Day 17: Live update – Odometer 55750km. Darwin, your sandflies are beyond comprehension. They are worse than mozzies. But your beauty is all worth it. Officially, this means that my 1199 Panigale has visited every capital city in Australia! MyRandomLife247 is currently showing me around the city.. more to see tonight!
My journey had been a blessing in the past week to have been constantly offered with great weather. It’s the perfect way for me to invite myself on the land of logical speed limits that is the Northern Territory. The 130km/h highway speed limit, which is the norm on the flat and straight outback highways of the Northern Territory, makes the ride a much less tedious process. The sensation of a higher speed makes the journey on the highway a lot more engaging, and the trip becomes less fatiguing. Overall, it means that you are able to get to your destination, sooner and safer than it would be at a lower speed limit.
For the second time of this whole trip, my Telstra mobile reception failed to pick up any reception between the WA/NT border and Timber Creek. The first time being around De Grey, between Port Hedland and Broome. The stupid thing is that I did not carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with me throughout the trip, which meant that I was solely relying on my mobile phone for communication. Had I been left stranded in the middle of nowhere without reception, I would have no way out of my situation. If you decide to go on a trip like what I have done, take a PLB with you. With this device, commonly used by hikers, you would be able to send out a distress signal to emergency services, who will obtain your coordinates and try and find you. The cost of running the device is dependent on your location. It may save your life.
Katherine is a regional town on the Stuart Highway, with a population of under 7000 residents. This is the biggest town that you will approach as you travel towards Darwin via the WA/NT border on the Victoria Highway. Whereas the winter season is extremely dry, the summer season in the Katherine region becomes the centre of heavy rain, making the area a potential flooding zone.
Fatigue is the devil when travelling on the road. Managing the effects of fatigue becomes an increasing challenge when left untamed. Fatigue was gradually setting in, and managing my breaks were becoming a struggle. This is especially when the intense heat of the sun drains away the energy that would have been revived and retained in cooler conditions. When this happens, my motivation to capture interesting photos simply wane, and maintaining the pace of my journey becomes my sole priority. Those hundreds of kilometres are all logged up through consistent time management, and it takes serious commitment when you’re continuously repeating it, day after day, week after week.
As the Darwin region drew closer in my sights, the sun-baked landscape turned into a muggy cloudiness that formed a wall of haze. As I crept further into that haziness, I discovered that rain was the next dish in my course. But it wasn’t just rain, but a massive deluge of storms that threatened me to retreat back into the dry outback, as though Mother Nature refused to welcome visitors to her kingdom. Paying no further heed to nature’s attack, I brave through the density of it all. After all, rain has never directly hurt anybody.
After many minutes of rain, of what seemed like a lot longer, I made it to a service centre to dry up. Once I made it to the fringe of the Darwin metropolitan area, I was greeted by a particular Youtube Moto Vlogger who had been following my journey all the way from the very beginning. Below is the YouTube video of our time together in Darwin, published by MyRandomLife247 (He wishes to remain as an anonymous figure, so I’ll just refer to him as “Radz”). Just a warning that the content includes the use of coarse language. Cover your ears, all you dainty little souls.
I was extremely grateful for Radz’s company, and that he took the evening off to patiently guide me around the city of Darwin. He’s definitely made a huge difference to my journey, particularly because I was absolutely out of energy from the many long days on the saddle. The fact that I had misplaced one of my Rotopax tanks was a sure sign that I was on the knife edge of a likely micro-sleep occurrence. After visiting Charles Darwin National Park and the coastal town of Nightcliff, I had no choice but to call it a night so that I could avoid another fatigue-induced illness.
Although I was much too tired to explore as much as I had originally wanted for the evening in Darwin, what mattered in the end was that I had made a great friend with whom I will always keep in contact. Once again, a massive thanks to MyRandomLife247 for being the most friendly and approachable guy for my tired and restless self! Check out his Facebook, Instagram and YouTube page, where you can view his own riding experiences, as well as his bread-and-butter content; SMIDSY incidents, all caught on video!
Once I checked in to my hostel room at night, it was my private opportunity to meditate on the few photos and videos that I had taken for the day. It did not occur to me until some time, that this is it. I made it to the last Australian capital city to tick off from my bucket list of Panigale achievements. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and, now, Darwin.
The Panigale that’s visited every Australia capital city in Australia: a simple statement, yet it sets the bar in which a superbike of such calibre can attain in the realm of long-distance motorcycle touring. But this is not just any run-of-the-mill motorcycle, but one of a brand that has long traditionally been the standing joke of its competition for its extravagant servicing needs and unforgiving reliability credentials.
Despite everything that could have worked against it, this Panigale rejected conformance, and broke out of the chains of ridicule to prove that the modern Italian motorcycle can go much further than ever before. That’s without breaking down, or any special treatment given; I’d go on to say that it’s been senselessly abused and mercilessly desecrated, being ridden through rugged terrain and exposure to a huge variety of elements that a normal sport bike rider would never dare to touch. Through all its endeavours, the Panigale had and will still go on to conquer many more roads. For a Ducati, that’s a great big deal.
Basic Statistics for the day:
- Route: Timber Creek, Katherine, Darwin
- Total distance: 772km
- Range of temperature: 28°C to 39°C
Expenses for the day:
General map route: