Bike tour April 20, 2004

I spent two horrible nights camping alone at Airlie Beach and dealing with my thoughts by myself. I had just said goodbye to Stacy (if only for a month) and felt very alone and faced with what seemed like the overwhelming task of trying to make it past Gladstone. I shed a shit load of tears.

I set out after I had finished with my doctor’s appointment. I cycled to Calen, a small, in fact tiny, town approximately 54km north of Mackay. Everyone I met was so incredibly nice. I met an old woman who ran a small supermarket.  Everything was sold in that tiny little store, as it was the town’s only supermarket. It made for a very very cramped shopping experience.

I asked the old woman if there was a camping ground anywhere close by. “There’s a park straight across the road from here where a lot of people like to camp. You can stay there for free, but you didn’t hear it from me.” The park turned out to be a children’s playground. It beat the night before, where I camped about 50m from the crocodiles.

I was so proud of myself for getting that far, though I vowed that once I got to China, I was going to buy a road bike. To hell with mountain bikes. My God, my bike was so SLOW! Like driving a tractor. And then I thought ahead about trying to cycle out of Sarina, after which there would be 400km of tumbleweed waiting for me and possibly one gas station along the way. Plenty of places to camp, but no water, and only myself for company for a week at the rate I was peddling at.

I didn’t know if it was the extreme fatigue, the loneliness, being apart from Stacy, or a combination of all three, but my appetite was certainly not what it used to be. It should’ve been enormous, but instead I could barely get down anymore than a few mouthfuls. It scared me, because I knew that I needed fuel. Most of the time though, I think I was just too exhausted in every way to eat. Bike touring certainly wasn’t what I thought it was. Australia’s towns were so spread out, and I had to weigh down my bike with crazy supplies in case of an emergency. Which meant carrying ridiculous amounts of water, slowing my tractor down even further, and not adding to my moral.

Oh dear. Just what did I get myself into?


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