Cape York: Cape Tribulation – Cairns (184 km)

Fun with pavement.
One interesting piece of trivia from our group was that, despite being motocross racers, very few of us had ridden very much on pavement. I know at least one of the South Australians had been riding on dirt since he was very small but had never ridden on road before this trip. Since the road south to Cairns from Cape Tribulation was paved, this leveled off our playing field substantially.

I was at the back of the pack, as per usual, when I realized that I was sort of bored and that the pavement was going to go on for quite some time. So I passed the guy in front of me. And then the guy in front of him. And on. And on. I figured this was my one opportunity to ride in the front of the group for the entire trip — that for once, no one was going to have to wait for me at stops or watch me be the last person to pull in. So I went for it. By the time we pulled into our first vista point for a look-see, I was riding second in line behind Roy.

It wouldn’t have worked on the first day, but on the last day of the trip, the guys loved it. They laughed and teased each other about being passed by “a girl wearing pink pants on a 230!” and told me “well done mate!” It was a bit silly and a bit boys-club of me, but it was something I had to do and it let me ride back in the middle of the pack with a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Lookout point over Trinity Bay:

We took a short detour to Mount Malloy for lunch — the advanced group once again headed for the “greasy nasty muddy bits” while Peter, Dennis, and I went straight to lunch on the pavement. We were up in the mountains, where it was misting a bit, and there’s nothing like cold wet mesh dirt gear at pavement speeds to get me to hot coffee as soon as possible.

The road to Mt Malloy does not suck:

After lunch, Peter decided to go with the other group towards more mud. Dennis and I waffled but ultimately decided that we were having fun with our newfound feeling of being vaguely competent, what with the pavement and all, and that we’d catch up with everyone back at Roy’s house in Cairns.

There really isn’t much to tell, therefore, about the 80 kilometers between Mt Malloy and Roy’s house. I mean, it’s a spectacular coastal road — as coastal roads tend to be — that offers great views of the Pacific. It kept twisting my brain to be heading SOUTH, yet seeing the Pacific Ocean on my left.

Altogether too soon, Dennis and I entered the Cairns township. It was very odd to see the billboards, and people, and cars, and traffic lights! The first light we came to, Dennis and turned to each other and said, at the same time, “A TRAFFIC LIGHT!” like it was the most strange and unusual thing ever. I’m fairly sure the driver of the car next to us thought we were insane.

Aussie biking:

And that was pretty much that.

Dennis and I were the first to arrive at Roy’s, of course, where we were handed cans of beer and our bikes were whisked away to be washed and touched up (the next tour, a three-day trip, left the next day).

One poster in Roy’s workshop caught my eye while we were waiting for the rest of the group…I’d seen it before we left, but it hadn’t seemed as earth-shakingly impressive to me then…

Now, I don’t know about any 11 hours and 45 minute stuff, but we did Bamaga to Cairns in 6 days, and I’m pretty darned proud of ourselves. Mud, sand, rocks, washouts, river crossings and all. No worries, mate.

Personal trip stats.
Yamaha TTR-230
1240 kilometers (775 miles)
115 kph top speed
1 mudpuddle crash; multiple sandy tipovers
15,000 pucker moments
0 injuries (not counting bruises)

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