Rumble To The Rock
Posted by TravellingStrom on July 6, 2008
The meet and greet was on Friday night at the local Harley shop, this was for BBQ and drinks, plus to meet the organisers and have a riders briefing. Here are a couple of crappy shots
So, the ride is from Rockhampton to Uluru or Ayres Rock and is raising money for Prostate Cancer, a lot of donations had happened so far and about $30,000AU has been raised so far. A few beers and music happened and we were all given tshirts, patches and an itinary, heaps of info all bagged up :)
After meeting some of the fellow riders and refreshing friendships made on the Long Ride, I headed home, watched the Broncos kick Souths arse and hit the sack.
Day 1 26th April
I was up at 4.30am getting the bike packed, took a bit of effort but it looks good and ready to rumble!!
So, I slipped down to the Harley shop where the mechanic – Tex – gave me a quick how to on my new shock
So, I wound it up on the preload by 5 clicks, went to the local ski shop and bought some thermal under daks for the cold west and headed out. I was way late but still hit the Mount Morgan range and the new shock handled it well. Here is Rocky from the range lookout and me on the bike
Then a few k’s down the road I saw a few bikes parked on the side of the road, I stopped and as it turns out we were looking for an iPod that fell out of a pocket. After half an hour they called it quits and we headed back off. They were from Bororen and were on the ride as well. I got into Dingo for the propsed brekky meet and there were some bikes there, had a feed and met up with Heidi, Barb and Tony. I ended up tacking on with them. We had to fuel up the Cagiva every stop, when we got to Alpha we bumped into the local law, had some good info passed on to us, especially as it was 3.30pm and the skippies would be starting to move,we still had another 142km to Barcaldine, todays stopover.
Heidi and her Hayabusa, probably not the first time she has spoken to a copper
Another beemer, I seem to attract them, this one had problems before I met him, so the strom is not to blame this time
The support vehicle, still empty, waiting for a break down
We eventually got to Barcaldine, but too late for the sausage sizzle, which was supposed to be at 3pm, never mind had beer instead.
Then I headed down to the campsite and set up my tent.
After having some tea and damper supplied by the caravan park I walked into town about a 1km had a few beers, bought some rum/coke and went back and chatted to my fellow campers while listening to the footy on the radio.
That’s when I dragged out the lappy and found free wireless internet courtesy of the camp ground and proceeded to update this BLOG, which was not really all that successfull untill now, I have had more time to understand the software.
Had a reasonably early night as it was an early start this morning. Tomorrow is a short ride to Winton via Longreach, where I have to stop to do a job.
Day Two 27th April
Up early and slipped down to the showgrounds where a brekky was organised, most of the riders went there.
Then I hit the road as I had a quick job to do at the Stockmans Hall of Fame in Longreach. I have seen this many times when travelling out this way, just a bit of Aussie sense of humour
Just before Longreach is a small town called Illfracombe and it has a large range of mechanical stuff on the roadside as a museum, quite interesting
Then on to Longreach. I could not do the job because the phone line was not active where I needed to be, so I charged them a call out and they let me go look through the Hall of Fame for nix. I have been through it for work many times, but not seen anything so it was good to have time for a decko.
That’s a Furphy :) Apparently, these were used to deliver water to the troops during the war, also rumours,gossip and other stuff was passed on as well, hence the expression, “It’s a Furphy!” and it means something that may not be true
This bullock cart stood 5ft tall at the tray
On the way out
There is not much water out west, lucky they look after the needs of the people in other ways, XXXX is a brand of beer brewed in Queensland :)
Mummy and baby windmills
This old car has seen better days
More Aussie humour, see the dead roo hanging out the back window :)
This is one of the support vehicles, it was a donation from Pickerings in Townsville and is carrying the Prostate Cancer workers
Winton at last, straight to the North Gregory Hotel, this place has changed hands since the last time we were through, sad to say, it is no longer a hotel for bikers, apparently it is on the market again, hopefully the new owners will be more obliging to tourists in general and bikers specifically, nuff said!!!
Free camping on the verandah
Spent some time on the turps at the hotel and the RSL club around the corner
Before hitting the sack
Day 3, 28th April
The next morning it was brekky up at the BP. The pub used to give out free tea/coffee etc, that has stopped,another downer. Everyone else was going to Mt.Isa via the Blue Heeler pub etc, I had done that last year on the Long Ride so I was heading straight west to Boulia, it added an extra 200km on, but it was new territory :)
The land was the same, but it was quite cool and windy, hence the dust in the air
This is an interesting shot, look, a corner!! And there was a hill in front. Obviously the road makers had not managed 2nd year, cos they went round the hill instead of over it
The land changed and there was some interesting formations
This is where I stopped to finish of my brekky and put some more gear on, it was cold and I had just the airmesh jacket prior to this without liners
My first single hump of the trip and my first wild camel, or so I thought
Then there was four of them spread out from each other, maybe they have BO :)
I filled up at this one pub town called Middleton, the Cobb & Co coach out front used to be drawn by the 4 camels I had seen, so still not wild ones
Across the road is the Hilton Hotel
A close up of the sign, it says it all for out here
More small hills
Then in the middle of what looks like desolation, those dots are cows, they can find food out there, amazing!
My first taste of desert
Before arriving in Boulia where I saw about a million Sulpher Crested Cockatoos in the trees on the river bank. Those white bits in the trees are all birds, OK, maybe not a milllion, but a few thousand anyway :)
Had a great toasted ham sanger, real ham off the bone, thick, none of this pussy machine sliced out here, right next to the info shop.
Heading north now and the country started to get a bit greener, more vegatation and scrub
The eagles think they own the road kill, they are the top of the food chain, except for Mack trucks!!!
A common site, a dry watercourse, until it rains
On the road to Dajarra
This whole road had bumps and cattle grids and was really working out my new Elka shock :) Every time I saw a truck coming, anchored up and off the road. Then I finally got some more fuel
before seeing some more different landscape
I spotted a Willy Willy (a dust devil), glad it was heading away and missed me, they can be quite dangerous, especially if you get a face full of dirt
I cracked the 40,000km point, it must be nearly run in this bike :)
Then finally spotted the stack at Mount Isa in the distance
Got to the campground and set up tent all by my Todd in the corner, cos I snore
Then we had a meet at the Harley shop before a lap around town and a couple of beer breaks
That’s Mick from Fitzroy Trophies, one of the sponsors and organisers
We stopped in the pubs to ‘rattle the potty’ and collect money
Then it was off to the rissole(RSL club or Returned Services League) for an organised dinner, Kin (that is Ken, but he is a kiwi )rides a Vstrom 1000 now, used to have a 650, apparently while grinding the pepper mill, all the pepper corns fell onto his plate, he spent ages getting rid of them and made a bloody mess as well :)
A few drinks were consumed and Rocker Billy, our travelling musician gave us some tunes
I left early as I had left my laptop with some backpackers while it charged up, same as the camera. Had a few rums and gave a bit of a slide show to some of the other riders around the BBQ, before the lights went off at 10pm.
Early to bed, long way to Three Ways in the morning.
Day Four, 29th April
So, left the Isa after getting a Mrs Mac sausage roll and fuel and ate on the road. Not much can be said of the road between the Isa and Camoweal, took one photo
More fuel at Camoweal, was nearly empty but had not filled up at Winton, only 170km, but I was fanging it :), then across the border into the NT again
One of the pit stops along the way
Barkleys Homestead, last year the fuel here was $1.71/litre, this year a wopping $2.01/litre, but they run a diesel generator for electricity 24/7 so it adds up. You would think a solor system would be the go out here
The speed limit, not for pussies, but it chews fuel at that speed
I saw lots of trees being strangled by some type of plant, reminded me of the ‘Red Weed’ in War of the Worlds
Lots of nothing, and my mirror had come loose and I did not have an 8mm hex key for the Ricks mirror extension :( So, I took it off as I could see it was unwinding.
After a number of hours and 650km arrived at Three Ways roadhouse and set up camp, this was going to be a big nite as a chap called Fats Thommo was performing, plus we had a massive auction of donated stuff planned.
Another support vehicle, this one got a speeding ticket the other day
These chaps have the lot
The pile of goodies to be auctioned
The Fats Thommo show, it was excellent and he was a great entertainer
He was quite scary at times, a couple of backpackers liked the show too, yes that is pink lycra and he was wearing a thong :)
He sucked this backpacker in, told her to close her eyes while he whipped the smoke out of her mouth, but then walked away without doing anything
He had a strap on dildo underneath
Don’t they make a lovely couple, NOT!!!
Not a pretty sight!
The auction was just after this and as I was a bit pissed having had a few of me rumbos, I ended up bidding for some stuff and got caught out, had to fork up $70 for a picture that hangs on the wall, but you plug it in and it moves apparently, don’t know, I have not seen it yet :)
I ended up being picked by Fats, with 4 others to strip our shirts off and put on hats from the Village People, get on stage and basically make an arse of ourselves, I was given these photos recently
I reorganised my photos at the camp ground and found a few more.
These are from the auction,a bit more of Fats and a young un who gave us a bit of a song, not bad either.
The day was long and it was gone midnight before I called it stumps.
Day Five 30th April
Woke up before sparrows fart, mainly cos my brain said it was 6am when it was actually 5.30am, we gained a half hour when we crossed the border yesterday. Made a cuppa while packing up, felt a bit ‘how’s ya father’, must have been something I ate :)
First stop on the way was about 26km south, a very small sign points to the The Pebbles, the turn off is opposite the Old Telegraph Station and is easy to miss. This was a wake up call, soft sand and corrugations, only a few kms of it but worthwhile. This area has cultural significance to the aboriginal women
Arriving at Tennant Creek
There are heaps of these glorious old Ghost Gums, so called due to the pure white bark on the trunk and branches. Very nice tree :)
Then on to the Devils Marbles, these are significant to the Aboriginal men, I went right in amongst them, and managed some good shots, well I think so anyway, I hope you like rocks, cos there were a few :)
Ti Tree fuel stop, pronounced Tee Tree, the word SEX is just to get your attention , it works
And the Mack Muncher, these are the standard sized truck trailer combos seen out here, sometimes they have four trailers on the back, they can get a bit scary as the last two usually are all over the road
This is the brand new railway line from Alice Springs to Darwin crossing the road that also goes there, only completed a few years ago, they both go to Alice, just in different directions it seems
Here we have a mirage in front, not to be outdone by the mirage behind :)
This is the Tropic of Capricorn
and looking the other way a line which goes straight east along this line to Rockhampton which is where I just came from, in a very round about way!
and finally about 70km later I arrived at Alice Springs
I set up camp at the caravan park, then went to town to get cash and find an internet cafe where I spent 3 hours at $6/hr online updating the Rumble thread and checking email etc. I found two wireless networks at the van park, but could not get into them for some reason?
Not to worry. Then back to do some washing and sort out photos and have a very quiet night and write this days up on wordpad, maybe slip back in for a few minutes tomorrow and upload photos and post this.
Off to the Rock in the morning, only about 450km I think.
I have been having a few problems with my throttle grip, the heated grip glue gave away, tried acrylic paint, then bought some silastic, did not work :( Very annoying to ride with it slipping around. This morning I grabbed some 5min Araldite and let it set while posting here, now to see if it works.
Day 6, Thursday 1st of May
As I had an AFD (alchohol free day)the day before, I was up early and getting packed and boiling the billy just on daybreak. Our goal today was to get to Ayres Rock and have a photo shoot at 4pm.
I still had issues with my damm throttle grip spinning on the tube. I grabbed some Araldite spots from a local shop and mixed it up and put it on. This was while I was doing the internet thing I mentioned yesterday, a bit of a repeat, or an echo, an echo.
Anyway, finally left town at 10 to 10am, figured I would get some fuel at the servo on the outskirts, WTF, there is no servo out here, I have not passed any in town, I am now 15km away from Alice and no servo, what gives???? So, did a U turn and filled up at a Shell servo, same as a lot of other people as it turns out. We all got caught :) Mind you, don’t go to this particular servo, no shitter, not for public use anyway, bit of a bummer as it turns out.
Anyway, on the road finally a bit after 10, fully fueled up, still wearing my damm thermals but keeping cool with the 130kmh speed limit. The country out here was the same red sand but quite a bit of vegetation and small hills
Stopped in at the first fuel stop just to remove them thermals, starting to get quite warm now. Saw this old Dodge, it ain’t going nowhere!
A few k’s down the road I spotted something on the road, quite shiney and did a Uturn and found a ratchet driver, used with sockets. It looked a bit beat up, but seemed to work. I had just recently passed a 4WD with tinny on a trailer, I had waved as I went passed, as you do out here. As I was getting back on my bike, they went passed and slowed and turned around to see if I was OK, good on em :)
Just down the road a bit further was this memorial
This was where a car crashed and killed all 4 race participents in the last ever CannonBall Run held in the NT, that was back when the speed limit was open.
Had a feed and some fuel at Erdulgalba or something, which was the Ayres Rock turn off. Then onwards and westwards. This is Mick and Lesley(hidden) on the way
Not long to go now
Then my first real glimpse of the rock in the distance
But, it did not look right, it seemed the wrong shape, what was going on here?? It turns out to be Mount Conner. So,… fooled was I and nearly everyone else as well as it turns out when I met up with some other bikes at Curtain Springs roadhouse. I did not need any fuel, but the damm throttle grip had given way again in the heat and it was nearly being spun around twice just to get some throttle control. Anyway, I stopped, I had already bought a $15 tube of twin mix glue at the last stop, but I figured I could hammer a few sticks, or toothpicks in there to give me traction, cos the glue would need 12 hours. So, while I was trying to fix this, all I could hear was a commotion, it turns out this local long legged chook was going rank, does not like bikes apparently.
That’s Dero Dave getting eyed off
Then Col had given it a few slaps, so it went elsewhere
Damm, it’s looking at me with that wild glint in it’s eye, eeeeek!!
It hissed at me and bit my jacket armour before spinning around and chasing this bloke
Then it ran over to Barb on the Cagiva and started giving her a bit of a kicking before heading back towards me with head down bum up attitude!!!
Lucky I was too big and strong so it did not stop and went straight for Mick :)
That was one crazy bloody bird I can tell you! It eventually just went and hid in the shade and sat down for a rest, must have been a bit buggered :) But he was right next to my bike, so I was a bit concerned while doing the needed repairs
Anyway, I found that due to the heat, the grip had expanded a fair bit, I could get some electrical tape on the throttle tube and still get the grip on, this was a bonus and it even gave me more control than glues did.
On the road again and the countryside had changed to sand desert, basically this is the reason this area is called the red centre
Then, my first glimpse of the Rock, or so I hoped, but being only 50km from it, I reckon , yep, this is it
and just occasional glimpses through the sparse scrub
Then I saw the Olgas in the distance
They are another 55km away, I will do that tomorrow
Nearly at the rock
I went straight to the admin hut and paid the $25 entry fee, then headed down to the rock area for the photo shoot.
but on the way grabbed this shot
That is now my desktop pix :)
this one is OK, no Strom though
We got to this T junction,so everyone pulled up but apparently this is not good, according to the Park ranger arriving from the right
Then I tried to get creative :)
We eventually took the East road and got to a parking area, you can see the walking track up the rock on the right hand side
A shot of the parking area from a small way up the rock, it was too late to do the whole walk
Then a few shots of the rock with and without Rumblers. There are better shots than these, when I get a copy, I will add them.
Then after the gang picture, it was head back the 21km to the camp ground where I wanted to set up my tent in the light. I would have stayed for the sunset shot, but the cloud was thick in the west, so the colours would not have been visible.
Set up camp and went up to the bar and bought a 6 pack, crikey that was expensive $33!!! Drank them while getting photos sorted and writing a bit of stuff.
Day 7 2nd may
By crikey, made it this far and still have a useable liver :) My brain is still stupid though, as I was once again up too bloody early on Queensland time. It was before sunrise, but fair enough, decided while trying to get back to sleep, this would be a good opportunity to run out to the Olgas and see the sunrise there. I could do the 110km round trip, then climb the Rock and still have plenty of time to get to Kings Canyon, the next stopover.
Here are some bad shots I tried to get while on the way, you can just see the silhouette of the rock behind the bike
Now here is an interesting shot, I was travelling so fast the sun had not had time yet to arrive at the Olgas in front of me, but it was already shining on the Rock in my mirrors.
It was blowey as all buggery out here, the road was good but extremely twisty towards the end, which gave me the chance to remove some chicken strips, well, except for the fact the wind was right up there in the 50knots range, this made it very interesting indeed, especially as it was still darkish!
I eventually got there but as it turned out, the Olgas do not encourage adventure riders riding through the place and you actually have to get off your bike and walk through it. No worries there, but it is blowing a gale and it is freeezing, so this is all I got photo wise, that will give me an excuse to ga back one day for a more thorough look
I had passed a place on the way here which was signposted as the “Olgas Sunrise Viewing” which was full of coaches and cars etc. On the way back I stopped and ‘hmmm’ Doh! grabbed a couple of nice photos! They would have been nice at sunrise :roll: Well actually, the sun had just risen, so it was all good, damm what time did I get up?
Even a Rock sunrise sort of shot, I need more instuctions I think.
The wind was still blowing its ring out as you can tell with the haze around the sunrise shot, and I knew the climb would be off the cards and when I got back to the Rock it was confirmed by other riders that also wanted to do the climb that the rock was closed by the park Rangers. No worries, I need at least 3 days here to really look at the place and so I will return. In the meantime, I did the circumnavigation by Strom, here are some pics
Then I packed my gear, had some breakfast, around 10am and left for Kings Canyon which was around 450km away, farewell Rock till the next time
So, now we had to backtrack some ways, past Mount Conner, that is the name of this rock, another as big or bigger than Ayres.
The Olgas are the same, just worn down a lot more than Ayres Rock, weras this Mount Conner has had no wearing! They all have the same feature though, that is, nothing is around except them, they stand alone. The white man view of these is that they continue below ground up to 2 kilometeres. Of course the traditional owners have different ideas.
Turned left at the junction and the scenery changed from basic scrub to saltbush flats, all on red sand flats of course. I started to get intrigued by the way the vegataion was growing, you would get a good 100m stretch of this tree
Then it would turn into this
for another 100m
Then it would just alternate between the two, really weird! I found out later on that night at a slide show put on by the Park Rangers, that the two pictures were of a tree called the Desert Oak, one of the most common trees around this area. The skinny ones were just younguns! All they would do was extend the main trunk up and tap root system down, then as soon as they hit the water table, BANG, start branching out as any good expanding enterprise should when you hit pay dirt!
Good old Aussie ingenuity at work!
Continued on and liked the look of all the salt bush and red dirt, so while I was taking this photo
a NT copper nearly pulled up behind me, but I managed to gesture that I was not in trouble and was just stopped to take a photo, he waved though. So, he continued on, and so did I. Then I found that he was not going fast enough, in a 110kmh zone he was doing 100kmh,so I took the punt and passed him, keeping an eagle eye on his lights,,,,nothing! Mind you, it was going up a hill. This has bearing!
I lost him in my mirrors and thought he may have been called away or something. Damm, flying along looking for things to take photos of and nearly got cleaned up by a swarm of wild horses crossing the road in front of me, anchored real fast then they decided to check me out, the cheek!!!
That was when Mr Policeman flew past at a normal rate of knots as I was parked taking photos. Then this couple slowed down but I waved them on, not sure of their names
I had spotted these things, like balls of something up in the tops of these salt bushes and had no idea what they were
This one across the road even had bits of rock and stuff woven into it? Maybe protection from something, it must be a bug of some sort.
Once again, the Ranger at the slide show that night put my mind at rest. There are a species of caterpiller called processionary caterpillers, they wander around the landscape nose to tail in a line and can be quite a few meters long all up. Anyway, these all get together and spin this ball of stuff, maybe to pupaete, he was not sure.
Then the Macdonnell Ranges came into view with some nice bluffs
Then after arrival it was pitch tent time, here is two stroms
It was a quick ride of 6km to the start of the Kings Canyon
And here you had two choices, a quick 1hr hike up the valley to a viewing platform, or a 6km rim walk. As I had not done the rock or the Olgas I decided to do the rim walk, I was reasonabley fit, it was 3pm and so I had plenty of time. They say allow 4 hours, this is the start, quite steep
and some shots from on the way up, I had to stop 3 times as my calf muscles were complaining :) The flies were something to be seen, everywhere in numerous amounts, lucky I had bought a fly screen that went over my head.
The steps had been made from the local rock including the mortar, so it looked quite natural, very good job!
Still going upwards
I finally made it up to one of the main shelves, here they place these radio emergency units, in case of injury, heart attack etc
Nearly amongst the domes and I saw some Cycads as well, millions of years old these species
Here is me with my anti fly fashion statement
Walking amongst the domes, they were originally straight up and down, but weather has erroded them into these shapes, from the air, it is all neat looking lines running east/west and north/south
Ghost Gums can live anywhere
A couple of shots from the Western rim
A view down to the valley viewing platform, just in the centre of the picture, just up from the shadow line before the green tree line, a long way down
A view of the Eastern rim and a strange rock formation
One of the crevasses
And a view down the valley
Here you can see the distinctive dome shaped rock
This is me cliff surfing
The next 3 show an area called Lilliput, because it is like a miniture version of the whole place
Then I reached an edge, looked over and saw steps going up again on the other side, phew more leg strain
This is called the Garden of Eden
Before heading back up the other rim, we did not have to go right to the bottom as there was a bridge over the gap
Some cliffs and the weathering patterns
Before another distinct look at the domes
I had reached the home stretch only 1km to go
I saw this sign, I will have to leave that for another day
That is another Ghost Gum, straight out from the side of the cliff
I got back to the car park after 2 ½ hour treck and saw this Dingo on a rock, a bit underfed
The Dingos were everywhere around our camp site apparently, there was free piss on at the camp grounds and while there I was told of numerous gloves, jackets, bags etc being carted away by the Dingos. “A Dingo has got my baby!!! ” I now believe it :(
A lot of us had the BBQ dinner, I also watched a drawn City v Country footy game, well some of it because I was at the slide show put on by the Park Rangers for half of it. After that had a few rums at the bar chatting with some riders, then did a few quick posts at the internet machine, I could not upload from the laptop, though they will accept a USB key, so that is another option to consider in the future.
It was still blowing a gale but I slept like a log, well a log being cut up by a chainsaw according to my neighbours :)
Back to Alice Springs in the morning, for two nights this time and the final actual day of the Rumble, before heading home.
Day 8 3rd May
Woke up to the noise of Mary Beth chasing a Dingo in the dark, it had just run off with her cosmetic bag with all her house keys etc. She had seen where it went and followed it, but she only had on thongs amongst the desert,so she gave up till it got light.
That meant the rest of us campers had a leisurely cuppa while packing up. She eventually got her bag back, good news :)
It was still blowing a bit of a gale and meant a side and head wind all the way to Alice :( Most of us headed straight up the road to Kings Creek about 40km, here we stopped for fuel that needed it and a great brekky. This place has 3 small helicopters, they do a brisk trade in aerial sight seeing, a bit on the pricey side as you may expect, $210/person for half an hour.
Anyway, continued on south to the Lassiter highway, did not take any photos had covered that territory on the way in. There was one photo I wanted of these funny spider nests/webs under these bushes I had seen on the way in. They covered the ground and the air space up to the drip line. Unfortunately, maybe with the sun in a different location etc I could not spot any at all :(
I had stopped because Joe who rides a Virago had motor problems, but as I pulled up, Tex turned up and started to get it sorted, so I continued on. It turned out to be a vapour lock.
Turned East at the highway and headed to Mt Ebeneezer. I thought I may fill up here, a lot of others did as well and 3 coaches all getting lunch. The bowsers were padlocked as usual and the owners too busy to come out. So, I decided to keep on going, it was only another 57km to the Stuart Highway, even though I was down to the last bar, the Opal fuel was crappy economy and into a headwind.
So, I got about 7km down the road when the last bar started flashing, so rather than go back, decided to keep on going and just ignored the damm thing. By my reckoning, I would probably run out about 10km short of the next fuel at the junction. Slowed down to betwen 80-90kmh and tried to conserve fuel. I eventually got to the servo and filled up with premium for a change, it was cheap at $1.87/l It took 21 litres, so I still had another 15-20km in the tank :)
Had lunch there then hit the road and got into Alice about 2.30pm and went straight to the McDonnell Ranges Caravan park. Quite hot and tired, but the camp sites we were given as unpowered sites were just cracker dust!!! I asked for some grass and they upgraded me to a powered site, the only ones with grass. This was after moving the damm tent to the grass area, then they wanted another $8 for 2 nights. That was going to be a total of $64 for two nights camping. It was also a long way to the dunnys etc. Quite a few others got there and just got a refund and went back to where we stayed at the Wintersun the other night. I got my $56 prepaid money back and went there also, it cost me $24 for two nights on grass with power, near to the showers BBQ area etc. I used the difference and bought a bottle of RUM I felt a lot better all around.
Had some beers with Peter and Merle, this is us giving the Prostate salute :) If you use two fingers, apparently you get a 2nd opinion straightaway
That night was the final nights party and fundraising at the Federal Club, us four got a cab. There was a free bus, but only from the other camp site, no worries to us.
This is Tracey the Fairy Princess, she was playing the Slutty Princess tonight to raise some money
Dero Dave again
Some general shots of the attendees
Some grainey shots of some of the organisers and support crew etc
Queenslanders would remember the Grasshopper from State of Origin Fame, for those from other places he was a well respected rugby league football referee, did a great job and was never wrong :) Anyway, he died recently from Prostate cancer:( This is his brother Ross who has lost many members of his immediate family to it, also had it himself. He just came out of Chemo, prior to the trip and should have been home resting and drinking water. But, like a good Queenslander, he came and gave his support all the way, did not drink much water apparently, but did drink fluids
And a bar shot to finish the night. A great nite was had by all, some more than others :)
Day 9, 4th May
Ahhhh, a rest day, great stuff. Slept in, did not go to the organised brekky, nor the ride run by the local HOG chapter. Read a book, sorted photos, found an internet cafe with wireless on a Sunday and posted a few days worth of ride report.
Had a few beers when we went to a local pub where the HOG people had organised a BBQ, very cheap at $5 a head, it seems that the days lunch during the ride was expensive crap, this was their way of making up for it, good on em!
Here are some shots of the early part of the nite
this is Bundy the Blue Heeler, travels with Tex on the Hayabusa
And some more of the party
An early night for me, got back too late to get some coins for the washing machine. Tomorrow a group of us are starting the return journey, first stop is either 3 Ways again about 550km, if it gets too hot or continue on to Barkleys Homestead add another 200km.
Day 10 5th May
May day holiday and it was off home. There was two groups of travellers, the largest was heading south and going home via the Great Ocean Road, the rest were heading back the way we came. We fuelled up and headed North back to 3 Ways. A few kms up the road was the turn off straight East to Boulia, this is only 745km instead of the 1500km we would need to travel to get to the same point.
But, it turns into extreme soft sand, bad corrugations etc. I spoke to some caravaners who just came through the previous day, not good for tyres or axles it seems! There is also no fuel and I do not have the range, so stick to the bitumen.
I stopped at a place called Wycliffe Wells for something to eat, toasted sanger was great:) They seem to get visited by strangers a lot here apparently
Butt ugly women wherever they come from
Not the only thing that does not belong here, they also have crabs!!!!! nearly 2000km from the damm ocean!!
I would not want to find any of them scratching around in my jocks
This place is one of the 5 most visited or where UFO sightings have occured in the world, must be all that desert air.
Off we go north again, been a few bushfires around and even here the trace of green is amazing. A lot of Aussie bush will not go to seed or reproduce without first being subjected to fire, tough species down here
At each stop I was getting tireder and tireder, having nano naps on the road which is not good to do when you are travelling at 130km/h. We were fighting severe wind gusts all the time as well. Dave and even Peter were also tired, it must have been the Alice water. Anyway, as I was in the lead I got to 3 Ways first and booked a camp site, when they arrived, they wanted to continue to Barkleys Homestead, but they ended up staying. The sites were nice and green and eventually quite a group of north travellers ended up here for the night. A great dinner, a few beers and rums, then a slide show by yours truely down at the BBQ area. This is in the bar before hand
And an early night.
Day 11 6th may
Woke to another windy day by the looks. Our goal today was The Curry(Cloncurry) packed up tents etc then off and away East, into the sun, stopped and put on sunscreen within the first half km :P generally made good time, still very blowey and the head winds were atrocious, made for very bad fuel economy. I spotted these cattle grids a few times in the past, but never managed to get a shot, the ‘poor mans cattle grid’
I guess the cattle are too dumb to know any better! Mind you the main roads department would have saved money as well.
Then had a quick snack at Barkleys Homestead, saw some great signs on the wall
The Farmers lament
The bike and the bear in the corner
I had spoken to a trucky at the stop, he was heading East as well, he was jealous of us. But, anyway, he was pulling 4 trailers and as there was bugger all to take photos of out here I stopped at this place to set up my camera and tripod and gaffa tape on the dashboard.
The intention was to take some movies of what happens to the last couple of trailers on these type of roads, they wander all over the place. Then pass the truck and show the length of it while moving.
Nothing goes to plan, the first few movies as test runs on another small truck and also Peter and Merle on the Goldwing turned out fine. As I got up to the truck this is what I got
I was now committed but had accidently pushed the wrong button and got a still photo :( Too late I had to go past and did so. I kept on going and the next thing the damm tripod broke off and the camera was hanging from the windscreen by gaffa tape. I mangaged to fix it to the dashboard about 5 km up the road and the truck passed again. I then tried taking another movie , and succeeded, but it is very jumpy as the camera is not stable. Not worth posting, I will have to do better.
Anyway, after a few hours or so got back to my home state
Where we were forced to go at a snails pace
Fueled up at Camoweal. They were doing kitchen renovations so no food, but I went up the local pub and had a great burger 8) I asked the pub owner which day of the year the wind would stop!! He said never!! The meaning of Camoweal is apparently ‘place of big winds’. Apparently he is full of shit, cos I did a google when I got home and this is what comes up
“Camooweal is named after Mr Weale, the first man to bring camels into that district.”
I won’t argue, but I did notice there are grab rails in the dunny
Maybe it does get real blowey all the time? So maybe he is right, who’s to say?
I went down to the park area to see Dave, Peter and Merle and guess who should also be there? The 3 pommy backpackers that got involved in Fats show at 3ways
They are heading to the east coast, so may even see them again, I gave them the address to this site so they may even read this, Hi girls, happy travelling, see I told you only the clean ones get posted :)
Then on the road again, getting warmer, one of these days I will ride through one of these mirages, but it is so hot they keep evaporating before I get to them ;)
It beats me what these termites eat, no wood within a bulls roar?
We got into Mount Isa, where I made a few phone calls checked my bank account, no pay again!!, but our intentions were to get to Cloncurry. The road between the Isa and the Curry has to be one of the best bike roads in Oz, big long sweeping bends and spectacular scenery, you gotta do it, it only goes about 100 odd kms.
We got to the camp grounds, thats Dave on the dog and bone while Peter and Merle set up the Goldwing Palace :)
We had seen an advert about thick sausages and 3 veg down the Post Office Hotel, so went and had some, what great tucker and only cost 10 bucks! We had started to notice the price of everything becoming a lot cheaper the further East we came. In fact as soon as we hit Queensland, the prices dropped sharply.
Back at the camp kitchen I was sorting photos etc while this lady Bush Poet was spruiking her stuff to some adventure campers.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and even told her the extra words she did not know to the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffett” :)
Day 12, 7th May
A relatively easy riding day was on the cards. After a cuppa said farewell to Peter and Merle who were heading to Townsville, and then there were two! Just myself and Dave. We planned on stopping at McKinley about an hour or so down the road to top up as the headwinds again may play with fuel consumption, and have some tucker. This is the town where Crocodile Dundee was based, a long way from crocodile country. It was closed, so here is a photo from last year
Then continued down to Kynuna where the famous Blue Heeler pub was. This one gets signed by all the tourists on the wals inside and out, but they paint it when it is full and you start again. The first one is from last year and the next is todays, it has all been painted out, except for a signiture of Peter Brock, Aussies will understand
There was a stack of these little oasis all the way to Winton, where the recent rain had pooled in the low ground, I found a lot had also dried up and started to become dormant.
Then I came across this area with spectacular vistas all compressed into a very small region
I dropped in to see Butch and China and found out from Butch at Central Motors in Winton that that area was called ‘Mountain Paddock’ by the locals. Weird, I do not recall seeing that when I went through last year, must have been asleep or something, I know I have no photos of them anyway ? :( Well, I do now :)
I spotted these old FJ’s, probably worth a few bucks as well
Then I stopped in at Longreach again to do the job that needed to be done, and found out the phone people had stuffed up and put the wrong connection in, oh well on to Barcaldine, this is the other side of Christmas Creek, even with tree
Then back to the Homestead Caravan Park, top place this, set up camp then went in to get some beers, but I found no supply truck had been through and the Tooheys New was hard to find. Eventually found some and had a beer and saw these on the wall.
Then back to the campsite where they always put on some type of entertainment for the campers, this time a country singer and then tea and damper, beer and damper in my case :)
After that a few rums while chatting with some fellow campers while using the free internet to check mail and post up some stuff.
Last day tomorrow and as this town, from memory had the noisy roosters and a dog that thinks he is a rooster at 4am, I used ear plugs and had a great nights sleep
Day 13, 8th May
Not much going on today, a straight run through to Alpha where Dave filled up, I did not need to, a quick photo of the Drummond Range
Then on to Emerald where I filled up. It was still only 11am so I continued on to Blackwater where I had lunch, this is a coal mining town, but you can see in the background the Blackdown Tablelands, I will get up there for a look some time
Dave passed me while I was eating and I never caught up with him again, he must have been flying, see ya around Dave
Got into town around 3pm and the first thing I did was stop and see Maggie about the Polo shirts
End of trip after 6968km, had a great time, now I need to sort out the following issues that arose during the trip.
1. The TomTom V2 GPS stopped working in Alice Springs, kept saying insert SD card, tech support say it needs software update. I have been very patient with this brand, but it has been nothing but trouble since I bought my bike. I would not pay money for one. When it is fixed, I will flog it off on Ebay and buy a Zuma I think!**** This has since been repaired and I will keep it until I leave Aus probably.****
2. My Kisan ChargeGuard stopped working on day 2, tech support after an email said a new one is in the post :) Just need to change it out when it arrives, I hope it is a once off fault and not an ongoing issue**** They sent a new unit and a shunt, it turned out to be a fauty cable on the shunt.****
3. I need to remove the Elka shock, it was not set up correctly at factory, a simple fix but it can only be done off the bike, no biggee at this stage.****I removed it once and wound the preload ring down, as it turns out a bit too much. It needs to come off again and wind back one turn. Other than that, it is working very well. *****
4. The damm heated grip is still turning on the throttle tube, I need to find a permanent fix for this as it will cause big problems on the dirt, loss of control etc. ****I fixed this with contact adhesive, I have not had a problem since.****
5. Still getting head numbing turbulance, even with the mirror extenders, I may have to try the Madstad bracket. ***Still ongoing****
All in all a great trip, a great cause, I think we ended up raising about $45,000 for Prostate met some great people, congrats to the organisers and the committee who ran the show.
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