Wilcannia!

I really need to work out how to change the heading of my tumblr. Maddie set it up initially, so I will need to teach myself how to change it. For the moment ignore the title. Several people asked me for photos of Wilcannia and I figure this is the easiest medium to use to display them.

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My room looks less depressing now then this picture, but I am still rocking the cardboard box bedside table.

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One of my usual rides involves riding out on this road. I still smile every time I see this sign, one day I am going to ride to Bourke only a casual 340km on dirt. There are two pubs in between, if that is any consolation.

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The road isn’t in the best condition, but the scenery and lack of cars makes up for it.

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Burnt out car and empty cans of VB. I was expecting more burnt out cars, but I have seen a lot of cans of empty VB.

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This photo doesn’t do justice to the amount of birds. If you get some water out here there are birds every where. My favourite birds are water hens they are soooo nervous, if you get anywhere near them they scuttle away.

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My first overnight camping trip out here. I camped near a dry river bed, top spot. I got a little bit scared during the night when I heard some heavy breathing near my tent, I was worried it might be wild pigs coming for my Oreo’s. I eventually developed the courage to look up and it was only a friendly cow.

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Another water/bird shot, the little water holes just make me so happy.

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This is one of the better dirt roads around town, it is still not much fun to ride on though.

Photos of my Wilcannia-Geelong trip are still to come. the school has got new Mac computers so I am using them to post, as my home internet is too slow. Another afternoon.

Rawlins, WY to Denver, CO

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Calm after an evening thunderstorm in Saratoga. I went out for dinner with 6 other cyclists, pretty cool.

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Most of Wyoming was like this. A whole lot of nothing, reminded me of home actually. We ran into some German’s who had cycled the Nullabor and they were trying to explain to the Americans I was with that this isn’t vast at all.

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My fifth and final state.

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Up at around 2500m here, very lush alpine scenery. I am a bit annoyed I don’t get to cycle back down to sea level, as I am still at 1600m in Denver, I feel robbed!

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Subtle. I find it highly amusing, that while Maddie is on a vegetarian binge, I on the other hand am eating more meat then ever!(That is a lie, since last time I was in the US, or in the country)

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A moose! This was the most exotic animal I saw. I was daydreaming and missed two more moose later on, which I was a bit dejected about. I liked the deer I saw better, I enjoy watching them prance.

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Stunning mountain scenery, as I approached the top of the highest climb of my trip Cameron Pass at 3100m, I didn’t notice the altitude at all, as I have been at altitude for the best part of 2 weeks. I am hoping the effects last till I get back to Sydney, so I can do a hot lap in the park with Dave.

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I deviated off the route I had been following to go to some bigger cities for some R+R. I ran into a gentleman from Fort Collins, who said this was the way to go and he was right, it was some of the best riding of the trip, 80km down hill, in this awesome canyon.

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After chatting to some roadies that had passed us, we found out there was a cycle path into Fort Collins, which is always good news. I also rode in on a cycle path into Denver, much less pleasant though, as I was riding past factories and foul smelling water.

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After washing off 4 days of accumulated sweat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and dirt and relaxing for a sec at our very cool warm showers hosts house we headed out on the town. New Belgium brewery was the first stop. Their logo is a bicycle, so in turn there was lots of bicycle parking and merchandise to be had. I was in shock and awe though when I found out you got 4 free sampler drinks(It doesn’t make sense, free beer!). I also got a free t shirt, as one of the guys I was with told them all how amazing we are and how far we are cycling. I was very happy, clean t shirt, what could be better.

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A very cool t shirt display at New Belgium. 

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The posse. I and the local lass Gail that was showing us around town had a lock, no one else did, so we used her cable lock to keep it all together. One thing Patrick Jones would be very excited about in Fort Collins is the freight trains that go right down the middle of the main st. You can ride along, hold on and get a free ride. They do go quite slow though. The freight train goes through the university campus, so one or two college kids have been injured over the years trying to run and jump on the train to get a free lift back after a big night out.

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This will have to do for my taste of wheat and corn fields.

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You have no idea how much I love Whole Foods. After 4 weeks of burgers and chips I crave it so bad.

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My accommodation for Denver. You would think by now I would be organised and on top of things, but alas that is not my style. I checked into the hostel, only to be informed the 8 bed dorms were full, but we have some space in the ‘Broadway Room’, I thought how bad could it be? The worst place I have stayed at bad, it was in the basement with 11 other men, most of them unemployed, on parole or I don’t want to know. So I relieved my bowels in the communal bathroom with no stalls(lucky I have no modesty) and had a shower. I then went to check my email and was chatting to a nice man named Willie who was giving me the top tips of how to get on disability, before a few other people came out the back to chat. Conversation focused on comparing prison food and what are the best painkillers, percasin apparently, but hard to get. After that I went out and only came back to sleep, being the basement you have notion of light or dark, so I was rudely awoken at 730 and told I have to vacate my bed so the cleaners could come through.(I was woken up many times before that, by coughing, snoring, general commotion, arguments etc.)

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A giant blue bear gazing into the convention centre.

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I ate some good food in Denver, I had some amazing fried Okra the night before, Egg’s Benedict for breakfast, burrito for lunch and this sensational burger for dinner. I have started getting into the accompanying pickle, it adds a little something.

On to San Francisco now. My train is running 4 hours late, ahh Amtrak… So hanging out at the station using the free wi fi to perhaps do some planning for San Fran. I hope the train catches up time between now and then, at this rate I won’t arrive in San Fran till midnight(tomorrow) :(

It is pretty much all over. 3500km on the clock lots of ups and downs, both topographically and emotionally. Physically not that bad, bit of pain in my hands, apart from that pretty much all good. I am hoping I have learnt more about myself from this trip and life in general, I will have to wait and see if it has any value in the ‘real’ world.

Lander, WY to Rawlins, WY

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Worst coffee of my life. This was meant to be a cappuccino. It was from a fancy looking coffee shop in Lander. I also had granola that tasted good, which meant the outing wasn’t a total disaster.

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It was barren country. The person ahead is the rider I ran into the day before, she has a sign that said Oregon to Georgia, which is her start and end destination. I was skeptical of the concept at first, but the sign turned out to be a very good ice breaker with the locals. If I do another long tour I might steal the idea.

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After riding through the barren countryside we got to a town called Jeffrey City, it used to have a population of over 5000, as it was a Uranium mining town, the mine closed and now it is 40. There were lots of abandoned buildings, this particular one is labelled Bachelor No 1, the family men were given houses to live in. The houses were demountable so they have all been removed.

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Ran into a huge group of cyclists who said they stayed at the church in Jeffrey City so we went down a tiny dirt/sand road to the church, no one there so we headed back into town and stayed with this crazy man who owned a pottery store that let cyclists camp on his front lawn, he was a bit of a character.

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Abandoned motel. Instead of saying no vacancy it said yes or no.

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MASSIVE ice tea. The perfect end to a hot, mosquito infested day. I also had an amazing burger, but I didn’t get a photo.

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The crew. Jordan with his shirt off, he rode with out his shirt a lot. Tyler had a good crash in a few days time trying to lube his chain at 40kmh. Diana social secretary.

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Barren, windy and mountainous. The whole area is around 2000m.

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I thought what I was doing was stupid.

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Cool sign and a storm brewing.

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Can’t see it very well in the photo, but there is a second fence. After a couple of days we worked out that they are to stop snow blowing on to the road, due to the high winds that come through here can get big snow drifts on the road. I was very happy when I found out what they were for, as it had been annoying me for a few days.

West Yellowstone, MT to Lander, WY

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So many fisherman! I was sitting having breakfast watching a guy fish, he caught three during breakfast, but it was catch and release so they all had to go back, as a non fisherman it all seemed a bit pointless, he looked happy though.

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Hot water from the geyser going into the cold river. I didn’t check out the geysers, as to be honest I have seen better :)

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Looks like a boring lake, but it is on the Continental Divide. I didn’t really understand Americans’ obsession with it. Basically water on one side of the divide goes to the Atlantic and water on the other side goes to the Pacific. What is cool about this lake is that half of it flows to the Atlantic and the other half flows to the Pacific.

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Big bush fires came through Yellowstone in 1988 and you can still see the destruction they caused. It seemed strange compared to how fast the bush recovers in Australia from fire.

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Grand Teton National Park, which is right next to Yellowstone. It is famous for the views of the mountains, they were stunning. Hard to get a good photo to appreciate the size.

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2900m pass, still lots of snow on the ground.

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1 hour later down the other side out into almost desert country. I had heard for a week or so how bad the winds are in Wyoming, I had a tailwind so I thought I should take advantage so ended up doing 230km for the day. I ran into 3 other cyclists who I have been riding with for the last three days. A very different experience riding with others after being solo for the last 4 weeks.

Hamilton, MT to West Yellowstone, MT

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My Independence Day treat to myself. A local brewery that served some very nice food, hand cut chips, a first on my trip. The beer was good also.

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This was EPIC! Grated potato, sausage, cheese, capsicum, mushrooms and topped with gravy. It was huge, I finished it, but I felt quite sick after and during.

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The reason I ate that big breakfast. The same height as Mt Kosciusko and I still have bigger climbs to go. Gained 1000m in quite a short space of time. A roadie passed me on the way up, he was very encouraging/nice to me. It did make me question why I was climbing this big hill with all my gear?

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A pleasant mountain stream.

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Big Sky country as they say. A huge valley eloquently called Big Hole. I was going to camp, but there were so many mosquitoes so I stayed in a motel and took myself to dinner at Antler’s Saloon. I had a good pizza and a chat to some self described rednecks. They were spending their coyote money as they called it on beer(Got money for the coyote’s skin, which they had shot). Another guy could barely stand up, then he got in his pick-up truck to drive home.

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My lunch stop, an old bus that is now a Mexican restaurant. It was also the day I ran into heaps of cyclists heading the other way. I had lunch with two guys who were heading to Seattle.

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A small town on the route set this up for touring cyclists. There is a shower, a little room to sit and hang out in away from the mosquitoes and room to pitch a tent. It relies on cyclists leaving a donation when they come through. I hope it stays in the good shape it is in, as I very much appreciated it. The evening I was there, there happened to be five other solo cyclists. They had all ridden further than me, lucky I am not a manly man that worries about that type of thing.

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It was very scenic going over passes then into these big valleys, it was difficult to take a good photo as it was so vast.

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A big earthquake caused this landslide, as well as causing a number of deaths around 20 years ago. It has dammed the river and created a big lake.

I head into Yellowstone tomorrow, which I am excited about. There are lots of tourists about, I saw a whole family with matching t-shirts. 

I have given up on the notion of riding all the way to the east coast due to a number of factors. They all involve me being soft. (Too hot, too far, too hard, too lonely etc.) My current plan is to ride to either Pueblo or Colorado Springs then get the train to San Francisco for a few days of R n R before flying home on July 26. I have enjoyed it and learnt a lot, but I think I would be pretty destroyed if I was make it to the east coast on the schedule that I had set, so retire while I am in front, as it is meant to be a holiday after all.