Chasing the Horizon…s Unlimited Meeting

Chasing the Horizon….s Unlimited Meeting

After leaving East Timor Matt, Tom and myself had made it to West Timor. Stumbling into the much-recommended Lavalon Hostel we met the interesting owner Edwin (who had starred in the 1984 box office success the Bounty starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins) where we indulged in a much needed warm Bintang, shortly after arriving Josh had joined us coming over the border from Timor-Leste near the infamous Balibo Fortress. We had a few days to wait for the next ferry and were certainly all looking towards a nice and easy ride across Flores, that was of course until we found out about the HU Indonesia meet.

“Ted Simons is going to be at this Horizons Unlimited meeting”
Josh stated with more eagerness than the promise of a Starbucks around the next bend.

For those of you who are wondering who in the bloody hell Ted Simons is the gentleman who is responsible for the first recorded round the world motorcycle trip (I’m sure a lot of concerned friends and family would like to have a word with about all this nonsense.). I quickly pull out the ol’ reliable and take a gander at Google maps. As it appears on the screen there it is roughly 900ish kilometers of riding between the meeting and us. We had a total of 5 days until our meeting began but unfortunately had a 16-hour ride ahead of us on a sea vessel that would be fortunate to make it plus an 8-hour ferry from Flores Sumbawa which would bring our total of available riding time down to 3 days… that meant 2 days to make it across Flores.

Foolish I thought to myself “well that could easily be done”. I join the others outside and the deliberations if we would go began. There wasn’t much protest in against the cannonball. I mean what do you expect? We are riding across the globe on motorcycles we aren’t exactly about sensible decisions. (Even less sensible when 3 of you are on CT110’s). So it was decided, we were going to HU Indonesia!

Now I’m going to stop all of you reading this at this point (yes all three of you) to say that if there is one thing I have learned in Indonesia is that every kilometer is not equal. I mean there not even close to equal, so un-equal I would hate to see what the standard deviation on such an average was like. Anyway, I digress.

The Top End Traveller’s GPS had led us the most round about way to the port that I think us three on the posties feared we were heading back to Timor-Leste for a minute. After our micro adventure, we arrived at the ferry terminal to the sight of a long line of Harleys and massive BMW’s. I used my Sherlockian levels of deduction that given the A4 Horizons Unlimited Indonesia stickers plastered all over there bikes that they were heading in the same direction as us. After some discussions with the riders, we found out that they were flying over and meeting the ferry! Many jests were made that they were in fact cheating! Not only that but they were chartering a boat from Flores to the meeting! The other half I tell you.

Fresh-eyed after relatively decent nights sleep on our sea faring vessel with questionable safety and even more questionable reliability we disembarked to East Flores at around 7:00am. After the pandemonium of fighting our way through locals to exit the ferry, we were immediately on our way. Once again being left at the mercy of Josh’s GPS we headed north on our way across Flores. After about 5 minutes on roads that were entirely sealed we soon had made it to the coastline. Unfortunately, the quality of roads did not preserve but none the less we had to. Evidentially there once had been a road on the North coast of Flores, when that was wasn’t in recent memory by the state of it, maybe it was a few decades before or potentially when Jesus walked the earth, I mean who really knows? Making our way across the constantly deteriorating road we passed by spectacular untouched beaches which I’m sure everyone wished they could just stop for a couple of night camping. The northern “road” was actually really enjoyable and scenic ride, but when you are trying to cover distance tarmac could be considered to be more of an ideal option, which from all reports the road on the south coast was.

We soon hit the tarmac and finally made it to the first town of Maumare. Now it was becoming evident that the 60kmh pace I had factored into my sums was clearly not going to be met. After a brief fuel stop, we were back on our way. At the point Tom and I had lost Matt and Josh (worse things have happened), Josh we assumed had powered on ahead with all the horses powering his Affluence Twin. We just assumed the same for Matt, not because it made any logical sense but it was the conclusion that best fitted our agenda.

Flores was turning out to be a spectacularly beautiful island, the stark changes in scenery were immense as we blazed our way between coastlines into rice patty’s and finally through mountains, we stopped briefly on the road before a very touristy town in the middle of nowhere as nature was calling. Suddenly on the side of the road, Matt pulled up. Turns out he was behind us, which would have been the more sensible conclusion as he had now been nicknamed the Captain Slow of the group. We got our lunch this small town in the middle of nowhere, honestly seemed like there were more foreigners here than locals and hit the road again trying to put as many kilometers behind us as we possibly could.

We had made it back to the beautiful coastline just as the sun was beginning to dip; we had done two coasts to coasts in one day and had covered a huge distance as we were crossing Flores with more but not quite at my lofty initial estimation. Stopping in at a local bike shop we got some new mirrors for my bike (now I’m chromin’) and asked if there was nearby guesthouse to stay the night. We were advised the nearest place to stay was in Ende, 40kms back the way we had come. It’s safe to say that no one was particularly keen on the idea of back tracking but we had been advised that maybe we could stay at an outdoor beach restaurant only a couple of kilometers back. After having a local help us translate for the owner it was offered that we could spend the night for free on his outdoor bamboo structure providing that we bought dinner. The coastline here was spectacular and honestly, we couldn’t have found a better place to spend the night.

We made an early start the next morning for what would turn out to be the most intense day of riding in my life. Climbing from the coast into the mountains the poor postie was slugged in low gear the whole way up and the back brake was given a work out the whole way down. I certainly had to keep the revs up or I wouldn’t be going up. The roads had begun to snake into a series of bends and hairpins. I’m not complaining about the roads here, they were some of the most enjoyable roads I have ever had the pleasure of riding in my life, not to mention just how spectacular the scenery was. I did, however, manage to crash twice, I won’t get so much into detail because it’s best to leave things to your imagination as it’s probably more exciting than reality.

Tom and I had made it to Lubaun Bajo as the sun was dipping down creating a jaw dropping view over the bay. We got into contact with Matt and somehow he had managed to overtake us without us even knowing it! so much for Capt. Slow! Making into town we were on track and had made it in time to be able to catch the ferry to Sumbawa the next day.

We met some really awesome Indonesian on the ferry the next morning who were also going to HU s well (small world!). Zaky and his team were riding across Flores on their KLX250s being sponsored by IOX (Indonesian Off-Road Expeditions). After being invited to join them on the deck we were offered coffee and butter fruit (a curious butter like fruit!). whilst we discussed at length motorcycle related topics.

We had arrived at the port of Sape with a few hours of daylight to spare and immediately made tracks towards the meeting. Tom, Josh and I had soon left captain slow behind and got stuck in the worst traffic jam I have seen in my life! It was so bad the police were involved, slowly trying to weave through the cars with all the local motorcycles I got to witness the Africa twin getting into trouble in all sorts of places (props to small bikes!). The local authorities directed the bikes off the road on a small expedition crossing over peoples houses, tight alleyways out into a field and finally down a small stone path where on the hill back up to the road the Africa twin fell over. I stopped the bike much to the disdain of the police officer trying to deal with the chaos and ran back to help Josh get his bike moving again. Luckily for myself, I didn’t have to do much hard work as a swarm of nearby locals had already got it upright. Pushing back on into the traffic Jam Tom had some how caught back up after our detour had taken us less than 50ms up the road. Tom pushed on through traffic and I tailed Josh. When we met back up with Tom being the clown he is had somehow managed to buy a large helium balloon of a bird that was bobbing along happily behind his bike. Leaving the traffic Jam we were almost in Bima! Toms balloon had managed to free itself on the way where a local family on a moped managed to catch it and abscond it with it much to his disdain.

We made it be in Bima where Josh found some swank hotel for himself and the Affluence Twin. After accessing the cost of the room and likening it to the GDP of a small Pacific nation Tom and I decided we would preserve up the coast in hope to find somewhere a little more affordable or if not camp. After another couple of hours, we found a much more cost-effective spot with a pool! (It may be worthwhile to note that we had no idea where Matt was at this point, but I think he was sleeping somewhere questionable)

After being woken up at 7:00 am for a refreshing plate of nasi goreng for breakfast which was sure to set us up for the day! Tom and I were on our way, running into Matt in a small town by a mobile store where we soon parted ways and left Cap Slow behind. The rest the days riding were rather uneventful, except Tom managing to get air speeding over a giant pothole and losing a bag in a spectacular display.
We arrived unscathed after our cannon ball run chasing the meeting. The meeting was fantastic in the best way with a group of maybe 20 overlanders sharing their stories, never before have I made such quick friends with a group of people of the highest order and was truly a magical time. Also meeting Ted Simons was also a true joy and hearing his wisdom but all of the other friends I had made really made the effort beyond worthwhile

Love and Mercy,

Liam.

Timor-Leste

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

 J.R.R. Tolkien

It seemed like I had been stuck in Darwin of what seemed like an eternity when in actual fact it had only been about 9 days. I suppose it was due to having been riding with such rapidness from Perth my mind could not adjust back to the idea of being stationary. I was undoubtedly fortunate where I had ended up as well, the kindness of Dave allowing me to stay on his wonderful property for so long and all of the wonderful overlanders I had the pleasure of meeting as they passed through was a true pleasure but I must admit my feet were beginning to itch again.
Josh and I made it to Dili with relative ease, our flight was delayed by a good few hours but I didn’t take much notice. We had met another gentleman on the flight who was riding around the world on his KLR 650. He did come across as a bit of a lone wolf in some regards but we exchanged opinions, stories, and email addresses. We also met an Australian expat who was returning to Timor who truly enthusiastic about the place and had only been there for a few months. He gave us some truly helpful insight about the country and offered us his contact details if we ever needed any help, which we did.

I can’t say I had many ideas of what to expect when arriving in Timor. I hadn’t done much research and only really knew that it had been under a ruthless Indonesian occupation in recent history. The only other information was the constantly reoccurring statement from other travelers “Dili is a hole”

The flight over was quick, so quickly in fact that I didn’t have enough time to finish my coffee that was provided with the flight from Airnorth along with a price tag that could be only described as extortionate. On first impressions, there wasn’t a terribly large amount of infrastructure, on that note, there was barely any infrastructure at all! The airport appeared to be a solitary airstrip right next to what appeared as a lonesome decrepit building.

After purchasing our visas from the outdoor visa office and entered into the baggage collection, the roof looked as about as waterproof as a sieve and every tile looked as though it were either chipped or cracked. As we exited the building by a swarm of local taxi drivers all biding for our business. We soon chose a taxi with the help of our expat friend and we were on our way. The service vehicle was a dilapidated proton, which was most likely being held together with hope, cable ties and tape; it didn’t offer any sort of certainty. The driver couldn’t find where we were heading and took us to a nearby hotel that on appearance looked like it had been abandoned for the better part of a decade. It clearly wasn’t the place we were looking for, so after a brief tour of Dili in the poor proton (which the driver just lugged along in high gear) we got some help and eventually found out where we were heading.

The next day the Top End Traveller and I set about getting our bikes. Luckily our bikes had actually made it onto the boat! And even better the boat had been unloaded the afternoon we had arrived! We first went to the shipping agent where we were advised we would need to go to the port to get our carnets stamped in, then we returned to pay for the Dili port charges. When we had finally made it back to the port to find that our shipping agent had gone on their lunch break, their 3… hour… long… lunchbreak. Without many options, it was decided that we would just have to do the same.

Trust a fella with a 1000cc ‘Adventure’ bike to choose a Gloria Jeans as our lunch spot (still looking for a Starbucks sticker for that bike!). We returned to the port to be advised that they would have to call the man who had the keys to their warehouse. It clearly obviously would make absolutely no logical sense to keep them in the office or even at the port for that matter! After another hour of waiting, we were finally standing outside the container ready to wheel our bikes out. Our bikes had arrived without any damage and had been strapped down with some competency, however, I did notice that Bollore Logistics in Darwin had stolen two of my ratchet straps the treacherous miscreants! Timorese customs also showed no interest in checking our luggage for any goods we may have been trying to smuggle good thing as well, I did have a pair of headphones in my top box.

We returned to the hotel triumphantly with our bikes after only being in Timor for one day! It must be some sort of record. That night we met up with some other overland riders that also happened to be in Timor, two of which were riding on CT110s. They stole my idea the bastards!

All jokes aside though the more the merrier. I knew there was a fella called Tom who had been in Timor for a while traveling back to the UK on his CT110 from various postie fetish Facebook pages. However I wasn’t aware of Matt being there a true surprise, it must have been some sort of record! 3 potties outside Australia!

Tom is an English chap blessed with the gift of the gab and abnormal height, he is technically not even on a postie riding an NZ AG CT110, but I think I will keep calling a postie on account that it annoys him! Matt was a charming Britt with a uncompromisingly dry sense of humor who has been living abroad for a decade and is finally making his way home.

The next day I went to the Island of Ataru off the coast of Dili with Tom where I had the pleasure of staying with a local family. It was intriguing to see the way they lived, a mostly subsistent community growing most of their food amongst themselves of fishing from the sea. They lived in many simple houses made of breeze blocks and corrugated metal roofs. The bathrooms were basic with large basins of water and buckets for showering and the infamous squat toilet. The Timorese people I met exhibited so much kindness and had a very positive disposition, always greeting you as you walked by. My Host Moses and I had basic conversations using a Tetun to English dictionary where I picked up many Tetun words. After a couple of days of snorkeling and hiking, we returned to Dili where Tom and Matt’s Visas were awaiting them after a 7-week wait!

Matt, Tom and I decided we would ride together for a while as we figured it was the first time 3 posties would coincidentally show up in a foreign country for a while so we made our way towards the Timorese enclave Oecusse via ferry. The vessel to carry us named the Laju Laju, a somewhat questionable vessel. After precariously placing our bikes on the deck of the ferry we made our way to the upper back deck to secure ourselves a space to spend the night.

Disembarking from the ferry around 2am we set out on the mission for finding a place to sleep in a town, which was close to being entirely asleep. Thankfully there were a few locals around whom we could ask for a hotel, finally finding a small place and waking up the proprietors we had finally found a place to sleep.

The next morning we made a start straight for the Indonesian border. The roads we were on started out as pristine freshly laid double lane tarmac which soon deteriorated into the gravel and progressively got worse and worse, not the mention the incline we were having to climb. At around midday we arrived at the border, it wasn’t really marked at a border and by the poorly made and maintained roads. There wasn’t much signage to indicate where we were supposed to go. There was a ridiculous climb up a heavily rutted dirt track to the immigration office. Getting our passports stamped out was a breeze, thankfully the immigration official could speak decent English. Fantastic all was going well and we were officially on our way to Indonesia we just needed Timor to stamp out our Carnets and we could be on our merry way. This was except for the fact that we couldn’t find a customs official anywhere. Apparently, they had gone to lunch… in Indonesia and there was no way we could enter without having our bikes signed out of Timor. So we decided to make our way back into Timor for a delicious meal of PotMie (PotMie is an instant noodle cup which we had nicknamed DogMie for its delightful flavour) as illegal immigrants. After our nutritious meal, we made our way back to customs to get stamped out. Thankfully there was now a customs official to stamp us out, the only problem being that customs had lost the stamp which they needed for our bikes. We asked our friendly official if maybe he could sign us out without the stamp but maybe if he could first confirm with Indonesian customs that they would sign us in. So our official for the second time that day made his way across into Indonesia to ask if this would be acceptable. Thankfully Indonesia did comply with the request and we were quickly on our way over the border and onto smooth tarmac roads.

Love and Mercy,

Liam

 

 

Terra Nullius Part 2

So where was I? oh yeah that’s right; trying to get some slumber in a roadside ditch. Can’t say it was the best night of the trip, the day beforehand had been pretty vexing as well. After getting a minuscule amount of sleep I made my most early start and began I ride to the sun just pushing itself upwards in the distances. I was in the middle of nowhere right now, smack in-between Port Hedland and Broome when something amazing happened. In the early hours of the morning coming out of the vastness, a tiny headlight approached me and slowly grew into my vision. I remember thinking ‘it’s too small to be a road-train, no it’s too small to be a car’ I finally concluded it must be a motorcycle. Out there in the middle of nowhere another outrageous jester enclosed on me on none other than a postie bike. We shared a 3 second moment as we waved passing each other by. I found myself in a state of disbelief which then gave way to a protracted fit of hysterics.

I had soon made it to the next roadhouse to top the little bike up with some overpriced hydrocarbons. Here I ran into an upstanding man from the Czech Republic Miloslav on his Honda CBF250 who had been riding around Australia since January. Starting in Melbourne he road up the East Coast, Down the middle and was completing riding through West Australia. After a brief discussion and much head shaking when he ascertained I was riding my Postie all the way to Europe, he offered to help fix my other mirror with some parts he had salvaged from an abandoned car. Naturally, we made the decision to ride to Broome together, I mean there was only 2 ways out of that roadhouse and one of them led back to Headland which I was in no rush to return to so it made perfect sense.

The weather was unforgiving that day, I was battered by a merciless headwind lowering my cursing speed by 10kms and making my stability as questionable as dipsomaniac’s hike home after closing time. But I pushed on the 400kms into the dubious clouds ahead of me making me pose the question ‘am I riding into a cyclone?’ to myself. Luckily I wasn’t and I made my way towards Broome arriving a little after lunch and just in the nick of time to get caught in the storm which I had been hurling myself towards all day.

After getting entirely drenched around the township of Broome we finally found the hostel and checked in eagerly awaiting some civilized amenities. It’s amusing that only after week on the road a 12-bed dorm can seem like a luxury, but nonetheless, it did. I managed to get some wash done and had a well overdue shower.

In the morning we adjusted Miroslav’s chain and then began to remove my rear tire that had just about no tread left and was as smooth as a well aged single malt whiskey. After having to remove the tire twice it was evident something was wrong with the tire rubbing the left wall of the rear fender. I decided to make some small trips around Broome to re-visit some sights, as no motorcycle shops were open to investigating the issue.

Post office Broome

We made it to cable beach to catch the sunset and when we returned to the bikes we found that my rear tire was as flat as a pancake. So for the third time that day the rear wheel had to come off. To make matters worse my pump had broken after only one use and we had to work by. Luckily a young gentleman on a moped came to our rescue and sourced an air compressor. After replacing the tube the rubbing issue had seemed to be resolved and a massive puncture was discovered on the old tubes side wall (pinching I’d assume).

After deeming the wheel to be on the right side of the sketchiness scale I decided to push onwards to Darwin, rather than be stuck in Broome to wait out the Easter weekend.
Soon the countryside turned bare and the road and the climate became swelteringly unpleasant. Suddenly with Fitzroy Crossing a few hundred kilometers ahead of me “Bang!” and the bike was without power slowly rolling to a stop. I pushed the bike a couple of hundred meters thinking, “must have seized the engine” to a safe-ish section of roadside a got to work. After a roadside oil change and a couple of chapters of reading, I kicked Atty over and she immediately roared into life.

Postie roadhouse_Fotor

Making easy going towards Fitzroy Crossing I soon caught Milo up and had to pay for the first time for the lavishness pleasure to camp at an overinflated price. We made our way to Halls Creek the next day where I met up with an old friend from high school and discussed my foolish idea of an adventure.
By now I was finally well on my way, only maybe a few days ride out of Darwin. Making camp once again on a picnic table I was on the road early through some impressive twisties. Soon I found myself in Kununurra where I could see in the distance a fully laden adventure bike, which I decided to follow.
The rider was an outstandingly hilarious German who had just ridden his bike to Australia from Germany. He managed to put me in contact with another fellow adventure rider who was looking to do an around the world trip himself which has proven to be extremely useful!
Suddenly I was crossing my first border. Sure it was only a state border but at this point, it felt like a massive monument and was a behemoth distance, especially for a bike that was never intended to go past the local corner store.
border WA-NT
Onwards I soon found a tourist drive to a stunning dam with some tight twisty road that put Atty to the test needing to drop all the way down into second just to climb them. But it was worth it.
I slept for the last time on a table I had made some serious progress in a short time, I found myself in Katharine where I called the contact the German had given me. He had said he could organise passage for both out bikes on a boat that was leaving on the 30th. I made some quick pace to Darwin, but not quick enough to miss a brilliant series of twisties off the highway on the way, so twisty we even drove passed a truck which had fully rolled over on the side of the road. Luckily the driver was okay from the look of things and emergency services were attending.
Dam WA
So I was finally in Darwin, the place of my Australian exodus. I met up with Josh, the other fella’ sending his bike overseas with mine. Luckily all the holes in the cheese had aligned and I received a call to notify me that my Carnet was ready so I could ship my bike internationally. Himself and a truly upstanding man called David gave me a place to stay, which I am sharing with a group of adventure riders who have just ridden here all the way from the UK. The atmosphere here has been truly amazing. Complemented with beer, motorcycles and eating kingly feasts we are all taking turns in preparing.

So there it is my adventure through Australia. It so far has been the most outstanding experience I could have asked for living up to all expectations and even exceeding them. Before long the real adventure begins as I further venture outside of my comfort zone on my expedition for pandemonium.

Love and Mercy,
Liam.

Terra Nullius Part 1.

So I’ve actually done it. I stood at the edge of the cliff looked down into the uncertainty that lay before me, took my final breath and leaped off the edge.

What had I done? Well, the premise was simple: take my small little postie and ride it around the world. I mean you can sum in up into a 7-word sentence ‘Around The World On Seven Horse Power”. So the premise was simple but the application so far has had it’s hoops to jump through. But there I was actually committing to one of my cavalier ideas; which rarely become reality. But this time I worked to will my audacious scheme into reality.

Oh my goodness, what a reality it has been. I made a slightly late start from home on the Monday at some time around 11:00 am after having to run out and get a rubbish bicycle pump as my current one wouldn’t fit. I can’t say with much certainty as to what I felt upon my leaving, the restlessness I had experienced seemed as though it had subsided and my emotions felt rather muted during the lead-up. Maybe it was all just too surreal to cope with initially, but who knows the mind is a mystery.

Taking the coast road north of the city I was soon on my way when I stopped at a local supermarket to grab some last things I felt I needed. It was the last supermarket I would see for almost 1500kms to pick up some lip balm (which I used then and still haven’t used again since leaving.) and another 5-litre bladder of water (which I also haven’t used since.). The first person approached me outside the shopping center where I had illegally parked on the footpath to begin the first of what became a well routine encounter.

“Hey Mate, Is that a Postie Bike?”

“Sure is mate, ex-Australia Post.”

“She looks like she’s pretty loaded down mate, where ya’ going?”

“Around the world mate.”

“Schhhh.”
“No, seriously. I’m riding to Darwin, shipping it to Timor and then it’s westward into the sunset”

“Well good luck, can I have a photo? My brother’s cats second uncle twice removed sister in law is a postie and he’d be right into it.”

“No worries mate, have a good one”

The script would soon become tired being played out on average two to three times a day with only some minor deviations. It became quickly became apparent that everyone was into the idea, thumbs up and horns from overtaking cars.

So I was out of the city onto the main conduit that would take me the point I would take my leave from Australia, The Great Northern Highway, slowly I watched the trees and hills turn into field of wheat and before I knew it red dirt and green bushes encircled me all the way until it melted into the horizon. I made to Wubin on the first day, or just out of. But filling up the fuel tank I had my side stand collapse breaking both of my mirrors, not good when my itinerary for the next few days primarily consisted of being overtaken by road trains. Leaving Wubin I made a small little camp out the back of a rest stop and quickly found myself dreaming after setting up camp.

Camp Day 1
I awoke early on the second day a good hour before sunrise to the lively chatter of the native birds; this was an alarm clock that was set to become the status quo. It didn’t take much deliberation to come to a conclusion that I would have no luck getting any more sleep so I decided to make an early start and began to pack up camp. Packing and unpacking soon became my most despised routine. What felt like an excruciating amount of time, I would endeavor to avoid at whatever costs necessary.

I still felt slightly disgruntled about the mirrors but I reminded myself that the damage was little and would be easily fixed when I could find the parts. I watched the scenery change rapidly and give way to the most striking array of contrasting colours. I soon passed a series of salt lakes with a bright pink hue to them. I was ever tempted to ride out onto. It took so willpower talking myself out of sinking into a selenic pink mush, assuring with a groundless certainty that one day I would reach Bonneville.

I made it to Payne’s Find before lunchtime and ran into a German gentleman who wished to take a photo of me after the second repeat of the aforementioned routine (This being said his postie relation was only his neighbour.) after paying an extortionate litre price for petrol I made tracks hoping to reach Meekatharra before nightfall. Along the road, I saw an odd looking shimmer at the end of what was yet another ferociously straight stretch of road as I enclosed the image eventually began to form the shape of a man on a bicycle going at a pace which would have been only slightly quicker than a brisk walk at best. Without any hesitation, I was pulled up on the side of the road eagerly awaiting him to catch up with me.

Wearing a flyscreen and a wide brim hat I could make out that he had seen many years, he looked like he would have been over 70. We had a brief discussion about each other about our respective journeys. His bicycle looked like something you might pull over from a dusty shed out the back of the deceased estate. It was an old Malvin Star from back in the 90s from what I could ascertain which was currently propelling him on a Lap around West Australia which he cheerfully stated he was doing for to quote “a bit of fun”. He told me that he was collecting the remaining water and fluid in the water bottles abandoned along the highway to keep himself going and spending 6 hours riding at night to avoid the heat. I have a large degree of respect for his resourcefulness a truly inspiring site.

I made camp a little out of Meekatharra and managed to make a small fire to warm up what was starting to become the all-familiar canned evening meal.

Made it to Newman by 2:30 after a solid 7 hours of riding, where I managed to get my hands onto a replacement for one of my mirrors, I then quickly made my way out of town towards Karinjini. I stopped at the foot of a mountain to set up camp for the night where I ran into my first instance of true kindness on the road.

Bill and Gale had also stopped for the night at the base of the mountain. A couple that is perpetually traveling around Australia. After I was returning from the mountain I had climbed behind the campsite approached me. Bill had been driving around Australia in his Ute for 5 years and Gail for an astonishing 11 years in her 30-year-old RV. They invited me for dinner where I had my first meal that wasn’t out of a can in 3 days and also shared with me some moonshine which Bill was making out of a still in the back of his ute and mixing with golden syrup. After dinner, I went to make a camp of luxury for my first sleep on a picnic table a trick I had picked up from the ZMM*.

Camp day 3

I soon found myself inside Karaijini National park, only a short trip from my picnic table abode. After a very short glance at a map, I found myself hit a road with a sign that clearly stated in plain writing “4WD VEHICLES ONLY” after about 6 seconds of consideration I came to the conclusion that Atty would be fit for the task. Also, I came to see Gorges and Gorges I would see, 4wd track or not.

I am unsure if I can safely claim that my initial assumption that Atty would be fit for the task was correct. I was running road tires at this point at about 40 PSI and after the first couple of kilometers, the tracks intensity was dialed up to 100. Soon the dirt track gave way to unforgiving corrugations and loose rocks, which made my arms into an extension the bikes suspension and my rear end, have as much stability as a four-year-old on a WD40 covered slip and slide.

None the less I persevered with a voice in the back of my head that was growing louder and louder saying, “something’s going to break” to which I would softly reply “Just a little bit father”. Thankfully nothing broke and I didn’t come off, which may have been a small miracle that my cumulative experience on dirt was equivalent to one day, which I crashed 11 times, and a few unsealed roads.

4WD only cheer

I reached the final Gorge after about 40kms of the washboard anguish after biting off just about as much as I think I could chew. I was rewarded by running into a charming pair had been sailing their yacht around the world from New York for the past 11 years and had stopped in Australia to do an overland lap. They took this fantastic photograph of me (you can find their website here if you are interested in their amazing travels http://www.zeroxte.com/). easy_rider.jpg

I made a quick run out to Tom Price for some supplies through a spectacular road, which weaved through rolling hills. I made it back to Karinjini before nightfall to once again sleep on a park bench.

I spent the next day seeing the remaining gorges, which were gorgeous (harr harr harr). I then made my way north towards Port Headland on which has been called the Highway from Hell. This stretch of road was a straight line that melted into the horizon and never seemed to end. This was made worse by the searing heat and lack of scenery. More so I was inundated with continuous 50-meter long road trains overtaking me spraying me with the loosely packed raw material they were hauling. The road trains were so massive I would get caught in their slipstream and have no choice but hit the brakes to get behind them, sketchy shit!

Day 5

I can’t say I spent more than 15 minutes in Headland, it came across to me as a utilitarian place with the soul function of serving the behemoth West Australian mining industry. I made tracks towards Broome and ended up making a rough camp in a ditch next to the road.

That’s all I’ve got time, for now. Look out for the rest in part 2!

Love and Mercy,
Liam

Postie Bikes and the Intrepid People Who Ride Them.

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to go out riding with a party of bashful fellows on postie bikes and cause a general ruckus! Perth Posties made a show of force with 8 brave riders and some truly unique bikes, including a mean bored out caf’ postie which had been extended.

The ride began pleasantly from Fremantle where I had made a very poor attempt at a mono at the first set of traffic lights (was a close shave and a ‘woo!’ of relief). We continued up the coast where we struck intimidation into a group of hog riders whom were parked on the side of the road.

We continued up the coast on a pleasant cruise by the ocean, I feel we all came to the conclusion that postie bike riders are a unique bunch drawn to such an iconic bike. The ride was an extremely enjoyable experience and was such an amazing opportunity to meet so many likeminded riders. I hope that when I return from my trip there will still be the community will be thriving for more brilliant rides!

How to make a $1500* adventure bike

Disclaimer: before attempting this one should consider having a basic knowledge of tools and their operation, the operation of and components of a motorcycle and a regard for their own personal safety and the safety of those around them.  

Many would like to make you believe that for one to go on an adventure on a motorcycle one must first donate a small part of their anatomy (I think a kidney) to a big European motorcycle manufacturer to acquire a complex machine with more cubic centimetres than you could point a stick at. Once you have donated tpostieworkin'he agreed upon kidney you simply have to buy some luggage systems (this won’t cost you a kidney but maybe a slither of ya’ liver) before you can even consider having a motorcycle that is adequate to ride around the world.

I happen to not share these beliefs; I mean hell I don’t even seem to understand this belief. I mean just because a couple of guys from the UK did it doesn’t mean it’s the only way it can be done even if one of them was a Jedi master.  So here it is the guide (if we can call it that) as to how I constructed myself an adventure motorcycle for 1500* Australian dollars (dollarydoos).

Firstly you’re going to need a motorcycle, to save pennies I recommend getting something small, common and affordable. For this you may need to forgo some luxuries such as speed, acceleration and a clutch that wasn’t integrated into the gear shifter. Good bikes to go for probably change where you are in the world but remember  150cc is 25cc too many, just think Honda Cubs, Honda Waves, GN125s, Groms (I would love to see that done) hell even get a 50cc scooter if you’re game enough.  Just be sure to spend no more than $1000 on a vehicle. You can’t go blowing out your entire budget on something fancy here, as long as it starts most of the time and stops all of the time.   

Okay so now we have covered this whole motorcycle bit you are going to need to start thinking about how you are going to get things around on it. I mean it’s all fine and good being able to get around, but where are you going to put the malt beverages and muesli bars you will require to sustain life on your two wheeled life raft? For me I was fortunate enough to buy a vehicle with a luggage rack which served as a base to build a nice little system out of some aluminium flat bars and an undertray ute toolbox. I then coerced a friend to make me a couple of pannier bags up for some bottles of distilled liquid. But hey if this option isn’t available to you I’m sure you can find some bags to strap onto somewhere, get creative 2 backpacks from the op-shop or some unsuspecting school children** could surely do the trick with a bit of backyard engineering.  

You think is ready yet? Slow down buddy we still need to talk about the fine details, what’s the fuel range on this vehicle’s gas tank? For me unfortunately Honda lacked to foresight that some folks might want to ride further than their local corner store for a bottle of milk. But not to worry, if you think you have the room you can fit a auxiliary fuel tank or maybe a bigger new fuel tank. This is the route I took and it’s worked out pretty well and affords me not having to pull over to fill up every handful few hours. If you can’t fit another fuel tank don’t worry hope isn’t entirely lost you could always just go with a jerry can, but remember this could encroach valuable storage space for your muesli bars. Other things you might want to consider would be cruise control. Now I know what you are about to say “but those cruise control systems would cost my entire budget and I will have to forgo a lot of malt beverages” well fear not I found a piece of aluminium on the internet called an ‘omni-cruise’ that locks the throttle into position for $60 which does remarkably well providing I don’t forget it’s on and grab the front brake. Power is also a lovely indulgence if you are a social media crazed millennial such as myself, this only cost me about 10 dollarydoos for a 12v charger and fuse which I installed straight onto the battery. Remarkably the charger works rather well and I still haven’t managed to electrocute myself with it.

So that’s about the extent of it I managed to slap together my little adventure postie for a measly $1500* by my closest estimate, which I’m rather happy about because in my hometown of Perth that’s about the average cost of a dinner and movie date or 3 avocados.

Love and Mercy,

Liam. 

*The $1500 dollars is an estimate and doesn’t account for beer consumed during the process.

**The stealing of school children’s backpacks was made in jest; gone-postal.com does not recommend the theft of any child’s possessions.

The Route

One of the most common questions I often get asked about my trip is the route which I intend to take. Whilst this route is subject to heavy changes this is my rough estimate of where I will be heading.

It is best and most easiest way to digest this is to break the trip down into two legs.

Leg 1 shall begin in my home town of Perth on the west coast of Australia and will terminate somewhere on the European continent.

route-1

Leg 1 (a quality paint illustration)

Leg 2 will see me jump the North Atlantic and hopefully traverse the United States before heading south through the Americas and ideally reaching Patagonia.

route-2

Leg 2 (another quality paint illustration)