Missing boy Ethan Johnson rode his bike to Sydney
Thread started by mattspeed
at 04.16.09 - 2:42 pm
IT was Ethan Johnson's great adventure, a jaunt on his pushbike to Sydney. But it became a 10-day nightmare for his family, whom he did not tell.
After a nationwide search that ended when he was found at Sydney's Merrylands Train Station, Nathan promised to put off further travel until he was 18, had a car – and had told his mum.
The 15-year-old from Fruitgrove, on Brisbane's southside, knew where he was going, how he was getting there, had plenty of spending money and his bag was packed. He just forgot to tell his family.
Ethan, who has a mild form of Asperger's Syndrome, was found in Sydney's western suburbs almost two weeks after he went missing on March 30 sparking a nationwide search.
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Intrepid Ethan had ridden his black mountain bike 950km along the Pacific Motorway in six days, eating at McDonald's restaurants and sleeping at trucking rest stops.
Ethan spent four days exploring Sydney's rail network and shops, sleeping under a bridge each night after watching DVDs of train journeys on his portable player.
While he turned his mobile phone off so he couldn't be tracked, police used his frequent bank activity to eventually close in on him.
The Missing Persons Unit found Ethan last Thursday about to board a train at Merrylands Station. He arrived home to his relieved family about 6pm on Good Friday.
"My first thought was 'I'm heading home' but I wasn't ready to go home, I was ready to go on the train and explore," Ethan said yesterday, bemused by all the attention.
Mum Tammy Johnson said her son's feat was "amazing" and she was "ecstatic" to have him back - but there would be no more adventures for a while.
Ethan said he had wanted to return to Sydney to revisit places he had enjoyed during a school trip three years earlier.
The straight-A Year 10 student at Runcorn High said he enjoyed his trip and was never scared, although the wet weather and frequent punctures were "annoying".
"On day two, I had four (punctures) in one day. I had to get a new bike repair kit at Kempsey - Bunnings sell them for $3.60," he said.
Ethan said motorists occasionally honked at him but whenever people asked where he was going, he just named the next major centre along his route.
The would-be pilot or freight train driver said he had always wanted to travel but his next trip would have to wait until he had mowed enough lawns to buy a car.
"Not until I'm 18 and I'll tell mum where I am," he said, grinning.