Bike Odyssey
Sydney to Darwin 2001

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Journal for 27-Jun-2001 : Lake Windamere
Date: 27/06/2001 (Location=Lake Windamere, Dist=89km, Total=241km)
Initially I thought it was a cool foggy morning, but it was just me breathing. We started by saying good bye and good ridance to "The Great Western Highway". After dodging the coal trucks ferrying the black stuff between the Lithgow Valley's maze of power stations and coliieries we started bagging hills, including crossing the Great Dividing Range (1000m asl - higher than Mt Victoria), Pearson's Lookout (Don't know but it looked quite high) and Cherry Tree Hill at 1100m this will probably be the highest p
oint of the trip. The hills didn't seem to bother me as much today - beacuse my panniers were lighter as a result of leaving our radio in the Motel room at Lithgow.

On one gentle descent Linda's rear pannier managed to bounce half off, and we stopped to quickly slip it back on. With one bark and wag of his tale a kelpy lepted towards us from a nearby farm. Instead of the more typical attempt to bite our ankles, this guy wanted a pat on the head and to slobber on our legs. With that he dashed off into the roadside scrub.

We thought that was the last of him but he'd really bolted 100 yards ahead to lie in wait for an ambush. He did this twice, and as we gathered pace we forcefully told him to go home. Which he did.

Almost. We looked back, and there he was chasing us again. We were clocking along at ~45 clicks, but he was still keeping contact. For a moment he stopped to chase a few passing cars instead, and we flew down a steepish pinch and across a bridge, around a bend and out of sight.

Not quite. As we slowed to climb away from the bridge we looked over our shoulders to see him nearly a km back, still chasing us. To add to the excitement he was running right down the road's center line dodging and barking at the passing traffic. We might have outpaced him going down the hill he caught us pretty quickly on the way back up. We were not really any competition for him, but he kept following us,attempting to ambush overtaking cars as we went.

All three of us reached the town of Ben Bullen, nearly 10km down the road. Town is probably a very strong word for two houses but we were able to borrow a phone (his owner's number was on his collar - can't imagine why) and some rope. While we did this he kept crouching by the road and ambushing pasing cars. He knew enough not to try it with the trucks though. After bribing him with a muslie bar we managed to get him tied up safely away from the road, where he had to content himself to bark at the cars,
or rather bark orders at us the chase them for him.

When Aaron's owner turned up we learned he was a working dow without any work to do. One of his tricks is to jump onto the back to passing utes to hitch a lift to the nearby pubs.

The Garden's Of Stone National Park is a curious name, but at Pearson's Lookout the name starts to make sense. We saw a spectacular display of cliffs and mountains and buttraceswhich decorate an otherwise plane valley. A real stone garden.

I'm writing this inside our new tent by the shores of icy Lake Windermire. Tonight we get to see if it works or not. We'll also learn if our sleeping mats deflate automatically like our last ones do.

As dusk settled we saw a jet passing overhead leaving a huge vapour trail.

Crystal clear night, and the Southern Cross is very high in the sky. No more than 10Deg of Virtical.

One last thing: Our first sheep sightings: The first lot were dirty brown and clearly under age, but the second lot were fully grown and they were white *and* fluffy.

David F

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