The End

And here is the map of my trip:

Total distance traveled: 19,410 kms in 10 weeks. And I still need to do Queensland and the Top End. Australia is a lot bigger than it looks!

Here are some final pictures from along the way that didn’t make it into earlier entries because they were on other people’s cameras or I forgot.


Camping in the Flinders Ranges

Flinders Ranges


Goodnight :)


I’m in Sydney now! After I left Port Augusta, I slowly made my way back through outback New South Wales via Broken Hill. There wasn’t much to document or take pictures of along the way so I stopped writing daily entries. It’s pretty cold here now, and it was freezing riding through Lithgow and Katoomba, geez. I guess it’s not summer here anymore.

April 2, 2010
Location: Broken Hill, NSW

I am at the Palace Hotel. This place reminds me of my college dorm room. I think it’s the musty smell and wood paneling and communal showers.

April 3, 2010
Location: Cobar, NSW

I slammed through about a million locusts today. I think Jesus must have sent a locust plague through New South Wales in celebration of Easter, just like in the bible. My riding gear, goggles, and bike are now plastered with dead locusts.

April 4, 2010
Location: Orange, NSW

I think today was daylight savings, and I gained an hour according to my computer. It’s the opposite of what it would be back in the US.

March 27, 2010
Location: Mataranka, NT

We are now in Northern Territory! After a lengthy discussion, I convinced H that shipping his bike from Darwin would not be any cheaper or faster than just riding back by going straight down the center of the continent. It will take less than a week to get to South Australia, and we would probably waste almost that much time going to Darwin and getting the bike crated up anyway. Of course, gunning it down the highway for 3000 kms will not be a pleasant way to go, but shipping a bike home after coming all this way would just be… lame.

So, we rode 630 kms today. It was raining nearly the whole time and kept the long ride at a reasonable temperature. It’s still raining now, and we are staying at a homestead. It’s basically a bunch of cabin rooms the size of shoeboxes. I look forward to the humidity dropping as we continue south, but I’ll probably be complaining about the cold again soon.

There are a bunch of wallabies outside. Sorry this picture sucks, I took my contact lenses out as soon as we stopped riding because my eyes have been bothering me, so I couldn’t see what the heck I was taking pictures of. There are also hot springs in the area, but since it is already so hot and rainy, we had no interest in visiting them. I may be a little burned out.

March 28, 2010
Location: Tennant Creek, NT

We rode all day down the middle of the outback. It was… boring. We are now staying in a room at a pub. I think this might be the first motel room we have stayed in all trip. There is air conditioning and a bathroom and hot water in the shower and everything! Wow, this is nice. We only have a few more days of traveling together, so we thought that we could afford a little luxury. As much as I am enjoying this, I am sad that I will be leaving my travel buddy soon.

March 29, 2010
Location: Alice Springs, NT

Continued south through the middle of nowhere. Stopped by Devils Marbles, which are granite rock formations, and did a bit of scrambling. That was about the only remotely interesting thing we saw all day. We are now in Alice Springs, which is approximately the center of Australia.

Devils Marbles

Me on some marbles

I am Sysiphus

March 30, 2010
Location: Yulara, NT

We came out here to see Ayers Rock, which is supposed to be the heart of Australia, according to the aborigines or whoever. The outback is quite something to see, since the terrain is so flat and the visibility so fantastic. However, it’s not as glamorous as Outback Steakhouse makes it out to be, because there are just so many damn flies and mosquitos out here. The flies keep going into my eyes and up my nose, and the mosquitos bite any last inch of exposed skin. When we take our rest stops along the road, I don’t even remove my helmets or gloves anymore, because they serve as defense against the bugs. Gross, I know. Someone really ought to introduce some cane toads or venus flytraps into this stupid ecosystem to keep the insects in check.

Obligatory tourist shot

Aboriginal cave paintings. These are supposed to be 150 years old. Didn’t Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel a few hundred years before that? Why are these impressive?

Ayers rock at moonrise. You can find better pictures of the rock on the internet, so I won’t bother uploading more of my amateur photos.

March 31, 2010
Location: Middle of nowhere, SA

Ayers rock this morning

My bike is running on opal, which is a type of fumeless petrol that the aborigines cannot smell. Apparently, there is a rampant problem of aborigines stealing petrol so that they can sniff it, so many of the petrol stations near aboriginal land only sell opal fuel. I asked H why aborigines sniff petrol, and he said, “Why do white people sniff coke?”

We are now in a fly-filled trailer behind a petrol station somewhere in South Australia. We wanted to make it to Coober Pedy today because it is supposed to be a town (and the only one for hundreds of kms around), but we ran out of daylight and stopped 170 kms short.

We started off early in the morning and went to see Ayers Rock again from a different angle. Also did a short hike to a waterhole. It wasn’t too exciting, and cost us precious riding time.

I am sad to be back in South Australia, because it is one state closer to Sydney. In about two days, we will be in Port Augusta, and H will be going back to work. I think my journey will conclude shortly thereafter because I can’t think of anywhere else to go, as Queensland is almost completely flooded this season.

Here are a couple pictures I took while riding today. Basically this has been the unchanging view from my cockpit all week: long, straight, southbound interstate highway; scattered clouds and unlimited visibility. And H’s rear end.

April 1, 2010
Location: Port Augusta, SA

After 700 kms of riding today, we are back in Port Augusta. We have officially completed the long trek from the top to bottom of the continent. I am excited and relieved to be done with that long stretch, but also feeling a bit empty, because there is nothing else to look forward to.

It seems like so long ago that we were last here with F. And I do miss F. This time, we are not camped out by the beach, but staying at a cheap motel. It is a bit cold outside, but we have the air conditioning on at full blast, just because it makes the room feel that much more luxurious.

My stomach hurt today from drinking the artesian water that I filled my camelback with at the roadhouse in the middle of nowhere.

Week 7: The Top End

March 20, 2010
Location: Karratha, WA

It is very hot and humid tonight, and H and I are sitting on deck chairs next to a community pool that we snuck into by climbing over a fence. Now I know that I am being a bad influence on him. I have a certain sense of diplomatic immunity knowing that I can easily leave the country if I get into any real trouble. H actually lives here and has a job and responsibility and crap so he tends to be more of a law-abiding citizen apart from me.

Today we rode approximately 550 kms up Hwy 1. It was yet another ridiculously hot day. We really should be taking extra fuel and water with us because the North West Coastal Hwy is even more sparsely trafficked and serviced than the Nullarbor, but neither H nor I are willing to take more weight on our bikes as we are both already so heavily loaded.

There were intermittent thunderstorms along the way today, and I actually found myself looking forward to them because it was so bloody hot out there. Of course, as soon as I started getting whipped around and soaked, I wanted it to stop. So, no pictures today, because I had to keep my camera out of the wet.

March 21, 2010
Location: Port Hedland, WA

Oh my god I am exhausted. First off, we got kicked out of the pool late last night after a security guard saw us inside. I had wanted to sleep on the deck chairs for the night. Bummer.

I couldn’t sleep worth anything in my tent; it was too hot and sticky and I was itching all over from insect bites. I ended up walking around the public bathrooms for awhile, because a radio was playing there and I hadn’t heard a radio in a long time. At some point I managed to sleep, but both H and I were up before 6 am because it was already near 40 degrees C by then.

We took off and continued north, and about 120 kms into the ride, the rear of my bike started squirming, and I pulled over knowing what grief awaited me. Sure enough, the rear tire was flat. The tire had over 6,500 kms on it and I was pushing it past the end of its useful life. I guess I should be happy that it took over 12,000 kms for the first flat to occur on this trip, and doubly happy that I had an extra pair of hands to help me fix it. H and I pulled into some shade and set up a ghetto bike stand out of a cinderblock I found. I was actually surprised at how easily everything went. My prior experiences with trying to change motorcycle tires by hand were always incredibly painful and messy. I think this morning’s process was facilitated by the fact that we had been rolling over boiling hot tarmac – the rubber peeled off like silly putty.

Anyway, I slapped a patch on the tube and put the tire back on. Some dudes drove by and stopped to take pictures of me fixing my flat. That irritated the piss out of me, but one of them proposed to me so I laughed. When all was done, we rode on.

Another 150 kms down the road, the tire went flat again. By then I was too hot, tired, and grumpy to deal with fixing another flat, and we were near enough to Port Hedland, a stupid mining town, that we could find someplace to set up camp. We sat in a McDonald’s for the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoying free AC and wifi, and went back to the campground after dark. I replaced the tube in a picnic area. I hope to all that is holy that this tire can carry me another 600 kms, which is how far I need to go to reach the next town where I can buy a new tire.

How NOT to change a tire without a stand. I thought that I was being really smart with this setup, but the bike fell over on my head while I was pulling the rear axle out. I was ready to throw the damn thing in the trash.

A better way to change a tire without a stand. Ha ha.

March 22, 2010
Location: Broome, WA

We made it to Broome. Thank goodness. H and I were up before 6 am again this morning, and by 6:30 we were both drenched in sweat; it was so hot and humid. We rolled out 620 kms of highway today. The rear tire now looks like a weird rallycross tire, but it held up. The bike did have some more electrical issues because all the violence inflicted during yesterday’s tire-changing caused my ghetto-rigged fusebox to come loose. That caused a minor delay but I eventually got it taped back together.

I had a near-miss with a roo today. I was surprised to see it out in the daytime, as they usually do not come out until dusk. Roos are pesky and stupid creatures. I no longer feel guilty about owning a set of kangaroo leathers.

Broome is slightly less hot than Port Hedland, but even more humid. We arrived late in the afternoon and walked to Cable Beach hoping to cool down in the ocean. The water was bathtub-warm. I was surprised, since the ocean was still quite cold back at Coral Bay. We stayed in the water until after dark, then set up camp for the night.

Sandfire Roadhouse

Sunset at Cable Beach

Going for a swim

March 23, 2010
Location: Broome, WA

It is 41 degrees C right now at close to midnight. Last night was ridiculously awful. After the sun went down, the air was completely still, and the mosquitos were swarming around so thick I was inhaling them. I couldn’t get into my tent without a hundred of the disgusting creatures following me in, and once inside, I couldn’t do anything to protect myself. The mosquitos here are impervious to DEET. I HATE THEM SO MUCH. I couldn’t sleep while being attacked, so I wandered back out to the beach where there was at least a little bit of a breeze to keep the bugs away. Eventually, I succumbed to my exhaustion, and went back into my tent and let the insects suck the life out of me.

In the morning, I was in the worst mood ever, and I think H was just as pissed at me for dragging him into this hellhole. Apparently he spent the night standing under a public shower, and also ended up covered in mosquito bites (ordinarily, he never gets bitten because of his constant blood alcohol level). I went to the only motorcycle shop in town, which turned out to be a little tin shed. Their selection of motorcycle tires consisted of a rack of 15 road tires that looked like they fell off the back of a truck in the 80s. I found an ugly 17″ front tire that should fit on my rear rim, and hopefully take me another few thousand kms to the next garbage-dump town. I will be coming back in the morning as the shop owner is going to rummage around and see if he can dig up a slightly more suitable piece of rubber.

When H found out that we needed to stay in Broome one more day, he insisted that there would be no more camping. I felt pretty bad, cuz this whole thing was my stupid fault. We checked into a hostel, and I slept for the rest of the afternoon on my crappy dorm bed. This place is filthy, but there is a fan on, and it feels like the freaking Four Seasons after the sweltering camping conditions we’ve had all week.

March 24, 2010
Location: Broome, WA

We are STILL in Broome. We are still at the hostel. It is full of young people, and I feel like a creep here because I am so old.

This morning, I went back to the bike shop, and sure enough, the owner had found a 17″ 120×90 rear tire. It’s a road tire, but I think I will be on the pavement for a lot more kilometers yet. It has [3106] stamped as the manufacture date, so at least it came from this decade, heh.

After I got my new tire mounted, H suddenly remembered that he needed to go to the Medicare center to take care of some health insurance business. I don’t know why he did not think of this 2 days ago, but I couldn’t really be mad since I had caused the first delay. Anyway, by the time he finished with his health insurance stuff, it was too late in the day to depart, as we would have just ended up camped out on the highway in billion-degree heat. And that is why we are STILL in Broome. H felt bad and offered to take me to the town shopping center. He thought that a shopping trip would appease me. I was just dying to buy some new shoes and crap to carry across the continent in my saddlebags. Ha, ha, ha.

March 25, 2010
Location: Halls Creek, WA

We rode about 700 kms today, I think our longest day so far. It was a difficult ride in the heat, but we needed to make a long haul as we were crossing through aboriginal territory, and it would not have been safe to set up camp overnight on the side of the road with aboriginal communities around. And no, I’m not just being racist here.

It was another hot hot day with intermittent thunderstorms, and I found myself looking forward to each torrential downpour as it provided a respite from the heat. We had a minor delay as we hit up one roadhouse with empty tanks, only to find out their pumps were broken. We had to wait to get fuel trucked in so that we could make the next stop. This is why we should have been carrying additional fuel cans. We ended up arriving at Halls Creek at dusk, and had to set up our tents in the pouring rain. It has been a tough day.

Thunderstorms one minute, blazing sun the next

I bought this carton of soymilk on our shopping trip yesterday and stowed it in H’s topbox. It exploded while riding today. I didn’t know that soymilk cartons could do that. woops.

H took these two pictures. I particularly like them.

Here comes the sun

March 26, 2010
Location: Kununurra, WA

H is done. I think I might be done too. Last night just wrecked us. The thunderstorms lasted all night and flooded our campsite. We did not do a good job of picking out a camping spot, and it turned into a lake overnight. Water poured into our tents and everything got soaked and muddy – sleeping bags, clothes, everything. One of H’s tent struts broke. We had a long argument this morning. H wants to go to Darwin, crate up his bike and put it on a transport service, and fly home. Option 2 is for me to sell my bike in Darwin and ride his bike back for him while he flies home. Not sure what will happen at this point. We rode out to Kununurra and are just a few kilometers short of Northern Territory. We are staying at a hostel tonight because we were too exhausted to do anything else.

I am sad. I’m not ready for the trip to end yet, but it really is the wrong time of the year to be in the northern part of the country. Also, I am finally getting a little tired of camping. I have never been this dirty in my life.

Finally, here is a picture of a spider (?) bite that I have on my leg. The bite occurred over a week ago, but it hasn’t gotten much better, probably because I wrap it up in sweaty riding gear all day. I finally remembered to take a picture of it to demonstrate that I have had the full outback experience.

Next: Week 8 in Northern Territory

March 13, 2010
Location: Perth (Wandi), WA

I really, really, really wanted to get moving by today, but H wanted to stay put for one more day. I’m a little frustrated, but I did drag H all the way to Perth with me, so I need to be accommodating to his schedule. He had originally planned on turning back at Adelaide with F, and that was 6,000 kms ago. Hahaha. Then he planned on having his bike transported from Perth and flying back home, but I convinced him that it made more sense to ride up to Darwin with me. HAHAHA! I do feel a little guilty though. There is a significant language/communication barrier between us so I can’t tell if I am being overly pushy, or if I am simply enabling him to do things that he wants to do but wouldn’t otherwise do on his own.

Either way, we need to start heading north soon, because at some point H is going to have to go back to work, and I have to go… do what? I don’t know. Working on my XT600 reminded me of my 2-strokes, and I felt a little homesick, but then I remembered that I have no home.

March 14, 2010
Location: Perth (Fremantle), WA

I had been feeling totally exhausted for the past week, and I think I’ve finally managed to shake it off. Today we went to a chilli (that’s how it’s spelled here) festival in Fremantle. There were lots of chilli tastings, and I gave myself really bad heartburn, which I’m sure will be even more fun tomorrow morning. After the festival, we went to the Little Creatures Brewery, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening walking around the city of Perth.

Here are some shots from Perth.

View from where I took a nap in Kings Park

More Perth

March 15, 2010
Location: Lancelin, WA

Perth is the last major city we’ll be in for awhile, so we spent the morning shopping and restocking on oils, fluids, and other supplies. We rode north on Hwy 60 along the coast to Lancelin. It’s just at the foot of a heap of sand dunes, so after setting up camp in Lancelin, I rode out to the dunes to see what damage I could do. I’m not so good at sand, and my bike kept trying to bury itself, so I ended up just hiking up some dunes on foot.

View from the top of a sand dune: my bike and the coast beyond

My shadow on the other side

March 16, 2010
Location: Geraldton, WA

After leaving Lancelin this morning, we rode through Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles Desert. The Pinnacles are limestone rock formations. We continued north up the North West Coastal Hwy, stopped to have a picnic on the beach in Jurien Bay, and then arrived in Geraldton. We are traveling quite slowly these days. I’m sort of hoping to stall for time so that hurricane season will mostly be over by the time we get to Darwin. Just kidding, I have absolutely no sense of time anymore.

You can barely see the ocean just beyond the desert

March 17, 2010
Location: Shark Bay, WA

I like the name of this town, Shark Bay. We’re on a peninsula on the west coast. We punched in over 600 kms today, and it was the first high-mileage day we’ve had since crossing the Nullarbor. This morning, we departed Geraldton via the North West Coastal Hwy. We took a detour on a loop that went through a few ports along the coast.
Stopped at a pink lake in Port Gregory, and then had lunch at Kalbarri. The afternoon was hot and we needed to cross 400 kms of desert to get to Shark Bay. I think the rest of the trip will involve many vast expanses of desert crossings, as the country is far more sparsely populated as we head up north.

In the evening, we stopped by a store and picked up some wilted produce that was about to be discarded. It had been awhile since we barbecued anything, so H grilled them up and made them delicious. Living like a homeless person never tasted so good! :)

Pink lake at Port Gregory. It looks a little purple in the picture because of the blue sky reflected in it. I don’t know why the lake is pink; maybe I’ll remember to look it up at some point when I have internet access. Oh, and there is a rock under my sidestand. I’m finally learning…

Beautiful Kalbarri!

We climbed down the side of one of the sandstone (?) cliffs and found our own little secluded beach.

We strongly considered setting up camp on the beach, but it was a little too early in the day to stop riding, and H reasoned that it would be difficult to get all our camping gear up and down the rock walls. Oh well, I guess I have a reason to come back to Kalbarri someday.

Unfortunately, Kalbarri is under development and it is turning into an expensive resort town for rich people. I just don’t belong here…

March 18, 2010
Location: Coral Bay, WA

I got up at 6 am this morning to see the dolphins, but I did not see any dolphins. They must have been sleeping.

Today was long and hot. It was well over 40 degrees, and we put down about another 600 kms of highway. I had forgotten that, because we are down under, it gets hotter and hotter the farther north we ride. Towards the end of the day, we took a turnoff towards the coast so the ride finally cooled down a bit. We set up camp in Coral Bay, which is a little tourist town, and went for an evening swim. I got a bit scuffed up from all the coral growing in the shallow waters. Tomorrow, we are going diving in the Ningaloo reef!

We stopped by Hamelin Bay early in the day. The water is so clear out here!

Coral Bay

March 19, 2010
Location: Coral Bay, WA

We went on a boat-diving trip in the Ningaloo reef today. Aside from visiting a wildlife park back in Tasmania, I think this is the first touristy thing I’ve done all trip, and by that I mean it’s the first thing that I had to pay money for. But, the Ningaloo is supposed to be one of the best dive spots in Australia, right up there with the Great Barrier Reef, so we had to do it.

It had been many years since my last dive, and I couldn’t remember how to set up my regulator or any of that crap. H set up my equipment for me on the first dive, and then closed my tank without telling me. There was just enough pressure left to inflate my BCD and take a few descending breaths before I realized that I had no air. I had to swim to the surface and kick frantically as the divemaster opened my tank back up. I should have checked my own equipment, but I gave H a good deal of grief for that one.

Anyway, we were on a boat all day. We did two hour-long dives in the morning and then snorkelled off the boat in the afternoon. I got massively seasick. I hate boats. My underwater pictures did not turn out very well because I had the wrong setting on my camera, I think. I was too busy trying not to hurl to get things figured out.

Our boat in Coral Bay

Heading out to the reef. They call this the turquoise coast :)

Some dolphins swimming next to the boat

Big turtle

Reef shark. There was another shark getting its teeth cleaned by a wrass, but that picture didn’t come out.

All in all, I didn’t think the Ningaloo reef was that great compared to diving in the Caribbean. There are supposed to be occasional manta rays and manatees in this area though, so maybe we were just unlucky today. H has done a bit of diving in the Great Barrier Reef and said that it wasn’t that much better than the Ningaloo, so I won’t feel too bad if I can’t make it to Cairns.

March 6, 2010
Location: Albany, WA

It was another cold and wet day when we left Hopetoun. We took trails through Fitzgerald National Park and Stirling National Park after passing through Borden. Trail conditions were corrugated and not that great. I was a bit tired from staying up late last night stoking my campfire. We ended up in Albany, which is a (relatively) large beach town.

March 7, 2010
Location: Albany, WA

I was all packed up and ready to hit the road again at 8:30 this morning when H asked if we could stay in Albany another day. He wanted to visit this fresh fish market that is held on Sundays. I gave him a hard time, but eventually relented.

I went to Torndirrup National Park and visited some more of Western Australia’s wonderful coastline, which is all starting to look the same to me now. Also stopped by the Albany wind farm and rode around the wind turbines.

In the evening, H and I cooked up a pile of live yabbies that he bought at the fish market. Well, he cooked, and I tried not to get in the way. Yabbies look like little tiny lobsters. H cooked them up with white wine and cream and eggs and leeks and asparagus and I forgot what else.

Albany Wind Farm

Windmills are bigger in person


March 8, 2010
Location: Pemberton, WA

I had left all my stuff out last night because the sky looked clear, but when I woke up it was raining and everything was soaked. Ended up leaving after noon because I needed to dry out my things before I could pack. Rode along Hwy 1 via Walpole. Stopped to look at some big trees.

Camp site next to a creek in Pemberton.

March 9, 2010
Location: Gracetown, WA

Rode from Pemberton today via Augusta. Stopped by Cape Leeuwin, the southernmost point of Western Australia. We are now near the Margaret River, home to a bunch of wineries. We set up camp and H and I went 2-up on his bike to do some wine tasting. I left my bike parked at the campsite because I don’t tolerate alcohol as well as he does.

Later on, I was in my tent poring over some maps when H quietly dropped off an open bottle of very nice chardonnay that he had picked up at a winery today. He came in to look at the maps and then knocked the open bottle over IN MY TENT. Who on earth DOES that??? It was a pain in the ass to clean up, and now the floor of my tent is sticky and it smells like chardonnay in here.

Cape Leeuwin

March 10, 2010
Location: Gracetown, WA

My tent smells really bad. There are ants in here. ACK.

H and I went wine tasting today around the Margaret River area. I insisted that we walk instead of ride, since I’m such a responsible person. But the wineries were a lot farther apart than they looked on the map, and we ended up walking over 20 kms today. The walking was okay when we were hopping between wineries, but by the end of the day we were pretty far away from our starting point. So we hitched a ride back from a nice couple visiting from Melbourne. I was quite surprised at how many cars *didn’t* stop while I was trying to thumb a ride. I thought people were supposed to be hospitable out here!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree…

March 11, 2010
Location: Perth (Wandi), WA

We made it to Perth today, hooray! We took Caves Rd up to Busselton this morning, and H insisted that we stop at a few more wineries on the way out. I thought that arriving in Perth would be a hugely momentous occasion, but it seems a little anticlimactic since it’s been drawn out for so long now. I am not feeling very well, probably because I have had too much to drink the past few days. I didn’t take any pictures today, sorry.

March 12, 2010
Location: Perth (Wandi), WA

A very nice Kiwi allowed me some space in his shed so that I could work on my bike today. It was 40 degrees C out today (that’s 104 F for you Americans), and about 5 degrees hotter in the shed, so I ended up working mostly outside. I replaced all the fluids, adjusted the valves, and took care of a few other things that needed attention.
I was surprised at how good everything looked, considering the age of the bike!

Ready for work

I didn’t actually have to remove the tank to get to the valves. Everything is so easily accessible on this bike! Way to go, Yamaha!

Intake side. The valve clearances were already within spec, but I readjusted them anyway because everything always runs better after I touch it. Right….

Exhaust side

The XT600 has had a long journey, and another one lies ahead. I’m getting a little tired, but the bike seems to still be going strong!

Next: Week 6 – North by Northwest
February 27, 2010
Location: Elliston, SA

And so we begin our fourth week on (and off) the road.

I lost a bet with F yesterday regarding something stupid, and in accordance with the terms I had to cook bacon and eggs for everyone this morning. I’ve never eaten bacon before in my life so of course it came out all soggy and wrong. Fortunately, H was a chef in a former life and was able to salvage breakfast. Got in several squabbles with F. I think I have exceptionally little patience right now because I’ve become accustomed to traveling on my own, and the others are harshing my mellow.

Rode from Port Augusta to Cowell along the coast, then cut across to Elliston, which is on the other side of the Eyre Peninsula.

February 28, 2010
Location: Streaky Bay, SA

Took some beautiful routes through the Eyre Peninsula today. Went along the coast on B100 with a few detours. We did do a run through Lake Newland Conservation Park, where we did some mudflat racing across the dry lake and took turns getting our bikes stuck in the mud.

Went to go see what was supposedly Australia’s largest sea lion colony at Point Lambatt, but there were not that many sea lions. Also, it was windy and dusty as hell, and my eyeballs felt like they were on fire.

I can’t remember where these shots were taken. I am getting too old…

Now for some mudflat racing!

I need to stop doing things like this.

Venus Bay

Sea lions at Point Lambatt

Another lake that has not quite dried yet

March 01, 2010
Location: Streaky Bay, SA

Did not go anywhere today, as I stayed up late last night watching bad movies on my laptop while F and H drank four liters of goon. Went for a long ocean swim with H in the afternoon. Tomorrow, I hit the Nullarbor.

A couple of boats anchored in the bay. Good targets for a swim.

Almost there…

I climbed aboard and pretended to hijack the boat

March 02, 2010
Location: Border Village, SA/WA

I’m camped out behind a roadhouse at the border of South Australia and Western Australia. I finally left Streaky Bay this morning. F remained behind, but H is still with me and it will be just the two of us heading west. I was a little sad to leave F. We couldn’t freaking stand each other, and I’d only known him for 10 days, but I’m still going to miss him.

Today involved about 600 km of straight highway riding through the Nullarbor Plains. Nullarbor = “no trees”. But lots of crosswinds and direct sun. Portions of this road double as airstrips since there is so little traffic, so there are runway markings along some stretches. Unfortunately, I did not encounter any air traffic on my ride.

Highway riding on my dirtbike involves curling up into a tight ball and hiding as much of myself as possible behind the headlight. It’s a really tiring ride on my XT600, and I had to stop every hour or so to rest. It will be even longer tomorrow, as we’ve gained 2 hours by crossing the border and will have an earlier start. My bike is fully loaded with spare fuel, 10L of water, and a lot of H’s crap. I sure am asking a lot of the poor thing.

Wild camels, wombats, and kangaroos are all problematic for drivers. There was freshly dead roadkill every few hundred meters,
and they made the entire ride smell horrible.

A very lonely petrol station

March 03, 2010
Location: Fraser Range, WA

Another 630 km of desert highway crossing today. We are camped out about 100 km from Norseman, which would mark the western end of the Nullarbor. Despite getting an early start, we fell short of Norseman because the XT600 was having electrical issues all day. ARRRRGH.

About 100 km into the day, the bike popped and died. I instinctively assumed the motor seized and began ripping the bike apart on the side of the road before H stopped me. It turned out to be a blown fuse, and thank goodness I had a spare. The fuse blew again a hundred km down the road, and I had to push it back to the nearest roadhouse. I got some car fuses and rigged one to my bike. The bike continued to periodically blow fuses throughout the day. The (somewhat) good thing about breaking down along the Nullarbor is that the few drivers who pass by almost always stop and offer help, because no one would leave a traveler stranded in the middle of the desert.

As the heat wore on, the ignition began to pull that crap where it periodically cuts out again. It got to the point where I could no longer save it with duct tape, and I was running out of daylight, so I stopped and set up camp. In the evening I pulled the ignition switch apart and set the bike up to start by hotwire. This will fix the ignition issues, but I’m still not sure about the blown fuses. I wonder if it’s the rectifier.

Broken down in the middle of the desert. The nearest town is over 600 km away.

Camped out in Fraser Range. My bike did not make it to the campsite.

March 04, 2010
Location: Esperance, WA

We are in the first decent-sized town on the other side of the Nullarbor plains, and it is cold and rainy here. Damn, we should turn around and go back!

I got up at 5:30 am and checked all the connections on the XT for shorts. All was well so it may have just been the ignition causing all the problems. The bike ran without a hitch today. I rigged up the hotwired ignition with a little flip switch. My body is still running in the SA time zone, so I’m going to go to bed at 8pm.

Debugging the electrical system. Here’s my electrical engineering degree hard at work.

My trick new ignition switch.

March 05, 2010
Location: Hopetoun, WA

Today could not have been more perfect. It was a cold, wet, windy morning, but we rode out to Cape Le Grand, which is supposed to have some of the best beaches in Australia. There, I got to rip my bike over the most beautiful white sand beaches I had ever seen.

The best thing was, these beaches were all deserted as well.

Kangaroo family hanging out at the beach. Yup, they do that.

About 30 seconds before my bike fell over.

After defiling Cape Le Grand’s pristine beaches, we headed west to Hopetoun and set up camp on the beach. I built a camp fire in an old wheel well, and H barbecued some vegetables using cheap produce we found at a ghetto grocery store (somehow he still managed to make them turn out amazing). And now I am going to sleep with the waves crashing 100 meters from my head.

Next: Week 5 in Western Australia