Monday, 1 September 2014

WHAT DID I BRING

The challenge with any holiday or trip, is what to bring. Do you bring that etra pair of jeans or your laptop? If you haven't travelled that much, you'll most likely pack a lot of stuff you don't really need. It takes practice and experience to slim down your bags. After enough trips you'll have it down to an art.

Though I've travelled a fair bit and can fit all I need for a week away in a small backpack, I'd never done any bike touring prior to my Oz adventure. I read countless blogs and talked to several bikers via email and in person, trying to decide what to bring and what not to bring. However, at the end of the day you just have to go for it and get rid of as you go. So here it is, my complete packing list. This is everything I started out with in Perth. What I finished with on the east coast is a lot less.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What's best? Trailer vs. panniers

Panniers or trailer? That's the question many potential bike tourers will ask themselves. There are many a few options and they've all got advantages and disadvantages. As part of your planning you need to make a decision on what you would like to use. I can't tell you what to choose, only what my experiences are.



Monday, 7 July 2014

Namaste

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” 
― Albert Einstein

This gapyear has been, and still is, all about trying new things and challenging myself both mentally and physically. It's about trying and doing things I haven't done before. It's about enjoying life.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Thank you!

The bike part is over, well almost. I'm still biking up to Brisbane, but that's only two days. But I made it across, Perth to Sydney. Over 5000 km on a bike. It's been hard, but a hell of an adventure. I've learned so much about myself and seen parts of Australia very few foreigners have.

There are so many people I need to thank, I don't even know where to begin, but I'll give it my best.

My friends in Perth; Dian, Ben, Dawn and Roxanne who put me up and helped me get organised when I arrived in Perth. Thanks Dian for posting on my behalf on Facebook whenever I managed to use a payphone to call or text you! A special thanks to Ben who helped me a lot on my first day when I had an accident. 14 km outside a piece of cardboard got caught underneath my back wheel. Bike went left, trailer went right and I went forward. I had cuts everywhere... (Have a nice scar to remember this trip by on my right arm). He came and picked me up and dropped me off at the bike shop to get it sorted.

To Amber and her family in Albany for having me for a week. Really nice!

To Nicole and her boyfriend for letting me stay one week in Esperance, charging my batteries for the Nullarbor crossing. I wish her the very best on her adventures in Europe and hope to see her again.

To the staff at Fraser Range Station for helping me when I had some trouble with my trailer just over 100 km into Nullarbor.

To a "fellow" Welshman Martin Bevan whom I met at one of the roadhouses. Took about five minutes before we both got a Welsh accents back, scary. He was kind enough to give me a solar panel so I could charge my phone. Also thanks to his misses, Angela plus Brian and his wife for the fun company.

To the truckie Ian who gave me a lift to Port Augusta when my trailer and bike completely broke down!

To my friend Paul in Quorn (just outside Port Augusta) for picking me up, hosting me and helping me getting my bike sorted. Great guy with an brilliant insight into biking.

To James, for his comments and messages that cheered me up.

To Louise and Kerstin in the Clare Valley for teaching me about amazing Australian wine!

To Humphrey and Michelle for taking me in to their home in Renmark and showing me where out citrus fruits come from. I immediately felt at home there! So nice. If you're ever at one of the farmers markets in South Australia or Victoria keep an eye out for Fat Goose Fruits.

To ABC Renmark for having a chat with me on air. Great fun!

To John & Monique in Wagga Wagga for letting me stay and looking after me.

I need to give a huge thanks to John, my good friend u in Bathurst. A couple of weeks before I was due to arrive, I messaged him on Couchsurfing about staying. He immediatly got in touch and helped me stay motivated when I was feeling quite down. He also organised an interview with the WIN news channel, giving the charities some PR. Then when I got to Bathurst he put me up and showed me all around the local area. Great guy, with a cracking sense of humour. So thank you so much John!

To my relatives in Dubbo, who served me Norwegian kjøttkaker og brun saus (meatballs and brown sauce) and welcomed me into their home. I hope to see them in Norway some time soon!

To Hannah and Matt for giving me a warm welcome in Sydney. They showed me where you can get the biggest schnitzel in Australia. It's huge! I wish them the very best with their house restoration.

To my friend Martine (or Marty) in Newcastle for making me apart of her life for a few days. So much fun that  girl! Hope she has a great time when she's going travelling around Africa.

To my good friend Peter and his partner for having me her in Mullumbimby. Peter was the cyclist who I met at Fraser Range Station by accident and we ended up doing the majority of the Nullarbor crossing together. It was nice to have someone to talk to after a day with constant headwind. We didn't even need to say much. You could almost see how saddle soar we were just by our facial expression. He headed home and we agreed I would come and visit them in July. Been great so far!

To my friends, family and loved ones in Norway, UK, New Zealand and other countries who shared my Facebook page, donated to the charities and sent me messages to keep me going. I kept pictures with me of people I care about and focused on their messages, that got me through the really tough days. Thank you!

To all the other people I've stayed with across Australia, who made sure I was well fed and got to see the local sights.

And of course, a thank you post wouldn't be complete without thanking ones mother. My amazing mother basically managed all publicity back home in Norway. She would talk to newspapers, radio stations and more to get them to feature this project. She even had access to my Facebook page and blog, scary... Only kidding. She did a great job and Sykehusklovnene now have 10 000 kr / $2000 to help children in Norway.

To all the others I haven't mentioned, THANK YOU ALL!

Friday, 4 July 2014

I TAKE IT BACK

I hereby withdraw the previous post; I didn't quit, I finished. I'M DONE.

I've crossed Australia :D

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Busride

Australia you win. I quit, sort of. I've had it with poor quality roads, trucks rushing past and narrow «highways». Today I was almost run over by a truck. Luckily for me I suppose, it was roadworks there so he was probably going around 60-70 km/h. I don't know how, but he only managed to hit my right rear pannier. I managed to pull over to the side, get my legs out and find my balance. And after a few deep breaths and a nice selection of swear words, I carried on. What choice did I have? Luckily it was only about 4 km to the exit. I got to Kempsey and went straight to the tourist information. I asked «Is the road going to be like this all the way up to Byron Bay?» «Yes». She told me it's windy, hilly, hardly any shoulder and roadworks the entire way up to Byron Bay (about 350 km from where I am now). She herself apparently almost had an accident the other week.

Then I texted the people I was supposed to stay with a bit further up (who are bikers) and they said she was right. They also had a biker staying with them yesterday who experienced a similar almost-accident as me.

So here I am, standing in my lycra tights in an tourist office, asking myself: Is that record of becoming the first Norwegian to cycle from Perth to Brisbane worth my life?» After a couple of seconds I came to the obvious conclusion; no. So the tourist office helped me book a bus ticket onboard the night bus. I've had it.

Am I disappointed? To be honest, not really. Yes it would have been cool to say I cycled all the way up, I'll admit that. But in my mind I've already made it. I made it across Nullarbor and into Sydney. I'm proud of myself for having done that. Also I've met some amazing people on the way, who shown me their life and giving me heaps of advice (and support). So thanks to them!

Now that I've calmed down, had a shower and food; do I regret booking a bus ticket? ABSOLUTELY NOT. This trip lost its fun factor a few hundred kilometers ago. Today was just that one drop to fill the bucket. And you know what? I might not be the first Norwegian to cross Australia Perth to Brisbane, but I made it to Sydney so I'm damn proud of that. Besides, I've managed to raise almost $3000 for children s charities. That's worth it.

Plan now is to take the bus from Kempsy to Byron Bay (349 km), then bike 18 km up to Mullumbimby where my mate Peter lives. So plan to stay there for a few days. Then bike up to the Gold Coast, stay there for a bit, and head up towards Brisbane. So I'll be biking from Byron Bay and up, but there I'll be able to stay off the highway the majority of the way.

I hope people understand that I'm not making this decision lightly and that I haven't let all of you down.

So now I intend to enjoy the last part of my trip, regardless of todays event. I'm getting to Brisbane, one way or another.


--
Australia du vinner. Jeg slutter, nesten. Jeg har fått nok av elendige veier, lastebiler susende forbi og smale "hovedveier". Idag blei jeg nesten påkjørt av en lastebil. Heldigvis for me, var det veiarbeid der so han kjørte i rundt 60-70 km/t. Jeg veit ikke hvordan, men han traff bare bakerste bagen min. Jeg klarte å styre inn til sida, få ut beina og finne balansen. Og etter et par pust og et godt utvalg av banneord, fortsatte jeg. Hva annet kunne jeg gjøre? Heldigvis var det bare 4 km til avkjøringa. Jeg kom fram til Kempsey og dro rett til turistinformasjonen. Jeg spurte «Kommer veien til å være slik hele veien opp til Byron Bay?» «Ja». Hu fortalte meg at det er svingete, bakker, nesten ikke no veskulder og veiarbeid hele veien opp til Byron Bay (ca. 350 km fra hvor jeg er nå). Hun hadde visstnok en nesten-ulykke selv på den veien for litt siden.

Så sendte jeg melding til et par jeg hadde planlagt å være hos litt lengre opp (som er sykklister) og de sa hu hadde rett. De hadde også en annen syklist som var hos dem igår og han hadde hatt en lignende nesten-ulykke som meg.

Så her står jeg, i lycra tights i et turist kontor, og spør meg selv: Er dette rekordforsøket om å bli den første nordmannen til å sykle fra Perth til Brisbane verdt livet mitt?» Etter et par sekunder kom jeg frem til den åpenbare konklusjonen: nei. Så de hjalp meg med å kjøpe en bussbillett ombord nattbussen. Jeg har fått nok.

Er jeg skuffa? For å være helt ærlig, ikke egentlig. Ja det hadde vært kult å kunne si at jeg sykla hele veien opp, det kan jeg innrømme. Men oppi mitt hodet har jeg allerede klart det. Jeg klarte å komme meg over Nullarbor og inn til Sydney. Jeg er stolt over meg selv for å ha klart det. I tillegg har jeg møtt mange utrolig mennesker på veien, som har vist meg deres liv og gitt meg haugevis med råd (og støtte). Så takk til dem!

Nå som jeg har fått roa meg ned, tatt en dusj og fått mat: angrer jeg på at jeg kjøpte en bussbillett? ABSOLUTT IKKE. Denna turen mista «artig-delen» for noen hundere kilometer sia. Idag var bare den siste dråpen i glasset. Og vit du hva? Jeg blir kanskje ikke den første nordmannen til å krysse Australia, Perth til Brisbane, men jeg kom meg til Sydney og det er jeg fanden meg stolt over. Uavhengig av det, så har jeg klart å samle inn over 14 000 kr / $3000 til barn. Det er gjør det verdt det.

Planen nå er å ta bussen fra Kempsy til Byron Bay (349 km), så sykle 18 km opp til Mullumbimby hvor kompissen min Peter bor. Planen er så å være her noen dagen. Etter det bærer det opp til Gold Coast, bli der en stund, og så opp til Brisbane. Så jeg skal sykle fra Byron Bay og opp, men kan da holde meg unna hoveveien mesteparten av tida.

Jeg håper folk forstår at jeg ikke har tatt lett på denne avgjørelsen og at dere ikke føler jeg har svikta dere.

Så nå har jeg tenkt til å nyte resten av turen min, uavhengig av dagens hendelse. Jeg skal til Brisbane på en eller annen måte.

Monday, 30 June 2014

UPDATE - EASTCOAST

Sorry about lack of updates lately, just been relaxing and taking some time off inside my own head. Yes I know how that sounds, but you know what I mean. I can really feel the trip really beginning to take its toll on me. Though this area of Australia is really nice and interesting, the beaches are really nice, I'm beginning to feel pure hate towards that bike (almost). I think it's because my mind is realising that it isn't much left now. Only 732 km left until I'm in Brisbane and this journey is over. I cannot wait. Every bone in my bone wants me to push hard and get it over with. To do long days and just get north and cover the distance. But at the same time I need to explore Australia as well. So the plan is to do no more than 100 km a day, get up to Brisbane and then see if I can find some WWOOFing work on a farm up in that area. That will enable me to sell my bike, see the area and have no food expenses. Then when I'm getting closer to my return flights from Sydney I'll head down a couple of days before on the train or flying.


Anyhoodle, I had a great time in Newcastle with my new friend Marty. She was an amazing host and showed me all of the city. I even got to see a koala bear! So nice!


Because the wind still had a kick in it, biking wasn't too pleasant today. So decided to take my short day today and a longer day tomorrow. Need to get to a place about 5 km north of Nabiac, which means about 95 km in total. Fortunately the forecast said hardly any wind and sunny. Plus I've spoken to the couple I'm staying with tomorrow; the Highway have a emergency stopping lane all the way up which I can ride on. Which means I get heaps of space which is nice.

Also bought a new high-vis vest, cause the old one (which cost $3 on eBay) is falling apart. So now I'm visible and safe on the road. My phone keeps acting up, so had to manually track my progress today. Will try and restart it tonight. Hopefully that will do the trick.

Almost there... Almost there.

--
Sorry for mangel på oppdatering i det siste, har slappa av og tatt en time-out oppi toppen. Jada jada, veit hvordan det høres ut, men du skjønner hva jeg mener. Jeg kan virkelig kjenne at turen har sliti meg greit ut. Selvom denne delen av Australia er utrolig fin og interessant, strendene er utrolig, har jeg begynt å føle rent hat for sykkelen (nesten). Jeg trur det er fordi hjernen min veit at det ikke er langt igjen. Bare 732 km til jeg er i Brisbane og denna reisa er over. Jeg gleder meg! Hele kroppen bønnfaller meg om å gi jernet og bli ferdig med det hele. Å gjøre lange dager, komme meg nordover og fullføre distansen. Samtidlig så må jeg se Australia. Så trur planen er å ikke gjøre mer enn 100 km om dagen, komma meg opp til Brisbane og se om jeg kan finne meg no WWOOFing arbeid på en gård i det området. Det vil la meg selge sykkelen, se området og ikke ha noen utgifter o forhold til mat. Så når det da nærmer seg avreise datoen fra Sydney, drar jeg ned et par dager før.


Uansett, jeg hadde det utrolig hyggelig i Newcastle med min nye venn Marty. Hu var en utrolig vert og viste meg hele byen. Jeg fikk til og med se en koala bjørn! So fett!


Fordi det var godt med vind idag, var det ikke spesielt digg å sykle. Så bestemte meg for å stoppe tidlig og heller ha en lang dag imorra. Må komma meg til en sted 5 km nord for Nabiac, som betyr at morgendagens total blir 95 km. Heldigvvis sier værmeldinga at det blir lite vind og godt med sol. Pluss, jeg har snakka med det paret jeg skal sove hos imorra; hovedveien har en «nød-skulder» hele veien opp som jeg kan sykle på. Noe som betyr at jeg får nok av plass.

Har også kjøpt meg en ny refleksvest, fordi den gamle (som kosta $3 på eBay) faller fra hverandre. Så nå er jeg godt synlig og trygg i traffikken. Telefonen min driver av å oppfører rart, så måtte manuelt legge inn dagens økt. Skal prøve å restarte den ikveld, så håper det vil fikse problemet.


Snart framme.... Snart framme.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A LITTLE PIECE OF NORWAY


Sjømannskirken in Sydney is like a little piece of Norway. You come in and the first thing you see is childrens bunad (Norwegian national costume), followed by a nice selection of Norwegian food and snacks. Nothing says Norway like Toro risengrynsgrøt (rice porridge) and Melkesjokolade (milk chocolate). And of course, the portrait of King Harald and Queen Sonja is well positioned above the fireplace.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Up the mountain we go

What a climb.... Today I basically hit the top of the mountain, 1193 meters above sea level. Up until now, I've never been scared on the road. Worried yes. Nervous yes. But never scared. Today I was incredibly scared. Why? Because of people's lack of ability to actually give me space when they can and the inconsistency of a road shoulder to ride on (and all the pieces of glass that was in it). A truck didn't give me any space, even though the overtaking lane on his right side was empty. So I ended up in the ''rainwater gutter''... Luckily I managed to get my feet out and avoid tipping over.

But all this disappeared when I got see and hold a baby kangaroo. The lovely couple I'm staying with takes in baby kangaroos that have lost their mothers in traffic accidents. It was so cute and truly amazing.

Tomorrow I'll be in Sydney in the afternoon most likely. Then I'll stay there for about three days, resting and sightseeing. Also going to the Norwegian church on Saturday for waffles, Norwegian porridge and more. I can't wait!

--
Litt av en klatretur.... Idag nådde jeg toppen av fjellet, 1193 moh. Fram til nå har jeg aldri vært redd på veien. Engstelig ja. Bekymra ja. Men aldri redd. Idag var jeg veldig redd. Hvorfor? Pga folks manglende evne til å gi meg litt plass og mangel på vei skulder (som som regel hadde godt med glasskår). En lastebil ga meg ikke nok plass og jeg endte opp i grøfta. Heldigvis klarte jeg å få ut beina og unngå å tippe overende.

Men alt detta forsvant når jeg så baby kengeruen. Hællandussen å nydelig. Det utrolig hyggelige parret jeg er hos, tar imot kengeru unger som har mista moren sin i trafikk ulykker. Så søt atte!

Imorra er jeg endelig i Sydney. Her skal jeg være over helga. På lørdag skal jeg innom Sjømann kirken for vafler, grøt og mer. Blir så digg atte!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

INSPIRATIONAL BREAK

Decided to have my day off early, because my body and mind were tired. It's getting really cold now and it's taken a toll on me. Because what has been my routine now for 4000 km no longer applies. Up until about Renmark, I would be up and on the road by 07:30, 08:00 the latest. Now, I'm lucky if I'm on the road by 09:00. Why? It's not because I'm having a lie in. It's because winter has arrived. Last night it was -1 here. The problem is that it's such a huge difference from night to day, that it takes a while for everything to heat up. So around 9AM it will be around 8-10 degrees, which is warm enough to start out in. Then gradually it will climb to about 15-17 degrees in the day.

So the new routine is to get up around 7AM, have breakfast, pack etc. and then get ready to hit the road by 9AM latest. Then I also will finish a bit later as well. Oh well. All part of the adventure! At least it's not raining, haha!


Did some shopping today. Got myself a fleece hat and neck-thingy to go with my mittens. Ready for winter.


Also did a photoshoot by the river. Thanks to my mate Patrick for being a photographer.

Now, it's way past my bedtime. I have to do about 130 km tomorrow to Albury. After that I'm heading north towards Bathurst, a few days off and then across the Blue Mountains into Sydney. I cannot wait! But for the next five days I need to focus on getting up to Bathurst, which is about 550 km away.

You just have to get into the zone.

Anyway, night! Sorry to tired to write in Norwegian today.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Echuca to Cobram 102km

Easy enough day today. Hardly any wind and pretty flat. Managed to get a good average speed. Was about 4-5 degrees when I woke up this morning, so a bit nippy, but warmed up.

Staying with a Warm Showers host. Really nice! Went to the pub for a couple of pints. Decided to have my day off now instead of in Albury.

Also stopped by the supermarket for a shop. Even after living in NZ I still can't get used to having pet food in the fridge section. It's literally two meters away from the meat we humans eat. Weird Aussies...

Anyhoodle, really tired and it's late, so only a very short post tonight.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Kerang to Echuca 97 km

I've decided to start writing my posts in both English and Norwegian. Why you might think. Though most Norwegians can understand and speak English fairly well, there are some that aren't too steady with it. Besides, I'm aiming to become the first Norwegian to cross Australia, so should maybe write in Norwegian as well.

Rull ned for norsk.

--

 YES! I've done over 4000km (2485 miles)! Only about 1900 km to go. Yay, haha! Well at least I'm way past halfway. Best way to look at it. My only focus now is to get to Sydney before winter really kicks in and there's ice and frost.

You can find all my workouts by clicking on the Endomondo logo on the right hand side.


Felt a lot better today after a good night sleep complete with ibuprofen for my wisdom teeth (did wonders). The wind was also less today, which did help. AND I found a "bypass" which took me of the highway half the day. Quite nice to be honest, getting away from all the trucks. The wind had its gusts here and there, but still less than yesterday. Checked the stats, it was an average of 18 km/h winds (with gusts around 20 km/h) between 12 and 2PM. No wonder I had a hard time battling that headwind!

I'm back into New South Wales for a few hours now. Will cross back into Victoria after about 30 km.


This is my route tomorrow; Echuca (West) to Cobram (East). I've managed to find a (sealed) route which don't go on the highway, well hardly anyway. So I'll start off by going past the national parks and then into diary country. So many cows today. All you could smell was cow shit.

Then tomorrow I'm staying one night (possibly two) with a Warm Showers host. Tonight I'm staying at a caravan park. A bit pricey today, $28, but that's because it's a Steam Engine festival (yes) on in Echuca. The forecast said possible showers in the afternoon/early evening and sure enough, the heavens just opened up a bit. Hopefully that means the clouds will stay a bit longer, making it a bit warmer at night and in the morning.

--
Da tek med det på norsk au! Vurderte et halvt sekund om jeg skulle skrive på nynorsk for moro skyld, men så kom jeg på hvor bra det gikk på ungdomsskolen og VGS. Som sagt, skal jeg prøve å bruke mere norsk på bloggen (og Facebook) slik at de som ikke er så stødig i engelsk alikevel kan få med seg oppdatering. Dere får unnkylde eventuelle skrivefeil eller rare ordvalg i starten. Merker at norsken sitter litt dypt inne etter å ha bodd i det store utland såppass lenge. Oh shit it's på norsk som de sa i The Julekalender på TV2. Ord jeg slter med blir innimellom merka med (?). Rett i vei.



JADDA!! Da har jeg sykla over 4000km! Bare rundt 1900 km igjen. Haha! Vel jeg er ihvertfall over halvveis. Beste måten å tenke på. Mitt eneste fokus nå er å komma meg til Sydney før vinteren virkelig setter inn og det er is og frost.

Du kan finne alle med treningsøkter (?) ved å klikke på Endomondo logoen på høyre side.


Ting føltes mye bedre idag etter en god natts søvn og en ibux for visdomstanna. Var mindre vind idag i forhold til igår, men fortsatt godt med trekk rundt øra. Og jeg fant en slik en sidevei som tok meg av highway'n halvparten av dagen. Digg med litt fri fra alle de lastebilene og campingvognene for å værra ærlig. Var et par kraftige vindpust her og der, men ikke på langt nær så ille som igår. Sjekka statestikken fra gårdsdagen; det var et snitt på 18 km/t vind med et par vindkast rundt en 20 km/t mellom klokka 12 og 14. Æ'kke rart jeg sleit litt da.

Tatt en liten snipptur inn til New South Wales, men tilbake i Victoria imorra etter en 30 km. (For de som ikke veit det; Australia er delt inn i stater og terretorier, som omtrent er sine egne land. Western Australia, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria og Tasmania. Alle har sin egen interne regjering, utdanningssystem, helse osv. osv. I tillegg så har bare enkelte stater sommertid, resten vil ikke. På mange måter veldig likt USA, men istedenfor 50 stater, har de bare 8. Håpløst og tullete organisering av et land spør du meg. Enten burde de være fullstendig uavhengig eller så burde de være et land, med like systemer.)


Detta er ruta mit imorra; Echuca (vest) til Cobram (øst). Jeg har klart å finne en (asfaltert) rute som ikke går via hovedveien (det var det norske ordet for highway ja! Den satt godt inne). Så starter med å sykle mellom to national parker og ut på landet blant kyra. Så mange kuer idag. Lukta kudritt hele veien.

Imorra skal jeg sove en natt (kanskje to) med en vert (?) fra Warm Showers sida. I natt tilbringes i en camping park. Litt dyrt idag, $28/155kr, men det er grunnet den årlige Steam Engine festival (kødder ikke) her i Echuca. Værmeldinga sa også at vi kunne vente en liten skur seint på ettermidagen/tidlig kveld og sant nok, i skrivende stund kom det er par droper. Forhåpentligvis betyr det at skydekke blir litt lenger og varmer holder seg her. For det er bikkjekaldt om morran nå!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Mildura to Boundry Bend 133 km


Morning fog... I kid you not, you couldn't see further than 150-200 meters at most. Luckily it cleared around 10AM. It was FREEZING today though! Hopefully I'll get to warmer places soon.


True true! Stop revive survive. I normally try to stop and have some food/snack every 25 km. Feels heaps better that way. Then if I have a long day I stop for a while around lunchtime.

My two least favourite words... They're everywhere in Australia. To save some money they might as well just put up one sign at each international airport "Australia is under construction. Expect roadwork". Also one thing I noticed when I crossed into New South Wales for a short while today; Victoria spends more money on their country roads!


Staying in Boundry Bend for the night, which means I only have a short 89 km to do tomorrow.


Check out the view of Murray river. Aww!


Decided to buy a meal tonight. Chicken burger with "the lot" (cheese, salad, beetroot, egg and salad) + a pile of chips = $6.95 (£3.50/32kr) BARGAIN!

So tomorrow I've only got 89km to do to Swan Hill, where I'll be staying with another Couch Surfer. So plan to sleep at bit extra tomorrow. One because I can and two because it's really cold in the mornings now.

Anyhoodle, going good!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

PICS FROM TODAYS TRIP


Border control, checking people entering South Australia if they are carrying any fruit or nuts.


Bye bye South Australia.


Left: South Australia Right: Victoria
You can clearly see where the border is...


Welcome to Victoria. The roadshoulder got really wide after this :D


That's what I've been telling my mum all these years!


Lunch break


I'm getting excited now, because I'm starting to see signs for Sydney! (That is the direct route, so add about 250 km to that, but still)


Palm trees in winter.

Did 146 km today. Renmark to Mildura - Not the most exciting ride, but fairly easy. Nice good pace. Tonight I'm staying with Daimian (CouchSurfing). He treated me to pizza and a nice cold beer! Tomorrow I'm heading to Boundary Bend, 132 km, but fairly flat. There I'll stay in the caravan park and then head on to Swan Hill the day after.

Check out the radio interview with ABC Radio:


Sunday, 1 June 2014

LIFE IS A ROLLER COASTER

First a quick update on the cycling before we enter the philosophical corner. I've planned my route all the way to Sydney, where to stop etc. Now I'm just messaging people, asking if I can stay for the night. Also need to buy some winter tights, because it's getting really cold now. The highest temperature today was 15 degrees and next weekend the forecast said around 2-3 degrees at night. Winter is here. So setting off Tuesday morning to Mildura. Plan is to be in Sydney by the 18th of June.

Anyhoodle...

Fate, universe, life, tea and everything in between - How straight forward is the roller coaster called life?

I'm a firm believer of the power of universe and fate. Even more so after these last few months. That if you really put your mind to something, to find that personal legend or dream, the universe will help make it happen. Because when you're working towards you're dreams, there's very little that can stop you. Everything else becomes secondary.

Take control. Make a choice. Just decide who you're going to be, how you're going to be and what you're going to be. After that the universe will bend to your will.

"Everything you can imagine is real"- Pablo Picasso

You need to know who you are. You need to know your dream. The only thing limiting you is you.


Life ain't easy. It can hit you hard in the face and hurt you. But at the same time it can be one of the most magnificent things ever to have been created. I've been blessed and have a good life. Of course there's been some bad times, but all in all I'm pretty satisfied. Travelling often makes you realise how fortunate you are. How lucky you are. It teaches you not to take things for granted.

Often people base their definition of happiness on what society dictates, the social conventions of the time. It could be anything from having a perfect job, in order to pay for a two bedroom house, to spending X-amounts of money on Christmas presents. Go back 400 years and some places it would have been having a big farm and many sons.

You need to find your own definition of happiness. Never settle until you find it. Stop wasting your time living someone else's life. One day you'll wake up and regret not having pursued your dream. 

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Søren Kierkegaard

Trying to predict life and understand your choices NOW, is like trying to put together a 10 000 piece puzzle with blindfolds. It would be very hard. You simply have to trust that somewhere along the line the dots will connect and you will have the biggest eureka moment ever. You have to trust that you will find a path. Life will force you to choose. To choose between two or more options. The choice itself might not be easy, but one thing is certain; you have to move forward in a direction, no matter which one.


“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” - Dr. Seuss

People, including myself, have a tendency to ask themselves one of the most dangerous questions a person can ask themselves: What if...? What if I had accepted that job offer? What if I had got in the car one hour earlier? What if I had stayed put and not left the country? A question starting with what if can drive you absolutely insane. It makes you over-think decisions, past, present and future. It makes you re-evaluate everything and think about what could have been. Don't. I know it's hard, but you have to avoid asking yourself that question. Because guess what? That is one of the questions in life you probably never will find an definite answer to.

I would rather say I regret doing that instead of I regret not doing that. 

“The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not... Are both correct” - Confucius

Society tells you to be realistic. Why would you be realistic? It will get you one place; mediocrity. It will not get you anywhere in life being realistic. You create a barrier in-front of yourself for no good reason.
However, the minute you decide to do something, it's done. That decision is all you need to propel you forward. Mediocrity and realism belongs one place; with other people and in the past.
Humans in a metal tube, in cushioned seats, crossing the Atlantic... Now THAT'S unrealistic. It didn't stop the Wright brothers (and others) in taking off. Humans flying into space, let alone live there, is unrealistic. Didn't stop NASA and ISS (International Space Staion). If everyone was realistic and "followed the norm", humanity wouldn't be where it is today. It would be stuck.

Point is; life if full of potential unrealistically decisions, ideas and dreams. It's up to you if you're going to be a realist and build a big wall in-front of yourself or if you're going to defy that and excel.



"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear is a thing you can train yourself to let go off. Your inner fears and worries. Fear of failure, even fear of success. Let them go. It ain't easy and certainly you won't be able to do it every situation. But gradually you learn to let go of the control and fear and just go with the flow.

In the picture above you see 90% of possessions that I travelled to Auckland with when I became unemployed and homeless back in November. The other 10% of my stuff I had in a shopping bag in my right hand. I arrived in Auckland and whilst working on a farm, I started applying for jobs. After a week on the farm, I moved into a hostel in the city for nine days. Over those nine days I handed out over 90 CVs and applied for an additional 30 jobs online. I walked into one of Aucklands best pubs and got offered a trial shift. That evening, when I had my first shift, I only had $NZ 125 (£63 / 630kr) left in my account and two nights left in the hostel.

I learnt a few things from that experience. One, the kindness of strangers, everyone from the bus driver to the hostel receptionist. Two, that when you put your mind to something and let go of your fear, you can make things happen. You can find a job. You can find a place to stay. You can crawl out of hell.

Your dreams might not seem logical or even sane to your friend, parents and family. They might try and talk you out of it. They might not understand you. They might even get angry that you are doing something different. But guess what? That's THEIR fear. They fear it, because they never did it themselves.

Let go of your fear.



Tea. You might be wondering what a cup of tea has got to do with life, universe and fate. What on earth can possibly a cup of tea have got to do with this? It's small, warm and insignificant. Or is it?

It's not so much the tea itself that's important. Well, to some people (including myself) tea is almost an religion, but that's not my point here. What's important are the little things. Even the smallest things in life can change your life completely and show you a brand new path. Don't agree?

Up until February 2010 I was supposed to be a border patrol guard on the Norway-Russia border. The college I studied at had taken all the seniors to the annual educational fair in Oslo. Basically where all domestic and a wide range of international, universities pitch their courses. I was walking round, with no specific plan or school in mind, when I saw a picture. I saw a panoramic picture of this beautiful beach. I went over to the stand and ended up being invited back the following week to show my portfolio. Next week; accepted to the BA (hons) Digital Film and Television Productions course at Swansea Metropolitan University. The three years there changed my life completely in every single way possible. And all because of a picture of a beach.

So never underestimate the smaller things. They might just change your life.


Life is a roller coaster. It's full of ups and downs. It can go from absolutely terrible and soul destroying to magical and best thing ever. What's important to remember is this; you've got one ticket, don't waste it.

Will you always be able to follow these advises? Heck no! I probably won't be either. My future is not set, far from it, and I have probably have more random dots that needs connecting than a leopard. Don't have a full time job, no idea where I want to settle down. I mean, one part of me wants to keep travelling all over the world, one part wants to live in the UK and another part wants to live in Norway to stay close to family. I've got a plan, I do, but the reason I can't tell it to people is because I'm not sure about all of it yet. Yes parts of my plan might seem crazy and random, but the more I follow it the clearer it all gets. The only thing I know is that I need to keep moving forward. Cause if I stop, that's when realism and mediocrity kicks in. I can't have that. Never stop.

Ask yourself, right now; if you died tomorrow, is there anything you regret not having done?
Write that down on a list and if that list exceeds five things, it's time to change your life.


Meanwhile, while you contemplate the question above, listen to this great song by The Script.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Update from the farm

Quick update; Really enjoying my week of, working on a citrus farm. I've learnt a lot and the people I'm staying with are lovely.

Did an interview with the regional paper a couple of days ago and doing an interview with ABC radio on Monday morning. Great publicity for the charities!

The plan is to stay here until Tuesday and then head on east. If all goes to plan, I'll be in Sydney by the 18th of June. Then spend a month going up to Brisbane.

Ciao!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Watervale to Cadell - 127 km

After having spent two lovely days in Watervale, experiencing great wine and meeting some great people, it was time to head on. I followed the Riesling Trail down to Auburn, before going back onto the road. Such a great bike trail!
So back on the road I had a few hills between Auburn and Eudanda, but still LOADS of slight downhill and flats. Then from Eudanda to Morgan, it was more or less flat. So managed to get a really good average speed.

Tip! If you want see more specific data about my route and the stats (speed, distance, elevation, ascent, descent etc.), click on the Endomondo logo on the right hand side. That will take you to my workout profile. From here you can access all my workouts.)

Morgan = Murray river
The Murray River ( River Murray in South Australia ) is Australia's longest river. At 2,508 kilometres (1,558 mi) in length, the Murray rises in the Australian Alps,draining the western side of Australia's highest mountains and, for most of its length, meanders across Australia's inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest, before turning south for its final 500 kilometres (310 mi) or so into South Australia, reaching the ocean at Lake Alexandrina. - source Wikipedia

Had to take a ferry across which was so cool. I felt like a little child, waiting by the docks. I say ferry, more like a floating piece of tarmac being pulled along two wires. The crossing was maybe 100 meters long, if that. But still pretty cool.
So from here, I'm more or less following the Murray river down to Albury. So hopefully it will be green, lush and very interesting scenery.
Also saw a lot of colourful flowers today, really nice!

Tonight I'm staying in Cadell, in the local community caravan park. Was only $10, so quite good. Plus the caretakers are a lovely couple in their early 70s. After I'd had my dinner, they invited me over for a second one. So nice of them. Afterwards we talked about everything from Europe and travel to Australias (lack of) green policies and the annual budget.

Tomorrow I've got about 100 km riding to do to Renmark. Here I'll be staying for a week, working on a farm. Also think I timed it good, cause there's a cold front coming in on Tuesday. Woop woop.

A day in Watervale, paradise


Decided to stay an extra night in Watervale, with this amazing couple, because this is a beautiful area. There are over 20 wineries within a 30 km radius. There are so many. So if you can imagine that, driving down through the stunning valley and at every turn-off you see a sign for another winery.

The Riesling Trail runs from just north of Clare down to Auburn. It used to be where the old railway line passed through the valley, but all that is left now are the black and white station signs at each towns. Now it is a very well maintained (fine) gravel road, offering cyclists a break from the cars, trucks and all other sorts vehicles.

Today was also the first day I've noticed the change of seasons. Autumn is coming. The leaves are changing colour and the trees are going bare, ready for winter. It reminds me so much of Europe, this area of South Australia close to the border (of the eastern states). So much trees, greenery, farm and above all, life. Western Australia had some, but the majority of Australia’s population lives on this side of the country and I can understand why, it's beautiful here.

Anyhoodle, like I mentioned, staying with a lovely couple. One of them is a nurse in a local hospital and the other works at one of the wineries. So this morning when I asked if I could stay another night, she gave me a map of the area and suggested a few wineries I should check out.
So off I went on my bike. Had no luggage on, which felt incredibly weird! I was really unstable for the first couple of kilometres (and more so after the first couple of wineries).

So you turn up at the winery and head into the cellar. Here you can learn more about the particular wine they produce and get to taste some of them.
I am by no means an wine expert, far from it, but I do appreciate a good red wine. Because I'm riding at least 120 km tomorrow, I had to limit myself in how much I actually tried. I haven't done enough wine tasting to get into the culture of spitting it out again after having touch you tounge for five seconds. So when you've been to four wineries and tried over seven different types at each place, you do notice the effect when get back on that bike again.

So first stop were two award-winning wineries, the Kilikanoon Winery and the Penna Lane Wines. Both had very friendly staff, that were passionate about their products and were able to provide you with detailed information about the entire process from grape to bottle. Penna Lane Wines also serve lunch on the weekends. We're not talking cheese and crackers here, but lovely and rich flavoured country style meals, made by the winemakers mother. Lovely woman. Makes a killer broccoli and bacon soup with fresh bread. YUM! So after having tasted the wine and also their homemade chutney and jams, I was on my merry way down the road.

Next stop was the Mitchell Winery. Though it was quite an interesting place, seeing as they produce everything there and I could see the entire process, the wines weren't AS GOOD as the others. Later I was told they mainly produce wine for other wineries, which is used to mix in with their own wines.

Last stop for the day was the Skollogalee Wines. Their Shiraz was quite good, fruity and rich on flavour. The Riesling however (which is what this area is known for) was exquisite! I'm not a big white wine drinker and Riesling just brings back bad memories from high school of pre-drinks before going to some godforsaken house party. But this was totally different to the standard German Riesling we're accustomed to in Europe. It had a much more of a citrus flavour and a lot more refreshing (yes I know I'm not using the “proper” wine terminology here, but sue me...).

After this I decided to call it a day and headed up to Clare to do a bit of food shopping, before taking the Riesling (bike) trail back down to Watervale (15km south of Clare).

It was the feeling of pure joy seeing the valley, riding on the trail and passing through vineyard after vineyard. The changing colours, autumn coming in. The sweeping hills with rows of vines neatly lined up next to each other. This to me is like my own personal Disneyland. It's magical, colourful and ever-changing.

And as I was riding down from Swan Hill into Watervale, faced with the spectacular scenery, I could not help but to think of Europe. About how much travelling New Zealand and Australia has made me love Europe even more. It might seem odd to some, but I'm more determined than ever to settle down in a European country after having seen all this. It reminded me of Pembrokeshire and Brecon National park in Wales (UK) and about the fjords on the west coast in Norway. Even the forests close to where I grew up and the variety of rivers.

So to family and friends; relax, I'm coming home to Europe, not settling down in Australia. Though I still don't know which European country, but at least you'll have me within reasonable flying distance.

A huge thanks to Louise and Kerstine for having me. They have a beautiful home and a lovely (and friendly) greyhound. Both do something they're are passionate about and I greatly admire that. I wish them both the very best of luck and hopefully I'll meet them again some time in the future, maybe on a bike trip in Europe. Who knows.


Tomorrow I'm heading off again. Leaving the Clare Valley. I hope to do just over 120 km tomorrow and then do about 110 km the day after into Renmark.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Gladstone to Watervale - 91.7 km

Finally the scenery improves. I'm now entering the wine region of Australia, where some of the best wine in the world is produced. I've travelled past many vineyards, both big and small, all day. It's something about that Mediterranean feeling it gives me. I suppose you can say it soothes my soul. I don't even mind the fact I'm doing some of the biggest hills since Western Australia.

There's also towns every 20-30km, which breaks up your journey a bit more. Also allows you to easily stock up on food and water on a more regular basis. Fun fact: the reason why these small towns are so close, is because that was the length the bulls (who pulled the carts or similar) could travel before they needed to rest. At least that is what I was told by the lady in the tourist office. Quite cool I must admit.

Stopped in Clare for a long three hour lunch break at the Wild Saffron cafe. Amazing food AND free WiFi, a combination in Australia which is very hard to come by.

Heading further south towards my final destination, Watervale, I see even more vineyards. So nice.

I found a lovely couple to stay with through Warm Showers (cylist equivalent of Couch Surfing). I was greeted by two cupcakes left in the kitchen for me and a lovely greyhound. Louise works as a nurse and Kerstin works for a winery nearby. Unfortunately Louise had to work, but will hopefully meet her in the morning. Kerstin spoiled me with an absolutely amazing Thai chicken dish and some local Clare Valley red wine. Oh the flavours, yum!! She also told me a bit about the regional wines and that if I see an Australian red wine from 2011, I am to steer clear of it. Apparently that was an awrful year for Australian wine. There you have it people. Next time you buy a red wine, make sure it's not Oz 2011.

Showed her my route and she said I'm coming into some areas with beautiful scenery along the Murray river. I cannot wait. Really starting to enjoy Australia now.

Anyhoodle, it's getting late and I need to sleep before getting up for riding in the morning.

Night!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Quorn to Gladstone - 120 km

I don't know why, but the Blogger app automatically places my photo at the end... So scroll down first, look at them and come back up here again. Might make more sense.

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Felt a bit like Donald today. As I was setting off from Quorn, my mate Paul pointed out that my back tire seemed a bit flat. So he brought out his bike pump with a pressure gauge. Guess what? Turns out the pressure in my tire was 40psi. The ideal pressure is 60psi. That's a shortfall of 20psi... Have you seen the Donald Duck episode Clown of the jungle? Donald tries to take a photo of the beautiful birds, but another bird messes with him. When he finally manages to get the shot and is going to take out the film for developing, it turns out he never put film in it in the first place. He goes loopy. That is how I felt this morning, haha.

Anyhoodle, set off. Heading; south. Immediately I noticed the amazing scenery. After Port Augusta it has improved ten thousand times. The ONLY interesting thing between Esperance and Ceduna was the Bunda cliffs. So seeing sweeping hills, trees and wildlife every day, all day is a most welcome thing. All the locals I've spoken to have all said it will only get better from here. Excited!

Small towns all over the place. Today I passed through six towns, all quite nice. Finally staying within civilisation. Less water and food to carry. Also breaks up the day a lot more and motivates. As I was causally peddling through Melrose, I passed a well equipped bike shop. A BIKE SHOP, in a town with less than 200 people. Got talking to one of the staff and he told me there's a lot of mountain bikers coming through here because of many good tracks in the area. Staying there for a good 30 minutes. So if you're passing through this way, make sure you stop by. They also have a cafe and free WiFi!

Along the way I passed these big hollow trees all over. Reaching probably 20-30 meters into the sky, they all have partly or fully hollowed out bases. So cool to see.

My new setup is working great. I'm still carrying 45ish kg, but all on the bike. It took some getting used to, but so much easier to build up speed. I mean, I was flying today. Reached a maximum speed of over 45km/h and a good average of 22.1km/h (according to my speedometer).

Because I'm now only doing 100-120 km a day, I can take my time and stop at places I like. Not having to rush like I had to on the Nullarbor. Also stopped in a town called Laura and ended up talking for ages with the lovely ladies in the information centre.

After setting up my tent (it needed to dry first) and making a lovely tuna & cous-cous dinner, I had to bring my sewing kit out. My tights have started to...shall we say open up to the world. These tights are amazing. I bought them in St. Maxine in southern France in 2008 when my grandparents took me to see one of my great aunties whos got a house down there. Beautiful place by the way. St. Tropez, Nice, Monaco... If you ever get the chance, go. It is absolument magnifique!! Sorry, back to the tights. We went shopping and bought a few gym clothes, including those tights. So I've had them for six years. Six years! Still going strong, but might have find another pair when I get to Sydney.

Like I said, I'm truly starting to enjoy Australia now. Finally getting interesting. Can't wait to see the rest. Tomorrow is a short day, only 80 km. Heading to Watervale, where I'll be staying with a nice couple I met through the cycling site Warm Showers (cylist version of Couch Surfing basically). Then from there I'll head towards Renmark, camp out and hopefully arrive on Sunday.

Nos da! (Welsh for 'good night')

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Updated route

After careful consideration I've decided to change my route. I've spoken to locals and other cyclists and they all say the same thing; don't go to Adelaide and Melbourne, it's way too cold and wet this time of year. So instead I'm staying north and going through Mildura and between the Blue Mountains into Sydney. We're still talking at least 2500 km left until Brisbane, so heaps left.
So will have to come back in the future (in a van/on a motorbike) and see Melbourne then.

I've managed to get a week of work on a citrus farm in Renmark (just before Mildura). So plan to get there late Sunday/early Monday and then stay for a week. After that I plan on heading right to Sydney, only stopping to have a rest day every five days. If all goes to plan, I should be in Sydney by the 18-19th of June. Then I'll have a whole month to get to Brisbane. I can't wait.

Tomorrow I'm taking the bus back to where my bike broke down. Yes I know, I'm crazy. But if I don't, I won't be the first Norwegian to cross Australia. So won't let that happen. Plan:
Monday - Take the bus and arrive in the afternoon. Then bike 67 km to Wuddina.
Tuesday - Wuddina to middle of nowhere, 165 km
Wednesday - Middle of nowhere to Quorn (town outside Port Augusta) 136 km

To achieve this, I'm leaving everything at Pauls except the absolute essentials. Laptop, camera, spare clothes etc. That will shave tons of weight off and will let me fly over those hills. For those of you watch Gavin & Stacey, I'm going Nessa style; femme wipes, undies and TicTacs. So to save power, because I don't have my laptop, I will have probably turn my phones off in the day for the first two days. Then I'll turn them on for a bit in the evening to check messages etc. I'm bringing; spare jacket, one boxer, one pair socks, thermals, GoPro, bike parts, tent, sleeping bag, food and water. That's more or lesi.s it. The rest I'm leaving here.

So wish me luck!

"Norway Day" Aussie style

Happy National Independence Day or just "happy Norway Day" to you all!
A great day to be Norwegian, both in Norway and other countries. This year is also the 200 year anniversary of our constitution, which is still in use today.

So to celebrate it headed to Emily's Bistro for the mandatory ice cream. I also made my own flag with the use of my permanent markers. The cafe is a old general store and still has the old shelves and counter from back in the day. Another cool thing they had, was the money handling system; basically the men behind the counter would receive money from the customer, put it into a small bucket and pull on a rope which then would "fire" it off to a enclosed till room where the ladies would empty it, put in the right change and "fire" it back again via the rails. So cool! The owner filmed me doing it, so will show you that some time.

The Ghan railway used to run through up until the 1980s, but the station and much of the maintenance halls are still in use today as part of a tourist attraction. Every weekend they bring out the old train set, going Port Augusta - Quorn - Port Augusta.
You can just about see the white smoke rise up inbetween the hills. Then coming round a turn, you can see the locomotive. I felt like someone had given me a ticket for the Hogwarts Express, departing from platform 9 3/4 (Harry Potter reference). The mere power of that black beast is astonishing. It was truly magical seeing it pull in.

After ice cream and locomotives, I headed back to the house to start test packing. Like I mentioned in previous posts, I now have front panniers instead of a trailer on the back. After going through everything I found a few things I don't need anymore. So gave my full body mosquito net, shotglasses, ducktape, deck of cards and trailer to my host and mate Paul. So now I just need to make sure the rest of the stuff from the trailer fits in bags. Will do that in the morning.

Fun thing happened today. There are over 6 billion people on earth, about 5 million Norwegians and 1300 people in Quorn, the town I'm staying in at the moment. I walk into this amazing bookshop which also looks like something from the world of Harry Potter. Anyhoodle, got talking to James (one of the staff. Guess what? He's currently learning Norwegian and hope to one day study and live in Norway! I mean, what are the odds of that happening? So ended up talking heaps about Norway and the language, with parts of the conversation in Norwegian. So surreal! Weird to speak Norwegian again, face to face I mean.

Tomorrow: pack and prepare to head back to where my bike broke down and cycle here.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Pimp my ride

Upgrade Viking style
My ride has now been transformed and I'm pretty sure I could hear my beautiful bike let out a great sigh of relief at the thought of never having to pull that trailer again.

So yeah, like I've mentioned previously; I intended to replace my trailer with panniers somehow when I got to Port Augusta. Well, universe came to my rescue and it all worked out perfectly fine. Paul, the great guy I'm staying with here in Quorn (a town just outside Port Augusta) had some old panniers he had used on his 10 000 km journey around Oz in the late 90s. So we did a clean swap; my trailer for his panniers. He even phoned up the guy he sold his bike to and asked if he could have the pannier rack back (Photo: silver rack and red bags). Sure enough, 20 minutes later, this nice chap rolls in on Pauls old mountain bike and warmly says You can have 'em if you, no use to me. So I start the process of unscrewing the rack from his bike.

After some tweeking and headscratching, I manage to mount the rack on my bike. Perfect fit.

The issue of water is something that is always on my mind. When I crossed hell, I mean the Nullarbor, I always tried to have a minimum of 9 litres of water when starting out each morning. Now, with the trailer I simply whacked them in there and off I went. Now I had to think of something new. Pauls old bike hade this great front rack above the panniers which he had used for water (Photo: black rack which holds the blue water cintainer). I asked his mate if I could buy it off him, but alas he was using it himself.

Did some research online and found the exact same one on eBay for $5.99 plus shipping. However, seeing as it was in China it could take up to a month to get here. And I don't have a month. So after a few frantic Google searches, we found a bikeshop in Wyalla (a city 100 km south of Port Augusta) that might stock it. Phoned them up and they did. Asked if it was anyway I could have it brought up to PA. She put on the next Premiere Stateliner bus which was headed for PA. Price? $29 for the rack and $10 in shipping. So taking into account I could have what I needed with hours of enquiring, I'm quite happy with that. Then after picking up it from the bus stop, we headed to a department store, which has got everything from undies and onsies to fishing rods and shampoo, to see about finding that perfect water container.
There it was, on the shelf, in bright blue; a 5 litre water can which would fit perfectly on my new front rack. Only $9! Bargain.

So now I've solved the issue of the trailer (in theory). Tomorrow I plan on spending a couple of hours trying to repack everything and see what to put where and see if it will work in real life. At least now I'm in a part of Australia with more towns, people, supplies and shade. So don't need to carry an stupid amount of food and water.

Rule? If it doesn't fit in the trailer, I can't bring it. Pure and simple.

It's funny isn't it? How the universe works. If you really want something, the universe will help you get there one way or the other.

Tomorrow: Go through stuff, test-pack, test-ride and plan future route.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Quorn - Break from biking

Universe works in mysterious ways

If I hadn't had the troubles with the bike, I would never have experienced this. See? Things happen for å reason.

Woke up this morning in the Big4 caravan park in Port Augusta, after having arrived late last night. After my bike breaking down in Poochera I was lucky enough for a truckie to pull in at the exact moment I needed it. Turned out he was an engineer that designs products and develops methods of securing cargo on truck. As more of an intrest, he would take on the occasional job. Funny enough, he had past me on the Nullarbor a few days before (heading west) and was now on his way home. So he offered to give me a lift all the way to Port Augusta.

Anyhoodle, woke up in PA, had breakfast, grabbed my rear wheel and walked across town to the bike. Here I was greeted by a lovely chap who started hammering and working away on my wheel seconds after I'd gone G'Day mate. Turned out he'd been to Norway about 40 years ago and had loved it. He very much reminded me of that stereotypical grandad type, with his white beard, glasses on the tip of the nose with eyes frowning at you Dumbledore style (the first actor who played Dumbledore, but sadly passed away). Anyhoodle, he put in two new spokes and straightened my wheel out. Only $32.50, plus I got two new spare spokes. Bargain!

Then my host, Paul, was kind enough to come down to Port Augusta to pick me up. After we'd done a Mary Poppins style packing of all my stuff, we drove up to Quorn where he lives. This is by far, the most beautiful, peaceful and postcard-perfect town I've seen in Australia. Instead of rundown buildings and a blank characterless town, I was met by old, beautifully maintained old buildings. All complete with quirky old details all over them. All the shops had signs in the historically correct font. And it was so peaceful. No major traffic noise. No drunken people roaming the streets. It was as if time had stood still for years.

Paul himself does tours (kayak, motorbike, camping, vintage cars WTC.) in this region of South Australia. He showed me his motorbikes earlier... Wow, amazing. Will try and get a photo some time this week.

The house I'm staying in is a beautiful (listed) building, built in 1881. Which, in Australia, in considered very old. Nice wooden flooring and majestic fireplaces and rooms that are big and great.

So I plan on staying here for a few days, relaxing and truly enjoying life.

Tomorrow I'm working on my bike rack, on how I can get everything with me. Will keep you posted. Plus going to have a walk around town, taking more pictures.

Like this? Now that I've actually have got signal I plan on trying to post more regular updates like this. Stay tuned!

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Posted from my Android phone, so please excuse any minor spelling mistakes.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

How to follow me

At the moment I'm doing the Nullarbor crossing (Norseman to Ceduna) and it is VERY limited signal, so I opted for an offline diary. When I get to Ceduna, or in 'worst case' Port Augusta, I'll upload all my photos and diary entries. Right now I'm using Telstra pay-as-go sim, which hasn't got the best rates to put it mildly, but only operator with signal out here. After Port Augusta I can start doing daily updates here on the blog as well, as I'll get full signal then.

In the meantime you follow my progress via my Facebook page or my Endomondo training profile (link on the right side).

If you want/need to get in touch with me within the next four days, please use the FB page and my friend Dian or my mum Nina should be able to answer any questions.

If all goes to plan, I should be in Ceduna and back to civilisation by the 12th of May (the latest).

Tom-Daniel

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Nullarbor plan

First of all, sorry about the lack of pictures, but I'm using mobile internet and need to save as much as possible of my credit. Please check out my Facebook page for more pictures from my adventure.
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So here we are again. I'm ready to head out onto the big highway. This time, it will be the toughest and hardest thing I've ever experienced so far. If you don't count other car (and truck...) drivers, I will most likely be by myself for at least 13 days. This is one of the most deserted parts of Highway 1. It has the longest straight stretch in Australia, “the 90 mile straight”, 146.6km of a single straight line. So from now until then, I'll be praying the wind gods for tailwind. Because cycling in a straight line, with headwind, is not something I'd prefer.

To save money I've bought enough groceries to last about 12-13 days. BUT to keep weight down, I've opted for the same food. So my meals for the next couple of weeks will be as follows:

Breakfast – Oats with dried fruit
Lunch – Pasta and spiced tuna
Dinner – Pasta, tuna and (dehydrated) peas
Supper – A few pieces of dark chocolate
Snacks throughout the day – apples and biscuits

I've also sent a head 3 kg of stuff and clothes I don't need for Nullarbor to the Port Augusta post office, to get a bit more space. So will have to pick this up when I finally get there.

During my research for this trip, I found an amazing bicycle touring guide for crossing the Nullarbor. “Cycling across Australias Nullarbor” by Mike Boles. You can find the guide HERE.
It has given me heaps of information on where to camp, have shower, fill my bottles with rainwater and more. This has been my base for the planning of leg two.

This is the (rough) plan:

  • Day 1: Esperance to Norseman part 1 - Leave Esperance tomorrow (27/04/14) and do as close to 115 km as possible, as this is a rest stop.
  • Day 2: Esperance to Norseman part 2 - Try and find a wild camp spot 10-20 km outside Norseman
  • Day 3: Norseman day - Head into Norseman, fill up bottles, stock up if anything is needed and then head 20 km out of the town to camp. Short day
  • Day 4: Norseman to Fraser Range – Fill up bottles and wild camp a bit further east.
  • Day 5: Fraser Range to Balledonia: Fill up water and wild camp a bit further east
  • Day 6: Balledonia to Caiguna – If the wind is in my favour, I'll hopefully make it to Caiguna. If not, there is a small gorge (north side of the road) 42 km west of Caiguna roadhouse. Might have to purchase water, but will try to avoid
  • Day 7: Caiguna to Cocklebiddy: Will stop at Cocklebiddy for a shower, laundry and water. However, will not camp here. Will find a camping spot a bit further out.
  • Day 8: Cocklebiddy to Madura (Modini Bluff) – Will stop at the roadhouse and fill up water, but plan on making it to Mondini Bluff rest stop to camp.
  • Day 9: Madura (Modini Bluff) to Mundrabilla: Will consider paying for camping here, if shower is included in the price. If not, I will carry on a bit further east. However, if the rainwater tank 2 km before Mundrabilla is empty, I'll have to pay for camping as tap water is reserved for guests.
  • Day 10: Mundrabilla to Eucla – 2 km before Eucla, there's a challenging hill. When at the roadhouse, I'll have a shower and fill up my bottles. Then carry on a bit further east to wild camp.
  • Day 11: Eucla to Nullarbor part 1 – Will fill up water by available rainwater tanks. Then there is apparently a okay spot for wild camping between kilometre posts 80 and 85, by a grove of trees.
  • Day 12: Eucla to Nullarbor part 2 – Making my way along the Great Australian Bight, I'll see some amazing views of the Bunda cliffs. Hopefully I'll make it to the Nullarbor roadhouse. Here I'll shower, wash my clothes and stay the night. Apprently there's few good wildcamping spots for at least 35 km.
  • Day 13: Nullarbor to (Yalata) Nundroo – It's a 148 km cycle, however it's supposed to be fairly hilly. I'm hoping to make it, but if I don't I'll probably camp near the old (and closed down) Yalata roadhouse/station.
  • Day 14: (Yalata) Nundroo to Penong – This is a short cycle, but can still be quite hilly I've been told. Will try and wild camp a few km past Penong roadhouse.
  • Day 15: Penong to Ceduna – A short cycle to finish off Nullarbor. Here's I plan on heading to the tourist office to buy my Nullarbor-crossing certificate. Then buy the biggest meal known to man from somewhere. Then I might camp at Cabins & Caravan Park if a shower is included. If not, I'll probably wild camp.

After this I'm heading to Port Augusta as quickly as possible. Hopefully I'll be in Port Augusta by my birthday, the 13th May. If all goes to plan, I'll find a Couch Surfer host to stay with for a few days in Port Augusta. Here I hope to stay for a few days recovering, then hitch hiking up to Uluru and back down again. Then head on to Adelaide.

This is going to be a crazy tiring, but so exciting journey. It will test me mentally, but I can't wait.


PS. Just to warn friends and family, it might be up to 48 hours between each update on Facebook. So if you don't see any updates from Endomondo (my sport tracker) in the evening, don't panic.