Day 9: Cervantes to Denham - The Pinnacles Desert - Flying Solo Gear Company

Day 9: Cervantes to Denham - The Pinnacles Desert

Posted by Amanda Chan on

  • Distance: 630km
  • Dep: 6am
  • Arr: 3pm
  • Temp: 18-42°C
Pinnacles desert 

There's something cozy abut waking up in a tent, regardless of whether or not there are hundreds of flying rodents around you or if every zipper sound creeps you out. I think it's because all of my possessions are inside the tent too, and it seems more secure that way even though this is the first time I didn't have a locked door. Sheba is a literal arm's length away.

I was up at 3am (see the previous post) so I laid and thought philosophical thoughts for a while before starting to pack up. The sun started to rise earlier and faster than I thought, and if my goal was to get to the Pinnacles for sunrise, I had to get this tent down and on my bike at the speed of light (pun intended).

Everything was dandy until it came to pulling out the pegs. The usual twist and shout/pull method didn't work with this solid ground and hammered pegs. Afterall, they used a mallet to get the pegs into the ground. I used another peg to hook on and grip but to no avail. I was still in my shorts and sweating up a storm in the cool 18°C morning, similar to the morning in Madura. Cue short Asian woman in shorts and motorcycle boots battling a small metal peg in the ground. It was still pitch black so rolling up sleeping bags and hooking tailbags properly became even more difficult.

When I finally got all the cargo sorted, it was light enough to see. I sped out of the campgrounds and found myself in a dense fog all the way to the Pinnacles Desert (10km South). I hate back tracking, but I dislike crowds even more, and I knew most would go for the sunset and none for the sunrise. I was correct and found myself amidst what seemed like hundreds of rocky anthills scattered over sandy slopes with not a single human in sight.

Pinnacles desert

The sun just broke over the horizon when I pulled into the desert. I hadn't read anywhere that it was going to be a sand road. For some reason I thought it was a parking lot and people simply got out of their cars and walked around. Alas, this brought back haunting gravel detour memories, especially because I can't reach the ground and can't save myself if we go over.

The entire trip around The Pinnacles Desert was sand. Soft, beachy sand. The type that people like to sunbathe on. Nevertheless, we faced our fears once more. Keeping a steady 7000rpm and gently touching the rear brake as needed, Sheba waltzed through the path like it was smooth asphalt. Go Sheba! Go rear brake!

We made it out alive and well, then it was time to keep going North! We couldn't shake the fog for 80km all the way up to Leeman. So I pulled into a servo for a meat pie and watched a news program of a girl who solo traveled to every country in the world. I thought to myself, that will be me one day.

With full tummies for us both, we set off again sans-fog. Starting a ride early means having a Goldilocks temperature at some point, and that's when the best riding happens. That beautiful temperature is what I pretty much live for. Ah, that blissful half-hour of perfect riding. Of course, in Australia, what goes up must go to the extreme, so by the time I reached Billabong, it was 42°C. I could feel it penetrate my soul through 150kph winds blasting hot air into my chest. I was still in my leather jacket. I stayed in Billabong for an hour cooling down with an iced coffee then hit the road yet again.

The Billabong Roadhouse featured a wall of photos of tattoos and piercings.

Billabong roadhouse 

This time, it was a 1:45hr ride straight to Denham - a small resort town 120km off the main highway. That means you have to leave the highway and drive for an hour to get to this town. That in mind, alongside accomodation issues in Port Douglas for my birthday, I had to stay an extra night somewhere. Might as well spend two nights here to try to see some dolphins!

I'm glad I have a proper bed for these two days so I could sleep well, recover, and reset all my gear. Riding teaches you about maintenance. If you don't take care of your things, it will return to haunt you.



← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Sheba Rides Australia

Fuel Costs for Sheba Rides Australia - Flying Solo Gear Company

Fuel Costs for Sheba Rides Australia

Amanda Chan
By Amanda Chan

Fuel is one of the top concerns for traveling Australia. Run out of fuel and you will find yourself in hot water quickly. Being new...

Read more
Day 40: Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra - The Final Adventure - Flying Solo Gear Company

Day 40: Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra - The Final Adventure

Amanda Chan
By Amanda Chan

Distance: 990km Dep: 530am Arr: 630pm at Broadford, 8pm back home Riding is the greatest escape. Anyone who spends most of their time on two...

Read more