Day 13: Port Hedland to Broome
It's serendipitous when you happen to be filling up petrol and you happen to cross paths with someone who has been following your story. Ariel moved to Port Hedland from Perth earlier this year and was on his way to Karratha (the direction I came from). We had a quick chat over coffee before I left to enter the storm, the remnants of a cyclone that had passed 2 weeks prior.
So we set off on our grand adventure to the furthest city from my bed in Melbourne. The roads were straight and uneventful, and i almost wish we had some sort of dramatic thunder and lightning to make it reasonably difficult. I filled up 2x 5L petrol tanks in Port Hedland knowing that my last fuel stop before Broome was 320km out.
After stopping at Pardoo for fuel and a stretch, we blasted over to Sandfire which is the longest distance from the next fuel station on any part of Australia's main highway. Sandfire is the reason I packed so much spare fuel. I doubt I would need these extra cans after Sandfire but I guess that's sportbike life for you.
By the time we reached Sandfire, humidity had climbed to something similar to being inside a dufflebag in the middle of the Amazon while doing kickboxing lessons from within. My face and hair became a different texture and Sheba had fairings that looked like they ate a jelly sandwich without hands. Terrible.
The first 300km of the 600km day was a breeze. I airplaned a lot of it and danced to my favourite playlist for the rest. There would be hundreds of kilometres before seeing a single soul. And it was overcast for most of the day so I kept preparing to pull over and waterproof myself in case the heavens opened up. It didn't. I wish it did, because I have a very fashionable pink raincoat (thanks Amelia!) waiting to spring into action.
For some reason I had an expectation about Sandfire, perhaps it being a lunch spot or at least servo-standard packaged food. The only food it had was "chicken and mayo sandwich" and $7.50 hot chips. When you have to mention a condiment in the meal name, you know it is pretty shit. I ate a banana instead.Bless this spot in particular.
With a full petrol tank and 10L of spare fuel, we hit the road. Every verse to a song meant a couple more k's behind us. After spending so much time straddling a machine you begin to bond with it. As many bike owners can relate, Sheba has a name and a personality. She's fierce but forgiving, making up for the fact that I'm quiet and I don't forget.
I emptied a jerry can at 110km and 220km, then we blasted into the final 100km light as a feather.
There were a couple cows on the side of the road. "Oh Betsy what are those dag nabbit wheelmobiles called again". "Charlotte for the last time I told you they are called motomowers now don't make eye contact or they'll think we will jump in front of them."
The last 100km always seems eternal when you are hungry. My stomach was muttering swear words under her breath when we finally pulled into Broome. After a wicked shower to wash the mediocre mileage out of my hair, I ferociously inhaled a serve of wedges miliseconds after they came out of the fryer. Western Australia is home to the hottest city of the country and therefore people who like hot things.
Melbourne coffee: "I'd like a capp extra hot please."
(Out comes a slightly warmer than usual cappucino in a small shallow cup.)
Perth coffee: "I'd like a capp please, as cold as a polar bear's tit in Canada"
(Out comes a mug the size of a windshield holding coffee created on a stove located in the depths of hell)
The same goes with their food. At this point I didn't care. Except now I've lost about 90% of my tastebuds and my lips literally charred on contact.
I'm now sitting on the ground level patio of the hostel in a tee and shorts, barefoot in the dark, gazing at what seems to be the set of Gilligan's Island. This is the second time writing this post as the first one copied me yesterday and David Copperfield-ed to cyberspace.