Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Sixtieth Birthday Ride

Birthday boy - Morawa campsite
What do you do the day you partner turns 60? You load the bikes with camping gear and go for a ride. Devil (F650GS) and Dwarf (R1200GS) were soon carving up the Brookton Highway and heading for the bakery at Toodyay. We stopped to check on the health of Perth's water supply at Mundaring Weir and then we were on the road again enjoying the cool morning air and the wildflowers. Full of smiles after devouring an award winning pastie, from Toodyay we rode northwards through the remote wheatbelt towns of Bolgart, Calingiri, Yerecoin, finding towns and names we had never even heard of. Although the wildflower season in this neck of the woods is officially over, pockets of wildflowers still lined the way and at times it seemed that all the colours of the rainbow were in bloom. Perenjori welcomed us later in the day, the pub offering T-Bone, chips and salad for $15 but with the sun still well up in the sky we road onwards and set up camp in the council caravan park in Morawa. We cooked our own steak for Steve's 60th birthday tea and shared it with a couple a dozen bush flies but that's the outback for you if you want to cook and clean up before dark. No outback town is complete without the outback barking dog, who will keep you awake long into the night, but Steve said his 60th was "memorable, and a bloody good ride."

Somewhere between Mullewa and Binnu
By 7:30am we were back on the road again. We were greeted with a "proceed with caution" warning when we turned onto the Mullewa-Wubin Rd. This mostly single lane, road train route, could present its challenges but we rode on alone and this road felt way more outback that riding east from Broken Hill. A very helpful attendant at the Mullewa Roadhouse explained the road to Kalbarri via the outback way and she said "follow the sign to Yuna, about 18km out of town, then Kalbarri should be signposted." Right on 18km we easily found the signpost to Yuna and then we were riding free again with not a care in the world. By midday we rode into Kalbarri township, and it felt good to be back in one of my favourite coastal towns.

A Western Dragon
We checked into the caravan park in the centre of town, and spent a couple of days tuned into Kalbarri time. One afternoon we had the pleasure of the company of a pair of Western Dragons while we sat peacefully on the banks of the Murchison River. They seemed oblivious to our presence, and were enjoying their late afternoon feed provided by a local ant colony. A couple of times we returned to the same place but they were nowhere to be seen.

Natures Window - Kalbarri National Park

This trip was all about the ride and after a couple of days in Kalbarri we were back on the road again, heading towards home. We took it easy in the early morning light and stopped for morning tea at Port Gregory. At the rest area we met lone adventure cyclist, Verena Trickst. Verena had been on the road for nineteen months, travelling overland through Asia. Cycling The Gibb River Road lured Verena to Australia and it was fascinating to listen to her stories. Verena said she "preferred to wild camp" at the end of each day. When we rode away from Port Gregory, I spent quite some time checking out the roadside verges and I didn't see anywhere suitable to pitch a tent; all I saw was long grass and fences.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial
We stopped for lunch in Geraldton and took some timeout to appreciate the peace and serenity of The HMAS Sydney II memorial. This memorial site is magical, you could imagine sitting there for hours in peaceful meditation.

Dongara provided us with the last campsite before home. We dined in the camp kitchen and drank good red wine. 

Steve's 60th birthday ride had been a great success ~ until next time......

Red Devil (BMW F650GS) & Red Dwarf (BMW R1200GS) at Port Gregory

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