Danielle Murdoch, Australia

My First Day on the Road!

| Australia

Sleeping naked as I packed my pyjamas on my motorcycle the day before, but sleep wasn’t coming. I was awake, even though the last few days I’ve had a few late nights with a lot of alcohol. I was exhausted and still extremely hangover. At five am the text came through, it was Maciek and he was on his way out. Time to put this sleepless night behind me and pack those few things I thought about during the night. Tippy toeing around the house, as we had a full house of people, with my Aunty Judith and Uncle Len in their room. Aunty Chriss in her favourite room and then my good friends Mel and Jarred were left with the two single beds. I quietly opened up the garage door, and stuffed in the last few remaining bits and pieces I anguished over during the night into the left over spaces around my bike.

The sound of Macieks motorcycle fulled the neighbourhood. I went out to the front gate to meet him knowing full well, it’s a hard house to find. Everyone in the house stirs as his powerful bike rides through the growing puddles on the driveway and parks on solid ground under the carport. After swallowing down a dry piece of buttered fruit toast and closely followed by my instant coffee. It’s all still sticking my throat, ignoring the awkward sensation I dragged my bike out of the shed and cranked her up. First I hugged Mel and Jarred goodbye, seeing Mels tears drop as she hugged me again and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. I am trying my best to hold my own back. I leap on my bike before I cannot hold them back anymore and attempt to ride the heavy laden bike down the side of the house. Back wheel sliding all over the place, I make my clumsy way to my waiting family, ready to wave me off. Ken our neighbour, hears the commotion joins in on the farewell party.

My tummy is in knots, the fruit toast is still in one big lump at the back of my throat. I hold back the tears and hug everyone goodbye. Maciek and I reave up our engines and ride out through the front gate together. This is it, I am starting my adventure the one I have been dreaming of for the last two years, and planning from about a year ago. I’m finally on the road once again.

Above photos thanks to Mel

We are heading for Carnavon Gorge, but instead of taking the main road through Ipswich, we head towards Crows Nest hoping to take every chance to be on a dirt road possible. We start following a nice dirt road to Crows Nest, I only confidant at travelling about 60 kilometres per hour, Maciek has long since disappeared from my view. My bike isn’t set up for doing major off road, getting down the side of the house proved that this morning. With the extra weight and my movements restricted by the luggage, I feel a bit apprehensive.

photo thanks to Maciek

Cutting across to Oaky, we meet the main road heading to Dalby. Passing through Chinchilla, I realised this is the furthest in-land I’ve ever been in Australia. Along the way we keep hearing about roads closed due to flooding. Once we reached Dalby, we head to the police station to the most up to date information, as we didn’t really want to back track a couple of hundred kilometres.

Sweating, I removed my AXO jacket, but left on my amour one, we walked through the police station front gate only to discover it’s only open a few hours a day. Just as we dialled the number a uniform in a marked car drove into the compound. He didn’t know what the latest road condition was like, so he called his mate closer to the area in question. While, he was on the phone, I caught Maciek laughing to himself. ‘What?’ I question him. ‘You look like Robo Cop!’ He cracks up. Giving him a light punch on his arm, just as the guys, said into the phone ‘still under water by one and half meters – thanks mate’ and hangs up.

photo thanks to Maciek

Decision been made for us we head onwards to Roma. Turning north on the Carnavon Development Road, just as the sun was dipping behind the horizon. We are on the hunt for our first camp site. The kilometres are ticking over we needed to stop shortly. Seeing Maciek slowing down, I can see what he’s spotted. A small dirt track veers off to the left. I hit it first and take it hard and fast. I too don’t want to be setting up in the dark. A couple of kilometres down the dusty track we were greeted by a black and white friendly dog pouncing out from the station house.

Maciek heads in first with helmet off, hoping the farmer will allow us to camp at the bottom of his property. As we parked the bikes side by side outside the half-finished shed, a man dressed in jeans and a flannelette shirt joins us. After explaining our predicament, we cheekily asked if we could camp down by his front gate. Dave went one better, he pointed out to some flat terrane by the house and showed us his wood pile. After we set up camp he ambled down with his can of beer and offered to cook us a big juicy steak for us. Tired, still hung-over, we could almost crash, but we couldn’t let an opportunity of meeting a local stop us. Heading over into the light, we sat down at the kitchen breakfast bar and handed us a huge plate of vegies and the most amazing mouth-watering steak I’ve ever had.

photo thanks to Maciek

photo thanks to Maciek