Day 11: Denham to Nanutarra - The Start of the Red Country - Flying Solo Gear Company

Day 11: Denham to Nanutarra - The Start of the Red Country

Posted by Amanda Chan on

  • Distance: 686km
  • Dep: 8am
  • Arr: 530pm
  • Temp: 21-41°C

It was another relatively slow start today knowing I had packed everything onto Sheba the night before. What a glorious feeling! I watched the sun rise from the small sand filled alleyway of the resort I stayed at, barefoot and with microwave lasagna in my tummy. All was well until I turned onto the main street and was nearly hit by a mom in a campervan. It was a reminder that I'm still quite mortal. And that cagers are still clueless.

sheba snack in the desert

Backtracking 120km back to the highway was mentally tougher than I thought. It's boring because you have seen the road before, plus you're not progressing to anywhere new. It took about an hour to get back onto the main highway. It was 9am and well after the wild animal peak hour but I met a feathery late starter about 50m out of Denham. Hello Mr. Emu, how are you going?

"Ah yeh good thanks mate just dont mind me mate just walking across the road no worries mate"  he said back.


I continued further up and met a bleach white goat walking across the road too. He saw me but stayed the same speed. I slowed to a crawl and he plunked himself under a bush. I want to be more like goats, they really don't give a damn.

200km later I found myself in Carnarvon for a breakfast burrito and ice coffee. It was a slow, easy-going town with a couple of friendly characters. Toting a new burrito belly, I felt almighty and powerful, even though the temperature was again creeping up at an alarming rate.

termite mound

There were hundreds of these all over! 

The green bush started to fade into my rear view mirrors and faded yellow grass sprouted up all over. Red earth changed the emotions of the land as fast as Sheba's shoes spun round and round. Strange mounds of what seemed like giant cow poop started appearing on the otherwise flat landscape. I'm assuming they are the homes to insects but I stopped to take a closer look anyway. There were thousands of them littering the landscape past Carnarvon for about 80km. Australian landscapes never cease to surprise and amaze.

fuel stop

Better safe than sorry. Sheba stops for a snack in the middle of nowhere. 

By the time I reached halfway, it was 41°C and very bright. Luckily I had packed away my leather jacket and had my cooling vest ready. The petrol station was also 240km from my final destination so I filled an extra 5L can of petrol just to be comfortable.

The roads of Western Australia are very well maintained. They are flat, smooth, and very easy to ride on. The markers are always clear and there is always plent of space should an oversized roadtruck need to pass. I decided to make a mental chart of difficulty level of tasks whem compared to a car. 

Motorcycle vs Car

Equally easy:

  • Listening to music
  • Stretching legs
  • Waving to another vehicle
  • Using no hands

Slightly more difficult on motorbike: 

  • Making a phone call
  • Drinking water
  • Reading a GPS

Moderately more difficult on motorbike:

  • Communicating with passengers
  • Pulling over onto a gravel shoulder
  • Carrying cargo to an extent

Extremely difficult on motorbike: 

  • Eating sushi with chopsticks
  • Taking off an article of clothing like pants
  • Accessing the boot (trunk) 
  • Taking a nap (when stopped)

Fuck off level of difficulty

  • Australian road detours

The cooling vest worked like a charm in this dry heat, and I felt comfortable through the final leg of today's ride. Hills started appearing in the last 100km leading to Nanutarra which was a very welcome sight after riding half of one of the flattest countries in the world. I finally got to Nanutarra Roadhouse at 530pm. The tent was set by 6pm and I'm now inside the cafe watching David Attenborough's Planet Earth II. A fine end to today's sprint up Australia's wild red coast.

tent in Nanutarra

Day 12: Heading to Port Hedland and may encounter some heavy rain for the first time...





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