Goodbyes suck balls!
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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In less than an hour I'll be stowing my hand luggage in the overhead compartment of flight JQ61 and getting comfortable with a book that Jay just gave me. This flight will mark the end of my epic two-wheeled Aussie adventures and also kick-start a new one - one of great change and a whole lot more in the way of random whimsical decision-making.
This time I'm headed to Asia, and this time I won't be stopping over or passing through. There's no onward flight, no onward destination, and no plan. Just the way I like it.
So.. final thoughts on Australia? I could easily leave it there and say that there's no real need, that my experience here speaks for itself - but I still feel like I should round up the era, finalise things in some sort of conclusive way and sum it all up in a nutshell. And that's when I realise I haven't really seen all that much of this great brown land. Not when you look at the big picture.
I didn't get up there and see Queensland, and in a lot of peoples eyes that's just stupid. Why bother going to Australia if you're not going to go to Queensland? Why bother if you're not going to sail the Whitsundays, dive the Great Barrier Reef or bask in the tropical climate on some sun-kissed beach? Much is the same for the Northern Territory, a place that's so often argued as being the real Australia. I didn't get to savour the raw characters that rule the region or get torn a new arse by a saltwater crocodile. I didn't fall to my knees and gasp under the weight of the searing heat and I didn't get to enjoy a stubby (and a chubby) with a real outback Sheila.
Which is why I think I'll come back one day. These things really can't be missed and I really don't want to miss them. But for now it's time to move on. I've had a blinder of a time here. Really. And maybe I did only cross the country from east coast to west, but there's a hell of a lot in between and I did do every bit of it on two-wheels - which does, by the way, involve a fair bit of doing.
So let's see:- 21,928 back-breaking kilometres through 87 towns and cities across 6 states. I suffered the elements, I mean really suffered the elements. I felt sick with fatigue, had enough 'close-calls' with roos, wombats and camels to last me a lifetime. I successfully obliterated in the region of 237,632 plump juicy bugs with my visor, chewed up 4 tyres, demolished a new chain and a complete set of sprockets; broke down, got towed to the middle of nowhere, replaced the fairing, windshield, yoke and clocks after some piece of shit decided to flick brake fluid over the front end, guzzled up over two-grand in fuel and had a few technical 'near-misses' on the road that will torment me in my sleep for years. It's not exactly a ride around the block.
Then there's the people. And I met the whole scattered mix - the rednecks as well as the everyday folk. I saw countless bouts of messed-up behaviour, enough mindless violence to last me forever and more drink-driving in a year than I've seen in my entire life, including in the news. It's an Aussie thing. A cultural thing. A different way of thinking. Maybe their attributes and traits do stem from their convict beginnings. Maybe it's that that brings out the competitive edge in them, the 'screw you' attitude that explodes into a great icon of success on the world stage, that fiery will that makes so many Australians so annoyingly hard to beat, especially down the pub. There's no doubt that Aussies are rough around the edges, but fuck me they're a loyal and generous bunch. When you're in a pickle they're unstoppable. They're the friends you've always wanted and the family you'd love to choose given half a chance. They're the salt of the earth, they're wholesome and hearty, they're vulgar and they're real. They tell it like it is. They're my kind of people.
So if I had to conclude.. well I can't. All I can say is I made it. I crossed the arse of the continent. On two wheels. Nothing major, nothing to jump up and down about, but a big fat experience that's rewarded me with many quality memories and a handful of good friends to cherish for the rest of my days. Ain't that what it's about?
(Thanks to everyone that helped (and hindered) my progress along the way - you all made it the experience it was. Thanks to Charlie and the 'Pimp-Man', Shiny, Ken, Chike, Mike, Lorna, Linda, Michaela, Dana, 'Wog Man', Grig, Matty, Laurie, Di, Tom, Nino, Caress, Ralph, 'Kill Bill', Johnno, Ray, Maud, 'Phat Sam', Greg's mom, Lesley, Scotty, Lucy, Foxy, Terry, Murray, Scruffy, Danny, Marty, Mandy, Pauly, Dawn, Kane, Jess, Joolz, Raabi and the whole crazy bunch of stubby-wielding diggas! Special thanks of course to Mark, Lee, Jay, Erin, Adam, Sparky, Carson and that little shit of a thing that squeals while I'm trying to concentrate. You've all made history in my veins, and I'll never forget yers. Bless yers.. x)