Day 17 3rd June Broome to Marble Bar
Lairdy last night regaled stories of a previous trip to marble bar – the hottest place in Australia. It recently recorded 100 days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s up early to do 700 plus kays. We’ve broken camp and on the road by 6.30am. Meeting at the Roebuck roadhouse we turn South. The wind has picked up and on the bike it feels like a howling gale pushing us left to right or slightly on the head wind side. It’s a little uncomfortable but I’ve decided to play sheep dog for the bikes with limited fuel range. It’s a minimum of 300 kilometres and the head wind is playing havoc with the fuel consumption.
Lairdy is taking it easy checking to see how much he’s using. The scenery is becoming flat and a little uninteresting with no real change from short scrub, howling wind and not much else. Lairdy, Huddo and myself pull into a wayside stop to stretch the legs after 2 hours in the saddle. I’m disgusted. People have used the place as a toilet and left paper strewn all over the place and the wind is just blowing it everywhere.
We roll into the Sandfire road house and re-group. Everyone is going okay so it’s off on a shorter hop to the Pardo road house and into the Pilbara. This is just a splash and dash and then it’s back on the highway for another 100 plus kilometres before we turn off to Marble Bar. Another 144 kilometres straight into a strong headwind. We cross several flood ways which have obviously seen recent rains. Some are damaged and under repair. There’s also wandering stock close to the road. Rolling into Marble Bar there’s one service station where the old woman keeps the bowsers locked. She’s only got 91RON and diesel so the bike is just going to have to put up with 91 for a while.
I decide to take a Donga for the night – those uniquely Australian one bedroom dog boxes built into what looks like old shipping containers. Not flash but clean and a single bed for a change.
We get back on the bikes and ride out of town to the marble bar – which is in fact NOT marble. The old explorers thought it was and that’s how the town got it’s name.
A shower and clean up and walk down to the Iron clad hotel for a feed and a cold beer. Another early night. We plan on doing over 900 kilometres tomorrow.
Day 18 4th June Marble Bar to Coral Bay 940km day
I’m glad I took a Donga last night. Had a good nights sleep except for Spike in the next room vibrating the walls with his snoring. Awake and up at 0500. Bike loaded, a quick cup of coffee with Spike and he heads off. His back tyre is looking ordinary and he’s keen to move off slowly to see if he can nurse it into Perth where he has a set of fresh rubber waiting. I mount up and ride out just after 0600. It’s still dark so with driving lights on I can sit on 110 pretty easy with plenty of light. Still you need to keep a sharp lookout for ‘Roos and wandering cattle. I’m even out before the road gangs working on the road. It’s just me, the wildlife and road trains every now and then. I pass Spike and keep cruising. It’s 144km to the turn off to Port Hedland. As daybreak spreads it’s eerie light across the sky I am a happy rider. There’s nothing better than riding in the fresh morning light and marvelling at the new dawn. Just before the turn off, Luke motors past travelling hard.
We roll into the first petrol/truck stop to get good 98 stuff to mix with the 91ron we had to get in Marble Bar. A quick feed, coffee and we head off. I stick with John Laird. It’s that windy it would blow a brown dog off a chain. Luckily it is sometimes a tail wind but every now and then it’s a cross wind. I find if I hang off the bike I can get in the vortex of the screen which reduces the buffeting.
We pull into Roebuck for fuel after 200 plus kays. Huddo on the Harley pulls in. We decide to travel together and cruise off across uninteresting country. Much of it is the same…. Maybe that’s not fair because every now and then through the green scrubby plains there’s mounds of ant hills that look quite majestic in their own way yet another fuel stop Nanutarra. We decide on a longer break here and have lunch. We’ve done over 600km already in buffeting winds. A couple of big blokes in a tiny little Diahatsu tell us the police are down the road with a rader gun. No worries mate, we’re behaving ourselves. 100 odd kays down highway 1 there’s a turn off into the aptly named ‘scrubby range that leads into Coral Bay. Our overnight stop and rest day tomorrow.
The caravan park and cabin for Huddo and myself is fine for the night. The Bar and sunset over the Indian pacific is once again spectacular.