I can't even remember when we came up with the idea of traveling half around the country. In October 2008 Ronnie, Andrew, Wendy and I had made a big trip through WA and now was the day here of leaving Albany for 8 weeks. Ronnie and I were both going to ride a Moto Guzzi, both shipped over from Holland, but 4 days before we were going to leave we realized I wasn’t allowed to ride the SP 1000 out of WA.
I was still on my 250 cc licence but rode a bigger bike with L
plates and Ronnie was usually with me. But it wasn’t going to
happen so a couple of days before we were leaving we had to
repack. I couldn’t take as much clothes as I wanted to, we had
to fit everything on the one bike, like we had always done.
On Sunday the 4th of July we were leaving Albany, our friends
had come to say goodbye and quite a lot of members were going to
ride with us to Jerramungup. Andrew and Wendy were going to
travel on the 1973 BMW and they towed a trailer with extra gear.
The weather wasn’t too flash and every now and then we had a big
shower. It was also very cold, we couldn’t wait to get going and
go to the nice weather.
We had a stop in Wellstead and Andrew pumped up the tires of
the BMW, the trailer had been bouncing around a bit and now with
the tires a bit harder it was much better. In Jerramungup we
said goodbye to our club mates and headed east. The rain belted
down when we had our lunch stop in Ravensthorpe and we were very
happy to arrive in Esperance. Wendy’s uncle John had very kindly
offered to stay the night at his house. We had some yummy
take-away that night and had a good sleep on a nice thick
mattress, it would take a couple of weeks before we would be so
The next morning was sunny but very cold. We said goodbye to John and filled the bikes up with petrol. It got very cold towards Salmon Gums and the top box was hitting me in my back, it wasn’t a very comfortable position at all. I complained to Ronnie and said I couldn’t travel for 8 weeks like this. We got some straps from Andrew and tied the tent behind my back, this made a big difference. We had a stop in Norseman and Ronnie had to check the engine breather because it was leaking some oil. We had lunch and were off onto the Nullarbor; our first time on a motorbike, it was very exciting.
The weather suddenly changed too, it was nice and warm all the
way to Balladonia and after filling up with petrol we found a
nice bush camp on the side of the road. There were more
travelers in their big campervans and caravans. We put up our
tents and had a nice cold beer. The temperature dropped when it
got later and we made a fire to stay warm and to cook.
That night the temperature dropped to about minus 6 because the
next morning we woke up and found the tent frozen, the seats of
the bikes were white and Andrew’s jerry can with water was
solid. The morning was very sunny though and packing up all the
gear made us warm again. Riding early in the morning was pretty
chilly, we had good gear so it wasn’t too bad.
We rode the Longest Straight and stopped west of Mundrabilla for the night. The next day we stopped at some of the Bunda Cliffs and took heaps of photos. We also went to the Head of the Bight and saw lots of whales in the distance. That night was our last one on the Nullarbor, we found a small rest area west of Yalata.
Pretty cold again the next morning. We rode to Ceduna and
booked a tentsite on a great little caravan park. We had a nice
hot shower, did washing and shopping. There were some people
from Albany in the campers’ kitchen and we had a good chat to
them while we were all cooking our dinners.
We had bought a road map from HEMA maps, especially for
motorbikes riders. It said the road to Streaky Bay and Poochera
was very nice so we decided to do that. It was very windy,
cloudy and cold, the ride wasn’t the best, lucky it hardly made
any difference in the distance.
We had lunch in Kimba and stopped at Nuttbush retreat for the
night. Andrew and Wendy booked a room, nice in the old style. We
put our tent next to a tree and had a coffee in the room. We
watched the news and apparently there was a storm coming from
the west, Perth had copped some bad weather again and now it was
heading towards Adelaide.
We thought we would be far enough north from Adelaide to miss
it. Ronnie and Andrew played a game of pool in the recreation
room and Wendy and I were busy sending text messages to our
families. At 2 am that night I woke up because it was wild and
The tent was shaking and flapping and when I rubbed my eyes
there was a thick layer of red dust/dirt on my face. I even had
it on my teeth, in my ears and eyes. I tried to wake up Ronnie
and when I finally had him awake I told him I didn’t want to
stay in the tent, there were 100 km/hour winds outside and I was
pretty worried. We packed up every thing in those strong winds,
mattresses and sleeping bags flying through the air. We even
packed up the tent and took it all to the recreation room. That
is were we spend the rest of the night, winds howling around the
Andrew and Wendy really wanted to go to Woomera and Ronnie and
I decided to try and get to Coober Pedy. We said goodbye and
headed off in the rain, wind and wild weather. It stayed cold
and windy for most of the day but when we arrived in Coober Pedy
it was nice and sunny and warm. We booked 2 nights into the
underground motel and had dinner at the local club.
The room we stayed in was 6 meters underground, a great experience. Lots of travelers, back packers and other motorbike riders. Most 4 wheel drive travelers told us amazing stories about all the rain they had in the desert. Lots of them got so bogged, they had to be rescued. Andrew and Wendy arrived the next day and stayed in the motel as well.
We got chatting to a family from Dubbo, NSW; mum and dad
traveled with 4 kids. One of the sons was watching Ronnie and
Andrew who were working on the bikes, he stood there for ages
and dad took him over to have a look. Ronnie offered him to hop
on the back of the bike and to go for a ride through town. Off
they went, the boy was only 7 but he had the best time, the look
on his face said it all.
We cruised around town and went to some of the opal shops,
amazing country here. It must be so stinking hot here in summer,
most people live underground, in summer the temperature rises up
to 50+ degrees.
The next night we spend on the South Australian and Northern Territory border on a rest area. It was humid and hot (in the middle of winter) and the rest area had only space for motor homes and cars + caravans. We had to get off the car park into the dirt and we put up the tents.
It looked like it was going to rain soon so Ronnie dug a trench
for the water. We had just finished our dinner when the rain
started. We hopped in the tent and stayed there in the hot humid
weather until it stopped for a bit. It was way too hot and way
too early to lay there in this stupid little tent of ours, we
had taken Ronnie’s 20 year old tent because we thought the
nights would be still cool here in the middle of winter in the
Normally that would be the case but not this winter, every
where we came on this trip people told us that it was very
unusual for the time of year; too warm, too hot, too humid, too
many mozzies and too much rain, we had it all.
Ronnie and I ran to a shelter on the car park and stayed there
for a while. It was bucketing down and the thunder storms
started, lucky it didn’t last too long but the tent had leaked;
the mattresses and our clothes were wet.
The next morning we woke up and saw red dirt every where.
Everything was covered in it, we packed up and rode to the turn
off to Uluru and Kings Canyon. Andrew and Wendy were going that
way and we kept on going to Alice Springs.
It was so busy at the roadhouse and a couple of minutes later
we knew why. The Palmer river was so full of water and that’s
why the Stuart Highway was totally flooded! Great, we decided to
go anyway and see there and then what to do. Another motorbike
rider from Perth on a BMW rode with us towards Alice and Andrew
and Wendy had gone to Ayers Rock.
After 40 km we saw chaos on the Stuart Highway. All these cars stranded and people waiting on the side of the road to see if the water would go down. Road trains, trucks and 4 wheel drive cars could go through but normal cars and motorbikes would be a bit of a problem.
The water was about 50 cm deep and about 150 meters of road was
under water. Ronnie and the bloke from Perth wanted to go so
they sprayed the coil, alternator, the wiring and everything
electrical with CRC, the whole can was used.
A couple from South Australia offered to take me across in
their car and the boys were going to ride straight behind their
caravan. I filmed everything from the car, it was pretty
exciting and pretty scary. Lots of cars had sucked up water and
if that happened with the Guzzi it probably would be the end of
the trip already.
But no, both bikes made it. So we kept on going to Alice Springs. We were going to stay there for a couple of days to go and explore more of the West and East MacDonnell ranges.