We are looking forward now to the farms and forests, small towns and the sea. But, it is the outback that holds my heart. It is now part of the soul of us, forever. We will never, ever, forget the magic of those bright days and dark nights alone, together, in an Australia that is now ours. We have possessed that place of myth and truth as surely as it has possessed us. We are blessed. Again.
September 19. Bike shop for rear wheel truing, pedal lubing and a new tyre. Then a nice ride through Kings Park for the flowers and trees. Downtown Perth was a hoot on Zippy. After one downhill 50kph middle lane block, From the back, Claire said, “You’re not a bike messenger you know!” I answered, “Yes I am!” We threaded the needle and kept up with traffic; lots of surprised looks as we leaned into the corners at speed, BOB following on. Zippy and BOB fully loaded are long and an impressive presence in city sized streets; we get noticed, and feel safer than on suburban streets. We took some lovely bike paths out of the city and south along the Swan river to Fremantle, home of an America’s Cup series. We fought the famous Fremantle Doctor southwest wind through traffic to a caravan park. The town is beautifully restored and made us think of Annapolis, Maryland. The Perth area has lots of bike paths and bike lanes and is quiet easy to get around on a bike. There seem to be quite a few bike commuters but almost no bike tourists in the area. Lots of racers and weekend riders but the Glen Parker bike shop told us there were no bike tourists at all. Shame since WA is so perfect for touring.
September 23, Burekup roadhouse. Over breakky we met an amazing pensioner couple from Perth there for bit of a visit with friends. He told us the story of how they got from England to Perth: In 1970 he bought a 58 foot, 1931 sailing North Sea trawler (fishing boat), put a bus engine in it and set sail for Australia. Neither he or his Italian wife had ever sailed before! They had one son, and a bun in the oven, another son on the way when they left. Their route took them to Spain, Portugal, North Africa, the West Indies, through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific via the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and around Australia via the Barr Straits (some of the roughest water anywhere they say) to Perth. There they sold the boat, bought a house and raised their family. All this over breakky. You never know what fantastic lives your dining neighbors might have. They are nearing 70 and don’t look that adventurous, but I’ve heard few stories so. Wow.
“I Love My Bike”
We had a nice stop at The Fruit Barn in Donnybrook. A woman told us her secret, “I sometimes look out on the porch where my push bike sits and say, ‘I love my bike. Silly isn’t it, but I do.” She is the second person to say that to us in the past three years, the other was an old man in Canada. No, it’s not silly at all. We think that almost every day about Zippy.
Devonshire Tea And A Leaping Bullock
September 25. Mid day we stopped in Northcliffe for late morning tea: Lovely tea, big amber crystals of sugar, leaf tea in a glass pot, whipped cream on scones (biscuits in North America) for Claire and apple pie for me. Sitting in 21C sunshine. Who cares about all the hills we are grinding up and spinning down; this is living. The trees are very large and beautifully different from what we have seen for so long. The forests of karri, jarrah and marri and tingle trees line quiet lanes of bitumen, breaking into green paddocks full of Holsteins, topped in blue sky with cartoon clouds. We herded a young bullock back to his paddock, Claire ringing Zippy’s bell, and watched as he made a perfect hurdle over the fence to home. After seeing some of the Olympic horse events on pub tellys, we wondered how he would do in the dressage?
We camped in Shannon National Park in tall pines. So different to see tree tops and limbs silhouette against the twilight sky. We had a big fire and many teas to sooth our tired legs. Lovely and quiet.
September 26, Walpole. We met Nadia and Gordon, a young couple we first met in Karrigeni National Park, way up north, and Bob and Ann who took our picture and offered tea, at the intersection of the Sandover and Plenty highway’s, 6,000 kilometers ago.