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.