I had been looking forward to the ride up through Horrocks Pass, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfIG664cMtI) a road of fast sweepers that climb into the Southern Flinders Ranges. I had flown down the pass some 38 years earlier on a Norton Commando and in preparing for the trip had fantasised about a “super comparo” – Norton Commando Vs Moto Guzzi Breva; Michelin Pilot Road 4s Vs Dunlop K81s; Brembo Brakes Vs the trusty Lockheed – pff no comparison.
But the road is a great ride as the Ranges start to reveal themselves as you climb riding through the curves on a fast smooth road with no traffic heading for the outback from the sea.
I was young, just 20, and heading off to ride around Australia (a trip of many unmade dirt roads then). It was one of my first adventures and in some ways set the pattern for the rest of my life. I had ridden across from Melbourne to Wilmington (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington,_South_Australia) and at the cross road I turned left down to Port Augusta and the crossing of the Nullabor Plain om my path west.
I had promised myself to come back to the Flinders Ranges, to once again ride Horrocks Pass – and here I was.
I stopped at 42 Mile Crossing and tried the march across the dunes in riding leathers – a bloody stupid idea. The wind was gusty but down in the dunes it was hot and windless and I was soon working up a sweat under the leathers and wondering the wisdom of the short hike. The sight of the ocean was met by a mouth full of sand flung by the wild wind and I beat retreat back to the bike parked on the other side of the dunes. The camp site at 42 Mile Crossing was open and exposed to the wind, and just in time the ranger arrived and suggested I camp further up the Coorong at Salt Creek where the scrub gives protection for the camper.
The scrub provided a perfect site for a camping out of the wind which was appreciated by me and the mosquitoes that sheltered in amongst the tea tree and attacked me as a struggled with the tent. Salt Creek is about the half way point of the Coorong and a short walk from the camp site gives a beautiful view of the Coorong lakes.
That night I slept between the highway and the lakes, the surf pounding hard in the distance. The wind was gusting overhead punctuated by the occasional squally shower. The roar of the surf was constant and in some way comforting – drowning out the buzz of the mosquitoes attacking the tent net in an attempt to get to my blood. During the night I noticed how the noise of a truck engine in the distance can hardly be distinguished from the roar of the surf. On pulling out in the morning I noticed a dead kangaroo on the side of the road and hoped he was lost in contemplation of the sound of the surf and didn’t realise it was a truck till it was all over.
I had ridden up to Jingellic to join some others camping on the side of the Murray River in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. It was ANZAC day, in a part of the country linked to national legends, the men of the Snowy Mountains and the headwaters of the Murray River – Australia’s biggest river. It was cool and crisp camping by the river and on ANZAC Day the memorial service remembered other local legends who had died at Gallipoli and other fields of battles since. Other local legends. Australian Legends Mountain men Snowy Mountain Men Murray river men
Hard men of the bush Dead on foreign shores But the river still flows Still on the surface Reflecting The mountains around The sky The heaven as a cloud hangs in the valley The river A mirror on the surface Is flowing relentlessly below
The Key Afer market (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIx7VU_vYas) is the hub of the tribal area of South Eastern Ethiopia. These tribes spread across the southern areas of Ethiopia and over the borders into South Sudan and Kenya.
The land and the people are wild, beautiful and primal in their nature.
The market trades in spices, wares and animals in a vibrant bustle that appears unchanged for over 1000 years.