Before the Flood.

After the girls left us in the beer garden at the Rosewood pub, the local reptiles started to get a bit restless. When one leather handbag said to the other “ your not my cup of tea” we read the tea leaves and decided to step back into the oven. Upon leaving I gave Annie 2 instructions for a safe departure; don’t make eye contact and don’t mention you don’t like motorsports.

Straight outta Rosewood.

Rosewood Showgrounds provided the perfect ingredients again for another uncomfortable night spent in a tent. We decided to follow the example of the elderly with their mobile lounge rooms who looked like they had all spent a weekend with Bernie, we just laid still and motionless and prayed for a breeze.

H.M.A.S Gypsy

We were up at sparrow’s the following morning, excited to leave the Brisbane Valley. The only green we saw in this valley was the labels on our VB stubbies. Our exit was via the back roads towards Boonah. We had our sites set for the gorge campground behind Lake Moogerah and more importantly, the river that run through it. Picture a male staffie on a hot day lying on some cold tiles panting, trying to cool his nuts off. Swap those tiles for a river and we pretty much employed the same tactic to cool down. We got real comfortable that afternoon by the river.

Letting it all hang out.

We called into Boonah on the way out of the gorge, to replenish our noodles, pasta and oats stash, within 5 minutes a local offered us a place to stay. We liked Boonah! After politely declining the offer it was time to attack a few hills and head for Rathdowney.

It was a nice ride out to Rathdowney, top scenery and no traffic. We were knackered though. The heat over the last few days had fried us. We welcomed the storm that came through that afternoon with open arms via the female cubicles, standing there like little creeps in the public toilets smiling happily. Finally our tent might be a decent temperature to sleep in that night.

Today was the day we were finally going to make it out of Queensland. It had only taken us 136 days and 4223.5 km. What a ride out it was. We took “The Lions Road” out of Queensland. It was fitting we had one more stunning road to ride before we left Texas! I just envisioned we would cross the border a little more triumphantly then the way we did. One more push up another fucking hill!

Crossing the imaginary line into New South Wales we waved at the security cameras, informing them of our arrival! If we swapped all the surrounding trees for wankers, we could have sworn we were back in Sydney.

Pushing up more hills we came across a road crew grading the road. There weren’t many pleasantries exchanged. One bloke just sat in his truck with a look of “ you guys are knobs”. We smiled and waved and pushed on. A few times on this trip, there has been times no matter how good the scenery has been during the ride, there just comes a time in the day where you have had enough and wish you were anywhere else but sitting on that thing that is starting to make your ass sore. That feeling struck again rolling into the sheep station campground. We were spent. Luckily it was pretty lush there and we were rejuvenated soon enough by the nature

Today was a big day. We had a whopping six km to do to get to Forest tops campground. That’s right, six. Like I’ve said before, you really shouldn’t rush fun. In our defence it was a bit of a hill. It still left us plenty of time to act like sloths for the rest of the day. Even though it was short in stature it lacked nothing in beauty. It reminded us of riding through the Daintree again. We even heard the bird we thought was a cassowary riding through the border ranges. God knows what we were chasing up on the Bloomfield track! Wankers!!

6km really takes it out of you.

We have seen some sights on this trip, the Daintree, Hinchinbrook Island, Wallaman Falls and the dress sense at the Mackay Shopping centre. The view looking out into The Tweed Caldera sits among them for highlights on this adventure. It was breathtaking. It was nice riding through the Border ranges. One of our favourite sections of the trip so far.

The Tweed Caldera.
They only serve piss at this bar.

Dante was lucky when he entered through the gates of hell. At least he got some sought of heads up when he read the last line of the inscription that was on the gate “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” For us poor souls there was no such warning as we crossed into the dark realm that is Nimbin! It wasn’t long until my guide Ana Urrutia and myself heard the anguished screams of the uncommitted.

Annie at the gates of hell.

2020 has been dominated by one news story, Covid-19. For me, the second biggest story going on, that no one knows about is, there is still someone practicing lobotomys up in the hills of Nimbin. They must be cheap too because most have one. It’s outrageous! Those poor souls. “The lucky ones” who missed the lobotomy have all picked up the black lung just like Derek Zoolander.

We pictured happy hippies in Nimbin. It was anything but, What a shithole! With talk of “a few showers” over the next few days it was a soggy pack up when we left Nimbin. We didn’t care it was wet, we were just happy to be leaving.

Just like BC & AD we have a new timeline now to measure the trip. Before the flood, and after the flood. When scholars go through the annals of history in the times of “Before the flood” they will find The Stylish Pedlar folk whinged a lot about the heat, hid in public pools and waterholes, and did everything they could to avoid the scorching red blob that torched everything it touched. The same scholars will find in the times of “after the flood” there is no sun. Our offspring will have webbed feet.

The Lismore shopping centre provided us with an hour or two of shelter from the rain. It was hard to find a seat. Even on wet days blokes get dragged along to sit miserably in a corner staring at their phones. With the rain continuing and Noah refusing two more animals on his boat. We set of for Coraki.

Our new headquarters.

It was a good gig at Coraki, we had shiny new facilities to wait out the rain. Only problem was it never stopped raining. After 2 days we got bumped up to the penthouse. The manager let us set up our tent on the balcony. Now this was living. Everyone else pulled their vans out and took off because the river was going to flood. We had the place to ourselves now. Well, almost, the local shitheads knew the access code to the building. After kicking them out when we caught them snooping around, the youngest one, all of about 12 years old, waited until he crossed the road, took his shirt off, flexed and called me a sex offender! The fucking little cunt! How can I do any offending when we aren’t having any sex. For all it’s pluses the bicycle and a 2 person tent does nothing for the romance department. Just like Asians and swimming, it’s not a good combination.

After 3 days, it was time to make a getaway from Coraki. The weather was supposed to be better today, but it was still pissing rain. Only comfort we had was the headwind had stopped. The original plan was to head to Lawrence via the back way of Whiporie. I had rang the General store in the morning to see if they had any info on the road. With the store owner stating “I’ve heard there is water across the road but I don’t think it’s much”. We thought we would be sweet. A kind old German man put a stop to that. He pulled over on the side of the road to tell us a little bit further ahead there is over a metre of water covering the road, “you have no chance of getting to Whiporie that way”.

For every bogan fuckstain and racist redneck, there is good fellas out there like Hans. He offered to let us camp at his place until the water dropped. We had to knock the offer back. After 3 days sitting around in Coraki we were pretty keen on getting a move on. Plus we had a sneaky feeling our Warmshowers host that night was going to give us a home cooked meal. With the backroads flooded and the amount of water we were seeing running through the forests and farms it squeezed us onto the dreaded Pacific Hwy.

Riding the canals around Coraki.

What an attack of the senses that was. Another way to describe it is to say it was fucking horrible! Everything happens for a reason though and the one positive about the Hwy was we bumped into my old housemate from London, Keithy George. He passed us on the Hwy and pulled over at the next stopping bay. My abnormally large head and helmet flap must have gained his attention. If we had a crystal ball, and knew then how we would get on for the next few days, we would of taken him up on his offer of a lift to Coffs. We had one thing on our mind, a home cooked meal in Lawrence.

Rolling into Maclean was nice, with many street names written in English & Scottish Gaelic and power poles painted in different tartan patterns. They are proud of their Scottish heritage. As I went a little further up the road I passed the towns original inhabitants sitting on a park bench with long necks. For some reason they didn’t seem as proud of the towns history.

Maclean

We had one more river to cross before we had a meal and a roof over our head in Lawrence. We pinned the ears back and headed for the ferry. All our dreams came to a grinding halt when a local pulled over to tell us “the ferry is shut, there is too much water in the river.” A boat cannot run because there is too much water. Can you fucking believe it?! That’s like a fat kid coming up to you and saying “I can’t eat, there is too much food!” It’s unheard of. Sadly we had to inform our Warmshowers host we would not be joining her and her husband for dinner that evening. Our host quickly jumped onto the Lawrence ferry Facebook page and returned with the confirmation “you’re stuffed.” It was too far around going via Grafton. My emotions nearly got the better of me when I ended that phone call and came to the realisation that it was going to be another fucking night of pasta for us.

Maclean Showgrounds. We were getting good at seeking out structures to put our tent up under.

In the evening, while depressingly eating our pasta we learnt our Warmshowers host was an evil bastard. She sent us a photo of the Thai meal she had cooked us and the loaf of bread she had baked for us for the following day. We cried ourselves to sleep that night!

The new day started just the same as every other one had started for the last 5 days now. It was raining. At least our tent was dry after sleeping in the V.I.P lounge. We headed for the worlds best Bakery in Maclean for breakfast. Why a town with an establishment such as this, are the residents so miserable? People don’t look happy in Maclean.

To avoid our ears getting assaulted again we took some backroads out of Maclean. We had one problem, the roads had morphed into rivers. Add to the equation, I had read the map wrong and it was starting to turn into another shit day for us.

Tonight we had lined up another Warmshowers host so it wasn’t all doom and gloom. We found a solution to the map reading problem too. Bush bash and jump fences. The consolation prize being we were back on the highway. We were starting to hate these days of “after the flood”. Rolling into our hosts accommodation in the hills outside of Coffs was nearly the lowest I have felt on this trip. The rain and the highway were beginning to have an effect. Luckily, Shelby the Canadian girl looking after the place while the owner was away was a little champion and made us feel right at home. I still felt like crying though when she told us the hot water wasn’t working. FML! We slept in shipping containers that night with the walls lined with books. Side by side in single beds, it was proper cosy!

I have to give the toilet at this place the highest compliment. It was one you wished you were constipated on and had to push for hours. The views were superb.

By now we had given up plans of, sightseeing on the way into Coffs. It was too wet and we were too over it. With moral being at an all time low, we realised we needed a break when we rode past the big Banana. The sight of all those “fuckheads” lining up in front of an enormous banana to get their photo taken sent me over the edge. There was all this nature around and people want a photo in front of a fake banana. I don’t know why it pissed me off so much. Maybe I was struggling being back in a big town. Annie didn’t have a great feeling either riding into Coffs. A few of the inhabitants looked a bit rough. Or we were just unlucky and passed the only people in town who’s favourite pastime is getting fucked up. Thankfully Keithy put us up for a few days. It did us the world of good relaxing in a house, eating something that wasn’t pasta and sleeping in a bed. Cheers Keithy!!! We are back on the road again now and can’t wait to get amongst the trees!

On the road again.

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