Riding the white line - A treadling Hyohakusha - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2017

Riding the white line

Heading for Roma

To Chinchilla

I guess I needed the break in Dalby. I ate and slept and washed clothes - pretty much what the long distance cyclist does on their day off. Even though I had no tent to dry off and pack, I still didn't get going until about 09:00. I guess that's my fate, may as well accept it.

Sign in the amenities block - Dalby.
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How could you not like a town with a name like Chinchilla? It was about 80 km from Dalby and there was little wind and the miles just rolled out beneath my wheels. It took a total of about 4 and a bit hrs of cycling to get there. I had a shoulder most of the way and the traffic was civil (a bit too much of it though) and the weather was good. I went straight to the showgrounds. The caretaker and his trusty offsider the Jack Russell let me stay for free. I guess they has a soft spot for crazy old bastards on bicycles. There were only a couple of other travellers there that night. A pair of horses were in a small pen and one of them was having a great time beating up the smaller horse. I can deal with playground bullies, but don't know how to handle horse bullies. Their owner came early the next morning before I got out of my tent and removed them. Hopefully to a bigger yard where the small one has more room to run and hide....not unlike the school yard bullied I guess.

Riding the white line, all the way to Longreach, only another 800 km to go. B double and triple road trains make up a lot of the mix. It's keeping me focused.
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Chinchilla to Miles

It's not that far from one to the other, only 50 km, but neither the mind nor the body were very willing. It was nose down and pedal and in the end we got there. One thing I've been noticing was the amount of heavy vehicle traffic and other hallmarks of an active resource sector. I guess I'm a bit slow, but I finally figured it all out. There are three big industries out here: Cattle, Coal, Coal Seam Gas (CSG). I've noticed at least half a dozen closed down single men's accommodation camps. The CSG construction boom is now over, but the maintenance and production crews are everywhere. God only knows what they will do with all of those accommodation boxes. I've seen a few roadside campgrounds and motels utilizing them, but there will be literally thousands surplus.

Prickly Pear cactus. At the turn of the last century in the Chinchilla region it ruined an area greater than the UK. They then imported a cactus eating moth from South America. That seemed to do the trick, but there are still a few hanging around.
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Out in the middle of @#$*** nowhere. Cyclists don't need a giant roadside billboard to know they're within 100 km from a Macca's, there's plenty of their rubbish on the roadside to remind you.
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Miles seemed to be the centre of it all with coal trains, heavy vehicle traffic literally plowing bitumen furrows down the main street, CSG workers in their fluro shirts and overalls, CSG administrators and office workers, and wealthy cattle farmers walking around in fancy cowboy shirts, moleskin trousers and $500 RM Williams boots. It was like wandering around the main street of a well heeled mini city. Kind of reminded me of Perth during the boom a couple of years ago...

I found the showgrounds, set up my tent under cover again and hunted down a pub meal for dinner. It's becoming routine.

Headwinds predicted for tomorrow. And the pub lads at Quinalow had it wrong, there are still plenty of low roller hills to pedal. It will flatten out eventually, but I'm not into the true plains yet.

Miles to Yuleba

80 km nosedown into the headwinds carefully following the white line, one eye looking ahead, the other checking the rear view mirror. I don't always have a lot of shoulder to play with, at times nuthin at all, just the white line. On a ride like this you just have to trust drivers; trust their humanity and trust their driving skills. When I see a big rig coming at me travelling in the opposite direction, I check my rearview mirror to see what's coming up from behind. If it looks like it will be a tight squeeze, I move over as far as I can and keep pedalling, trusting that everyone will hold their lines. If it's a big rig coming up behind as well, I try to get off the road & shoulder. Sometimes, there just isn't that much room, or one sneaks up from behind silently: then it's all trust and a prayer to the travel gods.

I'm becoming a connoisseur of big rig drivers. The professional heavy rig drivers working for the long haul companies are the most professional. Without exception, they give me as much room as they can, often they move right over giving me the entire lane. They always get a big wave of appreciation from me. The worst are the B double and B triple cattle truck and local haul drivers. About 50% of them enjoy giving cyclists a close shave. One of these passing with only a foot of clearance doing 100 km an hour is unfortunately all to common. As a bonus, the cattle trucks leave a trailing aroma that I get to inhale for the next 100 metres.

They sometimes get another type of wave from me... Hey, I'm only human... But I try to remind myself I'm working on my karma and it undoes my mindful pedalling. Who wants to have their good karma undone by a stinking cattle truck/driver?

I'm camping behind the pub, cost $15 to set up the tent. Meal at the pub and early to bed. Conversation at the bar with some of the locals confirmed the above about the key industries here.

Yuleba to Roma

Same same... Followed the white line for 60 km into headwinds. I'm physically tiring of the headwinds. Mentally, I'm doing fine, even if my moving average is only about 12 kmph, I'm staying upbeat for the whole ride. Previously, days of headwinds have been psychologically demanding. But the legs are another story, especially the knees, they need a break. I'll spend an extra day here in Roma, resting the legs, feeding the body and washing the clothes. And giving the big headwinds another day to blow out. After tomorrow they die down to a gentle breeze and then they shift to tailwinds.

I'm looking forward to that.

Queensland Bottle tree. Cousin to the West Australian and African Bottle trees, I guess. They line the streets of Roma.
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This way lies adventure, once you get past the CSG nightmare. Another couple days of pedalling should do it.
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Today's ride: 270 km (168 miles)
Total: 541 km (336 miles)

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