- Distance: ~420 km through every windy road imaginable...
- Dep: 8am
- Arr: 7pm
- Temp: 20°C to 37°C
After a slightly hectic start of having to go back to the hostel to get my usb charger from the driveway, I took note of two things:
- Always get petrol the night before when possible to avoid the mad rush of fellow procrastinators.
- Put all your stuff in one section of the room so you don't forget things.
- (really 2b) don't let yourself get distracted by rude French men in pink suits. You'll forget things.
I started heading north to the more populated area of Bunbury. It's a nice little town, and definitely bigger than all the tiny towns between here and Adelaide. About 5km into the ride, I started to regret the decision to go north and I should have followed some advice and went east. Everyone has now finished their holidays and are heading back to Perth. The Killswitch Pack is a godsend because I can hop on and off my bike and keep my valuables on me at all times.
Also, another tip: don't eat breakfast in Bunbury on a holiday. I don't think they were used to the extra flow of people but the service (or lack thereof) was noticeable only because I had an actual schedule today. That being said, I think the West Coast has a far more relaxed, beachy, community feel than the big sparkly cities like Melbourne and Sydney. The general vibe is "hey it's a weekend, what's the rush?"
Now half an hour late, I met with 3 Western Australian riders (Sandra, Jenny, and Bev) and a loyal husband (Andy) who were part of the local female rider community. It wasn't long before we were cruising through the twisty and windy roads leading toward Perth, stopping only once for lunch before continuing on. The lush green forests are pretty much exclusive to this part of WA, and I took it all in, knowing I will likely not come across this scenery again until I reach Darwin. Some of the best scenery of the trip so far was on this ride, though I can't think of a single name of any road. And because Perthites prefer to be exclusive, I'm probably not allowed to tell you either.
I was so happy to not see traffic or another damn highway. The scenery was vivid and green, much like the back roads of North Vancouver with different trees. Perth has a different type of traffic to Adelaide - I can't explain it, but we were always moving and it never felt frustrating. Adelaide traffic made me think bad thoughts. It was a holiday, though, so that might have something to do with it.
We ended up at Sandra and Andy's where Sheba had a good cleanup and lookover. One of her air intake grills flew off and hit me on the Nullabor so she looked like she was squinting one eye. And after the 60km detour, her tyres took a much greater beating than planned and her wear bar was showing. Andy carefully crafted a brand new grill by hand, checked the chain, bled the brakes, and put on a new rear shoe for her and didn't charge labour. She came out sparkling and happy. Side note: I can't believe they have a tyre changing machine in their garage. Andy built the house by himself, so that tells you something about this couple. They are a couple of legends is what they are.
We then headed to the city itself to get a good look at Perth from within. Sandra's friend Deb decided to join the action and it was the most epic entry I've ever seen. We were riding down a main road and Sandra starts waving into the general distance. 300m later, a GSXF650 comes out of nowhere, crosses two lanes of traffic, and joins us - all in one smooth movement. It was magical.
We walked around Elizabeth Quay to the new tiny waterpark for a mini expedition, then Kings Park to enjoy the sun setting over the skyline. All of my GoPro equipment was stored in my Ashvault Backpack so I never needed to open the Kriega bags. Even on a public holiday, Perth wasn't crowded and the people were exceptional to one another. This city doesn't come with the arrogance that comes with being situated on a beautiful coastline. It's humble yet full of life.
We then finally made our way North to have dinner with another group of riders at Alfred's massive home. I'm pretty sure you could fit horses in it. Being introverted as hell, I'm never up for big parties so I was reluctant at first. When I arrived, I met about a dozen nearly seated and smiling riders who rode anything under the sun.
My insecurities dropped immediately and it ended up being the best night of the trip. I felt like I was home again. Alfred also managed to secure an oil filter and oil for Sheba as a sponsorship from Joondalup Motorcycles. That saved a whole lot of funds for petrol and food and I'm very grateful to Alfred for setting this up.
If you're ever in Perth, have these people take care of you, no matter what you ride.
It was getting late so my hosts for the evening, Rod and Tracy, lead me back to theirs - but not before shouting my petrol along the way. "It's the little things", he says. Few words are truer.
The world is a tiny place. Traveling will make you realize this quickly. It turns out that Rod and Tracy have two daughters who are now living in Vancouver, and one of them literally works with my youngest sister at a restaurant. The chances of that happening just made me feel even more like I was in the right place tonight. Indeed, I very much am. Their house was beautiful and was the biggest contrast to the other places I've been staying in thus far.
People here were out to have a great time and had a genuine love for riding. Passions do bring people together.
Perth, you're a treasure. I will be back.