Between February 2002 and March 2003 I circumnavigated 12,504 miles around the Australian continent on my bicycle, or push bike as they say there. After that I went to New Zealand for three months and met up with a friend and ended up pushing the total mileage to 14,115.7 miles (22717.02 km). I spent 269 days on my bike, 272 days not on my bike, and getting 67 flat tires over those 17 months.
I started and ended my 13 month lap around Australia at Luna Park in St. Kilda/Melbourne.. The distance around Australia (including Tasmania) ended up being about 20,281km (12,600 miles).
One fun thing I did during my trip was to visit six "confluences", which is where a whole-numbered latitude/longitude mark intersects for The Degree Confluence Project.
Wow, had one of the most cosmic experiences today...so read on. (geez this ended up being a long entry)
MCQ and I got packed up as usual, but decided we needed to give the rope hanging over the river a "swing". We had this great plan to swing out over the river, and then pull the other person back via a second rope that was attached to the first. I went out first and swung out over the river. I wished it was warm because it would have been fun swing out into the river. Anyway, I swung out there and the second rope bolted out of MCQ's hands. I hung on and got the second rope back to MCQ. Due to the laws of physics and a bunch of other stuff, MCQ couldn't pull me back. After swinging a different direction I was able to swing back and grab onto a tree. MCQ swung out over the river and it took awhile to get him back in. Enough positive confidence growing stuff for today..
The ride north was really nice. It was sunny and not a car in sight. I'll let the pictures describe it. Chased a lot of cows too. Eventually the road started to drop. (oh yeah, I got a flat tire during the first 10 minutes of the trip, first in New Zealand, first one in ages actually).
We wound on down the road and the lake popped back into view. We passed another cyclist who was taking in the view. Originally we thought that the last boat was leaving about 2:30pmish, so we hustled a bit. Rounding a corner we saw two touring cyclists headed towards us. We stopped and said hi. I looked at the guy a little funny, like I recognized him. MCQ started talking to the guy asking when the last boat was, turns out it was after 4pm so we were alright. MCQ and the guy continued talking. All of the sudden I totally interrupted their conversation and said something like "hey, were you biking down the coast of California in June of 1997?"
The guy looked at me a bit suprised. "Uh, hm, yeah, matter of fact I was!"
I said "yeah, I met you two in June 1997, you two were biking south on the coast highway. We met up with you somewhere and started talking about what might be up in the town ahead. You said something to the effect of 'maybe there will be lots of loose women'" I remember your sense of humor and for some reason never forgot that funny joke about 'loose women.'
He still looked at me a bit dumbfounded and stuck out his hand to shake mine. Turns out they are named John and Anne (Anne, correct me on this if you read this). We talked for a good while and told a bunch of stories. He said since I was in Australia I must have had a snake story, which I did. He told me a couple good ones (too long to type here). We parted ways and figured we'd run into each other again sometime in South America, about 2008 or 2009.
MCQ and I continued on the gravel road. It was a really nice ride, no cars and lots of nice scenery I was still a bit perplexed about our cosmic meetup. Not to go into it too much,(c'mon, this is a newsy type journal anyway) but it was a lot like getting a quick chance to jump back in time five years and enter the mindset you were in at the time and see what has happened since then.
We reached Walter Peak and waited for the boat. This place is kind of set up for tourists to take the boat over here from Queenstown and learn about sheep shearing. I joined in on the sheep shearing (I keep wanting to type sheap sheering) demo. Got to see the doggie chase the sheep around and a sheep gettin' sheared.
The boat ride back was nice, we hit Queenstown and took off. I came off the curb near the crosswalk and all the crap on the back of my bike flew off, right in front of a busload of tourists. Oh well.
MCQ and I went back to the same holiday park again, except this time there were no girls pushing drinks on us. We headed downtown to the pubs. Met "heaps" of people....I took a few clock pictures too. MCQ put on a brave face and danced all by himself, (get that Billy Idol song out of yr. head). The funky dance moves must have worked, cause this girl stopped him and started talking to him.
MCQ got a good picture of me looking spiteful and full of wonder....complete with a couple making out right behind me. (it was in his camera though...so it won't be below)
I met this girl from Canada. I can't remember all that we talked about but at one point she said something like "hey, the future is yours, you can do whatever you want with it.". Being my very typical self I just replied, "yeah, like Patti Smith said, 'I don't fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future'." I hope she was ok because the last time I saw her, she was in the corner with some guy who was performing a half-assed attempt at CPR on her. ha ha
We ended up leaving and going to this bar/dancy place with the people MCQ had met via his funky dance moves. It was alirght there. They did play Nirvana's "Smells like..." and that was fun. I started pogoing like mad, eventually four of us were pogoing in unison.
MCQ and I left and wandered around town in search of food. I had a bunch of cookies with me and started giving them out to random drunk people in the street. Someone would say "hey!, where did you get that?", then the person would point to me. I ended up with a few more clock pictures in the camera and we headed back to our posh trailer park around 3am. Don't think we'll be getting to Wanaka tomorrow Robin.