Back in my trail-riding days, the ultimate trail-ride was the trip to Cape York. Top of Australia! The last frontier! It was the stuff we trail-riders dreamt of doing; but mostly never did. Well, one of our readers, Ron, actually did do it. Here is his story of the trip.
This is a short version of our trip to the cape. There were four of us, myself riding a Suzuki DR650, Dennis riding another DR650, Peter also riding a DR650 and Todd riding a KTM 520.
The “Buggered Knee Trail Riders”, as we are known, left from Purono Park which is 30 Kms north of Townsville and our plan was to make it to Lakeland Downs the first night. We made it with only one problem which was with my bike stopping due to a restricted fuel filter that only played up because the Safari tank when low had no pressure. So I removed the small filter next to the carbie and had no more trouble from then on.
After the night in the caravan park and a fill up at the pub we were ready for the second day. I might add that we carried everything on our bikes. (What? No back-up vehicle, like Charlie and Ewan? Elwyn). The second day took us through Laura where we met a couple on their way back from the cape.
We then carried on to Musgrave where we had lunch and talked to heaps of people with four wheel drives and campers and then continued on to Archer River for the night where we camped. We over-indulged at the bar but had a good time swapping stories with the truckies working in the area.
On the third morning we left Archer River and went to Moreton Telegraph Station where we met a tour group who were set on breaking some sort of record. We then carried on to Bramwell Junction where we had lunch and we opted to take the bypass road, which was a mistake because it was terribly corrugated. Having been up the Telegraph Track before we didn't really want to do it again. We then crossed the Jardine on the ferry and continued on to Bamaga taking the old back road. Peter had a close connection with an emu, he used up all of the road and most of the bush in the area to stay on the bike! When we got to Bamaga we were sent to a place called Loyalty Beach which I would recommend to everyone as it was clean, the people were very accommodating, and it is a very good place to relax.
We spent the next day going over our bikes and doing our washing. The following day we went to the Tip which tested our lack of fitness to the limit, but we made the walk there and back. The area around the Tip was a disappointment as the walkways were falling to pieces and the roads needed maintenance.
We then headed back to the Jardine in pouring rain. There were bus-loads of tourists there and they all wanted photos of us and our bikes getting onto the ferry, as one lot was from England. We had a top night camped at the ferry which is a story of its own which I will gladly fill you in with at a later date.
Next morning we had a look at all of the areas of interest along the telegraph line where Peter had a close encounter with the track three times. Over a beer at night he explained to us how it was everybody else’s fault, including the Queensland Government, Main-Roads, and the other Buggered Knee members for not showing the required amount of sympathy!
That night we made it to Weipa where we met a couple of young fellas who certainly had their fair share of trouble, which is also another story. The following day we rested and got social at the local watering hole and we decided that Dennis and Peter were going to hang around for a couple of days to visit the plane wrecks in the area. But myself and Todd had to get back to Townsville because of work commitments.
Todd and I left next morning for Lakeland Downs and we stopped at Laura on the way and made it to Lakeland where I went missing and Todd was wondering what I was up to. I told him that 8 days in my tent and swag was enough so I got a motel room for the night. (Ah, my kind of camping! Elwyn). We left the following day via the Atherton Tablelands and went to Abergowrie where my family’s cane farm is and we arrived home just on dark. 700km that day.
There were no dramas with the bikes and I will let you know how we prepared the bikes in another story. We are now planning Cameron’s Corner, but as I have just had a full knee replacement (you can see where the name of the group came from! Elwyn), we will put it off until next year.

Thanks for the story, Ron. I’m envious! It’s a long time since my trail-riding days, but the love for it is still there. It is, after all, the reason I’m a motorcyclist today. I also admire you for getting out and living these dreams, despite the “certain-age” we have reached! Enjoy the next one! (And don’t forget to tell us about it).
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