Friday, August 31, 2012

We're Off! - Perth to Fremantle

Set off on our adventure on 31st August. On the road by 7.30am.

Fabulous cycle tracks both sides of the Swan River with little pedestrian or cycle traffic.
A track took us from north Perth, through the centre and on to Fremantle.
Had to stop frequently to ask for directions and found the locals extremely helpful and friendly, even accompanying us some of the way.

Crossed the river several times and at one stage became a little off track and found ourselves on the Canning Highway! Del called into a local gym to ask for directions and a young engineer called Nigel drew a map and, in his car, guided us through the back roads until we were safely on our way.

Arrived in Freemantle in pouring rain, only to discover that there were no motels nearby and the nearest caravan park was 6kms away.

Headed there, put up the tent and investigated Fremantle - Freo to the locals.
Bought dinner and stores for tomorrow, then caught up with our journals and blog in the camp kitchen.
It rained non-stop - first rain in Freo for 40 days apparently. Just our luck!

Did 46.5kms today.

Next day we were off to Mandurah partially on cycle paths but eventually on the main highway which was considerably faster.Heavy traffic but all giving us a wide berth. We're extremely visible. Roads are wide with a good cycling shoulder so far. 110kms speed limit so big trucks and trailers (44 wheelers), 4WDs and powerful V8s and pick ups hurtling past, but no danger as long as we keep well to the left of our cycle lane. Temperatures around 19 degrees with frequent showers. The trucks send up showers of spray every time they pass.
Mandurah is a picturesque town - similar to Taupo.
Next day we headed for Preston Beach, 64 kms away.We arrived cycle weary and were dismayed to find that the advertised camping ground had closed years ago. There was only a general store and a new resort complex called "Footprints". We had no choice other than to try to get a unit for the night. As we arrived at Reception, a group of around 12 people waiting there greeted us with a round of applause when they saw our "Perth to Adelaide" sign.
After a comfortable night in our very expensive chalet, we set off early (7.15am) for Bunbury. We cycled in developing cloudy conditions and the odd shower and just made it to the Bunbury Discovery Caravan Park when the storm broke and the skies opened. Thunder, driving rain, gale force winds - and HAIL! We'll have to wait until the conditions improve - could be a couple of days as sever gale warnings have been issued for this area. Impossible to cycle. We've taken the opportunity to improve the waterproofing of our tent and dry out our wet gear.
We've covered 220 kms so far, averaging 60 kms a day but we'll need to increase this when we leave to make up time. So far, apart from a few mossie bites and bruises, we're fit and well. Everywhere we go, people are fascinated by our rigs and our adventure.

Storm Clouds a-brewing!

Would you believe it! It's still pouring buckets and blowing a gale so we've decided to stay a third night until it blows over. Too dangerous to cycle on the main highways in these conditions. Have decided that, to make up for the delay, we'll by pass the scenic coastal route south through Margaret River, and instead we'll take the more direct route along the Southern Highway to Albany. It'll take about a week to get there, but we'll save a day or two in the process. The benefit - more yummy fresh Bunbury food and hospitality! Max temperature around 17 degrees with improving forecast for tomorrow.

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