Archive for the ‘Sydney to Perth Tour’ category

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Deciding what to bring isn’t nearly as hard as deciding what not to bring. In my first attempt of packing, there were a lot of “just-in-case” items, like extra clothing, extra gloves, sport shoe, swim goggles, iPod and even my laptop. Of course, my panniers wouldn’t have enough space to fit all these items, but even if it does, i can’t imagine riding with that ridiculous load across the country. So I packed and repacked until I managed to cut it down to the weight of 16kg. Not as good as many other touring cyclist but I’m quite satisfied with that. I could cut it down further but that would mean extra cost (lightweight equipments aren’t cheap). This weight doesn’t include food, water, cooking equipments, and other consumables though. Another reason for keeping the weight down is to keep my extra luggage fees low for my flight to Sydney. When I arrive Melbourne 2 weeks into the tour I will pick up my cooking stuff, warm clothing and some other stuff.

For those of you who are interested, here’s a list of items that will travel with me on the road.

Trike and fitted accessories
Greenspeed GT3 series II recumbent trike
… all components stock except:
- Pedals: Shimano PD-M520 clipless pedals
- Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon puncture resistant tyres
- Drive train: SRAM DualDrive internal gear hub system (total 81 speed)

Greenspeed headrest (Melbourne onwards)
Greenspeed front and rear fenders
Greenspeed alloy rack
Mirrycle side mirrors
Cateye Enduro 2
Incredibell Thermo Bell
Generic 1W LED headlight x 2
Cannondale Foresite Rear Light
Generic 9-LED turning signal with brake lights and electronic horn
Bottle cage x 1
Quell Personal Alarm modified into theft alarm
High visibility flag and poles
Generic carp streamers

Bags and bottles
Arkel RT-60 2 x 30L with rain cover
Arkel Tail Rider 11L
FastBack 4.0 Hydration System with 3L bladder
Adidas 750ml bottle x 2
Bobble 550ml filtered bottle (Melbourne onwards)

Tools
Topeak Road Morph bike pump
Topeak Hexus bike multi tool
Plier multi tool
Small adjustable wrench
Pedal wrench
Puncture repair kit x 2
Tri-flow Superior lubricant
Nylon paracord
Cable tie x 10
Head-mounted 7-LED light
Disposable cleaning towel x 6
Spare tube x 2
Bike cover
Adhesive tape

Cycling Apparels
Lazer 3XM helmet
Cap with face cover
KEEN Commuter cycling sandals
Torpedo7 shoe cover (Melbourne onwards)
Route7 full length tights
Fit-over-glasses sunshade
GOS Breakaway cycling gloves

Off-cycling Apparels
Rain Jacket
Fleece Jacket (Melbourne onwards)
Long sleeve shirt
Long sleeve tee x 2
Short sleeve tee
Track bottom
Long pants
Short pants
Underpants x 4
Socks x 3
Winter gloves (Melbourne onwards)
Thongs
Spare prescription glasses (Melbourne onwards)

Electronics and accessories
Canon S95 digital camera
Camera battery charger
Sandisk 8GB SD card
Sandisk Cruzer 8GB USB drive
Sandisk Cruzer 32GB USB drive (Melbourne onwards)
Gorillapod tripod
iPhone 3GS
iPhone charger
Sony pocket FM/AM radio
Powerfilm USB AA solar charger (Melbourne onwards)
Sanyo eneloop AAA rechargeable batteries x 12
Energizer 2450 mAh AA rechargeable batteries x 6
Energizer 1hr battery charger
Sea to Summit 8L dry sack

Camping
Hi-Country Dargo 2-person tent
Caribee Plasma Extreme 0-degree sleeping bag
Foam sleeping mat
Tarp ground sheet

Cooking
Trangia cook set with stove (Melbourne onwards)
Spatula (Melbourne onwards)
Matches (Melbourne onwards)
Methylated Spirit (Melbourne onwards)
Kitchen knife
Scissors
Cup
Bowl
Spoon, fork, butter knife

Toiletries
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Disposable shaver
Microfibre towel
Shampoo
Body wash
Sponge
Sunscreen spf 50
Facial sunscreen spf 130
Hand sanitiser
Nail clipper (Melbourne onwards)
Toilet paper
Lotion
Lip balm

Nutrition and first aid
First aid kit
Gatorade powder mix energy drink (Melbourne onwards)
Diarrhoea tablets
Ibuprofen

Paperwork and stationeries
Passport (Melbourne onwards)
Drivers License
Wallet
Flight details
Diary
Small notepad
Camps Australia Wide 6 map book
Card compass
Card LED light
Ink pen
Ballpoint pen
Contact cards

My list of equipments summarised into a picture! Few items are not shown here, e.g. bags, sleeping mat, hydration system, few pieces of clothing.

My GT3 tucked nicely into a trike box! Hope nothing will be damaged during the flight transportation *fingers crossed*

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March 15th, 2011

For the most part of the day, my mind appears distracted due to the overwhelming emotions about the trip. What does it feels like travelling all on my own for days and weeks without the presence of friends and family? What happens if my trike is damaged on arrival? What happens if my trike breaks down in the middle of nowhere? What if I got robbed on the road? Will my body be able to cope with the prolonged physical exertion? So many open-ended questions that goes on in my mind that at some point I just have to comfort myself that I am allowed to discontinue my journey at any time if it exceeds my personal risk/reward threshold.

Grace and I arrived at the airport about 2 hours before departure so that we could have more time to resolve any problems involving luggage weight or content. I took a Virgin Blue flight and it is important to note for my future self and others that they will charge for any excess baggage. I couldn’t afford to leave any items back in Melbourne so I paid for my extra 3kg of check-in luggage weight, fair enough I guess.

Leaving Melbourne wasn’t a very difficult thing to do, but leaving on a bike tour and not having my partner Grace coming along was quite an emotional challenge. The higher risk and the unpredictability of travelling on a bike makes it hard to part with the loved ones. Nonetheless, I reassured Grace that I’ll be extra careful at all times and will be in contact with her on a daily basis.

I took off at 9.15pm. I knew I desperately needed some sleep since my tour will begin from Sydney airport before sunrise, but just couldn’t get one somehow. The journey was also too short to have any productive sleep, it was only 55 minutes. As soon as I touched down, got my trike and other luggage, I started unpacking and assembling my trike. At about 11:00pm, a security officer approached and I was asked to assemble my trike outside the airport as they were about to close the building. I didn’t even know that airport aren’t 24 hours opened!

That's all my luggage, total weight approx. 44kg!

My unassembled trike

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March 16th, 2011
Sydney to Bundeena
Distance: 58km

Outside the arrival hall at Sydney domestic terminal, I took my time building my trike, ensuring that all the bolts are tighten and test rode it a few times. I completed the trike after 3 hours, a “record-breaking timing”!

The Lego box and its toy

Had a pre-packed cheesybite sandwich at the bus stop and was reminded that Sydney is home to the largest population of cockroach. Killed two of them while eating. As soon as I’m done eating, I started pedalling out of the airport, riding along Princes Highway until I reached Southgate Shopping Centre at Sylvania. There I shopped for a bum bag and umbrella from the 24-hours K-mart while waiting for Woolworths supermarket to open at 6:00am. The bum bag turns out to be incredibly useful since I get to store and access my camera and phone without having to get out of my seat.

My Sydney to Perth cycle tour officially begun after this shot!

So yeah, Princes Highway was all mine from 2 to 4am

Once I was done shopping at the supermarket, I had a quick chocolate milk and muffin brekkie and headed south to the Royal National Park. As expected, the traffic on Princes Highway became quite intense so I chose smaller roads and occasionally rode on the footpath. Once I get to the entrance of the Royal National Park, the traffic was much better and I felt relief. The shoulder was not as wide as I had hoped for but motorists were quite courteous when it comes to overtaking. The scenery and air were quite pleasant but I believe I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t sleep-deprived. All I could think of is to quickly get to the camp site and settle down for a long afternoon nap. There were a couple of steep hills along the road before the Bundeena Road turnout. Needless to say, I switched to the granniest of my granny gear (gear 1 of 81) to crawl up the hill.

Sweet sweet ride, away from the stressful morning traffic

But wait... a hill climb??? And I thought what could be worse than riding without much sleep

Must... reach... camp... site

After 3.5 hours, I finally arrived at Bonnie Vale Camp Ground! I made a booking for this camp site one-week earlier so I just made my way straight to my camping spot. While I was setting up my tent, Gail and Michael, a friendly elderly couple, approached me and we have a short chat. Michael also owns a trike, the exact same model but an earlier generation. We discussed a bit about the trike and my route to Melbourne. They warned me about the steep mountain that I will encounter after Shellharbour and told me to avoid it if possible. Didn’t give much thought about it as the next alternative road (Jamberoo Mountain Road) is even worse.

My first camp site of the tour

Took a shower and tried to sleep in the tent but it was just too hot inside. It was noon and my tent was no longer under the tree shade. I was so desperate to sleep that I sat on my trike under the tree and tried to doze off. It was windy and nice outside the tent but there were ants and other bugs all over the ground so again I couldn’t have a peaceful sleep. Another thing that worries me was the Ultraman’s Monster-like lizard that is all over the camp site. There are usually at least one-metre long and roam around to seek for food from unsuspecting campers. Without much choice, I went back into the tent and my sleepiness overrules all the environmental factors that kept me from sleeping.

Colourful alien-like bugs

Ultraman would totally dig this!

Woke up at 5pm and did the ceremonial ocean dipping of my rear wheel. Will do the concluding front wheel ocean dip once I reach Perth, 3 months from now. It was still daylight so I decided to ride to Bundeena town which is only 1km away from the camp site to search for hot food. All shops were closed so looks like I’ll be having muffins again for dinner, well better than nothing! Have it with the so called liquid breakfast “Up & Go” and find it quite yummy! I concluded my Day 1 by listening to the radio and fell asleep shortly after.

Ocean dip on the east coast

Let's see, what do we have for dinner... chocolate chip muffins

... and a full jar of peanut butter... are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Chocolate chip muffin topped with extra crunchy peanut butter! What a yummy combo!

This thing is pretty awesome, it's packed with heaps of energy, vitamins, and minerals!

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March 17th, 2011
Bundeena to Shellharbour
Distance: 92km
Total distance: 150km

The alarm woke me up at 6am but I can hear the rain outside so continued sleeping until 8am. Plugged my phone into the AC outlet in the shared toilet, hoping that nobody would be evil enough to steal my phone while I had breakfast and packed my things. I left the camp site at 9.15am. While riding in the national park, I saw quite a number of roadies, of course, they passed me in a second with their ultra lightweight machine. One lady cyclist slowed down and asked me about my tour, wished me luck before disappearing in a few seconds. I also met two touring cyclist! But they were in the opposite direction, one of them had a bob trailer and they are both riding together on upright bikes. Wonder where they came from and where they are heading to but never got a chance to speak! The journey inside the national park took 3 hours since there were quite a number of hills. When I got out of the park, at Otford lookout, it feels like I have ridden for the whole day when I actually just did 32km.

Otford lookout and the Otford entrance of the famous 26km Coast Walk

Earned myself some snacks, yeah more Up and Go!

On a side note, while riding in the national park, I came across many rubbish along the side of the road. Things like this you will only notice when riding a bike, not when you’re in a car. The common items I come across were beer bottles, plastic energy drink bottles, shredded tires, rubber boots, lollies wrappers, and gloves. One particular item, however, caught my attention, I saw it in the corner of my eye while riding pass it and was thinking to myself “Wait, is that what I think it is?”. So I turned back to examine that piece of rarity. It was a bad ass Batmobile!!! What’s more a battery-operated one! OMG, which kid is so spoilt that he must throw away a batmobile in the middle of the forest!

A Batmobile!!!

Back to the main story, so the journey along the coastal road was quite scenic but full of rolling hills. After a while, I came to this beautiful bridge, almost like a hidden beauty except that it was a well known bridge (that I wasn’t aware of). It’s called the Sea Cliff Bridge and its about half a kilometre long. The view from this bridge was spectacular. I used the pedestrian/bicycle lane which I wasn’t allowed to since I’m not 12 or under but who cares, I was only travelling in a pedestrian speed. Took quite a number of photos here.

The awe-inspiring Sea Cliff Bridge

Eternal love locks? I don't know what is this called but it's all over the bridge fence

Lots of paragliding activity at Bald Hill

I was going uphill and then I saw this sign. Yes, thank you for reminding me

Again, I was going downhill and saw this sign halfway through.

I stopped by at Austinmer to have a fish and chips lunch sitting by the beach. What an awesome lunch! For a hungry cyclist at least! The portion was huge too so I took about 30mins to consume the whole meal. The coastal road eventually joins the Princes Highway where they have a wide shoulder also known as bike lane all the way to Shellharbour. I didn’t get to stop by at Wollongong town centre since I needed to get to Shellharbour before dark. I did however stopped by at the sea side just to snap up a few photos.

My first hot meal since Day 0!

View when I was having my lunch

Bicycle lane on the Princes Highway

Wollongong City Beach

Along the way, I stopped by at a local shopping centre to shop for food supplies. There at the parking area I met a bunch of kids all fascinated about my trike. They were curious to know how I ride and maneuver so they followed me with their scooter and bmx for 200 metres after I left the shopping centre. Kids are generally curious about trikes. I think the adults do too, but they just don’t show it much.

I reached a caravan park at Shellharbour just in time before they close. The reception staff was nice enough to give me a discount since I am only by myself and travelling with a bike (instead of caravans, campervans or RVs). She gave me a camping spot which is only next to the beach. They only have powered sites so I get to charge my phone and batteries on the camp site itself without feeling paranoid that someone might steal my stuff.

One lady approached me and asked whether I stayed at Bundeena last night because they were there and saw me there last night. I said yes and she was surprised to find that I can still walk after cycling that far! “What an awesome achievement” she said, and that made my day! I had 3G reception at that camp site so I went online on my iPhone for a while before hitting the bed. I was already pretty worn out after a full day of cycling, and the sound of ocean waves made my sleeping experience even better!

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March 18th, 2011
Shellharbour to Robertson
Distance: 40km
Total distance: 190km

My camp site last night at a Shellharbour caravan park

My day started at 9am due to my unsuccessful attempt of waking up earlier because of the rain. I tend to get unmotivated to start my ride when it’s raining. Consequently I started my journey at 10.15am, very late indeed. As I was checking out, I was warned for the second time by caravan park staff that the road I’ll be using is going to be a difficult climb. Naturally, the first 20km I was distracted by the thought of the tough climb at Macquarie Pass. The sight of the high and foggy mountain range from afar feels really unsettling.

Look at that gigantic mountain range. I didn't get nervous for no reason.

An aboriginal name for trike?

The 8km climb took me 2 hours. It wasn’t all that bad, I was actually getting lots of encouragements from motorists and bikers in the forms of thumbs up and friendly honks. The final 2 bends were dangerous, they were extremely steep and long trucks must reverse to overcome the bends. The uphill continues for another 5km but the road was relatively straight and comes with wider shoulders. The climate however was quite different above the Macquarie Pass. It rained continuously, it was cold and air becomes foggy.

So this is where the fun begins

What are these hairy things?

At this time, I was getting quite exhausted and stopped by at the famous Robertson pie shop for two yummy meat pies. There, I was contemplating whether to continue riding to Moss Vale which was about 25km away or spend the night at Robertson, only 3km away. My inner thigh felt sore due to constant scrubbing between my thighs, and the weather wasn’t helping either.

The Famous Robertson Pie Shop

Cars and trucks were going in excess of 80kmh even in this condition. It was too risky to ride any further than 5km.

With much consideration, I decided to settle down in a motel in Robertson. Paid quite a fair bit for the room but it was a good call. I would never have made it to Moss Vale in that condition. Besides, I’ve already made a good 750m climb today. I took the opportunity to clean my clothing at the motel, using the heater to help dry them. I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Family Guy, and American Dad before I retire to bed at 9pm.

Elevation 750m! and I started at sea level

What a treat!

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March 19th, 2011
Robertson to Goulburn
Distance: 107km
Total distance: 297km

I had a very good sleep last night. Certainly made a difference sleeping on a proper bed, and with a constant temperature of 26 degrees. Since I didn’t have to pack up my camping gears, I get to leave early at about 6.15am. I managed to get rid of my skin soreness by using multiple adhesive bandages on the affected skin. Sky was still dark and can get quite foggy at some stretch of the Illawarra Highway. The traffic was terrific and the gradient was mostly downhill. It started raining as I was approaching Exeter. I was having a good time riding so I didn’t stopped to put on my rain jacket. My first destination was Bundanoon which is about 38km from Robertson. I was aiming to reach there just in time for a hot breakfast.

It looks darker in reality. I'm glad my headlights are working well.

Fog plus rain plus uphill gradient, life can be so unfair sometimes

One of the most beautiful thing I've seen on the road. Yeah, so I like dead trees.

Its faster than it looks in reality!

One funny thing I noticed when riding passed farm animals is that they tend to stare at me like I’m some sort of martian. This happens every single time, there would be at least 2 or 3 animals in a herd that faces me initially, and then the rest just follows. As I was going downhill on some parts of the road, I moo-ed at some of the cattles just to poke fun at them.

Moooooo~~~~

I reached Bundanoon at 9 something to have a bacon and egg with toast breakfast at Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe. This shop is one of a kind, as the interior are all bicycle-themed, in fact, they even have bicycles for hire from within the shop. Several customers walking pass my trike couldn’t resist checking out my trike. I rested in the shop for a good 45 mins before I continued my journey. I had about 60km left to go so I put on my rain jacket and pedalled away.

Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe. A heaven for a hungry cyclist!

Nothing beats a hot meal and a hot chocolate in a cold rainy day

and here comes the three-wheeler

Where can I get glasses with vipers on them?

The subsequent journey was also fantastic, although not much of downhill. The road soon joins the Hume Highway, which is the main highway that connects Sydney and Melbourne. Traffic was busy as expected but the shoulder lane is wide enough to fit 3 trikes across. At this point I only had about 30km left and it was only noon, so I decided to stop by at a service centre for a meal break. Had Hungry Jacks burger for lunch and sat there for about 45 mins surfing the free wi-fi and relaxing.

Try to pronounce this

The last 30km of my ride was mostly slight gradients but manage to complete it in 2 hours. Just when I was about to enter Goulburn town, I saw a Big4 caravan park and without hesitation steer into the park and get myself checked-in for a camp site. Big4 is a chain of caravan parks that usually provide a good range of facilities and its also pet free. The only downside to this is that it is usually more expensive than the average caravan park. I hit the 100km mark today, the first time on my trike and second time on a bike in general, so I figured staying in this luxurious caravan park is a decent reward for myself.

My first 100km day ride of the tour, a historical moment!

It was only 3pm when I reached the camp site, so I took my time to set up my tent and head to town to shop for food supplies. When I came back to have my dinner, I discovered that I have lost my diary! I must have left it at the motel last night but I called the motel only to be told that they didn’t find anything in the room. I felt frustrated at first but wasn’t going to let this incident spoil my tour. I took out my iPhone, sat in the dining area with my iPhone plugged into the AC outlet and did a brainstorm to recall memories for the past 4 days. Since I had 3G reception at that time, everything I wrote in my iPhone were automatically backed-up into my email account, so that gives me a real peace of mind. With the aid of the photos I took, it was surprisingly easy to recall the events in the past few days. Took about 1.5 hours to rewrite my diary but it was all worth it. The night was very cold, much colder than all the previous nights. Brrrrrr~~~~

Camp site at Goulburn

Musical ants. No seriously, music does actually come out from their instruments!

Toy trains!!! I love this caravan park!

The metal cover of both my headlights got scraped hard by my front tires. They occasionally come into contact with each other but I didn't think it my rubber tires could do such damage to the aluminium material!

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March 20th, 2011
Goulburn to Canberra
Distance: 113km
Total distance: 410km

Today will be my longest ride so far for this tour so I started my journey early at 7am. The morning sees me packing my tent in the rain. Took me a whole 2 hours to get ready, from waking up to my first pedal. For my first 30km ride, there was no township at all, only farmlands. At some point, I thought I smelled meat buns, but later realised it comes from roadkills, there were dozens of them! Funny how hunger can play tricks on your senses. Most of the roadkills had been there for quite a while, judging from the remains of only bones and fur.

Breakfast in the tent

Bones and skins remains of a roo

Took this photo while resting on an uphill

After about 40km, I reached Tarago, one of the major township around that area, judging from the presence of a police station, fire station, railway station, playground, and a hotel. Not much of activities going on, in fact, it almost seems like an abandoned town. I just stopped for a toilet break. The road so far has been quite flat, but I can see on my right a gigantic mountain range, placed between the Hume Highway and the road I was riding on. At some point, I am going to get pass that when I rejoin the Hume Highway. This probably translates to dramatic hill climb again later in the afternoon. “Okay nevermind, worry that later” I thought to myself.

Great landscape when approaching Tarago.

A train-shaped train station at Tarago

So I rode for another 30km before reaching Bungendore, while stopping midway to have a quick pre-packed lunch. There I had two options of getting into Canberra, first is via Bungendore Rd that rejoins the Hume Highway, and second is via Kings Highway, passes through Queanbeyan. I read that Kings Highway can get quite busy and lacked a shoulder lane so I chose the former one. I don’t know how is the gradient like on Kings Highway but the one on Bungendore Rd was a killer! Although there were quite short, the uphills and downhills were pretty extreme. Remember the giant mountain range I was talking about? I finally came face to face with it. There was a gap in the mountain range, called Smiths Gap, but even the lowest point of the gap was very high for a road to run on it. The distance for the hill climb was only 1.5km, but it took me more than 30 mins and several rest stops to overcome it. I had a decent shoulder to ride on, several motorists honked at me and gave me a wave or a thumbs-up. Believe it or not but small encouragements like that actually do help boost my spirit.

I was looking forward to see some wombats when I saw this sign, hope this will be my lucky day!

What??!! NOoooooooo..... T-T

Why did the terrapin cross the road?

Smiths Gap, where I took out my secret weapon aka granniest of all granny gears

Uh-oh, this calls for my secret weapon, again

When I was approaching the Hume Hwy, there was a crazy steep downhill, that was the first time I had a real panic when riding downhill. My left brake wasn’t working as well as it should be, or maybe my downhill acceleration was too much for the brake to handle, as I wasn’t decelerating when I fully pressed the brake. I couldn’t use my right brake as I would just skid, due to a sticky brake situation that I have yet to fix. The road was wet too. Thankfully, the road came to a flat and my brake started to get a grip by then.

All is well when I reached the highway, wide shoulders, mild gradients, smooth road surface. Canberra is quite low in terms of elevation from where I was riding on the Hume Hwy, as it was mostly downhill ride towards Canberra. As soon as I reached Canberra metro, I went straight to Braddon, where my friend, An Yi lives and my home for the next two nights. Today is a Sunday, so being a small city Canberra is, the streets were really quiet, so is the town centre. We took a walk that evening to Supabarn to get dinner and some grocery. Tonight I get to sleep on a futon! Being indoors and away from the weather outside, truly a luxury! XD

Beware of 200-metre-long bicycles

Here in Canberra, Supabarn is as big as the big two supermarkets!

My first proper dinner of the tour! Supabarn roast chicken with cold creamy pasta and garden salad mix!

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March 21st, 2011
Canberra
Distance: 6km
Total distance: 416km

After 5 days and 400km of riding, the most sensible thing to do is to take a day off from riding. I did however ride a little to the Flying Furniture recumbent shop to get my brake repaired. Met up with the shop owner Ian and I was glad that he manage to get rid of the sticky brake problem! Its great to have both brakes functional! While I was there, I also asked to try on another recumbent trike, the HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS. It’s a full suspension trike that I was considering before I got my GT3, but decided not to due to the high price. It wasn’t as comfortable as I expected, in fact I still prefer the feel of my GT3 more. I was also interested in another full suspension trike, the ICE Sprint 2 fs but they didn’t have one in stock. Chatted with Ian for a while about recumbents and touring before I went back to Braddon. It rained when I was riding back and the weather continues to be like that for the rest of the day, so I just stayed home.

Ian repairing my Sturmey Archer drum brake

Checked on the news and found out that the rain over the past several days caused several areas in NSW to flood. One of which was Shellharbour, the place where I stayed on Day 2! Another one was Bombala, my destination in the next few days! The news also reported caravan parks and campsites being affected by the flood. I was upset about the news, this means that I must either change my route or take a risk on my original route hoping that the rain would be gone by the time I reached the affected areas. So I decided to stay in Canberra for another day to see how things go. Moreover, my leg muscles are getting more sore, feeling the post-workout effect now. My day ended with a stroll around Canberra Centre and watching TV with An Yi and her housemate Peter.

Gotta love Canberra's footpath. Complete with shady trees and a good distance from the road.

A futon bed, this is luxury compared to my last few nights!

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March 22nd, 2011
Canberra
Distance: 0km
Total distance: 416km

Today’s weather report says sunny with chances of shower. Initially I wanted to visit the city again and also the parliament but decided to rest at home to manage my photos and update my blog. I continued monitoring the flood conditions, found out that few places in Victoria were experiencing flash flooding. One of them, Wilsons Promontory National Park, was in my destination list, apparently campers were cut off access in that area. Okay, time for a major change of route, the risk of riding in that area is too great.

On the evening, we took a stroll to Dickson to have dinner and bought some food. Dickson is a shopping area that is a bit like Glen Waverly in Melbourne, this is where you find asian grocery, restaurants, and DVD rentals. I guess they must have this here since Canberra city centre doesn’t have a Chinatown. I continued updating my blog and checking the news about the floods around NSW and Victoria at night and ended up sleeping late.

A row full of asian shops at Dickson

Route re-planning while watching Family Guy

This is An Yi. Thanks for the great hospitality!

And this is her Indonesian housemate, Peter!

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March 23rd, 2011
Canberra to Yass
Distance: 96km
Total distance: 512km

Woke up early this morning only to find that there are now more areas of Victoria and Gippsland in particular, that are affected by the flood. After a lot of thinking, with the aid of Google Map and Camps 6, I made a last minute decision to use the roads parallel to Hume Hwy all the way down to Melbourne. My destination for the day would be Wee Jasper. I was really disappointed, due to the flood, I must now skip riding the famous Gippsland rail trails.

Buckled up and all ready for Wee Jasper!

Minutes after I left, I took out my iPhone and fire up the Google Map GPS, found a shorter route when I select Walking instead of Driving from my current location to Wee Jasper. A route that is shorter by 15km! Yay!

BAD idea.

I knew it was an unsealed road, but I had no idea that it was a private road! I took the exit from Barton Hwy and rode about 15km into Wallaroo Rd, only to be met with signs all over the entrance to the unsealed road saying “No entry”, “No through road”, “Private road, keep out”. I was having so much fun riding along Wallaroo Rd as it was mostly downhill, I even saw a red fox for the first time, a live one that is! Anyway, there I was, sitting in front of the private road entrance, looking at my watch, and the sky, wondering what am I going to do now. Felt a sense of regret for ignoring the multiple signs that says “No through road” as I was entering Wallaroo Rd. Shouldn’t have trusted my GPS so much, both of them, Metroview and Google.

Barton Highway during the morning rush hour.

Yo, check out this dude on his funny looking car, he's sooooo slow.. bah bah bah baahh

It was all good fun riding downhill at 50-60kmh until...

What?!? That's a lie, the GPS says otherwise!

Yeap, they probably haven't updated the signs, it's all good *smiles*

NoooOOOoooOOoooo... this is not happening!!

I didn’t want to get into trouble trespassing, so I guess my only other option is to ride back to Barton Hwy which is another 15km that is mostly uphill. I also didn’t want to go back to Canberra, and am still keen to visit Wee Jasper, but there’s no way I can make it there before dusk. So I made a decision to head up north along Barton Hwy to Yass and spend the night there.

Barton Hwy was quite boring, but I took out my pocket radio (first time for this tour) and listen to my favourite FM Triple J and that lifted my mood. Nearing Yass, I have to exit the highway and turn into Yass Valley Road. It was a road full of rolling hills! I soon learnt that Yass is famous for its wool production and wineries, thanks to the dozens of advertisement boards along the road. When I reached the town centre, it took me about an hour to search for the caravan park due to misleading signage. Eventually I found my way with the help of some local residents. Met a young couple at the caravan park who were there for grape-picking. They had a car and set up a tent but seems to be spending most of their time in the car, perhaps the cold and windy weather is making them do so.

Goodbye ACT, hello again NSW

It was still daylight when I reached the campsite, so I took a quick snap of it