Friday, May 14, 2010

Prostate Cancer, UFO Sightings and marbles

last posting on 14may

On the last morning, Stephen had to return the vehicle to the rental company. I helped him saved some money by fetching him from the town to the airport on Hope Too.

Our shipment schedule was brought forward from what we planned for a week. We have to send the bike to the company before 17 May 2010. The next available shipment that they have from Darwin to Dili (East Timor) will be a date after our visa expires. So we had to rush to the north via Stuart Highway, the main road from South to North of Australia. Every road idiot can travel this highway of 2834km (Singapore to Chiang Rai is 2600km) because there weren’t any much turnoff from it and would be very hard to get lost if you are driving from the South to North.

We reached the only ‘civilization’ area in this 2834km, which is Alice Springs, the centre of Australia. By the time we set up our tent on the proper camp ground, it was dark. At the camp ground, we met Kathrin’s brother, Stephen. After their road trip Kathrin had flew back to Sydney and Stephen was still hanging around the town and waiting for his flight back to Germany. Again, we had a German night’s out.

The next morning was one of the very few mornings that we do not need to pack up the tent and put on our riding gear. We went for a Mac Donald’s for a great breakfast, went for tire change, went for grocery shopping and back to our campground to do our admin.

Usually I would update the blog, check email and get in touch with friends while Samantha would do the laundry. Realising that it was 530pm, we quickly packed our things and rode to Kingsmill’s house.

We met Kienny and Geoff Kingsmill on 24 December 2008 at Ushuaia, Argentina. They were travelling Latin America too at that time with their 4wheels. Kienny gave us their name card and said if we are coming to the centre of Australia, please visit them. At that time, going to Australia was still quite far away and even we would reach Australia, why would we go to the centre of Australia which is so far away from everything?

The great welcome from them made us feel that we were not alone in this big land. We caught up with similar topics like the Latin America experiences and we learned some ‘tricks’ from them about travelling.

One of their great adventures was the overland trip, driving from South Africa to London in 1998 for about 2 years with their daughter, Su-Lin (9years old at the time of travel). They had taken 1 year off from Su-Lin’s studies and it had really made her memorable of Africa, till now. You see, even with kids, you can have an overland trip!

In June 2004 to Febuary 2005, they the Trans-Russia-Mongolian with their Land-rover again.

Being ichy feet, (or ichy footed?) they did Argentina, Chile and Peru in 2008 and 2009.

They did a good round the world trip. Some did it once and for all, like us and some did it in ‘instalments’ like them, depending.

They discussed their plan for the next trip and we were feeling excited for them!

Kienny cooked us a very delicious Chicken Rice with the chilli sauce, which I believe that it really took her 2 days just to prepare the sauce. I thought to myself that I could simply stay in Alice Springs because there is home food here, right at the Kingsmill door step!

Thank you Kienny and Geoff Kingsmill for the wonderful time we had in the centre of Australia!

Kienny, Geoff and Samantha.

the 6th (and last) time that we pass through Tropic of Capricorn in our trip.

After leaving Alice Springs on the next morning, we travelled as far as we could to the north, reaching a weird place call Wycliffe Well Roadhouse, about 360km north of Alice Springs.

Wycliffe Well Roadhouse was one of the more legendary stops along the Stuart Highway. This roadhouse is famous for documented UFO sightings. It also boasts one of the largest selections of beer in the NT (which may explain some UFO sightings). Interesting place to visit. We chat with a local that had stayed in the area for 4 years; they claimed that they had not seen any before.

Just 27km north, there laid Devil’s Marble. I reckon the campground here would be much better and cheaper. It’s a free park for visitors and could hike around this area for a day.

Devil's Marble.

Devil's Marble

I remembered one old couple that was travelling in their caravan warned us not to stay or hang around a place called Elliott. He mentioned about the native people there were not good and might have our things stolen if we are not careful. Sam and I were curious enough to stay a night there. Yes, it’s really a ghost town. I could see that I used to be a busy town but many services here closed down. the campground was shared with the same property of a scrape yard. At least we were sleeping well because of the shower facilities provided.

The next morning, while we were packing up, a lady in biking gear walked to we after we had 95% packed up. She was curious about our trip and she was also riding from Tasmania to Darwin for a charity run. They are raising fund for the prostate cancer foundation of Australia and they would be riding into Darwin town in the next 2 days together, about 300 bikes, to raise awareness to the public for prostate cancer.

I said ok, we ride together. Basically we are using the same road to Darwin and they were also staying a night in the town that we planned to stay, Katherine. So riding together with Hope Too means just ride and overtake us. We couldn’t catch up with them, mostly in big cc bikes, tourers with trailers at the back like Honda Goldwing, busting Harley Davidson with chrome metal, big beard + tattoo and luggage on a back up vehicle. All have a common goal, to join in to ride to Darwin to create public awareness.

Along the rest stations, we chat up with many bikers and answer them where we came from and our journey. They said all of them are staying at Knotts Crossing Campground tonight and invited us to join them.

Ok, we made it to Knotts Crossing Campground. Paid the premium price for a tent site but it doesn’t matter because we are supporting the prostate cancer ride. The whole campground was full of bikers. In the night, there was a briefing by the chief for 15minutes. That was the only time the bikers got together, for 15 minutes.

After that we retreated back to our tent and cook our dinner. Knowing those guys that had came for their ride in their homeland, they could afford the BBQ dinner in the restaurant.

What made our night special was the meeting with Nicole and Tobias from Germany. They ride bicycle from Germany through all the stans, into China to Singapore. Then they flew to Australia and worked here and continue their journey. The reason we could click along with many Germans was that though they are considered as white people but they are very straight forward in many things. Like comment about places, living lifestyle and things about life goal.

Both of them are young and after talking to Tobias, he had the sense of rightness towards society. Too bad we only have 2 hours of chat with them because the next day we had to ride with the prostate cancer people… opps sorry, we had to ride with the people that raise fund for prostate cancer foundation.

We experienced a Australia charity ride, that was to meet in a big carpark outside a shopping centre, get police escort for 25km into a grass ground, find a place to park under the hot sun, then everybody had to squeeze into a camera, then have our own time or we can go, then the leader speak to the TV. Anyway, we just want to help them built up the number of bikers.

Giant termite nest!

Road train overtaking Hope Too.

Answering questions from curious bikers. We were the only Asian rider here.

Stuart Highway.
Stuart Highway.

The TV reporter uses Hope Too as their backdrop.

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