April 2011

April 2 — Munda Biddi Bike Trail (Dwellingup) to Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite, 29.26 klms, Avg speed 9.0 kph, Cycling time 3.14 hrs; Total kms 19,919

We start our 4 day off road adventure  on a short section of The Munda Biddi Trail (which means path through the forest in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language) which meanders through scenic river valleys and the magnificent eucalypt forests of the State’s South West.  The trail  utilises a network of bush tracks, firebreaks and disused railway formation levels.  Situated a comfortable day’s ride apart are purpose-built Munda Biddi campsites with roomy camp huts and tent sites.  We didn’t get off to a good start, the first part was challenging dealing with the slippery pea gravel surface plus having to push our heavily ladened bikes up a steep incline (Greeeg, who’s idea was this!!).  After battling more inclines and dealing with the rotten gravel we stopped at Nanga Campground for morning tea surrounded by tall towering pine trees, what a beautiful spot.  Soon the trail flattened out onto clay pan, much easier to ride on & we followed the Murray River.  You forget when doing this type of riding that you get very little chance to look at the surrounds as you’re constantly looking at the ground searching for the smoothest ride trying to avoid mounds, stones, sand, sticks & overhanging branches!  We passed a few cars (unfortunately they’re allowed on some sections) then finally rode through a gate where we had the track to ourselves, rightfully so.  Early afternoon we arrived at the hut at Bidjar Ngoulin, filled up the shower bag from the water tanks (hoping it’ll heat up in the sun), had lunch, did some washing, washed the hut floor, made our beds, prepared savoury mince for dinner, had a cool shower (brrrrr), ate dinner & were in bed by 7pm.  We thought we’d sleep well but we didn’t, could have been the cool breeze swirling around our heads.  Greg’s extra warm, new sleeping bag is certainly getting a good work out.

April 3 — Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite to Lake Brockman, 39.36 klms, Avg speed 8.4 kph, Cycling time 4.39 hrs; Total kms 19,959

Tough ride, more pushing today up slippery gravel tracks, had to battle sandy conditions too, this ride is bringing back unpleasant memories of riding along the Savannah Way a couple of years ago.  The lack of signage along the track meant we missed our turn off for Lake Brockman, a local pointed us in the right direction  & we had to ride an extra 10 klms.  Wellsy not happy!  We had a late lunch near the dam wall before riding the next few kilometres to our camp for the night.  Lake Brockman, which is actually a man made dam is so low due to the ongoing drought that water skiing has been banned because of the tree stumps and debris at the bottom of the dam.  We finally arrived at our camp and set up.  A quick shower and clothes wash, a de-hy risotto (not anything like the one Greg cooks) and a few cups of tea later and we were in bed, exhausted.  The Lake Brockman Caravan Park was ideally located overlooking the Lake but it was run down, the office was closed, there was no laundry, no camp kitchen, the facilities were “fair” so when we left in the morning & the office was still closed, they got no payment.

April 4 — Lake Brockman to Yarri Campsite, 47.33 klms, Avg speed 8.6 kph, Cycling time 5.29 hrs; Total kms 20,006

Our bikes really aren’t set up for riding on this track—wrong tyres & heavily ladened—so we had some easy & some hard riding today unrelated to the ascents & descents, it was the condition of the track, plenty of fallen branches, twigs, pea gravel, sand & Crazy Ruby & I had a spill, no serious damage suffered though.  We arrived our at 2nd hut at 2.40pm & had lunch (may surprise some people but when we’re working hard we don’t feel hungry).  By 4.40pm the washing was done, water bottles filled, numerous cups of tea enjoyed, daily log written, hut floor washed & beds made, bush showers finished & prep for dinner completed (de hye mince spag bol) before the last of the sun disappeared behind the trees, around 6pm.  It’s getting cool so we’re not long in bed and reading.  The scenery is lovely, but the riding conditions, for us at least, are challenging.  We’ve only seen 2 other riders on the Mundi Biddi track & have had the huts to ourselves on both nights, it’s been interesting reading the logs at the huts left by other riders, a mixture of local, interstate & overseas riders.  Congratulations Greg, we’ve just hit the 20,000 klms mark!!

April 5 — Yarri Campsite to Collie, 46.28 klms, Avg speed 9.9 kph, Cycling time 4.40 hrs; Total kms 20,052

Again we didn’t sleep well, we’re putting it down to the sharp drop in temps  (Collie was less than 6°C overnight), we had breakfast at 6.30am rugged up in our fleeces & bike leggings.  We left at 7am as wanted to reach Collie by lunchtime.  We knew our 2 day stopover would be busy and wanted to wash and oil our bikes, they were filthy, our clothes filthy & so were we.  Today had the best track conditions & we made Collie by lunchtime,  picked up lunch & headed to the Caravan Park, again great location but the Park looked tired.  We’re always excited by the prospect of arriving in a new town, particularly if we’ve been bush for a while as it means we gain access to fresh food, particularly fruit and veg.  It usually means a few comforts as well like warm showers, washing machines, running water and electric lights and internet connection, which is why the Collie caravan park was a little disappointing.  It did have a camp kitchen which looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned in months, it was disgusting, needless to say we used it as little as possible, only to boil some water.  We had a productive day, cleaned Crazy Ruby & Horsey, scrubbed ourselves too, hung out the washing & rode into town for a beer served by a rather porky Skimpy Bar Maid, not a particularly pretty sight.  Next stop was the local Chinese, where we stuffed ourselves with Prawn Crackers, Won Ton Soup, Steamed Dim Sims, Veges in Oyster Sauce, Ginger & Shallot Prawns, Mongolian Lamb & Special Fried Rice.....there was not grain of rice left on our plates, a well earned feast after a pretty gruelling 4 days on the Munda Biddi Trail.  Sleep finally came easy to us both.

April 6 -  Collie is a well equipped town with over 9000 residents but small enough to retain its country charm.  It’s only 200 klms south of Perth & with the discovery of coal in 1883 became an important town supplying the State with coal.  Timber was produced in abundance from the surrounding hardwood forest followed by agriculture but Coal and coal-related industry was (& still is) Collie’s main economic base.  We had a busy morning stocking up on new/replacement gear—me cycle niks & long fingered cycling gloves—then over to the Post Office to pick up 3 parcels—cycling shoes, map case, cycling light for Greg ordered from the UK, a set of warm Cycling Daddy Long Legs for both of us from NZ & 2 new Seat Covers for Crazy Ruby & Horsey from Sydney (thanks Ma).  We didn’t get much of a chance to look around Collie, so a return trip is on the cards.  We dined at the Premier Hotel on the recommendation of our camping neighbours.  They’re walking the 900klm Bibbulmun Track which takes you from Perth to Albany, so they probably eat as much as we do (well maybe not....), anyway a good cheap feed of stuffed sausages for me and broccoli and chicken bake for His Grace washed down with a few beers and wines.  Ahhhh back to civilisation and the gluttony it encourages.

April 7 — Collie to Darkan, 64.74 klms, Avg speed 17.2 kph, Cycling time 3.45 hrs; Total kms 20,117

A wet morning delayed our departure until 9.30am, that’s a late start for us but we had to wait  for the tent to dry, couldn’t grumble though as rain is desperately needed in the South West.  The weather radar didn’t look promising, there was more heavy rain approaching & we got drenched three times on the way to Darkan, silly Greg thought we could out cycle the coming storm, it was a pretty miserable trip, still again couldn’t complain as it’s been months since we had to cycle in these conditions.  We had planned to cycle on the Collie Darkan Rail Trail, a disused rail corridor that has been turned into a facility that walkers, cyclists & horse riders can enjoy, but riding on more pea gravel in wet conditions having cleaned the  bikes & panniers wasn’t a good combination so we stuck to the bitumen.  I’d hired an o’nite van at the Caravan Park which came with attached annex, it was great value at $30 and neat & tidy.  We both rode into the township later in the afternoon to pick up supplies for dinner and stumbled across a really nice book shop/cafe.  Who could resist?  Certainly not us, so we ducked inside for a pretty good coffee and chat with the locals.  The temp had dropped to about 10 degrees at about 430p.m, so after hot showers (no heater in the van, brrr),  we watched tele from the very comfy sofa & ate one of Greg’s delicious meals—slow cooked onions with sausages, crispy potatoes with broccoli & carrots covered in cheese sauce, we hadn’t tried  packet cheese sauce before & won’t be trying it again! (think milk fed baby sick and you’ll get the idea).

April 8 — Darkan to Wagin, 62.79 klms, Avg speed 15.3 kph, Cycling time 4.05 hrs; Total kms 20,180

We rode up hill & down dale with a cold side wind.  Greg rode in leggings & fleece for a good part of the day, he doesn’t like cold weather and he swore (he does a lot of that) that as the wind was coming from the south there must be snow on the way.  Horsey got a flat tyre, very rare for him, which Greg fixed in a jiffy on the side of the road, thank goodness it didn’t happen yesterday in the pouring rain, or we’d have even more swearing!  We had a welcoming hot drink and a Kit Kat at Arthur River, it’s half way between Perth & Albany and located on the Albany Highway, we’d forgotten how noisy busy highways could be, luckily our ride on the Highway was only for about 1 klms before we turned left for Wagin.  Wagin’s (shire pop 2000) early wealth, generated mainly by farming (wheat & sheep, surprise, surprise) has left a legacy of significant early 20th century buildings including 3 magnificent Hotels.  Due to the cold weather & lack of facilities at the local Caravan Park we’re staying at The Palace Hotel for the next 2 nights.  We’ve got access to 2 large & bright rooms, one for sleeping & the other to house Crazy Ruby, Horsey & all our damp washing.  There’s no rain forecast tomorrow, however, with temps still plummeting our fleeces and leggings are now the norm.  On our second day in Wagin we washed and dried some clothes and Greg repaired a couple of holes that had developed in the footprint of the tent and also set the tent up on the balcony to dry. The wind increased from the east and brought the clouds back that had dropped rain on us a couple of days earlier . They didn’t drop any more rain but they did stop what little heat there was coming from the sun.  We walked around the township and later had a coffee in the town’s only cafe.  The coffee was good, but we’d both read the papers from cover to cover by the time it arrived.  As we were leaving town the next day we didn’t want to put them under too much pressure and order a second cup.  We enjoyed our time at The Palace Hotel with nice backpacker staff and good food.

April 10 — Wagin to Katanning, 57.39 klms, Avg speed 15.8 kph, Cycling time 3.36 hrs; Total kms 20,237

Wrapped up in windproof jackets, fleeces & cycling leggings we battled very strong, buffeting  35 kph NE side winds, gusting to 40 kph, all the way to Katanning.  It was hard sometimes to keep the bike upright.  Thank god we weren’t going the other way.  35 klms out of Wagin we knew there was a cafe at Woodanilling, however, being a Sunday would it be open and it was!  There have been times on this trip when we’ve discovered little gems and this was one of those times.  The cafe & the Caravan Park, have recently been bought by Pauline and over the past few months she’s worked tirelessly to bring both back to life and it showed.  We chatted over several cups of coffee then looked around the Park, which was so neat & tidy, had grass sprouting all over the place, a lovely garden and a fantastic camp kitchen.  If we knew this place existed we would have stayed here, however, Pauline isn’t marketing the place until the Park is completed, for would be travellers the Park is now called The Woodanilling Holiday Park.  Katanning must have had some rain as we saw fields turning green, something we haven’t seen for months, the farmers/sheep must be wishing for more!  Katanning’s an important & vigorous farming centre (pop 5,000) & the town is littered with graceful old family homes from colonial times, we like the place.  Interestingly it’s home to many people from Christmas Island who settled here after finding work in the local abattoir.  The local Caravan Park didn’t get good reviews so we’re staying at Kobeelya, a stately home currently used for religious meetings & offering great accommodation with fully equipped kitchen & lounge room.  We’re having a 3 day rest & looking forward to it,  besides updating the web we hope to do as little as possible except churning out lots of culinary delights from the kitchen. We found a good Cafe called The Daily Grind but didn’t bother with the limited dining options as we were happy to cook as we had access to an oven. Greg produced a reasonable beef casserole which he delivered on top of mashed spuds (“with just a little butter”) and I made a chilli con carne that would do us for a couple of nights, one here and the other in Nyabing as the caravan park there doesn’t have a camp kitchen. What a luxury being able top slow cook things in an oven. I even mentioned to Greg that I was getting a bit sick of pasta! Must be going made....

April 13 — Katanning to Nyabing, 61.44 klms, Avg speed 18.8 kph, Cycling time 3.15 hrs; Total kms 20,299

Riding with a great tail wind we followed the railway line so encountered few hills, a nice change.  It was a lovely sunny day too, a perfect day to be onya bike.  The main street of Nyabing (pop 120) comprised of the supermarket cum hardware store cum Post Office, the Nyabing Inn & the Shire Office where we paid our $12 to camp at the Caravan Park offering hot showers, laundry facilities & under cover picnic tables.  Again we were the only travellers there.  With the sun setting around 6.00pm & a chill in the air we feasted on scrumptious spag bol then headed to the Inn for a beer & a chat with the locals.  We had a quick walk back to camp as the temperature had dropped quite a bit, so no sleeping out of the bag tonight.

April 14 — Nyabing to Gnowangerup, 58.65 klms, Avg speed 16.8 kph, Cycling time 3.28 hrs; Total kms 20,357

BBBRRRRR....it was cold this morning & it was cold for most of the ride to Gnowangerup (the G is silent) plus we had a mild head wind too.  Our leggings & fleeces didn’t see the inside of a pannier for the total trip!  Along the way on our very quiet road we saw a dead fox, patches of salinity & our first glance of the Stirling Ranges in the distance.  We headed to the Blue Baa Cafe in the main street of Gnowangerup longing for a cuppa, uh oh, there was a notice from the owner saying she’d been lured away to a catering job at the mines.  With Gnowangerup being a relatively large town you’d think there’d be a few places for a caffeine fix but the BP Road House was it, the Kitkat was the best part.  Our bed for the night was at the Gnowangerup Hotel as there’s no Caravan Park in town, still with a sunny, comfortable room (which we shared with Crazy Ruby & Horsey) & a decent meal we certainly slept well.  The Hotel was in the midst of changing hands, and while the vendor and vendee were all very nice their management skills were almost completely non-existent.  As Greg has mentioned a few times, thankfully they sell an addictive product where the supply is regulated and the demand unlimited otherwise the businesses wouldn’t survive.

April 15 — Gnowangerup to Stirling Ranges, 64.61 klms, Avg speed 17.4 kph, Cycling time 3.41 hrs; Total kms 20,422

Annette at The Stirling Range Retreat advised us to avoid riding down Chester Pass Road (too busy & lots of blind corners) & to cycle down the quieter South Formsby Road.  She was right & it was the most beautiful day to ride—sunny (not too hot) & a fairly good tail wind most of the way.  It wasn’t too hilly either and all the way we had great views of the Stirling Ranges getting bigger & bigger the closer we approached.  We stopped along the way at Greg’s suggestion & unpacked the thermos and had a very welcome cuppa and a peanut butter sanga’, bliss.  The Stirling Range National Park has some of the best mountain walks in WA, has an abundance of flora & fauna, is home to lots of wildlife & is noted for its spectacular wildflowers from Aug to Nov.  One day we’ll see these wildflowers they keep talking about.  We only did one walk in the 3 days we were there—Bluff Knoll (1096m).  The start of the walk was from the car park, 8 klms from our camp site, the road was so steep approaching the car park that Crazy Ruby was pushed up the last section.  Then we tackled Bluff Knoll & 1.25 hours later reached the summit, it was a perfect day to climb, no clouds but a strong wind close to the summit.  The views were spectacular & we could even see the ocean about 50 klms away.  Our descent took 1 hour & with thigh muscles pounding we flew down (Greg, not me!) the steep decent to Bluff Knoll Cafe for a very good cup of coffee.  For the next 2 days we recovered at our camp site  dining on an assortment of dehydrated food from the food parcel we’d sent to Annette.  The camp kitchen was full almost all the time we were there with a craft, weavers and spinners get together, about 60 in total.  Mostly women all babbling away while they pedalled spinners, knitted, dyed materials with leaves and bark and generally had a nice time. They came from near and far and were interested in our travels.  On the day they left the kitchen was almost empty and very quiet, I think we both missed them.  Because the Bluff Knoll Cafe does not have a licence to sell take away liquor we made the evening pilgrimage across the road to have a couple of beers, then order wine, drink 1 glass and then were allowed to take it away.  Who makes up these silly rules?  Anyway, it meant we could have a glass of wine with our meal while we chatted to the “crafty buggars” as Greg had dubbed them.

April 18 — Stirling Ranges to Porongurup, 58.64 klms, Avg speed 14.6 kph, Cycling time 3.59 hrs; Total kms 20,481

For the first time in months we’ve finally ridden into greener pastures.  The granite, from which the Porongurup Range is formed, has been exposed over the years by the slow weathering of the surrounding softer rock to create massive rock outcrops & peaks.  Huge karri trees cover the upper slopes & an abundance of plant, animal & bird life co-exist with these majestic trees as well as the wild flowers (sure!) in the spring time.  What a pretty part of WA this is.  We had a relatively strong head wind today but no severe hills & we’ve finally arrived into decent wine country.  We called into Abbey Creek Winery to purchase some wine, too early for a tasting for me, not so for Greg.  5 klms ahead we arrived at The Porongurup Range Tourist Park  owned by Cheryll & Les.  They describe their Park as “Paradise found..Peaceful & Pretty..Quiet & Clean..Picturesque Porongurups..” it was all of those & fantastic hosts too.  For the 3 days we were there we strolled up the road for coffee & cake then strolled down the road the next day for coffee, cake & lunch at Ironwood Estate.  With no supermarket in the Stirling Ranges or the Porongurups our evening meals comprised of more food parcel delights...yummy.  We’ve not eaten so much de-hy food since we were in the top end and the Gibb River and while it’s O.K we’re both looking forward to some fresh fruit and vegetables in Mt Barker.  Whilst the forecast is for rain we’ve managed to dodge it so far.  The grape growers are screaming for rain, but as Greg says “we’re camped on green grass and we don’t care if it never rains again”.  As you can imagine this doesn’t go down well in a farming community.

April 21 — Porongurup to Mt Barker, 25.26 klms, Avg speed 18.00 kph, Cycling time 1.24 hrs; Total kms 20,506

With humid days & cold nights we’re now waking up with a tent dripping wet from the dew.  If it’s a cloudy morning & no sun Greg has the unenviable task of bundling up & carrying a heavy, wet tent.  Luckily this morning the sun finally peaked through the clouds drying the outside of the tent.  Being the day before Good Friday & school kids on hols we thought the roads would be busy, however, our relatively short trip to Mt. Barker was quiet.  Mary, from Ironwood Estate, drove by on her way to Mt. Barker, did a U turn & offered to take our panniers so we could enjoy the ride.  We thanked her, however, declined her kind offer.  About 12 years ago we stayed at Mount Barker in the historic Plantagenet Hotel, it was Easter then too.  This time we’re staying at the Mount Barker Caravan Park for the next 5 nights as cyclists being amongst heavy traffic on public & school holidays aren’t a good mix.  We’re not complaining thought as Mt. Barker (pop 1,700) serves a wide agriculture area, not so long ago the area was notable for apples but today the emphasis is on sheep, cattle & cool climate wines.  Greg has been dribbling since we arrived and probably with good reason.  The cool climate wines and particularly the Rieslings are very good.  Again we are camped on the relative luxury of green grass.  The last time we had grass to pitch the tent on was over 3 months ago.  It’s Easter so we expect it to rain.  In fact it wouldn’t be Easter if it didn’t rain, but with a reasonable camp kitchen and a good supermarket AND would you believe it the Plantagenet winery right in the middle of town, I’m sure we’ll be fine.  Having set up camp adjacent to the camp kitchen we made our way to the local pizza joint.  The pizza was pretty good but the service was pretty bad.  To console ourselves we thought we’d drop into The Plantagenet Hotel for a beer on the way home. 8.30p.m. Thursday evening of a long weekend, the pub was closed and lights out. They party hard in Mt Barker......We found good coffee and bought food as the shop are closed for Easter Friday, Sunday and Monday.  We tried our luck eating at Mt Barkers other pub known to the locals as the top pub, due only to it’s geographic location and not to its food. Again we’d eaten there when were here last but enjoyed that meal considerably more than the latest incarnation.  Fortunately we met nice people in the camp kitchen so meal times back at camp were always interesting.  Siobhan, Tony, Nat and old Millie the dog were good company around the combustion heater, a real luxury in the open camp kitchen.  Greg had bought a rolled loin of pork in the hope that he could roast it in the Weber BBQ.  Having checked with all the authorities it was O.K to light a fire he went on his merry way and lit up.  There is a fire ban still in force in most wheat belt shires that has been extended because of the drought, but these are set by the local Shire and Greg managed to speak to the Shire Fire Officer before he took off for his Easter break.  The caravan park owners weren’t so keen.... with the net result of a dowsed fire and a shitty chef.  Still he did manage to produce a reasonable facsimile of roast pork on what they called a BBQ which was in fact a large gas fired flat frying pan which we enjoyed for the next few evenings.  ANZAC day commemorations were at the civilised time of 10.30 am on the Monday, so in what Greg describes as English rain we watched the veterans march to the war memorial led by kilted bag pipers and a variety of community service organisations.  It was a short, solemn and heart felt service and we left them to it after the wreath laying at the town’s cenotaph and Last Post.  Our days were spent leisurely walking the streets of Mt Barker followed by coffee and chats with fellow travellers. We’ve been on the move a fair bit recently so it’s nice to be in one place for a few days.  We’re meeting more South Australians now, which given our location, is probably to be expected, Trevor and Barbara from SA were great to have a chat with.  Trevor having cycled the Mawson Track in SA was particularly interested in our travels.  We’ve picked up some info from them regarding our future travels in SA and maybe we’ll catch them up for a beer and a feed while we’re there.

April 26 — Mt Barker to Cranbrook, 49.59 klms, Avg speed 14.9 kph, Cycling time 3.19 hrs; Total kms 20,556

It was a toss up of riding along the busy Albany Highway on the last day of the Easter break (mad fools) or leaving a day later battling strong head winds.  We obviously wanted a death wish & decided on the former, lucky for us the first 20 klms were via a scenic, back road to Kendenup where we enjoyed several cups of great coffee at the delightfully renovated General Store.  We headed to the Albany Highway & joined the hoards of holiday makers racing back home to Perth.  It was a pretty hair raising 20 klms especially when an elderly couple pulled over ahead  to check on our water supply—a generous gesture but their lack of indication causing honking of horns, squealing of brakes & swaying of caravans being towed.  Luckily the Highway had a shoulder wide enough to ride on & we both breathed a sign of relief when we sighted the turn off for Cranbrook.  With a late start, a mixture of relatively strong head & side winds & a busy road it wasn’t a great day’s riding.  We set up camp in front of the Camp kitchen and called the Caretaker as requested.  She was going to come to the park, give us a key to the toilets and take some money.  She did neither so for the two nights we were there we camped for free and I had to toilet and shower in the unlocked Men’s, yuuuukkkkky! Cranbrook Pub was a welcome stop for a beer, but we had dinner already planned so it was back to the cool kitchen to prepare our spag bol.  We still have some of our de-hy food left over from our time in the Stirling Ranges, so over the next few days we’ll be dining, but not fine dining......

April 27 — Cranbrook (Pop Shire 1,150 Town 320)

Its name was given by JA Wright, Engineer in charge of the construction of the railway line & named after a town in his home county of Kent.  The town became a productive wool growing & agricultural area (still is) & now a base to tour The Stirling Ranges.  We did read in the local rag that the Council had decided to lease out the Caravan Park, perhaps that’s why our Caretaker didn’t show.  Our experiences with Caravan Park “Caretakers” has been poor, perhaps their role should be classified as “Non Caretakers” - Goomalling you’re the exception here.  The camp kitchen at the caravan park was a 3 sided building with fridge, BBQ, gas burners & picnic table, we spent most of our time there trying to keep warm from the winds, drizzle & cool nights, Greg kept muttering how it reminded him of my homeland!  He did have a point, and so it was with some anticipation that he picked up a parcel from the Cranbrook Post Office.  He had ordered a winter cycling top and some replacement cycling gloves.  He can have the gloves, but the top makes me not a little envious, mmmmm.

April 28 — Cranbrook to Tambellup, 37.93 klms, Avg speed 16.9 kph, Cycling time 2.14 hrs; Total kms 20,593

It’s a damp, cold start to our mornings now & we patiently wait for the sun to rise & dry our tent & heat us up.  We’re having to adjust getting on the road after 9am but with strong back shoulder winds & mostly sunny skies we arrived in Tambellup before lunch time.  A really nice morning ride along the Great Southern Highway with little traffic & fields now being filled with cute Autumn lambs—”Wellsy, want lamb chops for dinner?”.  Tambellup (pop 675) is a pretty town in the heart of a mixed grain/sheep farming belt, but as with many of these country towns the main street is littered with empty shops, including the supermarket losing to a larger competitor only 40 klms away.  On enquiring at the Deli if the pub would be open & serving food we were told “hard to tell, sometimes yes, sometimes no & probably not serving food either”, the joys of small town politics.  The Tambellup Caravan Park has great facilities & is well managed by the Shire itself.  We’re careful to keep our washing up to date as it’s now becoming a little difficult to get things dry.  There’s no sun in the morning as the dew is still around and because the sun sets earlier we really need to have whatever we wash a blowin’ in the breeze by at least 3.30p.m.  And so it was that Greg tied two trees together and we washed in the free twin tub washer.  As luck would have it, some bloke was burning off his Autumn leaves so our clothes ended up with a slightly smokey fragrance.  Being the only travellers in the Park we locked Crazy Ruby & Horsey in the loos & headed to the pub to luckily see lights ablazing & on entering a wonderful open fire in one of the bars.  After chatting to a local we ordered Chicken Parmiagiana & Bacon & Eggs (great Pom is Wellsy) & tried not to think about our chilly trek home to the Caravan Park. 

April 29 — Tambellup to Broomehill, 32.38 klms, Avg speed 14.6 kph, Cycling time 2.12 hrs; Total kms 20,626

We arrived in Broomehill just in time to have a wonderful coffee & muffin at the Henry Jones Building which the owners have been lovingly restoring to its former glory.  A trip to the Shire office to pay our Caravan Park fees found it closed between 12—1pm, chomping on a sandwich obviously more important than dealing with customers.  We bought home made sausage rolls from the servo next door then Greg handed over $25 to the Shire irrespective of whether you wanted power or not—wasn’t worth the money but the Park was neatly kept.  A Caretaker did visit later, happily spoke to the other travellers but ignored us.  This Park had no sheltered camp kitchen so we ate at the pub where we were subjected to The Royal Wedding.  It was a toss up between that and the AFL, so we were buggered either way.  Fortunately we found some fellows travellers to chat to.

April 30 — Broomehill to Kojonup, 50.52 klms, Avg speed 14.0 kph, Cycling time 3.36 hrs; Total kms 20,676

Not sure what was up with us today but we didn’t ride well, both ran out of steam, must have been the undulations, luckily it was a scenic ride.  I kept thinking about the pear lurking in my pannier so we stopped after a couple of hours to devour that & a couple of apricot sandwiches.  Greg said he rode like a old woman, The Royal Wedding had taken its toll on him.  Outside the supermarket in Kojonup we chatted to 2 other touring cyclists from Perth who’d been cycling over the Easter period.  We headed to the Kojonup Caravan Park, about 1 klm out of town & up a steep hill, it’s a great place surrounded by tall trees, lots of birds & an excellent camp kitchen.  We’re staying for 3 nights waiting for the winds to be in our favour, our next stop is Boyup Brook, 90 klms away.