(Belated) Meeting Report

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Wow… the last two weeks have just flown by. I meant to write this up straight after the event – I don’t quite know what happened.

A bunch of prospective inmates got together the Monday before last to talk through the route and logistics of the top-end trip. It was great to meet some of the new faces – friends of friends, and one follower of the blog – and to hear input from interested parties.

There were some great ideas thown around, as well

Food, etc
One of the things I’d imagined was that, for the most part, we’d fend for ourselves on the trip. I was aware that different people would have different budgets for food and accommodation, so I figured that this would free people up to spend as they saw fit. Instead, we’ve decided that we’ll pool our resources and for the most part cook and eat together. We’ll all still contribute to making camp and cooking tea each night, but we’ll save money by buying in bulk. Fridge space will be shared and limited, so if we’re together in what we’re carrying and using, that will save space as well.

I’m not sure how all of that will work out just yet. I’m sure it will be flexible, and there will still be lunches and snacks on the road for which people will do their own thing.

Distance
We also talked a bit about the distance of the trip, and the length of some of the individual days. The suggestion was made that on some of the longer “bitumen” days – particularly on the Stuart Hwy – we might be able to trailer the bikes and share the driving, and cover much more distance in a day than we might have otherwise.

As much as the purist in me wants to ride every last kilometre, I also know the purist in me will have a sore butt by the end of day three, and will probably cave in to the idea.

The plan has a lot of merit. Even if we can’t trailer all the bikes, we can still rotate who is riding and driving, and share the load that way. We’ll still be limited by daylight hours, though; the risk of hitting wildlife is simply too great at dawn and dusk.

It was also suggested that we use this plan to shorten to overall duration of the trip, to buy us more time at the Top End, but because we’re meeting and farewelling people at key places along the way, that probably won’t be possible. What it will mean is more rest time – in the times that we’re not riding, and in the days we win back with the extra distance covered.

Capping the Numbers
Though this didn’t really come up at the meeting, it’s become apparent that we might need to cap the number of people who come on the trip. Between bikes and 4WDs we could have as many as 20 people coming already. Considering that the middle of the trip is a visit to one or more Aboriginal communities, we need to be sensitive to the impact such a large group could have.

Costs
A smaller number of us met last weekend to start estimating the costs for the participants. We have to take into account fuel for the bikes and 4WDs, food, accommodation, parks passes and permits etc. We came up with some rough numbers, but we want to refine them more, and confirm some details, before we publish anything here. Stay tuned!

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