Yes, we've made it to Broome!
Yesterday we got off to our usual lazy start and made the 610 or so km trip from Hedland to Broome. We had hope to call in on our friends at deGrey, but a combination of our need to get north quickly and worries about the dirt road riding capabilities of one of the riders resulted in our deciding that i would call in on the way back all being well and we pushed on toward Pardoo roadhouse.
Pardoo was the site of Kylie's 20th birthday bash some years ago and she enjoyed revisiting the spot and reliving some of the good times. We met a couple of blokes on bikes there - one of whom was towing a trailer and they were impressed at the L plater's efforts.
We didn't stop for long at Pardoo and headed off again on the way to Sandfire roadhouse, about half way along the day's journey. Once we passed the turnoff to 80 Mile Beach we entered new territory for me too. I have been wanting to travel this road for many years and this is the first tiome in my life I've actually got to do it. I've been up here before but (shamefully) have always flown.
The scenery is actually quite variable and saw us travelling amongst small trees at some points, down to bare earrth scenery at others - a long drive for sure but very a worthwhile experience nevertheless.
Sandfire roadhouse is much greener and softer than the name suggests. There were sprinklers running and Jonah enjoyed the Peacock & hens running around. The place looked as if it had been refurbished after a recent fire and was doing a roaring trade yesterday.
We eagerly devoured out cans of tuna etc lunch at Sandfire, much to Jonahs' disgust - I'm sure he would prefer one of the enormuosly expensive hamburgers or similar! Sandfire is the last stop for about 300km heading north to Broome so we savoured the moment and took a pic or two (sorry todays photo album has only two pic's - this computer is really slow and I want to get out and see Broome!).
When we finally left Sandfire we upped the pace a bit (don't tell Mr Plod) and put up with the crosswinds as we braced ourselves for the three hour run. Unfortunately we hadn't figured on the extra fuel consumption likely to be caused by faster pace and crosswind combined and I was somewhat alarmed to see my trip computer advising me I had about 80km of fuel left when the roadsigns said there were still about 130km left to Broome. i slowed down a bit, ducked down behind the fairing and generally tried to think economical thoughts to extend my fuel range while thinking I had no chance of reaching Broome without a topup.
While I was low on fuel we rode past a few 'roos, some cattle wandering near the road and a larger mof of cattle, off to our left, kicking up dust as they folloew a trail along in the late afternoon - one of those priceless northwest views.
As the light was fading we passed a sign stating Roebuck roadhouse was 5km in front. That was a relief! Roebuck is about 35km from Broome and as my bike had told me it had 0km left, 15km back, I was pleased to see that BP sign.
A quick fill up with fuel and we took off with more enthusiasm into the darkness west to Broome. I rolled reasonably quickly into Broome, passing the CBD and finally coming to rest at Cable Beach, right behind the restaurant. We enjoyed the last gasp of the sunset over the beach before trying the most expensive fish & chips in WA - at least they were good quality!
My usual habit of not pre-booking accommodation again served us well as Kylie managed to negotiate us a tent site at the Cable Beach Caravan Park, from where I write this blog. The manager re-opened the office to take (quite a lot of) my money and we're in. The park is pretty much booked out and is a bit of a culture shock for us after the bush. Jonah however, has seen the size of the pool and has settled in for a while.
This trip has involved somewhat of a risk, heading off with an inexperienced rider and it all paid off last night. The exitement in kylie's voice as she kept stating "we're in Broome! I've just ridden here on a motorbike!" over and overwas something veryt special indeed. She called a friend or two to share the moment and I called my wife, it was one of those special achievement type occasions. Broome is of course, slightly over half the way from Perth to Darwin.
Kylie soon settled in to the park lifestyle savouring the showers and the balmy weather. I'm a little more reserved about living in amongst such a crowd but should be able to last another day or so if those little kids next door don't drive me mad first!
Well I'd better go now, the day is getting away from me and we have a lot of touristy things to do.
I'll write again soon.