There are 2 stories I’d like to share with you, both true, one historic ( The Wreck of the Loch Ard ) and the other current, our meeting with Margaret.
One day while still in the Coorong National Park we drove then cycled to the 43-Mile Crossing, a beachwalk leading to the sea. As we were tying up our bikes, a woman approached us and we chatted while we walked the 1.5 k to the beach. Her name was Margaret; she was thin, but not scrawny and wore a big floppy hat over lots of suntan cream. She must have been in her 40’s. She was cycling and wanted to know from where we had cycled. We had come from the road, 3 kilometers away. We were travelling around the world. Where had she come from? As we walked in single file along the sandy path through the dunes and bush we sometimes chatted, sometimes walked together silently, sometimes drifted apart. Little by little her story came out. Margaret was from Victoria. She milked cows. She had lived in Cairns and worked as a crane driver. When her mother took ill Margaret returned to the family farm in Victoria. Her mother was better now and so Margaret decided to accomplish this idea of hers. She too had taken a year off and was cycling around Australia. She had always hoped to do it with some one, but when that didn’t work out she decided to do it alone, except for one desert when she rode with another person. She’d been riding for the last ten months. Yes, the first month was very hard and there were weeks of headwinds, when she nearly gave up. She carried about 30k on her bicycle, without counting water. There were times she had to carry 3 days water with her. And she drank 8 liters a day! She was keeping a diary and she was in contact via e-mail with a primary school back home. Yes, the experience had changed her in many ways. She thought she would go back to the farm, She’d enjoy being with her family. She still had to cycle around Tasmania and planned to be back home in two months.
Here we are thinking we are so adventurous and then we meet someone like her. A young Israeli friend, Alon Lev, had in the company of two friends, cycled about 6,0000 kilometers across Australia. This was totally unbelievable to us. Now here was a woman who was cycling over double that distance by herself. One must stand in total awe of her achievement. Interesting that after such a tremendous achievement all that she wants is to return to milking cows and being close to her family. When we reached the Tasman Sea Margaret agreed to have a photograph with us. We left her walking along the beach but she caught up to us on the walk back. She refused our invitation to ride back to our motorhome for coffee. After untying our bicycles we looked around but we couldn’t see her anywhere. No exchange of addresses nor e-mails. Just an hour spent together on the dunes.
Click here to return to Australia (South Australia and Victoria)
Click here to read about the wreck of the Loch Ard