After meeting the guys at a Triumph Tiger weekend in June, we got together and planned our gravel trip up to Mt Augustus.
Eddie (Tiger XC), Phil (2000 Tiger 900), Andy (1995 Tiger 900) & I (Tiger 800), the only girl.
Was I nervous with my limited experience on gravel and the only chick? Hell yeah.
After our pre trip meeting where we decided who took what in the way of spares & equipment and the route we were taking, I was feeling pretty confident and just
looking forward to the day we left.
The plan was to travel to Beacon on the tar and hit the gravel for the first time at Beacon then thru to Paynes Find, Sandstone, Wiluna, Mingah Springs, Mt Augustus,
Kennedy Ranges, thru Minnie Creek, Gascoyne Junction, Murchison, Pindar, Mingenew, Coorow then home to Perth.
Lunch at the Rabbit Proof Fence
Unfortunately our plans had to change a little as Andy came to grief on the Beacon-Paynes Find Rd, breaking his back and pelvis in 3 places. The Ambulance took 2 hours
to get to us, which all things considering, was very good. Thank god we had Eddie’s satellite phone & Phil’s GPS. Once he was loaded and on the way to hospital, we made
the decision to camp where we were and straighten his bike out and the boys would ride it back to Beacon the next morning and pillion back to camp.
Phil reckons Eddie spooned him all the way back to camp, which of course he denies. I don’t know, they were both smiling when they got back.
Such a good bloke Andy, he left us with his bottle of Makers Rum and Phil & I felt obliged to polish that off as we couldn’t possibly carry more weight, while Eddie made a dent
in the supply of red wine. Was a great night round the campfire then Phil appeared in his pink pyjamas & Crocs which were the laugh of the whole trip…? Good one Phil…
So glad I was left to clean up camp the next morning while the boys rode back to Beacon, as it gave me a chance to go back to bed for a while longer.
Was feeling a bit fuzzy to say the least.
Due to a bit of lost time and after the local policeman told us there was no fuel at Paynes Find, we decided to review the route and hit the black top at Paynes Find and head
straight up to Meekatharra. We cut out the detour to Sandstone and Wiluna but would hit the gravel again 10km’s outside of Meeka. We camped in a dry river bed on the
Meekatharra Mt Clere Rd for the night which was a good spot; apart from the traffic at shift change at the local mine.
Up nice and early as we were continuing to travel up the Meekatharra Mt Clere Rd, right into Waldburg Rd then onto the Mt Augustus Woodlands Rd till we hit Mt Augustus.
The day proved to be the toughest for me with crossing several floodway’s with sand and some massive roads works and lots of sand up on Waldburg Rd. I nearly came off a
few times but was determined not to stack my bike, locked my arms and just powered thru. Such an adrenaline rush and I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day & night.
Phil & Eddie made it look easy but they did admit there were a few scary moments, which made me feel good. Glad I wasn’t the only one doing all the work….
Wild Dog (not for lunch thou)
Refuel Stop – Cnr of Waldburg & Mt Augustus Rd
We stayed at Mt Augustus in the campgrounds for 2 nights which gave us a chance to chill out a bit and explore the area. The people at the station were great and we managed
to get a home grown salad and a meat tray to BBQ for dinner. At a price of course, but much better than canned food.
We played tourists the next day and climbed Mt Augustus. It was so hot, Eddie had the need to remove his Draggin jeans, stash them behind a rock and do the walk in his
boxer shorts. Got to the top at last and Phil bored us to death with trying to set up his time delay on his camera, just to take a shot of the three of us, sitting on a rock.
After several attempts and I mean several, he finally worked it out.
After our walk up a big red hill, we tried to ride out to Kotka Gorge and after about 3 kms, the track turned into a deep sand 4wd track. Another first for me, paddling the bike
thru 25cm of sand with a huge handful of throttle. We gave up after a while and figure the gorge surely wasn’t worth the effort, so we turned around and went back to the
station for lunch.
After lunch we headed out to Cattle Pool which is a permanent pool on the Lyons River. A bit bloody cold and once you swam past the reeds; it was very refreshing and relaxing
on such a hot day. That was until we encountered a very territorial pelican that did a low flying swoop down on us to try and move us on. He finally hit the water and cruised on by
giving us the filthiest look. How dare we swim in his river?
Back to camp for happy hour and dinner and once again, out came Phil’s pink pyjamas & Crocs for all to see. Such an exhibitionist.
On the bikes early the next morning and headed out past Cobra Station towards Kennedy Range National Park. The plan was for Phil & me to have a look at the NP while Eddie
rode ahead into Gascoyne Junction to catch up with a friend, Judy, who lost everything in the floods 2 years ago. They found half her house up a tree while the rest of it washed
away down the river. She is finally in another house after spending several months sleeping on a camp stretcher under a veranda. It was great to see her back on her feet and the
town starting to re-build.
Phil and I walked Tennant Gorge and decided it was too hot to see anything else in the NP. It was hotter than yesterday, real hot. What we did see was amazing and I would
love to get back there one day to have a good look around.
From Gascoyne Junction we headed for Bilung Pool which is just off the Carnarvon Mullewa Rd. Great place to set up camp but there was hardly any water in the pool
which just shows how little rain the Mid-West has had this year.
We packed up nice and early as the plan was to head straight for Murchison Roadhouse for bacon & eggs. I swear I could smell the bacon cooking 100km’s away. So hungry.
After a stroll thru the local museum, which was very interesting to learn about the local history, we headed for Mingenew via Wooleen Station, Twin Peaks Homestead,
Pindar and Tardun. Some nice country side but you definitely had the feeling of leaving the Mid-West.
Great pub meal for our last night’s dinner at the Continental Hotel in Mingenew, a few laughs, a couple of well deserved Bundy’s and I was informed I had ‘passed’ the test
and was welcome on the next ride. I should think so guys as I was the only one who didn’t drop theirs or someone else’s bike….. LOL
Tough Tiger’s get tired too….
So, 6 days of riding, 34.2 hours in the saddle and 2,738km’s all up, most on gravel. Not a bad effort..
Thanks Eddie & Phil. I had an absolute blast and have now got the ‘Gravel bug’ well and truly.