Well, my good old Kawasaki Bayou has come to the end of it's run. No longer sufficiently reliable for my lone, outback trips into remote areas of the South Australian arid region, I've parked it and bought a new, second hand Yamaha Big Bear 400 4x4 ATV (quadbike).
Yesterday I took the new bike for a run to get the feel for it and was quite happy. About 45k/h was all I was game to push it too on a bush track but it felt like it had plenty more to give.
The task now is to fit the boxes from the front and rear racks of the old bike to the new, with some modifications I suspect.
It's with mixed feelings that I make the changeover. The red Kawisaki has taken me to great places that I'd have had no hope of reaching without it:
- Swindons Crossing at the southern extremity of Lake Torrens
- Beda Hut
- Red Lake
- Coulthard's Grave
- Yeltacowie Homestead
- Bottle Hill
- Elizabeth Creek
- Pernatty Lagoon
- Wirrda Wells and the hut
- Andamooka Waterhole
- Lake Richardson
- Arcoona Lake
- Chimney Hole Dam
- Trig Bluff
- Sketching Pile
- Yarloo Bank
- Whitatta Homestead
- Andamooka Island
And so many other places out in that isolated country where the unprepared can die, just for being there.
I've slept beside the bike under a tarp tied to the handle bars, in the little tent and enjoyed the dubious luxury of several abandoned stockmen's huts in varying states of decay.
Oh, the freedom of powering along the sometimes sandy, rocky, washed out, barely discernible station tracks! The satisfaction of photographing the landscape without the intrusion of power poles, garbage bins, TV aerials, communication towers, signs! Just me, my bike and my camera in the midst of an inspiring landscape. Huge skies, vast distance and a grating environment to match my personality and facilitate personal expression through my visual art and writing.
I've loved that old quadbike and I'll miss her.
But not to dwell on my bereavement. The immediate tasks are numerous. Get the new ATV, ute and trailer ready for my coming trip. So many small items to organise too.