We’re on the road again

Miz Lizzie is packed, our schedule is planned and printed, and we’re off.

We’re heading north once again, into a fortnight of gastronomic indulgence, experimentation, and purchase. We’ll be staying at two caravan parks we haven’t tried before but which come highly recommended.

Part 1 of the trip is from Mackay to just north of Townsville, at Rollingstone, where the van park has absolute beach frontage. We’ll be there a couple of days. Part 2 is Rollingstone to Redlynch in the north of Cairns, right where the rainforest rolls down to touch the edge of the city. It’s not what we’d call a long trip. To put it in some context, it’s like driving from London to Inverness, or from the bottom of Florida to the top. It’s just far enough that we’re really on holiday, the scenery’s different and yet, it’s not an arduous journey when we have to turn for home. (And despite a recent news story from the US that left Australians giggling, yes, all that is definitely just one country, and by the way, only a bit smaller than yours… 🙂 )

I’ll be photographing, blogging, tasting, sampling, buying, eating, stitching, oohing and aahing. You’re welcome along for the ride. As always with our trips, there’ll be pictures and descriptions. We’re looking forward to it a lot as we’re both a bit tired and ready for a break. It’s been a while since we had a decent chunk of time off – May last year to be exact, when we went down to Nambucca Heads in northern NSW.

And because each road trip needs a sound track, here’s Miz Lizzie’s theme song:

Dizzy Miz Lizzie

(There’s a version with John Lennon and Eric Clapton performing this too, but I prefer the 1958 original)

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Miss Scarlett Goes for a Ride

Something a bit different from my usual offering of sewing, gardening, cooking and photography. Well, ok, maybe a bit of photography.

Miss Scarlett Thunderbolt is on her shake-down trip.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.02.02 pmIt’s about 800km/500miles from home in Mackay to Cairns. We did that trip on Tuesday. It took 12 hours, a fair bit longer than we expected, but we underestimated how physically demanding such a long trip is, and we needed to take more breaks than we would in a car.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.03.41 pmYesterday, we did about 300km/186miles, part of which was the 19km/11miles of steep uphill climb up the very, very winding Gillies range, containing just over 360 bends. Motorbike heaven… Today, we’re taking the Captain Cook Highway north past Port Douglas, turning west inland and up the range on the Mulligan Highway, back south on the Atherton Tableland to Mareeba and Kuranda, and then back down the winding Kuranda range and into Cairns.

On Friday, we do the return journey to Mackay. This time, we’ll be starting really, really early so that we’re in the home stretch when the temperature is at its hottest in the early afternoon.

We’ve learned a few things along the way about the bike, and doing trips of this sort.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.04.09 pm Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.04.36 pmThe first thing is that Miss Scarlett can handle anything we throw at her. Fast, slow, steep or curly, she’s happy and tells us so, singing a growly song of joy along the highways and back roads. She looks after us very well.

The second thing is that we really shouldn’t be doing trips like this at the hottest time of the year. On the journey up here on Tuesday, the temperature reached 39ÂșC/102ÂșF. We were wearing jeans, boots, gloves, helmets and armoured jackets. Bonkers…

The third thing is that it’s perfectly possible to pack and carry everything we needed for 4 days away in her two panniers and one large top box, with a small shoulder bag each. And that included camera, laptop, phones, chargers, toolkit and spares, compressor and tyre repair kit.

Finally, although we have comfortable seats with air cushions on top, we need to get off and walk around every couple of hours just to let the blood return to our numb bums! It’s not backs or legs or hips that get sore, just our bottom bones…

We’re planning a longer and further trip in March, when we’re attending the national rally of the Australian ST Owner’s Club in Toowoomba. That’s about 1200km/750miles, plus we’ll be going down to visit my sister and friends in NSW first, so it’ll be even further!

Who knew it was all going to be so much fun…?