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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
Week 4: Crossing the Desert
March 7, 2010 by Elaine