Day 50: Aratula

Day 50 Monday August 29
Aratula 109 kilometres.
I left the motel just on 7am and followed Google along the Brisbane river to Fortitude Valley. There are some directions you just can't give by the voice alone! I think it's partly because the algorithm can't really distinguish between road and bike-path 100 cent of the time. So you can never be sure if it's reading you as a bike or as a car. What can make sense in a car can be incomprehensible, if not dangerous, on the bike. But I made it to the Avanti Plus The Valley  bike shop in plenty of time, Story Bridge and all, despite being a problem to other riders with my constant stopping to check the maps visually, or because my lack of gearing would not let me ride.

I can't see how to secure the phone on the way out of Brisbane so that I can also have power and headphone plugged in, and also see the screen. I need both: I can't hear the instructions over the traffic without the earplugs, and the GPS drains battery pretty fiercely at times. For all the stress of guessing at the route a couple of times, getting quite lost, and having to ask directions, it was a picturesque ride, and mostly along the river. The ride out looks simpler, since I'm now on the "right" side of the river, and looks to be pretty much a reversal of the route in.

The last view of the Brisbane River

Whether I can make it to Warrick tonight, is another matter. Ipswich is too close to stop, but there is no accommodation past there except at Warwick. I guess we will see how we feel: it's over 100 miles and 10 a.m. is a very late start.

Evening 7:07pm
I am at Aratula, a different road to Warwick, via an original route courtesy of Google, which took me off a very busy Highway 15. We had a big argument at Wacol about how to get across the railway line, and I was later directed into the M5 motorway, although this time, at least, in the right direction! I have learnt a lot of Google-speak, but they could be simpler, like "Cross the road and continue on the bike way," instead of giving complicated, confusing and unnecessay instructions of left and right turns. If they wanted to be complicated they could try: "Yes I know it says No Through Road, but when you cross two carparks, a goat track, and ford a creek, there is a really good bike path!"

The ride back out to Ipswich was a lot easier than coming in, and explains my tiredness on the way in-- I did a fair bit of climbing on Friday! Highway 15 has been very busy, but Google took me on back route to Aratula which is a lot quieter, as well as being extraordinarily picturesque. Mind you, the road was becoming so narrow, I began to listen for banjos.

Aratula is surrounded by intimidating mountains, and I'm about to work out the best way through for tomorrow.

Julian at Avanti was brilliant, and had the bike ready by only 9:45. This is pretty good considering another well known bike chain which was near my Saturday afternoon breakdown told me they couldn't possibly look at my bike until the following Friday! The gears are perfectly tuned. I replaced the old GPS I bought with Dad's 90th birthday gift, but despite ringing every bike shop (6) on my route out, I could not find another handlebar bag. I may be holding my old Topeak Bar Bag together with shock cord by the time I get home!

I had a nice chat with a 65 year old woman with a laden touring bike in Brisbane. She was road testing for a trip around Taiwan. And at the servo here, the assistant recognised the UCA logo on my helmet. We had a good chat.

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