11 August 2012

Border Run Day 8 863km

It's beginning to look like 800 plus is my kind of riding day.

Out of Dubbo by 7am and off towards home.

What can one say about the Newell Highway. I usually try to avoid it, but here I was having a second run along here in a week. Ah well, if the only goal is get home, I guess it is the way to go.

Nothing unusual happened, just travelling. A nice B&E breakky at Gilgandra, a couple of fuel stops and a coffee at Goondiwindi then four hours to Brisbane traffic. I managed to time it for the peak hour.

In fact timed it so well that I arrived at the home gate about two minutes before Charleen got home from work.



Well, that was the 2012 Border Run. I'm glad I made it again have missed out the last few years. My last visit was 2008. Lots of things have changed since then but Border Village hasn't.
I won't be doing it next year as we'll be away OS but it will surely be there for the future.

As an excuse for a nice long ride, the Border Run is one of the better ones. Give it a try some day. Might see you there.

Border Run Day 7 883km

My Wing hadn't yet been checked for the recall for the brake cylinder, so I had made arrangements to call in to Jeffrey Honda - where I originally bought it - to have it looked at.
I didn't expect it to be faulty as I now had 70,000km on the clock and it surely would have played up by now.

However, for peace of mind.

The morning was, apparently, typical Melbourne weather. Overcast, light showers and COLD. AS soon as I was on the road I noticed how everyone is really heavily rugged up. Luckily, I was too.

Through the traffic to Jeffreys and they only took half an hour or so while I sat in a nearby cafe with a nice warm coffee.

Then it was North.

Out on the Maroondah Highway through Yarra Glen to Yea, across to Bonnie Doon where Lake Eildon is now pretty full, then north to join the Hume Hwy at Benalla.

A bit of highway boredom until Albury then it was turn left on to the Olympic Hwy. I was making decisions on the fly about the route home. I normally like to head further up the Olympic and Bathurst, then across the hills to Mudgee and do the "Up the Middle" run but not sure of the weather in the higher areas and having had enough cold for now, I decided to head up to the Newell and do a quicker run.

The old familiar towns from my truck driving days flew by and well after dark I was at Dubbo and feeling tired and hungry. Time to stop, eat and sleep.

Border Run Day 6 844km

Yep, I'm a few days late with this.

I left Auburn at around 8am with the sun only up for a little while and headed south. My goal for today was Melbourne to visit with Adam.

It was a nice ride in the early morning down to the Adelaide Hills. Much better to go this way then in to the City or on major highways. I finally found a nice little cafe in the hills called Cudlee Cafe for a bit of breakfast. It is named after Cudlee Creek which runs nearby.

Then it was off up Cudlee Creek Road for a nice little run through the hills. Hardly any traffic made for a nice ride.

I finally came out on to the old Princes Highway and followed that until near Murray Bridge where it joined up with the main highway again.

Then it was just a boring run all the way in to Melbourne. At least I got the nice morning ride in.

It got colder and colder the closer I got and Ballarat was only about 5 degrees in the evening.

Joined in the traffic on the Western Freeway and plunged into the Burnley Tunnel. Adam lives not far from there so I was done for the day.

06 August 2012

Border Run Day 5 777km

Up not too early. The sun doesn’t get up until 7:30 here. So a bit of breakky with Lionel and John and we bade our farewells.
I headed south a bit then across the Eyre peninsula hoping to catch the Cowes to Walleroo ferry – a sort of a short cut across Spencer Gulf. Their website showed a midday departure so I couldn’t hang about.
The roads in these parts are in very good condition. Mostly straight but with a few nice sweeping curves to make it interesting. Not many towns so the running was good. The only hiccup was in a small town called Lock. I was to cross the rail line here but a long train was stationary across the road and not looking to move. I waited a bit but could see it was filling a carriage from a nearby silo. So I turned in to the town and went looking and found a dirt road the crossed the line well behind the train. A few others were going that was as well so I guess that was a common occurrence.
I made it in to Cowell in time, well, my time anyway, only to find the time table had changed and the ferry had left an hour ago. Next one was not for five hours and it would be quicker than that to ride around. The ferry is about 15km out of town so there was nothing to do but go back in and find the bakery for a cuppa and a bit of lunch.
Then the long haul north to Port Augusta. The quickest way south from here is the highway but it is pretty boring. Much better to cross back over Horrocks Pass and run down the eastern side of the southern Flinders Ranges. No traffic and only a few small quiet towns. A great way to ride.
Pretty soon I was in to the wine-growing region of the Clare Valley and it was getting late and very cool. I wasn’t wearing the long johns so was starting to feel it. Time to find a motel and go indoors for a while.

Border Run Day 4 625km

Had a good sleep in. That is until Ghosty woke me by phone at 6am. 8am his time of course. But I was fast asleep and reached for the phone which was plugged in and so fell on the floor so I had to chase it. Lousy way to wake up.
Breakfast at Border Village was good and the fastest I have ever been served. I barely had time to get back to the table and sit down before the disgustingly cheery kitchen hand delivered my bacon and eggs. All breakfasts seemed to be appearing quickly. I reckon that bloke’s job was on the line.
In ones and twos the bikes all got under way, heading east or west as was their individual plans. I went to take a look at the Old Telegraph station at Eucla. Been through so many times and never got the chance.
It was three kays of gravel road but in pretty good condition. A strange place for the old stone house, amongst the encroaching dunes. Nice to get to see it.
I refuelled at Eucla at $1.75. Lots cheaper than Border Village and even Nullarbor. I also took the opportunity to call in at a couple of the Bite lookouts. They’re building lots of fences to protect us these days. I wasn’t aware that many tourists fell off. Maybe they did.
I went straight past Nullarbor with its expensive fuel and bad coffee. I was sure I had enough fuel to get to Nundroo and maybe even Penong. Nundroo only sells sugar cane fuel but I’d put a bit in if necessary. I decided that if the fuel warning light hadn’t come on, I’d attempt the 75km further to Penong. Sure enough the light stayed black past the Nundroo Servo and lit up about a hundred metres after!
But I stuck to my word and the 110 speed limit and made it to just 7km short of Penong. I’ve found that when a Wing runs out, no amount of wriggling or swerving will get any dregs that may be left in the bottom of the tank. It just gets dry and stops. So best to be prepared.
In went the spare 10 litres and I went right through to Ceduna, another 78km. No problems there.
Fueled up and it was about time to take a different route from normal so I turned off the main Highway and headed for Streaky Bay, arriving there an hour or so later. Checked in only to find two FarRider mates were also here.
So Lionel, John and I had a nice afternoon and evening nattering away.

Border Run Day 3 951km

Today was just a fast run to Border Village. I wanted to get there bright and early, mostly to make up for last year making Jeff do all the work.
So I awoke at two minutes to the alarm set. Not sure why as I usually sleep right through early mornings. I have found that my internal clock works differently when I’m on the road.
Up and at 'em and on the road before 3am. Through Pt Augusta and out on to the highway. I didn’t have it to myself just yet though with a lot of heavy vehicle traffic on the move. I couldn’t even hit high beam until the Iron Knob turnoff. Then things improved a bit.
The night was cold but I was well rugged up and all the heaters on full blast. I checked a 1C on the dash one time, but it was mostly in the 5-10 range until sunup. Then it didn’t change.
First refuel was to be Ceduna as there is nothing open at that time of day and the distance is 475km. More than a GoldWing can do so here was where my back seat passenger came in handy. When I got to 400km I pulled up and added the 10 litres and that got me in to Ceduna with two litres to spare. No worries.
Here I caught up with Cuddles and John again. I had expected they would get away early from Ceduna, but they apparently found the motel beds just too warm and slept in until 7am. Mind you, they wouldn’t have got in until well after midnight.
Travelling in the light now, there was one more stop to make at Nullarbor where 98 was only $1.95 and the coffee was terrible. The bloke looked at me strange when I said no sugar but it would have been a good idea to have some to counter the obvious salt content of the water.
Just a short 185km hop to Border Village and I had made it. I haven’t finished the Border Run since 2008 so was happy to be here.
As the afternoon wore on more and more FarRiders turned up to be checked in, 51 in all. Not bad from a starting 56. There were a few animal strikes and bikes down for one reason or another. It happens. Happened to me last year. Border Run is not for the faint of heart.
We were happy to note that FarRiders made for around half of this year’s attendees.
A jolly evening was had by all without anyone getting too drunk. Not at the prices here.

Border Run Day 2 1348km

Departed Narrabri bright and early. Well, it wasn' t bright at 4am but at least it was cold.
Fuel and start docket at the Shell and today was to be my longer day to qualify for the FarRide so the plan was to get to Port Augusta. Not too hard.
The run along the Newell through the Pillaga was pretty good with only a few trucks. I saw one roo gently grazing at the roadside.
Through Coonabarabran around 5am and it was really cold now. Just 1C on the dashboard. I was wearing five layers of clothing but it was still getting through. Ah well, the sun will be up soon.
Fuel again at Gilgandra and head further west in the early light. The moon was setting in front of me and it was quite pretty. I stopped for a shot with the sun just riding in the east while the moon was still setting opposite. It was very quiet and peaceful.
I’d decided on Cobar for more fuel and breakfast. The Caltex usually does an OK meal. Went past several servos and around a detour for roadworks only to find the Caltex closed as they were recalibrating the pumps. So back in to town to another servo and to a bakery for breakky.
After that the long haul to Broken Hill. Time for the MP3 player to come out and listen to a few podcasts. Conversations with Richard Fidler nearly got me all the way to Wilcannia where I stopped for a quick topup then a couple more hours to Broken Hill. After all the straight roads, the last 20km into the Hill is a bit of fun. Keep the speed at the posted limit and negotiate the few sweepers. Nice.
Another fuel stop then further west on the long dry run into eastern South Australia. The road follows the Indian Pacific rail line and the start hills always stand out craggy against the clear sky.
Through Yunta and the sun started to dip towards the horizon. Trouble was I was headed for the same horizon. From Peterborough to Wilmington was straight in to the sun all the way. Luckily the air was clear and with a bit of squinting I managed to stay on the road.
Then it was a nice little run through Horrocks Pass and down the other side. A stop at Davo’s Memorial plaque to pay respect and the last bit into Port Augusta in the dark.
The weather, although starting out cold, was perfect for the rest of the day so it made for a lovely day’s ride.

02 August 2012

A Leisurely 598km Day

No big rush to get away today as my LD ride will be tomorrow.
So I took my time getting the bike packing finalised and got under way about 11:30.

Out on to the Gateway and battled heavy traffic all the way to Ipswich and on to the Cunningham Hwy. Nice to leave it all behind.
The weather was fine and cool with clear blue sky. A lovely day to ride.

I had fueled right up at home, to use up all the stuff I had in various cans about the place, so there was no need to stop until Goondiwindi.

Up the range at Cunninghams Gap there was a little work going on but nothing enough to need to put the feet down. From Warwick it was turn west and do the couple of hundred more kays to Goondi and the NSW border.

Plan A was to stay overnight here, but the weather was good and a couple of hours of light left so I had a cuppa at Maccas then continued on.

An hour later I was going through Moree with still plenty of light so Narrabri looked fine.

Approaching Narrabri, A big fat Moon popped up over the Ranges. One day to full so the top looked very flat.

The temperature has started to drop as I head south, in the high teens up over the range, it was down to 12 by nightfall. Time to find a nice warm motel.

A lovely, leisurely day's ride.

01 August 2012

Going for a Ride

Heading out tomorrow, Thursday 2nd, for the Border Run.

I didn't make it there last year and the bike was off the road for three months getting repaired.  So hope I do better this year.

Here is the SPOT track for the trip.

Stay tuned for updates.