« Overland Australia - Update 27 | Main | Overland Australia - Update 29 »

August 23, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 28

The very idea of joining up with the expedition was, for me, a frightful challenge. I had visions of deathly poisonous snakes, spiders, angry wild pigs, cattle, water buffalo, cassowaries, and salt water crocs being the things that would team up in order to keep me from completing the stretch from Cairns to Darwin. Though I have seen many of those things, none of them have been quite as ‘dangerous’ as I have been to myself as late. But before I tell you of my latest ‘road block’ I have set for myself, lets first bring you up to date.


First, day four, I managed to tare my bike spindle, which allows my cranks to work. I end up walking 20 kilometres that day.
Second, day six, I give into heat exhaustion on the Maytown track trail and spend a day in the truck to recoup.
Third, day twenty-one, while having a great time trying to beat a 19-year-old track star in bike sprints, I managed to strain my knee. Not knowing at the time how serious the knee was I again contemplated having to go home. Luckily we had 3 full days of rest in Mount Isa, and on the third day it looked as if I would continue. The knee felt good enough to ride as long as I took it easy. Well one would have figured that at that point I had been pre-disastered, right?

Number 4, day thirty; we are leaving Mount Isa. It is a great day. My knee feels solid and I start to get comfortable in the seat again. 80ks into the ride and back on dirt I meet Jason and his bike coming up behind me being chased by Josh. We were all playing a little game of steal from some ones backpack and try not to get it taken back. Well I had Jason’s hat and Jason had Joshes hat, thus the incident was about to occur. I was quite a ways ahead of Jason and Josh going along at about 20ks when Josh started chasing Jason at about 30ks. Jason figured he would take a swipe at his hat as he went flying by me. As I looked back, Bam!!!!! The next thing I know I am on the ground in quite a bit of pain. I have two smashed pieces of fruit in my pocket; a good size road rash wound up my elbow, a cracked helmet, bit of a headache and a very soar shoulder. After the group did a great job getting me cleaned up I stated I wanted to finish out the day. We road a total of 110 Ks and I knew at the end of it this was maybe my last ride. The nights sleep was non-existent and the pain in my shoulder became worse. We all decided April should take me 150ks back to Mount Isa for x-rays.


As April and I rode off this morning it was hard for me not to cry. If my clavicle was broken I would be heading home never accomplishing what I had set out to do in Australia. But mostly I was sad that I would not get to say good bye to my new friends. I would miss being with them.

After several hours at the Mount Isa’s hospital watching two doctors argue on whether or not it was broken, the end result was that I should rest it for as long as I feel necessary and get on it as soon as it feels comfortable. They wrote a note for the Alice Springs hospital so I can get a x-ray there. In 8 days the swelling would have gone down and we should be able to tell then if it is broken. This was good news. I would be able to get back with the group and hopefully get back on the bike in a couple days.

When we met up with the group later that evening the tears were back and I was greeted in a very warm fashion. It’s good to be back with the group. The question remains; am I out to get myself or will I make it to Darwin. As April and I rode out of Queensland and into our new terrain - that of the great Northern Territory - we decided to get out and take a photo. As I jumped out of the truck I managed to land on a thick bush that had a stem sticking in my big toe. I showed it to April and we both laughed as I yelled ‘you must do better than that!’ So only time can tell if I make it to Darwin, but with the group I have around me it sure beats going to work every day.

‘Mick’ Roney

Environmental Studies

Posted on August 23, 2001 11:01 AM