Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Brisbane to Maleny
Getting wi fi here can be a pain in the arse. Hosts often don't have it and sometimes libraries don't either. Maccas (as they call it) is usually a good bet and I'm more than happy to have a coffee or 30 cent ice cream for the privelege as you know. However, the two restaurants I visited today had slow connections and I gave up. Continued north up the Old Gympie Road - and away from the last large city I'll have to negotiate. Hurrah! Today's ride took me past the Glasshouse Mountains, which are extinct volcanoes and rise dramatically from the surrounding plain. Then I did something touristy, in that I whiled away the afternoon at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. He was the one who wrestled crocodiles for a living and ended up at the wrong end of a stingray barb. As it cost $59, I made certain of seeing every single creature in the place, as well as all the shows. The best for me were the otters, an animal which lives in every continent except Australia. A zoo lady threw bits of fish into a pond, and they chirruped as they chased after them. There were also kangaroos, koalas, snakes, tigers, elephants, lizards, wombats, wallabies, birds of prey, echidnas, camels, dingoes, tasmanian devils and cassowaries.
The climb from Landsborough to Maleny afforded excellent views to Brisbane and the aforementioned mountains in the golden late afternoon light. A mile into the ascent I was already sweating like a pig when I was passed by a young road-biker who didn't have one drop on his brow. He put his fist to his heart, I think in acknowledgement of my old carcass, thick tyres and heavy load undertaking such a challenge. I'm so glad I had phoned ahead because I was given detours off the main road up the mountain, which were quieter, flatter and had better outlooks. Warmshowers hosts, Sue and Gary, live in a stylish house with a spectacular view over green hills. They are both teachers - and keen cyclists - who will soon be riding from Land's End to John o' Groats. That is, if Sue's leg is better by then, as she had a nasty fall this morning and might have fractured a bone. They belong to a local club, who as with Meryl's club, ride early in the morning and then have breakfast together. Tonight I had a sensational spanakopita, setting me up for an Italian film at the masonic hall. It was called One Hundred Nails and followed a modern day Christ-like character. The best bit was the talk we had afterwards. Gary led this discussion, as the 20 or so audients put their chairs in a circle and said what they liked about the film. Maleny is only a village and they show films once a month, usually from the Australian Film Archives in Canberra.