Saturday, July 3, 2010

33- The End of the Road

Well, this is it.

I'm done. No more walking, no more blogging, no more lack of showers, no more spaghetti for dinner every single night and, most strangely, no more beard. It was the first thing to go, and not too many tears were shed when it was removed. Not too sure what to feel at the moment, other than the satisfaction of finishing something (for once!) and excitement at getting back to Brisbane and back to student life.

Anyways, I arrived at my final stop, Sydenham station, late Tuesday night. Sydenham was chosen as the final stop because it was the first Metro train station I came across and it was kindly suggested to me by the highway police that I shouldn't really be walking on freeways,
and they wanted to move me off the main roads but when it got down to it they just didn't have the heart. Or something to move the trailer with. But still I wasn't ever too keen on dodging city traffic, not to mention unending questions, queries and stoppages from passers-by. That and I felt a great aversion to an iconic end such as finishing at Federation Square as it wouldn't have fitted in with the rest of the trip. The finish at Sydenham was perfect though.

But deciding to trek down to Melbourne instead of Sydney was probably the best decision I made in the whole trip. At the very least it was definitely better than my decision not to shower from Mildura to Melbourne.

And, as we all know, Sydney is really just a poor man's Sydenham.

Not much left to say now, it's all been written before. And unfortunately my second camera was misplaced by me so have no photos to share this time. Instead I've chucked a few links below, 2 of which are slideshows I cobbled together (one you may have already seen before, this time it actually works properly though!) and the other links are just stuff other people have written that mentions Sam and/or me. Pretty proud of a few of the articles, mainly because all of them show both the awesome beard and the high-end fashion that I usually am wearing. After this I'm probably just going to take up modelling.


SlamVision- The final product

The Trip- Start to Finish. (Warning, it's quite long. Sorry)

Other Stuff

Guys we met cycling across for charity

Sunraysia Daily Article

West Coast Sentinel (Paper in Ceduna)

Barry and Norren's Blog (Awesome Canadians we met, twice!)

The Age

Well that is all there is. So 3497 kilometres, 117 days, 3 states and at least 1 somewhat changed person later I finally have the chance to say this, and I've never been more excited to say it.

I'm coming home.

Goodbye, and thanks. Can't wait to see you all again soon!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I must almost be finished, shouldn't I be? Surely.

Well maybe, maybe not. Who knows, it remains a mystery to many. It is a closely guarded secret, just as the change of final destination to Melbourne was.

But whenever I have/will finish I won't be posting my final post for a while. This is to let the message of this one sink in that bit more as it'll be the most important one I write.

It's pretty simple and sounds hollow when done incorrectly, so I figured if I devoted a whole post to it then even I couldn't stuff it up.

Ok, here goes...

Been needing to say this for a while but I figured people would tire of constantly hearing it so it'd mean more saying it properly just once.

I just wanted to thank everybody who has been in my life the last four months- either newly entered, returning, passing through or continuing on. I'm going to be a bit of a wuss and not mention any names at all in the hope that it'll offend every one just a little bit rather than offend a few people I forget to mention a lot.

Sam and I would love to say that we did this trip unassisted but that is definitely not the case because we have felt assisted every step of the way, whether it be from received packages/ letters/love letters and emails to calls, strangers stopping for chats and food deliveries, old friends going out of their way to help out to even simple things like a good horn honk, a smile and a wave it has all just added so much to this trip and none of it was asked for, just happily and willingly given. Has been very humbling and given me a new perspective on life, not to mention a few lessons on how to treat people.

I know this last four months will be imprinted on me for the rest of my life and the most positive thing to have come out of it is seeing not only how much good there is in people but also how much willingness, spontaneity, thought and wit they have to act on those good intentions. If I'm a better person for it then you get all the credit. Saying that if I turn out to be a real jerk then rest assured- you will all be copping the blame for it.

So to friends, strangers, colleagues, brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins, surrogate mums (and the actual one), father figures (once again and the actual one), randoms, adventurers, visitors, farmers, slickers, tourists, cyclists, shopkeepers, truckies, hoons, goons, vanners and slammers- read this and know it's coming from someone who means it- Thank you. You've made this experience the best one of my life.

Ok, that's all. The next post will be the last one. Then no more writing for me!

Until then,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Mum


Saves ringing.

Enjoy your really (in)expensive gift that took us (not) a long time to come up with. I'm pretty sure you'll still like it though, as it was made with lots of love.

Keep up the good work.

From your son

Only card I could find in Wedderburn

Hint for your present. Pretty much giving it away.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Questions Answered

Still bearing down on Melbourne quite steadily and have stopped in Charlton tonight at a custom built pit-stop of sorts for tourists called the Traveller's Rest, and I have decided to take the name quite literally and set up my swag under one of their picnic pergolas. Such things are probably frowned upon by the caravan park next door but once again I'm not too keen on paying $20 to roll out my swag on their lawn.

With 250 Kilometres to go there are still however a lot of questions that remain unanswered and not much time left to answer them. Tonight I'll try and get through a few more.

What has been the best part of the trip to walk? Surprisingly, the Nullarbor. Was actually beautiful in parts, and along with flat straight roads and extremely helpful passers-by made it easily the best part of the journey. Although admittedly I do not miss treating roadside drop toilets as a luxury.

Are you walking all the way into Melbourne? No way. Going to keep going until the traffic no longer allows me on the main road then finish up around there. At the moment it looks like around Calder Park- near the speedway there. Shaun'd know why I want to finish there.

How much weight have you lost on the trip? Have actually gained around 10 kilos at the moment, much to everyone's surprise. No real surprise to me though considering how much Sam and I have eaten this trip.

What has been the hardest part of the trip? Seriously, spending so much time alone. Never thought I'd ever say that. I am usually quite comfortable in my own company- so that has been the most surprising part of the trip for me.

Here's a few photos as well, with attached questions...

How do the farm animals react when you pass?
Well, as can be seen here, horses seem to love the whole walking along the road with a cart. They probably think the trailers full of food. Cattle all turn and look, although none actually move at all. Dogs go beserk of course, sheep run away. Emus follow from a distance, Kangaroos are too busy dead on the side of the road to notice much, mice love the trailer and cant really get them to leave, and alpacas remain indifferent to the whole thing. Llamas however get quite agitated- but as any self-respecting Mighty Boosh fan would know there are quite a few ways to calm a Llama down. (Bec that last part is for you and your 200+ friends/followers- I hope they enjoy it. Thug Life)

What's the nicest picture that's been drawn for me, ever? To be fair this doesn't get asked a lot (or at all) but it's pretty much just an excuse to post this, my newest addition to the trailer, a beautiful picture drawn by Charli from Wycheproof. She even got as close to spelling my name right as most people do. Liy is as close as Lee to spelling Leigh, and I think I prefer Liy anyways. Thanks Charli- I love it! And thank you so much to Debbie as well for putting me up in Wycheproof for a night which included washing all my disgusting clothes and eating half the contents of her fridge. I really appreciated it- hopefully I'll be back again soon. Oh, and special mention goes to Kim with her amazing blueprints for our dreamhouse.

How's the beard going? Terribly. Can't wait to get rid of it. Took this photo yesterday. Actually took a few more as well but I chose to post this one as in it you can see straight up my nose if you wish. Also I seem to be doing something weird with my tongue.

What have you found on the roadside while walking? Well today I found this $20 on the side of the road. Apart from that, not much. A bit of rubbish.

What music do you listen to while walking? The mp3 player, which is probably the best value and most important piece of equipment on the trip, has had many updates and revisions to its playlist over the past few months. Initially loaded by Sam it was fine for a while until it got the the point that if I heard one more Guido Hatzis prank call, Rodney Rude fart joke or Bob Dylan mega-ballad I would have probably run myself over with my own trailer.
So after clearing it and starting from scratch it has now been filled with-

Art vs. Science, Ash Grunwald, Augie March, Cat Stevens, Clare Bowditch, Diana Ross, Donovan Frankenreiter, Flight of the Conchords Foo Fighters, God is an Astronaut, James Morrison, Kings of Leon, Lisa Mitchell, Metallica, Mogwai, Muse, Michael Jackson ,Mighty Boosh excerpts, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, Sebastien Tellier, Smokey Robinson, Sufjan Stevens, The Beatles, The Cat Empire, The Polyphonic Spree, Tracy Chapman, Xavier Rudd, Yeasayer

Alphabetically sorted of course as they're all equally helpful in getting me through the kilometres. All of them except one....

Britney. She makes some great walking music. Don't judge me.

Well that's all I can think of for now. Take it easy- 3 more blogs to go. That'll make it 33, my favourite number and a good point to finish. So will try to make them all better than the last few, but no promises.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Same Shirt, Different Day

Well, more correctly, Same Shirt, Different Four Days. The smell is becoming quite offensive, even for me. Also with my hair in it's current state of care it's starting to fall out in protest and the shirt is only too happy to pick it up and keep it. With it being a black shirt my relatively light hair contrasts with it exceptionally well and it's starting to look like I own a cat with foot-long blonde fur, which is currently molting like crazy.

But to be fair it's my favourite shirt so I'll keep wearing it for a few more days yet. It's not like I'm currently out to impress anyone with my looks or personal hygiene at the moment. And I use the terms 'my' and 'shirt' loosely as it is actually Sam's thermal top which I stole as he left in Ceduna.

Anyways, have managed to trek the 88 k's from Ouyen to Sea Lake since last post (2 days ago). The combination of the new shoes and wheels have been scarily good as I am now walking around two hours less per day but am actually walking on average around 2-4 kilometres more. Goes to show how much of a difference not cheaping out on the basics makes! Thanks again Annie, Ashley and WGGCC. Makes me wonder how much quicker and less stress the trip would have been if I hadn't of bought everything from the bargain bins. Not that I'll ever learn my lesson, pretty sure I'll be a cheapskate for life. Plus it has all added to the challenge, would have been too easy otherwise. Pfft.

Here's the last two days worth of photos. Really starting to stretch it for both quality and quantity with the posts being so close together, but like I said before I'm going to post every chance I get now, even if it is terrible.

Where I set up camp in Ouyen. Once again showing a healthy disregard for authority.

Just about to get into a drag with this guy, 10k's out of Sea Lake. You can see Wilson on top,
he reckons he can take him by himself. Apparently the start line is just up there a bit.

From the start of the trip have gradually been finding better and better places to set up camp. This has come from a combination of skill, experience and total lack of shame. Behold tonights camp site, the absolute ultimate spot. Ultimate like the Russian boxer who belts up Rocky in Rocky 4. Power, controllable lighting, fully sheltered, benches and seating, adjacent toilets and rainwater tank. Unbelievable, although I don't think it's meant to sleep in. That's where the lack of shame comes in.

Well, its been a rough few days for Wilson. I haven't heard him complain much but I can tell he's feeling a bit flat.

Ok, well its off to bed. Can watch movies all night without worrying about the power bill, because the Sea Lake Council has graciously decided to foot the bill this time. Will probably post again from either Wycheproof or Bendigo. Or both, who knows. There isn't many more places left to post from, only 350 kilometres left now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh, Oh, Ouyen

Now 100 kilometres into the final stretch and have to say- it's been tough. Not for any other reason than me not wanting to leave Mildura. Was definitely dragging the heels a lot the first two days, going all of 50 kilometres in that time, but the further I have got away the better it is and have managed to get into Ouyen tonight. Of course I've found somewhere to plug in the computer as it hasn't been sunny enough for the solar panel to be of any use except as somewhere for Wilson to sit. When it gets sunny Wilson is going to find himself slightly less comfortable, I've already warned him about that.

Wasn't going to write anything here, but as there's only 450k's to go I figure I'll write one any chance I get, even if it is ordinary. Two more weeks and it's all over, it's a bit hard to believe at the moment.

Currently aiming at a July 1st finish, but as has been the way the whole trip that will be more a guide than a deadline.

Couple of photos this time, none any good.

This was the first photo taken with the new camera. Thought I'd share. You're welcome Levi.

My first camp after leaving Mildura. For those who know Mildura you will notice that it's barely out of Red Cliffs, which is barely out of Mildura.

Some homeless bum in Ouyen.

That's all for now. Mainly just posted this so I was doing something productive while the computer was charging. Now it's fully charged I can go back and watch some Black Books in my swag.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Perth to ..... Melbourne?!?!

So there it is, the worst kept secret in history. I'm going to Melbourne instead of Sydney. And no, I am not changing the blog website, mainly because I do not know how.

After a few weeks of agonising over the idea I finally have decided on it and am already following the Calder Highway down to Melbourne. There is no turning back.
There were many reasons for the change of heart. Admittedly one of them was the fact Melbourne is over 350k's closer than Sydney which was very desirable considering my well-known time and financial constraints. But, being Victoria-born so therefore a part of the all too healthy Vic vs NSW rivalry it was a good feeling to choose Melbourne over Sydney. It is after all the cultural capital of Australia. And the sports capital, and the multicultural capital etc. No need to go on about that though as everyone already knows it.

So have already booked my flight back to Brisbane for July 6th, giving me a week of bludging before uni starts up again.

Enough about that - how was my week at home (Mildura)?

It was perfect. Couldn't have asked for a better week. Makes me miss the place a lot, especially my old cricket club. Had a night catching up with them all and handing over the paltry amount of money that I had raised for them. For the record- It was paltry not due to others not being kind-hearted and donating money to causes but because I refused to accept many donations. Once again, this is not in any way a charity walk. It's a 100% selfish act and I'm OK with that. But still some people insisted on giving me money and because I felt uncomfortable taking it for myself I instead kept it to give to the Club. Anyways, what I ended up giving to them they at least matched with a brand new pair of top of the line shoes that were 3 times more expensive than my original pair as well as a club shirt, cap and photo. And that is why they are the best club in the world. Hopefully I will one day be back there again.

So yes, perfect. Much more happened I'm sure but you know, memory of a goldfish. Sorry that I didn't post sooner- I was too busy catching up on missed TV and junk food.

Currently at the Big Lizzie in Red Cliffs using some more free power. Why I didnt just do this at my brothers' place I'm not sure. Free power is just a lot more fun to use than the normal stuff I guess.

Ok, so I caved and bought a new camera. That means $80 less chocolate until I get to Melbourne. Here's what it's got so far. All rolled gold.

Meet 'Wilson' my new walking buddy. Courtesy of my mum and brother's sense of humour. Hilarious.

He doesn't really say much, so I think we'll get on great.

My youngest brother Levi, who came and saw me in Mildura. He was putting on this face, I wasn't. Can't remember what he was doing, but it was the only photo of both of us. Pretty sure he was either trying to lick me or eat my beard. Little creep.

The updated trek map, kindly stolen from some internet site. The purple line is the distance Sam and I went together, the gold is the solo session (170k's of that was with Carly however), the black is the now defunct path to Sydney and the orange is the new way I'm taking to Melbourne. There is 2 months of purple line there, 1 month of gold line and hopefully only 17 days of orange line.

Taken by the local paper who did two articles on me when I was back. Picked a good day as I had all my best clothes on and the hair was brushed just last week.
Some of the article is on the net - They do a pretty good job making a story out of all the nonsense I sprouted to them.

Ok, that's all for now. Off to test out my new Workers Gol-Gol CC sponsored walking shoes.