Since we are in a new time zone (Australian central standard time) it is sometimes difficult to judge how much time you need to ride. We finished breakfast at 9 am which one would think was a bit late until you consider that the sun rises around 7: 20 am . We got on the road around 10:30 am expecting the first 100 km unto Docker River to be the worst since that is what we were told. So we estimated 5 hours of riding to cover the 270 km until we reached tarmac about 60 km from Yulara.
Unfortunately what we found was totally different, the road was really bad sandy corrugated loose gravel , and patches of muddy puddles. It was physically challenging, especially considering we had to stand most of the way, and I was still recovering from yesterday’s injuries. We had packed extra drinking water and strapped it to our panniers however the correlation was so severe that they fell out leaving us with only the water in our camelbacks.
Six hours in and about 100 km left of still terrible road conditions we realised that we only have a little over two hours before sunset meeting that we will never reach Yulara before dark , and not sure whether we will finish the Off road section before sunset.About an hour later my bikes engine cutout in the middle of a rough patch, I suspected the side stand switch and I was right, it was dangling out of place and with all the vibration set that the side stand is lowered with cuts off the engine (a safety feature on modern motorcycles) . With my knee I couldn’t get under the bike to fix it so Husain and Ali managed to put the switch back into place and using a zip tie to secure it. We had lost valuable time that we didn’t have .
Exhausted we pushed on until the sun got so low the long shades of the tries made it difficult to see the details of the road which we needed to avoid loose patches. later we noticed that the shades were gone and the sun is setting we would have little daylight left and riding at night in these conditions would be a nightmare. suddenly I see car crossing at the end of the road with high speed which only meant that the off road section of our trip was almost over.
We stopped at the the entrance happy to have made it, All my mirrors were loose from the shaking so I had to fix them before getting on the road ( More time spent ) , and now we are riding in a national park after sunset in the dark with little over 60 km left to Yulara. Although the speed limit mentioned 100 km/h it was too dark for us to go that fast just incase animals were crossing the road giving us time to react and stop. So we were riding at a leisurely pace until a caravan passed us and we started to follow it happy to be on a asphalt again.
We reached Yulara with no Hotel reservations and by the time we got rooms it was 8 pm, we had nothing to eat since breakfast and the restaurants close at 9 pm. So we rushed and got our order in 1 minute before they closed. All is all it was a very exhausting day which made us want to rest at least 3 nights in Yulara to recuperate. Our next stop will be Alice Springs.