Tonight I'm tired, well shattered. I needed a beer when I got back to camp, there was no beer, how heart breaking, it was what was keeping me going the last hour on the ride back to camp…
I started the day in at Lake Argyle, the previous day I had crossed the bordered and the sun and time zone where clearly meant for Perth and not out here. It was sunny at 5am. I had passed out at about 8pm the previous night, just from riding in the sun all day I think and walking about in the morning too. Not wanting to waste the cool time of day I packed up quickly while having breakfast, I was back on the porridge so boiled my water and was ready to go before the shop opened. The shop did open at 7:30 so I filled the tank at 2.02 per liter for some type of unleaded. I then headed off to look at the dam and the lookup of the lake, it was pretty impressive. Just the mountains around here are impressive, but to put a lake in the middle of them is pretty cool as well.
I was keen to get out on my own as well, I like riding on my own and well Brownie seemed to want to ride with someone and kept suggesting alternate routes to what I'd planned or other things I wasn't keen on. We got along ok, but he was starting to hint about the way I did things, I didn't like the way he did some things but didn't feel the need to tell him. I wondered if when he'd run out of fuel, I seemed he was cutting it fine a couple of times, I don't think he had spares or anything like spares. I didn't ally want to be giving up my fuel or making runs into town for someone that wasn't prepared.
I'm eating my classic beef Currey tonight, it's pretty tasty, all the back country stuff is pretty good, well apart from spaghetti which really sucks.
After seeing the sights I headed out of the lake area back towards the Victoria Highway, from there on to Kununurra (while stopping to photo some rocks, mountains and creeks on the way). By the time I was in Kununurra it was a nice cool 31 degrees, and yes I do mean cool that it's pretty nice around these parts. The area past the lake is pretty green, it looks like they a going all sorts of things, it reminded me on Galton a little. Past Kununurra the mountains slowly started changing, there was another hour of pretty awesome riding tho. It's very cool to ride in the shadows of some of these mountains that are just so foreign to what we have on the east coast. Lots of roads up here point straight at a mountain then zig zap between the ranges as you get closer.
I filled up regularly today, I wanted to take the track to the bungle bungles but didn't want to arrive without enough fuel. And having missed fuel stops in previous days because they just didn't exist anymore I was cautious. The closer I got the the Bungles, petrol stations had signs saying see attendant before filling. The first station I walked in out my helmet on the counter and said I wanted unleaded they said got ahead. The next one wanted an ID or credit card, I got out my license they filled up. I found a Dagwood dog in Turkey Creek and wolfed it down, I had parked next to a Bungle Bungle flights information centre, I thought if Brownie showed up now I'd hear all about it again, I was hoping he'd go a different way.
I got the the Bungles just before midday, had to ask directions from a truckie who opened a cattle gate so I drove in and shut the gat for him, he looked to be about to tow someone out. I checked in and the tent was up in minutes, I put my heavy stuff inside and headed off to the track to Bungle Bungles. I had left my extra fuel on the bike, the water cells where empty but I got some water at the park shop. I left my toolkit torch and first aid kit on the bike. I had accidentally take my book on how to fix my bike off the bike. I was thinking I should get more water but didn't.
I let the tires down to about 18, they held the track well. I was remembering the stories about the Gibb rocks ripping up high pressure tires. A little down the track the truck I'd talked too was loading up a caravan, later I'd find they had been waiting since early this morning to get a tow. Maybe the axle was busted, it shouldn't have been on the track at all. I thought I'm glad that's not me, I was tempted to take and photo for a second but slowed down and rode by.
The first 7 kms of the track were heavily corrugated, it was 50 kms to the Bungles. The road had some sand, but mostly sharp roads and red earth and gravel. There were some deep sandy dry creeks to cross. I came to a creek crossing at about 25 km in, it didn't look too deep but you can't back out on a bike once you start crossing a creek so I got off and looked about. I was about to walk in then though of snappy things, I looked for another place to cross or a measuring stick. A 4wd came down the track, I said I'd watch him cross, it looked ok so I followed him in, the creek was just up to the top of the wheels, so got through ok, although I wondered about how close it was to the air intake. I stayed close to the car and watched it cross the next smaller creek, again I followed, a little more bumpy but not problems with the depth.
Next up there was a very wide creek, I watch the 4wd struggle and roll over hidden rocks, it looks at the top of the car tire too deep for me. A Frenchman walked the river and said no good for moto, to deep. I'd heard stories of bike loving frenchmen in 4wds helping out bike riders from two different people, I walked into the creek, water filled my boots, it was deep, to deep for the bike. The air intake on the bike shit just above the top of the front wheel, so if the creeks up to my knees it's a no go. The Frenchman filmed his girlfriend storm the river in their rental, I waived goodbye and got back on the bike, I stopped to take a photo of the river that had defeated me and rode off. I crossed the second river all was ok, my feet went in the water a little as I crossed.
When I got to the first crossing I couldn't remember where I'd crossed the first time, I took the left tire track, it was deep, the bike got almost all the way then stalled, I'd flooded the engine, this was not good. This is probably one of he worst things you can do, in the middle of nowhere 32 kms from the Highway also in the middle of nowhere, no phone reception. I started thinking about tow trucks. I got off and heaved the bike up the river bank. I unloaded as much as I could then managed to push it clear of the track, that hurt a lot, 253 kg plus 30 kg of fuel and extra parts. It was not easy but needed to be done. My feet dug into the sand as I pushed the bike up the track, there were one or two comments about various bastards and f-ing creeks, it was steep. I wondered how much had got into the air intake, I put the bike down on its side on the track, not a good idea, no water came out and I then had to pick the bike up again. After pushing it up the hill this was not so easy to again lift up the bike and push it into the bushes.
I tried to stay calm, I undressed (down to my shorts, it was about 36 degrees now). I was wearing my swimmers underneath my bike gear, so pants, jacket, helmet, boots and gloves all off. I then got out the toolkit, I knew what I should do in this situation, but didn't know if I'd work, also there were things I shouldn't do; these were start the bike under water and start the bike with water inside. From memory the first one was the worst, if you kick the bike over in the water the pistols can become water locked. I decided to remove the plugs to the spark plugs then remove the spark plugs themselves then kick over the engine, the start motor would move the pistons and clear out the water I hoped.
It was after getting out my toolkit I realized I'd left my bike repair manual in the tent, so no looking up or confirming things. I built the toolkit myself, so I should have everything I need, I started with the valve guards, I had installed them myself so they were easy to get off. Probably still 20 minutes tho, still no cars, I thought about using my Spot to call for help but someone would be down the track soon surely. I got the guards off and then pulled it the plugs to the spark plugs; I got a special plug remover on the Internet just for this bike, it was hard to use but worked. I could see the spark plug, then I realized I'd not packed a spark plug socket for me bike, I was a little bit annoyed with myself, more comments about the river were made. I decided that it's possible only a small amount of water got to the pistons, perhaps even the engine stalled because the cardboard air filter had become wet and useless for passing air, starving engine in the process, I hoed it was that easy.
To check the air filter I had to remove the side panel, then remove the air intake hose, then the cardboard filter. The panel was off in another 20 minutes still no cars passing, next I had to remove the seat to get off one last panel. I tried my zip tie trick, no luck, I tried the key no luck. I gave the seat several had punches still nothing, I tried to get the panel off another way no luck there. Finally I jumped up and down on the seat while on the bike, it came loose. I removed the air filter, it was wet, the air intake was also a little wet, just a couple of sprinkles tho, my theory may have been correct. I car arrived, the bike was in pieces by now, I said I've flooded the engine, can I borrow a spark plug socket? The man and his wife were very helpful, although he didn't have tools that worked he did talk to other drivers and gave a lot of his time considering I was a stranger; he left after his tools we no use and I was saucing sockets from another driver, I never got to thank the first car properly, it was a shame. After asking several cars and trying two toolkits plus mineI decided the only option was to flush the water out if that failed I'd get a driver heading back to the camp ground to ask for a tow ruck to be called, it was a horrible idea but it might have to be done, plus I didn't want to keep lots of people waiting while I tried to fix the bike. Another car saw the creek and turned around, people were saying it was the deepest, maybe.
With the spark plugs disconnected I used the starter motor to try move some of the water. I then replaced the plugs and frayed the ignition, it almost fired, again the same thing. I checked the plugs one was out slightly, I popped it in tried again, it was better but not there yet. On some hard to start bikes you need to give it more fuel to get it going, I pumped the throttle four times, then hit the ignition, it fired then stalled, water came out the exhaust. I tried again and used plenty of throttle, the bike started thumping away more water out the exhaust not much at all tho. I thanked the last car and said I'd be alright now, once running the BMW keeps running.
Over the next 45 minutes I put the bike back together, I had ran out of the 500 ml of water I had by now long ago. The bike still running in the bushes a car pulled up, I'm ok, I flooded the engine but it's all good now. I think they saw I was thirsty, they gave me a liter of water and continued down the road, I drank half water then put my bike gear back on. I'd switched the bike off just to make sure it restarted ok, it seemed to putter a little then be back to normal. I sat on the bike and it stalled, I was not happy. I restarted and revved it hard, it was slow to respond but climbed out of the creek hill.
I had about 30 kms to get back to camp, I was happy to be on move and probably riding fast because of it. The bike settled into its normal noises a couple of kms into the track, I overtook a massive ford pickup, this made me pretty happy. And the fact I'd got it going as well after a major problem was sinking in too. I was so happy to get back to camp, I also went straight inside to get a beer, I turned back to my campsite and drank what was now warm water in the shade of the tent. I went for a walk up to the camp ground office and asked them to warn bikers in the future about the creek depths. All up I had spent 4 and a bit hours in the bush, I had traveled 62.7 kms in about an hour, the rest was looking at the bike. After some cold drinks I replaced the valve covers and ran the bike a little, starts up just like before. I filled the tires and it's ready for road. I like roads that are flat and not at all moist. I hope my boots dry out quickly. I've hung my pans out on my camera tripod, hey smell like the undead. Sometime during the day I lost the top of my tripod that attaches to my camera, I think it just rattled off on the trip to the Bungles, I'll bin it tomorrow.