The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the masses had donned their Sunday best (granted, it was a Saturday – minor detail) to see us off on what is, to date, maybe the most ridiculous venture I’ve yet to throw my hat at.
9 months and 30,000km’s on a Hunter Motorcycle across 30 countries, from Perth, Western Australia to Perth, Scotland. The motley crew that gathered at the Pirate Bar would have given the Hollister riots a run for their money. Like a scene from Rebel Without a Cause with bar stools and gold teeth flying across the room…no wonder the first night ended in a broken arm and an emergency ambulance call-out!
Though in all sincerity, the launch went exceptionally well. My only regret was that I did not have enough time to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for coming (I hope those last two sentences cover up for that!) We had a great turn-out and ended up being covered on the tele (here) and in the papers. Special thanks to sponsors for the day – Pirate Bar, Harvey Beef, Yahava Coffee, Young Henrys and Brumby’s Inglewood.
The first leg of the ride went well and we shot from one pub to the other until we managed to meander our way to our first stop – Badgingarra. Evan and Ruth had turned it up for us and the fires were blazing as we rolled in to see the sun setting over the golden fields of canola. That was about as poetic as the night went as we soon found ourselves unceremoniously stranded in a back paddock at midnight, miles from nowhere, waiting for a rural ambulance in the freezing cold.
Doctor Mike swung to full action and was bloody impressive to say the least. It did however make me a little self conscious in thinking that my First Aid skills might not be up to scratch for a trip of this magnitude. Let’s just hope for the best!! Anyway,our patient was okay. A busted arm, a little bruised, a little battered – but he’ll live. Maybe not a good life, but he’ll live. He was rushed to RPH and I can’t speak higher of the response from St Johns. Middle of nowhere, middle of the night – no worries.
That wasn’t all that Badgingarra had to offer us. One night soon turned to three as we bush mechaniced our way through a couple of problems on the Commodore before finally leaving Badgingarra for warmer waters (much, much warmer…it is bloody sweltering up here!)
With all of our bad luck cast aside and left for dust we figured things had to change, right? And they did. We received a phone call to say that a celebrity chef had pulled out of the Passion of the Pilbara festival and could we please urgently fill that spot. Yes – yes, we can. What a beautiful town Onslow is – crystal clear water, blue skies and red sand. There’s also a big old LNG plant that burns off a shit load or noxious waste 24/7, but we can move past that…
The town turned it on, and so did the three chefs – Pete Manifis (local Onslow boy and one of Australia’s best seafood chefs), Jesse Blake (Head Chef of Petition and one of the best up-and-comers) and…myself. We put on a couple of cooking demonstrations and coached a celebrity cook-off between Dave Wirrapanda, Dale Kickett and Jacinta Anderson as Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey entertained into the night. On the Sunday it was up bright and early to put on a locally caught seafood luncheon on Thevenard Island for 90 punters from the Mainland. A stunning place to cook – with whales passing through just barely offshore. Of the 90 guests that headed over in the morning, the majority made it back off the island with only a small handful being taken by the sharks swimming freely in the shallows.
Four nights in Onslow was over too soon (never thought I’d say that) and it was then on to Karratha where we are staying with a couple that have looked after over 170 foster children over 20 – 30 years. I guess they can handle 2 more for a few nights, eh? The drive from Onslow was breathtaking with the red rock outcrops being almost akin to a desolate, sun-drenched Scotland.
FMG has organised a couple of cooks and an over-night foraging tour while we are here and in addition, the Red Earth Arts Festival is on this weekend so the team will be back into overdrive flipping burgers for 5,000 people and raising some funds for our charities in the home of Red Dog.
(Sidenote…Benno is diving back into the engine bay of the Commodore again as I write this. Anyone want to start a Sweepstake on how much longer she’ll last between here and Darwin!?!)
Well, time for me to head out to Roeburn and put on a BBQ for the locals. I will try and keep this up once a week where possible!