Saturday, 10 September 2011

Turtles, trucks and tents

Well here I am tucked up warm(?) and snug in my tent at the end of day 1 of Cycle Qld. Today was a 57km ride from Goondiwindi to Yelarbon - a tiny town along the Cunningham Highway. It's the hometown of former deputy opposition leader Laurence Springborg and is apparently the most eastern desert town - who'd have thunk!

It was a great ride today - it's the only day that we all start together as a group, so everyone shares the ride together. The land out here is largely flat and quite green, so absolutely perfect for riding. Thankfully it was largely an uneventful ride. The roads are fairly well maintained and you only need to keep half an eye on the terrain as you go.

I made my first stupid move of the week at the very first rest stop. I was busting to use the toilet, so did not stop to read the sign on the outside of the portable toilet block, but just ran on into an empty stall. It wasn't until I had sat down that my brain processed the fact that there were urinals in there. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I was in the gents!

Shortly after the lunch break, Stef and I cycled wide around what looked like a sizable rock on the road. It wasn't until we got closer that we realized it was, in fact, a turtle crossing the road - not a big one of course - probably only 15cm across, but a turtle in this desert landscape nevertheless!

Not long after we had a police car pass us in the opposite direction. Didn't think anything of it until we saw the massive semis following just a little further back down the road. There's nothing like a bath of dirt and dust to clog up the nostrils and put you off your riding experience, even if it's only for a short while.

The rest of the ride was pretty normal, with a few chances to find out more about our fellow riders and learn about life on the campsite.

I've attached a photo of our tent city at Yelarbon. There are tents of all shapes and sizes - but can you pick which one is mine?

And finally I really must comment on the thing that would put a lot of you off this little adventure (apart from the riding of course). The showers are basically a room with lots of individual stalls and a communal area outside. The shower etiquette is - 1 find a shower stall that is free. 2 strip bare in the stall and shower. 3 get dressed in the communal area which is so tiny you bump bare body parts against the person next to you. Now for me this is not a challenge - those of you who know me know I don't mind nuding up in front of others - after all I have nothing that you haven't all seen before (a number of times depending on what parties we've attended together!) However this is quite confronting for some people and could be the reason that this would be their first and last Cycle Qld!

So now I'm freshly showered, fed and it's off to bed after one day on the road. They've warned us to take it easy tomorrow, because day three is "just really hard". Hmmm I can hardly wait!