Two hundred members of the Rebels motorcycle club, complete with American Confederacy flags stitched on leathers, rumbled past here. All Harleys with, blat blat blat, straight pipes.
They wear helmets and seem to be obeying the law. They are going to Western Australia under full (unwanted) police escort. A member of another motorcycle club was killed sniper style a couple of weeks ago, and there are fears there might be trouble. I talked to one briefly as he was sweetening his tea. “Long bloody road this.” Lots of long hair and pony tails, and also very short hair. All are dressed in black and most sport ear rings, but they don’t seem to be as distant as American bikers.
The Dingo Fence
October 17. Yalata to Nundroo Roadhouse. It rained lightly all night until we packed our wet tent, then the skies opened and it rained hard. We waited around for it to ease. The cook made us an extra tea and gave us big pieces of cake. As we watched the rain get worse we had an interesting conversation with an Aboriginal man. He said we would cross a fence in a few kilometers, the dingo fence. “The pastoralists, they live on that side of the dingo fence; sheep on that side,” he said, and then with a sly grin added, “We live on the dingo side of the fence.” He was making a point. The pastoralists, thinking they were fencing out the wild dingos that harass their sheep, were really metaphorically fencing themselves off from outback Australia, leaving that to the Aboriginals, who think they have the better deal; they prefer to relate to the wild and free dingo, than to the domesticated sheep. This neatly dressed, well spoken Aboriginal was sharing a bit of the intelligent complexity and humor that many Whites find difficult to comprehend. Listening is learning.
Dingo Fence Texas Gate Massacre
We had 52 kilometers of pelting soaking rain. We are not prepared for rain like this. Our pannier liner bags are riddled with holes and everything was soaked. At the bottom of a fast hill, running water like a stream, I saw a Texas gate (cattle guard) looming. It looked funny, much wider than most. Too late to slow down. Oh, my god, it’s three times as wide as the usual, and the steel is slick with rain. Hang on! We hit it very straight, and managed to stay upright. A crash at 70kph would not have been fun. It was the dingo fence. I should have known, no regular cattle guard could contain a dingo! We went fast through the rain, got a motel room at the roadhouse, and spent the afternoon trying to get every piece of equipment and clothing spread out to dry. The minimal heating system was barely up to the task.
October 19. Ceduna. Official end of the Nullarbor. We could have even gotten a certificate of completion at the tourist information center. We passed. The Nullarbor has been well and truly oversold I reckon. We figured it to be 1200 kilometers of flat treeless plain until we got on it and discovered otherwise. There is a sign just west of Nullarbor Roadhouse, where it is really treeless for awhile, announcing the 91 kilometer Treeless Plain. Well, that only lasted another 25 kilometers and then we were back into regular bush again. Still, the Nullarbor was not a disappointment. The heavily treed west end in WA was beautiful and the nearly treeless plain and cliffs in South Australia (SA) were very spectacular. The accomplishment of riding the Nullarbor on a push bike is a real one, and not to be undertaken lightly, but if a pushbiker wants the full measure of adventure of the Nullarbor, they should not do the Red Center and the Northwest of WA first, as we did. After all that outback experience, the Nullarbor was quite easy for us.