I’m doing it again!

Yup, I’m going to condense the rest of Australia into one post.  Partly because I want to get to the new, fun stuff and partly because it was more of the same, where some of the cool riding was off the table because of rain and delays just dragged things out.

Leaving Perth I started my ride- generally my plan was to get the kilometers in and once I got up past Derby, I’d do some fun riding towards Darwin.  The one detour on the way that I’d planned was to Monkey Mia- the name gives the obvious reason to my friends.  the ride up was more of the same that I’d done before- scrubby desert, small towns/road houses and long days.

Arriving in Monkey Mia I got a bit of a pleasant surprise.  The hideous tourist place I’d expected was actually very nice, with a good mix of standard beach fun, wild dolphins who came by for free food at their leisure, and an interesting history- both human and natural.

My first stop was to see some very distant relatives, The Stromatolites at Shark Bay.  These guys have been doing their thing, almost unchanged, for about 3 billion years.

Then it was off t0 wander around a rather pleasant, if uninspiring beach…

After a closer look, it’s name , Shell Beach, made perfect sense- that ain’t sand baby!

Then it was off to Monkey Mia proper.  The ride itself was wasn’t anything special, but it was fun- just one of those roads that grab you for no particular reason.  M.M. was just a resort, but it had a pleasant vibe and the scenery around the beach just seemed to force you to kick back and enjoy.  The camping might not having been inspiring, but the locals did their best to welcome…

The sunrise was also a time of wondrous calm…

And one of those very few times were the thought of having a kid of my own didn’t seem so bad…

Then it was time for the beach dolphins to come in and do some hunting before getting a snack from the rangers.

A quick note, if you go- watch your step in the water… Wouldn’t want to get Irwined!

Off the peninsula and riding again I put in long days, needing to make over 1,000km a day to stay on track and give me a bit of room for some fun up North.  On the way I encountered a truly, ah, outstanding travel bike.  I’m still not sure if I should be happy or sad I never met the rider…

In Derby I stayed with friends of the guys in Perth who’d also done a great ride from Europe to Oz.  And, once again, I was humbled by the welcoming spirit of riders and Australians in general.

Then it was off into the bush for a great ride…  Or not.  It was still the rainy season and any idea of dirt riding was quickly put aside as I bogged down less than 100 meters from the end of the tar.  I thought of going on, but the couple of locals I talked to while trying to get the bike moving told me it only got worse the further I went.  Once again I had to choose and took the easy- if smart- route and headed back to the tar.  I’ve done enough rough riding and have enough ahead of me, that I don’t need to go looking for it.

On the long tar road, one pleasant little bit of chance turned up.  I was FINALLY able to get a picture of kangaroos!  The silly buggers had been everywhere, but by the time I’d stop for a picture they’d have bounded off into the bush…  Not this time!

Riding into Darwin I got myself hooked up with a new rear tyre, got a line on a place to stay in Dili, and headed to the shipping company to confirm my trip.  All was good, so I settled into Darwin for a couple of days and then got the bike and plane ticket sorted before heading back to the shippers to drop off the bike.

Not again.

Despite giving them all my contact info, they hadn’t informed me that their shipping schedule had changed yet again and my bike wouldn’t leave for another 10 days!  I could have gone to Melbourne!  I could have stayed longer in Derby and gone fishing!  I could have taken my time instead of pounding out the miles!  Ah well, nothing I could do about it- my tickets were booked and I was headed out.  So I left the bike and headed out to the airport and the next chapter- one where I’d once again be in a land of mystery and discovery.

But!

Before that I had a fantastic little taste of serendipity come my way.  A rider who I’d met in Argentina while I was riding south and he was riding north turned up!  we’d lost each others contact details and hadn’t been able to stay in touch, but my route through America and Oz just happened to cross his route through America and Asia at just the right time.  So, before we both left in opposite directions, we were able to have a great night out together and enjoy the well fermented fruits of a fluke.

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