A baptism of fire! riding my KTM 640 dirt bike to Cape York at the Northern tip of Australia. Mark my partner rode his F650 800 BMW, however I was grateful to be riding the KTM (that I had borrowed from him) as it had a lot of instant power to get me out of strife. I had only done about 50km on dirt before this trip through the the back of Tumbarumba NSW Snowy mountains, and Cape York was my bright idea!! like most things I say “lets do this…. Mark makes it happen and before I can understand the reality of what I have created, my excitement, and there I am, riding the bike and reality bites!… but fun fun fun with lots of oooh… and bum clenching moments, is a way I would describe this trip, fun so much fun, was this 6 weeks of red dirt and most excellent experiences.
This trip was a fly by the seat of your pants trip because every day was so very different, ever day brought new challenges and new terrain and a new sense of survival or maybe more self preservation! a few ego breaking moments, thankfully with out broken bones, then back on the bike ready to tackle the rest of the journey. However, it did make me aware of the brave souls that ventured up to the Cape on foot following the Gold rush or their thirst for discovery. I felt my heart go out to these amazing brave people, discovers that were fighting for survival every moment with every breath.
I really had to laugh at the beginning of our journey when we bumped into 20 blokes on Postie bikes when we stopped at a road side place on the way up to the Cape and I was very surprised to hear they had just come back from the Cape! I stood there in amazement! Very funny boys, a bunch of uni students who decided they would do the trip for Charity fund raiser, and they came back with only a few broken things but spirits were high. I had the adventure ahead of me but I had a machine that was very capable I just had to hang on, and move my body to the position that would keep me upright and to add power when I needed it. However we had 1000km of Black top to go, before we got to the dirt, so having the nobblies on the KTM was a little uncomfortable but I got use to it after the vibration got to the bone.
I think I could have spent another 3 months exploring the Cape, it was so diverse and a really fabulous people, places, Islands and extraordinary history that humbles me. I was reading a wonderful book on the history up there while we were camping in our swags, we would sit around the fire place talking about the country side around us, that was so hostile for the first discovers of this land and the daily threat they came under and there will to push on in such unforgiving country.
For us having all that horse power beneath us it was just a mater of hang on and enjoy the ride. I always laugh when people say puffing their chest to that they did the cape, because those individuals that really did do the Cape back at the turn of last century, they were lucky to survive the it. However in saying that, sad news came via the bush telegraph that 2 blokes were killed on there motor bikes up there while we were there, when they got hit head on by their backup crew in a 4 wheel drive, that was a very sad thing to happen, a very sad day indeed.
What a ride and what a wonderful feeling having made it to the tip of Australia, I felt very much at home in the red dust, it reminded me of Darwin and the NT where I was bought up and I wanted to just keep on going.
We made it back in one piece but the bikes had a good workout and we are still finding red dust on them. We carried our own gear with out a back up crew like most people on bikes had and their are things we could have done differently but all in all it was a great way to learn to ride on dirt, in sand and tackle bull dust!
Happy adventures and stay upright.