Bike Odyssey
Sydney to Darwin 2001

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Journal for 28-Jul-2001 : Renner Springs RH
Date: 28/07/2001 (Location=Renner Springs RH, Dist=137km, Total=3407km)
One word for today: !!! Brilliant !!!

It wasn't just the 30kph tailwind we had for most of the day, but fantastic scenery, great roads, fun cycling and good company.

Left half an hour after dawn (OK, so we slept in - do you?) and we were on the road. But for a few stretches of long flat roads punctuated by floodplain (which we flew across with the tailwind) the road cut across the grain of the country, crossing rivers and ridges, almost all on a fairly gentle grade. Where there wasnt a gentle grade there were a couple of sensational downhill runs (check the maximum speed for today - achieved without pedalling.) It was just simply great fun !!!

We get to see people with motorhomes and busses towing all sorts of other vehicles, like bicycles, boats, jeeps and full on four wheel drive runabouts. Today we saw someone towing a helicopter.

Met Daniel and Holly at Attack Creek. Daniel has been cycle touring for the best part of the past 15 years, after a family court settlement left him destitute. He's been touring on the smell of an oily rag and a home made bike ever since. Short, 49 and dressed like a down market hobo Daniel makes an unlikely looking cycle tourist, but his endless quick fire repartee and endless enthusiasm is quite infectous. Holly aims to be the first Aboriginal woman to cycle from Darwin to Brisbane. She's riding a 27
" old clunker that Daniel is constantly repairing/adjusting, and the pair are bush camping (really bush camping - with damper and genuine bush tucker) all the way while raising money for the childrens unit of Katherine Hospital. 12 hours previously theyd raised $240. Today theyd sold their story to the local TV station and achieved corporate sponsorship raising $25000 for the cause. Holly claims direct ancestory from the aboriginal war party which sucessfully - and bloodlessly - turned back John McDowell
Stewarts exploration party trying to a route north in the early 1800s.

Oncoming road trains when the wind is from the left (as it has been until today) usually shoot past leaving nothing but noise and the smell of their cargos excrement. But when the wind is from the right (as today) its a diferent story. I keep thinking of the line from Indiana Jones and the Last Cruisade where Harrison Ford is trying to work out the puzzle to the booby trap and is stammering "penitent man? penitent man? only the penitent man shall pass - KNEEL !!!!". When the burst from a Road Train hits
me I duck my head and pray it doesnt get chopped off. WHOOSHKA !!. 35kph to 15Kph in 0.2 seconds. Or 35kph to 25kph for the second rider with predicable consequences.

David F

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