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Views from adventure motorcycle tours

Belinda & Patrick Peck
Dale Thornton
David Sheppard
Frank Tabor
Jason Homewood
Jacques Klopper
Joe Barker
John Clarke
Kenny Wickstrom
Punky and Lews
Roger Hogg
Ralf & Eva
Simon Milward


A long weekend with a boxer

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......Being our first evening under canvas (I should really say nylon or polyester) for a while, we figured it would be a long restless night and neither of us would get much sleep. If most campers are like me I reckon it takes the human body over a week to adapt itself to the hard ground. With a bit of luck it will develop dead zones or calluses in certain places where sticks and rocks protrude through the thin barrier that separates we hardy campers from mother earth. To make things a little more bearable BH suggested we seek out the local watering hole, which turned out to be the Guilderton Country Club. So, for the next few hours we consumed a few intoxicating beverages before wobbling from the premises at close to midnight. With torch in hand we slowly headed back to our tiny home on the sand.

It must have been the first light of dawn or the excruciating pain that woke me the following morning. Whatever, I discovered I was curled in a fetal position and pressed firmly against the base wall of our tiny tent along with crash helmets, shoes, smelly socks and a swag of other paraphernalia that had rolled down with me. "Ahhh!" I groaned, attempting to move my stiff deadened limbs. But the sudden blood circulation sent a horrible tingling through my extremities as I tried to bring them to life. When I could move my head I noticed BH had come off better than me, at least she'd only slid half way to the bottom of the tent. Next time I camp on an incline I'll make sure the slippery silver side of my space age ground sheet is facing down. Better still, I'll put it under the tent where it should have been in the first place.

We finally made it out of the tent thirty minutes later, both of us crawling on all fours, before partially walking to the closest tree so we could pull ourselves vertical. It was then I realized how uncomfortable it must be for apes. I'd walked like one for only a few meters and my knuckles where already scraped. After a warm shower and a 200-metre walk to the caf�, we consumed a large pot of hot tea and felt somewhat revived. With a full day ahead of us, we decided to put on the gear and ride the 30 plus klm's up the coast to Lancelin.

It was amazing to see how many white crosses have sprung up beside the main highway over the past few years, each one marking the spot where a fatal accident occurred. Some have taken on the appearance of small shrines, complete with pieces of marble, plastic flowers, statues, toys and even framed photographs. The strange thing is some are on nice straight stretches of road, the last place you'd expect someone to have an accident. It certainly makes you think about your speed when you see one. I glanced down at the speedometer after passing a cluster of three and noticed we'd slipped above 128 km/h even though it felt like we where only doing around 90.

Lancelin, like Moore River was busy with weekend tourist and it was time for us to make a decision. Should we follow the crowd and spend the day flogging the Beemer up and down the sand dunes while sweating our guts out in 36 C heat? Or, enjoy a quite lunch while looking at the pristine turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It was a hard choice, but like I said, we can always do the sand dunes another day.

During lunch I asked the waitress about the Lancelin classic. It's a world-class wind surfing race that's held every year. I knew it was sometime in January but I couldn't remember the exact date. "You've missed it," she informed me. "It's the best few days of the year; everyone in town parties on, it's fantastic!" She said, grinning from ear to ear. Her grin then turned to a frown. "Stay away from New Years Eve up here though," she said. "All the locals stay home; the place gets filled with every hoone and moron from Perth to Wanneroo. There's some real arseholes show up."

"That's handy too know," I said, as if I'd actually been considering such trip.

We finished our food then went for a walk along the beach. After checking out the Cray fishing boats moored along the shore we headed back towards the Beemer.

It was strange to see an increasing number of pretentious new houses springing up along the oceanfront. In a small quaint fishing town like Lancelin, these large two story creations seem out of place amongst the more humble dwellings. On our way out of town we stopped at the small general store and picked up some snags and makings for a barbeque. It was one of those places you only find once in a blue moon. The building was one of the oldest in town, but it had character, was nicely painted, and the staff were friendly and helpful. I guess its what's known as good old-fashioned service.

We arrived back at the campsite after stopping for a quick look around Ledge Point, a small settlement half way between Lancelin and Guilderton. It was too early to start the barbeque, a long time from sunset, and way too hot for hanging around the tent. "What about going for a swim?" BH suggested. "Na! I'd rather go to the beach later. Let's take a ride and check out the lighthouse, it's a couple of years since we've seen it. Maybe something's changed out there."

Hopping on the Beemer again we rode the short distance through the back streets of town towards the old lighthouse. After passing the last house the bitumen ended and the road became a rough limestone track, starting at the base of a steep hill that leveled out after some 400 meters. About half way up the incline, on what appeared to be reasonably solid ground, (at least through my sweaty sunglasses) the Beemers front wheel dropped down sharply. It had fallen into a small crater, camouflaged by a filling of limestone dust with the consistency of talcum powder. A quick twist of the throttle easily brought the front wheel up and out at the other side. Unfortunately the rear wheel decided to stay put, sending a cloud of dust fishtailing out of the crater. I tried again, this time the tyre found a split second of grip, but instead of propelling us forward it slewed the bike sideways and we stopped dead. I slammed my right foot down to catch the weight and my Doc Martin boot half disappeared in the dust. By now the Beemer was on a 50-degree angle with the front end pointing towards the sun .I threshed about with my left foot, hoping it would make contact with ground. It was all to no avail, all it found was fresh air .At this point I was holding up around 240klg of motorcycle, plus an unmentionable amount of pillion weight, all with one leg. I glanced back through the corner of my eye, and to my amazement, I saw that BH was still sitting perfectly in place on the pillion with both feet firmly on the foot pegs. My eyeballs where preparing to migrate from their sockets and my heart felt like a jackhammer, not to mention my Doc Martin had all but disappeared from view. "Put your fu###***##!!!ing leg down," I gasped in a high pitched voice as my hernia started to strangle itself ."You want me to get off here?" she asked in a casual manner as the Beemer eased its way over to 60 degree's. "Yeah! For fu###***## sake, do something," I squawked hoarsely with tears of pain streaming down my face. A lesser man, or maybe someone with a brain would have let the thing drop long ago. But being stubborn, determined and stupid, I held on. There was no way I was going to scratch that nice alloy rocker cover or the shiny silver paintwork. When hope of recovery had all but faded, half the burden suddenly disappeared as BH stepped off the seat. With the instant weight reduction I managed to haul the bike back to a vertical position and recompose myself. Giving the engine some throttle, I dropped the clutch and like a jackrabbit, the Beemer shot out of the crater and left BH choking in dust. Two minutes later we casually rode away as if nothing had happened, just incase someone had been watching our embarrassing moment.

The lighthouse was exactly where it had been before and it was still the same color, a sort of rusty brown; nothing at all had changed. We rode around the car park a couple of times, stopped, looked at the beach and then took some video footage before heading home. Back at the tent, I asked BH why she hadn't put her foot down or jumped off the bike when we dropped in the hole. "I didn't know! I'm not an experienced pillion." I bit my tongue. "No dear, I completely understand, after all, you've only been riding for five or six years," I thought to myself. Anyway, it was time to cool off and take that well deserved swim in the ocean. Later we fired up the barbeque on the shoreline, watched a fantastic sunset while drinking a bottle of red, and then walked to the country club to finish off another pleasant day.

Like the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and sure enough, our second night in the tent was much better. We obviously had the mix of tiredness and alcohol j about right. Plus, we repositioned ourselves in the tent and left some of the less valuable items outside, like boots, sharp dangerous objects and my crash helmet. BH kept hers inside because it was brand new and shiny. The following morning we woke around 9.0am, and surprisingly both of us managed to stand up straight immediately after crawling from the tent. After a shower and a quick cup of tea at the caf�, we hurriedly decamped and reloaded the Beemer to make the 10am check out. The morning sun already had quite a bite to it as I passed under the boom gate for the last time. BH took the keys to the office while I waited out on the road ready to go. Five minutes passed, then ten, as I sat baking in the sun with no shade. I parked the bike and took off my helmet, gloves and jacket then walked across to a shady tree and sat down. What's taking so long I wondered as she appeared from the office and started walking in circles looking confused? I walked over to see what was happening. "I can't find one of my gloves, I was carrying it in my pocket and its disappeared." "Did you leave it in the office?" I enquired. She never answered and started heading back through the campsite scouring the ground as she went. Five minutes later she reappeared carrying her helmet and two gloves, but by now she was hot and sweaty. "Where did you find it?" "Oh, it was laying on the ground back at the tent site," she gasped. I didn't answer; I quickly put my gear back on and started the bike as she dragged herself on the back. I set off at a quick pace to get some cooling wind around her before she expired from heat exhaustion. Ah, the therapeutic value of a moving motorcycling I thought as we hit the110km/h mark on the hwy. Already the beads of sweat where evaporating from the inside of her visor and I could see her face again.

Stopping to take a few video shots at the Moore River turnoff we noticed there was an ever-increasing flow of vehicles. It seemed every man and his dog had decided to head south on the Lancelin road at the same time of day. Originally I'd planned to go that way home myself, mainly to catch the afternoon sea breeze rather than a change of scenery. Personally I'd rather ride a motorcycle 100 quite country kilometers than10 ten on a busy city road. With that in mind I decided to head back the way we came with a lunch stop in Gingin, after all we were in no great rush to get home. One problem with riding in this direction, especially around noon on a summer's day, we were traveling directly into the hot easterly wind and the temperature was about 37 C in the shade. It was then I wished I'd stuck to the coast road with the cooling breezes and endured the traffic. Not to worry I thought, we'll be in Gingin in no time, then we can sip an icy cold drink and sit in the shade of one of the giant gum trees next to the river. Like I said, we arrived in town in no time at all. The downside was, not one eatery was open, just the hardware store. Like us, it seemed everyone had left town for the long weekend.

Climbing back in the saddle we headed further eastward and into the tiny town of Bindoon.This time we lucked out. The small roadside bakery was open and they had plenty of delicious goodies as well as drinks. So for the next half hour we sat in the shade of the veranda watching people coming and going, including a couple of fellow motorcyclists. A place like this must be a goldmine, I thought. Maybe I'll quit work and buy myself a country bakery. With thirsts quenched and stomachs full I fired up the Beemer and we headed for home.

On the very last leg of our journey a strange thing happened .As we reached Upper Swan the fuel light came on at almost the same distance from Gingers Roadhouse, just as it had when we set out. Talk about d�j� vu! It took exactly the same 19.5 liters and cost $18.20 to fill the tank. Now I know I'm a tight wad, but even in my books, that's not a bad price to pay for a weekend of sheer pleasure.

Joe Barker



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