July 13, 2012...Friday the 13th...Lions Den

"Cheers Jose!"…we'll see you when we return, 2 or maybe 3 weeks from now!  Thanks for your very generous hospitality, we will never forget it! Kev and I were excited and prepared, well… as much as we thought we needed to be for our Cape adventure ahead.  I sent another box back to Melbourne…we continually try to down size, and manage with less.  For the trip to the tip it is important for us to be as light as possible in preparation for the corrugated dirt roads ahead.  Kev has decided to leave his top box at Dennis's…this will make a huge difference in the way "Stacey" handles.  Weight to the rear of the bike can act as a huge pendulum throwing your balance into an uncontrolled swoop, then you are down!  No back box means no computers, drives, cords, plugs…so I am blogging in a grade 2 exercise book for the portion of this trip…"Crikey, do I ever have messy writing!!"

Riding out of the Cairns area is really quite spectacular…the roads are rolling, windy and smooth…the magnificent Coral Coast in all its glory is directly to the right of you, so dipping into each corner the view you get is amazing.  On your left the landscape foliage is becoming quite tropical and jungly.  New Zealand popped in my head…"like Scotland but farther"…( for you Jose!)…ha ha ha.  The wetlands grew jungle thick, the corners slicker, and Tarzan vines were beginning to appear, whacking your helmet from time to time when you miss the duck!

"Caution…River Crossing"  We rolled up to the ticket booth to purchase our ferry tickets to cross the river at Cape Tribulation.  "Two tickets to cross please", said Kev in his Yankee drawl  "Round trip?", questioned the ticket lady.  "No, just one way", said Kev.  Just then another lady peered out from around the corner and said "You taking those BMW bikes up to the Cape are you?…Crossing the river?"  "We hope to, at least that is the plan", Kev said in a questioning tone…Hmmm, Kev looked at me with a puzzled look!  "That will be $10.00", said the ticket lady…"You can purchase a return pass on the other side if you need to, love", she smirked.  What did all that mean?  "Do you know what today is?", I said to Kev…."Friday the 13th!"

We rode onto the ferry and sat on the bikes for the short crossing.  We were across before you could say "Bob's ya uncle"….Right on, I finally got to use that phrase!!…ha ha ha  The road ahead was narrow and wet but still bitumen.  We pulled off at the Cape Tribulation look out enjoyed the beautiful views, ate a couple of boiled eggs and an apple for lunch.  That would be the last time for several hours before we would see bitumen again.  

O.K…here we go…our first water crossing…Emmagen Creek.  Kev got off his bike and walked across the creek.  I watched his legs slip and the water come up over his knees in parts, I was beginning to get nervous.  I looked across at the crocodile warnings, and the cassowary warnings…Hmmm… If we dump it we could get eaten by a croc…if we stay we could get attacked by a cassowary?? Alright then, we have to cross, we are not going back to the ticket booth that's for sure!  A land cruiser pulled up as Kev was making his way back to his bike, we watched him cross…O.K…lets do it!

With feet out and total throttle control, Kev skillfully slipped, sloshed and splashed his 280 kilogram beast successfully across.  Kev parked his bike after the applause of the on lookers…Crikey, an audience…and then he walked back across to me.  We discussed his trip across and decided that because of the larger rocks in the crossing that he would walk beside me in case Phe Phe slipped…Let's do it!

Heart pumping, I entered the water, I tried to keep a steady speed, but the bottom was very uneven and at times I could not feel any footing under me…a spike of fear raced through my body…I was so determined and focused on getting across without dumping the bike…I made it, although, I did manage to hyper extend my left knee as I was fighting for footing!  An awesome feeling of accomplishment, and applause from the on lookers to boot…"Phew" Damn that was my first real water crossing!  I was high on adrenaline for the rest of the day, which helped me manage my knee pain!  

Across the other side Kev lowered the tire pressure on the bikes, this will definitely help with up coming crossings and the dirt ahead.  There happened to be 4 more water crossings and a long water swift at Bloomfield River.  Now I have to confess I did chicken out at one of the crossings.  I actually was watching Kev cross, waiting for my turn, lost balance of the bike, had no footing and dumped it…sometimes being stopped is the hardest thing!  I was a little rattled, Kev crossed the bike for me.  I actually hitched a ride across from a fellow hanging on to his roof rack, standing on the running board of his land cruiser…like I needed to keep my feet dry, they were already soaking…but I enjoyed it nevertheless…ha ha ha

Dirt, dirt and more dirt.  It was sandy, potholed, muddy, rocky, and bumpier than ever…steep ascents and descents, the whole guacamole…what a day!  No croc sightings, just a large Goanna, blue tongue lizard and electric blue butterflies…oh, and the odd laughing kookaburra…of course!  We pulled up to a very ionic location called "The Lions Den"  purchased a camping site, set up tent, changed out of our dirty and dusty riding gear, hung our socks on a branch to dry out and headed into the bar for a cold drink!  It was great watching all the different groups of people pull in, and wondering what challenges they had faced in their day…and reminiscing about the extremes of our day!!  

Kev lowering tire pressure

Kev lowering tire pressure

We made it to Lions Den!

We made it to Lions Den!

Daintree Ferry

Daintree Ferry