Posts Tagged ‘Port Augusta’

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.


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February 20, 2010
Location: Lorne, VIC

I am feeling completely wiped out. Motivation is at an all-time low. I hope this is just some hump that I will get over with a little more sleep. My stomach felt awful all day. Yesterday, I ate half a can of salmon that had been sitting open in my tent overnight. Maybe that was it.

I arrived in Melbourne this morning in good spirits because the weather was grand. I changed my oil and filter in an auto shop parking lot in the city and made a huge mess, in typical eraine fashion.

Good morning Melbourne!

We were on this boat

I made friends with two German travelers (F and H) who are headed towards Adelaide. One has a similar bike to mine, an XTZ660. This is good because if my bike breaks, I can kill him and strip his bike for parts.

We took M1 to Geelong, then Torquay. Went to Bells Beach and then took trails through Anglesea, and then the Great Ocean Road to Lorne.

February 21, 2010
Location: Portland, VIC

Three cool cats at Lorne

Left Lorne in the morning and followed the Great Ocean Road to Cape Otway. There was a bit of traffic on the road, but it wasn’t so bad to go slowly because the views were nice. Tried to take some trails through Otway National Park, but most of them were closed off.

Yamaha XTs checking out the Great Ocean

View from Otway

There were a lot of koalas hanging out in the trees on the side of the road through Otway. The koalas were really ugly for some reason.

Koala Yummies!

Stopped by the 12 Apostles rock formation. Continued along A1 to Portland, and am camped out here for the night.

I took a pretty good dump on the bike today. The bolts holding the ignition lock have been broken for some time, and today it was loose to the point where the ignition was cutting out while riding. It needed attention, but I didn’t want to hold up the group, so I tried to ride around it until it killed the ignition mid-corner and locked up the rear, tossing me to the ground. I’m fine, the bike isn’t any worse off, and I was able to bandage the ignition together with duct tape. I don’t know that there is any better solution beyond drilling out and replacing the bolts, which I don’t have the facilities for right now. I generally don’t like duct tape fixes, so if the ignition continues to have issues, I’m just gonna hotwire it.

Only 2 apostles?

February 22, 2010
Location: Salty Creek, SA

We are now in South Australia, about 200 km from Adelaide. We were supposed to make Adelaide today, but had a bit too much fun screwing off.

The Germans played a mean trick on me this morning. We needed to siphon petrol from one of the fuel tanks so that we could light our little cooking stove to make coffee. I was assigned the task of sucking fuel out of my tank with a hose, which I accepted because I am kind, but did not realize that F held the other end of the hose just above the fuel line, causing me to inhale petrol fumes until my stomach turned over. It’s a good thing I don’t need my brain cells anymore.

To make a queasy day worse, we filled our camelbacks from a bad tap this morning. As the day went on, both F and I suffered from intestinal issues and required frequent stops. H had no such problems because he does not drink water, only coffee and beer.

At some point, someone came up with the brilliant idea of riding some trails that crossed over sand dunes. My bike was perhaps the only one even remotely suitable for sand, and even then it was asking a lot of the bike and rider. There was a lot of falling over involved today, but it was a great time and now I’m bruised and sore as hell.



February 23, 2010
Location: Adelaide, SA

And here we are in Adelaide! Took Princes Hwy almost directly here from Coorong. Took the Wellington Ferry. Didn’t take any pictures worth uploading today, as I was exhausted from a sleepless night of being attacked by insects.

We are camped out by the beach. This afternoon H dared me to swim out to a buoy about a kilometer from the shore, so I dragged him out to sea. He nearly drowned and I had to rescue him.

February 24, 2010
Location: Adelaide, SA

Got new tires and brake pads for the bike today. I changed the tires the day before I left, but those knobbies burned up quick in the last 5,500 km. I switched to a much harder hybrid compound this time, because there will be hundreds of kilometers of hot desert tarmac ahead.

I also finally bought a proper riding jacket today, something I wish I had done months ago. My lovely white rain jacket has just about reached the end of its useful life, unfortunately.

No pictures from today because I spent the day working on the bike, and it was not very interesting. Also reloaded on fluids and spares (for both me and the bike). All of a sudden my luggage is really heavy again. Damn.

February 25, 2010
Location: Rawnsley/Flinders Ranges, SA

Took about 400 km of highway from Adelaide to Orroroo to Hawker and am now camped out in the wilderness that is the Flinders Ranges. H & F were annoying the hell out of me so I ditched them and found my own campsite.

Flinders Ranges

There were lots of wild emus and kangaroos along the way, but they disappeared in the bush before I could take out my camera.

February 26, 2010
Location: Port Augusta, SA

H found my campsite this morning and woke me up. Departed early because it gets really hot out during the day. We rode a few hundred km around the Flinders Ranges, and did some pretty awesome tracks. F kept trying to race me, and it made me really angry. I miss doing my own thing. This evening, I told H that I did not want to ride with them anymore. He offered to ditch F and continue with me, but I declined that offer.

This was illegal

After riding around the Flinders Ranges, headed back down to Port Augusta. We’re nearing the desert now, and it is getting really hot!

Next: Week 4 Crossing the desert

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