I’m a man of adventure always seeking the thrill and a life of adrenaline. My feet get antsy when at rest too long so being active is an common attribute in my DNA. I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve trekked uncharted lands and even jumped from perfectly good airplanes! Why? It keeps me young, fit, and fills my soul with life even though I live on the edge.
It’s not as silly as it sounds. I’m not the kind of guy that needs to be tied to a desk from Monday through Friday working my ass off for low wages and no respect. Listening to authority figures (so they think) dictating my life only to be constantly reminded they have no idea. I’ve got more to offer and better things to do with my time. This world has too much to see and too little time to see it. It’s my responsibility as a living soul to experience as much as possible before, as the great Jim Morrison once sang, “When the Music’s Over”.
My life has taken me on many journeys. Growing up in San Francisco living the dream as a mechanical engineer through my mid-20s and into my mid-30s. Changed careers a few times, traveled the world, launched multiple restaurants and now I found myself living in Australia on the verge of relocating once more and hopefully the last time to Ubud, Bali. I’m the self proclaimed modern day Ernest Hemingway.
Life has dished up its fair share of curveballs, full of excitement, tragedies and joys. However, nothing compares to the exhilarating experience of riding your motorbike down that open road to nowhere. No schedule, no rules, no problem. With so much bulls*it in the news, terrorist threats, disease, hungry, and war torn regions of modern society, everyone needs a break from it — everyone! If we can’t sit back and laugh at ourselves, then we will go insane. I’m just a man in his forties with my bike heading into the unknown without a care in the world seeking the ultimate answer of peace and balance.
As mentioned before, I’ve relocated from the United States to Australia about five years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I bleed red, white and blue and love my country more then you’ll ever know. It was the perfect place to grow up, I played little league, I celebrate Halloween (not in Australia…boo), and my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. My grandfather even took me to the 1981 NFC championship game when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark for ‘the catch’ ultimately launching the best dynasty in any sport. Memories, oh those sweet memories.
The older I’d become, maybe even smarter and wiser, the more I could see that my country was not delivering her end of the bargain anymore. I was ready to fight the system or save myself and begin a life of a nomad and that’s when my beloved motorcycle came into play.
The Beginning “My Sweet Betsy”
Looking back now, one of my real regrets in life was selling my very first motorcycling when I departed for Australia. In 1989 I purchased my first road bike, a 1983 Honda CB250 that I named Betsy! There wasn’t anything special about her except that she belonged to me and she was more reliable then the actual ladies in my life of the time. I think I spent more time polishing the tanks and pipes then actual riding that damn thing, not true, but felt that way.
I spent about six months of city driving before I had the confidence and know-how prior to taking Betsy on coastal HWY 1 down the California coast. It was my first experience on the open road and my life changed forever. During this three-day journey, Betsy and I discovered each other realizing the finer details of both our characteristics and personalities. We would become soul mates over the next 20 years! I took wonderful care of my baby, and she repaid me with 20 years of reliable service. When my wife and I moved to Boston, Betsy was crated up and shipped across country to reunite with us on the eastern seaboard where she lived out her final days before I sold her off. Give me a second while I whip away the tears.
OK, all better now. Even though we’re not together anymore, I’m truly thankful for every experience we shared and will forever hold our memories near and dear to my heart.
Down Under while Up and Over
G’day mates! Back in 2010 after jumping the pond and settling in ‘the land down under’ I was overwhelmed by culture shock to say the least. You’d be surprised how different things are here even though most people consider Australia to be America lite. Australians are wonderful people, maybe overly generous, and particularly too nice. What’s a rough edged American bloke like me to know about Australian culture? I’m not particular nice or generous. So I’m not accustomed to people being so friendly being from the States. No disrespect to my fellow citizens. I’ve never had a pie floater, or hot cross bun until my arrival in Oz. I still hate Vegemite with a passion, I can’t fathom what the attractions is to this black tar mess but the Aussie folk love it. Even after six years on the island, I still have a hard time understand the slang. At first I hated it but I’ve come to love the whole culture, however, that wasn’t always the case.
Adjusting to a new life in a new land with new cultural values and core beliefs is tough. Even for a leatherneck bastard like myself. You can take the boy out of America but you can’t take America out of the boy. To this day I have a few mates here in Australia that I love antagonizing with my Americana rhetoric, they seem to hate it but at the same time relish in the banter.
When I first arrived I felt instantly discounted from the Aussie culture for so many years, even though my mates tried desperately to make me feel at home. For their efforts, I developed a lifelong respect for them, even though they’re Aussies! Haha. For so long I wanted to feel the attachment and understand the love Australians feel toward their country but never could find it. It just wasn’t happening for me. Until one day having a few froths with my mates, the light went off in my head — get yourself a motorcycle and hit the open road you dumb ass!
Home Sweet Home in the Australian Outback
I’ve never been called intelligent throughout my 43 years on this planet. I’ve been called many other things, though never intelligent. I suppose it’s in my character that I’m constantly late the proverbial ‘party’ or perhaps it’s just me taking the road less traveled again. Seemingly arriving late to everything in my life. My revelation to reestablishing myself as an new revamped American-Aussie Easy Rider was no different in this case and late again to realize of course. Though better late than never as my old man would say.
Literally days after my semi-drunken revelation, I had my new toy in the car park, oops, I mean driveway for us American readers. My new 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere, the best adventure bike on the market and I had it in my possession ready to take on the open roads of Australia. I felt like a kid again, memories of Betsy overcame me and the adrenaline took over. The time was now to prepare for my first road adventure into the heart of Australia and into the Australian Outback and discover my new land and become one with my beloved step-country.
10-Days in the Simpson Desert
It’s not always about the destination that captures the imagination. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, a lot of the ride feels like you’re on the surface of the moon. Epic rides are bigger then majestic landscapes, with fascinating sites and dingy roadside pubs…though it doesn’t hurt. For me it’s about finding that open space away from it all. A place to clear your mind, set your goals and conquering fears of the unknown. It is highly recommended that you do this ride with a partner. Consider this the smartest recommendation one can offer. However, as mentioned earlier, no one has ever called me intelligent in my life because I took on this two-week road adventure alone and still live to write about it. If I were to do it again, I’d find a riding partner next time because you can literally be left stranded for days if something went astray along your journey. Don’t be a hero, I was extremely lucky with so many close calls along the way.
To offset my solitude, I took extra precautionary actions and made sure I was organized and loaded to the gills with water, satellite communication, batteries, additional parts and had markers in place at each destination so people knew where I was and when I was expected to arrive.
Day 1 Adelaide to Rawnsley Station Flinders Ranges
Started off early as I was amped up and ready to go. I really wanted to reach my first destination of Rawnsley Park Station and set up camp, get settled for the night and start preparing for the days ahead. My first experience in the Flinders Ranges was nothing short of spectacular.
Day 2 Rawnsley Station to Marree
This was the morning of all mornings, I knew that the end of the black top is in sight and we won’t see it again for another 6-7 days. The true Australian Outback awaits! The day was full of scenic routes through the Gammon Ranges before giving way to the open dirt roads.
Day 3 Marree to Oodnadatta
Nothing but dirt today. Had a few minor details to sort out on the bike this morning, but once recovered I saddled up and set off for The Oodnadatta Track! In my research, this is one of those mythical roads of the Outback. The boy within my soul was alive today!
Day 4 Oodnadatta to Dalhousie Springs
Moonscape probably offers more attractive features then today’s drive because now I’m really getting off the beaten path and making tracks! The objective today was to navigate my way to Mt Dare to top up petrol tanks up for the last time before attempting to across to Birdsville via the French Line. I stayed at Dalhousie Springs for the evening and indulged in the local hot springs before departing early in the morning for the beginning of the most difficult part of the ride!
Day 5 Dalhousie Springs to Knolls Track & French Line
Holy crap… sand dunes! The next phase was going to be the most difficult and terrifying of the whole trip. I was far from help and if something goes wrong, it’s bound to happen during this section of the trip. My nerves were at full attention. Not to mention monitoring fuel consumption to ensure you make it to the next petrol station some 375 km away. After a day of grueling sand dunes, I made shelter and nestled under the stars for the night. Camping in the desert like wild dogs was one of the highlights of the entire ride.
Day 6 Knolls Track & French Line to Birdsville
Finally the dreaded sand dunes are coming to an end, but one big major obstacles still stands in my way — Big Red!
Big Red is this intimidating sand dune that reaches 40 meters tall and just mocks you saying “Come on mate give it a shot, show me what your made of”.
Day 7 Birdsville to Innamincka through Cordillo Downs & Dig Tree
Well if we’ve come this far, there certain to be a sore head after a lot of celebrating from achieving the Simpson Desert via the French Line. Not to mention the bike will get a big drink as well!
Day 8 Innamincka to Tibooburra
Back on a dirt road again never seemed so pleasant. Day eight and still in the middle of nowhere but the roads just keeps on going.
Day 9 Tibooburra to Broken Hill
With the difficult riding now in my rearview mirror, today will be an pleasure cruise, despite my weary bones, I was still keen to take the back roads into Broken Hill and pop in for a cold ale at the Silverton Hotel.
Day 10 Broken Hill to Mildura
The end has come on my Australian Outback adventure! Today I’d be arriving to the comfort of friends living in Mildura, Victoria. A welcomed site indeed as I finally got to rest my head on a true pillow and mattress.
A once in a lifetime opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for all the rice in China. Probably the most challenging solo endeavor I’ve undertaken in my life. It was a 2-week journey of reflection, growth and humility and as I rode into Adelaide I was overcome by a sense of salutation. Not from my wife or my friends, but from Australia, as if she was saying, “you did it mate, welcome home!”
Follow Scott’s adventures and motorcycle articles on www.therevver.com.