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October 2009 Club News

Classic | Water | AGM | Whale | McPhee | Kulin | North | 2 People | Calendar & Bob's Bit (PDF)

Big Trip up North

Story & Pics by Antoinet & Andrew

Antoinet and Ronnie northward-bound 27 September 2008. We got up at 5.45 am, had a shower and some breakfast. It was pretty chilly, so enough clothes on to stay warm. We arrived at the corner of Mercer and Chester Pass Road. There were some club members already, some were going for the day's ride and some went for the week away. Ronnie, Andrew, Wendy, Geoff and I went for a two and a half week trip up north. We were going to catch up with the ‘Week Riders’ in Coolgardie. We said our goodbyes and were off.

Near the Stirlings Geoff’s speedo stopped working, Ronnie tried to fix it but it only worked for a couple of k’s. A coffee and hot chocolate stop in Amelup, it was very cold and windy. Our lunch stop was in Lake Grace and by this time the weather had warmed up.

Lots of nice green paddocks along the way and big canola fields. We headed towards Hyden and this was going to be our stop for the night. When we arrived at Wave Rock we were stopped by security. There was a huge rock concert on the camping ground. There was still space for us to camp but we had to pay $80.00 so we could enjoy the music as well. This was not our plan, we would like a peaceful night under the stars.

Andrew had to make a phone call to a friend of his because we he was going to meet him at Wave Rock.
We decided to head further to Narembeen. Ronnie’s boss’ brother lives there and Ronnie thought we could spend the night at his place. We found him and he was happy for us to camp at his place. We had a nice barbie and a fire in the back yard. Andrew by now had told us that the friend he was going to meet in Hyden was Huw! Huw had wanted to surprise us. I made lots of phone calls to try and work out where Huw was but I couldn’t get hold of him so we were hoping to see him in Coolgardie.

After a nice breakfast we were saying goodbye to Graham and were off to Merriden. We had lost Geoff and were waiting on the intersection. We saw a motorbike in the distance and it turned out to be Huw! We had a chat and some morning tea in Merriden and rode to Southern Cross. Lunch there and we rode through the town and went to the lookout.

Stop in the middle of nowhereA nice and warm ride to Coolgardie. We saw Geoff riding in the other direction but he caught up with us at the caravan park. That night we had a meal at the pub. It was quite dark in the dining room, there were only a couple of lights working. Wendy ate a piece of serviette because she could hardly see what was on her plate.
We had a good night and woke up to a beautiful clear morning. I went and explored the town with all its old buildings and the old train station. We had breakfast, coffees and lots of talk about photo cameras. It got nice and warm and we headed off to Kalgoorlie to see the big super pit. Amazing, such a massive hole in the ground. All day, every day trucks driving to fill up with dirt, diggers digging day in, day out. Ronnie and I had never been here and it was on the top of our list to go and see it. We were very impressed.

We rode through the city, had some coffees and cakes and had lunch at Subways! We did some sightseeing through town and ran into Frank and Helen at the visitor centre. They had had a good trip to Esperance and Fraser Range.

Back at the caravan park all the other ones had arrived. Lots of catching up to do, some beers and nibbles. That night we had a barbeque at the camping ground.

The next morning started wet and cold. Ronnie and Wendy both felt terrible. Wendy had been sick and Ronnie felt really crook. Andrew and I were fine. Huw packed up to go back home in Perth and told us later that he too had had an awful trip back home and had been really sick for a couple of days. Ronnie was very tired and had bad stomach cramps.

Miners monument at Southern CrossWe said our goodbyes to all the other club members who headed to Southern Cross. The trip to Menzies was very windy. We saw Frank and Helen there, they had just come back from the statues in Lake Ballard.
We arrived in Leonora and had a chat to the lady at the visitor centre. We wanted to camp at the Malcolm Dam but Geoff had been there already and said it wasn’t much.

We had a look at Gwalia and had lunch near the railway. It was so windy but nice and warm. We bought some groceries and went to Malcolm Dam. We found a beautiful spot between the bushes. We put up our tents and Ronnie crashed in the tent at 4.00 pm. He still didn’t feel good, didn’t even feel like a beer, he has to be crook then! He slept for a while and had some 2 minutes noodles with us near the campfire.

After packing up the next morning we went back to Leonora to fill up and to have something to eat. Luckily Ronnie felt better today. We had another big trip ahead of us today. Off to Leinster, we expected a similar town like Leonora but we surprised to find a beautiful tidy and clean town. On the way to Sandstone we had a look at one of the lookouts and made some photos. A big bus pulled up and we had a chat with the travelers. They thought it was so hot, they stood there in their T-shirts and shorts and here we were in our motorbike gear.

They recommended the camping ground in Sandstone. First we went and had a look at London Bridge and the Brewery, took lots of photos there. Off to the camping ground where we caught up with Geoff. Had a nice shower and did some washing. A beer and some nibbles and an easy dinner of tuna, bread rolls and some soup. An early night and up early the next morning.

It was Thursday the 2nd of October by now and we headed off at 8.00 am. Morning tea in Mt Magnet and lunch in Meekatharra. It was quite hot by now and we decided to travel for another 200 km and camp at the middle branch of the Gascoyne River. Another great free rest area. We made a campfire and watched thousands of stars and lots of satellites. It was so peaceful and  quiet.

Up early the next morning and at 7.15 am on our way. We filled up with petrol at Kumarina roadhouse, $1.99 per litre, the most expensive on this trip so far. We met a tall bloke on a Harley who came from Port Hedland and was going to Perth in 2 days. He had to go to a birthday party of his young son.

We had a loo stop and when we flushed all these little frogs came down the bowl. When the flushing had finished they climbed back up. We rode 160 km in one hit without stopping, a big achievement for Ronnie and me.

Parked next to a small ute at NewmanNewman was hot and busy. Mining cars everywhere. We had a look at the big dump truck near the visitor centre. It’s massive, the bikes look like toy bikes next to it. We had some lunch and did lots of grocery shopping because we are going to stay in Karijini NP for a couple of days. Ronnie uses one pannier as an esky and he managed to fit a whole block of beer on the bike. Thirty cans of beer were stored where ever he could find space.

I thought he was never going to make it but I should know Ronnie better after living with him for over 10 years! And I must say a cold beer tasted wonderful in hot Karijini.

We caught up with Geoff, he had already put his tent up in the national park. We found a rocky and red spot and put our tents up. We had another amazing night, the sky covered in thousands of stars. Life is good.

The next day we left our camp early. Took lots of water, snacks, a book and set off walking. Ronnie and I had been to the park 7 years ago and it is one of the best parks we have ever seen. It was great to be back. Wendy had also been here but it was all new for Andrew, he was very impressed.

Enjoying the beauty of Karijini ParkWe spend the whole day walking, swimming in the beautiful rock pools, chatting and taking photos. Wendy and Andrew ran into some people from Perth who they know very well, it’s a small world. After about 7 hours we arrived back at the campsite. We were very surprised to find a note from Geoff, he had decided to head to Port Hedland because he didn’t find the park good for walking and he loves walking. We had a bit of a laugh because we were pretty knackered from walking for hours on end.

The gravel road to all the other gorges was pretty bad and corrugated so we didn’t make it to that side of the park, next time.

Ronnie showers up NorthThe next day we slept in, had break-fast, had coffee and had another coffee, took it easy and left for another day at Fortesque Falls. Ronnie went snorkelling and we walked to Fern Pool for another swim. Back at the camping area we decided to pack up the things we don’t need so we can leave early the next day. The people from Perth came and dropped off some petrol for us because it’s another big day tomorrow and we are not sure if the Harley can make it to the next roadhouse. The Harley can hold only 19 litres of fuel and we were fully loaded with all the camping gear, food and 10 litres of water.

That night we had satay chicken from a packet because that is the only thing we’ve got left. Wendy and Andrew shared their tinned fruit with us, what a treat. When we watched the satellites and stars Wendy offered us a sip of Tia Maria, where did that come from? We were all excited, even more when she found some chocolate in one of the bags.

The next day was Monday the 6th of October, we got up at 5.30 am and packed up so we were on our way at 7.00 am. Off to Auski Roadhouse where we had some breakfast and coffee and filled up with fuel. It was blowing a gale and the temperature was already pretty high. We rode through a big dust storm and got pulled off the road because there was a massive wide load coming our way. Four big trucks with 14 meter wide loads traveled from Port Hedland to Newman. They had to travel 400 and they’re doing 10 kilometers per hour. It will take a while before they are at their destination. The whole operation cost $180,000, there were cars following the trucks just in case the load smashed up some road signs. The people in the back-up cars could fix it straight away. A couple who are traveling around Australia were standing on the parking area with coffee, tea, bikkies and even a portable toilet on the trailer.

At Auski Roadhouse we heard that there is no fuel at Whim Creek. This means we have to travel to South Hedland and then back to Roebourne. We got talking with a couple who travelled in a big bus. They were happy to sell us a couple of litres of fuel so we don’t have to go all the way to South Hedland.

We arrived at Whim Creek and ordered a yummy burger and a cool drink. It was boiling hot outside so it was a welcome stop in the air conditioned roadhouse.  In Roebourne we went to the caravan park. Wendy knows the people who own it very well and they were very happy to see her and to have us at the caravan park.

Geoff had arrived the day before, it was very hot so after we put our tent up we had a nice shower and went to Wickham to get some supplies. We had some great food and cold beers, this is a holiday.

It didn’t cool off at night and the next day was hot and humid. We spend the day riding through Wickham, spend some time in Cossack and Point Samson. It got hotter and hotter and there were lots of clouds. We can expect some thunder and lightning tonight. We did have a storm that night, not much rain but very windy and lots of lightning.

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