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August 2011 Club News

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Weather Chasers - Half-way Around Oz on the Guzzi

Pics and Story - Antoinet

Go back to Part 1 | Go back to Part 2 | This is Part 3

Not a good
          place to park, Ronnie!
The next day we left early to go to Edith Falls, north of Katherine. We stopped for morning tea in Adelaide River. I took a photo of Ronnie on the Guzzi standing in front of a huge road train.

From Adelaide River we took the tourist drive past Robin Falls and Daly and Douglas rivers. The 68 km was terrible, lots of potholes and the road was very bumpy. We arrived at Edith Falls and put our tent up on the nice camping area. We went to the falls and Ronnie had a swim, too cold for me. Our neighbours invited us to sit near their fire and offered us yummy fresh damper. When Ronnie went to get another beer he found a cane toad near our tent, ugly creatures.

Ronnie got up at half past one that night because there were some drunk French girls in the shower block making a lot of noise, he scared them off with his loud voice. We only had to ride 62 km to Katherine the next day, it was a bit cooler and it was great to put on a long-sleeved top.

Doing the
          remote stretches...
We had a nice relaxing day at the caravan park and planned the rest of our route because Huw wanted to meet us in Exmouth or Coral Bay.

The next morning we packed up in the rain, it’s a bit early in the year for it to rain in Katherine but that is what this trip has been like; everywhere we go the weather is unusual. We left early and it was still pretty dark and cold! We had some rain along the way but soon the sun came out and the temperature was pleasant.

The landscape near Victoria River is absolutely stunning, we really enjoyed that ride. In 2002 we drove the Kombi through this area but it was October and so hot and humid, I didn’t enjoy it very much back then and I can’t even remember driving through this landscape.

Near Timber Creek the boab country starts, my favorite tree, we often had to stop to take photos. Ronnie and I stopped to camp near the Bullo River turnoff, Andrew and Wendy decided to head to Lake Argyle where we would catch up with them in the morning. We drank a beer or two and had some bikkies and cheese watching the stars and the satellites. Hard work these road trips…

          scenery at the Ord River Dam
We packed up early the next morning and rode across the border, back into W.A. where we had to turn our clock 1½ hours back. We had a coffee at Andrew and Wendy’s and went for a ride along Lake Argyle. After a visit to the Durack homestead, Ronnie and I left to go to Kununurra. We booked a site on the caravan park and met a New Zealand couple who were travelling two up on a BMW offroad bike. They had some great stories to tell about their trip and the breakdowns they had.

The next day we rode to Wyndham and had a look at the Five Rivers lookout. Back at the caravan park we saw 7 motorbikes in the caravan park! Andrew and Wendy had arrived and also 2 travellers from Tamworth, a couple from New Zealand and the NZ couple we had met the previous day. It’s a busy caravan park with heaps of backpackers who are staying there for weeks on end to do fruit picking.

People from all over the world gather in the campers’ kitchen at night and I loved listening to the different languages and accents. I never sleep well in a tent but ever since we crossed the border I have slept like a log. Maybe it’s the time difference or maybe I’m very relieved to be back in W.A?

It is light at 5.30 in the morning up here and dark at 6.00 pm. The days are hot but luckily it’s a much drier heat. We left early because we were going to ride a lot of kilometers. There is not much to see and to do in places like Turkey Creek and Halls Creek so we wanted to travel as fast as possible through these towns. Before you fill up with fuel in Turkey Creek (Warmun) you have to give your licence, eftpos or credit card to the person in the roadhouse; they had a lot of problems with people driving off after they filled up with petrol.

Antoinet waves
          regally from the Guzzi
We spend the night at the Mary Pool rest area and left early the next morning to make it to a rest area 75 km east of Broome. Andrew and Wendy turned off to spend the night in Derby and we would catch up again in Broome. A German couple with a toddler and a brand new baby arrived in a 4 wheel drive. The baby screamed so much, it drove us insane. We were hoping they would make the right decision to go somewhere else but of course they didn’t. The baby screamed even more when it had to sleep in the tent. We were very happy to find our earplugs.

When we arrived in Broome we were amazed at the changes the town had gone through, it had grown heaps since 2002. All the caravan parks were booked out, the only available spot was at the pistol club where we booked a sandy site for two nights. It was blowing a gale (normal for the time off year?) Soon everything inside the tent was covered in a thick layer of red dust.

We spend some time sightseeing in Broome and went to Cable Beach and Gantheaume point. The next night we spend on the rest area near the DeGrey river, a great spot. There were brolgas and Brahman cows walking around the rest area.

We went to Port Hedland the next morning to get a new front tyre fitted. In the Whim Creek pub we had a yummy BLT burger and we arrived nice and early at the Roebourne caravan park. The park was run by good friends of Wendy and we had a great time catching up with them. Ronnie bought a fishing rod in Karratha and he did some fishing near Cossack.

We had 4 nice nights in Roebourne and left to go towards Exmouth. Andrew and Wendy stayed for another night and we would probably not see them again on this trip. We wanted to stay in Exmouth for a couple of days and they wanted to go to Onslow and Coral Bay. We also wanted to go and stay in Kalbarri and they wanted to go to Denham.

We were back in more civilized areas so it didn’t really matter to travel separate. We spend the night at a rest area not far from Nanutarra roadhouse and caught up with the New Zealand couple, there were some more stories to tell. They travel mostly on gravel roads and two up that is quite a challenge.

The rest area is a very popular stop, heaps of motor homes and caravans. It looked like it was going to pour down with rain and there were lots of thunder clouds in the sky. Luckily we only got a very light shower that night.

Ronnie thawing
          out by the fire
We had to rug up the next morning because it was very cold when we rode towards Exmouth. We just made it in time to the visitor centre when it suddenly bucketed down with rain. I received a text message from Huw and Elina that Huw couldn’t meet us because he had fractured his ankle! What a shame, we were really looking forward to his company.

Ronnie shows off his catchWe stayed in Exmouth for 3 nights and spend a day at Ningaloo reef national park and Ronnie went on a fishing charter and caught heaps of fish. We had a great time relaxing and I caught up on some washing, went swimming and went for walks. When we came back to the caravan park one afternoon, we found the 4 wheel drive with the Germans and the screaming baby right next to us!

We decided to leave the next morning. The weather had turned beautiful again after the rain and we planned the last couple of days of our trip.

After a night on the Nerren Nerren rest area we rode to Kalbarri and stayed there for 2 nights. The nights had gotten colder and on the second day it started to rain. I think we both had enough and it was a nice end of a great trip so we decided to leave early the next morning and ride to Perth to stay with Huw and Elina.

How good was it to sleep in a bed and to eat Elina’s yummy homemade pizzas at the dinner table sitting on normal chairs!

The bike made it safely back to Albany although when Ronnie checked the engine he found the crankshaft was blocked and the rings were completely worn.

We rode nearly 14,000 km. All up we paid $893.20 in accommodation, nearly $1100 in fuel, the cheapest fuel was $1.16 in Kelmscott and the most expensive was $1.97 at Renner Springs roadhouse.   

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