The MotoKafe’s Black Dog Ride charity ride to Uluru.
Dave Bassett (Yahava Basecamp Krewman)
The MotoKafe held legendary status within Yahava and Black Dog Ride. Back in 2014 0ur founder Alex Kok with the assistance of other KoffeeWorks’ Krew (Jade Boo O’Shea and Jeremy Jeans) had circumnavigated the incredible 15,000-kilometer journey around Australia on the MotoKafe taking just 32 days and with much fanfare (see blog).
My journey was in comparison a jaunt down the road but it none the less seemed like an epic to me.
Before the ride I worked hard at mastering this almost half ton beast and it took a few spills and scrapes before I could negotiate the streets of Busselton without the sidecar mounting the footpaths or the bike falling sideways at traffic stops.
It doesn’t ride like a bike or a car, it is more akin to riding a bull in a rodeo. It has a tendency to buck and roll on accelerating and braking with a terrible left-hand bias when cruising. The sidecar with its weight and windage keeps pulling the bike off the road and the problem got worse the faster I went. But I had to master it if I was to complete this trip, so master it I did.
My real job was to supply coffee to the 90 riders who would be riding from Western Australia and the MotoKafe with its espresso machine housed in the side car was my mobile café. I would also have to keep up with the other riders each day and ply them with coffee. It turns out these riders have a big thirst.
Getting to the start line
Saturday 15thAugust: Busselton to Yahava KoffeeWorks Swan Valley (255km)
Today was a short ride in comparison to some of the days I had ahead.
I climbed into the heavy winter riding jacket and pants the Baron had given me. By the time I had my boots strapped on, my helmet secure and my gloves on I was already breaking into a sweat. This gear designed to save your life was like a moon suit and required a good quarter of an hour to get in to. (For any budding bikers make sure you have a comfort stop before kitting up.)
I was on my own and with no time pressures it was a leisurely ride (if any ride on the MotoKafe can be considered leisurely) up to the Swan Valley along a highway I was very familiar with. I had my first night in a well-appointed cabin only a stone’s throw from the KoffeeWorks where we were due to start the adventure.
Sunday 16thAugust: Yahava KoffeeWorks Swan Valley to Kalgoorlie (585 km)
It was a crisp cold morning as I entered the KoffeeWorks car park and thankful for the Baron’s winter suit. There were already a handful of bikes lined up so I found a spot that would enable me to stay clear of the hordes as they left and allow me to tag along behind.
The Lions clubs were huge supporters of the ride and they had a sausage and egg sizzle cranked up and a line of leather clad road warriors hungry for a hearty breakfast. I slapped a rather runny egg, still steaming onion and a rather black looking ‘snarler’ into a big fluffy white bun, grabbed a Yahava coffee and found a bench to sit at.
Just as I’d finished, I heard the squeal of a megaphone calling the riders to their bikes for the obligatory morning briefing.
Steve Andrews the Black Dog Ride Founder and Ride Master introduced us to the rules of the road and the plan for the day.
At 9.00am on the dot close to 100 bikes roared into life. The noise was deafening, like the sound of rolling thunder. I couldn’t hear my Moto Guzzi Belagio turning over but I could feel the frame vibrating confirming I had ignition. I snapped my visor closed, eased the MotoKafe behind the last bike out the gate and waved to the big crowd that had come to see us off.
We were on our way, with just 3,670 kilometres to go.
I was real lucky to have Jeremy Jeans shadowing me on his 650 Yamaha Adventure. Jeremy was both a roaster and barista in the Swan Valley KoffeeWorks and he had ridden the MotoKafe on the inaugural round Australia ride with The Baron, so he was very familiar with the bike and the espresso machine.
I discovered early in the piece that the MotoKafe was not going to set any speed records and in fact would struggle to keep up with the pack. Although the Moto Guzzi was a 935cc touring bike and would (on its own) easily keep up with other bikes, the added burden of the side car espresso machine, a 50 Litre water tank, a gas cylinder and all the other extras, had transformed this Italian stallion into a reluctant draft horse.
We were last to get into the Kellerberrin Men’s Shed for lunch, but I wasn’t too concerned. The local Lion’s Club had kindly put on another barbie, but I had pretty much had my fill of sausages for the day. I was more concerned about what looked like an oil leak from my engine, so I gave Brian Ross (the MotoKafe’s designer and builder) a call only to be assured that it was nothing to worry about.
After a fuel stop at Southern Cross we set off on the long haul to the gold rush town of Kalgoorlie. A wonderful spread had been arranged at the Overland Motel that night and the restaurant was packed with both riders and locals. There were a few speeches and an unforgettable discussion with a local legend ‘Chunky’ who heads another support group called Mates4Mates. We had a great welcome and Chunky promised to see us all safely out of town the next day with a few of the local bikers as chaperones. It had been a big first day, I was tired and my body ached especially my backside. It was going to be an early start so as soon as I was able, I slipped away to my motel room.
An accident on the great plains
Monday 17thAugust: Kalgoorlie to Madura Pass (716 km)
I was up at 5am. It was pitch black and very nippy outside. My back and shoulders ached like you wouldn’t believe. That first day on the bike fighting the left hand bias had me wondering if I was going to be able to last another full day. I wished I had gone to a gym and done some workouts in preparation but it was much too late for that now. I had drawn the short straw with Jeremy and had to get up extra early to switch the power on for the espresso machine. It takes an hour to reach boiling point. We had set the bike up the night before, so the espresso machine was lifted up to its working height out of the sidecar well. The umbrella was up mainly to keep dew off the equipment and to hang a light from. Where we can we run the espresso on power and had come equipped with a long extension lead. The machine can run on gas but we would try to save what gas we had for those places where we didn’t have power.
After a soak in the shower to get my limbs mobile I joined Jeremy who already had customers queuing up at the MotoKafe. A red firey glow on the horizon indicated the night was all but over.
The Baron had served coffee on the big ‘Round Australia ride’ so we were riding in the boots of a legend. All the riders knew about the MotoKafe and I think every rider started his or her day with at least two coffees and at a dollar a cup, not bad for a real dinkum barista made espresso. No wonder we were popular.
We were still making coffees as the riders were kitting up for the 7.30 start.
For us these mornings were going to be ‘hard yakka’. We had to break down the MotoKafe, drop the espresso into the sidecar well, unplug, wash down and pack up everything before we could strap on our gear and depart. If the bikes got to far ahead of us we would be in catch up mode all day. We had to serve coffee for an hour and a half each morning in our riding kit so that we could make a fast get-away.
The dawn was nothing like our Swan departure. It was grey and heavy overcast with a hint of drizzle in the air. I pulled on my wet weather gear. Now I felt like a blimp as I threw my leg awkwardly over the seat and slid onto the bike. The Guzzi fired up straight away, we had fueled up as soon we hit town yesterday, so we were ready to roll. The Guzzi is really thirsty, I calculated we are only getting about 15 kilometres a litre riding if we rode at the speed limit. Most of the bikes on these big open roads were clipping along faster than that. Gas stations for the MotoKafe are what toilets are to a pensioner; we learned never to pass by without a visit.
Jeremy and I pulled into Norseman for breakfast at the local footy club. The weather was holding but out over the plains it looked ominous. By the time we got back on the road for Balladonia the first rain shower hung like an impenetrable curtain over the road. The rain pelted like bullets on my visor and I could feel cold water gradually work its way up my arms and down my neck. I had a layer of thermals on, so I was warm even if the water felt uncomfortable.
The MotoKafe is very stable on the road, the advantage, I guess of having a trainer wheel out to one side. The sealed roads out here, have distinct indentations like wheel ruts that the bike and sidecar naturally fall into. The big trucks and road trains must create these and the MotoKafe felt like it was on railway track. Unlike railway tracks they filled with water so it was like constantly powering through a watercourse. My boots gradually filled with water as the day wore on.
The other more sinister observation was a strange white substance that was floating on the water. I could feel the bike slide occasionally and figured I was aquaplaning. It was a strange feeling, but the bike still felt solid on the road. I learned later on that the white stuff was oil from trucks. It emulsifies into a treacherous sludge and can be lethal for motorbikes.
We had only been on the road for half an hour when I spotted a number of bikes in the distance stopped at the side of the road. As I approached, to my horror I could see two riders lying in the gravel at the road edge and a big cruiser on its side. There had been an accident but as I pulled up I was waved on by a few of the bystanders. “We have everything under control, the couple are OK and resting with an ambulance on the way”.
I wound the throttle open again but sat on 100kph. Seeing an accident is always a sobering wake up call. There are risks involved in biking and you are not afforded the protection of a metal shell.
I learned later that Ray and Maria Dobbin had been broadsided by a kangaroo. They managed to stay upright but both had extensive leg injuries. When you have an incident in the middle of nowhere you suddenly realise that out here you are on your own. An ambulance was sent from the nearest settlement and then the couple were later flown out by the Royal Flying Doctors to Adelaide. I heard sometime later it took them almost 24 hours to get them from the accident site to the hospital. Along the Nullarbor, the road occasionally transforms into an airstrip, you can find yourself powering along a runway. When there is an accident aircraft are sent to one of these airstrips closet to the accident site. Road trains use CB radios, so they are usually notified of an accident and any trucks close to an airstrip are seconded to block the road and at night to light the landing strip.
Chasing road trains
The road spray kicked up from the MotoKafe is not something you want to bathe in, so Jeremy was sitting well behind me. It wasn’t long before we were on the Nullarbor and Australia’s longest straight road. This famous strip of road is 146 kilometers long with not even the slightest kink. I have heard stories of drivers being mesmerized by the never ending road and falling asleep.
My ride across the Nullarbor was definitely mesmerizing but it was because I was staring at the back of a road train. I tried on a few occasions to pass but it proved impossible. These 200-ton trains typically have 62 tyres on the road. As they power along, they hoover water off the road and transform it into an enormous, filthy, dense cloud. I would occasionally glimpse the back end of the trailer before it was again engulfed by this ‘self-generated storm cloud’.
Every now and then a gust of wind would and punch a hole in the cloud and give me a tantalizingly brief view of the clear road ahead. I could see there were no oncoming vehicles and was tempted to start overtaking the 50-metre-long, 100 kilometer an hour juggernaut. Then the cloud would just as quickly close and my mind would start playing tricks. Was the road really clear or maybe there was a car somewhere ahead I hadn’t seen. The thought of gambling my life by taking on this cloud of death didn’t appeal so I resigned myself to a two-hour spa in the gritty, oily road spray.
At close to full throttle the Guzzi burns a serious amount of fuel but by sitting back at 100kph I could get a much improved 15 kilometres a litre. The trouble was, the slower I went the further behind we would get, sometimes pulling into fuel stops only to wave goodbye to the last of the departing riders.
The one good thing about being sucked along by a road train is that it lowers my fuel consumption. But when the engine gave the first tell-tale stutter, I knew I had reached the limit of my tank’s range. I had two 5 litre plastic fuel tanks strapped to back for exactly this eventuality and I now needed to find a safe place to pull off the road for a refill. At least I had seen the last of the road train for a while.
When I spotted the gas station at Caiguna I knew we had survived the Ninety Mile Road and pulled in right behind the road train. It felt like I had ridden into a scene from the movie Duel. There it was massive, menacing and stationery.
The driver was nowhere to be seen. I ducked onto the nearest pump knowing I could fill my 15 litre tank a damn sight faster than it would take him to pack 2000 litres into his.
We left the road train still at the pumps and headed along the last of the day’s stretch. I coasted the final kilometre downhill into the Madura Pass Oasis Motel.
The view was majestic right across the coastal plains to the sea and with the golden winter sun about to drop into the ocean. I was struck by the vastness of this incredible country but also by the beauty of the harsh scrubby landscape. We were almost at the end of the longest day.
I glanced at my watch, but it didn’t tally with the reception clock. We were now on Central Western Time and it was three quarters of an hour later than my timepiece suggested. Once we had gassed up I parked the MotoKafe in the entrance porte cochére. Having the bike under cover and close to a power point was going to make life easier for everyone in the morning.
Tuesday 18thAugust: Madura Pass to Ceduna (669 km)
My 5am alarm was in reality a 4am wakeup call and it felt harsh. We had the usual collection of riders queuing for their first caffeine hit of the day. The needle on the espresso temperature gauge couldn’t get into the green fast enough for some but it always provided time for a chat about the ride. The MotoKafe intrigued many of the riders and they loved to peer into every nook and cranny of the rig. Some who had followed me on the road, (and there weren’t many), wanted to know how the bike was attached to the sidecar. Brian Ross who designed and built the bike was able to dispense with the bulky, unsightly font linkages seen on most sidecars.
His clever ‘rose-joint’ allowed the bike to lean into corners and behave like a normal bike but it also gave the impression that the bike was somehow parting company with the sidecar. Cars would come up behind us, then trail us for miles at our slower speed so they could watch us navigate the corners.
The weather had cleared although my gear was still uncomfortably damp. The temperature lifted and the wind soon had all but my boots dry. The ride across the top of the great Australian bight was exhilarating. Almost alone on the highway, the deep blue endless ocean on my right and the vast treeless plains of the hinterland on my left, the constant drone of the bike and wind through my helmet, hour after hour.
Like a petulant child the bike never gave up on its relentless desire to head off the road. Because I needed to stay in a straight line, it was an endless, wearying battle.
I found I had to periodically shift my weight on the seat to give my arms, back and shoulders relief from cramps and a nauseating headache that was eating away at the base of my skull.
I was getting used to it but only gradually.
Ceduna is a South Australian coastal town on the edge of Murat Bay.
Our stay at Ceduna meant a comfortable hotel bed for Jeremy and me. As ‘baristas to the riders’ we held a privileged position and sometimes it translated in the form of a perk. Staying in a hotel room was a perk. Some of the riders would joke with their friends that they had their own personal barista on the trip and of course Jeremy and I took pride in remembering the names and the drinks of our MotoKafe clients. So, what they said wasn’t far from the truth.
With the accommodation split between the hotel and a nearby motor camp the decision was made not to offer coffees the next morning and that didn’t go down at all well with some of the riders who had come to expect their morning ‘wake-up’ coffees from the MotoKafe.
On a winning streak
Wednesday 19thAugust: Ceduna to Port Augusta (468 km)
It was a much more relaxed start to the day. There was no need to get up early to switch on the boiler so the eight o’clock departure almost felt like I’d ‘slept in’.
This was to be the shortest leg of the trip but Steve Andrews had organised a visit to a school in Wudinna for morning tea and a chat with the pupils. The primary purpose of the rides is raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention, so getting these messages out into small communities where the suicide statistics are so appallingly high was high on the agenda. Needless to say, carrying this message to youngsters brings with it an onus of care, something that Steve was particularly good at.
Seeing the entourage of bikes thunder into the school playground was overwhelming for some of the kids who couldn’t contain their excitement. I will never forget the big beaming smiles of the children as they climbed onto the bikes and wound open the throttles of the big throaty engines. Kids universally just love making a noise.
When we arrived at Kimba we drove to another primary school and past a throng of cheering, squealing, waving children. Many small towns in Australia are struggling to survive. I too grew up in a small town but left to build a career in the city and I wondered just how many of these youngsters would do the same. I have been on other Black Dog Rides up into the wheatbelt of Western Australia and into settlements that are almost ghost towns. Places with proud histories, that had at one time been thriving, growing communities. Now with little work, fewer people, empty buildings it’s difficult to know what could possibly reverse the downhill trend.
The Shoreline Caravan Park in Port Augusta overlooks a small mangrove estuary at the head of the Spencer Gulf. From our cabin we could see rail yards on the opposite side of the inlet. Parked on the lines were several mile-long ore trains. We could hear the engines idling ready to roll off somewhere.
After a shower and a change of attire we set the MotoKafe up outside the camp dining room ready for tomorrow’s rush hour.
A short walk down the road was the West Augusta Footy Club and we had been invited to a meal and the weekly quiz night run by the local Lions Club. The place was packed to the gunnels. Jeremy and I sat at a table with a group of other riders and tucked into a great meal (this time devoid of sausages).
Once the tables had been cleared, we were handed a sheet of paper and the quiz session began.
Out team launched into it very confidently, jotting down the answers without much disagreement. Only question that had us flummoxed; “how long does it take for a Viagra tablet to take effect?” Not one of the women on our team had the faintest idea and none of the blokes, even if they knew, were saying so it made for an awkward moment. Still it didn’t seem to matter as we cleaned up the top prize of a huge hamper of food and goodies. Having arrived on bikes it wasn’t much use to any of us, so we donated our winnings back to the club to raffle again and raise even more money.
It was going to be another early start for Jeremy and I so we wandered back to our cabin.
I lay in my bunk for a period, listening to big diesel motors over the estuary roar into life and then trail away into the night. Tomorrow we would leave the coast.
The Roadhouse at nowhere
Thursday 20thAugust: Port Augusta to Coober Pedy (555km)
Once the morning’s coffees were served, we got on the road but this time with the ocean was at our backs. The ride inland from Port Augusta rises up through the most dramatic of landscapes. The forecast was overcast with high winds so I was wondering just how much the MotoKafe would be buffeted around on the road. I knew from the Baron’s tales that a head wind would mean higher fuel consumption and we were heading into the vast, empty ‘Outbacks’. With few roadhouses and a long way in-between, I was going to have to mange the fuel very carefully.
Jeremy rode ahead. Sitting behind a painfully slow MotoKafe made it an arduous trip for him and I knew he wanted to stretch the legs of his new bike. I could see him floating from side to side of the road as big wind gusts blew in from across the plains. Remarkably, the three-wheeler was quite stable in comparison but the windage slowed the MotoKafe down to a snail’s pace at times.
The further inland we got the more spectacular the views became. Great empty basins, dry salt lake beds. Soon the trees were replaced with knee high salt bushes that stretched as far as the eye could see. Either side of the road was an endless, treeless horizon of grey, stunted scrubland. The vast emptiness filled me with a sense of awe.
The road was as straight as the Nullarbor but with no rain or road trains I could see all the way to vanishing point.
I strained my eyes to make out something on the horizon. It didn’t seem to be moving on the road but there was definitely something out there. As I got closer, I could make out a building and as it got closer I could see it was a roadhouse. It was surreal, like something out of a sci-fi movie. We were in the middle of nowhere and here it was, a roadhouse. Was it beside a river, a salt pan, a gully, a hill, a tree or a town? No, it was in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
We pulled in to gas up at Spud’s Roadhouse. I said to Jeremy, “why would they build this place here?”
“Probably because there is nothing else here”, joked Jeremy. I just shot him a strange look.
Inside was a games room, a couple of TV screens broadcasting the footy, restaurant tables and well stocked shelves of essentials and tourist knick-knacks. We grabbed snacks and a drink and sat down for a short break and a chat about the things we had seen on the road that morning. Mindful of the time we would be losing to the other bikes, I drained the last drop from my teacup. We zipped up our bike suits and headed out the door.
Inside the roadhouse I had completely lost all sense of where we were, so stepping back outside was an eerie experience. I stood beside the bikes and looked around at 360 degrees of nothingness. It was an endless horizon and the road either way appeared to disappear to nowhere. Thank God for the road sign pointing to Coober Pedy, because I had no idea which way we were supposed to be headed.
Jeremy was keen to ride the MotoKafe for this last leg. He had ridden it in the Round Australia ride so for him it must have been like meeting up with an old friend. He quickly adapted to the different riding style the MotoKafe demands and seemed to enjoy his stint. I gratefully rode his bike for the rest of the afternoon, soaking up just how comfortable and effortless riding a bike could be. No fighting the sidecar, no painful handlebar grip, no bum-numbing seating arrangement, no throttle lag, no braking prayers required, just point the bike and go.
I knew we were getting close to Coober Pedy when the first giant sized ‘gopher mounds’ appeared. Before long these opal mine tailings peppered the landscape as far as the eye could see. It was another surreal sight I will never forget. Signs on the side of the road warn motorists not to venture off the road. The terrain is like Swiss cheese, thousands of opal mine shafts, many hidden and many deep enough to seriously injure or kill an unwary tourist.
As the sun slipped over the horizon we motored into Coober Pedy, gliding into the first servo we could see. After the obligatory ‘gas up’ we found our way to the Radeka Underground Motel. The motel has been built over the top of an abandoned opal mine and our room was at the bottom of a mine shaft. The walls were hewn from solid rock and the subterranean abode provides protection from the intense heat above, that often hovers around 42c in the summer. The silence was eerie as was the absence of cell phone reception.
This was our last night on the road before we arrived at the Red Centre. Jeremy and I grabbed a pizza from Johns Pizza Bar, just a stone’s throw from our cave. It would be another early night and another early start.
A race to the rock
Friday 21stAugust: Coober Pedy to Uluru (689 km)
A light drizzle accompanied our start. I was particularly nervous about today. It was another long ride and this time we were on a schedule, one I wasn’t convinced we would make. We needed to make a 3.30pm rendezvous with 400 other Black Dog Riders, from all around Australia who were converging just outside of Uluru. What would work against us was the increased 130kph speed the bikes would be traveling at as we crossed into the Northern Territory. I don’t think Steve had factored in the MotoKafe’s sub sonic speed.
The morning cloud cover lifted as we left the opal town. Once we crossed the border, I wound the throttle wide open. The Northern Territory, until recently, had no speed restrictions and it was not unexpected to see cars out here, travelling at autobahn speeds, motorheads trying to ‘break the ton’.
At 130kph the Moto Guzzi was at full stretch, trying to push the sidecar along faster than it had been before. The whole rig was shuddering, the drag sideways more intense than ever and my left arm ached trying to fight the sidecar. I could almost hear the fuel being sucked out of the tank. The sidecar’s massive swingarm suspension was working overtime trying to float us out of every rut and hollow in the road. Occasionally I could hear the sidecar tyre squeal as it bottomed out on the solid mud guard and then I could smell the burning rubber.
The MotoKafe was not designed as a racing machine, although the decal on the sidecar nose cone boasted it makes ‘The World’s Fastest Koffee’. I figured at this point we could stand by our claim, but this high-speed ride was not much fun. I prayed that nothing would go wrong, that nothing would break or get in our way. The thought of locking the brakes on the rig at 130kph would not be a great experience, or perhaps even a survivable one, the sidecar after all had no brakes.
We arrived at the scheduled layby half an hour late. It was pretty obvious we had missed the parade. The convoy was to have left at 3.45pm with a police escort to circle around Uluru and they weren’t going to wait for the coffee cart. Disappointed but not surprised we did our own circuit of the rock and finally caught up with the tail end of the convoy.
Triumphant, but late, we had arrived and this amazing machine had got us there in one piece. I threw up a quick prayer of gratitude.
We pulled into Voyages Resort and made our way to the luxury of a five-star hotel room. That evening we gathered poolside for speeches and a barbeque. It was great to chat with the many friends we had made along the route and also to hear some of the extraordinary tales of how others had come to be on the ride. Almost all of the riders had at some time experienced depression or had lost someone close, to suicide.
Saturday was a rest day so for the first time Jeremy and I would go to bed without setting our alarms, there were no MotoKafe duties next morning.
Dining under the stars
Saturday 22ndAugust: Rest day
The day dawned clear and crisp. By 10.00am the air temperature had warmed to a pleasant 23c. There is a stunning brightness to the blue sky and contrasting bright red earth out here. Jeremy and I decided to go back to the rock for a look.
When I was in my teens, I remember my father recanting his story of climbing this world-famous monolith. One of the inspirations for this journey was to climb to the top of the rock and stand where my father had stood all those years before. It was almost ten years from the day he died and I felt like this was my own personal pilgrimage. We had seen coach loads of tourists climbing the rock the previous day, so we knew exactly where to start the climb. We took a few selfies and then I walked over to the base of the rock excited about getting to the top. I could see dozens of people climbing up the face along a fence designed to provide a safety rope.
I walked over to read a sign about the rock only to notice a message from the Anangu people, the traditional aboriginal owners of the land and custodians of the rock. The message simply read “Uluru is sacred in our culture. It is a place of great knowledge. Under our traditional law, climbing is not permitted.”
Now I had a dilemma. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, but I felt a deep seated need to honor and respect the wishes of the Anangu. I opted to stay off the rock and knew my father would understand.
That night we met in the desert for dinner. It was the most incredible warm night. We were to dine seated at tables covered with white table cloths, out in the desert, under the stars. A dining event was called ‘The Sounds of Silence’. Following a beautiful meal we were entertained by aboriginal dancing and incredible aboriginal stories of the stars. Our host used a lazer beam to point to constellations in the night sky that were of significance to the aboriginal.
What an incredible way to finish our ride.
Sunday 23rdAugust: Uluru visits to local communities
Our last scheduled event was a visit to the Mutitjulu Community on the far side of the rock. I polished the road film off the MotoKafe and filled the water tank. We would be serving coffees for the breakfast the tribe was putting on for us.
The convoy of bikes growled off the bitumen and onto a dusty, red dirt road. It was not difficult to stay with the riders today, there was no sense of urgency or need for speed. Several dogs came barking to greet us and a handful of fearless, jet black children flocked around the bike. They had the biggest and whitest smiles I think I have ever seen. We set up the MotoKafe for the final time and it wasn’t long before a huge queue snaked away from the bike. We were smashing out the coffees when suddenly the espresso failed to deliver the shots.
We had run out of water. There were some grumbles as the line gradually dissipated unconvinced with our assurances that we would be up and running again soon. It took just a few minutes to fill the tank but what we hadn’t reckoned on was having to close down the espresso machine and reboot the boiler because of an airlock. By the time we got back a head of steam, our loyal customers had drifted away. A last and valuable lesson about keeping the water tank topped up.
Back at the resort, a semi had arrived to take the MotoKafe back to Perth via Adelaide and Melbourne. This Bikes Only, special purpose, bike transporter was waiting for the MotokKafe. As I loaded the rig onto the double decker, I reflected on just what an incredible journey it had been. We had covered an amazing amount of territory, traveled through remote communities, met wonderful people, created a lot of local press interest and Black Dog Ride had raised just on $320,000 for the cause.
Without the support of a lot of people and businesses this journey would not have been possible. We are proud of our association with such good people and great businesses:
Thunderbike Motorcycles – AiRoasters (Black Drum Roasters – Bikes Only – Biopak – Bombora – BrandNew – Chum-Air – Cofi-Com – For the Coffee Table – Globe Signs – Intracut – Pato Group – Pod Pack – South West Engineering – Yahava KoffeeWorks – Black Dog Ride & Steve Andrews