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Day 12 - Munjina Roadhouse to Pardoo - 468 kms

A crash today was nearly the end of my trip but I was saved by two things my dad had taught me when I was younger. I'll get to that in a minute.
While packing up this morning I started talking with two Aboriginal guys who liked my bike. It turned out that one of them was born on the station next to the one I was trying to find and his cousin was born on he exact one. (Station = Ranch) I headed out to find the Eginbah Station which was once run by my friends dad, Hugh Merry. He went bust in the 60's when there was a drought and very hot weather which made the sheep go sterile because their balls were too close to the hot ground. True story. I never actually found the station but spent most of the day riding around great trails through red dirt, over and around mountains and through dried up creek beds. When I had my fill I decided to continue on the dirt road which should pop me out at the main highway to the north. This is where things went wrong.

I've crossed a few rivers so far on this trip and most of them could be out done by a cow after a long drink. When I came to the De Gray River it was significantly wider than any other I crossed so I turned on my GoPro and checked the depth gauge. 0.2 meters which is about 0.656 feet deep or ~7 inches. No big deal. When I actually started crossing the river it was about two feet deep and had a very heavy current. I'll pause now and give you a quick description of how a floodway bridge is set up in Australia. A ten foot wide path of cement is across the river and when the water rises it floods over this. Naturally it washes away and becomes much deeper just downstream of the bridge. When I realised it was too deep and fast it was too late to turn back so I had to continue and hope for the best. The tires then slipped on the algae and I fell over sliding towards the edge. Survival instinct kicked in and I picked up the bike then applied John Longwell's first rule of motorcycling. "When in doubt, Pin It!" With the engine redlining I started making headway but it wasn't enough and I was washed off the edge. The saving grace was that by making that last three feet of headway I avoided the deep pool and wedged the bike against two boulders. Now I was sitting in waist deep water with my bike submerged and being held in place by the two boulders and a strong current. Now that the bike was somewhat secure I unloaded everything off the bike and carried it across the river. By some luck everything was soaked except for the compartment holding my iPad and semi broken phone. I carried all my gear across the river and laid it out in the sun to dry while I figured out what in the world to do with my self. I got a mental image of Alicia saying "Why don't you eat a teaspoon of cement and harden the F_ck up!" So harden up I did. I walked out into that damn river and drug that 500lb bike out. It took me about three hours just to get it to shore and I had to resort to breaking off gum tree breaches to use as matting to keep the bike from sinking in the gravel/quicksand mix that made up the bottom of the river. When I was about halfway across he river some locals drove past in a land cruiser. I waved to them for help and they just gave me the death stare. Now that I had my bike on dry ground again I had a second problem. When I gunned it to avoid being swept downstream I sucked the engine full of river water. I don't know if my father told me stories about it or if was some deep ingrained genetic knowledge about motorcycle survival but I knew what to do. My bike is a KTM 990 Adventure which means a 1000cc overhead cam twin wrapped inside of a steel frame and a huge amount of plastic. I'll make a long story short but I had to disassembly half the bike, turn it upside down, stroke the engine to get all of the water out, test for spark, right the bike, rebuild and crank it while hoping for the best. Amazingly after spitting oil out of one end and water and gravel out of the other she came to life. I motored out of the riverbed and got all my gear loaded up just before dark. There was no way in hell I was camping at the scene of the crime so I headed for the nearest road house. On my way out I saw the same locals returning either to help me, beat me up and steal my sweet jacket, or maybe just heading back home. Either way I was a bit puckered up and glad I got out of there just before dark. I broke my "No riding in Australia at night" rule and almost caught an owl to the face but I made it to the roadhouse and I talked them into making me some food even though the kitchen was closed. Calamari, French fries and salad wasn't exactly what I was looking for but it tasted amazing. I climbed into my swag and although the left hand side is soaked with river water I think I'm too exhausted to care. Goodnight.
Milleage: 468 km
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