Archive for May, 2010

A long hard week

DAYBORO  to TAMWORTH

We’ll be honest with you – it has been a long hard week.  Plenty of hills, cold, wet, and to top things off, a persistent head wind too.  Tamworth had never looked brighter – even when it was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get street lighting!!  Luckily, we were not alone, and had someone to share our discomfort with…

Ryan, the lean, mean, PT machine, joined us for the ride out of Brisbane to Bangalow.  Crossing into NSW via the infamous Lions Rd, we then passed over the range four times in a single day, from Kyogle to Bangalow – you couldn’t have dreamed up a tougher introduction to cycle touring.  Ryan, you road like a champ, and it was great having you along mate – but are you really sure you don’t want to keep going??

Our relatively flat ride, along the north coast and rich farmland of the Clarence Valley, was plagued by wind and rain.  Did we do something wrong to deserve this??  The low point was reached, changing a flat tyre on the side of the Pacific Highway, in pouring rain, getting drenched by passing trucks.  Maybe we should have gone with Ryan??!!

From Grafton, it was a sneaky 90km climb up the Great Dividing Range to Ebor at 1350m.  Cold and wet, we crashed through the doors of the local coffee shop.  We’re not sure exactly what the startled staff thought, but thank you anyway – that hot drink saved us folks.  Looking back, it was an incredible ride, and rivaled anything we’d ridden in the Alps – just next time, we’ll remember to pick a sunny day, and go in the opposite direction!!

Armidale sits at around 1100m and is bone chillingly cold in winter.  With chimneys smoking, and leaveless trees lining the streets, it’s no wonder this region is called “New England”.   But pleasingly, what goes up must come down – and the steep descent off the Moonbi Range into Tamworth was a welcome relief – even if our faces were too cold to form a smile.

Next, we team up with Frank, our good friend and website king, for the ride down the Hunter Valley and into Sydney.  Don’t be scared Frank – be very scared!!

Enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

Final preparations. Ryan with his parents in Browns Plains shopping centre carpark.

Easing into things. The infamous Lions Rd to Kyogle.

You've got to be kidding - is that the road ??!!

A good but tough day. Camping out in Wiangaree.

Looking back over Kyogle. All downhill hill from here apparantly...

Apparantly NOT, still climbing. Jess & Ryan, just outside of Nimbin.

Northern NSW - very hilly but great cycling!

Second breakfast on the beach at Byron Bay

Tez and Matilda enjoying the views and having a rest too!

Goodbye Sunshine. View north from Lennox Head.

Clarence Valley. Just past the quaint scottish town of Maclean.

No more smiles. On the 90km climb from Grafton to Ebor.

No comment. Cold & wet at 1350m.

Riding into Armidale. Scenery is different on this side of the divide.

Golden grassy, sheep country.

A cold New England morning on the highway.

Morale food. What to do in Uralla? Hey look, a bakery!!

The Queensland Finish

GYMPIE  to  DAYBORO

There were no challenges, milestones, or hardships this week.  Instead, it was a celebration –the “Queensland Finish” of our ride – spent at Jules’ parent’s farm in Dayboro.  It might be a little hard to leave come Sunday…

From Gympie, we had a spectacular ride along the Sunshine Coast.  This is where Jules’ spent his holidays growing up, so for the first time we didn’t need our map!  Between sunny weather and sea views, we delighted in visiting “locals”, Bill & Nance, Chris & Jenny, Pete & June and Ryan, on our sojourn along the coast.

Arriving at Jules’ parent’s farm was a special moment.  All those Kms, and now we are here?  It is hard to believe really – but it does feel great!!  Family and friends turned out in droves for the “Welcome Home BBQ” on the Saturday.  As usual, there was plenty of friendly banter, good food and desert for a small army!!  Perfectly, it felt as though we had never left – and I guess this is why “home” is called home.

We’d like to say a BIG THANKYOU, to Jules’ parents Terry & Elaine for tirelessly organising everything and putting on such a great week.   Also, to Jess’ parents, Jenny & Rob, for flying up from Melbourne and joining in the party!  And lastly, to everyone else that was a part of it, and made it such a memorable occasion.  Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!

2,500 kms to go – Melbourne here we come!!

Jules & Jess

The Sunshine Coast. One of the best drives in Australia!

It doesn't get any better than this - Point Arkwright, Sunshine Coast.

Aunty Nancy putting in a few Kms with us on her exercise bike

Pete & June - world travellers long before travelling was cool !!

Tez & Matilda having a rest at Jules' parents farm in Dayboro

Blair & Kelly made a fantastic banner for the BBQ

Party time !!

Terry doing the honors at the barbie !!

It's great to be home

3 stunning ladies - Abby, Jess & Zo

With Paul & Jan - Jules's grandparents who travelled down from Yarraman

Walking off desert - the Macaulays and Coopers climbing Mt Beerburrum

The hound dogs - on Bribie Island with Woody, Sooty and Dusty

Dinner with Zo at Kookaburra Cafe - best pizza in Brisbane !!

Our parents - we missed you all, and its great to be home !!

Houston, we have a problem!

ROCKHAMPTON  to GYMPIE

Just outside Calliope, pedaling uphill early morning, something just wasn’t right…?  Staring at Jules’ broken pedal on the roadside a metre behind him it clicked – the crank arm had sheared off the bottom bracket!!  We both looked at each other, “Houston, we have a problem!”

Luckily, Graeme & Cass lived nearby, and were able to take us into Gladstone to get “Tez” fixed up.  By mid morning, we were back at the scene of the crime, and ready to go again.  Thanks a million, you’re lifesavers!!

Shortly after, we ran into Sarah Mycroft and her family in Miriam Vale.  Sarah is attempting to be the first woman to run around Australia!!  It’s a huge effort and we wish her every success.  Go, Sarah!!  You can follow her trip online at www.onelapnoexcuses.com

It was time for a rest, and what better place than Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island.  We met up with Jules’ parents, Terry & Elaine, and headed over to test out their new 4WD and catch up on all the missed moments of the last 18 months.  It was simply, the ‘perfect’ weekend.

Returning to Gympie, where Jules’ had spent some years growing up, we stopped in at the Woodworks Museum to see the tools & techniques used by our early timber cutters.  Colin gave us a superb run through and demonstration, leaving us both in awe of these hard working men & women.

Last but not least, we visited Jules’ old school, St Patrick’s College where we presented to the year 5, 6 & 7 classes.  It was fantastic afternoon, and we very much thank the teachers and students for having us along.  That familiar school bell rang, and we were dismissed – with no homework this time!!

From here, we weave through the Sunshine Coast, catching up with family & friends along the way, before arriving at Jules’ parents place in Dayboro.  We are not so far from “home” anymore!

Enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess      

"Houston, we have a problem!"

Jess patiently waiting while we are in Gladstone fixing Tez!

Graeme & Cass - Thanks a million, your lifesavers!!

Sarah Mycroft & her family. Huge effort - Go, Sarah !!

Back with my parents after 18 mths and 30 000 Kms

Sand dune right up to the waters edge. Lake Wabby, Fraser Island.

You can even see the fish swimming!!

Like father, like son...

Testing out the new 4WD. All the roads are made of sand!!

Terry - our fearless driver

Elaine & Jess - the fearless passengers !!

The main beach is the quickest way around - it even has a 80km/hr speed limit !!

4WD's aren't the only things you have to watch out for!!

The Maheno Wreck. The ship that never made it to Japan!!

It was once 4 decks high, but now getting consumed by the sea & sand!

The "coolest" way to see Eli Creek, is wading through it!

With Colin & a 600 yo slice of Kauri Pine at the Woodworks Museum in Gympie

Colin, hard at work, demonstrating the tools & techniques of our early timber cutters

Back in school. Presenting to year 5, 6 & 7 at St Patricks College, Gympie

A fantastic afternoon. Thanks everyone for having us along.

TOWNSVILLE to ROCKHAMPTON

Why do we always seem to be going the wrong way??  In South America, battling 100km/hr headwinds we were constantly being told this.  Now in Australia, we find ourselves in the same situation – but thankfully, the conditions are much less severe.  If you are ever going to cycle the world, definitely do not follow us, unless of course, you enjoy pedaling into the wind!!

As we pushed south, the scenery gradually changed – endless expanses of sugar cane, gave way to rolling cattle country, which at the moment, was lush, green and bursting with life.  We stopped briefly in Bowen for Anzac Day, then again in Eton, to visit Graeme and Robyn on their deer farm.  The land around Mackay is some of the most stunning we’ve seen along the coast.

The famously “boring” stretch between Sarina and Rockhampton passed by relatively quickly – although, it still took 3 days, so keep that in mind next time you drive it.  On the whole, we are finding coastal drivers considerate, with the biggest hassle being an inconsistent road shoulder.  Where do all our tax dollars go…??

Coming into Rocky, Jules got to reminisce about his army days – passing by that familiar turn off to Shoalwater Bay, and looking rather pleased to be keeping going!  Rockhampton is known as the “Beef Capital” and we visited the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) to get the real auction experience.  It was fast paced and exciting – but just don’t scratch your nose, or you will end up with a pen full of steers!!

We took a few days R&R in Yeppoon, catching up with Frank, who was in town from Sydney, and staying with his parents on their avocado farm.  It was a real treat, soothing wind worn muscles and catching up with missed mates. Thanks folks, it couldn’t have been better!!

We’re also up to 30 000 Kms now – which while we can’t be sure, is looking like being one of the longest continuous cycle journeys ever undertaken by an Aussie couple.  No wonder we were feeling a little tired…

From here, we have a quick stop on Fraser Island, then onto Brisbane and Jules’s home town. We are definitely getting excited now!!

Enjoy the ride

Jules & Jess

PS – The “Long Way Home” is no longer a secret – you can check out the newspapers that have been writing about our journey here;  

http://www.julesandjess.com/media/

Anzac Day in Bowen. Lest We Forget.

 

Bowen is home to the world's most consumed tropical fruit - the Mango, Man!

 

Stunning views around Mackay

 

Robyn Jackson on the farm in Eton

 

Didn't get to see a real Cane burn - but cheated instead with this pic!!

 

Lunch on the road - food is our fuel

The famously boring "Sarina to Rocky" stretch

 

Only in Australia would you get a sign like this

 

Even when there is a shoulder - we have the rumble strip to avoid

 

Jess cool calm and collected - while being passed at close range at 110km/hr

 

30 000 Kms - possibly the longest continuous cycle ride by an Aussie couple ??!!

 

Army Days. The familiar Shoalwater Bay turn off.

 

Sunset on the Edwards' Avocado Farm

 

No visit to Yeppoon is complete, without indulging in a chocolate at the famous Kaboozies!!

 

Live auction action at CQLX. Don't rub your nose!!

 

Moo-ve over and give me some room, please !!

 

With Gary Wendt, showing us around CQLX

 

Jess and Frank (aka Eddie) enjoying a dip at Stoney Creek

 

Resting and catching up with missed mates!!