After three very enjoyable rest days at the wonderful Synchronicity Farm we manage to leave at the late hour of 10am. Cycling along the Summerland Way is nice, there is not much traffic and and the hills are easy enough with our well rested muscles. Josh and Tomoko even made us a care package out of grilled vegetables and salad to go – an awesome change to our usual bread with cheese or jam.
Same same but different
The next day is kind of the same but feels entirely different. We are still on the beautiful Summerland Way which leads us over a lot of hills…
But somehow every hill fells exhausting and we would have quite a long day to reach our host for the night. And my muscles are still tired from yesterday. So I’m having a hard time doing basically exactly the same as yesterday but not feeling the same excitement and not feeling very capable as well. Somehow we finally reach Lismore, go shopping for some food and cycle towards our host Rod’s house. And I can’t believe that we have to cycle up two ridiculously steep hills to his house. I feel like I can’t do it any more, I don’t want to, I just want to stop. Of course sleeping on the side of a road in a town is not the best option, so after some cursing and waiting around I manage to push up the hills and we finally find Rod’s house. Once we’re there he and his wife Jean welcome us warmly and Rod offers us beers and with the drinks we relax and talk. He travelled a lot and has so many interesting stories to share! And I forget how hard it was, once again.
The next day I want to take it easy and that means not too much cycling but long breaks. And so we end up in Nimbin, a town with lots of history in protests against deforestation of rain forests and today known for another sort of green plant (‘wink’). On our way we also see lots of these signs:
Our break with some coffee is amazing and I actually get to read a book (in the evenings I’m mostly too tired). Our next road leads us deep into Mebbin National Park which is so so beautiful:
But steep hills on gravel roads make for tiring cycling and even with a stop for a muesli bar I’m exhausted and barely make it to the camp site. Once we’re there, I almost finish our bag of nuts and realize that I’m just ravenously hungry! There really seems to be a huge difference in cycling hilly or flat roads regarding the amount of food you need!
On the next day – after stopping at that creative roadside stall for bananas – we make some adjustments in our planning – at the moment I’m just not fit enough to do an 1000m incline in a day. And I don’t feel like pushing myself that hard either. For me it’s more about enjoying myself and cycling is a way of travelling. I know that it’s going to be exhausting at times but I rather go slowly and see and enjoy things in between that just pushing forward. And the last days were quite challenging.
So I write a rather spontaneous warmshowers request for the same night to Robyn and Kevin and they invite us to stay for the night. I am very grateful to them as a real bed and nice company is just what I need. On our way we see some artwork…
With an ice cream stop on the way we cycle towards the Coast once again and buy stuff to make a curry in the evening. Later we exchange many stories about cycle touring and some tips about future plans. And then we rest in the more than perfect guest room only to wake up and enjoy breakfast with a view over a tiny harbour out the window.
My need to take it slow is still overwhelmingly strong and so Torsten found another host yesterday who lives just about 40k away. This makes for an easy day of cycling along the Gold Coast which can look like this…
We even take a break at a library and get some work done. And then we reach Dan and Phoebe’s house and feel instantly at home. Dan welcomes us super enthusiastically and as they repeatedly tell us to relax and spoil ourselves a little we can’t resist and stay for two nights ;). When they are at work the next day we thoroughly enjoy having some time for ourselves and I don’t do much. Some bike maintenance but mostly I read, have coffee and relax. And it is just wonderful.
I’m in the process of getting the hang of things, of finding out what I enjoy regarding to bicycle touring. And it’s not about distances or challenges but more about scenery, people, stopping and appreciating what’s around me. I want to have time and energy to take pictures, to enjoy breaks and then have some time to do something else entirely. In one of our talks, Joshua from Synchronicity Farm said: “In the end we gotta enjoy what we’re doing otherwise it just doesn’t make sense.”