September 5th, 2015
Annika and Roberto over at Tasting Travels came up with a wonderful idea: They picked a date (September 5th 2015) and invited lots of cycling friends to document that day. Timetables, cycled distances, food, encounters and problems and everything else. We thought it was a great idea and immediately decided to participate. Then September 5th rolled around and we took it quite seriously and that started with taking a lot of pictures during that day. Way more than we usually take. It was actually even a bit exhausting to remember taking all those pictures. But we did. The next thing was to document all the thoughts, problems and wonderful little things that we encountered on that day. In order to do that in a disciplined way you would typically write that down or even better write this blog entry on the same evening or the next day. Well, we are not that disciplined. The next day was spent with our wonderful hosts relaxing from 5 days of hard cycling. And so some time passed and about a week later we found out that one of our cameras was missing and we lost a lot of pictures from September 5th. So, long story short – this is sort of a compromise, we’re going to make do with what we have. That on the other hand is not a bad motto for cycle touring after all!
Here’s our day (posted about two month later as we are still behind with our blog):
5:45am: Our alarm clock rings for the first time. And then many more times. Oh, how we love the Snooze-function!
7:00am: We actually get moving. It’s another beautiful day in Home Hill, Northern Queensland, Australia. Last night we pitched our tent on the Showgrounds in Home Hill. Many of the Showgrounds in Australia are open for Campers when there is nothing else going on. We especially appreciate the showers and toilets for very little money.
So we finally decide to get up with slumber still lingering in our eyes…
07:20am: We are in the middle of our daily process of packing up. Our ‘house’ has to fit in our panniers and backpacks, so we roll up the sleeping bag and mats, dissemble the tent and pack everything else. We usually try to do that before having breakfast as not to waste too much time afterwards.
7:40am: Torsten fires up our MSR Whisperlite to make some coffee – something we rarely go without. As it’s quite windy we really appreciate the windscreen! Apart from that our breakfast usually consists of muesli. As we only have oats left we spice it up with chai spice – not too bad!
08:40am: Everything is packed, water bottles are filled up and we are ready to go!
09:00am: We’re cycling along the Bruce Highway towards Townsville. The sun is shining and we are thankful for every cloud to have a little break from it. Queensland is also called ‘The Sunshine State’ and that couldn’t be more true for us. We had exceptionally beautiful weather so far.
09:30am: Our first stop of the day is at the Coles supermarket where we get some more food. Surprisingly Lisi is hungry yet again and has her second breakfast of the day. This time it’s fresh bread, cream cheese with cracked pepper (was on sale 😉 ) and juice.
10:30am: We’re on the road again. Dark clouds are looming over us, but we stay dry.
We are surrounded by sugar cane which seems to be the most popular crop in this area. With cycling you can actually smell the sugar cane – it’s like a taste of caramel in the air!
Sadly we see lots of roadkill, mostly kangaroos and wallabies. Usually we smell them before we see them and the stench of dead animal is quite strong in this hot climate.
12:20pm: Lunchbreak, Fruit: Roadside stall/warehouse with fresh honeydew melons (and more) invites us to make use of their chairs & table. Great! The road is missing picnic areas today, and shade. Apart from fruit there’s baguette, Nutella, Jam, Cheese … pretty much our usual Australian lunch, if there’s no leftovers from the day before.
13:30pm: As the land around us is quite dry (save for the irrigated crops of course), bush fires are not uncommon. Streets often work as fire brakes, so this is why our left side looks rather brown and the right side is all lush and green:
14:20pm: Only 37k to go! And by the way – if you’re looking for your Aims and goals in life – they might be here! 😉
14:30pm: Flat, third in a row of three days, sucks. But what can you do? Schwalbe Marathon tyres are waiting for us in Cairns 🙂
15:15pm: Roadhouse with chairs – but again, there should be a picnic area … well, we kill our pineapple and have more fruit (it’s a hot day), cookies and resist the temptation for overpriced chips and ice cream.
16:30pm: Arrived in Townsville a bit earlier than planned – this is rather unusual – and as it was a very hot and humid day we could do with a bit of downtime before meeting with our hosts. So we decide to indulge in one of our guilty pleasures and go for a coffee at Hungry Jacks (much cheaper and only a little worse than at regular cafes) Sometimes it’s really nice to just have a bit of time for yourself and not do much.
16:50pm: We go shopping for some food and wine as we don’t like to come empty handed to our hosts. Coles doesn’t have a liquor department here, so we stumble upon another drive in liquor store where people stay in their cars while someone tends to all of their alcohol needs. Funny, somewhat!
17:20pm: Finally, we make it to our destination for today: Kay, our warmshowers host welcomes us warmly and we couldn’t feel more at home. She and her husband have the most beautiful and inspiring house: It is built in a way that air flows through naturally which works as a natural cooling system. It is surrounded by native plants, a green green garden and a pool! All these perks remain for another day though as we make ourselves at home in our comfy guest room and soon after get to know each other over wine and snacks all the while we are preparing dinner.
Today was a good day. We managed to cycle 98k which was quite easy given the flat terrain and the favourable winds. Yes, we could have gotten up earlier and thus avoided some of the worst heat, but oh well, maybe someday we will. Not much did happen today, it was mostly quiet cycling along the same old highway. But still, there were all the big and small things which make it a perfect day of cycling: enough sun to feel good, enough clouds to give your skin a break, funny road signs, a yummy fruit stand with a table in the shade, drivers giving us thumbs-up and us feeling capable of going the distance. And to top it all we got to meet Kay and enjoyed ourselves immensely in her wonderful company. It felt just like coming home after a trip and that’s really what makes it a perfect day! And there’s pear crumble for dessert: