Monday, December 24, 2007

THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES


It probably would have made sense to plan this 1000km motorcycle trip to Perth, rather than just jumping on the bike and taking off. On an impulse. It probably would have been worth figuring out where to stay, when i was due back, that kind of thing. But, hey.

On the drive up, riding in the truck with Demo Bob nearly a year ago, the long distances of hot, flat bush between the roadhouses seemed so harsh and unforgiving. The red dust, snakewood and melaleucas fringing a thin strip of bitumen littered with roadkill under that vast white-hot blue sky - a man could perish out here, i thought. Now, this wild terrain seems more friendly and familiar. Like an enormous back yard. The distances have become shorter. The heat more tolerable.

Pushing into a southerly wind at a steady hundred clicks, i reach Wooramel River in just over an hour. The bike is behaving herself. Good bike. She hasn't shed any parts, or conked out. On the first test ride around Carnarvon a couple of weeks ago, one of the mufflers just simply fell off. I picked up the hot metal cylinder off David Brand Drive with my leather jacket, balancing it on my knees for a bleatingly loud and sheepish ride home. Then, the other one fell off, out by the plantations. These are minor bugs, i told myself. Just one of those things. Teething problems. Then the ignition key fell out from the switch, from where i had relocated it on the side of the 650. Somewhere between Ag Department and the office, a distance of about ten kilometres, the keys disappeared. The only set of keys to the ignition and the fuel tank. Oops. Mayhem and i tracked them down, and the bike now seems fairly integral. And it is registered. Which is, of course, a bonus.

I coast in to the shaded concrete forecourt of Wooramel Roadhouse, and kill the motor.

The tank takes a few litres of premium. Pushing through the screen door i find a chatty blonde in a low-cut pink top. I pay her for the juice and we discuss the slight prospect of rain. I sit down for breakfast and a quiet read. Over an instant coffee and a bacon and egg sandwich, i escape to Sicily, its seafood, piazzas and dark underbelly. The next stop is Overlander, a hundred and something k's south. Then another long empty stretch of highway to Billabong Roadhouse.

On past Nerren Nerren Station to the mighty Murchison, the first river i've seen in months that is full of water, rather than sand. Then it's on through the rolling hills of Northampton, with the farmers' increasingly bizarre roadside Christmas decorations. I ride on towards Christmas, civilisation, and the promise of a cup of real coffee.

This roadhouse coffee is shit.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jesus! It's like Santa has moved his frickin' workshop to Wolf Creek. And then taken crack. Imagine the serial killers being bred on that stud, huh?

Magdalene said...

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