Day 18: Noosa to Nambour

Energy Coop solar rig Moz is carrying on CANCThe morning started well, I woke up, packed up and biked into town to buy milk and eat breakfast. So by about 8am I was sitting in the park waiting for everyone else to arrive. While I'm here I finally got around to taking photos of the solar rig. In the photo the solar panel is off to the right, power from this comes through the leads bottomright into the solar regulator sitting outside the plastic bin. This is a bit of magic electronics takes the roughly 25 watts at 16V from the panel and charges a sealed lead acid battery (top of frame inside the bin). From the battery I run a range of stuff through a standard car cigarette lighter outlet. The two multimeters display current (in or out of the battery, here we have 0.76 amps going in) and battery voltage (13.49V). The battery voltage when it's not on charge tells me roughly how fully charged it is, but in practice I use the no-load charge current to tell me, as that drops under half an amp when the battery is charged. Over to the left are the loads - the laptop and phone charger. The laptop uses about 1.5A at 16V, so there's an adapter that produces that from the 12V battery, and the actual load is about 2A at 12V.

Luckily none of the loads draw much current when they're not in use, so I can let group members charge phones unsupervised, and if they forget to unplug the charger it doesn't kill the battery (50mA... 20 hours of standby per amp-hour of battery charge wasted). The battery is an 18AH one, so charging it at the theoretical 2A the panel can supply will not bother it much. But I've never seen it get above 1A anway. All this was supplied and assembled by Maurice at EnergyCoop, and I'm slowly tweaking it to make it work better on the bike. I've extended the wires to the panel so that I can leave it connected on the top of the bin, and that usually keeps the battery topped up quite well. I get an hour or two of laptop (enough for the blog and photo editing), plus lots of phone charging and batteries from my LED lights.

Mayor of Noosa with CANCWe met the mayor of the shire, Bob Abbot, and we got a surprising amount of time with him chatting about stuff and getting interviewed by the meeja. Then we started the serious faffing, getting lost twice in the first four kilometres and just generally losing the plot. Many lessons were learnt, but my lesson was learned later in the day and was one of those "I knew that" ones... if you're going to ride a long day, start early and focus on that task. Instead we faffed, and barely got to Nambour in time for the public meeting.

CANC see the sea on the sunshine coast (seeing the lagoon at Noosa doesn't really count)Once we were on the coast it was the usual undulating meander but we were moving by then and eventually we got to see the sea! We were also chased by aphotographer from the paper that sent a reporter to see us this morning, I gave him a few photos but they wanted action shots apparently.

Moz is macho - a big loadWe continued grinding along the coast in the sun and hills, with June and Cassie a few kilometres ahead of us due to their 15km head start. Riding in the hot part of the day is not a lot of fun, and we're all a bit stressed for various reasons. Valerie never got around to eating breakfast, so she was a quite vague and her usually good direction-finding skills evaporated. Unfortunately this was one of the days we were depending on one person knowing the fine print because things were a bit complex, hence getting lost. Cassie's mother is sick, Robyn is sick, Ev and me are just very tired. Then half way through the day Georgie blew her knee. Then somehow before lunch Evan ended up with Valerie's trailer, so I said I'd take it after lunch. Much stress, I think the long day we planned has combined with the morning stuffups to make everyone a bit conerned about making it into Nambour in time for the meeting. Trailer sits on top of the bin without too much drama, but the quad is now very heavy indeed, but at least it's still sonmewhat aoredynamic (at least judging by how enthusiastically it goes downhill).

Evan and I take off after lunch and basically grind along together trying to get to the end of the day in one piece and without being too panicked about the time. The country is more or less flat and by a bit of inspired drafting we manage to avoid the worst of the headwind (I can draft Ev's trailer, but he can't draft me, so I extract a bamboo pole from my collection and use it to poke him when he goes too slowly (poke the trailer, anyway, and apparently it helps)). We meet up with Bruce on the edge of Nambour then start waiting for everyone else, luckily they're not too far behind because of the slow struggle we've been having. Both of us are kinda tired right now.

Then it's off through town to Eve and Bruce's house which is up a bloody great hill about 5km from the centre of town. But it's a nice house with showers for all and we enjoy it a lot. I use the shower-queuing time to find a couple of trees in the neighbours orchard to pitch the hammock, then discover that I've left my soap/shavers/handcream in Gympie or somewhere which sucks a bit. Need to shop. But not now, we need to be back in town for the meeting! Dinner is some anchovy quiche that I can't eat, so I havre rice. So do others, so 3 cups of raw rice disappear (pretty much all that Eve and Bruce have) so I find the remaining couple of cups that we have left and cook that ready for breakfast. Then Robyn, Evan and I ride into town, the rest exercise their auto addictions. Well, Ev gets a ride to the cop shop where they left Georgie's bike, then we ride to the CWA hall where everyone else is.

cassie presents CANC stuff at Nambour to the Sunshine Coast Environment CouncilWe're addressing the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, and things go fairly well. Valerie is big on the introductory circle thing, but there's too many people so just us riders talk a bit. I rant about bikes :) Misc talking continues, then we show an anti-nuke DVD before we split up for more discussion one on one. People like the quad, and the whole talky thing seems to go pretty well.

Afterwards we manage to get away fairly cleanly, but it's still going on 9pm by the time we get away. It's a bit of a struggle (again) up the hill, but I have to say the the quad goes significantly faster without anything much inside it (I just had the camera/laptop bag and my toolbag). Plus Beck bought presents :) I now have a minipump with a pressure guage so I can make sure tyres are at 100psi, and new tyres to test... Schwalbe Big Apple's, but they're only rated to 70psi so I'm not sure how they'll go, I'll probably put one on the left rear and pump it up to 100psi and see what happens. Using Ev's floor pump and wearing ear plugs!

Ring phuong, she's all prepared and excited because she leaves tomorrow to come up here. Then sleep, hearing the windy night but I think I got the expected seven hours or so until I wake at 6am.

Stats: 66km (about 60km loaded up), 4:36, avg 14.3, 65kph max, 521 total, 35:20 total time.


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