Push Bike Time
There have been even more thumbs up the past few days; the drivers seem to understand the great distances we have covered, difficult enough for them, but they don’t know our secret: push bike time is in-the-present time, and much more pleasant than automobile time. We think of most moments as precious gifts to be enjoyed and appreciated, (Okay, we don’t always appreciate wind and rain.), not endured. Our goal is not the end of the trip, but the trip itself, life itself. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Jerry and Trudy: Dutch Stew
September 8. Roadside rest on the Murchison River. “They’re waiting for you.” This from total strangers. We knew it must be Jerry and Trudy, and it was. Tea was a wonderful stew in a Dutch (of course) oven over a fire. We also met other friends of theirs, Lynn and Lynn, two women who have lost their husbands who are traveling around Australia together with their dog. Lovely evening of road bonding. In the morning we had to say good-bye to Jerry and Trudy again. Oh well, good-byes are good for more hugs, and a person can’t get too many hugs, especially motherly hugs.
September 9. Northampton. We found Norm, the Canadian cyclist we first met in Katherine, and had a nice visit and dinner with him. Norm is a strong 60, but doesn’t go for the camping as much as we do; he stayed in the local budget accommodations. We also had a visit with a German, Bern, another experienced cyclist traveling on a recumbent. We have been hearing about him since Normanton in Queensland, and have been staying in the same caravan parks with him. He has had an accident of some sort and is missing most of his right hand and part of his shoulder and pectoral muscles. He does very well with the recumbent, and like most bent riders is an evangelist for it. He is finishing in Perth, but Norm is going on to Sydney where he began.
“There’s A Work Of Art.”
September 11. Port Dennison. Set up our tent and had drink on the beach, watching the lowering sun silhouette a mob of surfers enjoying some perfect looking waves. Later a caravan couple pointed out some spy-hopping whales on a silver patch of sea just beyond the surfers; up to have a look at the silly humans playing in the water. Crashing waves all night but 40 metres away; ahhhh, sweet sleep. Next morning we offered our water jugs to the caravan couple who showed us the whales. We learned that he and a mate had rode a three speed tandem from Sydney to Melbourne 54 years ago. He’s never forgotten it. He appears to have had a stroke and won’t be riding pushbikes anymore. He gazed lovingly at Zippy and said, “There’s a work of art.” We think so too, but then he’s our baby.
September 12. Eneabba, a silica sand mining company town. The caravan park had closed down and we asked around for a place to pitch our tent. The postmaster directed us to some people who in turn re-directed us to John the Irishman, who is caretaker for some dongers they rent out to miners from time to time. The mine is automating and they were empty except for John and his puppy Barney. The dongers, a three by four metre, metal box with a small refrigerator and a heater/eggnisher, two bunk beds and nothing else. It was $40au, and sheets would have been $10 extra. We enjoyed visiting with John, and Barney got very excited when Claire petted him; he piddled on her foot (puppies are like that). Our stay was made more interesting because, in staying in the dongers, we were allowed to buy a meal in the all-you-can-eat miners mess hall for $6.60 au. Yum. The Kiwi (from New Zealand) cook was very good and we stuffed ourselves. However, miners seem a single-minded group; they buried their noses in the food and didn’t talk to us, and hardly to each other. Must be hard work.