Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 26: Dick meets his quota....

Earlier in the trip I had suggested to Dick that we would probably have 3 or 4 offs during this trip around Oz. Today Dick met his quota!

Dawn comes early in Eastern Western Australia so we were up early and into the weetbix. All this from a Hubbard's man! Then back down the track from Ellenbrae towards Mt Barnett. We were warned off the Drysdale Road so kept on the main "road" towards the next roadhouse. There were a few fords to cross but generally the road was ok - a few parts with terrible corrugations and then evening out. (Nothing like a good evening out.)

When we got to Mt Barnett Gorge we decided to go up the sideroad to have a look. I was in front and working through the sandy sections when I suddenly realised that Dick wasn't behind me anymore. I parked up the bike in the middle of the track and sure enough - there was Olga lying on her side. Dick had put the front wheel into a sand drift and lost the front. All good though - no hurt and no damage so we heaved the bike upright and carried on.

Mt Barnett Gorge was lovely with a deep billabong and swimming area. Dick spoiled the scenery by stripping to his daks and going for a swim while I stayed on the bank doing crocodile watch! Not a pretty sight. Unfortunately there were no crocs.

We got Dick decent again - well sort-of - and headed back down the track to the main road. Dick in front this time and at almost the exact same place almost the exact same thing happened - Dick put his front wheel into a sanddrift and over he went. I saw it this time - a lovely dive over the handlebars and rolling in the sand. Olga went in on her right hand side this time and was in deep sand so we struggled a bit to get her upright and the sidestand out. Dick seemed to be ok. Apparently he landed on his head and it didn't hurt a bit.

Back onto the main road and Dick was determined to show he was unfazed by it all and took off like a rocket up the road. I tried to slow him down by hanging back but it didnt work.

After a while we got to the Mount Barnett Roadhouse and checked into a camping ground. Only then did we discover that the camping ground was 7kms up the Manning Gorge Road - again along a sandy track. I was in front again and again realised that Dick wasn't behind me. Went back to find him and he was ok - seemed to be having some problems with the brakes. He led off in front and then again hit some sand and went over once more - heavily this time and onto the left hand side. Dick was ok (ego damaged he said) but Olga was bit worse for the wear. The stay that holds one of the pannier mounting brackets was cracked right through and one of the lugs on the pannier itself was broken. We asked a passing motorist to take the pannier bag on to the camp and followed.

We found a campsite (the place was packed with grey nomads and families) and recovered the pannier. We then got out the straps and the duct tape and made an onthespot repair - the best we could do. A quick swim in another lovely gorge (Dick in his togs this time), some rice and fish for dinner (no port!) and we headed for an early bed.

A tough hot and rough day - but all good. Because of the damage we decided to go out to Derby the next day to arange for repairs to the bike. So a good ride tomorrow - supposedly along some sealed roads!

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