South from Perth

Obviously, I set off late. Always do. Timekeeping is just not a thing I hold enough commitment to. I hate being late, but am still working on the part of my brain that allows me to rationalise and organise my life in the preceding hours that lead to me actually being late. 

So, later in the afternoon than planned, I said a teary farewell to Mr Carter, and got all of 5 minutes down the road, when I got caught up in conversation with a man who runs the Ducati Owners Club of Western Australia. We had a good chat, he said I was living the dream, told me some good stories about riding his Moto Guzzi Le Mans down awesome dirt roads at awesome speeds, gave me some good tips about where to go, and then I had to run (or ride), as I was now even further behind schedule. I did also get a free sticker, which is currently on my left pannier.

So trucking down the road, sun getting lower, definitely no chance of making it to where I’d planned, near all the good beaches and camping spots. Defeated by my lack of time keeping, once again.

Once it properly started to get dark, I pulled off the main road, and started looking for a small corner of somewhere quiet to make myself scarce and sleep. Down a suitably random and disused dirt track, I happened upon the perfect set of trees from which I could sling a hammock, tuck my bike under, and bed down without much worry of disturbance. At times like this, being unfamiliar with the locality and unaware of any other context my impromptu camp could be disturbing (from farming to drug dealing), I’m always reluctant to pitch a tent, as I feel quite vulnerable and disconnected from the world. A hammock, therefore, is perfect.

Only issue was, I didn’t have a hammock with me. Still on my ‘to buy’ list. Luckily I love a bit of improvisation.

Nothing Mike Carter’s old army days tarpaulin and a bit of line couldn’t make happen. Pretty snug for the night, the distance rumble of trucks lulled me to sleep. Big lesson learnt that night: Never camp near a steep downhill corner on a freeway, as every time the road-trains slow down for it they drop a gear or two, and create a huge amount of engine and exhaust noise in doing so!

Big porridge for breakfast was just the ticket, and camp packed up early, I was back on the road going South again.


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