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September 30th, 2000 · No Comments

Wonga Beach Layover

Day 274

It’s the last day of September, I have been on the road for 9 months today. As I reflect back

over the past 9 months I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish. The trip has turned out differently than I expected in some parts, but in others it has been exactly what I expected. In any event it has never been easy. I am looking forward to the next 3 months with great expectations. I want to finish the trip and be able in future years to recall it as a source of pride. My trip with a bicycle.

The campground at Wonga Beach was a tropical delight located on the Pacific with towering palms trees shielding the tents from the sun. It had a wonderful swimming pool, game room to watch the Olympics and a general store. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. We were 25 kilometers from any town.

P0003789 For my layover day it would have been nice to just lounge around and lay on the beach, but then I had never been in Northern Queensland before and may never be again, so I made plans to visit a Rainforest Habitat wildlife sanctuary . I was anxious to see up close all those critters that made the forest so noisy.

At the Habitat I enjoyed the peaceful, cool surroundings while listening to the birds. The entireKristal petting a sleepy Koala place was created under a huge screen to duplicate the conditions of a rain forest, but in a convenient location a few hundred meters from the Captain Cook Highway just outside of Port Douglas. They did a great job, when inside it was hard to tell you weren’t actually in a rainforest.

The afternoon was spent exploring the famous town of Port Douglas. It was a nice little tourist village that specialized in water activities, it was an alternative to the larger town of Cairns for folks wanting to see the Great Barrier Reef. I enjoyed window shopping down the street, all the while wishing I was out on a sailboat in the Pacific.


This parrot wanted the sunflower seeds, he was picking them out and ignoring the rest!

Wonga Beach to Cairns

Day 275

Our last day of riding in Australia, it was to be the most beautiful day of all. We had a very short ride of only 99 kilometers riding along the coast to the famous scuba diving destination of Cairns. The sun was shining and a cool breeze was blowing it was a great day. The temperature was climbing, I had discovered on my bike computer a thermometer, it started out reading 28 degrees and before the day was over climbed all the way to 37 degrees, Celsius. What it didn’t tell me was the percent of humidity, it was humid so humid in fact I felt it difficult to move very fast. Fred Drewes came up behind me mentioned I looked to be in a very languid, lazy mood today. He was right.

The heat forced me to stop and enjoy the view more often than I would normally. It was a good thing, because in doing so I got to meet a young mother and her son. They had been at our campground but were on their way home. I met up with them at a lookout point on top of a hill on the Captain Cook Highway. We got into a conversation and I ended up giving her young son an Odyssey pin. He was delighted.

Before I left I asked her if there was a town coming up. The route had been very desolate with the exception of one town, early in the morning. Since then there had not been anyplace to stop and buy a Coke. She told me there were no towns until Cairns! I was obviously disappointed, but then I asked if there was just a refreshment stand to buy a Coke somewhere along the route. She pointed out the beach up the shore where I could go. Great! At least I could look forward to something cold, rather than the tepid water in my camelback.

It was at least an hour before I pulled into the roadside refreshment stand. It was also Checkpoint for the mid-day check-in. As I pulled in alongside the neatly parked row of Odyssey bikes to get off. I was obviously more tired than normal. While dismounting I lost my balance, falling backwards onto a bike while my bike fell on top of me. This caused a domino effect, knocking down 4 more bikes in turn.

I was embarrassed, but unhurt. The entire patio of the restaurant watched, helplessly as I made a clown of myself. All I could do was sit on the ground and laugh. Merlyn the mechanic and some riders came running to help me get up. I wanted to disappear into a hole in the ground, never to return.

To my delight, when I did finally get up, the young boy I’d met earlier was standing there, handing me a bottle of Coke. His Mom and him had been waiting for me to arrive. What a sweetheart! I was so pleased at their thoughtfulness. I quickly sought shade and found comfort in conversation out of the limelight of my recent clumsiness.

The rest of the ride into Cairns was uneventful. Thank goodness!P0003808


Tags: Australia