September 15, 2002 - Lots of miles, many stars!

Bob invited me to do an update. This is both a privilege and a curse. It means I have to use his miniscule computer, with a dot for a mouse and its new and improved web software to upload, cut, paste and pray that the Internet connection will hold. He needs next generataion software for loading updates when riding the Nullabar.

I highly recommend the Australian South Eastern coast to everyone!

Long morning runs through up and down the 3 streets of houses behind the main street, along beaches or through Australian National Parks. Make coffee in your room with the hot water coil pot provided and the milk proffered at check-in for “white coffee.” Pack up, load the car, put on the “I Am Sam” CD with reconstituted Beatles songs, remember to get in the car in the right hand side and drive on the left hand side, and your off! The morning and evening sun has long rays, intense lighting, like the midnight suns of Alaska but at normal hours.

The rest of the day is primarily driving through continuously changing landscapes (it feels like I drive A LOT), stopping in unusual picturesque seaside villages and sometimes there is time for reading or working on a couple of projects that I carry within my Powerbook G4. Books include Who Owns the Sky? for intellectual stimulation and solutions to saving our planet, Bill Bryson’s travelogue on Australia, In a Sunburned Country for another’s perspective and good background and The Artists Way a gift by my neighbor on unleashing your creative energy. Life is good. Oh, and of course, the best of all, dinner with Bob writing an update and eating some new species.

Bob is pedaling, consistently and with enthusiasm. He pedals better than he walks. We talk about kilometers, wind, hills, wind, weather and road kill. He tended at the beginning to request more support that I am was willing to supply but we have achieved a happy balance. I do like pulling up on him with my windows open and the CD blasting the new Tom Jones Goes Country album that I found at the last petrol station.

Other reasons to recommend Australia are fundamental, the people, the towns, and the landscape. There is a kinship with Australians that an American senses. They began as pioneers (aka prisoners) in an “untamed” country, they plundered and conquered, as we did, and they relish their freedom and independence. Not stuffy at all like the Brits, they are open and direct.

The People

Jeff took excellent care and pride in setting up Bob’s bike perfectly at Bernie Jones Cycles. He was a bit perplexed at Bob’s hurry on a Monday morning to pick up the bike. He asked why it felt like the pit crew at a US motorcar race. I assured him that he was not the first to get caught up in Bob’s momentum.
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The prize host for all time, ever ever, goes to Stuart. He met us at the airport, got us to the bike shop, found me a dentist and introduced us to fellow cyclists and Glenys (Who we hope to see in NC next summer.) We enjoyed a delightful meal and they filled Bob with good advice and good cheer. A punctured tire got between Stuart and an accompanying ride out of Adelaide.
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The people in the next pictures are only a few of the ones captured shaping this Australian adventure.

Jon Onepenny (it might have been Twopenny) who volunteered as a tour guide at the Adelaide Botanical Gardens.
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My tour group at the gardens looking at a VERY special tree.
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The CD clerk who sold me the “I Am Sam” soundtrack, which was really a Beatles album that I have listened to ad nausea.
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Pickle and Luke, who is working in the Coorong for a few days.
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The Pinnington family, Tammy Lee and Annie Lee on the right, grow grapes in Red Cliffs Victoria for the BRL Hardy company. Leo Pinnington also worked in the bottling plant and gave me an unlabeled Linemans Cabernet Savignon. He said he couldn’t vouch for its quality as he doesn’t drink, but I am bringing it back to the US for a special uncorking.
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TOWNS
If you ran a Social Capital index around here it is bound to be off the charts. While primarily rural, the communities feel cohesive, happy, and prosperous. Downtowns are bustling. They have not been revitalized because they never died. Sprawl is not as much of a factor because they preserve their older buildings and infrastructure much better than we do in the US. The Victorian two story buildings with upper balconies create a cheerful façade. No billboards, but the town fathers strategically place signs for visitors to find local business and hotels.
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Note the Macintosh’s!
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Important parts of towns for the traveler are hotels and motels. Below are a few shots of the Meningie Waterfront motel. $35 dollars US includes the most fabulous lakeside sunset possible, a small dining area to the left of your bed where we laid out some snacks for before dinner and the coffee-television viewing area at the foot of your bed. You couldn’t ask for anything more.
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The Black Wattle, (an indigenous bush) was an especially hospitable place in Nelson Victoria, as Bob pointed out in his update. Lois the proprietor was kind enough to hang our clothes on the line to dry overnight. I scared away a flock of pink parrots when gathering the clothes in the morning.
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Bob departing for the day from The Black Wattle.
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LANDSCAPE

With only 20 millions Australians inhabiting a continent larger than the US the landscape remains breathtaking. Family farms thrive; birds are abundant and noisy, kangaroos, wallabies and much other wildlife roam wild. Below are views from the car from just one day. I passed through verdant green rolling hills, to dairy farm, to sculptured coast, beach, timber and finally rain forest. Not bad for a few hour drive.
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The wildlife and natural areas are heart stopping.
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Look carfully for the Kangaroo!
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Finally, my focused, relentless, endearing, wonderful husband, reading his map and indicating the next turn of the road

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For more thoughts about visiting Australia, on or off a bike, call me. (Note that it says this is posted by Bob, but it isn’t… it’s posted by me.)

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