A dose of flu and a nagging ankle injury saw me make the decision to only run the Half Marathon in the Australian Outback. The upside of the shorter run is a shorter recovery period that meant I might be fit to ride home. So four days out I went, cap in hand, to my wife and broached the subject of cancelling my flights and taking my Yamaha Super Tenere to Uluru. The ride was approved.
The ride requirements were simple, I had to arrive at Yulara at 4pm Thursday but still be fit to run at dawn on Saturday morning. 2841kms seemed a good hit out for a Bun Burner 2500k, I just needed to manage fuel availability and a rest. Fuel presented the only problem with none available between Port Augusta and Coober Pedy at the time I’d be riding through. This was solved by buying a second 10 litre jerry. I didn’t feel I’d really be pushed for time but was happy that I could finish the ride at Erldunda with sufficient Ks ridden for the BB if I fell behind.
Day 1: Newcastle NSW to Glendambo SA
Plan done, bike packed wanting to leave at 4am today, I was half an hour late but happy with that. It was coolish until Merriwa where it got foggy and colder. By Duneedoo the fog was thick and freezing on the screen, mirrors, my visor and ice was building up on my boots. Thankfully though, the sun came up and the ice melted.
Fuel was being consumed a bit quicker than I expected, must have been the cold. I was running and very low heading into Gilgandra. I managed to get 85.5kms on reserve on the Super Tenere and put 22.05 litres in it. It’s the first time I’ve put more than 20 litres in tank and some say that can’t be done!
The weather was perfect, sunny and not hot, very easy going. The next fuel stop was Cobar and I chose a jerry stop closer to Broken Hill rather than stopping in Wilcannia. By Broken Hill I had made up most of the time I had lost by leaving late. Here’s a pic a Cockburn on the SA Border, I like this little town, never seen anyone outside.
Then the sunset gave me something to look at in Emu Country between there and Yunta
At Yunta I stopped for a rest, a plain burger, a call to the family and to book some accommodation at Glendambo after deciding to stop there for a snooze. So 500kms to go I rugged up, put on the yellow specs and reset the brain for the darkness and critters it usually brings.
I rode through Peterborough, Wilmington, Horrocks by night and on to Port Augusta where I made a quick fuel stop followed by a right turn onto the Stuart Hwy. I was in heaven. The night was mild, the stars were out and the Baja Designs ONX LED light bar and pair of SII’s picked out the three roos and one fox sharing the tar between there and Glendambo. All were respectful and gave me plenty of room to spare.
I arrived in Glendambo about midnight 1850ks done for the day. The key was in the door, the light and air conditioning was on. A quick bike unpack and I refuelled using the majority of premium from the jerry cans. There would be no fuel available when I planned to leave. After that I was asleep soon enough. Then I was awake because I forgot to turn the UHF off. Then I was asleep again.
Day 2: Glendambo SA to Yulara NT
Riding 2500k’s in 36 hours usually finds me riding 1800-2000k’s on day 1, six or so hours rest and knock off the rest of the k’s. This ride however required 2840 or so kilometres, so 4 hours was the only break I could afford to make it without too much pressure. Soon I’d be enjoying the 130kph speed limits of the Northern Territory but not for long.
So 4 hrs rest followed by instant oats and sultanas saw me on my way before Glendambo had woken. The forecast was for a very cold morning, I rugged up but it was mild compared to yesterday. The sun rise was typically beautiful for out there
After sunrise I arrived in Coober Pedy where I filled the tank and both jerry cans. Finally got a pic of this in the light!
I rode past Marla, enjoying another spectacular day out here, and stopped in a rest area to empty the jerrys into STEN. That would see me through to Erldunda even with the additional fuel consumption that mysteriously happens once you get into the Northern Territory.
I was right on schedule at Erldunda, a quick fill of the tank only, didn’t see any point having two full jerry cans to keep safe in Yulara for a few days. I arrived right on 4pm AEST, making a 35.5hr trip in total. I grabbed a quick witness at the servo, filled the tank and quickly slipped into athlete tourist mode with a gin and tonic or two.
So 2841k’s ridden by the Etrex 10 in 35.5 hours. Yamaha’s Super Tenere is a great motorcycle to do these types of rides on. Now to plan the ride home. I think I’ll have a crack at something more challenging.