Adventure can be anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a massive feat of physical strength and death defying endurance where you freeze your butt off on mountainsides or get chased down by a gang of rabid koalas looking to make even all the wrongs of their past. I mean, if that’s what floats your boat then by all means go for it, but I’m guessing that for most people (me included) the koalas are out and so is the mountain…for the time being that is. Once I build my skills and my self belief and maybe even my own crew I’ll be able to get Zen with that mountain and perhaps convince the koalas that revenge isn’t the best tactic for a peaceful revolution nor for their image. I used to think they were so damn cute before I wrote this. Now I’m not so sure.
Adventure is for all of us. It’s inclusive and is something you can pursue in your everyday life. All it takes is the first tiny step outside of your comfort zone.
The coolest chic I know lives in Toowoomba, and a while back, she bought us tickets to see some banjo players at QPAC. I’d noticed last time I visted her that Toowoomba has some cool outdoor/adventure spots, so I decided to turn the whole trip into a mountain biking and hiking adventure.
On the first day I drove to Wondai to see if I could find the mountain bike track I’d overheard some mountain bikers talking about a few weeks back. I went to the tourist information centre, but the lady there didn’t really know anything about it, so I thought I’d try and find it on the stupid map app thing that someone put on my phone a couple of weeks ago. It took me around the block twice, so I promptly deleted it and just went back to google. Luckily I saw some mountain bikers heading down the hill, so I drove down the road and caught up to them. I asked the girl at the back if they were going on the loop (I didn’t realise that it was an actual single track mountain bike track, not just a rail trail loop). “We’re going to the mountain bike track,” she said, looking at me suspiciously. At this point I remembered I was driving a white van. “Ohh, cool! Can I follow you because I’m trying to find it and I don’t know where I’m going?” I said.
I pulled over before the carpark (I didn’t realise there was one), and she rode back to tell me that I could keep driving and park at the carpark about 800 metres further along the road. I felt good about that because it meant she didn’t think I was a white-van-stalker.
This is a bloody awesome track: lots of cool hills and do-able jumps and obstacles. It was heaps of fun. I met a cool fella here called Morris, who took me around the whole thing. He was really nice and I felt like I could be friends with him in everyday life, but as usual, I felt weird about asking if he wanted to stay in touch, so I said nothing, which is stupid.
After Wondai, I headed to Wooroolin with an 18km loop off the rail trail in mind. There was a sign at the start, which I followed up a MASSIVE hill to another sign that sent me down a nice, flat dirt road. A huge dog came running out of a house and I got a bit worried it was going to have a go at me, but it was a big sook. It had its teeth out, but was only doing a stupid grin to let me know it was friendly. I gave it a big pat and told it to go home, which it did. After that, there were no more signs, so I just continued to ride in a staight line, which took me over a grid and onto what looked like a long driveway. It was a long driveway: To someone’s farm house. I turned around and decided to head back to the car because I couldn’t tell which way I was meant to go because there were no more signs. AAAAarrghhh! As it turned out, I couldn’t go back the way I’d come because someone had closed a gate across the road where I’d met the huge dog. That meant I got to ride down a massive hill and managed to go the fastest I’ve ever gone on the bike: 39km/hr. I thought I was pretty cool, but I didn’t realise how much faster I could actually go until I got to Crows Nest the next day.
I headed to Kingaroy thinking I’d find a stealth camp there, but after driving around there for about an hour and not finding anywhere I felt OK about, I decided to head towards Crows Nest and find somewhere on the way. I ended up at Goodger, which was a much better spot than down the end of some dodgy suburban industrial estate.
I write all this stuff in a journal while I’m doing an adventure so that I can remember it properly later on. I really, really hate doing this! It’s the most annoying form of wrting for me and I have to write very fast so I can out-write the feeling of the approaching tantrum of I DON’T WANNA!! This is what happens when I write in a journal:
The next day at Crows Nest I called into the tourist information centre to see if they had any stuff on the local mountain bike tracks. The lady was really nice, but the biggest Covid conspiracy theorist I’ve ever come across. Apparently everyone who got vaccinated only has five years to live. She claimed that the vaccine was a way of getting us all transformed into AI because the global elite want to control everything and depopulate the world. I kept asking her why, not belligerently, but because I was genuinely interested in where she was going with her particular theory, but when she no longer had a way to answer my enquiries, she reverted to beliefs (a war between god and satan), which you can’t really question, so that shut the whole thing down. Ohhh, what a shame.
After that I went into Crows Nest to get a coffee and looked at a few maps to work out where to ride. I decided on a 20km mountain bike loop, which was pretty challenging. The first bit was OK and it was before the road went to dirt that I got the bike up to 50km/hr. That was pretty cool! The bike had a small speed wobble, but it was barely noticeable. Not long after that, the road when to dirt with massive corrugations on gigantic hills and I had to get off and push the bike a lot. It was really hot and I kept fantasising about getting a Crows Nest softdrink when I got back to the car. It was on the back end of the loop that I noticed my back brake wasn’t really working, which was a pain because there were some massive down hills on the way back towards Crows Nest and I could’ve picked up some good speed on these if I wasn’t worried about needing to slow down should a car come over the next crest or whatever. There was really only about 2km of nice riding on this loop. The rest was too corrugated and steep to really stay on the bike.
After the loop I went to Crows Nest National Park. I did the hikes there, but was struggling a bit by this point because my legs were so sore from a big run I’d done two days prior (the 2nd day after the exercise is always the most painful), and I had to find a big stick to help me get up and down all the stairs on the hike to the lookout at the top. It was worth it. I got to do some great cooees and yelps from the lookout. It was really echoey.
That night, I wrote in my journal: ” I think it’s good to not know too much about what you’re going to do. There’s no way to get disappointed: That bike loop at Crows Nest wasn’t really fun, but it didn’t piss me off like the Rainbow Beach ride did because I had no ideas about what it would be like.”
The next day I went for a drive in the forestry at Hampton, with the idea that I’d end up at Lake Perserverence and then Lake Cressbrook. At Lake Perserverence I found a secret hike:
I got really excited about this because I’d looked into the valley the day before from the Crows Nest Falls lookout and thought how cool it would be to go down and follow the creek bed and explore the bush. I went back to the car and got the GPS so I wouldn’t be held back by worrying about getting lost, but I didn’t get that far. I spent around 2 hours climbing around all the boulders in the creek bed, but couldn’t see where the trail went after the second marker. I assumed you follow the creek bed, but I just rocked hopped around up to the spillway and climbed back out to the car. I didn’t feel like getting stuck in the guts of nowhere. Given the condition of the sign and the two markers I did see, it’s obvious that this trail isn’t really used anymore, so it’s not likely that it’s going to be obvious where to go to get out of the valley at the other end.
After Lake Cressbrook, which was full of rules (YOU CAN’T! DON’T! STOP! NO DOGS! KEEP OUT! NO! NONE OF THAT! KEEP IT DOWN! SLOW! ). I went to Ravensbourne National Park, which was awesome. I found an old memorial at the Gus Beutel lookout, but I couldn’t read who it memorialised because the engraving was worn away. I did all the hikes in the park and at one point, in the middle of the rainforest, with the picabeens towering above me, two army Chinooks beat their way overhead. It gave me goosebumps as images of Vietnam sprung to mind.
That night I wrote in my journal: “Today I felt like this is why I’m alive.”
The next day I faffed around in Toowoomba before heading off to Brisbane for the gig. I bought a new seat for my bike (the existing one had snapped) and asked the dude who sold it to me about fixing my hub and my brakes. Nobody in bike shops ever really likes fat bikes, but this guy wasn’t too bad. He reckoned I should probably buy a new bike because mine needs too much new stuff, which will require me to spend more than the bike is worth. He showed me the one below, which seems pretty bloody expensive at $2K (Fatty cost $650), but he reckons it’s only entry level. Entry to what exactly? Entry to spending even more money next time, then on and on ad infinitum. People get really judgey about equipment when you’re doing a specialist-type activity. This is one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of clubs. So far, the mountain bikers I’ve met on the tracks have been pretty accepting, but even so, I’m not rushing out to join the local mountain bike club!
After the faffing I headed into Brisbane to catch up with the coolest chic ever. We had a great time and, overall I had another really great adventure, which I would not have been able to do had I not crossed paths with the dangerous and stupid iteration of myself in 2022.
A while back I bought myself a 4WD van so I could go on adventures and take my fat bike with me. I wanted a van because I thought it would be easier to just pull up and sleep in the back of it instead of sorting out accommodation and putting up tents. I’d also heard a lot of stories about bikes getting stolen from bike racks, which I was keen to avoid, so a van seemed like a really great option, and it is.
I love it! It’s a Mitsubishi Delica. I never really saw myself as a van person, but I love this van and I get the feeling that it loves me back. I went on my first van-bike adventure last weekend, and it was heaps of fun, but not without it’s moments, especially early in the trip when I nearly flipped the van over in a big old mudhole:
Going through the mudholes (there was a big one and two small ones), wasn’t the problem. It was coming back five minutes after I’d gotten through. There was a bulldozer-sized hole in the road around a bend, so I had to turn around and come back and there was mud and crap everywhere, which made the sides of the bog super slippery. I tried to straddle the deepest part of the big hole, but the wheels slipped off the edge and the whole van seemed to be just hanging there on a ridiculously scary angle with the wheels spinning. Somehow, I managed to get out. I shit myself!
The stupid thing was that I didn’t even need to go down that road to get to where I wanted to go: Point Pure Lookout.
After climbing around the bottom of the cliffs at the lookout I came back up to find some people setting up to go abseiling: RJ and Andy. I talked to them about a bunch of stuff and asked them if they ever got scared. Andy responded without hestitation, “of course, all the time.” I was really surprised. I was fully expecting them to say that they never get scared anymore. Andy went on to tell me that all climbers get scared and if you have a break from climbing, it can take months and months to get rid of the debilitating level of fear that can potentially hold climbers back from taking on new climbing challenges. This was news to me, and it made me feel good because there’s heaps of stuff I get scared about all the time, like riding my horse, like swimming long distance in the ocean, like riding downhill through obstacles on my fat bike, like jumping off a pier, etc etc. Both Andy and RJ said that when they’re afraid, they just do stuff anyway, even though it makes them feel crappy. “You’re right, fear is just feeling, and fear itself never actually hurt anyone, did it?” I said.
I didn’t really have a plan for where I would go, or what I would do, so I drove around a fair bit in Brooyar State Forest and ended up heading towards Kilkivan because I thought I could do some of the rail trail, but no, it was padlocked shut. I saw a sign for Mudlo National Park, so I followed that to check it out. It was really cool! I did a hike up a massive hill and stopped at picnic area for the night.
I got woken up early when another car pulled in next to me. It was really annoying because in the dream I was having, I was just about to tell a very annoying person what I actually thought of them. D’oh!
After here I headed towards Goomeri and got a croissant from the Goomeri bakery. I love that place. It’s one of the nicest bakeries I’ve ever seen. As I was driving off, I recognised the name Kimbombi from some research I’d done ages ago, so swung into the road heading to Kimbombi Falls. The falls were pretty cool, and the gorge is amazing, but the RV camp at the top wasn’t that great. There were a lot of rules that basically just boiled down to DON’T. There was also a couple of whingers that really crushed my soul into the dust. Ugh, I wish I’d never talked to them. They had some really racist things to say about Aboriginal People, but I didn’t bother arguing when them like I usually do, although I did say, “there are a lot more white people who do the wrong thing.” Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so polite and could just say to people, “shut the fuck up, you racist/bigoted/xenophobic cockhead.”
After here I drove to Maidenwell because I knew there was a nice swimming hole there: Coomba Falls. It was packed with people! I had to tell a couple of loafers off for sitting on my towel, “Hoy, do yous wanna get your arses off my towel?” The poor towel, it was all muddy and gross. Off they went, didn’t say sorry or in fact, even look at me. The swim was great. I stayed in the water for about an hour. I would have stayed longer, but it got too cold and I had to get out.
After here I drove to the Bunya Mountains. It was awesome! I stayed there one night and did a bunch of hikes. I met some cool people, and some not so cool at the various locations I visited here. Mostly people were really happy and friendly, but there were some that had a permanent scowl on their faces, which is hard to understand when you’re in such a nice place.
I met a cool dude, who had a tiny drone that could fly up to 8km away. He and his wife invited me to watch the sunset with them:
The drone dude put an app on my phone called maps.me. It’s meant to show you where trails are without needing phone service. I used it the next day to find the Gordonbrook mountain bike trails, but not before it took me almost all the way to Chinchilla, which was nowhere near Gordonbrook. Aaargh!! Not sure it’s as great as what he made out when he put it on my phone, but probably ok for getting a general idea.
I stayed the last night at Wooroolin free camp. I went to see Shane and Robyn at the pub. These lovely people gave me a free meal and organised fundraising for me when I came through the area in 2016 on a solo 375km charity hike. It was the friendliest and most generous place on the entire hike.
I thought I could do some more riding the next day because there are two mountain bike loops our of Wooroolin, but I decided to just go home and come back another time for the rides.
On the way home I decided I was going to check out Barretts road. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, mainly to see if it was possible to get down to the Isis River. Yes! It is. Check it out:
I had a freakin’ awesome time.It was a different approach to going on an adventure for me: first time in the van, first time not having a plan. It’s hard to let go of needing to plan everything to the Nth degree, which is unavoidable if you’re on foot or on the bike remotely, but in the car, it’s really amazing how freeing it is to JUST GO. I can now see why so many people choose this nomadic type of lifestyle.
A good traveller has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu
In January I meticulously planned a ride from Rainbow Beach, across the Leisha Track, up Teewah Beach, across the river on the ferry to Tewantin, and back to Rainbow via the Cooloola Way. It was around 150km of riding in total. I only managed to ride 15km: from the beach ramp at Rainbow to the Teewah side of the Leisha track. I didn’t factor in trying to ride into the galeforce wind on Teewah Beach. Ugh!
The problems started early; before I’d even gone 15km. The beach was blocked by a massive treefall just before Inskip Point. To get through I had to unpack everything off the bike and stash it in the timber. Then I had to grab the bike and carry it through all the logs and sticks while unsuccessfully avoiding the waves breaking around my knees. After I parked the bike on the other side, I had to go back for the packs, which were more difficult and cumbersome to carry though the log jam than the damn bike was! I really wanted to go for a swim because the water looked so nice, but I decided against it and that was a good decision given how much time it took me to get anywhere once I got out onto Teewah Beach.
I was meant to ride 25km from the Leisha track, but only made it 17km because I pushed the bike almost the entire way. When I did try to ride I got a massive rippling cramp in my right thigh, so stopped and drank a little bit of seawater. I also licked my arms to get the salt off. It seemed to help with the cramp, but I couldn’t ride. It was waaay too windy. I did not expect that and felt kind of stupid for not even considering it.
In my journal (which I really hate writing by the way) that night, I wrote: It really wasn’t that fun today, or even fun at all if I’m really honest. It was really fucking hard. I don’t remember the Wongi ride being this hard…I don’t know how people camp in sand. It’s fucked. It gets everywhere, even into places you know you haven’t touched or opened. And, it’s sticky too because it’s kind of wet, so it’s not like you can dust it off. It’s sooooo annoying!
Lots of people stopped to give me lifts on the two days I was on Teewah Beach, but I wouldn’t have been able to fit Fatty in any of their cars, so I kept saying no. Some people eventually did come along with an empty ute tray, so I got a lift with them. They also gave me mini Mars Bars, so that was pretty cool. They were all very beautiful people. Beautiful in the way that people from cities normally are, not like me; someone who looks like they just fell out of a tree! Ange, who sat in the front told me about her business: About Faces Noosa. No wonder she was beautiful! They talked a lot about Yoga and it made me want to give it a go.
In total I rode for 15km and pushed the bike for 33km. I don’t recommend doing this! I couldn’t even complete the “easy” return section of the ride along the Cooloola Way, so I had to stay in a caravan park and get picked up the next day. When I was there, I wrote in my journal: I like Tewantin. I reckon I could live here.
When I got home I came up with a five year plan to buy a house in Tewantin. I would never have thought of this had I not had this epic fail, so it wasn’t really a fail because I got to learn some cool stuff and come up with more cool plans for the future. I also got to meet some really great people and made it home, even though at times it seemed like that would never happen. This guy wasn’t so lucky…
Hold on tight, you know she’s a little bit dangerous…
Not that long ago I was told I was too dangerous to do a task. I’d never heard this said of me before, and it took me totally by surprise. In other words it blew my fucking mind! Not only was I too dangerous, but it was also implied that I was too stupid. Of course, this was said to me by a tiny little man and his tiny little cronies. What they actually should have said to me is, “you are scaring us because you’re smarter than us, more adventurous than us, and have done a lot of honorable things in the community. You have also overcome a lot of barriers to achieve some pretty amazing shit, and all of this is making us get even smaller, so please go away and don’t come back.”
I feel sorry for these tiny little people with their small view of the world and their miniature lives made up of whinging and finger pointing. Ohhh, poor little poppets. Ohhh, so sad. The thing is, sarcasm aside, it is actually sad because it doesn’t have to be that way and it’s obvious that none of them can possibly be happy in their own lives. Happy people and good people don’t treat other people like “things” so that they can simply avoid having to take responsibility. Only bad people treat other people like they don’t matter and only tiny little people do things to intentionally harm other people. That’s how I know I’m not like them: I would never do anything to hurt anyone else, nor do I ever shirk responsibility. Not ever.
Learning through mistakes is the best way to learn a real lesson. This is why I never shirk responsibility. If I can’t acknowledge that I’ve made a mistake, then how can I ever learn anything? I’m not making this up, there’s heaps of books written about learning that reiterate this. I guess that’s where the tininess comes from: you’ll stay tiny if you don’t learn, and you can’t learn if you don’t make mistakes (or if you avoid taking responsibility for anything), and you can’t avoid making mistakes because guess what? We’re all human and live in the real world. Tiny people don’t grow as people because they’re stuck blaming other people for shit that’s gone wrong and can’t get past their own tiny view of reality, the one where they’re masters of the universe and never make mistakes or need to question their thought processes. Again, how sad and sorry this is because it doesn’t have to be this way at all.
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of tiny men. They have a lot of issues and are never easy to deal with. It’s not the fact that they’re men, it’s the tininess that’s the problem. Ask any girl. She’ll tell you the same thing.
I rode a long way, but it wasn’t meant to be like that and I blame The Hu.
I got some time off work to hike the northern section of the Fraser Island Great Walk. I’ve done the entire southern section once and various parts of it a few times over the years, but could never make the timing work for the northern section, not to mention the added cost of chartering a light plane to get off the island.
Basically, organising it just seemed waaay too much effort and I could never be bothered to apply myself to working out how to get to the ferry landing, booking the ferry, working out distances, booking campsites, booking the plane and generally overcoming my ever-increasing malaise when it came to even thinking about it. These kinds of reasons are the same ones that make me never want to do the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk: it’s too fucking annoying to organise! BUT, I still wanted to do it, so I made the commitment that I would. Then there was The Hu.
The Hu were playing at Eatons Hill Hotel (approx 450km from where I live) the night before I was meant to leave on the hike. What a shame, I thought. I won’t be able to go on the hike. Ohhhh. So sad. It seemed much more important to see an amazing international band with the Cool Guy I’m married to than to go on a hike that will still be there for at least another year, well, until climate change takes us all down anyway. And by that time, well, I don’t imagine I’ll have too much time for hiking, what, with fending off the climate-induced zombies and what-not.
The Cool Guy dropped me and my bike on Rainbows Road in Childers on the 7th of August. I was pretty excited because it was the first chance I’d had to use the bikepacking equipment I’d bought ages ago… Ok, I know for some die-hard bikepackers that panniers are NOT allowed for bikepacking, but you know what, I don’t actually care what anyone else thinks because it’s my life and I get to make my own rules, so panniers are bikepacking gear. Good, we’ve established that.
I was a bit worried about going the wrong way through to Wongi from Rainbows Road, but I’d driven the route twice before and when I saw the super-rough causeway I knew I was on the track, Some of the hills were pretty steep and I was able to pick up really good speed on the downsides. I got up to 31km/hr at one point. That was very cool.
I heard a sound that was like running water, so I stopped the bike to listen properly. It was a bird, but I couldn’t see what kind. I’m guessing some kind of flycatcher. It would have been good to see it because I can’t ever remember hearing a birdcall like that before. In that same spot I spotted heaps ofHardenbergia violacea, which I was pretty excited about because I want to grow some from seed, but I couldn’t find any pods, just flowers. I did pick up a pretty cool rock though. Ooooh, exciting. I don’t normally collect rocks and shells because I think it’s stupid, but this one was really weird looking, and of course that appealed to me, so I got it, but I really should have just left it where it was.
There were lots of wooden bridges and I took photos of the bike at a couple. If I’m honest, I felt like I was pretty fucking cool.
At Duckinwilla I called in to see some people (E & M) I knew through a family I was once really close to (this family turned their backs on me when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005) It was really hard not to let the conversation degenerate into a hate-spewing platform, but kept a pretty good lid on it. I did manage to get it across how I couldn’t understand how these old friends of my mine can possibly live with themselves after what they did, and how confusing it was that their eldest child (my old best friend) is now working as psychologist. “How can someone so thoughtless and selfish choose to work in a profession that is based on caring, helping and being compassionate? I just don’t understand that at all, ” I said. E didn’t have any answers, but I wasn’t really looking for that anyway, because I don’t think there are any answers to that question and there is no way to understand any of it. I wrote a story about it: here.
After E & M’s place I rode and rode and kept riding. It got dark, but I just kept going because I thought that I had to get there eventually. I could hear the highway very faintly off in the distance, which made me think I’d gone the wrong way, but I wasn’t too concerned because I though that I could just camp in the bush near the highway and get my bearings in the morning.
I rode up and down hills, over causeways, through muddly holes, past swamps and at one point I saw a torch beam in the trees. I yelled out HELLO, but no one yelled back, so I kept riding. And riding. And riding. Flying down hills, over boulders, rutts and on into the blackness, I screamed, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” I thought that doing what I was doing was a pretty good way to live a proper life; one that you wouldn’t regret; one that you could be proud of. And am I proud of my amazing life.
At around 9pm I reached a highway, but I could tell it wasn’t the highway I thought it was going to be (The Bruce Highway). It was way to narrow for that. I thought it might be the Maryborough-Biggenden Road, and when I heard a train sound its horn, I said to myself I bet I’m in Woocoo. I carried on for a while, swearing and shouting out loud about being so far from where I was meant to be and how there was nowhere to camp and blah, blah blah. By this stage I was cold, hungry, tired and thirsty. Plus, my legs and back were killing me. In fact, it was hard to move. I was in a bit of a “mood”
I had to park the bike and go scrabbling around in the dark to find somewhere to camp. Finally I found a decent spot at the top of big cliff that I had to climb up. Thank god for my Nike turf boots.”How am I meant to get the bike up there, you fuckhead?” I yelled at the night. It wasn’t really a problem, I just rode right to the spot on a dirt track that ran along the top of the cliff. Problem solved.
I was camped in the middle of a clay lease, which is why there were giant holes and cliffs everywhere, but I thought that there must be houses nearby because I could hear dogs barking and faint voices every now and then. At least I was happy with the spot. It was out of view from all traffic. That’s something that is really important – I can’t camp anywhere on my own that people would notice me. It just makes a lot of sense to stay hidden.
It was pretty hard to let go of being regimented regarding how things were “meant” to be. In my journal I wrote: This is the first unplanned trip I’ve ever done. I’m glad I don’t have rules about making it here of there specifically because I think that would have been pretty hard to cope with. So I didn’t make it to Wongi. Big deal.
I tried to sleep, but the bush was so noisy. At one point it was so cacophonous that I just assumed it must be dawn, but when I looked at my watch, it was only 11pm. There was a barking owl, which I actually mistook for a dog to start with, nightjars, a horse galloping and a push bike ride past on the track behind me. I told myself that it wouldn’t be a bike because that was at about 2am, but in the morning there were gravel bike tracks there.
At one point a car pulled in off the highway. The engine stopped and two people got out. I got a teeny bit worried because I wasn’t too excited about them turning the car off. Usually you only turn the car off if you’re going to hang around for a while. Anyway, they started giggling and after about 20 seconds, got back in the car and drove off. I think they dumped a child’s carseat in the bush near the clay lease sign. I saw it there the next day.
I got really cold during the night, which is totally stupid. Why didn’t I bring the good -5 Mont sleeping bag instead of the cheap-ass +10 Denali bag? What a dickhead. You’d think I would’ve learnt from the experience of being completley frozen when I hiked the Cooloola Wilderness Trail a few weeks back. I was even stupider then because I didn’t take a sleeping bag at all, just a useless “thermal” sleep sheet. Just quietly, I don’t think anything you buy in Australia that is called “thermal” is really thermal at all. I had all my clothes on: socks, shiny leggings under thermal leggins, crop top, t-shirt, thermal jumper, windproof jacket, bandana and a beanie and I was still freezing.
I reckon I have a condition called PTCD, which stands for post traumatic cold disorder. Its a real thing:
It took me a while to get going in the morning because my back was killing me. Luckily I only had to ride on the highway for about 100m because I found a track that ran between the road and properties. I saw a dude in his front yard, so I called out to him and said, “where am I?” He answered that I was in Woocoo. I knew it, I thought, so I continued on into Maryborough, where I thought I would decide where to ride to next. I started to think that I would head out to Tin Can Bay, but when I saw it 73km away, I decided against it.
In town I got a coffee and started thinking about going to a favourite childhood fish and chip shop on Creek Road, but by the time I got there, I’d decided that I’d wait and get the chips at Maddigans in Hervey Bay because it seemed perfectly reasonable to me at that point that I could just ride into Hervey Bay, lob up to a motel and get a room for the night. I started fantasising about what it would be like to have a hot shower and lay down in a comfy bed without horses galloping around in the distance.
The road into Hervey Bay wasn’t that fun because it was busy as cats burying shit in concrete, but for some of it I was able to ride on a track I found that ran parallel to the road. When that ran out at the Susan River bridge I had to get back out with the traffic. At least I made it into Hervey Bay before it got dark. Not long after congratulating myself about my ultimate greatness, I discovered there were no vacancies in any of the caravan parks or motels anywhere in the whole entire town. If there is a word that is the opposite of YAY, then that’s the word…Oh yeah, there is a word: FUCK!!!!
So, I got the chips at Maddigans and had to call the Cool Guy to pick me up a day early. If I had’ve camped at the Susan River Homestead, instead of being so stubborn, I could have had an extra day of riding. It just seemed impossible to let go of the idea of getting into Hervey Bay once it took hold. No, I can make it! my mind said.
I don’t even know how far the whole thing was. My fit watch reckons it was 122km, but online maps reckon it was 180km. It seems more than 122, but I don’t think it was as much as 180. Still, I feel really glad I did it. Not a bad effort for my first solo bikepacking adventure.
The thing I love most about adventuring is discovering how to deal with novel situations. Skills in this domain are emergent and you never know what you’re made of until you have to get through something new and challenging. For example, how to deal with WordPress just deleting 3/4 of the original version of this post that took me almost 8 hours to craft and refine. Don’t believe a website that tells you it’s auto saving; it never is.
Not having an itinerary is totally liberating because this is where next-level adventure happens. Imagine if we all approached our lives this way.