Sand and stars

Back on the road, it was time to tear up some tarmac through the expansive and endless forests of WA, and eat some more red dust.

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The large range of Jarrah and Karri trees that encompass much of the South West corner of Australia make for some stunning scenery to ride through. Good tarmac runs through the main swath of the country, with numerous dirt roads offering hundreds of kilometres of detours and varied riding is plentiful.

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Taking any turning down a track almost inescapably led to a new bit wonder discovered, and any turning right off the main road ended up at the Indian Ocean.

Cosy Corner was one such wonder, and I found myself on a completely deserted stretch of idyllic sand and sea. It seemed rude not to fully appreciate it, so motorbike leathers were stripped off, and I was in the Indian Ocean. This was quite enjoyable until I remembered the whole ‘shark’ thing, and decided that swimming by myself could possibly be seen as irresponsible (not like me at all), so I went for a run down the length of the beach instead to stretch out motorbike weary limbs, and dried off in the sun for half an hour while having lunch.

Fed and stretched, Cape Leeuwin was the next stop, and again I forfeited the tarmac for the red dust option. Motorbike leathers look much better covered in red dust anyway…

Time marching on, and having spent far too much time taking in the view, snapping photos, and messing around with beaches and motorbikes, the idea of finding somewhere nice to camp seemed well worth thinking about. A quick blast through Augusta and a coffee stop nearby led to an amusing conversation with two locals also on motorbikes. They were very concerned at the idea of a Englishman riding a motorbike through their forests, and impressed upon me the dangers of doing so, and the potential injury risks of falling off. I had to try hard not to smile when I was told the roads were very busy at this time of year, as the concept of a ‘busy’ Australian country road seems funny when you’ve spent 7 years riding motorbikes in a city that alone has double the population of the entirely of Western Australia. Pep talk complete, they got on their bikes, and rode off in their shorts and t-shirts. I walked back to my bike, sweating through my full leathers, boots and gloves, feeling rather quite safe in comparison.

Some map routing complete, I’d chosen a campsite on the south coast at the end of a network of trails that ran through a national park, and some other bits of bush. This all looked like a really good idea on paper (always does), until I was faced with many kilometres of tricky sand riding, some dead ends with a large river in the way, and a rapidly approaching dusk. I did however, find Scott National Park. Obviously named after myself, in anticipation of my visit one day, it was great to finally see it. A couple more occurrences of me wilfully flinging Dylan down the track slowed progress, and the sun was fast disappearing, as were my hopes of reaching a campsite before dark.

Sun down, but still light, the roos were out in force, and every time I got a good bit of speed up, one would stick his or her little furry head out from the hedge, just to remind me that at any moment, they or their relations could decide to kamikaze hop themselves in front of my trusty steed, sacrificing themselves in their never-ending pursuit of smashing motorcyclists down the road and into the scrub. This inevitably led to lower and lower motorbiking confidence, which led to lower and lower speeds, which led to slower and slower progress.

When the trail turned into thick sand, and my headlight started to become an ever more noticeable glow on the track in front, I decided it was time to make a tactical retreat from the plan, and retire to a small information station that provided a roof and two walls. Slightly too small to comfortably sling a hammock, but shelter nonetheless, my uncomfortable hammock was up and and dinner cooked as the moon came up. Another beautiful starry night provided the backdrop for my fitful sleep, with only the noises of the bush and creatures within to alternately lull me to sleep and wake me up in panic minutes later. It sure was pretty though.

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