After 4 days of relaxation and recovery in Broome, Peter and I took off towards Roebuck roadhouse. It was really easy due to tailwinds; 90 mins and we were in the pool. The journey waiting for us ahead was something else; 290kms of head/cross winds, limited shades and no water collection. By 6AM our wheels we already rolling. Easy first 50kms as the wind was on our side and sometimes from the back, but as soon as we veered left we were pushing hard against the wind. The last hour were particularly tough and we call it the day around 4PM. We agreed to wake up really early the next day to dodge most of the strong winds. At 2h30AM Peter was up; anxious old man. I slept an extra hour and by 5 we were rolling. A bit chilly, but no winds. Sunrise was colourful and warming us up quickly.
We were making a good time and by 9 we reached the first rest stop, about 60kms down the road. Then Pete started to have a funny stomach, not feeling so good. The cashew nuts were the culprit. We settled there for the day so Peter could get better. We chatted most of the afternoon away with Steve and Jacq, a well-travelled Aussie couple. They’ve just got back from a 3 and a half stint in China where Steve was working. There gracefully offered us dinner; beef stew with potatoes accompanied with parsnip and steamed veggies followed by a sweet pavlova for dessert; absolute delight. Peter’s stomach was getting better as the day went.
The next day we joined up with Ben and Chantele, a couple cycling around the continent to raise funds for Angel Flight and Neurosciense Research Australia. We were now a convoy of 4 on that tough stretch. By 9 AM, we clocked just under 60kms. We were doing really good progress, so we decided to have an early lunch (or a second breakfast Pete always says). After a snooze, we managed another 30kms and by 3PM we set up camp in a really good spot in the bush.
It was a great relief to reach sandfire roadhouse the following day. Me and Peter were picturing a couple of Swedish masseuses waiting for us at the roadhouse, ice creams and ice coffees in one hand, cold beers in the other. On arrival, we were greeted by 2 members of the Rebels Australia bikie gang, no ice cream, coffees or beers in hand for us.
While Peter and I rested the day at Sandfire RH, Ben and Chantele kicked off early morning. Since it was the day before full moon, we decided to ride towards 80 miles beach at sunset. It was a great ride as the wind was nearly inexistent and the temperature was cool.
Arriving at the van park by the beach, we were offered a beer by an aboriginal bloke called Lenny and an Italian couple named Valerio and Mia. We chatted a bit then were given dinner and another beer. Then we were told to pitch our tents on the green grass beside their cabin. The next morning we were greeted by Lenny’s older cousin, Ali. After exchanging a few words, we were offered breakfast. Through the discussion, we learned that Ali is quite an important figure amongst the aboriginals in the Pilbara region. About an hour later, we were offered to take the empty room in the cabin across the road where the Italian couple were staying. Peter and I were in shock; we just couldn’t believe this was happening.
While the family and the Italian couple were gone fishing, me and Peter enjoyed a relaxation day; reading, walk on the beach, writing the diary and drink coffee was all we cared about. After looking and photographing the most amazing sunset and moon rise (it was full moon), we all shared a dinner of freshly caught salmon and fresh salad. The next day, Peter and I planned to again ride at night towards Pardoo RH but the plan quickly chanced when we were offered a ride to Karratha followed by a tour of the region by Ali which included a ride into Karijini National Park. After a quick meeting pondering the options, we agreed to take the offer. Peter was happy.
So we set off early the next morning, fitting our bikes and the gear in the trailer. By the time we hit the road, the girls (Mia and Kathy, Ali’s wife) already had a glass of wine each; it was AFL’s preliminary finals night and since they were both Fremantle fans, the party was already on. We drank Coronas and wine most of the way towards Karratha, me sometimes chanting “Let’s go Sydney let’s go!” as the only Swans supporter in the mob. All the way, Ali was giving some insight about the land, his family or aboriginal history in general.
As promised, Ali showed us a few things around Karratha; several spectacular ocean views, rock carvings and a spot mostly known by aboriginals where we enjoyed kangaroo tail for lunch. This fest was unforgettable. After spending 4 memorable days in Karratha, it was time to go. Ali drove us through Millstream National Park, showing us where aboriginal communities are located and giving us various other insights about his native land. After having a few issues with the trailer carrying our bikes, we arrived in Tom Price late and ended up spending the night at Ali’s sister. The next morning we set off for Karijini National Park where we got dropped off. It was hard to say goodbye to Kathy and Ali after their amazing hospitality. After more than a week, we were back on the bikes.
Karijini’s colours are simply remarkable; dark red rocks covered by the light green of the spinifex and the intense white of the gum tress forms a landscape one never forgets. The gorges are deep and steep. Water is running all year round in them and the walks down into the abyss of the gorge are unforgettable. Going down Hancock gorge was great, the spider walk being good fun despite slipping and falling on the rocks once at Kermit pool. We spent the afternoon reading and relaxing in a section of the gorge nobody went to. The swimming hole in that spot was deep and crystal clear water, surrounding by these impressive red cliffs. Bliss.
I made it to Tom Price in a starving state. I got to Coles and bought a half cooked chicken, 2 bread buns, a 1 litre bottle of orange juice, an iced coffee and a snicker chocolate bar. Sitting outside and to amazed passers-by, I devoured the chicken bare hand along with a bun and drank the whole OJ bottle in less than 5 minutes. Not being able to move, I laid down on the bench and felt into a deep sleep. Waking up about 30 minutes later, the chocolate bar and the now warm iced coffee were consumed. My gut now about to explode, I rode towards the caravan park, pitched the tent, went for a swim then chatted the evening away with 4 Brazilians before heading to bed. Next destination, Coral Bay!