The train leaves Cairns at 9am to head south and gets to Townsville at 3pm. When I arrived to check-in at 8am there was already a long queue of older folk with their suitcases.
I had my own TV screen with movies, TV shows and music, there was cold water on tap and a galley carriage that sold food and drinks. The blanket and blow-up pillow were complimentary. Cycle touring with a difference!
This was the end of my trip! 865 kilometres in 11 days. Headwinds, hills, exhaustion and exhilaration. I’d had multiple people look at me in horror when they found out the ride I was doing. There were numerous warnings about the roadtrains, the trucks, the weirdos and the barrenness. Even I had a day or two at the beginning of the trip wondering what on earth I was doing.
In the end, the only things that scared me the whole trip were the animals scuffling around my tent during the first night of bush-style camping at the Bluewater Springs Roadhouse. Once I managed to get my heart rate under control that night, I was fine every night after that.
I didn’t meet any weirdos any weirder than me.
The road trains and cane trucks were not a problem and we engaged in a happy and workable relationship on the roads.
I loved the barrenness and the lack of Optus phone reception for three days (although that didn’t mean I didn’t lap it up once I reached reception again!).
I missed my husband after the first five days and wished he was on the trip with me, and I did get lonely at times, but this just meant I was social and enjoyed good conversations when I got to a campsite or town despite being knackered.
The Airspresso coffee machine got a workout for a few days and unfortunately it will be no longer accompanying us on future cycle touring trips. It is a brilliant gizmo, but I have sided with Mick and just cannot be bothered fussing about with it. In my opinion, the Airspresso is good to take cycle touring if you’re a hardcore coffee addict with an obsessive need for espresso coffee that overrides practicality and good sense. (I reserve the right to change my mind about this in the future, perhaps on that loooonng world cycle tour we dream about doing).
All my gear was packed into dry bags or stuff sacks for this trip and I loved the organisation this provided. It was easy to unload the panniers, locate what I needed because items were in different coloured bags, then repack when I was finished. The bags could sit on the ground outside the tent and even get wet without it being an issue for the contents. We will be using the dry bags again on future trips.
As I write this I realise I’m having trouble recalling the uncomfortable and non-singing parts of this trip! When’s the next one?