Day 8 "Black Dog Ride" 2015 - (The Big Red Centre)
Extremely pleasant ride between Coober-Pedy and Erldunda. The infinite vastness of the land of the "never... never..." is even more conducive to the vulnerability of traveller's like us motorcyclists.
On this never ending highway, compared to other users we look, and are, lilliputians; tiny buzzing insects. Even the otherwise big, social-statement-making and royal large motorcycles are relegated to the same status; the exhaust sounds of the noisy thundering ones are literally digested by the land with the same contempt showed by a blue tongue lizard snapping a wandering bug. Only the cyclists, and they are extremely rare, seems to be even more microscopic and irrelevant.
What an equalizer the outback is; gone are all the pretentious "attitudes" prevailing in the Australian Urban zones.
To remind us all of our fragility, we faced several technical problems, mainly with tyres showing abnormal signs of wear, once again the spirit of the "Black Dog Ride" prevailed and unless a stopped rider clearly indicated that he or she was NOT in trouble, others will stop and offer assistance.
Unfortunately, our sweep car and trailer, lucky we have it following us, were loaded with 'dead' motorcycles, a lot of equipment and quite frustrated sometimes despairing riders.
Nobody crashed during that leg and this will bring me to a very sad and yet magnificent incident that happened a few kilometers outside Orooroo on our way to Port-Augusta.
After leaving Orooroo in a particularly cheerful mood, the group was fairly compacted and our leader Ric Raftis on is beloved, acquired new, 1993 vintage Harley-Davidson unexpectedly clipped the bike in front of him sending them both to bite the dust.
Both riders fell heavily. Ric had to stay overnight in a local hospital in observation but was discharged the next morning. He thought of going back home in Melbourne as his body was bruised from head to toes and his face graced by an impressive "aubergine" (rather than black) eye; which in anyone's book would have been fair enough.
To my great surprise, Ric was with us the next night! His wrecked motorcycle was shipped back to Melbourne and ignoring the pain, Ric boarded the rescue car and soldiered on. He conducted himself like a true leader determined to stay with his companions as long and as best as he could forcing everybody admiration (including mine) for his courage, his tenacity and above all his values in the solidarity and comradeship department especially considering wrecking his motorcycle which has been his "baby" for 23 years. He simply would not let us down, period.