite fast and being a dry heat this was not the best section of road to be on. I was however very good and forced myself to drink double what I would normally. An interesting game I've leanned to play on the road to pass the time and distract from the pain is called count the fire vehicles speeding in my direction... Today's tally was 7 and they were all on the last 10km of the ride. So far fire safety seems fine but we are staying alert.

I finally found my pedal boat, not so sure I'll need it any more given this heat

Once we got to Sale we were greeted by the Sale / Maffra Parkinson's Support group at the Sale Showground. Given the heat we all took shelter and a seat under the shade and chatted for the better part of an hour, which was so very nice especially after riding alone. It meant a lot that this support group went to such lengths to get out to say hello and I thank them. I would also like to thank Rob, the grounds keeper at Sale Showground, who provided us with a lot of support.

Sale / Maffra Parkinson's Support group and I shading under a tree.

The afternoon was spent setting up camp and heading into town to collect supplies. One of the required supplies was Araldite as at the first rest stop the sole of my cycling shoes sheared off and has since been held on by duct tape (not the most sturdy). Tonight Adam and I plan to go the the Greyhound's Club and play some Bingo if we can (I've never played Bingo before).

Tomorrow is a fairly short day into Moe which my legs are grateful for.

Rest easy.

Day 9 - A day of rest

Dinner the night before, I only had 1/2 a glass I swear!

After a light day cycling into Lakes Entrance yesterday we were fortunate enough to have our rest day. Although dinner wasn't massively wild, it was actually quite pleasant, we felt we would all sleep in until the grand hour of 7AM. Once we dragged ourselves out of bed we made a scrumptious cooked breakfast, washed and then headed out to our first destination for the day, Caves.

Exploring the caves

Adam had never been in a cave before and what better time to reward him for all of his help then the rest day. We were very fortunate as our tour group ended up just being the three of us, I presume everyone else was still in bed. After seeing the caves we went for a nice stroll up to the spring and then into town for a coffee. Lunch was a picnic back in Lakes Entrance which we indulged in by the water as we watched the sardines be brought in.

There were so many sardines on this boat! It was unbelievable!

The rest of the day was really very lazy as we were both extremely tired, we went for a stroll, fair welled mum and got ready to go early the next day. We also checked how our mouse removal plan had gone. The night before we cunningly set up a drop trap with some peanut butter to lure the mouse out of the car. It did appear to work but we wanted to be sure he hadn't crawled back in.

Tomorrow is just over 100km and my legs are starting to feel it. Not long now.

Put your feet up.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 8 - The importance of the morning coffee

I guess it is my own fault for not being bothered last night to fill the furnace with hot water but today I discovered first hand the shear importance of my morning coffee when putting myself through the early mornings, late nights and long cycles. Today was only a short day consisting of only two legs however the first of these I almost did fall asleep at the handle bars. It wasn't until I got to the first stop and sucked back a coffee that I realised why. I guess the combination of everything just got the better of me.

mmmmm coffee.... It's amazing how easy it was to cycle after that

The reason we didn't get a chance to pre-boil water last night is however rather amusing. A few days ago we left the boot open while hanging around camp, only to find the next morning that an empty UHT milk carton left out had been eaten by something. We presumed that this happened the night before and moved on as we had been very careful to ensure all food is in either the esky or plastic cartons, we did however decide to not leave the boot open for extended periods of time from that point on. The next evening we were in Alfred National Park and had no access to bins, as a result in order to avoid animals rummaging while we sleep we locked the rubbish bag up in the car. The next morning we awoke to fine a hole eaten through the bag and egg shells scatted throughout the boot. At this point both Adam and I were sure the other had left the boot open too long at one stage but simply moved on. Last night however after a few games of ping pong we headed back to camp to make dinner, Adam opened the boot only to see something run before his eyes and rest in a corner, tail hanging out...

We have a stowaway!!! We tried for so long to scare and lure him out with no luck what so ever and today we have unpacked the entire cars contents and checked all bags with still no luck. We know he is still in there and are leaving the car open in the drive in hopes that he runs out. What else can we do?

Anyway more about where we are. Tonight we are staying in Lakes Entrance, not only that my mother decided to take the time to come to greet me so instead of spending the next two nights in a tent as planned we have the most luxurious apartment you have ever seen. On arrival to the apartment I indulged in my replenished stocks of gluten free bread which mum transported from Canberra and then had the longest, hottest, most amazing shower ever imaginable. We then put everything in the wash (with double powder), meaning I now have clean undies :o) and headed to the shops to get lunch stuff.

What a lunch, we felt like kings!

Lunch was pure bliss and can not be compared on the same level as our meals in a tin, we had fresh prawns and oysters with salad and bread. It was the most amazing feast! Tonight we will be hitting the town for a deluxe seafood platter at one of the local restaurants (best rest day ever!!!).

Arrrgh I just cant decide between the Putt Putt courses

After lunch mum had to catch up on some work so Adam and I headed out to play some serious mini golf. Now I have a little confession to make, I am actually not sure I have ever played mini golf before. I have played pitch and putt but never your classic windmill obstacle putt putt. As lunch would have it there are two courses in Lakes Entrance, right next door to each other. Given the affordable price of $6 per 18 holes as well as our inability to decide on a pirate theme or classic putt putt we decided to do both. Now I have learned from this that I am not the safest person to be around while playing this game as well as the fact that I would be the best at this game if only they doubled the Par... In conclusion if you ever intend on playing putt putt with me bring a helmet and patience.

Everybody duck!!!!!

Currently we are all still digesting lunch and will be heading out for dinner in a few hours. Adam was about to go do something but it appears I have worn him out with all the early mornings and phhhhoww all that driving he's doing, he must be dead :oP

Sleeping beauty, I can tell you now he isn't waking for anything

I hope you all get a dinner as yummy as mine will be.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 7 - Ahhh Victoria the land of decent shoulders and confronting road signs

Today began for me with the soothing sound of log trucks screaming through Alfred National Park at 4AM in the morning, all I can say is that my alarm seems like a pin drop in comparison. Like every other day I some how managed to detach myself from the sleeping bag, awake Adam (I'm needing less and less effort each time), pack up camp and scoff some muesli. I decided given the frequency of log trucks passing at high speeds I would hold off starting until it was light.

Log trucks are not fun to confront on a bike :o(

The first leg of the day was to Cann River, a nice easy run of 23km. The first half was pretty bad, consisting of windey hills and narrow roads throughout the national park, but Adam kindly tailed me through this rough patch (He saw how the log trucks drove through there too). Once at Cann River I demolished some toast and tea and moved onto the next leg, which at a short 19km winded up in National Park again. The following leg was a different story...

Cann River Pub

Due to a lack of rest stops the third leg had been set at 35km, distance wise this would not be bad at all however the hills were horrible!!! Once I had finally made it 20km into the leg I received a message from Adam saying the following:

Hey it is a bit further than google said. It is about 38-39 km. The area is signposted well. See you soon XXX

At that stage I had over come many hills, ducked into the bushed, had a drink and was feeling fantastic. Phhht whats another 3km I thought, and went on my way. It would have been about the time I was meant to arrive at the originally planned distance where I decided I was really quite pooped tackling all the hills (yes I had more) only to look up to see a sign saying "Rest Stop 5km". Firstly I would like to say from the point of view of a cyclist that's just mean as 5km in a 35-40km hilly leg is a long way. Secondly I would like to say that I did not appreciate the sign directly behind it saying "Mt Something State Forest" (Clearly I only paid attention to the Mt bit of that sign. As sure as my luck would have it the next 4.5km were up, and up and up some more and boy had I well and truly had enough. However I made it!!! To be greeted by darling Adam standing by ready to make me a Tuna Sandwich with the last piece of my Gluten Free Bread.

The last leg in to Orbost was easy and filled with paddocks and rolly-poly hills which seemed like mosquito bites in comparison to the earlier leg, I would however have hated to do that leg on a hot day as it was very exposed. Once I arrived at the intended camp site I was informed that we couldn't camp there anymore so instead we drove into town and booked into the Orbost caravan park. This was a fantastic decision as it meant I could finally wash, 4 days of cycling and camping with no shower was getting a bit much.

Munchies while playing cards, organic cheese flavored corn chips... ummmmo

So far the evenings activities have consisted of the already mentioned showers, playing cards and table tennis as well as a very unsuccessful hunt for gluten free bread as I have none left :( ....

Before I end I just wanted to share some observation of the day. The first is one I have recently discovered and really should have worked out sooner and that is the "Over Taking Lane" signs. In a car you always get so excited about these signs as it means you can get in front of that darn truck which has been slowing you down, well today I learned that cyclists should dread these as they indicate an uphill which is long enough and steep enough for the potential energy of a logging truck which comes screaming down the down hill before not to be enough to get up the other side, translation is it means work, lots of it. Second observation is those cute Vic Roads signs warding people off unsafe driving habits such as not resting, these read slogans like:

Sleepy? Power nap now!

A micro sleep can kill in seconds

and my favorite...

Drowsy Drivers Die

I hope you are all well.

Stay on the flat.

Day 6 - The point of no return

Half way point (Adam kindly measured and waited there to inform me)

I know I normally start from the beginning of the day but I'll get to that soon enough. I am just in celebration mode as I passed the 1/2 way mark (YAY!!!), which is now 50 km behind me. I can honestly say that it didn't matter how saw my bum was I pedaled harder then I have ever pedaled, which was not easy given the length and terrain of the day.

Ok now back to the beginning...

The first stop for the day was Eden, the trip there was fairly pleasant. There was definitely a range of ups and downs but the weather was perfect and sunny with a few white fluffy clouds so the time flew by. On this leg I made a little bit of a boo boo I never thought possible and broke the speed limit by 10km which I did correct as soon as I realised.

This was the sign at Eden (So close to half way)

I arrived in Eden nice and early and decided I'd spend the extra time doing the dished we had left because of the poor weather the night before along with the morning rush. I guess after a week into things you don't realise how funny it may look for passes by to see a women clothed in licra with bike and helmet washing the dished on the side of the road in the main street of a town, apparently it was quite amusing. Anyway just as I was up to my last few items we were greeted by a local couple Max and Shirley who had heard about the ride via ABC and came to wish me well. Both Max and Shirley are apart of the new Parkinson's Support group for that area, based in Bega. Soon after my riding partner for the next leg arrived, Ian Campbell. Ian and I have been taking a lot over the past few weeks and he has put in an amazing effort to assist in raising awareness of not just the ride but Parkinson's disease as well.

Max and Shirley wishing me well on my way

Once on the road Ian and I managed to get a bit of a chat in however due to a combination of logging trucks and shoulder-less road most of the talking was done at stops. Ian cycled through to Scrubby Creek with me and once we were rested he decided he'd cycle back (to even more hills). I really can not thank Ian enough as he has really put a great effort into ensuing everyone knows about this ride and the cause and I have been getting toots and well wished from every direction as a result.

Ian and myself posing for a shot

The trip from Scrubby Creek was a relatively long one, given it was only the half way marker, and the sun had begun to beat down. However as said before my day was made when I passed the half way point of my ride, followed by the NSW /VIC boarder 10km after. Adam and I are camped in Alfred National Park tonight where there is no phone or internet signal so this post will again be late. Today ended up adding up to 121.55km and to be honest I was not only stuffed by the end of it but I have broken skin :(

The NSW and VIC boarder, visible by road

Alas the ride must go on, while I can now be sure that more people in NSW know and understand Parkinson's disease and the support which is out there just that little bit more, I have only just entered VIC and have a long week ahead of me.

Take care and sit in cushioned seats (soft fluffy ones!!!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 5 - Milkshakes, friends and more rain

Today was a late start as the first stop off to Central Tilba was extremely important and required the shops to be open. As a result we started out day at a relatively leisurely pace and even managed to listen to my interview with ABC presenter Ian Campbell, who will be cycling with me on one of tomorrows legs.

Start of the day pose, ready and raring to go

Before I knew it it was time to hit the road and head to Tilba, in yet again more rain. Once at Tilba we faced a dilemma as to where to chain the bike, which resulted from a combination of laziness and urgency to get coffee and milkshakes from the ABC Cheese Factory. The solution? Chain it to the cars rear suspension, how could you not guess that?

Locking up the bike, it was Adam's idea I swear...

As some of you will know Adam has been waiting around 10 years to get another milkshake from here and today he finally got it, as proves in the below picture.

10 years was apparently worth it

After Tilba I had to push on as I was meeting Karyn an the next stop, Quaama. It was great to finally meet Kayrin and I would like to thank her for her company and stories as they definitely kept me going for the day. Karyn will be participating in her own Pedal for Parkinson's this year in Vietnam with Parkinson's Victoria, for more information go here.

Karyn and I start out in the wet

Once at the final rest, Bega Lookout, Karyn and her husband departed to continue on with their holiday. Here Adam also informed me that we would be waiting on another rider who had called not long ago after getting our details from ABC radio. This mystery rider was Ross. I can honestly say I have never met a person so genuine, with such a drive for life itself. Ross was truly inspirational in more ways I think he could ever know and I thank him for his company. His fitness and cycling form clearly out did mine but that did not seem to phase him in the least. I hope this will not be the last I hear from Ross and at very least ask that he join me next year for a leg and that if he's ever around Sydney to drop me a line.

Ross and I arrived at Yellow Pinch dam camp ground, after the most horrible hill you could ever imagine (particularly after 114km). Adam had a site all sorted and had begun to set up, no sooner had the tent come out to be put up the rain started. It was a very wet evening which was spent playing cards, drinking hot chocolate, struggling with Internet connections (hence why this is late) and of course mingling with our most interesting pro drug neighbors. Given the rain dinner was kept simple and eaten fast. Now we are just about to head off to bed and rest my weary legs.

Our spot of dirt for the night

Rest up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 4 - Rest and recuperating in pleasant coastal surrounds

Despite my original concerns today remained nice and dry with only a light mottling of cloud cover. Adam and I decided a sleep in was in order so all alarms were silenced. As expected we the actual sleep in was no where near as grand as we had planned, I began to stir at six and we were will and truly into breakfast by eight, however I must say it is an improvement on the reading of 3:45AM I've been seeing on my phone every other morning.

Adam enjoying a cooked meal (AKA Saving the sausages)

We decided to be slightly more adventurous with breakfast this morning, now weather this was because we had the time or because all our ice had melted and the sausages needed eating you will never know. Adam cooked up some eggs and sausages while I scoffed some of my special gluten free muesli (I am endeavoring to get as many carbs as possible for the hills I am about to face). The toast was slightly more interesting matter as technically it was fried bread and although Adam's went crispy like you would expect toast to be mine went soggy (I blame the lack of gluten).

After breakfast we packed up camp and went into town as the weather forecast was for rain. Taking the scenic rout into Narooma, via Dalmeny, was a fantastic decision on Adam's part as it meant I wouldn't have nightmares about tomorrows ride. Dalmeny is a gorgeous little town which is honestly picture perfect, unpolluted, green and peaceful. Questions did however have to be asked about the positioning of the boat ramp.

Dalmeny boat ramp, they are breakers you see

Once in Narooma we called into the visitors centre and sussed out if they still had the evening Montague Island charters and tours I had done as a child, unfortunately we had missed the only one for today. The information centre did however point out a few nice areas and walks to visit including Australia Rock, as you will see below, and a beautiful boardwalk along the shore.

Australia Rock, can you see it???? I was so happy when I made it out

After our little touristy activities Adam and I indulged in lunch, being a tuna sandwich, then headed to the shops to get necessities such as ice and gluten free bread. You would not believe how hard it was to get gluten free bread here, it would appear that while most places get it in they sell out and all orders come in tomorrow morning, which isn’t much use. Luck for me we stumbled across this beautiful little shop called Grandpa's Garden which I would highly recommend you go to if you are ever in the area, it is in the Narooma Plaza across from Woolies. I had a great chat with the lovely gentleman there who happened to have a gluten free Sourdough, which I have never come across and can’t wait to try. Those of you who know me will understand how exciting this is, unfortunately due to many other issues I can not just wander into Coles or woolies and grab a commercial loaf as sometimes these cause me more trouble, but after going through all the ingredients of this sourdough I am sure I'm in for a treat.

Once we collected everything we needed, excluding lettuce ($3.69 for two wilting leaves of iceberg seemed a tad rich) we headed back toward camp, via a little walk. This was a 2km loop walk which starts from the rest area just south of the Lake Brou road turn off, on the Princes, and it was very pleasant. The track itself wasn’t overly maintained but it was definitely a pretty little walk which enabled me to stretch my legs ready to pedal again tomorrow.

Me, just taking a little rest from stretching my legs, it's not like they hurt or anything

Currently we are back at camp and just about to cook dinner, pasta's on the menu tonight as I need to eat for survival of the conditions ahead. I am excited about tomorrows ride, not only to I pass through Central Tilba but I also get to finally meet Karyn, a lovely lady who I have been exchanging emails with and will be joining me on part of the ride tomorrow.

Take care and please sleep in for me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 3: Let there be light

Mollymook beach as we set out (fantastic picture by Adam)

Today fell into place quite nicely, while there were patches of rain in the morning things cleared up enough to show a bit of sunlight. We started the day back at Mollymook beach and headed in towards Batemans Bay, with a small stop in the middle. As expected while the rain manages so well to hold off in the first part of this ride as soon as I came close to the Bay it poured, which is very typical of the Bay if i say so myself. Here I rested and then moved on while Adam wend and bought a card reader so we could begin uploading images :o)

Mollymook beach as we set out (fantastic picture by Adam)

The next stop was Moruya which was a littler windy but sunny enough for us to get out some chairs and sit down to enjoy a sandwich and the river front views. When cycling from Moruya to Lake Brou I came across one of the most interesting things I have ever seen, it was a dried frog. I just wish I had my camera at that stage, it was perfectly formed just dried and out stretched on the shoulder of the road. Anyway enough of that.

By the time we arrived to Lake Brou it was well and truly sunny, perfect time to set up camp.

Our beautiful camp site

Once camp was all setup Adam and I decided to go for a walk along the beach to stretch our legs. To our total amazement Adam noted some thing running around in the dunes at a fairy fast pace. Curios we walked towards it only to find two of the most beautiful Emus. Now I am not sure were Emu's have their natural habitat but I definitely would have never thought to find them at the beach.

Two beautiful Emu's playing at Lake Brou Beach

All up today was a quiet day and if all goes to plan tomorrow will be a nice restful day off before continuing toward Melbourne. I will need to dust off my fishing gear I think.

I hope you are all well.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 2 - Wanted: one pedal boat, must have own shelter

I knew today was off to an interesting start when i awoke to a little more then a pitter-patter of rain. In short today was not just wet, it was soaking. At one stage I even got water wrinkles on my fingers and heard the swish-swash of water in my shoe when i pedaled.

As planned I left Kiama at 6am, even with the heavy rain, and headed toward berry with Adam (support) and my parents in toe. To be totally honest this leg happens to be the longest, scariest and wettest 25km I have ever cycled. I can honestly say that I was traveling faster on the uphills then on the down hills as a result of the water gushing down, low visibility due to the heavy rain, bendy roads with gravel or no shoulder and big trucks. I actually think I could have done this leg a lot faster and with a lot more ease if i had a pedal-boat (that way I'd also still be conforming to the ride rules :oD ... sneaky). However in hind sight I made it safe and sound to Berry, to be greeted with the most welcome reception of my parents cheering and waving just ahead of the rest area, followed by Jonathan from the Nowra Parkinson's support group who kindly waited in the icky weather even though I arrived late. In order to ensure I wasn't late to all other stops this rest was kept at a minimum, talking with Jonathan in between gulps of nice warm coffee and friand brought by my magnificent mother.

Jonathan, myself and homemade support sign all dripping in Berry

The next stop was South Nowra, which as a result of the exceptional road quality (ie existence of a cycle-able shoulder) I was able to make on time. Jonathan had also kindly travelled across to here to meet me again which was fantastic.

After Nowra I was blessed with decent road for a while as I headed to the third stop, Sussex Inlet. Here I was greeted by Pat, from the Shoalhaven Shakers, and friend Heather. As I was able to catch time I managed to stay around and have a decent chat with these lovely ladies while sipping a very much needed tea and drying off. As my luck would have it the rain stopped for enough time for me to have a nice dry break, only to start up again as soon as I got back on my bike for the final leg of the day.

Pat, Heather and myself at Sussex Inlet

On arrival to Mollymook beach I was pleasantly surprised to find my mum and sister had decided to take a detour on their way home from Kiama to see me one last time as well as a great turn out of Shoalhaven Shakers ready to welcome me. Unfortunately due to roadworks and those yucky hills heading into Milton I was slightly late and as we have no markings on the support car the Shakers kept waiting until I got there and gave me the most wonderful card. I also experienced a few hours of blue sky and sun, which was definitely needed to de-water log my skin.

The Shoalhaven Shakers welcoming me at Mollymook Beach

Tonight Adam and I are camped at Ulladulla and just about to make chicken burgers for dinner, I honestly can not say just how needed they will be, as will a good night sleep. Tomorrow is to Lake Brou and will be another long day of 110km with both hills and not the best of roads, but that is expected as you get into National Park country. The weather for tomorrow is forecast as a few showers with a max of 20*C, definitely a lot more hopeful then today turned out.

Well dinner calls, but before I go I would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who has been supporting me over the last few days. Be it coming to cheer me on, reading the blog or sending donations to Parkinson's Australia I really can not thank you enough.

Take care and keep warm (and clean)