Friday, November 2, 2012

Spinning past 50 on small wheels - Day 2, Denmark

Absolutely nothing to do with cycling but I love the openness of the shops 
here to make everyone feel at home.

It was a glorious sunny morning that greeted us. I woke up to the singing of the birthday song by my mates and it can't get any better than that! We piled all our stuff back into the SUV and the plan was to leave the car at K & J's home, and collect it at the end of the ride in Walpole. It was quite a challenge to find a good place to refuel our bodies that early in the morning until we spotted Cosi Cafe in the town centre. We ordered the biggest breakfasts and shared it. The food was delicious and beautifully presented, and so was the friendly service. I love Albany too!

Sharing 3 huge meals between the four of us made a lot of sense and helped us keep our budget to A$50 a day inclusive of accommodation, food and drinks. Even after sharing, my breakfast plate was delightfully crowded!

After such a filling meal, it was hard to start our ride from K & J's home, just at the outskirts of Albany. But not before admiring the thick and fat family lizard doing its rounds on the roof - feasting.

Setting off, we left with great excitement and anticipation. It was to be an easy 55km ride through the beautiful country road that hugs the coastline. We were very pleased that a nice safe shoulder was available for us most times and much appreciated signs to make drivers aware of bicycles and hikers.

Traffic was very light and we enjoyed cruising at an easy 22km/h to soak in the open spaces before us. I was happy with my Tikit and touring on high pressure Kojaks meant gliding along effortlessly.... until we encountered some road works.

Riding on the dirt with 16" wheels was very jarring to say the least. That is why serious tourers prefer at least 1.75 wide tires as you never know what surprises the road can throw up.

Rod had a permanent smile plastered on his face as he went along merrily on his brand new Giant Cross City. It had 120psi tires and it really ate up the miles. 700c tires really roll well and are fast so its no wonder they are the choice for speedsters, except they get pretty lonely hanging at the back of the SUV!

Our first real break was at Youngs Siding, some 15km from Denmark. This place brought special memories for Uncle Ken as 50 years ago as a young technician, he installed some phone systems here. With a population of not more than 50 folks, a General Store and only 13 houses, this is rural as rural can be. We enjoyed a lovely drink of Harvey Fresh orange juice and had an extended time of rest in the lovely gardens of the General Store. In a hurry, we were not and that is what is lovely about touring. Taking our time, and just relaxing.

It was just as well that we rested. Approaching Denmark, the hills began and it really worked us very hard. On top of that, poor Ken got stung by a bee. When he said he was allergic to bee stings, I started to panic. He could have just fainted there and then. Fortunately, the bee that stung him had a "friendly" poison. Still, cycling with a swollen knee is not fun.

We arrived at Denmark about 2pm, famished and stopped at the first restaurant, Ravens. That proved to be a good choice. Our rice and various curry lunch was satisfying and a quick pop to IGA for ice cream lifted our spirits again.

Our abode was the Blue Wren YHA and we were very pleased with our room for the night. Though it was 4 of us together, it was snug in a good sort of way. As with most YHAs in Australia, there are common toilets, kitchen and spacious living areas. 

It was nice to see the Bike Friendly sticker and Graham the manager is himself a cyclist and hits the Munda Biddi Trail regularly. He shared that in 2014, the trail all the way from Perth to Denmark will be ready, all 1000km of off road cycling!

Today being my 50th, I was so blessed to have Peter and his wife Sue, hosts us for dinner at their lovely holiday home in the woods near the Wilson Inlet. They came down all the way from Perth! O yes, they have an absolutely lovely dog, Harvey, with eyes that can melt your heart. 

Peter came to pick us up in a very old Holden wagon as he unfortunately locked his keys in his car! A kind mechanic lend him his wagon. Such kindness. It was great to be driven around as we all had had enough of cycling for the day and he brought us to the beautiful Wilson inlet. It took my breath away.

It was magically to have drinks on the balcony of his wooden chalet nest in the forest and hear the wildlife, with views of the coast peeking out from the trees. Just beside where we were on a tree, was a Tawny Frogmouth, who recently had 2 chicks. Can you spot them?

Pic by Peter Kermode

Ken was enamoured to see a boat built by Peter's late father, and even until today, still talks about its impressive workmanship. A testament to the work of a skilled surgeon.

Sue out did herself and put together a meal fit for a King. We had roast sweet and regular potatoes, peas, steamed cauliflower and brocolli and roast Denmark lamb washed down with local wines. Lovely food, excellent company and a mischievous dog really made for an evening to remember. I cannot thank Peter and Sue enough for their kindness in making this day so memorable for me.

Turning 50 in Denmark with old and new friends, doing what I love best, in such absolutely marvellous surroundings in nice cool weather, and eating and drinking so well, a man cannot ask for more. As I face a new decade of my life, my heart is filled with a deep sense of gratitude for God's generousity and goodness to me.

Thank you my dear friends for a most special day indeed!

You have filled my heart with great joy.
It is greater than the joy of people
who have lots of grain and fresh wine.
Psalm 4:7


Taiwoon said...

Shiok!!! So this is how 50 year old feel like! I want to go old like u! AWWWESOMMMEE! I think City of Perth must give u City Ambassor award!

omegaforest said...

Hor say lar Bro Al. I think you got too many wonderful things to cover in just one Blog post. Will love to see more photos when you are back. We will do an extended BD ride:)

Unknown said...

It was great to have you guys here. Just keep peddling to to keep the dementia away!

Graham from Denmark