Being Grateful

Sitting here without internet and phone gives us time to talk and think. Made me realize how lucky I am to be healthy enough to cycle all this way, cycle each day. To have medicine that stays cool thanks to the solar panels provided by Tristan from PowerCom and enough medicine thanks to Ree’s help in making sure I counted everything twice before leaving home :) …. Actually special thanks to Ree for being there on the phone to me each day and worrying about us, sending us the reflective vests which we wear each day, and nibbles and sweets. Actually we also got a care package from Mark and Karina in Adelaide which we are still enjoying too…. All these people that stand behind us, message us, help us, really motivate and encourage us, especially when we are tired and hungry at times. And I must mention the special email the team received from one of my besties from the past. Here it is; Dearest Heroines and Heros, Well done! I’m really enjoying following your journey. Over the border already. Wow! Yes Jo Jo, the body is an amazing thing with a few hundred million years R&D. Sorry if this is TOO MUCH INFORMATION, but I’ll share anyway. It seems saddle/bum soreness is a major point of discussion among you all. Saddle soreness is serious, especially for new riders, and could end your enjoyment or even your ability to ride. As a former bicycle rider/courier (inspired by living with Walter and my darling wife Noni) who averaged around 1000km per week at times may I suggest some prophylaxis? 1. Always wear clean knicks with a padded gusset. 2. Daily apply either isopropyl alcohol or even meths to a tissue and dab and rub it over the affected area (i.e. your arse, perineum, ball sack if applicable etc). This may bring a few tears to the eyes at first but it helps toughen up the surface skin in your nethers and reduces their chafing. 3. Daily before riding apply some anti-chafing gel, the best use silicone but vaseline will to. Reapply pnr. 4. Thrush or jock itch can also be a problem and is best dealt with using canesten liquid following the alcohol. 5. A snifter of some regionally appropriate booze will also help reconcile yourself to the madness of your Quixotic adventure. Whether you self administer these procedures, or have someone else do it for you it total up to you.   Again, I hope this personal and detailed message aint breached too many social taboos, but I’d hate for any of you to have to pull out of the trip due to some misapplied friction. Kind regards, Jeff Keys

Eyre Highway A1 OK

Today we rode 153kms of the A1 Eyre Highway from Ceduna to Nundroo. Turns out the dreaded Road Trains were nothing as I had expected, just trucks with two or three trailers. Ok, two of them carried helicopters and some had 40 wheels, but none threatened our safety. The radio of me coughing and spitting to trucks is about 10 to 1 according to Jo who keeps count. In other words there was little traffic and with our mirrors we could see traffic well in advance.  Some roadkill on the side included a couple of wombats and roos, birds and one feral cat that looked very much like a massive quoll (had spotted fur). At the one road stop at Penong for lunch I saw a caravan pulled by a car with a road bike on it. I barged in to give the occupants my propaganda and immediately we were offered delicious fresh quarantine-bin destined fruit (SA border) and asked if we take donations. We received a record donation! Again the road was gently undulating up to say 70-80meters, none steep enough to gear down more than one or two below top gear. We arrived averaging just over  28kmphr with the wind mostly in our back (awesome) at the Nundroo Cabins before 6pm. Powered sites but without internet, phone or water, but we have three showers and a loo!

Bloody Animals

Elegant, gentle Harry is really just a hound dog, a ruthless killer. When the fox took off almost under his nose, he just had to chase it. Pad and I watched from afar as Harry and Bella tracked the crafty creature across a wide field and into a tree-lined ditch, jinking and jiving, yipping with pure doggy joy. (Lulu was on the lead, and could only moan.) We  saw the fox cut across an adjacent field. He gave ‘em the slip, we thought.We walked on, watching for Harry and Bella to catch us up.Twenty minutes later came Bella, with flecks of blood on her legs and chest and muzzle. Oh my.We climbed up onto the tumberon to see where Harry was. In the distance he was coming, head down, tired. Evidently the fox we saw run away was not the fox in question. Or some other fox had taken the fall for him. Because when Harry came round the corner, he looked like something from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”I do not like my dogs killing wildlife. Foxes have as much right to live as any other critter, but these dogs were born and bred for chasing them down. Lulu mixed it up before with these same foxes, not very long ago. Everyone came out of that encounter without any bloodshed, far as I know. But this time, Harry’s face and paws, neck and muzzle were covered in fresh bright blood. It was not all fox blood. Harry’s face was bleeding, his mouth was bleeding, his paws were, too. It looked like maybe the fox won this fight.We got everyone home. We sponged down Harry, put some Betadine on the obvious injuries. I phoned the vet. He was out purging sheep. We’d have to wait til 4:30 p.m., bring him in then.And we did.By then, Harry’s slender nose was swollen to a shnozz. Blood crusted his front end. He was sad, crying, limping a little. He knew he needed help. He jumped right into the back of the Kangoo.Veterinary care is a great cultural disconnect between Spain and the United States. In America, when your dog is shredded by a fox, you drop him off at the vet’s office and wait in anguish until they phone you up with the outcome and the bill. Here in Spain, the person who brings in the patient is the person who serves as surgical nurse, anesthetist, and handler.Pet ownership here is not just cuddling and feeding and sweetness and light. It is pinning down the flailing, screaming creature who was your pet, watching him pant and twitch and fight as the second dose of tranquilizer takes effect. It’s holding his head while his eyes roll and his tongue lolls and his blood and saliva dries on your hands and face and the walls of the exam room. It’s looking someplace else while the doctor swabs the Betadine, runs next door for sutures that will dissolve inside a dog’s mouth, while the doctor says “look, look how deep this bite is, the goddamn fox was going for his throat!” while he pumps a puncture full of black iodine with a plunger meant for printer cartridges.  The Bar Deportivo is right across the street from the veterinarian’s office. I wonder if the vet gets a percentage of all the pet-owners who head over there after their pets take on foxes, automobiles, rat poison, or the neighbor’s bull. Or just the vet.   Here in Old Castile, if you own a dog or cat, you assist the vet during “procedures.” You give the follow-up injections to your animals — intramuscular, or just under the skin — donkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits. It’s a given. You leave the vet with a little bagful of IV needles, the anti-inflammatory, the antibiotic, the vitamin, the one to make him sleepy. You learn quick how. Now I know how, too. I think this is a better way. Pet owners are so much more responsible this way… you see your pet suffer, you suffer yourself, you are hands-on part of the cure. You cannot just hand over the animal and a credit card, and pick him up when it’s all over. It’s your animal. You have to take care of it.It took a full hour to stitch Harry’s muzzle and gums and shoot him full of healing chemistry. He’ll probably be OK, but he’s going to hurt for a while. He’s a mess. His stitched and shaven skin is sprayed with blue antiseptic and silver scar-forming stuff. He looks like a clown after a four-day bender. God knows what he feels like.The vet carried him out to the car, laid him on a beach towel in the back. Once home, Paddy and I carried him, supine on the same towel, into the barn, onto the busted old sofa. The other dogs came to sniff him. His eyes rolled. They turned away and asked where their dinner might be.I have to shoot up Harry Dog with two kinds of medicine for the next three days.The vet didn’t give us a bill. Not til Monday, he said. Not till we see how he’s doing. We will probably see that fox again, the vet told us. Tough as nails, foxes. His own terrier dog has its face carved up like this with some regularity. It’s just awful, he says, but that’s nature. That’s life. That’s dogs, foxes, pets, animals in Spain.We signed up for this. It is how it ought to be. We stopped on the way home to buy him some soft, canned dog food. And for me, some Albarino, Galician white wine. Sustenance. Anesthesia.Poor old Harry.Poor old me.

March 26, 2015 at 09:05AM

This morning we start the 1200 barren kilometers from Ceduna to Norseman. We may not have much phone and internet coverage so do not worry. You will be able to follow us on the map as our satellite tracker will continue working …. We hope! Wish us luck :) on Facebook See where we are! Donate to Cystic Fibrosis to show your support!

meeting Vanessa

According to our proposed dates we are in fact two days behind. During these adventures we never know exactly when and where we end up, and sometimes you and up a few days ahead or behind schedule. But a newspaper on the Eyre Peninsula that covered us had mentioned we would be in Port Kenny on Sunday apparently.  In the meantime we had left Elliston with a tailwind and were heading for Streaky Bay, bypassing Port Kenny. In our excitement to leave we had left the hose attachment for he caravan on the tap in Elliston, so as we cycled into Port Kenny for lunch we thought we’d try the highway facing caravan park store for the part. As I gave them our propaganda leaflet the lady said someone is looking for you!Ten minutes later we met Andy and Vanessa Pointon. Vanessa has CF and had a lung transplant 18 months ago. We all had lunch at the caravan and had a nice chat. Was amazing how the stars had aligned for us to meet! Andy raced home to get me some CF stuff that I was short on and they even left us a handsome donation! We were pretty moved by it. Jo gave Vanessa a CF hanna tattoo before we left.Andy told us not to miss the Haystacks half way to Streaky Bay, a scenic rock formation close to the highway.Photos attached are also from Streaky Bay where we had to disengage the caravan from the ute, which gave me a good photo opportunity of the team in action!See on Facebook

Murphy’s Haystacks

Murphy’s Haystacks! Though not exactly along the highway these were a very worthy side trip. We had a big tailwind so we figured we should do it. They were really cool. on Facebook

end of Flinders Highway

From Streaky Bay to Ceduna is the last stretch of the Flinders Highway and the last of the Eyre Peninsula! Cycling the last miles was a bit of a challenge with tough winds blowing mostly against us. It was only 114kms which we did with time to spare on the Aseako bikes. 250 Watts may not sound like much but it kept our average speed well above 20kmph. We do hope the wind direction changes tomorrow so we won’t have a headwind starting the Nullarbor stretch – the next 1200kms to Norseman WA.Lately the countryside has been undulating with long gentle hills which went from perhaps 50m to now down to about 20m above sea level. Ample opportunity for the wind to build up!  My Aldi Mobile phone and internet reception is now seriously lacking, and I have found some of the 1-2% of the Telstra network that is not accessible to Aldi customers….We see the did dead animal, snake, too, rabbit or fox. Quite a bit of sand now too. Weather relatively cool and we even had rain in Ceduna!See on Facebook