We may be in lock down and unable to travel interstate or internationally, but it doesn’t stop us dreaming of more adventures once the Coronavirus pandemic has ended.
In this series. Aussie Bike or Hike has invited guest bloggers to write about their travel adventures from around the world.
This series will concentrate on people who have traveled on a motorcycle, a bicycle or even by foot.
We have collaborated with these inspiring adventurers to bring you some epic travel adventure stories.
After all, we may be in lock down, but our travel bug and dreams aren’t.
These blogs are written to inspire others to travel, encourage people to live out their travel dreams.
It is our hope, that by sharing our experiences and photos with our fabulous customers, people will be intrigued to see more of the world.
Blog #2 is from Boris Mihailovic.
Enjoy some of his travel adventures in this series.
We were forty kay short of the Pimba roadhouse when the kangaroo kicked out of the scrub and Death came calling.
Tens of thousands of people have seen the pictures taken moments after the incident, and just as many have seen the video I shot on my phone with goggle-marks still fresh on my face.
I was subsequently accused on Social Media of setting it up and I have been called a liar.
There’s not much I can do about that.
But if you think for one second that me, Brumby, Andy, Mick, Johnny G and the marketing director of Polaris Australia, Adrian, along with the lead rider, Cameron Cuthill, and the two paramedics who accompanied us, Maria and Bob Holton, as well as the back-up truck driver, Ray, all stopped on the side of the road, found some roadkill, then decided to drape it decoratively across the front of the Magnum, while making sure we scooped out its entrails and stomach contents, which we flung up the side of my bike, onto my gloves and into my boots, and then kicked me in the spine, arse, both thighs, hand and shins to create bruises, while also remembering to smash up the front of the bike, you’re a dickhead of Outback proportions.
This is how it happened…
The kangaroo, a medium-sized eastern grey, came out of the bushes on my left. I didn’t see it until it ventured onto the road, and at 180km/h, there wasn’t a lot of time to do anything. So I didn’t. No brakes, just a reflexive bracing for impact. I hit the animal square and I hit it hard. The impact was massive and I felt the judder right through my body. I remember thinking: “Shit, I’m down!”
But the Magnum just kinda shrugged. It had just copped a six-tonne impact (a mate of mine did the maths later) directly on the bottom triple-tree and it just brushed it off, and rolled on.
I pulled up four-hundred metres from the point of impact. The stench was appalling. I was covered in ’roo shit and warm mince. There was pain in both my legs and my left hand throbbed. The speakers had popped out of the fairing and dangled, swaying on their wires as I idled to a stop.
Brumby, who was directly behind me when it happened, pulled up next to me. He was pale and his eyes were like saucers.
We exchanged a meaningful look. He couldn’t see my eyes through my goggles, but I’m sure they were as big as his.
I should have been dead, or maimed.
I certainly should not have been sitting upright on a motorcycle covered in warm kangaroo shit-gizzards. It just didn’t compute.
“If you had just seen what I’d just seen,” Brum muttered, his face a mask of concern and horror.
“You should have seen what I saw,” I rasped back, my mouth gravel-dry.
My brain was not functioning normally. Trying process what had just happened was beyond it for the moment. So it was re-booting and I was on automatic.
That was cool. I’d run on automatic before.
And automatic informed my arms and legs that sitting in the middle of a major highway smeared and speckled with dead animal and waiting for a truck to finish the job was less than optimal.
I nudged the bike down from sixth into first, idled to the side of the road and got off. The pain in my legs was not getting any worse and I could walk, so there were no breaks.
I pulled off my lid, goggles and face-sock. They were all flecked with gore and I smelt like new offal. I have shot hundreds of ’roos, so the smell was not unfamiliar. But that didn’t make it any less vile. Thank the Road Gods the bastards are not carnivores. Carnivore gizzards smell much worse than herbivore gizzards when you’ve been spray-painted in them.
By now, Johnny G, Mick and Andy had pulled up and were looking at me and the carrion draped across the front of my bike like it was some kind of impossible joke.
“You OK?” I was asked by everyone. I nodded. “Yeah, I’m OK. My legs hurt a bit, but I’m OK.”
And I was. I shouldn’t have been. But I was.
No-one could understand why.
Not even me. I should’ve been dead.
Deconstructing it as my comrades photographed the result, and as the paramedics and the Polaris staff pulled up (they waved through the other riders, since we weren’t in a really good spot for thirty-odd bikes to pull up, and no-one wanted this miracle to turn into a disaster), Brumby, Johnny and I reckoned the head had whipped around and corked my right thigh. One of its legs had hit me on the outside of my left knee and drove my leg into the engine. The speaker had hit the top of my hand. The tail had arced around the bike, broken the top of the left pannier and having expended some of its energy, went on to belt me mid-spine. The other leg had sheared off and taken out the bottom front edge of Brum’s fairing. We both felt it was fortunate it hadn’t speared him in the face.
More photographs were taken. I did a video and posted it on Facebook. Then the carcass was dragged off my bike and laid along the verge. It looked to be three metres long. I pissed on its head and called it names. It seemed fitting.
Cameron and Adrian wanted to know if I wanted to get into the bus, which was not far behind us.
“No, but thanks for asking. I shall continue,” I declared, as my legs throbbed and I actually wondered if continuing was possible.
But not continuing was not something I could contemplate. I was going to ride to Alice Springs from Sydney. That was the plan and that was the deal. I was not badly injured. It was just some bruising. Fruit is still yummy even if it’s a little bruised.
I was still yummy.
It was decided to put the wounded Magnum into the truck. On the side of the road, it looked like cosmetic damage, but it was impossible to know if there were any serious structural problems until it had been examined in more depth. Ray unloaded a spare Indian off his truck, and I set off for the Pimba roadhouse, grimacing under my stinking face-sock.
The stench was all-encompassing. I could not outride it.
I had become Roo-guts, the Decayer of Worlds.
By the time I rolled into Pimba, the mess had all dried in situ, and people were staring at me. I don’t blame them. I was, in very real terms, a dead man walking. And I looked and smelled like shit.
Cameron and Johnny G very kindly helped me wash most of the dreck off using dribbling bore water from a hose on the edge of the roadhouse, while the other riders sailed off to look at the nothing that was the former Woomera missile range.
The washing was less than successful. I needed a pressure washer and truck detergent. Instead, I had oozing bore-water and Cameron using a little make-up sponge to smear the glargh around.
“This is not working very well,” he said.
“Do what you can,” I muttered. I was still trying to come to terms with what had happened, or not happened, and trying to grasp why I was still alive and relatively unhurt was more relevant to me right then than smelling like a meat-and-fecal catastrophe.
Cameron continued smearing. I continued replaying the incident in my mind.
No special skill saved me. There was no time to deploy any of my decades-old and hard-won arsenal of dubious riding talent. One second I’m going hard, the next nanosecond, kangaroo.
Usually, that means death or some high degree of maiming. I know because I have lost friends to ’roo-strikes. It beggars belief I was relatively unscathed and it beggars even more belief that I rolled to a stop, upright and still on two wheels. It’s no wonder people called “Bullshit!” on social media when they saw the images and heard the tale.
I eventually squared it in my head that it was one of those things – a Perfect Storm, as it were. Had I been going slower or faster, had I hit the brakes, had the animal been in a slightly different place when I hit it, higher or lower, more to the left or the right, or had it been bigger or smaller, then the outcome would have been entirely different. Had the bike been a sportsbike, or a naked, or a dirt-bike, then the result would also have been other than what it was.
I was told I should buy a lottery ticket that afternoon.
I shook my head. “No point. All the luck I have left in this life has just been used up.”
This is an extract from Boris Mihailovic’s long-awaited third book, The Wisdom Of The Road Gods, which you can buy on-line here: https://www.shocknawe.com.au/