Finishing up with the Nullarbor, I got in contact with some riders in Perth that I’d met in Columbia and arranged to stay with them while my bike got dealt with- new front tyre, my wiring harness checked, and various other odds and ends that were no doubt a result of my little Finke run. Poor bike- she’s still young, but she’s been ridden hard and put away wet many a time and it’s starting to show. That, and she’s done about 17 years of average riding distance in less than 3 years!
So, I had some time before I hit Perth and wanted to do some light off tarmac riding- you know, small country roads that connect one main road to another. I’d heard that Western Australia had deadly ‘pea’ or ‘ball bearing’ gravel, but had pretty much ignored it. EVERYONE has the worst gravel. Been there done that- you ain’t talking to no ‘noob’ here!
Once again, it seemed that I had to be educated. On my first gravel road everything was riding fine until I hit a corner and despite the decent condition of the gravel almost managed to come off- only the fact that I’d disabled my traction control let me get enough spin in my rear tire to clear the gravel and get some traction on the hard dirt beneath. At first I thought I had a flat, but no… Could it be the gravel itself? Yes.
Deadly indeed! I didn’t pick and choose the pebbles in the pic, I just grabbed a bunch from the corner and put against a plain background so their shape would stand out better. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and was educated- riding is a strict school were one failure may be tolerated, but two will always be punished.
So, back on the more normal roads and another chance meeting with a family that had taken an extended break from work to explore their country with their three young sons. We’d met a couple of times before, but this time spent the evening chatting over dinner and a few beers into the night. This family and their attitude was pure Australian- a bit rough-and-ready, plain speaking, honest, friendly, proud, caring, educated, and interested in the world around them.
They were the kind of people that I’d want as neighbors. And, from my experience, they were closer to the rule in Australia than the exception.
So, off to Perth and a great break with some other long distance riders. The fact that they were long distance riders is important. It’s a cult. We (and I love being part of that ‘we’) get each other- our needs and wants. “Here’s your bed, here’s the washing machine, here’s the WiFi code, here’s a house key, and here’s the beer fridge.” They know you won’t expect them entertain you, they know they can trust you, and they know that wherever you end up, they’ll be the same kind hospitality waiting for them. It’s a good feeling and I look forward to the chance to host them as well as they did me.
We also managed to do some fun riding in town, as well as a nice overnight tour around the area that included a rider coffee hangout and some pretty country riding.
The bike you ask- well there was a break in one of the wires in the wiring harness and some other minor issues that were more just annoying to track down than anything else. Good thing the Perth BMW Motorrad Dealer had an A1 head mechanic who was able to weasel out the issues and get me back on the road.
Oh, and because I’d already left my riding friends place and didn’t want to come back and bother them again one of the mechanics put me up at his place when the repairs took a day longer than expected- how cool is that?!