Today was our first big journey in Carly. We (I say we, but really it was Barry doing all the driving) were driving 4 hours onto Margaret River, home of wine and surfing – not to be done at the same time of course!
We were staying at the Wharncliffe Mill, which was an eco campsite in the middle of a forest. It was a beautiful setting except for one thing – the killer flies. They really were – they were about 2cm big and when they landed on you they bit you! After thorough investigations, we found out they were March flies and they were only around for 3 weeks of the year – typical of our luck that out of 52 weeks, we would choose the one time of year that they would be hovering around. This meant we had to keep all the doors and windows closed on the camper, luckily being in a forest it was a lot cooler so it didn’t matter so much.
On our first full day in Margaret River we decided to go for a walk along one of the forest trails, which would take us into the town. It was about 3km so not a very long walk. We made sure to cover ourselves in bug spray as the March flies were out in force during the day and we had heard that you could come out in hives from the bites!
After walking through the forest, over a bridge across the river and through someone else’s campsite we made it to the town, where we stopped for a well-deserved beer. We thought that was exhausting, but nothing could prepare us for the bike ride we would endure the following day…
10 miles…that was how long our bike ride was. A couple of hours we thought at the most. 6 hours we were gone and by the end we were wrecked – hot, sweaty and exhausted! It was worth it though and gave Barry the perfect opportunity to try out our new video camera – the GoPro Hero 3+ Black (which has more gadgets and accessories than Barry knows what to do with!). We’d had it delivered to us in Perth to replace the one we had stolen in Vietnam (Stef getting punched in the stomach was a blessing in disguise, as the GoPro is so much better! – Barry). Barry carefully selected the bikes, so that we had a mount to place the camera on for the real action shots – he’d even put a mount on his cycle helmet!
It was a bumpy ride, up and down hills, battling through sand (which if you’ve never done it, is extremely tough to cycle over!). It sure was extreme cycling! At some points the hills were just too steep and we were too exhausted so had to walk the bikes up them. Barry gave it a good effort, but 9/10, I just gave up. At the end of the ride, we made it to a dam, where there was a little picnic spot and a barbecue. If we’d known – we could’ve brought lunch! We took a much-needed rest, as we prepared ourselves for the long cycle back.
We diverted to the town as we decided to treat ourselves to a late lunch/early dinner at the Settlers Tavern. When we entered, we obviously looked very disheveled as the waitress gave us a funny look and said ‘it’s hot out there huh?” Barry was very quick to tell her that we had just done a 10-mile bike ride – we didn’t want her to think that we were always this sweaty and needless to say she looked a bit relieved. We quickly ordered and the food was amazing. We started with some oysters on ice, followed by a Seafood Platter for me and the Beef and Reef for Barry (the Oz version of Surf and Turf). It was one of the nicest meals we have ever had and the portions were so huge it filled us up for the rest of the day!