Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ken and Helga go for a swim

Greetings all.
Well we woke this morning to the rain pouring down - we are in rainforest country anyway so that was to be expected.

The task today was today was to drive the 160kms or so from Port Douglas to Cooktown via Cape Tribulation. Needed to go on a ferry to get to the cape and then it was 4wd only country from there on for 35kms. Well 1wd sounds pretty much like 4wd and we had thought this would be a good test for the York Peninsula so we gave it a go.

Lets just say the rain didn't help. The clay road was pretty greasy and not a nice sensation to feel the rear wheel trying to overtake the front wheel. We had been warned that the first crossing would be tough as the creek base was made up of big stones. When we got there we climbed out and looked at the options. The smallest gravel line looked good but I was worried that it was too close to the weir so went for the line that was further from the weir but had bigger stones.

The creek was about 25 metres across so it was a bit of a challenge. Quite shallow though. About knee deep on me and about ankle deep on Dick. So I went first, got about 2/3 of the way across and hit a big stone that turned under the front wheel. We wobbled right, we wobbled left, we wobbled right again and then fell in. I went right under water, Helga was lying on her side with the water flowing right over the tank. Bugger!! Hit the kill switch as quickly as I could and then started stripping the bike. Tank bag, top box, left and right panniers and the rearseat pack dragged through the water and onto the far bank.

Then a voice ... "You guys want some help?" Ummmmm .... yes please. A family - husband wife (a primary teacher) and two kids had arrived and helped Dick and I get Helga upright and then dragged here heave after heave to the far bank. I tried a couple of times to get her started but huge squirts of water came out of the muffler. On the far bank, I left her to drain for a while and then hit the starter again. And again. Ummm and again and up she fired.

Rode on up the bank and then went back to help Dick - if he needed it. Dick took the line with the finer gravel close to the weir and while he had a few wobbles powered through beautifully and up onto the other side. Bugger and I was ready with the camera too!!! :-)

You would think everything else would be an anti-climax after that but .... oh no! Coming down Donovans Range was pure greasy clay and a really steep descent. We both went on tippy-toes and got down ok paddling the bike. Away we went - around the next corner and another crossing. This one with smaller stones but wide, thigh deep and a little swift. Yeah right.

No heroics this time - we both walked the bikes across sitting on the seat and paddling with the legs, keeping the revs up and inching our way across. All good!! Whew!!!

After that just a long gravel greasy ride in intermittent deluges of rain and into Cookstown. We are staying here tonight and drying out a bit. My topbox and RH Pannier are fine but everything in my LH pannier is soaked. Fortunately I had put my camera, phone and GPS in the topbox before going swimming so they are all good. I now need to do a major repack to put all my heavy tools and fluids and stuff which I have been carrying in the topbox, down a bit lower in the pannier bags.

Some tricky moments but now - two beers later - it all seems good. What a shame that the photo I took of the crocodile stalking Dick didn't come out.......


  1. What and no speedos!

  2. On our map there is a red line... I think its called a road. There is no red line from Pt D to Cookston. Could this be some of the problem?

  3. Keep the diary coming Ken. Pretty tough stuff you have elected to do. Rather you than me.

    Glad to see the Beemers are holding up well. Gareth Morgan's always seemed to breaking down, and he had the top BMW mechanic in Wellington with him ....

  4. Ya silly old fart Kennif! You couldn't even do this stuff on the DR without hurting yourself, let alone on a big fat loaded up beemer.

    Oh well, it's good for a yarn so keep it up!

  5. ..... was your GPS set on shortest route?

  6. You silly boy!!!!!!There are easier ways to wash your bike!!