One of the best parts of travelling is the planning and dreaming. We can’t decide who first suggested travelling around Australia on our bikes but it is definitely something that just has to be done. We first planned to do it in 2014 but cancer and chemo got in the way. But now we are all fit and healthy again and raring to go.
So, first we had to find out just how far it is around Australia, a quick look at the map, maybe 13-14 000km, plus a bit more for side trips. Next is, how much is it going to cost? Petrol, beer, food, camping fees and a few treats. $10 000 should cover it, if not it will cost more.
Grandpa is always on the lookout for a new bike to buy but I still liked my Suzuki and was not ready for a change. A couple of years on and I decided that if he was to buy a new one, then I will too. This then had to be added to the budget. We have had our BMW 650’s for nearly one year now and are really happy with them. There are benefits to in having two bikes the same, common spares and tools to carry. They will both have a service and new tyres on the trip and hopefully the chain and sprockets will last.
One thing that had to be changed was the exhaust, just because Grandpa likes a nice exhaust note. It was replaced by a Staintune system, which was only a single exhaust pipe leaving a rather large space on the right hand side. Well that could be put to good use, so a couple of round ‘tool boxes’ were manufactured. Just right for our spares and tools.
The bikes have a power outlet, very handy for charging all the electronic equipment that is so necessary these days. The new iphone and headlamp would need charging and my camera has died so the phone will be taking all the photos. I found apps to identify birds, wildflowers, stars and planets and find a camp site. This is all very new to me.
There was lots of other stuff to buy or decide how we would manage with or without. First was a new tent, it had to be big enough but not too big and have enough room to store all our stuff in case it rained. The one we found was just right, though in use in northern Australia, even in the middle of winter, there was not enough ventilation. The lack of air circulation combined with a hot sweat or two made it uncomfortable for me but that was the only complaint. Of course by the time we headed south back into winter and rain it was a definite advantage and it was cosy and kept us dry.
We found a spot for everything, including water supplies, food, stove, clothes, sleeping bags and mattresses and the tent. We were really surprised to find that there was still room leftover. I had thought how nice it would be if we were camped out in the bush and could have a fire and be able to cook with our very small cast iron camp oven. The only trouble was that it weighed 2.5kg! The weight limit of the panniers is 5kg, so this is going to take it over the limit. Something else might have to go, but what?
It is dangerous letting me loose in a camping store, there are just so many things that can make life easier or more cluttered. I found a fold up bucket and wash bowl, even a folding poop scoop. They pack up so tiny. The toiletries and clothes bag were very minimalist, about the size of a big phone book, but much lighter of course. This was pretty impressive considering the temperature range we went through. I could have done with another pair of thermals on the way home because when you put in the waterproof liner into the motorbike suit there isn’t any ventilation and boy it gets warm in there. That was the best thing about getting home, putting on different clothes. They were bad and the boots hadn’t had a chance to air out in six weeks, I don’t usually have smelly feet, phew.
Our food and coffee supplies fitted into two lunch box size containers. I dehydrated some meals so we only needed to add water and some noodles or couscous and maybe some dried peas for colour. These were really yummy, I was sad when they ran out and we had to buy dehydrated meals, nowhere near as nice as mine.
Everything worked and there wasn’t anything we really missed, really! 16 000km later, we are home. I couldn’t get my head around being in a house with all this stuff. Even going shopping for food, I couldn’t bring myself to put too much in the trolley after just buying enough to keep us going for a day or two and if you buy it where are you going to put it? Sadly, I’ve adjusted now and it is business as usual.
Soon, I will post stories and photos of the actual trip.