Day 15: Live update: Odometer 54383km. Across the desolate plains, roaming the night. I will see you very soon, Darwin!
Generally, morning preparations before hit the road would take me about an hour and a half. This includes personal hygiene, packing up the luggage, gearing up, and confirming and reconfirming that I haven’t left anything behind. The worst part of every morning before embarking on another day’s worth of riding is packing up all my luggage. This takes the bulk of my time and efforts in the morning.
It’s always a huge chore to tie up the mountains of bags on top of that narrow tail space. Although my custom-made luggage rack was first and foremost designed to accommodate the four Rotopax fuel and water packs, as well as the rear rack for the tent and tripod, I had overlooked the main area in which I would have to place the rest of my other things. Things that are needed for survival on the road, not just for a few days, but for a few weeks, were left out of my mind until the last week before commencing this big trip. What ensued with the luggage debacle resulted in the use of many velcro straps and bungee cords to secure all my belongings. A Ventura-style horizontal bar that attaches on the rearmost part of the top luggage rack would have made it easier to secure my luggage.
My next leg of the trip from here is Darwin. Before I left, I wanted to check out the rest of Broome. My original intent was to visit Matso’s Brewery up the road from the hostel, which I’ve been highly recommended to visit, but mornings aren’t usually the best time to go and have a taste of a range of home-brewed beers and ciders. So, with the sparse time that I had left, I went for another ride through the beautiful Cable Beach. It would have been lovely to have stayed another day, but an extra day in the same town is against my road-tripping’ antics. I’d rather spend that day at a different new place.
As planned, I went in for my new tyre at a Kawasaki dealership mechanic on the outskirts of Broome to replace my totalled rear Scorpion Trail. My choice of tyre was the Michelin Pilot Road 4, offered at the size of 180/55. Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain a larger size as this one was pretty much the only one available. However, at this point I cared more about tyre life than anything else, and a slightly narrower profile won’t pose any real side effects on the straight outback roads. With up to 10000 kilometres left to my whole journey, it’s almost guaranteed that this tyre will be able to take me back home to the other side of this massive country.
As soon as the rear rim was shod with new rubber, I was immediately on my way! The evening before at the hostel, I had met with a young German backpacker and her friends in their battered Magna wagon, and they were going to be travelling on the same route as I am to Darwin. My intention was to follow them all the way to Darwin, mainly because I had not fully researched this section of the journey as much as I should, so I was rather apprehensive of the potential things that might happen in the case of a crappy situation. If I were to go face to face against death, I’d rather not be alone in a fight. The movie Wolf Creek, sections of which were filmed near Halls Creek, springs to mind.
One hour into my trip out of town from Broome, I just had to stop and take a break. The intensity of the Summer-esque heat was crippling my will to continue without continual hydration. Being on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, the ‘desert’ part of its name is not designated as a novelty. This is a real desert, and that means it’s damn dry, dusty and bloody hot. Temperatures showing 41°C on the onboard ambient temperature gauge on the dashboard, I had to make good use of my water resources from the 7.5L water tank and ensure that my supply was sufficient for me to last the next drinking water refill point.
Thanks to the club event from last night at Broome, I couldn’t get enough sleep to fully recover from that, as well as from the many hundreds of kilometres travelled that day. My tiredness worsened the effects of the outback heat. I was so worn out, that at one point I did not realise that I was snapping up photos that were completely out of focus.
The heat and lack of sleep contributed to a rapid development of fatigue, and it meant that I had to take many more frequent stops to avoid completely burning out. Eventually, I had to stop following the pace of the other travel mates in their car, and once again I was a lone traveller on the outback road.
As dusk grew, the landscape past Fitzroy Crossing transformed to rows of mesas that signalled the end of the daunting flat plains. The Kimberley is an isolated pocket of extreme arid wilderness of the northernmost part of Western Australia, untouched by globalisation’s helm on the spread of global culture. This place is as Outback Australia as you could possibly get, and it is precisely for this reason that the most avid of 4WD adventure seekers tour across this huge region.
The town of Halls Creek finally came into my sights as the night grew. This is pretty much the only town within a 300km radius. As mentioned before, the Australian outback horror movie Wolf Creek was filmed near this town at a meteorite impact point called Wolfe Creek Crater. The isolation of this town presents a very out-of-this-world atmosphere for the surrounding landscape whether that be a sensation that brings in an innate peace, or a spine-chilling eeriness.
Nevertheless, I was welcomed by a dozen young Aboriginal children, wowed at the sight of a bright-red motorbike in town. I was too tired to engage too much in a conversation with them. I filled up on fuel and donuts, while they touched my bike. I gave $10 to a kid. I felt okay at the situation. No photos of the turnout, though. To be frank, I had no idea about what I was doing, but I made it out.
I decided to turn back to return to the campsite that I had passed a while ago before arriving at Halls Creek. It was getting dark, and I didn’t have any accommodation planned in town. Going further ahead up the road for the next free camping area was going to be an overly-risky proposition. I felt that it was a good idea to ride back to the location where there indicated a free camping area, as though I had some sort of familiarity of the campsite just because I rode past it. What didn’t actually ring any bells in my head was that it was going to be a long 100kms. I did not realise initially that it was going to be a hell of a long way to go back.
On the way back, I just had to stop on the side of the road to marvel at the stars up the sky that glows over the otherwise pitch-black darkness of the night. It always amazes me how the universe above us is decorated with scattered dots of lights, like sugar crystals on a cinnamon donut.
Into the campsite with a thunderous arrival, waking up campers in the middle of the night, I try and set up my tent as discreetly as I could to avoid further pissing off the others. It’s been a massive day, having ridden almost 900km since leaving Broome earlier in the day. Now is the time to finally zone out, and under a starry night I will fall asleep..
Basic Statistics for the day:
- Route: Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek
- Total distance: 875km
- Range of temperature: 26°C to 41°C
Expenses for the day:
General map route: