Riding Down Memory Lane

18th to 21st September 2017

After such a great day yesterday, we ended up going to sleep pretty early, and then woke pretty early. We’re heading back to Darwin today, so it’s pack up time. Our long life milk was a tad warm (not the most pleasant on the muesli) but still okay, so on with the MSR for coffee, as we forced down an unexciting breakfast. I’ll just call it survival brekky. Ugh! Lots of other campers were up and packing today, and we were very grateful that we didn’t have too much to pack up. It was already hot and sweaty. After a quick “see ya later, and thanks for an awesome day” to Andy and Dianne, we putted off back to the Litchfield Park road, keen to get over 60 so the “Aircon” would kick in. It was pleasant riding.

Just some interesting vegetation around the area. Such a beautiful place.

About 35kms along, is Florence Falls and Buley Rock holes, and we wanted to check in on them. Again, they’re places we loved to visit in the past. There are a few other good sites along the way too, but we can’t see them all today. Florence Falls first, and we decided to just have a look from the top, as it’s a fair walk down to the swimming hole, and my knees are struggling a bit after the swimming and walking of the last two days. It was still nice, but again very organised and structured. But it is very stunning, and worth the visit.

It’s a good walk down to that pool, and even better swim. By the time you get back up, you need another swim.

Just a couple of kays back to Buley Rock holes, which really are brilliant. Back in the 90’s, we camped right next to the little falls, which are a set of rock holes, that form little Rapids and falls, and actually feed into Florence Falls. Different depths and sizes, and lots of space. Now they are an easy walk from the new car park, and we couldn’t resist stripping down and enjoying them for about an hour. It didn’t hurt that there was a tour bus of young good looking people with not much on, either.

This place is really magic. It’s still got it too. Couldn’t resist just sitting in these pools.

The ride through to Bachelor was very beautiful, and super enjoyable. Lots of short twisties and long sweeping bends, through the unusual palm glades and woodlands, full of enormous termite mounds, including the Magnetic Mounds. These ant hills, all face the magnetic north, and are flat, which helps with the cooling. Amazing. A very nice morning of riding.

Look at this monster ant city. They are truly genius little creatures, aren’t they?

At Bachelor, we stopped at the general store for a burger and cold drink, and marvelled at how nice the little community was looking. It used to be a dusty run down little place, a bit unpleasant, but now was clean, neat, green and well cared for. Good work, and the burger was great too. Next minute, we look up, and Andy and Di, have turned up. They’d decided to head off too, and check out a few more sights. Di showed me pics of The Lost City, which looks amazing. Rock formations, pillars and such, which we’ll have to see next time. Really rough track in, but worth it I’d say.

Hey, fancy seeing you guys here! Andy and Di also shared some Buffalo sausages with us. Bloody delicious too.

After another cool chat with them we dumped our rubbish, and took off for the big smoke. We’ve booked a cheap hotel, the Paravista, in Parap, and will spend 3 or 4 nights there. We have some friends, family and Max the crazy cyclist (who’s finally heading back to Europe after more than 2 years in Australia and Asia), to catch up with, and a bit of shopping to do, oh and the bikes need servicing one last time before home. So it should be a good few days in Darwin.

Max suggested this hotel, and it was great. Good price, easy going and friendly managers (Dennis and Taneal), clean and in a super spot. It was completed and opened 6 months before cyclone Tracy struck Darwin and pretty much flattened everything. This place survived. Wow.

Tuesday – Bike service day, so we delivered the kids to NT Motorcycle Centre, who will do the basic services, and make sure they’re all good to get home, 4500kms away. While we waited, we took a taxi (no Uber in NT, their new laws make it unviable due to excessive costs) over to Casuarina Shopping centre. Here, I say good bye to my old Teva walking sandals (they’ve done me well, but are worn out), I’ve found a new pair at Kathmandu. The policy is, if you get something new, you have to get rid of something old. No room for both. I also bought a $5 pair of airflow shorts from Kmart. So which pants to chuck? That will be tough.

Can’t help but check out some new models. I love my Honda, but these guys seem to have everything but Hondas. The new Vstrom 650 does look pretty good, though.

We also enjoyed a catch up with Danyelle, who is our friend, but also extended family. Her and her family moved up here three years ago, and it was great chatting to her about Darwin, and how it is now. Lunch was nice too, at a little Irish style pub on the waterfront. Great area, which has a wave pool. Unreal, ’cause you can’t swim in the real ocean, crocs, sharks, sea snakes, jelly fish…the list goes on. But it was a relaxing day, and we are ready for the run to the west.

Lunch was a nice chicken burger, and a great catch up with Danyelle. The waterfront was all new, and pretty modern.

Wednesday – was a pretty cruisie one, with a lay in, the usual brekkie, then we both hopped on Little Bubby, scooter style, and went to check out the places we remembered. Oh, I forgot, we also did a dodgey style wash of our riding gear, it was getting a bit smelly. So we wore our jackets, which were still a bit wet, and it was like evaporative aircon. Nice!

Will is giving our stinky riding gear a rough bath. Smelt a bit like a family of mice we’re living in them. Yukko!

Fanny Bay and East Point were favourite haunts for us. There is a fantastic Defence Museum there, with all the WWII info. Well worth checking out.

The city centre was a mass of high rise (well much higher than there used to be anyway) accommodation, and it was much more modern looking. Still quiet, and easy going. 

It was a weird day, leaving us with mixed emotions. The memories we have are great, and we laughed at them as we past the old haunts, but the city isn’t anything like it was, and neither are we. That’s not a bad thing, change is good. It is a well thought out city, that seems to be planning for a big future.

The place we used to live in, looked just the same….it was pretty funny. We enjoyed a light lunch in town at a Art Deco joint called Rorkies. Nice.

Max arrived, late in the arvo, and it was good to hear about his adventures of the past month. They are huge, and you can check it all out at cycloaustralis.wordpress.com . He is an amazing guy. We all went to dinner at the good old Parap pub, and got some takeaways, and proceeded to drink too much and talk till midnight. Oh well, good times, and that is Darwin for ya!

Great to see Max again, and you can see I’ve been trying to do my rehab exercises. Just not as much as I need to. 

Thursday – just a chilling out, food shopping, and re-packing day. The humidity is building, so we enjoyed getting wet in the pool and getting things up to date. We also had a few drinks with Howard (Will worked with Howie, back in the day) and Caren, and enjoyed a beautiful Darwin sunset at the Trailerboat Club. It was great to see them, and we enjoyed chatting about Darwin, motorbikes, and plenty of other stuff. It was a really nice night. Back at the Paravista, we had our last couple of drinks with Max, before he heads back to a Scandinavian winter, and an earlyish night.

Daily dips is definitely a theme we are sticking with. The heat is building. The boat club is a fantastic place to sit in the evenings, and enjoy great company. You are guaranteed a magnificent sunset.

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