Saturday, 17 September 2016

Nullarbor Ride

Devil gave us only one chance to make a quick getaway on the cold morning of Tuesday 13th of September, but we blew that opportunity by stalling her. Our first idea was to try the jump-start technique on our steep driveway, but the rear tyre locked up on all three attempts. The success of the trickle charger seemed hours away but after fifteen minutes Steve gave her another try and Devil sprung to life, it seemed she was looking forward to a life on the road too. In this flurry of activity we nearly pulled out of the driveway leaving the garage door open. We were both able to compose ourselves from this trying moment in the privacy of our own helmets and within an hour we were cruising along the Brookton Highway, home seeming another world away.

Fraser Range Station
We rode the 2000kms from Perth to Ceduna in four straight days camping at Merredin, Fraser Range Station (100km east of Norseman) and Eucla. The wind chill on these cold spring mornings made the riding uncomfortable.  When we arrived at Southern Cross, Steve was actually shaking from the cold. Cup-a-soup was an enjoyable reward at lunch time while we warmed our bellies and soothed our chapped hands. We both concluded this was our most challenging Nullarbor crossing by motorcycle.

Head of the Bight
The Southern Right Whales put on a great show at the Head of the Bight and we watched in amazement at least a dozen mothers and their calves in the sheltered waters of the bay. One calf was practicing all his moves like spy hopping, breaching and tail slapping; it was hilarious.

We holed up for a day in Ceduna while it rained, but this is no punishment as the salt and pepper squid and the scallops from the local fish and chip shop are to die for, and the genuine Italian style pizza is not to be missed by any pizza lover.

Nullarbor Plain
Unfortunately the rain caused the caravan park’s resident huntsman spider, who we named Big Ced, to take refuge on the inside of our tent’s fly. I disturbed Ced one night and he fell into the open tent as I was about to climb in. I called to Steve for assistance but while we were rummaging qaround for head lights, Big Ced must have climbed out. After completely emptying the tent and shaking and turning everything inside out a dozen times there was no sign of the spider. Big Ced never turned up again but I think of him sometimes and half expect him to make an appearance at an inopportune moment.

Great Australian Bight

Sunday, 11 September 2016

False Start

Raining on the Nullarbor Plain.
When we leave home on a long motorcycle journey, rain is our worst enemy. Nothing will test our resolve more than riding in the rain and trying to keep water out of our small tent. On Thursday  8th September everything looked rosy for a slow ride from Perth (Western Australia) to Broken Hill (New South Wales), 2850 kilometers. By Friday morning everything had changed. A complex weather system had developed, seems the mere whiff of Devil (F650GS) and Dwarfie (R1200GS) riding across the desert plains to was enough to break the drought single handed.  In the shear desperation to get under way, we decided to leave on Saturday, and substitute the slow ride for long days in the saddle, in the hope of  staying ahead of the rain.

Devil and Dwarf rearing to go.
When our alarm sounded at 5am on Saturday morning, I bolted out of bed. Adrenalin filled my veins as I both relished and feared the prospect of trying to  out run an ugly looking weather system. Steve woke up in a more sensible mood. After a serious consultation with the latest weather information we decided this was no way to begin our ten week road trip on the bikes.  Better to stay warm and dry at home until a more suitable outlook appears. Good decision? We will only know with the benefit of hindsight.