Norseman to Esperance, Esperance to Albany, on to Bridgetown and then to Perth.
Norseman to Esperance. A short hop. Esperance is a beautiful seaside town and quite the prettiest place I have encountered. No wonder they have no problem recruiting health inspectors. Unfortunately the weather was cool enough that I did not go for a swim.
High speed on my bike causes vibration. My engine is not rubber mounted like the others, and so the frame vibrates. I really only notice it when I am trying to keep up with the bigger bikes. At my own pace it is not so much a problem. Now I know why I must trade the lovely lady in.
Riding from Esperance to Albany, we encountered several swarms of locusts. Being hit by a locust at 100 kph is more painful than being hit by a paintball. Being hit by a swarm is much more so – and messier too. My jeans, boots, jacket and helmet, and any part of the bike and its fittings facing forward were all smeared with kacky grasshopper goo which dried in the wind to a tacky mess. It was a real bugger to remove. Goop!
Next day, from Albany, we rode to Bridgetown, me getting separated once more! Missed lunch too.
Then, on our last day we rode the back roads around Nannup before heading for Perth.
On the way to Perth we got separated yet again at Pinjarra. By now I’d had enough and just headed straight to Steve’s place via the Kwinana and Roe highways. Steve went another way, and Gerry and Jaimie yet another. I got there first. By the time the others all arrived no one was in a good mood and what should have been a happy ending to a long and mostly fun trip was a little tense. After a couple of coffees, I jumped in my car and drove to Katanning. I was home by 7.30 pm and in bed by 8. I hitched a lift back the following weekend to collect the bike.
We covered a total of 5,984 km by my odometer, in 16 days of riding and one rest day on Sunday 25th. We mostly did about 350k a day, except for across the Nullabor, which we did in two hops of 672 and 528k, and we had one short day from Norseman to Esperance of about 200k. We had some interesting group dynamics.
It was a great ride and I enjoyed it very much. There were some disappointments of course, mainly because I seem to have different expectations of group riding. I had hoped it would be all for one, one for all with plenty of allowance for stopping and keeping up.
I would have liked to spend a bit more time sightseeing and exploring side roads and tourist spots. Also to have time just to stop and take some considered and planned photos, rather than quick snapshots. I ended up alone a great deal, because I fell behind most often. Three main reasons, needing to stop and work my knees, my interest in looking around and taking photos, and the fact that my bike does not cruise comfortably at the pace set by the others. Falling behind occasionally meant ending up on a different route when the others turned off without waiting for me. At first I found it irksome, but in the end I simply made sure I knew what our destination was for the day, and just muddled along. I now have in my head some ground rules for group riding which I shall share with others before I undertake such a ride again.
There was nearly always a few hours of daylight left at the end of the day’s ride, and I felt we could do shorter hops and longer stops in interesting spots, or more side trips to nearby locations. From my point of view we just flew along ignoring much of what was around us.
Half way along the route, the others decided they would prefer it if I had a room to myself. It seems my snoring has become much worse lately. That increased the accommodation costs somewhat. It also prompted my Dad to suggest I be tested for sleep apnoea, of which I proved to have a severe case. I now sleep well with the aid of a machine.