16 November 2010

Jiggety Jig - 798km

Finally home again after 8341km in 10 days. What a great ride.

I managed to see a goodly part of Australia in excellent condition. Haven't seen that much green in the Outback - ever.

Got to be a part of an epic 3000km in 24 hours ride by FarRider Ian (Tabledrain), got to meet up with 38 other FarRiders in South Australia for the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Davo Jones, FarRider Founder.

Got to catch up and ride with Charleen for some part of the way as she flew down to be part of the Plaque Ride.

All in all a really enjoyable 10 days for me.

Today was pretty normal compared to the rest of the trip. Riding up the Newell Hwy isn't all that exciting. It is a good A to B road and that is all. I ran in to some rain here and there. Only put on the wet weather jacket as there was no real need for the pants whilst moving. The GoldWing protects the legs quite well.

Had a busy afternoon cleaning up the bike, with half a ton of locusts to flush out of the engine bay and radiators. Little buggers get in everywhere. I'll probably be smelling them frying for weeks.

Here's a couple of videos taken by FarRider Stu which will give an insight into what the Plaque Ride was all about.

Until our next ride

Cheers All

15 November 2010

Rode 'til it Rained - 1274km

Left Charleen boarding the shuttle bus to the airport at 5am and I headed out of Adelaide for home. It is just over 2000km and doable in one go but in my current state of health I didn't bother.
It was a nice quiet ride out of the city in the dark and a bit cool so I put on the wet weather jacket to keep the wind off. Heated grips and seat helped.
I kept checking over my shoulder for a plane to fly overhead but there were none. Must have been off the route.
7am saw me back at Burra to collect the spare fuel tank and few other things in the bag I left there on the way in.
Got to Broken Hill just before lunchtime and went and had a coffee with FarRider mate Bazz and also met up with FarRider Gary who had been haring all over the country but was now heading home.
So Gary and I rode together for the rest of the day. It is nice to ride alone but also nice to have a mate nearby just in case.
We called in to Wilcannia for fuel and found the Shell servo with all its pumps destroyed. Seems some local went crazy through the night and took to them with a crowbar. No fuel there. There is a BP in the backblocks of the town so we found it and topped up. He'll be having a good day.

We were going quite well until after Nyngan when the rain hit us. A very heavy storm at least washed off the locusts plastered all over the front of the bike.
Then a couple more showers and I took a look at the Rain Radar to see it was raining practically all the way to the Qld border. The GPS also told me my ETA home would be 2:35am. No real use getting home at that time of day so I pulled the pin at Gilgandra.

The local pub had $10 steaks and my rump was cooked to perfection. (There's a pun there somewhere).

No photos. Just riding today.


14 November 2010

A Longer Way to Adelaide - 357km

Today Charleen and I had the day together, the only thing needing to be done was to get her back to Adelaide to catch her flight first thing tomorrow morning.

We left fairly early and made our way down the Main North Road that runs on the eastern side of the southern Flinders Ranges. Hwy1 runs up the west side and that was the way we took yesterday. This was to be much more leisurely.

After about 50km we found a breakfast spot at Stone Hut where we had lovely omelettes and coffee. A really nice spot.
Ahh - morning coffee

Getting fuel I decided to check the rear tyre pressure and sure enough while I was on the ground beside the bike, three FarRiders turned up and offered help with whatever was the problem. No problem, the pressure was perfect. Only thing is the Metzler is beginning to square off after 6000km or so on mostly straight roads.

They headed off on their way and we continued to travel south through Clare then pushed further south to the Barossa Valley where we stopped for a light lunch at Angaston.

Then it was down in to Adelaide through Birdwood and some nice twisty roads through the Adelaide Hills. This helped to use some of the side of the tyres for a change.
Punting through the Hills
One fat-bottomed V-Max

Through the city, we found our airport motel and settled in. FarRiders Phil and Kate were also passing through so stopped in for coffee and a chat. Great to catch up with them again.

Tomorrow morning Charleen flies home and I head that way on the Wing.

TwoUp To The Unveiling - 516km

There was no blog for Friday as I spent all day in the motel dealing with the headcold. It rained most of the day so it was the best thing to do.
I did venture out between the downpours to fuel up the bike as I was to be off very early in the morning.
Naturally, I ran into a couple of FarRiders at the servo. Michael "Fatman" and Lynne on their BMW pulled in behind me. So we had a coffee before they departed to stay up the road a bit and we were to meet again next day.

Away bright and early Saturday as I had a couple of hours journey into Adelaide to meet Charleen's flight. It was raining, of course. After all it was a FarRide get together.
I had all the gear on and stayed pretty warm.

Great to meet Charleen at the airport - haven't seen her in a week. So we sorted out our luggage and headed off for Horrocks Pass to meet up with FarRiders. It rained most of the way but we had no time to lose so the plan was straight up the main highway.
We arrived at Horrocks and there was no one there save a pair of young hoons doing donuts in the car park in their ute. They stopped as we arrived, but the car park was a mess.

We went down to Wilmington and there they all were, 32 other bikes from all over Australia.
Still raining, so it was a quick hello all around and saddle up for the ride back up to the Pass.
Everyone lined up for photos in the car park even though it was a bit muddy and messy.

Then it was down to the "Banner Shot" location a few kays west of the Pass. For those unaware, this location was used by Davo to take a shot of his bike that he used as the banner heading on the FarRiders forum. He challenged everyone to get similar shots and nowadays whenever a FarRider passes through they will take a photo from the location.

Since Davo's passing it was decided to place a commemorative plaque at the site. Most of the work involved was done by FarRider Pat "Toura" and he led the day. Our job as representatives of FarRiders committee was to lead the short ride down to the site and do the unveiling after a short but heartfelt ceremony.

All done and photos taken most of us returned to Wilmington where we took over the pub and had a great night. I'm pretty sure the publican was happy having a full bar, dining room and rooms for the night.

A couple more photos:

Bikes lined up at the Banner Shot site

Representatives from every state and territory of Australia

Loud shirts and orange caps are a FarRider trademark

Charleen ready with loud shirt

11 November 2010

Hot Cold - 1443km

Head colds are no fun. Even less on a bike.

I decided to get some miles under me today so set off about 5:30 in the dark. The sun was about to come up and so I was able to get a reasonable Sunrise shot.

There were no clouds to make it look spectacular, but I did manage to include two balloons on their early flights.

Southward bound and as the 130kph limit it didn't take too long to get to the border. The countryside still looks good down this far.

The limit changed south of the border so I got to slow a bit. The servos are just the wrong distance apart for me so I had to stop every couple of hundred kliks. The day got hotter, up to 38° but with a tail wind. With this and the slower speeds my fuel consumption dropped from high sevens per 100km to low fives. Good thing too with the prices.

The day got hotter topping out at 39° so my friendly cold virus was copping a beating. Good.

The diggings around Coober Pedy always look alien.

A couple more stops and I was getting close to Port Augusta. Still pretty early so I called ahead to Burra to reserve a room and kept going. Stopped for a banner shot, of course, then over Horrocks Pass and took a few back roads to Burra . Naturally, the GPS wanted to take main roads so I kept making her recalculate. She retaliated by sending me up a nice looking road that turned to 13km of dirt. GoldWings hate dirt.

However she finally got me to Burra and the motel where I will stay for a couple of nights. Hope I can drive this cold away before the weekend.

10 November 2010

Back Across the Table and Down the Middle - 986km

With Ian's ride a big success it was time to part company this morning. He went east and I went west.
I'm now on my way to Adelaide to meet Charleen on Saturday morning. So a few leisurely days riding.
Only trouble is I have developed a head cold. Probably from sitting in the cold air conditioning for a whole night after a long hot ride. Shouldn't do that.
Blowing one's nose on the bike is not an easy task.

The weather today was warmer than yesterday and definitely no rain. Much better.

Having now ridden the Barkley Tablelands three times in two days I can say I kinda like this road. Not many places in the country where you can pull up and see perfectly flat horizon for 360 degrees.

Elsewhere, at the moment the countryside is in pretty good condition and so the colours are quite nice.
Surprisingly there is almost no road kill at the moment as well.

Back out on the Stuart I headed south, stopping for lunch in Tennant Creek.
The afternoon was fairly warm, around 36° for most of the way and my head cold was giving me a hard time.
I declined an offer of accommodation with a mate in Alice, not nice to turn up and give everyone a cold. So I am ensconced in a nice motel without the A/c on.

Longer day tomorrow.

09 November 2010

Flash Bang Wallop on the Tablelands - 947km

My plan for the day was to go to Tennant Creek to catch Ian on his way through - see how he was traveling.
I only had a few hours sleep, but that was OK as the previous day was a restful one.
Away at about 6am I kept a wary eye on storms off to the south and heading north. I managed to outrun two of them but a third appeared over the horizon directly in front. Lots of lightning hitting the ground.
As I got closer it looked quite scary. This was an open plain with either no trees or very short scrub and the GoldWing has two shiny aerials sticking up the back. I actually folded them down in anticipation. However I had visions of lightning striking under my armpits.
Thankfully, I came upon a roadside rest stop with a shelter - of sorts. Just a flat roof over a table. But there was room to park the bike and it was a metal frame so I figured it would act as a faraday cage.
I put on the wets and waited.
The strikes got closer, coming from where I was headed so there would have been no escape.
Soon the bangs and flashes were simultaneous and very loud -scary.
Then came the rain. It bucketed down almost literally with the water also pouring through large gaps in the roof and wind blowing it everywhere. Nothing to do but hunker down and wait.

Thankfully it was only about 10 minutes and the rain started to ease. Thankfully because the water was starting to build up around me. I was thinking I might have to inflate the mattress and float out.
Back on the road and after twenty minutes of light rain it stopped altogether and I was able to take a photo from whence I came and remove the wets.

Now it was fine weather all the way to Tennant Creek and the time passed without incident.

I located the servo we had discussed and fueled my bike as well as paying in advance for Ian's expected fuel amount, then it was sit and wait for an hour or so, watching the SPOT on the iPhone and calculating his ETA.
I worked it out about right and walked out on the road and saw the familiar white light approaching.
Fuelup was fast and efficient. He wanted energy bars - non chocolate - so in I went and grabbed half a dozen and he shoved them down his shirt. He looked in great shape and able to continue, saying it was so far a beautiful ride with nice weather and temps.

Off again and under way and I realized I had forgotton to get a photo. Damn. I went back in and the fuel was within $4 of expected so the bloke refunded me. Ian had made sure the receipt was safe for the log.

Nothing for me but to return to Camooweal and await the Big Finish. The ride back was fairly uneventful, though I looked online at Barkley RH and saw a storm across the road ahead so waited for a quarter hour or so for it to pass.

So that was my day, a leisurely 947km ride to help fill up a mate's bike. My total for the trip so far ticked over 3000km today. That's fitting somehow, except it has taken me three riding days with a rest day.

Well he got here with 19 minutes to spare. 3000km in under 24 hours within the road rules. Well done.

First phone call to Colleen

The mighty rocket cools down outside.

Lazy Daze in Far West Q

Well we had a very relaxing day in Camooweal.
Out of bed late, and off to the supermarket to get some WheatBix and milk. Then it was give the bikes a tub and a good cleanup.
That took up a goodly part of the morning.

Nothing much on TV so we lay down for a snooze. Got a good few hours sleep.

In the afternoon Ian went down to the servo to fuel up. When he braked to a stop, the rear stayed on. Uhoh.
He released the bleed nipple so the wheel would turn and came back to the room. It then took an hour or so to pull off the master cylinder and clean it out, find the blockage and put it all back together.
All working fine now and we were glad it happened then and not next time he used the brakes as that would be either just as he started off or at the Stuart Highway 400+ kays up the road.

In to the pub for a meal and make sure Chris, the publican, was alright with everything and back to bed for a few more hours kip.

The alarm went off at midnight and Ian sprung out of bed and in to the shower. All dressed and ready to go by 20 past. Then around to the pub where Chris was waiting. We did up the paperwork and checked the EFTPOS machine was in time with the bike's clock. All sorted we had only 10 minutes to wait.

12:59am he began the transaction and produced the start receipt of 01:00. Perfect.
Ian was out the door, on the Rocket and gone. It is only about 100 metres to the edge of town so he had very little in the way of suburbia to negotiate. Just 12 kays later he would be on the 130kph highway and motoring west.

For me, it was back to bed. But I was still wide awake and so watched for his SPOT messages to appear on my iPhone screen. A little wait and they began to appear, nicely spaced showing he was at speed. I also dialled up FarRiders forum and saw Jeffer finish his 50CC attempt from Fremantle to Bondi. Good to know he got in safely.

OK, now a few hours sleep for me.

Two nice clean bikes.

Sorting out the start docket

He's outta here.

07 November 2010

Ease in to Camooweal - 840km

A very easy day today. Only 840km all up. Longreach to Camooweal. On the road at 6:05am and a little fuel for Ian. Then it was a very pleasant ride the 177km to Winton for breakfast.
The weather was still quite cool, in the low 30's so the riding was still pleasant.
We had a short stop in McKinlay to check Ian's fuel flow and not long after we were in Cloncurry for a fast fuelup.
Not so. The pump ran very slowly and took about four minutes to put in 23 liters. So the whole stop took six minutes pull in to back on the road. Not so good.
Back on the road again and we enjoyed the run in to Mt Isa over the rugged country. It makes a nice change after all the flat stuff since Dalby the day before.

By now the day was rather warm - 36C and the run to Camooweal was draining. But we arrived before the real heat of the afternoon hit and are now holed up in a nice air conditioned room back of the pub.
Ian spent a bit of time attaching Charleen's HID driving lights.

Only trouble here is there is very little Internet coverage so I'll try uploading via the iPhone.

06 November 2010

A Long way to Reach - 1138km

First day and I was up early without an alarm at 5am. Smooch bye bye to Charleen until next week and I was under way.

Brisbane to Longreach. What can I say. It is just a long way. 1138km for me. Ian was departing a bit later as he has to have a new tyre fitted this morning. We will meet up at the motel.

I made it past our accident spot from back in May without incident. Lots of different factors. Different tyre, daylight, not raining, no debris on road, they have patched the smooth spot. Several patches on the road now where there were several smooth places. Don't know if our crash had anything to do with it.

Not long after there was a small truck doing 90 with two cars staying behind. I saw a chance and overtook all three. Now I have no idea what speed I was doing as looking at the speedo whilst overtaking would be just silly. But it was faster than them. As I got alongside the second vehicle, there, parked on the side of the road, was a bright red HP car. With a radar hanging off the side. Oh well, nothing to do now but keep going. I kept checking the rear vision mirror for a while but they didn't follow. Phew!! Good to have a quiet bike.

Through Dalby there was a silver van with a big sign telling what it was. No troubles there.

I was practicing my fuel stops, cutting the time down to as little as possible. So it was have everything ready prior to pulling up. Switch engine off to ACC so the GPS kept running. Open fuel with spare key, reset odometer and enter distance and fuel price into the log while the fuel is running in. Click off, ad fuel used. In, grab a drink from the shelf and pay. Back on the bike
and get going in under four minutes. Reset GPS fuel usage after moving.

The second stop at Roma I also needed to clean the windscreen but still managed to keep it under four minutes.

At Augathella a young bloke in a ute pulled in behind me. We nodded and said hi but it was obvious he was in a hurry too so the race was on. I needed less fuel, he had his girlfriend to clean his screen. I managed to get in to pay first, but still had to put on helmet and gloves. He didn't. But his girl was a bit slow getting in so I got away first. Yessss.

A little later on after Tambo I was happily riding all alone, road to myself, and noticed a sideways T sign - an intersection. A quick glance I saw a Toyota ute approaching from the left. No worries, I'm on his right on the main road. He'll stop. Hang on - he's still coming fast not going to stop - bastard. Right lane was clear so I moved over to give him room to turn. But he took up both lanes, tyres howling and I was now under full braking. I felt the ABS kick in as he cut me off completely.

He managed to get back on to the correct side of the road and I powered past. The bugger was waving at me!! Was that supposed to mean sorry? A wave? Why is it that people can almost kill me and then think all is forgiven if they wave?
As I went past his open window I only had time to yell three words. But they were choice.
It took me a while to calm down. Lucky for him I wasn't a road train as he never even looked my way. Fool.

Next stop was Barcaldine for fuel but this time I did not do so well in the time department. Fuelled up OK and quickly, but as I walked inside the young girl attendant was shutting down one register and opening another and there were eight customers waiting. This was not going to be a four minute stop.
She slowly worked her way to me and then confusion took over.
"Pump 4 please."
"No, that's been done. Which was yours?"
"4. Where my bike is parked. See?"
"That was paid for."
"Not yet I haven't."

Turns out one of the eight previous customers had nominated and paid for pump 4 ($29.94) when hers was actually pump 7 (over $60.00).
So after calling over the supervisor who looked me up and down like I'd done something wrong, she got the youngster to take my correct money for pump 4 and treat pump 7 as a drive-off. The car was long gone. Cheeky bugger.

So after a half hour stop I was on my way again.

Another hour up the road and I pulled in to Longreach with plenty of time to clean up the bike before Ian arrived and we went down to the local truckstop for a feed.

The rest of the evening was spent going over maps and spreadsheets putting the final touches to planning Ian's Ride. But more on that later.

Here's a couple of pics. Not much as it is mostly all the same out this way.

Lots of this

and lots of green countryside

04 November 2010

Another Half Circuit

Well I am off again in a couple of days. The bike is pretty well ready, new set of tyres. Proper motorcycle tyres this time.

Plan is to accompany Ian (tabledrain) to Camooweal where we will rest up for a day then he will make his second attempt at 3000km in under 24 hours.
Is it doable? Yes it is on paper and all keeping within the NT speed limits, even taking slow-downs for towns in to consideration.
But everything has to go perfectly. No time to waste anywhere.
My job is to witness him out and back in and he will get time and dated register receipts from his turn-around points to prove he went there.
Won't be a great deal for me to do so long as everything goes OK.

After that, I'll be riding down to Adelaide, via Alice Springs, to meet up with Charleen who will be flying in. Then up to Horrocks Pass where we will attend the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to FarRider #1.
After the weekend of catching up with many FarRiding mates I will drop Charleen back off at Adelaide airport and make my way home.

That's the plan

You can track me at http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=22a94cd29a0fd789f as I will keep the SPOT tracker running.

I'll try to get some photos and a log up to here as well. As usual, no guarantees.

10 September 2010

Day 6 and 7 The Ride Home and the Darkside explained.

We were well rested for the big ride home and so were ready to go early, heading out the gate of the motel in Alice Springs at 4:02am. It was, in hindsight a little early.

Fuelled up at the Caltex, the Shell on the outskirts of town is no longer 24hrs. We hit the road and were soon in to the 130kph limt highway. With the HID spotlights adding to the Wing's already excellent high beam, the road was lit up for miles and well in to the sides. It is mostly cut way back from the edge giving plenty of vision for spotting animals. There weren't any so that made the riding much more relaxing.
But there is a price for high speed and that is fuel consumption. By the time we got to Barrow Creek we were all running a little low and not sure if we could make it to the next town. Only problem was Barrow Creek was closed and didn't open for another hour. I was carrying an extra ten litres but decided it was better if we all stayed together.

Going again, we again hit the 130 limit. It was now daylight and I reached in to the glovebox for sunnies to discover there were none there. Damn. Seems they were still in the motel back at Alice. I hope the next owner likes them.

We pulled up for a little look at the Devils Marbles and I put the dark tinted visor on my helmet and that improved matters a lot.

Tennant Creek was soon after and time to stop for breakfast. Nothing like a few hundred kays before breakky to have the appetite ready. Here we also met some other riders on a couple of Cruisers heading east as well. They were worried about fuel consumption and so has strapped a plastic container of fuel to the back of their already well-packed bags, using good old duct tape.

Off again, it was soon a big right turn at the Three Ways and east bound and down was the order of the rest of the day with stops only at Barkley and Mt Isa before completing a 1308km day at Cloncurry. Cloncurry is a difficult place to get accommodation mid-week. There are quite a few motels, but with the resurgence of mining in the area, not nearly enough. There were a couple of spare cabins at the local caravan park so we were happy with that.
It had been a very hot day and I was feeling the effects, so I peeled off and jumped straight in to a cold shower to get my core temp down.

Next morning we left Tack asleep as we headed off at 5am. He was heading directly east to Townsville, while we were going further south.
We were heading in to heavily infested animal country so I dropped right back to be able to use all the lights. However nothing turned up in them before daylight.

First stop was at Winton where the servo was quite busy. Lots of travelling caravans, but also many bikes at a charity run was in progress. While inside having breakfast, we even caught a quick glimpse of Tex and Bundy on the Hayabusa but they didn't hang around long enough for me to get outside to say Hi. They were leading the Charity ride so were pretty busy.

The next section was to Longreach where Eddie and Grumpy pulled up to go do some touristy stuff and then move on to Barcaldine for their overnight stop. So after good-byes, I headed off to Barcy and some more fuel.
I re-attached the Air-Hawk to the seat. The GoldWing seat is quite comfy, but after this many days my rear end was aching for a change.
All alone now, I only had to make it as far as I wanted to go for the rest of the day, taking stock of my feelings at each town.

At Augathella I received a message from Charleen warning me of storms in the area and sure enough, there was a big downpour happening just to the west of me. I was heading south-east and it came at me from the right. Luckily, I managed to out-run it and only got a little damp.

Then at Morven I was going east again and the storms were mostly behind, but travelling pretty fast. They caught me just before Roma but were only light rain by that time.
I looked for accommodation at Roma, but it is another of those towns that gets really crowded midweek. Even with several big new motels, they were all displaying the NO sign beside their Vacancy sign. Nothing for it but to continue the 140km to Miles and see what the conditions were like there.

About half way everything cleared up as I got well in advance of the weakening rain front and at Miles I was feeling pretty good. So I topped up on fuel knowing I could make it in one go from here, less than 400km to home.

I made it by about 11:50pm, doing the 1708km in just under 19 hours. Time for some sleep.

I didn't even bother with ear plugs.

All in all I did a total of 6892km for the week and had encountered all types of weather. From freezing rain and cold in the south, to 35°+ heat in the north and everything in between.
Naturally, the GoldWing never missed a beat and gave me a smooth comfy ride.

Car Tyre on a Motorcycle?

As many of you know, I was trialling a different sort of tyre on the rear. Many Wing riders the world over have recently been using car tyres instead of motorcycle tyres on their GoldWings.

The practice has become known as 'going to the dark side' and has tended to polarise opinions.

The only way was to try for myself and when Camo imported a spare rim the opportunity presented itself.
The Kuhmo 155x95x16 RunFlat did the job very well, but I still have a few misgivings.

There are definitely many plusses to using a car tyre, including cost, wear factor, improved traction. The tyre is also run-flat capable and certainly Camo once rode for quite a time with the tyre flat and hardly noticed. This is a great feature for extended country travel.
But there are drawbacks as well. The tyre, due to it's flat shaped cross section, tends to tip in to any irregularity of the road surface. This can be disconcerting to the rider as the bike doesn't stay properly on the selected line.
Also, turning in to a corner, the bike at first hesitates, then goes over with a bit of a rush. It is not a smooth transition from upright to lean.
Once in a long corner, the bike is continually attempting to upright itself, requiring rider input all the way around a corner. Normally there is effort required to tip in, then a small effort to make the bike upright for the corner exit, not a constant effort to keep it tipped.

In many discussions I have heard and read, there have been a lot of misgivings but most have not come to the fore. The tyre holds on to the rim quite well. The sidewalls are more than capable of handling the downward force in a corner. Insurance is no longer a problem with my current insurer on record as saying they are happy so long as the tyre is not the cause of an incident. In many thousands of miles and kilometres in other countries and here, I have never heard of an incident that has been caused by a car tyre.

So my personal verdict is that a car tyre is good for long haul situations, perhaps including towing a trailer, but not for general riding.
General riding is the occasional day ride with a few twisties with my riding buddies.

I will probably source a spare rim and have a car tyre on hand for my occasional Long Distance rides. But I prefer the proper motorcycle tyre for all other riding.

Until next time. Here's a graphic of this ride, with each day depicted by a different colour.
Click on it or a larger version.


07 September 2010

Day 5 Ebeneezer to Alice

Well Drain's Ride didn't go as expected.

I was sitting at Erldunda watching his SPOT tracker and it stayed in one place for over an hour.
Zooming in and going to satellite view showed him to be at Renner Springs Roadhouse. Well short of his planned schedule.
I looked up Renner Springs' web page and found they opened at 6:30 so I rang them on the dot.
When the lady answered I asked, "Is there a bloke on a large motorcycle outside?" She sounded surprised, but said, "Yes."
"Can I speak to him please?"
"Um - OK. {There's a phonecall for you}"
Drain came on the line to tell me that he had suffered from a bout of fatigue and so had called the ride off and bedded down beside the bike. He had the foresight to make it near a roadhouse so those watching his SPOT would not be too worried.

That over, I didn't have to wait too much longer for Erldunda roadhouse to wake up and I was tucking in to breakfast when the others arrived.

Then it was the 200km run in to Alice Springs. Dave needed new tyres for the Yamaha as the two days of riding leaning into the crosswinds had scrubbed them badly. So while they sorted that out for after lunch, Tack went off and found Paul and Mosey who were travelling in the area and we all went for Lunch.
Then found the Alice Motor Inn and settled in. It is a nice old place with an art deco style section which was probably the old house. Large rooms. Good price for this Tourist town.

This afternoon is being spent resting up and getting those necessary supplies for the trip home.

Day 4 Coober Pedy to Yulara and Ebeneezer

It sure was nice and dark in the motel. Those in the back rooms didn't surface until nearly 8am. Well, we all needed a good sleep.

On the road again before 9am, our goal today is to meet up with Drain at Ebeneezer and then go to Yulara to witness the start of his ride.

The ride up the highway was uneventful, only stopping at Marla for fuel and the SA/NT border for photos.

We arrived at Ebeneezer and found Drain, who had been resting up for a day. We all went the two more hours to Yulara. We had a couple of hours to spare so went and got some photos of the Rock and checked on the timing of the servo's cash register. It was a few minutes out from real time and as Drain's ride is to be timed we had to calculate what time to be at the counter to get a 7pm receipt. The blokes running the servo were helpful and intrigued.

At 7pm on the dot, we got the receipt and Drain headed out the door, on his bike, and was gone.

The rest of us headed back out on the highway and had a nice dinner at Curtain Springs roadhouse before travelling on to Ebeneezer, our digs for the night.

I couldn't sleep and as there is no phone service at Ebeneezer, I left early and traveled to Erldunda. From here I can keep an eye on Drain's SPOT tracker while I wait for the servo to open and Tack, Dave and Grumpy to catch up.

SA/NT Border

Red bike and Red Rock
Drain on the Rocket III

06 September 2010

Day3 Port Augusta to Coober Pedy

I had pre-organised accommodation at the Big4 Pt Augusta in a cabin. But there was a bit of a mixup. They were great and had left a key out for us in a safe place for our late arrival.
But they had given us a Honeymoon Suite!!

Now I think Tack is a nice bloke, but I ain't sleeping in the same bed. He snores.

So we dismantled the settee and converted it to a bed. Ian was there too and slept on the settee cushions. I had the nice queensize bed all to myself and managed a good night's sleep.

In the morning, after the settee was re-assembled, quite a few FarRiders gathered for breakfast at the BP Servo where they do a pretty good burger-with-the-lot. Add coffee for the perfect start to a travelling day.

Then a few of us went back towards Horocks Pass. Tack had yet to see the place in daylight and we also stopped at the Banner Shot Location. This is a spot on the road near Horrocks where he once stopped for a photo which became the banner photo that adorns the FarRider Forum pages. he once challenged us all to get a similar shot and there have been several examples over the years. So we took a few more.
This is one of those places, like Horrocks Pass itself, that will forever remind FarRiders of the man who got us all started.

Tack, Grumpy and Dave, and I then set out North along the Stuart Hwy to eventually catch up with Ian who had left earlier for Mt Ebeneezer where he will be resting up for a whole day. More to come on that.

There isn't much to say about this highway. It is long and straight, but there are a few spectacular spots where the vastness of outback Australia is made apparent.

We made it as far as Coober Pedy and "holed up" for the night in an underground motel. Nice and dark with the lights out.

05 September 2010

Day 2 SS1600 kilometers and a Ceremony

Day 02 Goondiwindi to Port Augusta

Today was to be our big day - and it was all it promised to be.

With bad weather being promised, we were ready to go at 3am under clear skies. We had the four bikes and five people.
We fuelled at BP Goondisindi and had the attendant sign our witness forms, to show we were here at that time for the start of our run.
It was probably the most fun she had all night.

The first hour was great with fine and cool weather, the lights on the Wing working well, lighting up the sides of the road like daylight.

Just south of Moree though, it began to get darker overhead as the stars were blotted out by the clouds that would accompany us for the rest of the day.

By the time we got to our first planned fuel stop at Coonabarabran, we were starting to get soaked. Final pieces of wet weather gear were added and on we went through the drizzle. The rain was not too serious, just enough to be annoying.

While we were travelling south, we had a nice following wind helping us along, but when we turned right at Nevertire, we were hit by crosswinds from our right. The four bikes were leaning hard to the right to keep on the road.
The rain seemed to be getting heavier and in Nyngan I called Charleen to see what the radar was showing locally. They were showing clear!!??
By the time we finished refuelling again, it was coming down a bit heavier. But to go back was to run with the weather. Better to continue on and punch through. Hah!!

It had rained quite a lot recently and all the creeks were flowing and the road washouts were awash.
Dave was leading now, and his brake lights came on constantly. Lift the feet and splash through the water.
One was a bit deeper and a large splash was blown by the wind on to my windscreen. I was OK. but Tack, on the ST1100 with a smaller screen, received the equivalent of a bucketful of water over the top of his screen and down the neck of his jacket.

We pulled up in Cobar for lunch, got chatted by the local copper for parking on a footpath close to shelter and had to move them up the road. Thanks a lot!!

Now out on to the road to Wilcannia and Broken Hill, the rain was easing off and we were only getting the occasional shower.
But the Wind!! Coming from our right and forward we were pushing hard in to it and it began to play havoc with fuel consumption. Trevor and I were carrying extra fuel, but Dave and Tack weren't. Finally, Trevor pulled up to pour in some extra and Tack and I pulled in as well. He was very low so I only put in just what I though I needed to get to Wilcannia, and kept a couple of litres spare in case he ran out.
Not long up the road, there was Dave stopped on the side. The Yamaha was dry.

So we tipped that last precious couple of litres in his tank and we set out into now a strong headwind to try to get to town.
I went in front and the two bikes tucked in behind for some slipstreaming and we made it with very little to spare. Tack still had two litres in his tank, so the ST had done well.

Refuelled and happy, we headed out for broken hill and beyond, now making sure to refuel every 200km to allow for the 30% more fuel we were using.

Approaching Peterborough, we finally went through the eye of the low pressure system that was to cause heavy damage to country Victoria that night. The wind died down, the rain came back, then once we got through town the wind hit us from the opposite side and battered us again.

But ahead I could faintly see clear patches on the horizon so took heart and pressed on. We finally got to the Horrocks Pass cairn and met up with a few other FarRiders who were beginning to gather for the Midnight vigil.

However, we still didn't quite have enough kilometres up for our SS1600km ride, so continued in to Port Augusta to get a final docket to prove our arrival. We checked in to our accommodation, grabbed some hamburgers for tea then headed back up to the Pass.

By now most of the FarRiders who were attending had arrived. I took a headcount and called out a roll. Quite a few had not made it for various reasons - all harmless but disappointing. There had been mechanical breakdowns, weather related problems and some who had decided to not ride. A good idea if your head is not in the "right place".

Only two were missing, but just before midnight they turned up and I was relieved to have us all there or accounted for.

We had our little informal ceremony to remember our mate Davo. Russell led the talk and several told stories of their times with him. There were poems read aloud. Some blokes had cone to considerable work. Such is the man's legacy.

After, we broke up fairly quickly and dispersed back to our various digs for the night.

All in all, many kilometres were travelled by men and women to gather and remember our friend, 12 months from the day he left us.

More tomorrow.

03 September 2010

Day 1 Home to Goondiwindi

An easy day today so I left home at a leisurely hour. I had only 360km to do.
I even had enough fuel to make it there but decided to do a fuel stop at Warwick just to see how quickly i could do it.
Pull in, switch to accessories so the GPS doesn't go off.
Open tank with spare key
Fuel up
Enter details on Iphone app
In to office to pay and grab a drink
Back out on the bike - helmet on
Gone in under five minutes.

A loo stop would take a few minutes more but that isn't every stop.

I arrived at Goondi well before the others and set up the computer to watch them come in. Two have SPOTs just like me.
Eddie and Grumpy arrived first on their Yamaha FJR1300, then a call from Trevor who was lost in town. Quick directions and he turned up on the Kawasaki GTR1400.
About half an hour later Tack arrived on the Honda ST1100 and we were all here.

Tomorrow we get serious about riding. We are keeping an eye on the weather but it seems OK for now.

02 September 2010

Off on Another Ride

A meloncholy ride this weekend.
This Saturday marks 12 months since we lost FarRider #1, David Davo Jones. He was participating in his love of LD riding and taking part in the Ironbutt Rally in the USA when he got taken out by deer strike in northern Idaho.
His favourite quote was "We are all destined to die. Some choose to live while alive."
All his fellow FarRiders certainly agree, but we didn't expect him to go so soon.

So, this weekend, about 25 of us from all over the country will meet at one of Davo's favourite places on his LD rides, Horrocks Pass in South Australia. There we plan to have a small service, where we will remember Davo and give each other support.

After that, a few of us plan to ride home via Uluru and Alice Springs.

I will attempt to update this blog as I go, but cannot guarantee there will be access everywhere.

You can follow my progress with this link
which will be active from Friday morning 3 Sep 2010.


03 August 2010

And back on Blogger again

Hi all - long time no posts. I tried doing it all on my own site for quite some time, but it actually takes more work. Blogger is an easier on-line method of blogging so I'm going to continue on here.
Hey - gotta try everything.

Look out for upcoming trips away and daily updates whilst I am travelling - if I can.

In September, I am planning to attend the Davo Memorial Ride to Horrocks Pass, S.A. It is a FarRiders event and participants are encouraged to include an IBA ride although it is not mandatory.
Then a few of us will be heading across to NT for one of us to make an attempt at an epic ride.

Stay tuned for details.


10 January 2010

Back to the Home Site

Sorry for long time no blog, but since our USA trip we have been busy with a lot of other stuff and little time to post.

We have decided to return to our own site so there will be no more posts here on Blogger.

To follow CnC's adventures in the future, go to

Hope to see you there.