Monday, 31 October 2011

Touring with the BABY AC and BOB - 2009

Rewind to 2009, this was an overnight trip the pet monkey and I did together when she was still on the Weeride seat. Several years later, she still remembers certain details.

Hope you enjoy our story.

It was inevitable, had to happen, only a matter of time. Wifey knew the adventurous look in my eye all too well, but was powerless to stop it. The neighbours looked at me strange, just shook their heads - but I knew they were secretly jealous. The pet monkey was a witness to it all - we both had a great time and that's all that mattered. That was a week ago, and the memories are still fresh. Bit like the mornings lately. Grandpas knee is playing up again and he reckons it's going to be a cold winter, he was pulling up some bulbs in the garden and said the last time his knee felt this way was before the chill of '65. I don't doubt it, his memory is as sharp as a tack - plus his Gladiolas are the best in town. He then went on to tell me the story about the little shovel he used to dig in his bulbs - I stifled a yawn. I bet you are about to yawn right now and wondering what any of this has to do with mtb.Memories are amazing things, they keep you going on the rough days, and making the good ones is half the reason why we do anything at all. When I built up the Baby AC I knew we'd have some great adventures with the pet monkey, creating some fantastic memories. When BOB came along, I knew that he'd play his part in the memory creation business. Grandpa still has the little shovel, it's a shame he forgets he has told me the story a hundred times. Or maybe he hasn't, it's just his way of reinforcing the importance of memories and storytelling. Sharp as a tack.Now, I want you to all stifle your yawns as I tell you about the story about the latest adventure with the pet monkey, the Baby AC and our latest adventure buddy - BOB - in the Area54 stable. Two secondary characters - Rufy dog and Pipper frog - also came along for the ride in their non-speaking supporting roles.The pet monkey is getting older now, she can happily sit on the weerider on an all day adventure - but how would she go on a two day trip away from mummy? Only one way to find out - plan, pack and go! I'd heard about Kindilan down at Redland Bay as a local destination, and being at the end of some great trails this fitted the bill perfectly. The plan was simple - ride to Kindilan via bush trails, camp, then return the next day via the road to balance out the touring. Pack - easy, just stuff BOB full of gear and plenty of monkey chow. Go - just ride and enjoy the adventure!

Out along the Cornubia forest bikepath:Image

The weeks leading up to the trip, SEQ copped some pretty heavy rainfall, so I thought I'd skip some segments of the trails near Mt Cotton Rd, we rode along German Church Rd and dropped into Bayview near the water treatment plant. Now, at the trailhead there is the standard large metal gate but no horsey step through - no dramas, we'll just take one of the moto sidetracks. It meandered down, bypassing all of the large boulders laid by council, straight into the heavy, gloopy mud we all hate to ride in. Starting to wish I had floaties on BOB, with his little 16" wheel as the mud swallowed it up. Pipper just stared at me goggle-eyed.       

Finally dragged ourselves out of there, brake rotors grinding with all the slop dragged into the calipers (quick flush with a bidon off BOB sorted them out) and saw the rutted climb before us. The pet monkey turned around, put her hand on my arm and said 'You can do it Daddy' now how can you disappoint a kid with such belief?Image

Pretty soon we were back on track. Grandpa reckoned he could tell the temperature difference of a few degrees with his knee, as kids we were pretty amazed by that but then learned later in life what a weather station on the wall looked like. Photos can be equally deceptive in the way they show the degrees of a slope, without a valid reference point. First shot we're happily rolling down a -5% gradient, second shot I'm pushing up a 35% gradient. The ground was loose and rocky, in some sections I was locking the brakes on, getting my footing right, pushing the bike forward about a foot, then locking the brakes and resetting my feet. Did this for 3 climbs and really added true grit to the adventure, sweat pouring out. Pet monkey just kept eating tiny teddys out of her musette bag.ImageImage

We got on top of the last ridge and decided against taking the Grassstree downhill track, the bends would have been too tight for BOB. We cruised down the steep rocky firetrail instead, crossed a creek and before we knew it we were at the last stepthrough. Pipper was starting to freak me out with his incessant staring.ImageImageImageImage

Kindilan was very pretty in the afternoon light with only a few small groups around the property. Kindilan is owned by Guides QLD and caters for small and large groups alike with all sorts of activities available. We were just there for the camping. There is a large grassy camping area with a shelter, toilet blocks with hot showers - more than enough for our stay. We got set up, then spent the afternoon just mucking about, some bush appreciation before dinner. Early to bed as the mossies nearly carried the monkey away!ImageImageImageImageImage

The morning broke clear and fresh, light westerly would see us with a headwind on the way home along Redland Bay Rd. Off for a walk around the lake and enjoy the morning cuppa before packup.Image

We both had a fantastic time and will be off again as soon as possible. Hard to know if she will remember this trip in years to come, I certainly will and we'll judge our future trips on this first one. When we got home wifey asked the monkey if she had a good time, she said she did and remembers it all. Yeah sure...Image

For all the parents contemplating a trip like this, it's easier than you think, but it does take some preparation. We have been exposing the monkey to outdoor adventure since she was 4 weeks old, all you need is to take that leap of faith and go for it. The trusty Baby AC has been refined to do trips just like this and the addition of the BOB IBEX trailer allowed the gear to be carried without an issue. Was it a heavy package to ride with? Sure, but the variety of terrains in this trip proved that not much stopped us and a multiday trip encompassing road, bush and even singletrack can be ridden. With so many public camping areas getting packed out on holiday weekends, more remote and secluded locations must be sought out to find that bit of paradise and adventure along the way. Lightweight and compact gear is the way to go, and you really have to commit to buying quality (read expensive) gear to make the most of the trip. Compromises can be made along the way, but education and experience will be your guide to the wheres and whys of compromise. The monkeys bedding fitted into a small compression bag, comprising of a Roman 3/4 1" moon mat, a cheap sleeping bag and a self inflating pillow. I had layers planned but we didn't need them - those snugtime jumpsuits are excellent when the temps go south rapidly. Our old 2 man tent had seen better days, we broke a fibre pole when setting up so I'll now replace it with a far better one - ah, yes honey, the tent broke when we were setting it up, we need to buy a better (read lighter, more expensive) one. The shadecloth mat works a treat, lighter and more compact than taking seats - very multifunction. The Topeak bag on the back is cavernous, held all of our food, cutlery and cooking gear as well as other stuff close at hand. The barbag is great for camera and the little Topeak tribag on the weerider makes a great musette bag for monkey chow. More details on the Baby AC can be found on the buildup thead.

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