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red bluff

with some help from the people of the station, we put the truck back on its wheels. we towed it the last twenty kilometers to red bluff where we got ourselves a nice shack, our home for the next week.

just inĀ  front of the shack was our little garden with a bench to watch the ocean and the surf point and a fire place which we turned into our kitchen in the evening.

with sarah and laura, i walked up to the point the next morning. the view over red bluff.

we spend half of the day enjoying the place and the other trying to get things organised. ben had to make a lot of phone calls to sort things out with the insurance and to organise the shipping of the boat over to the east coast. which was quite a mission with no reception, no internet and just one public phone. since we couldn’t fit all of us in ian’s truck, it soon became obvious that our group would split. the day the insurance company sent a truck to collect ben’s landcruiser, sarah and laura took the opportunity to get a lift back to carnarvon to look for another way to continue their travel. our last dinner together.

as the night progressed, we realized that we had to make a goodbye party for the troopy, which had served as trusty travelling companion for ben over the past five years. we grabbed a couple of drinks and snacks and were impressed that the stereo was still intact and i guess it was an adequate goodbye.

the three of us stayed for another three day, took the boat out for a last fishing trip and got a little drunk over playing beerbong with the guys who helped us out after the accident. no photo documentation of this evening.

after a week we left, put the boat behind ian’s truck and went back to carnarvon. from there it was loaded on a truck and, with half of my things and the bike packed inside, transported over to brisbane. i just booked a flight from broome and will look into the repairs once i’m over there. it will be a lot easier in brisbane as it seems to have enough shops and bicycle communities to have the proper surrounding to get the bike going again. now we continue over coral bay to exmouth and then spend a couple of days at the karijini national park on our way to port hedland and then broome.

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equipment

crash no. 2

on the way to red bluff we passed the quobba blow holes, just an hour north of carnarvon. a place where the force of the sea shows itself when it hits the rocky coastline and sends water fountains up in the air. quite a nice shower if you’re not too close.

we continued on a dirt road that was well maintained but suddenly got worse. after a crest we saw a deep sand patch too late. while sliding into it, the steering rod broke and all i heard was “hold on” before we lost control over the truck and rolled over the roof.

first question: “everything all right?”. not so easy to answer after the head keeps on spinning, even after the truck stopped rolling. ian arrived shortly afterwards and hurried us out of the truck, so far we had just managed to get out of our seatbelts and resume a vertical position. the liquid spreading in a puddle underneath the vehicle turned out to be just water leaking from the tank, but the gasbottle squeezed underneath the weight of the car didn’t look too safe either. we both got away with some strained muscles and bruises. the seatbelts and steel bars around the truck made all the difference.

the bicycle, which was strapped on the roof, wasn’t so lucky.

the wheels are gone as well as the handlebars. the rear rack is bend in all sorts of directions as is the saddle. an eyelid on the frame and a piece of the rear derailleur is bend too. i will see how much i can bend back and what needs to be replaced. apart from the truck and the bike, most of our equipment was still intact. the guitar had just some minor damage. the bottom came lose a little but i managed to fix that with glue. some tomatoes escaped the fridge and got smashed all over the inside of the truck but all eggs on board survived without receiving a crack.

the first crash with the bicycle had a similar lucky outcome with only some material damage. though the bike had no damage at all back then.

we camped just off the road and made a fire in front of the boat and truck to signal the site to other people passing. we we’re cooking dinner and tried to keep our spirits up. i think we did quite well. still, this would need some time to sort things out…

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fashion locations people travel

trip north

after leaving magaret river we went to perth, fixed the exhaust of the truck on the way and crashed at katie’s place, a common friend of ben and ian from the sunshine coast. i had a lovely night out in freo once more and on the next morning we set out along the coastline to the north. with us now were laura and sarah, two girls from france travelling in ian’s truck. the first night we camped surrounded by sand dunes just some kilometers after the pinnacles. so inviting to lounge there at sunset.

we continued along the coast and i tried out surfing for the first time. the waves where a little to big for me and so i focused on getting a feel for the board. we stopped in kalbarri for some more surfing and had a look at the gorges on our way back to the coastal highway.

here’s the whole crew. ian, me, ben, laura and sarah.

we cruised along with ‘the national’, ‘custom kings’ or ‘paul dempsey’ on the stereo until we reached shark bay. there we went on a boat trip for the first time. i caught my first fish but i threw it back in the water. after a couple of days we continued to carnarvon where we stayed the night to be there for ANZAC day and the dawn service.

after breakfast we continued 50km inland to a place called rocky pool. the light after sunset was beautiful as were the reflections in the water.

i played some songs as we were sitting around the campfire that night, in the morning we had some water acrobatics performed by laura and ian,

and in the morning we covered ourselves with clay sarah found along the river.

never mind if it was the detoxing or the fun we had, we felt good afterwards. we went back to carnarvon to get supplies as we were planning on spending some weeks away from any possibility to restock. next stop: red bluff.

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food locations people travel

trip south

after deciding to leave magaret river after three months, there was still the question where to go next. my original idea to go east was getting less attractive each day as it was getting cold down south and it would get colder and rainy over the following months, so i started thinking about going north instead. the only problem: the distances are huge, there is little in between places and not much options besides following the highway. since it seems the way to travel australia is rather by car or better a 4WD, i took a quick quiz at the internet and saw an add for a trip to the north on an old landcruiser with a roof-rack tagging a trailer with a boat. it seemed like plenty of space to get my bicycle on board. after an email, a call and a meeting, ben, the driver and proud owner, invited me for a short trip to the south first. since i hadn’t seen this part and the hostel was now very quiet after the season had ended, i was keen to come along. even if that meant i had to be ready in 3 hours. well i was used to a hurried departure.

we passed pemberton again towards windy harbour where we spend the first night. it was strange after 3 month in a hostel to sit by a campfire in the middle of nowhere. first there is always a bit too much concern about the limitations. no shower, no kitchen, no light switch but strangely this fades quickly and the focus shifts more to the experience of simplicity. being thankful for a swim and the fresh feeling without a shower, for the hot food without a kitchen and the glowing of the camp fire which has just more to offer than a light bulb.

we took a look at a couple of beaches along the way. places i wouldn’t have reached by bike since it was only sand tracks inaccessible with a loaded touring bike. most of those beaches where completely deserted.

we made it as far as denmark, a cozy little town in the south west. from there we started back towards magaret river.

on our way back we set up camp at black point. a remote spot only frequented by locals and surfers.

there we met up with ian, who would join us on the trip north, and two friends of him and ben. for dinner we had the salmon ben caught the day before. i didn’t mind having only fish for dinner. it seems that my decision to become a vegetarian was mostly influenced by not knowing where the food comes from and not being able to be thankful for the meal, as there was hardly any effort involved in getting it. i will see if that is just an exception lasting for this trip. the rest of the time the boys spend surfing while i picked up the guitar, spend some time reading and was slowly getting back into the mood for travelling.

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locations

pemberton

to get out of the hostel we made a road trip to pemberton. famous for its huge karri trees which were used as a fire-lookout. the most famous one being the gloucester tree. the way you climb up is still the same, just some metal rods sticking out of the bunk like a spiral staircase. the second tree we visited, the bicentennial tree, was even more impressive with a lookout platform 75 meters above the ground. and up we go…

there is no fear of actually falling down, but there are still some shaky legs involved when the rods are a bit further apart.

soon there is more to come about a road trip to the north…