DESERT ODYSSEY
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)|November - December 2020
The security guard at the gate had a particular look on her face, one I’d become accustomed to over the previous month. I met her gaze with a big, cheesy grin. She looked confused. “What the hell are you doing out here mate, and where the hell have you been?”
BENJI BRUNDIN

“I just came out of the desert.”

“Jesus, you’re bloody game. Why are you so happy?”

“I just set a Guinness World Record.”

In January of 2019, I’d just returned from a journey into some of the wildest parts of Australia. Within hours of arriving in Melbourne and back at work, I was being bombarded with questions. But I wasn’t ready to be there, and after all that had happened on that adventure, I knew there was so much more to do.

I’d always wanted to push the limits, but at 36, I hadn’t yet reached my full potential. My mind, however, is an active one, and before too long a new plan was hatched to challenge some of the largest deserts in the world. Friends and family expressed concerns, but I knew in my heart of hearts it could be done.

Crossing Australia’s 10 deserts would require traversing more than 6,000 kilometers of sand dunes, track and corrugations, not to mention the 2,000 kilometers it would take just to get there. I’d be riding a 2008 Yamaha WR250R with handmade panniers and a pair of postie bags lashed on.

The first real challenge came in the Simpson Desert. I awoke early and sat atop the second of the 1,100 sand dunes ahead to watch the sunrise over Big Red. It was an impressive sight gazing at the endless dunes before me. I’d need to dig deep, my bike was loaded for the entire 40 days in the desert. And there would be endless rounds of hauling it up the dunes, unloading and reloading it in the days ahead.

Nights were cold in the Simpson, with ice on the tent every morning. It took three full days to cross the Simpson, and by the morning of the third day, I was spent. The sheer physicality of it had nearly broken me.

Riding through to Oodnadatta the following day, I spoiled myself by downing three T-bone steaks before riding on to Coober Pedy, and the next leg of this crazy expedition. From Coober Pedy, the next challenge was the Great Victorian Desert. There was no fuel or water to resupply for nearly 800 kilometers west of my position. And I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling I had.

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