For 12 days Dave rode at a trailblazing pace, covering an average of 450 kilometres a day to visit some of Queensland’s most westerly points. He did this every day, for 12 days, in the saddle of his only companion – his trusty KLX400.
Setting off from his home base here on the Gold Coast, Dave rode like the wind to complete his first 500+ km day-journey, arriving in Roma late afternoon. And as can be expected but certainly never wished upon, first day in and the first problem arose. Fuel mileage calculations turned out to be very different when fully loaded. Dave reported he was traveling at 30% less range than expected which was a serious cause for concern. The questions began to spin, how on earth will he have enough fuel to make it to places such as Haddon and Poeppel Corner? While Dave was left to ponder his fuel predicament on his first night, we all sat comfortably at home and wondered… What will the bike man do??
The second day he reached Charleville where a fresh set of pre-organized tyres awaited him and a new photo showed up where his Kawi donned an extra fuel tank. Brilliant. On his next stint, Dave battled headwinds of up to 70 kms between Charleville and Windorah. He reported it as one of the hardest day’s riding he’s ever had. Sheesh, that’s only day 3.
On day four Dave rode from Windorah to Haddon Corner.
Haddon Corner is the most north-easterly point of the South Australian border and where it converges with Queensland. Not only was this a 440 km round trip, but it was mostly off-road and through thick desert sand. Yet, at the end of it all, a very happy but tired man stated that the whole trip “was worth every moment just for today’s ride”.
Day five was another 440 km trip from Windorah to Birdsville with some occasional stops to really take in the great Australian landscape.
It was through here that being isolated and alone really began to hit home. The temperatures would drop to below zero at night and soar to above thirty during the day, he would travel for hours on end with nothing but straight red roads and never pass another soul. Fear of breaking down and becoming stuck quite literally in the middle of nowhere started to rear its ugly head, however a man’s courage to see a plan through continued to prevail, and the bike man kept on ploughing.
In response to being told Birdsville to Poeppel corner was not possible in a day trip, Dave said “pppffffftttttt” and pinned the throttle on his KLX400 for a 340 km round loop through the Simpson Desert, all to reach a plaque that signifies the point at which South Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland meet. After 7.5 hours in the saddle and riding over 270 gruelling sand hills – one being “Big Red”, the largest and most famous sand dune in the Simpson Desert – a very proud man said “The single best day on a motorcycle in all my 60 years”.
Then straight to the pub…
From Birdsville to Boulia (380 km) to Winton (700 km), David slowed the pace to allow his body some reprieve after a hard and fast week. At the end of 7 days Dave’s bike mileage clocked approximately 3,500 km’s.
As he geared himself for more of the journey, that Aussie mateship was loud and proud as a fellow motorcycle racer China Lenton and the crew at Central Motors Winton lent Dave some space to service his bike.
With messages home stating in no fewer words than “If I go to Cape York I’ll be needing an arse transplant” Dave began to cut east. From Winton to Emerald, he traveled the Capricorn Highway and stopped at Kroombit Tops National Park, where he came across a crashed B24 that had laid undiscovered until 1999. The aircraft – named Beautiful Betsy – carried a total of 8 Allied forces soldiers during the second world war and was said to have crashed in 1945. The Bomber was undiscovered for over 50 years, now her remains lay in the final resting place with stories of her life and of those on board during their final flight. To reach this area Dave rode 700 km’s that day, of which 300 km was solely dirt.
From Kroombit Tops National Park he rode another 100 km’s to Monto where despite searching, all accommodation of any sort was booked out. With one final night left to enjoy, David dusted off his tent he had been lugging around, pitched it on the side of the road and slept. He woke early the next day, made breakfast and rode his final 450 km day all the way back to Stella Systems.
Here we get to see the face of a man leaving for an adventure he had been waiting 3 years for, and on the right he returns with a broken bike frame, 3 bulging discs and an album full of hundreds of photos and stories to last a life time.
Back to work 2 weeks early, we here at Stella sure are glad to have him back. When you see him out next, throw in a couple details about the trip, no doubt he’ll be up for a yarn.