Welcome to Broome
The Last Two Days
Well…… I have been home now for 21 days. What a change from my makeshift beds and the red dust. Thought I might fill you in on the last two days ride into Broome.
Those two days on the bike ‘Northern Express’ was a little different than any of the other sections I rode in the previous 19 days. Firstly because I knew it was only 222 kms to Broome and it would be bitumen all the way. The other difference was that I found I couldn’t go as fast as I thought I could. Still, I managed to average around 20 km/hr.
Day 20 – Derby to Nillibubbica Rest Area
On Wednesday morning I left just before sunrise, around 5:15, it was so nice riding in the cool of the morning. My original plan of riding the 187kms to Roebuck roadhouse changed, the new plan was to ride about half way to Broome stopping at the Nillibubbica Rest Area. I had been told by several caravan campers that it was a very good spot to stay overnight. With the new plan B in place I headed off to the Willare Roadhouse for breakfast. This breakfast meal midmorning was somewhat out of the ordinary for me on this trip so far. I was looking forward to having eggs on toast.
While I was riding to Willare I was thinking to myself, “You know Kenny Mac you could do it, you could get to Roebucks Roadhouse, it’s only 187kms”. Then reality kicked in. I knew my body wasn’t up to doing that distance. Sitting at Willare eating, thinking this was the best breakfast I have ever had, poached eggs and grilled tomatoes on toast. I ate everything off my plate, not a morsel left.
I got to the Nillibubbica Rest Stop around lunch time, a total of 113 kms for the day. I was exhausted my hands and fingers were numb (from the Gibb) and I figured there was no first prize for trying to get to Roebucks another 74kms. I set up camp in one of the concrete tables under one of the many awnings. I had decided to leave around 4:00am the next morning, that way I could have another breakfast at the Roebuck Roadhouse. So I didn’t erect my tent, I put my bedding under the concrete table and chair combo and slept right there.
During my afternoon nanny nap wearing a ‘Mosquito Head Net’ to keep the flies off me, I was woken by a noise that was quite familiar to me. It was someone changing gears on a bike. I looked up and there was another crazy, as I call them, a young guy from France heading to Darwin had stopped in at Nillibubbica for the night as well. He was wearing jeans and long sleeve shirt and said that he should of worn summer clothes. Considering it was 41 degrees, I agreed with him.
Now that I was awake I prepared my stove gear and cooked dinner. Wow, my last night and I had only the one meal left in my kit. The trailer and gear weighed considerably less than when I left Kununurra. I started to get a little excited for the first time. I met some other campers at the Rest Stop and they were so intrigued with my bike and trailer set up. A big rig owner, Steve, gave me an ice cold litre bottle of lemon cordial to have with my dinner. He couldn’t believe how I drank so much hot water during the trip.
Day 21- Nillibubbica Rest Area to Broome
This was it, my last day on the road, the final 109 kms. I was up at 2:45am, made some porridge and black coffee. I packed the last of the gear and rode out of the camp at exactly 4:00:04 and made my way in the dark but cool morning. I had 74kms ahead of me before another roadhouse breakfast. I decided I’d have the same as I did the day before at Willare. I could feel my speed was getting a little too fast and had to keep telling myself to, ‘just enjoy the ride and cruise along there is no hurry’. The reason I left so early was because I figured I would be at Roebucks Roadhouse around 8:00, a perfect time for breakfast, call Pam & Emily who were patiently sitting at Broome waiting.
At one point I looked at my Garmin 810 speedo and noticed I had just completed 60kms and at the same time I heard a massive toot of a vehicles’ horn. It was Steve and Pam in the big rig passing by. I waved and then noticed he was pulling over to stop about a kilometre ahead of me. Well, to my amazement they were both out of the rig, Pam videoing me and Steve with another litre of ice cold cordial, lime this time. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, travellers all along this journey have been so generous.
I only had 12kms left to reach the roadhouse and there was one mighty climb to tackle, ‘ha’ I thought, ‘just another one’. The climb to the roadhouse was very tough but I made it. I sat down in the dining room with my poached eggs and tomatoes on toast, and two small bottles of apple juice. Two days in a row, certainly was a change from those eight days on the Gibb River Road. Rang Pam and Emily, said I was heading off at 8:30 and should be in Broome in about two hours. I said that when I see the ‘Welcome to Broome’ sign I would take a selfie (so good at those now) and ring them from there.
It didn’t take long, I had just been cruising along, singing (glad no-one could hear it), and thinking out loud, ‘I did it, I bloody did it’. Before I knew it I was there, at the “Welcome’ sign, I looked at my speedo, still had 12kms to go. The sign was some way off the side of the road and there was quite a drop-off from the bitumen. I decided it was too risky this close to the finish to have any issues of falling off. I noticed a cardboard sign on one of the metal posts. My first though was, a “Soccer sign on ” or a “Netball sign on” poster. Then I saw the words ‘OLD MAN, it was for me, Emily always calls me old man. I laughed, and kept riding and laughed again. I laughed for about 3kms.
I was now 8km from Broome and noticed another rider on the other side of the road, OMG, could he be heading to Darwin. I crossed the road to say hello and chat, as us crazies do. A young Japanese lad, Takuma was heading to Darwin via the Gibb River Road – he was only just starting his epic journey and I was just finishing. I said good bye to Takuma and wished him well.
Now the funny bit! I found this out when I arrived at the Oaks Resort where Pam and Emily have been all week. Pam had a hire car and because they were getting a little concerned she headed off to see where I was. This is Pam’s words, “I was driving along looking for a rider and came to a road works section about 8km out of town and saw two riders on my side of the road, one tall guy with a beard and a shorter guy talking on the side of the road. As I passed them I noticed the bike trailer and thought, that’s Kenny Mac. OMG, I didn’t even recognise my husband”.
Excitement was running through me, it was like electricity, I was so happy I made it. I headed down through the main street looking for Guy Street, I kept going then I could see the ocean. Oh no! Have I missed the street, I felt lost. Rode all this way and couldn’t figure out where I was. I asked two young ladies walking along the footpath if they knew where Guy Street was. Straight to their iPhones’, Google map and said three more blocks heading the same way. Don’t you love it.
There it was the Oaks Resort and two ladies with signs waving in the air.
Kenny Mac You Did It.
I did two media interviews (Click here to view), showered, ate, drank, and enjoyed the company of my wife and daughter. I rang my other three daughters, Alanna, Elysse and Angela. It was great to be in Broome after 21 days on the rode with ‘The Northern Express’.
More to come