February 28, 2017 4 min read 2 Comments
It's 4am and I'm tossing and turning. For some reason, not sleeping in my own bed has really kept me up all night. Maybe it's the thrill of adventure that I've finally left Melbourne for what will be the biggest and toughest motorcycle journey of my life. Still feeling the fatigue of yesterday's heatwave, I slowly ate a banana and a handful of nuts while getting dressed with my eyes half closed. The whole flat had a comfortable level of air conditioning so I was actually unaware of the outside temperature. My host was very kind and actually woke up early to see me ride off into the... uh.... sunrise.
After gathering my things in ninjaesque silence, I crept into the garage with my gear so I can start loading. The Ashvault Backpack prototype that I brought along seemed to hold on quite well facing backward, against the pile of Kriega tailbags. Thank goodness for Ocky straps. The garage felt like a humid rainforest and smelled like petrol, and it was stifling without even leaving the partially air-conditioned room. I looked at my weather app. 24°C outside at 6am. Brilliant!
Well, packing invigorated me and next thing I know, I'm wandering through Adelaide in complete darkness. I navigated myself onto their freeway and then I was Northbound, not a care in the world excluding a possible freak roo attack. No amount of equipment could prepare me for that,but I know that for the rest of the trip, that will be one of my main concerns. Ah, Australia.
Because I was heading up along the mini coast, the sun started to rise to my right. I could finally really appreciate a proper Australian sunrise from start to finish for the first time since moving here. This would be the last time I head North until I reach the West Coast. And because this part of South Australia was flat, it made for a beautiful scenic horizon too. If I caught it on a postcard I'd make millions! Well, if I were fast enough. Australian sun tends to move quickly and by breakfast it was pretty much right above.
The terrain west of Adelaide was quite flat aside from the lovely Flinders Ranges and little bursts of green gumtree forests. I don't have a problem with concentrating on the road. Riding seems like a completely natural way of life to me now. But being well and truly Canadian, I do have severe problems with weather above 27°C so this entire Australian trip will be tough. The worst thing you could possibly say to me is "remember to drink water". Yes dear, I hadn't thought of that, I am actually part camel.
I arrived at a small cafe on the side of the road for a Thai curry pie and a cappucino. It was cool and breezy when I arrived, but by the end of breakfast I was hustling to get back on the bike to prevent being burned alive. Weather app: 34°C at 930am. WHAT.
So began my spirited sprint toward Port Augusta, the ambient temperature rising alongside my odometer and heartbeat. I wanted to hide from the midday sun when it was directly overhead. I made it at 11 and had no problem polishing off another cappucino and an easy litre of water. Sheba was parked quietly outside with just about zero traffic passing her. There are few people in these parts already. Oh girl, you and I are going to have a very warm and lonely journey ahead of us.
After hopping back on, I decided to go music-less to Kimba just for fun.
- *After seeing a guy on a pushbike towing a trailer* that is a type of person I will never understand (while I straddle a hot engine for 700 km in 34 degree heat)
- Why is the sun orange? Wait, now that I've looked at the sun, will I go blind? Technically the sun gives us the ability to see, but if we look at it long enough, won't it take away that ability?
- Road trains are indeed really big, but Australians made it sound like they will take up 3 lanes of road and shoot missiles at you. I passed approximately a trillion of them in both directions (don't worry, I counted) and they are totally fine if you are not a dumbass. Don't be a dumbass = don't die from passing road trains. Besides, for the most part, you can see them coming from 10km away because the terrain is so flat.
- Heat cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transfered. Why can I not transfer this heat to parts of Canada where they need it most right now? Isn't Winnipeg colder than Mars? Because right now Australia feels like the centre of the earth, and I'm not even in the desert yet.
- If a roo and a koala got in a fight, who would win?
- If someone were to walk through the outback and find this highway, how would they know which way is to Perth and which to Adelaide?
- Hey, I can steer with two fingers
- Hey, I can steer with no fingers
- Damn. I forgot my water bottle in Adelaide
- I really hope push bike guy is ok
...and so on and so forth. I'm too strange for silence. I decided to put the music back on in Kimba.
The heat was actually alright until shortly after Kimba, when the clouds parted and the sun was raw and powerful. Luckily I had my trusty cooling vest that I soaked at every petrol station and it saved my ride! Highly recommend one for hot journeys.
With a last minute change thanks to my own courage at breakfast, I canceled accommodations in Port Kenny and decided to ride 130km further than planned. So, we finished Day 2 in Ceduna where Sheba and I both enjoyed a shower and some fuel. I'm staying at a small, moldy bungalow on the cheap - a treat for having done the k's today. Eventually, I'll have the courage to camp. A couple cans of tuna is the dinner menu today, because this bed is a one-way street.
Day 2 complete. Tomorrow we tackle the infamous Nullabor!