January 20th, 2006
I forgot to write about this in my last update (the small tape recorder couldnít take the vibration, have to get a new one) any way, a few things I enjoy about taking back roads is of course the people you get to talk to but also the things you get to see. I had to cross an old ferry, The kind you use to see in the old western movies, where they would load the wagons on it then pull yourself across with a rope, this had the rope but was powered by an engine this one held up to nine cars. This old guy sat there all day running back and forth every 5 minutes I rode it for about 30 minutes just talking to him. Ok back to the 20th.
I got my first ticket, it was a parking ticket, I didnít know but I crossed a Ĺ hour time zone change, I parked the bike in a spot that had no parking before 6pm, well it was 6:15 by my watch, when I got back 15 minutes later I had a ticket I was pissed until I found out about the time change so I paid the $56 ticket (yea right) like a good visitor. Looking at the map I should have an easy day from Adelaide up around the Spencer Gulf. Wrong!!!!!! The day started out looking like I was going to be riding in rain all day, it wanted to rain bad but just never started. That was the good part of the day! The ride from Adelaide to Whyalla was miserable!!! The temperature got up to 46.5 C. that was the air temperature, the temperature coming off the pavement Iím sure was a lot hotter. Those that ride know about ďhot spotsĒ, those are thermal patches that suck the breath out of you. When riding long distances I have several riding positions I use so I donít get tired or locked into one position, the good news was, one of the positions I use I put my feet on the rear passenger foot pegs, I was able to do this for the first time since hurting my knee. The bad news was, one of the positions I use is to lean back and put my hand on the rear saddlebag, I did this only once, and the saddlebag was so hot I burned my hand! You couldnít take your hands off the handgrips because they would get to hot. It was the hottest I have ever ridden in and every where I went they said wait until you get to the Nullarbar Plains. I spent the night planning my gas stops and night stays, I wasnít going to drive past noon no mater how far I rode.
January 21st, 2006
Stopped at Port Lincoln today, itís the last town of any size before the Nullarbar.I would have stopped here any way unknown to me TUNARAMA FESTIVAL was happening whoooooowhooooooooooo. I have no idea what it is but I do know itís a big deal down here. It starts off with a old fashion town parade, there were about 20 Harleys that were going to lead the parade behind a fire truck so I ran into the K mart bought $30 worth of candy and when the parade started joined in, what a blast the candy was a big hit with the kids, its hard to drive a bike throw candy and take pictures but I didnít hit any one so it was a good thing. When the parade was over I talked to the other riders, they were from the local HOG chapter. They liked that I joined in and thought the candy was a good idea and next year every one was going to have candy to throw. The main attraction for TUNARAMA (beside the parade) was the world championship tuna tossing contest. They take a 20 lb. frozen tuna, put a rope between the gills and mouth and toss it any way you want, it was pretty funny to watch I should have signed up first place was $1000 second $500 and third $250, it had to be harder then it looked because they didnít throw them very far. They had a pretty good fireworks show for such a small town, after the show off to bed to tackle the Nullarbar in the morning.
January 22nd, 2006
Only did about 300 K today to Streaky Bay, my last stop before the Nullarbar. Iím carrying extra fuel so it gives me a chance to explore some of the side dirt roads, except for the red dust these roads are better then the roads in Central America.
January 23rd, 2006
I so lucked out today, a cool front moved in and rode the whole day in a long sleeve shirt, so instead of only 250-300 K a day to get past the Nullarbar I did 1400 K and did the whole thing, so much for well laid plans. Gas wasnít a problem, the price jumped about $.40 a litter but 200 K was the longest I had to go between stops. Other they the temperature the Nullarbar was all they said it would beÖ. A WHOLE lot of nothing, but still in its own way beautiful, such openness. There was one stretch called ď90 mile straight roadĒ, and it was straight and pretty flat, itís the longest straight road in Australia. One thing I did notice, 100ís of kangaroo road kills, Iím willing to better there were at least 50 dead kangaroos for every mile then I started thinking, I was on it around 1 PM, I passed one truck and saw 3 vehicles going eastbound someone has to be hitting these, the odds were not very good on my behalf, as it turned out I never saw a live one, must be the people doing this trip at night. I also crossed another time zone ( this one 45 minutes) so I really have no idea what time it really is, some one said there was 2 hours difference between Melbourne and Perth so I must of passed another one some where. Stopped for the night in Norseman, Was going to be an ďI survived the NullarbarĒ bumper sticker but there really wasnít any to the ride, I would have felt guilty bragging about it.
January 24th-25th, 2006
Spent two days riding back roads and camping, this will be the last of the ďoutbackĒ Iíll see for a while, heading back into civilization in the morning. I really enjoyed this peacefulness of the outback, didnít see any snakes or any thing else that I hadnít seen before that was a little disappointing but Iím sure I will I still have over Ĺ the county to see. I went for my first ďride aboutĒ my version of a ďwalk aboutĒ. Rode up to see wave rock found it ok but on the way back I looked at a map and decided to take some back roads. I packed some extra fuel and water, got out the road map and headed back south. The Nullarbar is just a part of how vast Australia is, you ride for just miles and miles of openness you just have to love it. I rode about 80 K went with out warning the road was covered with 3 feet of water, they had a cyclone in the far west about 2 weeks ago and I guess this is some of the after effect, damn they could have at least told you 80 K ago, one sign would of done the trick, I was on the only sealed road, oh well getting out the map I backed tracked to the last sealed road, I got about 65 K before this road also was closed, damnÖ As I was looking at the map to figure out what way to try next a local stopped by and told me the only road open to Albany was a dirt road about 15 K back. I drank some water, filled my gas tanks, found the dirt road, 4 hours later I pulled into Albany, what a great day
January 26th- 27th, 2006
Happy Australia Day!! Not sure what it is, some say its when they arrived here (Thanksgiving) other say its when they got their independence (4th of July) I say itís just another excuse to have it just to have a ďBarbieĒ (BBQ) Rode down to Albany, the hostel I was staying at was having a huge BBQÖ..bonus, free food and a nice hot shower!!! Both felt good. Going to hang around here for a few days and do some half day out trips, seeing the county side. Got to see the Dingo fence, itís the longest man made structure in the world, (I bet some of you thought it was the Great Wall of China) itís over 4000 K long.
January 28th, 2006
Rode to Walpole, going to stay here for the day and do some hiking, they have great forest here, both the ankle and knee are feeling better, I still get reminded now and then to keep an eye on they but day to day activity is no problem. I did the Tree Top Walk today. They built a suspension bridge 40 meters (about 125 feet) above the ground and you walk pretty much at the tops of the trees. The view and sensation are great, when the wind blows or others are walking on the bridge at the same time it has a tendency to sway, I behaved my self and didnít try to make it sway, I know some people (ne-ne) that couldnít done this. In this forest they have trees called Tingle Trees; they are 400 years old and up to60 meters high and 16 meters around the base. Beside the age and size of these tress another cool thing is as they grow they form a triangle at the base and when they get full grown the triangle become like feet and you can walk threw the trees,
January 29th, 30th 2006
Off to Pemberton, again taking all kinds of dirt road exploring did some more hiking in the Warren National Park. They have a tree called the Gloucester Tree, you can climb this if you want..I wantÖ they have steel rebar driven into the tree and you use these as steps with a platform at the top so you can look over the trees, oh I forgot to tell you the tree is 60 meters high, knee felt pretty good and just a little winded when I got to the top. After I climbed it I found out that wasnít the highest one, the Bicentennial tree about 12 K away was 70 meters high, and yes I had to climb that one too, I was behind a couple of younger kids but kept up with the to the top, they were impressed, I was winded! From here off to Augusta, Iím told the sunset and sunrises are great here.
January 31st- February 1st 2006
WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? Woke up this morning and couldnít move, knee and ankle felt great but my quads are so sore, Craig youíre not 21 any more, maybe you should have only climbed one tree OR not tried to keep up with the kids, will I ever learn? I drought it! Weather came in Damn my luck no sunrise or sun set, thatís ok think I will stay here an extra day. Weather didnít get any better only thing I saw was the point were the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean that was about it, I am not sticking around for weather to get better, beside I need to walk the sore out of my legs, Off to Perth. On the way stopped at a chocolate factory and watched them make all kinds of chocolate, I have to say some of the best chocolate I have tasted.
February 2nd, - 5th, 2006
Stopped just before Perth in a town called Fremantle, only 30 minutes south of Perth, the YHA hostel in Perth isnít finished yet, this is the closest one to Perth. I paid for 2 weeks so will be here for at least that long. Right away I can tell itís going to be a lot more laid back then Sydney and Melbourne, I know Iím going to like it here. Just spending time taking in the sights and meeting people, met a guy that owes a dive boat, his first mate got hurt so Iím going to play Gilligan for a week. Should be a good chance to get some diving in. Knee feels good ankle fees good quads feel good. Spent Sunday getting ready for me week as Gilligan, we took the boat out, he showed me what I had to do and we got in a little diving.
February 6th-11th, 2006
What a great week, hard work but what a great week. Got in LOTS of great dives, met a lot of good people, good time was had by all. Over the week we dove on several sunken ships, two sunken planes Two days diving around Rottnest Island. Saw just about every thing from sharks to Sea Horses. Saturday we did 3 night dives, itís a whole different world under water at night, in some way I enjoy diving at night the best, so many more fish come out and plants open up. Just in case you didnít know this you CAN NOT scream or laugh under waterÖ how do I know this? On the night dive we saw a large flash of something swim right outside out light beams, of course the pucker factor comes into play now, we tighten our circle when all of a sudden this flash comes up from under us and swims right between us, it was a seal messing with us, come to find out this seal does this all the time to night divers, I wonder if itís name is Craig, that would be something I would do. I was being so good not messing with any one while diving only to have a seal scare the shit out of all of us.
February 12th-15th, 2006
No more Gilligan, the first mate came back, I went diving on the boat on the 13th, other then that just relaxing sight seeing and just enjoying life and the west coast of Australia, I was right the whole attitude is different on the west coast, very laid back, itís not spoiled yet. Australia reminds me of growing up in Rochelle, laid back, every one knows every one, and not to crowded, god I hope they donít let visitors spoil it. I tell them every chance they get fight progress keep their little slice of paradise as long as they can. Iím getting ready to leave Perth in the next day or two, I am going to follow the coast north, and Tim the guy with the boat gave me a few contacts in Exmouth. Itís been great here but time to move on. Pretty soon I am going to have to start planning the trip after Australia. I did go and get more pages for my passport and the information to apply for another 3 month extension. I also got my third stage to my Hepatitis A-B so Iím good to go.
Posted by Craig Hutson at February 16, 2006 10:02 PM GMT