Day 8: Perth to Cervantes
Distance: 320 km including riding through the city
Temp: 20°C to 37°C
I decided that at some point in this trip I need a sleep in day. Funny enough, I always wake up enthusastic about life and where it'll take me next. So, I haven't slept very well since leaving Melbourne. But the bed at Rod and Tracy's was a close second to mine in Southbank, and that's saying a lot. It was hard to escape it once I was in it, my lord it was the comfiest bed ever. So we had the latest start of the trip at 11am , but at least I stayed in one place long enough to catch up on blogging.
Right off the bat, Brian (a rider we met last night) graciously came over to Rod's with tools for an oil filter change. Another note to self: bring tools for an oil filter change next trip. Ironically I was ill equipped for such a simple task, though I wasn't planning to do my own changes for this trip anyway. Without a centre stand it also makes it hard to access the filter but we got there in the end. Sheba was feeling pretty much brand new by the time she left Perth thanks to all the work done by Andy, Rod, Brian and Alfred. Riding brings very cool people together.
With Alfred joining us, we set off through suburban Perth, putting around dozens of roundabouts and finding cool spots to take photos. Sheba had her gear off and felt light as a feather, though U-turns remain my nemesis. Perth has a very long coastline and there is a passive tourist road that leads all the way down. It felt like Beach Road in Melbourne, without the dodgy drivers from St Kilda. The sun was beaming down, so we made sure to keep moving to prevent overheating. Alfred seemed to know exactly where to go, so Sheba ended up with some of the best shots she's ever had. She even went on some fishing docks. Magic.
You meet the most amazing people while traveling, and today was no different.
After a legthy repacking, I was on my way to Cervantes, a small fishing town just 2 hours North of Perth. But because we were in the sun all day and I didn't drink enough water, I had a banging headache the whole way and just wanted to sleep. Arriving at a caravan park with one eye open, I finally plunked down on the hard and sandy patch of grass and began pitching my tent. This was my first time ever pitching this tent. I've vaguely done it in my apartment, but the ground was rock hard and I couldn't put the pegs in.
Someone once told me if I were to get into trouble, look for the grey nomads. I scanned the park and found a Chinese family in a circus sized tent, a young couple in an SUV, teens in a hot pink van, and bingo. Retirees in lawn chairs sitting in front of their RV.
I walked up to them with a smile and greeted myself to Das and Diane. They brought along a mallet and within minutes the tent was up and running. It was pegged in so deep that I could survive a drop bear attack anytime. Changing out of sweaty Kevlar jeans is a task in an open area, let alone inside a tent. My friend Campbell loaned this tent to me and I'm thankful he did, or I'd be finding a way to sleep on Sheba's tank for the night. After finally getting the jeans off and almost punching myself in the jaw, the smell of my jeans after 8 days of riding in hot weather put my nostrils into a chokehold. i unzipped the tent and tossed it as far as I could so not to make a permanent stench within Campbell's tent.
Pantless, I also realized I was out of underwear and hadn't had a chance to wash them because let's face it. People would probably give a damn if you washed your underpants in their sink, and hostel people do have standards (low, but they're there).
I quickly threw on some shorts, had a shower and a couple cans of tuna, laid out a sleeping bag and mat, and passed out at 8pm.
In the middle of the night I awoke to the sound of rummaging. Sleeping beside your bike makes you paranoid so I turned my headlamp on and peeked outside at my bike. Sheba was happily snoozing away, covered in dew from the moist 3am air. Then I heard something that sounded like a screech... and still wearing my headlamp, I looked up.
All at once, the stars disappeared and a black sheath covered the sky. As it turns out, I woke some bats up. Hundreds. Of. Bats. My guess is that some birds were up there and saw the light, reacted to it, and caused a chain reaction... resulting in a furious flutter of wings of different species flapping together in the air. Through squinted eyes I stared at the chaos for a bit and watched them return to their tree. The rest of my sleep has been forfeited.
I laid on my back in silence with my hands behind my head and my legs crossed. I get pretty spiritual when left alone and these 8 days have had a compounded effect. I don't know where I'm going, but I have confidence it's in the right direction.