Originally the ride we had earmarked as our memorial ride was definitely going to the be the most challenging ride I have attempted to date. However that wasn’t to be, and in its place we mapped out an interesting ride over some great country side and included one of our other significant places – the Madura Pass in Western Australia.
As with most IBA rides we were up at early o’clock, filling up at the servo while most people are still well and truly tucked up in bed. Our departure time from Ceduna was 4am.
As we passed Penong we encountered a bit of active wild life and quite a bit of roadkill, namely wombats. However what sticks out in my memory are the couple of wombats wanting to get up close and personnel. I see Ed take avoiding action in front of me by taking a wide berth around something and as I arc around I see the little bugger running straight at me forcing me to extend the arc further to ensure that I miss him.
And as we approach the Nullarbor roadhouse for a refuel the sun is just starting to make an appearance behind us. And I am quietly hoping that this will also mean that warmer temperatures are on the way as it’s been hovering between zero and two degrees C for the last three hours. As we ride into the servo all the lights are off as we have arrived 30 mins before their opening time, so we roll out onto the car park and pour fuel from my backup jerry cans so we can make it to the WA border.
I love riding at this time of day – you are treated to a wonderful light show.
And then after a couple of more hours riding we are in WA and riding down over the escarpment at Eucla descending onto the plains below. For the next 180km the very well defined escapement is on your right until you climb back up at Madura, our turn around point.
I often have trouble sleeping the night before these rides as I can’t shut off. This generally means that at some stage during the day I will struggle. Today it was after our turn around at Madura. As I started to get the nods along the plains we took a break at the roadhouse on the border where we had something to eat and drink, and had a rest under the tree. That was enough to refresh me for the rest of the day.
One of my favourite parts of this road is the cliffs along the Great Australian Bight. They are just spectacular, and today we were even more lucky as there were a couple of whales swimming around.
We then continued moving east and after passing Ceduna our shadows started to progressively get longer and longer until the sun disappeared over our shoulders and we were left in the solitude of the dark once again with only our lights pointing the way.
At 10pm we pulled into Port Augusta to complete our ride of just over 1,800km in 18 hours. Our average helped by 110km/h speed limits and towns conveniently spaced a tankful apart.
Saturday is a cruisy day with lots of catching up, a ride down Horrocks Pass to a specific location in the afternoon where we remember our long distance friends who have passed away. And then its off for a ride somewhere for coffee and back to the pub for dinner and more talking about bikes, roads we ride on our bikes, modifications we’ve made on our bikes, places we want to go on our bikes, and of course fix all of the worlds problems.
And then on Sunday we disperse in all directions. A few of us went to a little town called Melrose for breakfast at a cool little cafe in an old bank called Wozza’s Vault Cafe before we went our own directions.
From here we spent the rest of the day on the bike heading back to Canberra 1,300km away.
It was a great week away and while our original plan went to custard on the first day we recovered and changed our plans and had a ball. While we didn’t do the amount of riding we had initially planned we got to see some great countryside, met some great people and got to smell the flowers a bit more than we normally would.
In total we did over 6,500km – below is a map of our tripping around from Canberra.
I have learnt a heap from this week and while I am disappointed that we didn’t complete the rides we set out to do, we now know what we need to do to better prepare our bikes and ourselves for a ride of this scale for our next attempt. One day.
Lastly, I have to say a huge thanks to Deb who gives me the time to pursue these ‘crazy rides’.