Sunday > Wednesday– Brisbane, Australia
Well, what can I say, it was a long boring flight, it lasted 14 hours, but due to the time warp factor, although I was travelling backwards across the time lines, I left Friday night but actually missed most of Saturday and ended up landing at 7am on Sunday morning, I am still confused! Once again we get the usual rush of people in the aisles as soon as the plane has landed, with nowhere to go but stand there for 20 minutes until the front of the plane is unloaded. This photo is for my sister, she reckons I have turned Japanese with my camera clicking inside airplanes ;)
I found my luggage and had a bit of a drama, because I had a PacSafe mesh cover around it and it was padlocked when I left, but the lock had been cut off and it was all loose. It turns out the wankers at LAX had done this without warning, and although I complained here, they said there is nothing that can be done, without travel insurance anyway. That mesh net was around both red bags and what you see is how it arrived down the shute, I did a quick check and found nothing missing though :(
Oh well, I may get away with just a new lock, but it is still annoying that they did this to bags LEAVING the states, but ignored the fact my bags were plastic wrapped when I arrived from South America and never opened, weird but true! Anyway, I arrived and entered Brisbane, which is being billed as a new world city, I have no idea why, it was there when I left last year :?
So, now to get out of here, I grabbed a shuttle bus past the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel to the Story Bridge pub where my sisters boat is moored, well not actually at the pub but under the bridge in the river OK. She was going to pick me up and take me to my bike, but first things first, I needed another breakfast as the last one was hours ago, so I tucked into a good old Aussie pie and coke, it has been a long time and was bloody marvellous :)
After this Chris took me over to Grahams place where my bike had been living for the past year, thanks for that, I appreciate it. :) The bike looked as good as new, so obviously Graham had not trashed it too much while I was gone, but had ridden it to work on occasion just to keep the bike fresh. Graham and Don had done some work on it recently and installed the new crash bars, the bash plate and pannier system although I did notice that there was no top plate which I had ordered, I will have to get onto Happy Trails as I needed that plate.
It did not take me long to get stuck into it and strip it down again and undo some of the good work ;) But, it was necessary as all my gear had arrived from Buenos Aires and I needed to get into the rear area to install at least my chain oiler. But, I decided while I was stripping it down, I might as well go the whole hog and do everything I could while I had the place and the tools.
And for those that know me and are surprised to see a XXXX in my hand, well I think I have trained my taste buds over the past year and they can nearly take anything by now ;) During the day another strommer turned up, he was interested in how I was setting my bike up, but he had some good ideas himself and I liked the location of his fuse box, I may redo mine when I get some time with the new Fuzeblock I have stashed away. He had to relocate some of the stock fuses to do this, but it is good and being a silver bike, it reminded me of what I had just left behind :)
I soon had the bike down to a condition where I could access everything and started to install stuff once again, I am getting good at this now and as all the cables etc are already set for size, it is just a matter of running them properly, which just takes time.
This work continued for the rest of the day before calling it quits late in the arvo. Graham had tomorrow off, so he was going to take me shopping for a number of items I needed, especially new camping gear and a few things for the bike etc, I can say I crashed out quite early, the beers and jet lag got to me.
The next day was more of the same, in between shopping for stuff I did the mechanical side of things, as well as finishing off the electrical gear. The main thing was installing the modified Sasquatch shocky, and the new Koubla links for lowering. In the end I did not need to buy these new links, because I had to remove the ones I had from the bike overseas, but I did not know that at the time, so now I have a spare set of lowering links and two sets of original sized ones, a right old collection of dogbones, I just need a metal K9 and I am good to go!
Donunder gave me a hand again and some moral support, and passed a beer on occasion ;) And, by the end of the day the bike was nearly ready to ride although I still had stuff spread all over the joint in my usual manner of using the floor as storage space :)
I still had some things I needed to get, so although Graham was back at work tomorrow I could do a run to the bike shops and get what I needed to complete the work. Graham has some nice old bikes, even an original BSA from his dad which he learned to ride on , he is a Ducati man and loves bikes. He is a good tech and expert in bike wiring, so tools were never an issue, nor bits and pieces needed to put bikes back together and modify.
The first job this morning was to get some storage tubes done. We had bought the makings yesterday and now I needed to make and install them. In the end it did not take long at all, I guess once you have done it the first time, then it becomes quite easy.
Once I had painted them and left them for drying I headed into town for the other bits I needed. I had planned on getting some lunch and as it was raining I took it easy as I was unused to riding on the left hand side of the road and I of course did not have any wet weather gear which was all badly worn and leaky and left behind in BA.
Well, it was not too bad and the rain was warm, but after getting my spare low pressure fuel screen from Suzuki, which had been paid for already, I then went for some other bits. This was when I broke the key off in the top box lock, it had been weak for ages and this was the last straw. Unfortunately, my phone and wallet were in there :( This meant a ride back in the rain where I raided the fridge for some bacon and eggs, the best I have tasted in a year and dried off :) I called Graham asking for a magnet and after giving that up, (the key was brass) I spent an hour or so with a beer and relaxed before attacking the problem again and after some effort, managed to release the top box from the tail rack and also managed to break in without damaging the lock and remove the broken off key. The spare key worked fine once it was all back together :) The day was a right off, it was bucketing down still and the creeks were up, I ended up doing not much else. I needed the extra gear, tomorrow is another day, probably another wet one though as the forecast was bad.
Another day and this time I wanted to get the last of the stuff done. I had originally planned to be on the road this morning, but after yesterdays debacle, I was a day behind, although it is not a tight schedule. Of course outside the window the rain had not really stopped since yesterday and did not look like stopping now either!
It sort of brought back memories of Buenos Aires and the time spent at DakarMotos, it rained for a whole week over there and it must have followed me over here. In fact, I have heard many comments from people in my travels saying this is not usual weather we are having, I am not saying I am the cause though, but it sure is a coincidence eh ;) Anyway, today was more productive, I managed to get most of the things I needed even if it meant once again riding with wet boots. I did get new outer wet gear and a few other bits and bobs for the road and had started to pack the bike together. Late that afternoon I rode back to the Story Bridge pub for dinner with Chris, my sister, where we caught up properly, we don’t get to see each other much, one of us is always on the move :)
After that it was an early night for me, well sort of as once again we had a few beers and a chat while I planned a sort of route across to Albany in Western Australia. The rain has been reported as being real bad out west with major flooding in some areas, so that was a bit of a concern with possible road closures, but tomorrow would just be a short run of 600km to Narrabri in New South Wales where I would catch up with Peter, another strommer I have known for ages and ex SES partner etc.
Day –0 miles and km
Trip – 54,042 miles and 86,972 km