One way I know I have made a sensible decision in choosing to retire is that my sleep has improved enormously. Peaceful unbroken rest and no more anxious dreams.
An unexpected and delightful surprise is that my best and oldest friend of 53 years offered to fly over from NZ and join me on the last leg of my circumnavigation of Australia. I accepted with alacrity. I believe David is the only person I have never argued with except as an intellectual exercise. We never had a falling out.
We rode together from Katanning to Karijini, across to Exmouth and back down back in 2013. Best road trip ever, to date.
I shall pick him up from Kununurra airport on Anzac Day.
In the following week or so, I shall show David around the Kimberley. All the places I have come to know and love. Secret spring, Sawpit Gorge, Lake Stretch, the back road to Mulan, Wolfe Creek Crater, Komaterpillar. Then when we head off at last I think we might go via the Duncan road. I have not been on it past Marella Gorge. That will complete my Kimberley experience.
Then we shall be on a road trip all the way to the home of another old friend in Queensland. Though this next trip won’t be on bikes as my back and legs are no longer bike-friendly, it may just be even better. We can converse and share the driving.
Technically, at least, at the end of this road trip I will have (almost) travelled all the way round Australia. I have travelled before between Sydney and Newcastle, and driven between Ballina and Kate’s home where we are heading on this trip. The only gap not covered is the 600 km stretch between Ballina and Newcastle, but I have flown into Coffs Harbour, which is pretty much in the middle between them. I count that as close enough. I have visited all the state capitals bar one. I have not yet set foot in Tasmania, a deficiency I do plan to rectify some time.
Two thirds of my trip around Oz has been by motorcycle. I rode from Sydney to Perth in 2012. and apart from the 2013 ride I mentioned above, I also rode from Katanning to Halls Creek in November 2014.
Doing the last leg in my Toyota Land Cruiser with David is just the best ending I can think of.
My cruiser, Taistealaí , is going in for her 290,000 km service on Monday. She still goes like a dream. She looks a little used and at present is certainly dirty but she has been well looked after by her three owners. I am the third. She proved herself worthy when we did the Gibson expedition to Kiwirrkurra.
I shall take her with me to New Zealand.
A little more detail on the (proposed) route: