Day Three and a half: out of Gladstone

Left the library to find that everyone else had arrived and were variously shopping and eating. I had chatted to a few locals while I was waiting outside the library, as expected, with only vague promises to go and talk to their MP resulting. Need propaganda! But once Val arrived it was all hands to the pumps and we moved down to the shopping centre and set up a stall - my big bin as the table and some flyers. Anne got a few contacts to maybe start a local environmental group, which would be cool. There was a bike shop as well, so I picked up some decent tire levers for Val/Anne and a front QR skewer for my towing hitch.

Left town only an hour and a half behind schedule, but without Evan and G who had wandered off. Val decided she needed to go (the baby gets fractious towards the end of the day), so her, Robyn, Anne and I took off out of town. Towards Calliope, which was the best way according to what some local told Val. Unfortunately there are two more or less parallel roads and Ev, G, Cassie and June were on the other road. So we went from running late and hoping to find a campsite while it was light, to being quite fubar'd. Then Cassie got a flat and couldn't work out how to make her pump convert from Presta to Schrader, so that stalled her and June. In the dark. So they got a lift with a guy called Bob who had a van, and eventually found the lost leaders (us), camped down a slightly ugly side road in the kind of "least awful" site you expect when it's getting dark. CANC3 roadside campsite

We set up tents when we arrived, then I started cooking (hammocks rock for fast set up). Food was interesting, I used my tiny MSR gas stove to cook rice in the big soup saucepan because it was that or my tiny billy/plate deal. We had rice, carrots, bok choy and capsicum with a packet of dried vege soup, and waited for Ev to bring the big stove and other food. As you'd expect, some of the rice was cooked, some was crunchy, and there was a burnt bit over the wee spot that the stove actually heated. But people seemed quite grateful.

Ev and G rolled up as Bob was unloading the van, by which time I'd swapped with Robyn and was on the side of the road waiting while she helped in camp. So once the other half of the group arrived we all wandered into the camp and ate. And ententicated, and so on.

CANC3 looking at the map on day 3After dinner we had a meeting/debrief and talked about how shit some people had felt, being lost in the dark with no food. I felt moderately unhappy that some people we're so reliant on the group functioning perfectly at all times, and hadn't really thought about "what if". Evan, once again, had bonked but only mildly, but so had Georgina so both of them were pretty unhappy when they got to camp... and extra 10km or so of riding after they'd expected to. Camp was a good 15km short of the target, but we knew that would happen at about 3pm.

Val with Hope in cycle touring mode on CANC3One thing that's becoming obvious is that some people have never cycled any distance before, let alone cycle toured. I think our website was a bit deficient in explanations of what was involved, and the "30km per day" is biting us on the bum because people have arrived expecting to ride at most 30km on any given day (I am shocked to have that happen after we had the same problem repeatedly on other rides), but instead we're trying to average 30km/day including rest days, so it's 50-60km/day the days we actually ride. So some people are simply struggling with the distances we are trying to cover, and others with the gear they need and don't have - it makes a real difference if you have a decent tent and sleeping bag for the cool nights, polypro clothes for the wet days, and random gadgets like decent tyre levers and a head torch. Waterproof panniers are nice, but plastic bags work pretty well. Val with her Aarn trailer as well as panniers is probably overkill for most people, but the trailer mostly carries baby clothes.


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