8.00 am on the Gold Coast in the depths of winter - it's 17 degrees C with a predicted high of 22c. Sue tells me we had a high of 15c and a low of 7c in Melbourne. It was a late start to our ride today, leaving for the Valley at 9ish, no clouds just blue sky. My cycling Buddies, Elvis (Mark), Hutch (Ian) and Dr Dave (David) with me (Leon - oops, you know that already) in tow headed out along the Currumbin Valley. The road leads to a National Rain Forest with rocky streams and fern trees sitting under towering Gums. On this day of cloudless blue sky, the sun found its way in spots to the valley floor but the ground was moist and moss grew over fallen timber.
Our first stop was at a small waterhole called the Rock Pool about 1/3rd into our ride. I should explain that Elvis, or Mark grew up in the area as a child. He used to ride out to the Rock Pool for a swim in his younger days and you could see from the way he showed us around one of his favorite swimming spots that a few pleasant memories were being re-lived. Back on the bike, we climbed small rises and around sweeping bends, past cattle farms, horse studs, and through the occasional rain forest before reaching the forest proper. All this is not more than 25 kms from the tinsel of the Gold Coast.
On arrival at the Rain Forest which is a dead end road, there was a walking track that took you deeper into the valley. It was not something we could do in our clip clop bike shoes - bit of a shame really. We did however enjoy the immediate sights within in the picnic area. Maybe on another day I can return and do the walk. From where we were, other than our own voices, you could hear the water babbling over the rocks below, and Kookaburras and other birds singing in the bush.
|Elvis, Hutch and Dr Dave protect me from the wind.|
|The Rock Pool is larger than it looks here. The vegetation throws a shadow over the water in mid-summer making it a popular picnic spot.|
|This photo is at the inlet side of the Rock Pool with the stream rushing of the pebbles. Sorry I can't send you the sound of water and the birds singing but now close your eyes and imagine what it might be like.|
|This where the stream at the Rock Pool begins, |
somewhere hidden below the ferns of the rain forest.
|In the car park, moss grows over the large trunk of a gum tree which serves another purpose these days.|
|And growing from its hollowed centre, young ferns emerge.|
Many of the fallen Gums are homes to the native fauna in the forest.
It was time to turn the bikes around and head back to "Tinsel Town". The return journey was a might quicker as we stomped a little harder on the pedals and tested each other's fitness. By this time as we emerged from the valley into suburbia, the late winter morning was reaching its maximum of 22c. As for most rides, ours was finished with a satisfying coffee outside the cafe. I wondered what my friends in chilly Melbourne were doing as Elvis asked me if I needed some sun screen.
I arrived back at my daughter's unit in time get changed out of the Lycra and have a shower before she arrived home. I suggested that we should pop out for a mid afternoon drink and nibbles. She took me to a more relaxing spot a little further up the road from glitzy Surfers Paradise. A Chardy for her and a Guinness for me with Tapas - I ask myself, "what are the workers doing at this moment?" OK, yes I know, live it up now before you have to go back in a day's time.
|Mid-Winter on the Gold Coast. I've pencilled this in my diary next year.|
|This area is like a lagoon with the surf beach just over the horizon - house-boats enjoy the calm waters all year round. As do, the seagulls waiting for a feed from anyone who can't finish their fish and chips from the nearby kiosk.|
|This fellow decided to leave the beach for a possible meal in the nearby car park with less competition to battle with.|
I guess he knows about people who litter with their McDonald's rubbish.
|I do love a mid-afternoon Guinness.|
One can't complain - it's been a good day.
The big question is, can I stay awake for the third stage of the Tour de France.
Like some of our reader's comments, I watch it for the scenery as much as the racing. Over the next couple of weeks it travels through areas that bring back some memories for us. The Le Man to Chateauroux stage passes by Montrichard where we spent a wonderful week in nearby Thenay. Later it wanders through the Languedoc via Saint Chinian where we've spent some time.
July is a month of sleep deprivation.