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SS2000M Day 2 - Glendambo SA to Tennant Creek NT

By Wom Battle
Category: Rides

Feeling a little worse for wear (but better than expected) this morning I woke up to the alarm, ate, and began packing my Harley-Davidson® in the dark,  happy that I'd brought along my new Katmandu head torch. It took me longer than anticipated to get going and I didn't get away until about 6.45am. I made a note that I needed to be more efficient either side of my breaks. Part of the delay was that  I decided to refuel my Harley-Davidson® in the dark from the 20 litre jerry can I was carrying with me before setting off. It didn't take all the fuel in the jerry but this time I managed not to spill any.

Riding out of Glendambo I noticed that one of the service stations there were open and kicked myself for not checking before spending the time with the jerry can. I still rode past because I'd previoulsy calculated I would have enough to get me to my first stop for the day, Coober Pedy using the last of the fuel in the jerry.  Monitoring fuel usage is part of the routine of long distance riding and about 5k's out of Glendambo I saw the distance to empty dropping faster than I would have liked. I'd noticed a similar drop in fuel economy in the cold on a recent FarRide to Lightning Ridge. I became unsure if I would make it to Coober Pedy and decided to play it safe, waste some time and turn back to get a full fuel load and a docket. To be honest I'm not sure at that point if my head was working well, it seemed a morning of false starts and bad decisions. However I knew because I put in a big day yesterday I only had 1440k's or so to do today so didn't feel too pressured by time.

That done, I was off into the sunrise, got a couple of snaps but noticed that it was getting very, very cold.  By the time I reached Coober Pedy I was shaking.  I'd seen the interesting "ant hill" landscape that was evidence of the opal mining going on in the area, but I wasn't in any condition to stop and take snaps.  I pulled into the Caltex Roadhouse and filled the tank.  The nice lady in the service station assisted by putting my card into the eftpos machine and I managed with some difficulty to get the PIN number in.  I needed warmth and walked into the cafe next door ordered coffee with B&E Rolls and was happy to sit a while and refocus, get my core temp back in hand and get ready to head out again.

After about 30 minutes I was on my way north, still not keen to stop and take photos of the quite pretty opal hills.   The next stop was Marla for fuel, frankly other than having the fuel receipt I don't even remember stopping there.  However by the time I got to the Northern Territory Border I was warm enough to enjoy the moment and take a snap of the bike.  I rode past the turn off to Uluru wondering what it looked like and pushed on to Alice Spings arriving shortly before dusk.  I had a quick servo pie, filled the tanks and headed out into the sunset feeling ready again to tackle whatever wildlife came my way, but not actually ready for everything that came my way.

I decided to stop for fuel at Ti Tree rather than refill from the jerry can in the dark, I thought it would save some time.  It didn't.  When I saw the Police van in the driveway I should have kept going, but fuel was on my mind.  I pulled up next to a pump and quickly realised things weren't right.  There were a large number of people milling about, shouting profanities, abusing each other and the Police.  Not a pleasant environment at all.  I managed to get fuel into the bike and walk inside keeping a very careful watch over it.  There was a service counter, an all but empty fridge, a bar full of intoxicated people and a big smell of trouble.

For reasons of their own the Police left the chaos while the staff were trying to eject a troublesome female patron with others objecting to it. I stood at the counter, thankfully largely ignored by the locals other than one of them proudly recounting having told the "cops to ^^ck off".  Sadly though I was also ignored by the staff.  I finally caught the attention of one of them and said "Mate, if you don't take my money for the fuel right now I'm leaving" He said, "Can't you see I'm busy"  I said "I don't really give a sh$$, I want to get out of here right now, if you want to get paid for the fuel take it now". He let me pay and I couldn't get out of there quick enough.

My focus had been upset at that point and no too long after I had a close encounter of the bovine kind.  Not a cranky one with big horns, I think it was a girl, but it was in my lane and moving slowly. We became aware of each others presence about the same time and I was happy to see it lurch to my right out of my way as I made good use of the Road King's ABS. I still managed to take some evasive action under brakes and was glad I did. The cow bucked and kicked it's back legs at me as I rode past.  It was way to close for comfort.

With my head back in the game and alert levels high I arrived at Tennant Creek about 11pm thankfully much warmer than the night before.  Other than the Police Station the only light on was the 24 hour BP where I got $10 worth of ordinary unleaded fuel.  All the other pumps were locked up and the presence of quite a number of teenage locals was disconcerting. I needed the fuel for the finishing docket for the IBA documentation but decided to use the Premium unleaded in the jerry to fill it in the morning.  I also remain happy that the service station attendant, who's job I'd never want was willing to sign my IBA witness form for the end of the SS2000M ride while I kept a very good eye on the Harley.

Once that was done it was time to settle down in the Desert Sands Motel, eat some Sultanas and think about the short 990k ride tomorrow to finish the trip to Darwin. I also spent some time privately celebrating the fact that I'd ridden 3290kms (2044 miles) in well under 48 hours and the SS2000M was mine, assuming the documentation I kept was good enough for the Iron Butt Association.

I was really really pleased at how well my Road King® performed and how comfortable it was.  The 130kph speed limits in the Northern Territory made it even more fun.


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December 2022