I have my mind back-Expedition Dust day 48-51
First of all I’m alive and well, I would like to apologise for not writing and sharing my journey with you for the last 5 days. I’m sorry. Upstairs, my brain has been having an emotional meltdown because of a conversation Dylan and I had around the campfire about a week ago, it opened up a mental jar off worms from my past and really slingshoted me into a pit of negativity and I have been fighting to climb back out. Most of the worms have escaped now so hopefully won’t come back in the same capacity ever again.
This is what’s been happening... After arriving in Warburton 5 days ago we had a much deserved rest day. The next morning I got up alone and headed into the Aboriginal community to share my story with the kids at the local school. They were just shutting down for the term so everything was a bit to complicated and difficult to present to the kids, so I ended up playing some basketball and showing them some of my videos. Community Schools out here are very different to most schools I have ever been too.
That day I had the trailer taken forward to Yulara with some friendly campers. They were part of the support crew for a guy called Mark Rindel who’s flying a little tiny plane aero trike glider thing across Australia. They were staying in the compound and said they could help out and drop it off when they went through. It made sense to get someone to take it rather than keep carrying a damaged trailer. I had a bit of work to do before we were able to leave again like organising the next person for the expedition and writing blogs for some of my sponsors. The first day the overwhelming world of social media caught me off guard and I found myself procrastinating and not writing so in order to get all the work done we had to stay an extra day. I knew Dylan was getting bored but I had to get this writing done, so I did my best and eventually managed to get past my writing block. Over those two days I got my work done and serviced the bikes.
During dinner on the night before we were going to leave I told Dylan that the way I had decided we were going out of town was on the great central highway, because I wanted to see the mountains around Docker River. Dylan wanted to go on a track that’s called the Telstra track, it’s wasn’t in our map but it’s a real thing and I found it on google. It went through lots of closed communities and didn’t go through Docker river. I gave it some thought but chose to go the way I had planned from the start. After that I could tell something had changed inside his head, I had a feeling he didn’t want to be here anymore. Like possibly he thought the road wasn’t really an adventure or it wasn’t enough of a challenge. I understand exactly how he felt, it’s a feeling I often get myself. The following morning we pushed the bikes out the gate at front of the compound. Dylan had had breakfast already, but inside the roadhouse they had beans, sausages, eggs and bacon in a takeaway container, so that’s what I got. We saddled up and rolled out onto the great Central Highway. I didn’t know what to expect from this highway, didn’t know if it was like a proper road or a dirt road I just knew it would take me to the centre. I had the intention of us doing roughly 70 km but you never know what the day is going to bring. 10 minutes down the road I had to stop to put some air in my tyres because last night when I put new sealant in it was quite cold , that ment the tyres appeared tighter than they actually were and now that they have heated up they had gone soft. After I sorted my tyres it was quite easy riding along the side of this road and I was moving at quite a good pace, I came around a small bend In the road and spotted Dylan stop next to some cars. When I caught up he was telling them about what we were doing and that we were headed for the red center. That was the first car we saw and when they drove off they left a big trail of dust. I looked at Dylan and said “I’m getting my mask out it’s gonna be dusty.” Riding along this open road felt strange, didn’t really feel like we were in the desert anymore more felt like we were on top of it.
By lunchtime we already managed to hit 60 km And after talking about it with Dylan we decided to try and hit 90km. Dylan’s boss had asked if he could be back to work on the 12th. I think Dylan felt bad about how he left his job to come out here, he has said a few times over the last month that he put his boss in a stressful situation but this opportunity was too go to miss. I can only imagine it was hard when he had to tell his boss that he couldn’t get to Yulara in only 5 days and couldn’t start on the 12th. After such a good day on the bikes I think he started to second-guess his decision, we had just hit 90km easily. I decided to offer to change the journey to get him there on time. this was my offer “we keep riding tonight until we hit 200km then, we do 80 km for three days and we will be there. I made sure he believed he could do it before fully committing and telling his boss. As the sun set we commited and rode off into the night..
In three hours time we stopped for a snack. Dylan was getting tired but he said his body was fine, before setting off again we put on some warm clothes because the temperature had dropped dramatically. I called upon my secret weapon for the next three hours, music. I’m sure I’ve said it before but when I put music in my ears it’s like a whole new world. At midnight the road got shit. The corrugations began and they were relentless. Dylans speed of riding had slowed down quite a lot so every hour I would stop wait for him to catch up he told me he now hated the music he had been listening to because all he will ever think about when he hears the songs is the bloody corrugations. He said “ i’m like listening to my chill music in the corrugations are like bumb bumb bumb bumb, I HATE THE BUMPS!” As we pushed on I was still having a bloody dance party in my head.
The Next time we stopped it was time for a proper meal. I boiled some water and mashed up an avocado to eat with corn chips I had brought from the roadhouse. Dylan was absolutely stuffed and had fallen asleep next to me! I woke him up and we both smashed back a Radix, I had a Mexican beef meal and he had a pea and mint meal. He was super tired but was still good to go when I asked if he was feeling ok. The next few hours were freezing, my feet and hands had gone numb and my joints were aching from the cold (and probably the riding). The light had started to change as the sun was about to come back up. I stopped and waited for Dylan who had just taken a caffeine pill, when he pulled along side I said “Dylan, should we just do another hundred?” To my absolute shock he said, “yeah why not” I excitedly shouted wooohoo like a sleep deprived crazy man and continued on! An hour later just as we reached the top of a hill the sun came above the horizon, kissing my cold skin with its warm rays. Looking down the road there were mountains in the distance, real mountains. The way the morning light was shining on them was simply spectacular. I tried to do some filming but Dylan was too tired I (wanted to capture that) but he wanted to keep moving. At the bottom of the hill was the 200km mark I reached it and lay my bike down! When Dylan arrived he said “ I’m going to hitchhike to Yulara” It came as a total surprise. We were both so tired and I was so confused because I thought we were on the same page and doing a crazy push to get him there in time.
I asked why he was giving up and I couldn’t help but feel that it was my fault. I was sad, angry, offended and confused all at once. Dylan said that he wasn’t giving up he just knew it wasn’t going to be fun so has decided that he will just get a ride. It took me by total shock. I tried to convince him to just dig deep and keep on pushing but deep down I knew he had been over it since we left Warburton and he had made his choice. He said he needed to meditate for 30 min and would decide afterwards. My head was on fire with emotions and while I made breakfast I called Ngaio on the phone. I didn’t really know what to do! My brain was just going crazy thinking things like he’s leaving because he doesn’t like me and that spending time with me was bad for his health. I knew I was a dick a few times but everyone has their moments and the few times I did get frustrated I always apologised and tried to make it right. I thought he was having a great time. I don’t understand and guess I will never know.
After he was done meditating said he would keep going for the day and then decide what to do in the evening. We continued riding 25km to the next town where we had some hot chips and icecream. I knew there was no point in pushing ourselves to get the distance if Dylan was leaving and I was done fighting the fact Dylan wanted to leave so when we stopped for the day and he said he wants to leave the expedition I just said the choice is yours mate. We pulled off the road and found a good spot to camp. I disappeared down into the valley to try and release some emotions in the way of tears. When I got back I asked him why he wants to leave said he wants to leave so he can actually get to experience the red center not just arrive there, then leave for work. I understand why he wants to do that, the downside of this on a practical level is I will have an extra 14kgs of gear to carry (and not the best headspace). He lives his life quite relaxed, this is his life and at the end of the day his choices are his and I respect that that. I treasure the time we had together and think Dylan is a very open, kind and generous young man. I will definitely miss his company and the learning laughing debating we did so much of! I hope whatever he does from this point forward is with the same enthusiasm as when we first met!
The next morning I wandered off into the bush and a beautiful dingo came right up to me and sniffed all around my feet, it was magical and what just the kind of experience I needed to prepare myself for Dylan to leave. Over breakfast We had a pretty deep conversation about what was going on and we were open and honest with each other. With him leaving I was definitely not going to rush anymore so I lay in the sun writing this. I wrote for about 4 hours and when I returned to the tent Dylan was still there and had decided that he wanted to leave tomorrow because he wanted our last night to be better. That simple decision made so much of a difference to the way I was feeling, and I’m sure to the way he was feeling too. We didn’t end up on the bikes until 1600but we rode alongside talking and laughing for 20km before stopping and making camp for the final time as expedition partners.