Doing the Spiderman

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Day Twenty-Six: - Kalgoorlie - Coolgardie - Southern Cross - Merredin - Perth

Almost two months of tolerating imbeciles would take its toll on anyone I reckon, which is why I'm surprised my chin's still up, even if I'm on the verge of grabbing one of them and slamming them to the floor. Actually, watching foul-mouthed Linda struggle with the highs and lows of despair has been prime entertainment - great value - and has probably saved me from my own demise. But in the throes of struggling in this feral outpost I knew deep down that if someone didn't drag her out of there soon and feed her a bit of fresh air and adventure, she'd probably start twitching and humming satanic tunes to herself in private. That or she'd probably end up going for someone's throat. I had to take action and after squeezing three commitment-free days out of the kitchen and Linda from the bar we snatched the opportunity for soul-replenishment and ran like the wind.

When you're surrounded by vacant arid desert it's not too long before it all starts to play tricks and mess with your marbles. For so long now I've craved the ocean. I can't tell you. That was part the problem. I needed to see it, to breath it, to stand tall and sniff it in. I needed to kill a few hours flinging a thousand skimmers over the crashing foam. And I needed to see a bit of decent skirt. Above all else I needed banter. Proper belly-aching banter. And that could mean only one thing. It was time to pay The Mannion a visit.

The other problem with getting caught up in Kal is the tormenting fact that for as long as I stay here, my silly dream of crossing the continent and making it over to Perth will always remain unfulfilled. And that just won't do. Dreams aren't there to be be dreamed, they're there to be lived, however silly they are. So helmets on heads, jackets on backs, we jumped on the SV and blazed a trail west right into the harrowing glare of the setting sun.

Six hours everyone said. Six hours my arse. It took us almost nine and that's a hell of a mare when you're riding two-up without waterproofs through a violent storm of harsh punishing weather. The last two hours were the worst. I'm not kidding, we went through a whole world of misery and suffering. Once Linda's foul-mouth had given up cursing in and around the back of my helmet I knew things were getting serious. I knew she'd resigned herself to weeping through grit teeth as she clung on tightly with every bit of resolve. I too was numb, shaking uncontrollably and fighting to see the feintest outline of familiarity through the ever building condensation in my visor. Every single kilometre was a living hell. Blind-riding 100k's an hour on an unlit highway in the middle of an elemental onslaught isn't really a clever move, especially when someone elses life is in your hands. But the situation was out of my hands. I honestly couldn't see a thing and there was no other sensible option other than racing ahead to join and cling to the nearest car just to get the vaguest idea of what was ahead from reading the reflection of the tail lights in the slippery smoothness beneath us. Either that or we were riding completely blind, chancing a pot-hole, which at the very least would mean spending the rest of our days in a wheelchair dribbling over ourselves. Not an experience I wish to savour.

We pulled up at Mannion's gaff just before 10pm, chilled to the core, shaking and confused. But in one piece. The hot shower, comfy sofa and the crack of a cold stubby was like morphine oozing through my veins. The ordeal was over. Never again. An hour later we were fast asleep like babies.


Following the trauma of the previous day we opted to explore world's most isolated city and its surroundings by train and bus. After a brief meander around the city we decided to start further afield and work our way in. First stop was Cottesloe Beach, recommended to us by most of the people back in Kal, though what all the fuss was about I really couldn't tell you. Crappy weather aside, it wasn't much more than a lightly littered beach with a locked-up restaurant overlooking the dull and choppy ocean. We didn't hang around, and as Fremantle was next on the agenda we had no time to waste.

As I'm not really a city boy, 'Freo' really did hit the spot. A compact little harbourside community of friendly faces, quaint little eateries and enticing places to sit and sup. Fremantle was my cup of tea entirely and definitely is to Perth what St Kilda is to Melbourne (right up your alley Mike!) By late afternoon we'd found ourselves in the 'Little Creatures Brewery', a superb and clever little establishment offering fine beverages in the novel setting of the brewery itself, which means sitting back watching staff in white coats walking around with clipboards twiddling knobs and releasing valves. I couldn't help feeling like Charlie in Willie Wonka's beer factory - a marvellous afternoon..

..whereby sometime later we stumbled out into the crisp west coast air on the hunt for fine dining. Plenty of places to choose from too so staying only one night caused a lot of indecision. After the usual fannying about with dining decisions it was The Mexican Kitchen that received us with open arms and plied us with stodgy pre-cooked plates, rendering foul-mouthed Linda bloated and sickly. Day two was an instant history.


As untimely as it was, we had to spend half the morning at the Suzuki dealership getting a new front tyre fitted (oh to be legal once more) which took a good chunk of time out of the day. The rest of it was spent back in Perth itself mooching about. As cities go I was impressed, a Melbourne kind of impressed - small enough for an air of friendliness, large enough to stand back and admire and we were genuinely shocked at the amount of sharply dressed, immensely attractive people who were to-ing and fro-ing about the place. I'm telling you, Kal kills the senses. The real world - for a moment - felt like another dimension.

The rest of our time was spent in full banter with Mannion and Jake out in their local suburb of the Maylands. Once they'd freed themselves from the chains of work, we hit the local strip and lapped up the banter - Linda surprisingly more than me, though it's not difficult with the Mannion on top form leading everyone astray. The girl remains a legend, and a medicine that should see me through the remainder of my time back in Idiotsville..

Kilometres eaten: 4480
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