We saw Elvis at a caravan park in Moss Vale. Black hair, mutton chop sideburns, jeans jacket, black cowboy boots, brooding brow and dark sunglasses. He had a mobile (cell phone) on his hip. Elvis is keeping up with the times.
Canberra to Cairns: The Big Smoke, white sand beaches, Bundy and Coke with prawns, beautiful Songlines, lush tropical Queensland and a bitter-sweet end to a most amazing yearFirst day out of Canberra, I felt a tooth cap come loose in my mouth. I’m falling apart. Dr. Andrew Lin in Goulburn found a few minutes to buff it a bit and glue it back. Should be good for six months he said. These Aussie dentists are a fine lot. The Elvis of Moss Vale
A lovely unsealed road took us from Wingello to Penrose through a rain softened gum forest, ferns and wombat holes. Then we hit fog and traffic and it wasn’t so fun anymore. Tea at the Moss Vale Social Club; pokies with zombie eyed people feeding the machines, not talking much. These clubs offer good food at reasonable prices, but the atmosphere is not like the old pubs, where locals talk to strangers. The pokies demand focus, attention, and they don’t have time for talk.
Next day, January 31, we were met in Albion Park by Eddie Martin who guided us into Wollongong where we spent the night with him. Luke Wensing put us on to Eddie who is another keen cycle tourist. His house mate, “not a girlfriend or anything like that,” Lainie is an artist and very good company for tea. Eddie is a strong cyclist and will be riding the federation ride from Alice to Canberra. We spent a rainy evening talking cycling and swimming; Eddie is a competitive swimmer and had just won his age group in an open water five kilometer swim in Canberra. Eddie also got us started the next day and safely out of the heavy traffic toward Sydney. After a fairly short day we camped at the lovely little seaside town of Bundeena where we caught the foot ferry the next morning.
Rain has been heavy all around us for the past week, but we have missed the worst of it. Sydney had flooding just two days before we arrived. The clouds are somewhat welcome really; we don’t have the 10 to 12 extreme ultra violet rated days to contend with. We haven’t needed sunblock for days. The ozone hole is a very real thing for folks here, but they adapt to it, slathering on sunscreen, equipping their children with long sleeves and caps with sun shields. I think they should revolt. The rest of the world is pumping out the gasses that are killing the ozone hole and Australians are coping the skin cancer.
A train ride to Circular Quay and a ferry ride to Manley gave us about 4 kilometers on the odometer for the day, most of it walking! We attracted a crowd at Circular Quay, and spent twenty minutes answering questions about our travels. A well dressed woman, looking at Zippy and our map, “There is one word for what you are doing,” she paused, “and that is living!” She went on to do an excellent job of explaining living life fully, and “not just sitting around and watching the telly.” She talked about how the discomfort and effort of our travels lets one know they are alive. She was full of vitality, like the Esters (among others) at Far Horizons Trailer Village in Tucson.