Kate & Pat
Australia Bike Trip

Though the cycling may have been over when we reached Adelaide the adventure wasn't!  Adelaide was an excellent end with beautiful beaches and mountain vistas... and a special visit with the marsupial Francis Clan (aka some of Pat's long lost relatives).  Murray Francis took us on a spectacular tour of his city from the world class footie and cricket fields to the vistas from the hill we had a wonderful time touring around, then to top it off we were met with a spectacular home cooked meal made by his wife Margaret.  We were so grateful for the Francis family hospitality, the opportunity to meet distant rellys, and to share our adventure with them. 

From the lovely city of Adelaide we traveled at over 1000 Km per hr (much faster than our 28 km per hour on bike)  to sunny Perth!  We were picked up and had a lovely night with the Mitchel family (Kate's cousin Jen's partners folks) before heading down the coast  six hrs to visit Jen and her partner Myles and their French roomie Marie Claire (MC) in Albany. 

Albany - Unlike most of OZ - is rainy.  all the time. and cold.  all the time (like 65 f). Okay. but that doesn't take away from its historic and natural beauty, especially for a couple of Minnesotans!  Albany and the great southern region that Jen, Myles and MC showed us was amazing!  from the rare trees and wildlife to the vineyards and cultural history, this is definitely a place not to be ignored!  We had a wonderful time with them and enjoyed having a bed, familiar faces and warm food for a week.  Some highlights include a winery tour, the Vally of the Giants Tree Top Walk (200 m into the foliage of Red wood like trees), playing with Danny the dog, and spending HQ time with Kate's rellys, and a whirlwind tour of Perth provided by Myles' mum Gaynor!  And so we were off again to meet a new land, an emerald isle called New Zealand.

THE TALLY: 2850 kms biked so far!
FAVORITE RIDE KATE: November 13th: Bermagui to Merimbula (65 k)
FAVORITE RIDE PAT: December 6th: Mt Barker to McLaren Vale (40 k)

November 29th - 30th: Torquay to Lorne (58 k)
December 1st:  Lorne to Apollo Bay (45k)
December 2nd: Apollo Bay to Lavers Hill (48 k)
December 3rd: Lavers Hill to Port Campbell (50 k)
December 4th: Port Campbell to Warrnambool (72 k)
December 5th: Warrnambool to Mt. Gambier (0 k)
December 6th: Mt Barker to McLaren Vale (40 k)
December 7th: McLaren Vale (20 k)
December 8th: McLaren Vale to Adelaide (50 k)
December 8th - 10th: Adelaide

Today we are reporting from beautiful Adelaide - the END POINT of our official bike tour!!!  We can't belive it, but we have biked nearly 3,000 kms and have seen almost the entire East Coast of the country!  We will still be posting for the next three weeks when we travel (by plane) to Perth and Albany and then to New Zealand - we may even brake out the bikes for a few day rides!

Lots to report from the final leg!  We spent 6 days biking along the Great Ocean Road, which is a ridiculously pictureque stretch of highway that was hand carved by returneing WWI soldiers into the sheer limestone cliffs jutting out from the ocean.  The drive meanders along the coast and then climbs inland nearly 500 meters up to Laver's Hill before returning to the coastline through rolling sheep fields.  Also, over time the limestone cliffs have been eroded away and have left world-famous rock sculptures along the coast.  Overall, it was the most beautiful 6 days of the trip (even Kate agrees after the climb to Laver's Hill).  This leg of the trip wasn't without adventure, though!  This area of the coast is realtively population-sparse and there is not one bike shop along the entire route!  We are realtively self-sufficient in terms of bike reapir (we have a whole bag of tools and spare parts), however it turns out that we accidently bought the wrong size tube for Pat's tire, which resulted in the tube malfunctioning from the too-great tire pressuere every 75 kms or so - lots of patches!  Then, after the long long climb to Laver's Hill we discovered that Kate had worn through her rear tire and in one spot the tube was exposed!  So in a feat that DI teams and Red Greene fans everywhere would have been proud of we used 2 tube patches and a roll of duct tape to cover over the hole (see picture).  We dedicate that stunt to our siblings, Patrick and Jenni and DI teams everywhere.  The duct tape tire lasted us over 150 kms and a very steep mountainous decent from Laver's Hill!  When we finally reached a bike shop they were shocked that we had made it that far!

From there we hopped a bus to get us closer to Adeliade as we are running short on time.  From the bus stop we biked down into the Fleurieu Peninsula to world famous McLaren Vale wine region.  here we spent a couple days riding around the undulating hills visiting vineyards and eating great local food.  The combination of the Great Ocean Road and McLaren Vale was the perfect end to our bike tour! 

Now we are off to explore Adelaide and meet up with some of Pat's long-lost family members that live in Adelaide!  Next report from Perth!

Oh, quick funny story: Pat nearly caused a ankle-biter stampede on the bus the other day when a young bloke started chatting with Pat.  He boldly stated "My name is Calvin - What is Your's?"  Pat stated: "Pat."  The kid excited exclaimed: "POSTMAN PAT!!!" drawing the excited attention of every other child on the bus.  Apparently Pstman Pat is a popular children's character here.  You can decide for yourself: