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December 2007 Club News

Paul and Kate's Ride Around Oz

A tale told by Paul and Kate in installments over several issues...

We left Denmark on Sunday the 18th of March on a clear day and headed west. It started to get a bit cloudy towards Northcliffe. We grabbed a few supplies and headed down to Windy Harbour for the night. A few coldies and early to bed as the rain came in. The good news is the camper trailer doesn’t leak and I slept through the 3mm we had that night.

We packed up and set off for Augusta. The trailer towing well but Kate complaining about Monkey Butt. We’ve since ordered sheepskins for the seats. Lunch in Augusta then on to Hamlin Bay. So nice we’re staying three nights. The stingrays hang around the beach and they’re huge but friendly. Great camping spot we’ve got with ocean views. One mate asked if the shower blocks were still scungy. They were tops. At $20 a night and right on the beach it is a top spot.

We left Hamlin Bay in the rain and made our way up to Margaret River for lunch then on to Yallingup where we set up camp for a few days. On the Saturday there was a longboard surf comp and the waves were incredible. Wished I’d had my board with me.  From Yallingup we made the huge trrek up the road to Busselton.

Kate had scored us some really cheap rooms at the Abbey Beach Resort through the ‘wotif’ internet site ( A good site if you’re looking for bargain rate accommodation anywhere. The weather was cool but during those few days we cruised the area and called in on some friends who have gone in shares on the Hayshed Hill winery, next door to the chocolate factory.

After our stay in Busselton we headed up the road to a shack belonging to Kate’s sister-in-law at Melros Beach for a week. We were right on the beach and had another relaxing time with beach walks and cruising around the local area.

We packed up on the Thursday before Easter to head up to Perth to beat the crowds. Every one else had the same idea. So now we’re hiding in Perth then heading north to catch up with a few more old mates and enjoy some more beaches. All in all I reckon I could get used to this.

Just remember very few people on their death beds wish that they’d spent more time at work. After Perth we headed up the coast to Lancelin then out to Jurien where we set up the camper. The camper is still getting astonished attention from other interested campers. We even get local motorcycle enthusiasts coming into the campground to check it out and have a yak.

We had a magic time in Jurien on the beach and we can highly recommend the local fish and chip shop and the souvlakis from the cafe near the left jetty in front of the caravan park. We took a run down to Cervantes and cruised through the Pinnacles with our helmets off. Wicked. Had to wear earplugs one night because one of the nearby campers snored like a bastard.

When we left Jurien after three days we headed up to Green Head for a look and were impressed by the beautiful Dynamite Bay and Southern Bay. We had intended on travelling a short distance north to the free camping spots at Cliff Head but there was too much weed on the beaches so we kept heading north.

After getting fuel in Dongara we called in at the Walkaway pub to wash a bit of the dust from our parched throats. They still do the old truckie stubbie holders there for takeaways. That’s where they wrap each stubbie or can with newspaper to keep them cool. I thought that was a lost art. The last place I saw that was the old Widgiemooltha pub, north of Norseman.

From there we headed east up through the new Alinta windfarm, 54 windmills, and through to Ellendale Pool to set up camp. Considering it was still the school holidays there weren’t many people in what was a magnificent camping spot. Highly recommend this one. We camped there for four days. Our spot overlooked the river and we had our own little swimming spot. The days were spent swimming, reading and so on. Kate had her birthday on the Tuesday and being a useless unorganised bastard I didn’t have anything. So I made her a card by doing a sketch of Ellendale Pool on the front which managed to save my ass a bit.

We packed up and left Ellendale on the Wednesday and headed up to our friend Sue’s in Geraldton. We’ve gotten to know Geraldton a whole lot better. Skeetas is a beaut little cafe with a nice 400cc Ducati and a 500cc Royal Enfield twin decorating the inside.

We headed up the coast and called in to Coronation Beach, a nearly free camping spot just shy of Northhampton. It wasn’t very shady so we headed back out and up to Horrocks. We camped there three nights and chilled for a bit. The weather was a bit overcast for the couple of days there. Kate reckoned the coffee at the store ‘tasted like old socks’. Mine was alright.

From Horroks we headed up to Kalbarri for a few days. Got in a bit of swimming, sailing and a couple of nights drinking beer round a fire under a gum tree at Finlays Fish BBQ (a must do in Kalbarri). We met a couple from Sydney out at the cliffs and before we introduced ourselves they’ve invited us to stay with them and offered us the use of a couple of their other properties in NSW. Turns out the were motorbike nuts too. Now that doesn’t happen driving cars does it?

Our last night in Kalbarri it pissed down rain. The first decent rain in ten months according to the girl in the chemist. We headed out through light showers and that magic smell of freshly-dampened dry dirt. We turned off at Shark Bay and pulled into Nanga Bay Resort. Resort seems to be a bit loosely-used term these days. On the Tuesday we rode both bikes the 80km up to Monkey Mia as Kate was very excited about seeing the dolphins close up.

We got there just before 9am only to be told we’d just missed them. I was up there in ‘89 and there were no buildings there then and I was a bit frightened of what I was going to see. They’ve actually done a nice job of it and I’d have to say I wouldn’t have minded staying there. Poor Kate’s bottom lip was nearly dragging on the ground she was so disappointed. I told her we’d go and get a coffee overlooking the beach and see if they came back (only a slim chance). We were sitting there a while and it started to rain and about six pelicans stood up with their mouths wide open to catch the rain. Kate ran down to take photos of them while I stayed behind. After about five minutes I looked up and right next to Kate in the water were two dolphins that she hadn’t spotted and I yelled out to her. Well that just made her day. For a short while she was the only one in the water with them and then everyone else cottoned on. I got some great photos for her and she was ‘buzzing’ for the rest of the day.

We called in at the Shark Bay Bakery in Denham for a feed. Highly recommend that place, good tucker. Then it was back to Nanga via Shell Beach. Kate reckons the dunnies at Nanga are exactly the same as when she was there on a school camp in ‘83 and they weren’t too flash then. We headed up the coast via the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool and called in to Gladstone for a look. We saw a few Wedgetails along the way and I found myself counting the number of dead roos on the side of the road over individual kilometres. The least was two, the most was seventeen. All the way from the Overlander Roadhouse to Carnarvon. This is apparently due to the drought and the roos heading for the coast. Man, do they smell ripe too. The plan is to head up towards Quobba and the Blowholes, then on to Coral Bay and Exmouth. The bikes are running great and the camper draws lots of interest where ever we pull up.

No, those mad arseholes in trucks haven’t taken us out yet, not for lack of trying though. One thought he was in the Grand Prix and blew past as I was about to overtake near Carnarvon. The other one was up at Point Quobba. We were off the bikes and behind a small Toyota at a lollipop stop sign while they were laying new bitumen and bluemetal. The trucks were coming toward us while we waited about ten minutes. At the end of the section the bloke in the bitumen spraying truck forgot to lift his spray boom on our side. When we realised he’d forgotten and was heading toward us we yelled and waved but he chose to ignore us taking out the front of the small Toyota and sprying hot bitumen all over the road. If we’d been at the front of the queue it could have been the end right there. After we’d been out to the blowholes at Point Quobba we headed north once again.

We booked in for 3 nights at Coral Bay but that blew out to 5 because we just loved it. It was a bit pricey though. We did a trip to the reef and dived with Manta Rays which blew us away. Another highlight was a dusk quad bike cruise up the coast. Kate picked it up very quickly and was hooning in no time. An unfortunate German bloke lost control shot off a big drop-off across some rocks and into the sea. Somehow he turned it around and drove it back out. Kate was in hysterics for days over that. We spent the days walking south along Paradise Beach then drift snorkling on the reef back up to the main beach.

From Coral Bay we rode up to Exmouth, grabbed supplies and into the Cape Range National Park above Yardie Creek. We nearly didn’t get in, it was chokkas. We jagged a spot at the Kurrajong Camp. A magic spot with no generators. We snorkled the oyster stacks and Turquoise Bay and got to swim with turtle. All too soon we were out of food and water but we’d had a top three days. We headed back through Exmouth and restocked the rig and we were off again. You should see the massive canal development going on in Exmouth on the way into town.

We shot across to the Nor West Highway and were headed north again. We overnighted at a beaut little free camping spot south of Nanutarra called Yanarrie River. We got some water from a billabong and had our first fresh water wash in about 4 days. We had a campfire and cold beer and hot jaffles were the order of the night.
Next morning we headed towards Karratha. $1.80 a litre for fuel at Nanutarra. Fortescue Roadhouse was the most depressing place we’ve seen, even the bike got depressed pinging its guts out on their shit fuel. We ended up pulling into Dampier finding a good camp spot on the water.

From Dampier we headed on and called in at Cossack to look at the speccy old stone settlement 12km north of Roebourne. After that we headed off, but we had to call in to the Whim Creek pub for a beer. I used to head out there on my day off from Port Hedland back in 1987. Great pub. It is now also a mining camp with dongers out the back and a pool.

Then it was a run into Hedland and as we pulled in to get fuel we saw a bloke on a Triumph Rocket Three 2.3ltr with trailer like ours. The first other than ours we’d seen on the trip. Turns out his name was Cowboy and I’d heard of him through another mate. We had a yak he headed south, us north and the light was starting to fade.

We camped on the De Grey River in a beaut spot. Kate built a ripper campfire. Gotta love those jaffles. Next day we called in at Pardoo and Sandfire. That night we camped out at Goldwire 24hr stop off the highway. Mozzies were bad.

Next day I ran the tank on the Nomad dry to see how far it would go before refilling it with the jerry I was carrying. Headwind, shit fuel and a higher than sensible cruising speed gave a disappointing 216km. Then it was onto Broome. We booked into our park down on Cable Beach and settled in. Broome seemed very busy after our days camping bush.

We’ve been swimming every day and soaking up the atmosphere. We’ve been running into people we know from down south because there was about five weddings up here this weekend. I shaved my head today. Always wanted to do it. Now I’ve done it.

The trip is going too well and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to work again. Better get that lotto ticket.

In Broome the rear tyre was looking a tad worn so I thought it would be safer to replace it there. The Michelin Commander (tyre) held up really well with about 9000km on it, 6000km towing the trailer, with maybe a couple of thousand still there. The bad news was there were none in Oz so I had to settle for a bloody Harley tyre. While I was disassembling the back end to get the tyre out the shop owner asked if I was looking for any work. I said no and he told me he was waiting for a bloke from down south that sounded like Gary Skippings. I said if it was Gary grab him because he’s bloody good.

We left Broome and headed out into the boab country. Poor Kate stacked her bike as we were heading in on a 4WD track to an old favourite waterhole. One minute her red helmet was up nice and high in my rear vision mirror then the next time I looked there was chrome where her helmet should have been. “Oh shit. Not good.” She was shaken with a few bruises and only cosmetic damage to the bike. She sat on the roadside while I repaired her machine then we had to push on for Fitzroy Crossing as the light was fading.

We booked into the Lodge and found a beaut campsite under the shade of a nice big tree. We ended up staying there for three days relaxing, reminicing, cruising Geike Gorge and refusing yet more offers of work from the local school.

It’s entertaining watching the ‘Grey Nomad’s Grand Prix’ each morning. It’s where the oldies pack up their caravans at sparrow’s fart and head off up the road to beat each other to the next place and snag the best caravan sites.

Sunday we left Fitzroy Crossing and headed out across the spinefex plains and had a few pumping tunes in my helmet courtesy of the iPod. We cruised past the Christmas Creek turnoff, home for a year back in ‘90, and on towards Halls Creek (or is that Hell’s Crack). Had the worst sandwiches of our lives, apparently they’d survive a nuclear holocaust though, then got fuel. We met Rob on an FJR 1300 Yammy he was a local and was heading up to Turkey Creek with his wife Bev.

We caught up with them again at the Turkey Creek roadhouse. Good chips there. Had a yarn then we pushed through the red, rugged landscape. Beautiful.

Then I started to notice a funny noise when I rolled off the throttle. It got worse and as we pulled in the hydraulic clutch was feeling a bit odd. Not good. We ended pulling over up the road at the lookout on then Glen Hill road. That was home back in ‘94. We set up camp with the last rays of the sun bouncing off the bright red rock of the Ragged Ranges that lined our old 40km 4WD driveway. I was a littled preoccupied with the problem with my bike. We had a few coldies and crashed out. It was a stinking hot night.

Next morning we set off again gingerly. The clutch was playing up again as I nursed her along. There must have been a lot of heat coming from bevel housing between the gearbox and the drive shaft. By the time we got to Kununurra I had no clutch except by pumping it furiously...
continued in the February Club News

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