The next day our mutual friend, Dave, drove down from Hervey Bay. I met both Peter and Dave on a bicycle touring email list in 2004. We had a great visit and dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Among other things I no longer needed, I gave my 32 year old sleeping bag to Dave. Its lack of its former warmth will probably not be a big problem in Queensland.
|With Peter (L) and Dave in Brisbane|
|Queen Mary Falls|
Back in Brisbane, Peter dropped me off to ride the ferries down the river, a popular tourist attraction. The ferries are catamarans, and can travel at up to 50 km/hr. I'm told they're heavily used by commuters, not just to cross the river, but to travel some ways along it. They zig-zag down the river to within about 12 km of its mouth. The river is tidal all the way to the Mt. Crosby Weir, some 42 km inland. There are a number of smaller ferries for just crossing the river.
|Brisbane River Ferry|
The next day, I retraced much of the ferry route by bike, on the bike trail along the river. Altogether, it was a 32 km ride, with a stop at the big pedestrian mall on Queen St. There were some showers, but fortunately when I was under a roof on Queen St. The bike trail is shared with pedestrians, some parts pretty congested. (It was the Labour Day holiday.) In places, you're just about riding right through outdoor cafes. By the time I rode back to Peter's, I was getting to know the route pretty well. The final odometer reading was 2,938 km.
The whole next day was dedicated to packing up, a pretty routine operation by now. The bike box I had folded up and shipped from Melbourne went together just fine. Expecting rain on the way to the airport in the morning, we wrapped it up in a big tarp.
It didn't rain, after all, and we were at the airport by 7 AM. The trip home went smoothly. Even at 900 km/hr, the plane seems to just crawl across the Pacific. Eventually, though, it arrived in Dallas to connect with my flight to Madison.
I owe a lot to the folks who offered their hospitality along the way. They include Ernie and Jan in Melbourne, Ian and Ruth in Kyneton, Steve in Colac, and Alf and Sharon in Yeoval. Mel and Susie in Lightning Ridge offered to put me up, but I didn't have time. Most of all, thanks to Peter Gordon in Brisbane, who stored my traveling gear, put me up for many nights, fed me well, took me on a tour by car to areas I wouldn't have seen by bike, and then dropped me at the airport.
So ends my fifth Australia bicycle tour. The route ended up almost exactly as I had planned, but I'll post the route when I get time.
It's good to be home, and there are lots of chores to catch up on. I'm also looking forward to a summer of bike touring closer to home.