The Gallipoli Countdown and the Mayan Prophecy Countdown
Well, nothing has been done on here for ages now, so I thought I would update those that care :) Since the floods and cyclones this time last year, I have been busy working my arse off trying to save funds for the above trip which starts late April. The work is nothing special, traffic control, but it is important for the safety of the workers and the traveling public. I mainly worked out west from home, mostly for the week and stayed in either motels or dongas(single mens quarters with bed and aircon with a tv and fridge) The hours were long, anywhere from 10-14 hours per day and the pay was not that great, but the overtime made up for everything. As the accomodation, meals etc were all paid for, I had no real expenses(except for the few days I was back in Rocky usually for a day or so every weekend). The savings ratio was the only thing that has kept me going.
Anyway, the bike has been hardly anywhere this past 12 months, I did go down to Chinchilla last year to see off Lelsey and Jim before they headed back to Daytona Beach for another season of work in the states. I managed to get to the Horizons Unlimited meeting down south which was good and that was about it.
But, finally at the end of last year, the work site shut down for the xmas season and I had an enforced unpaid month off. First thing to do was work out who to see and which direction to go :) As it turns out, my old mate Shayne was also a shift worker and the timing was perfect with his time off, so the next day I packed and headed north to Sarina. It is only a 3 and a bit hour trip up the coast and I was not in a hurry. Once into Sarina itself, as I was a bit early, I thought I would partake of a coldie! It had been very hot during the ride and I had sucked heaps of water, but the old urine colour was still off, so I decided if you cannot beat them join them :)
Now, whatever magic was used it worked, by drinking amber fluid, I managed to pee clear, I will remember that in future, rule one – Clear in = Amber Out, Amber in = Clear Out!!! While relaxing, Shayne had spotted my bike on his way home and dropped in so another roadie was called for before heading to Grasstree Beach where they live, a very nice choice location except during cyclone season :)
First thing on the agenda was to stack the fridge and then one by one remove them while bullshitting and catching up on news. This took a while ;)
Next day we got motivated, we decided to set some crab pots, leave them overnight and run them the following day. I only had a few days up here, so squeezing as much in as possible is the best bet. Getting the boat and gear sorted, then the crab pots and baits took a few hours, then it was another hour or so down the road to get to a creek near Notch Point near Ilbilbie. Here we baited up and took to the water, just behind another boat doing the same thing, midweek, just prior to school holidays and before this area gets swamped by people. Just after we put all these pots up the back of the creek, a pro turned up with 40 pots but there was no room up here and his mate was turning up with another 30 pots later on!!! Lucky we got in when we did, with the rain we had last week, the crabs should be up here, rather than out the front of the system.
Queensland Mud crabs are the tastiest crabs in the world, I have tasted a few from different countries by now and nothing beats them. They live in the mangroves in mud(doh) and are bottom feeding crustaceans. Basically to catch them, get a wire pot, shove some fish frames as bait inside it and they will get themselves in but not out of the pot. After we had found an area to set them, we went back to the beginning of the run and checked the first pot, there was a large one on the outside and when I brought it up he jumped off, so we decided to hang around a bit, which was worthwhile despite the falling tide. Sometimes you get other stuff in the pots as well, like jellyfish or as in this case, a codfish, gilled himself, and that meant we had a fresh bait :) We did the run twice before we had to get the boat out and managed to take home 5 crabs, including the original jumper, which we then cooked up, beauty :)
The next day was a repeat in that we had to run the pots but also bring them out, we went a bit early and managed to get some fishing in before running the pots again a few times. Before heading home, we had 6 more bucks in the bag :) Then it was cleaning time, the boat the gear the car etc, while partaking of an amber fluid and cooking and eating crabs, a very enjoyable time. I left mid morning the next day, with some crab on board which was very nice to eat over the next few days for the family and myself :)
So, xmas came and went and I contacted a mate called Wart on Boxing Day who was working, but he said come on down tonight for beers and get some bike work done. I stocked up with a pannier full of beer and a rottle of bum and headed to the coast. It was good timing because that night I re-met a number of people I had not seen for ages, it was great to catch up :) Next morning was the reason for being there, I had been trying to get my mudguard fixed for months now, we knew how to do it, just finding time between his work and mine was hard. But, after taking the wheel off the damage could be assessed. There is a top view from under the seat looking down then up from underneath showing the hole worn through. You can see all the crap under there that has entered when I rode through puddles and mud etc.
Some background here and it gets a bit technical, so you can skip it if you want: At the HU meeting the year before in 2010, this was after I came back from the Americas, around march I think, I rode down and one of the sponsors happened to have a brand new tyre that I had heard of. That is a K60 Heidenau rear tyre. My normal size tyre is 150 wide, 70 deep and a diameter of 17. This tyre was 140 wide, 80 deep and 17 across. This has been documented as being tried and tested. The deeper 80 will flatten out to fill the slightly wider rim width and it will work quite well. Anyway, long story short, it was installed as part of a tyre fitting demo and it has since covered 15,000km with plenty of tread left, a good result for tyre wear and I have never had any issues with its performance. The tyre itself had a tread depth of 16mm from memory, a lot more than conventional tyres. Here you can see the absolutely shagged old one being removed and the great chunky one being installed :)
It may have been a combination of factors, but every time I hit a dip or bump, the tyre would rub under the mudguard eventually wearing a hole in it. My bike is lowered so that may have exacerbated the problem. Needles to say, it was an easy fix, now that we had a workshop and time to do it. While I got on with changing out the spark plugs(originals still in at 37,000km) and the air filter, still original as well, Wart did the deed on the repair. First up, some light gauge aluminium checker plate, cut to size and bent to shape.
Next the holes were drilled and a tube of black sikaflex used, while the plate was pop riveted to the underneath of the guard. Like I said quick and easy, but now the water can stay out from all my electronics!!!
And voila, job done, thanks Wart :) Just for the record, my spark plugs were still performing well but with their age and the quality of the air filter, I am hoping for better fuel economy from now on :)
Well, that was xmas over and a few days to relax you may think, but no, a month or so ago I had decided to start a business online to hopefully work for me while I am traveling, so I was busy with this as well as trip planning. For the record, although I had access to the internet at my work/camp site, after a 12-14 hour day, after a shower and a feed I was about ready for bed after reading some emails and maybe a few forums, so this was my planning time. The online business has not been officially launched yet, but it will be soon, watch this space!
With all that done for the moment, I had arranged to meet up with some of my southern friends, I headed down south on the Bruce hwy on the 29th Dec, my destination was Donunder’s place in south west Brisbane, a fellow vstrom rider who I met a few years back in Cobar for the Inaugural Vstrom meeting. The ride was crap, but despite that I enjoyed the ride if you know what I mean, I have not ridden for most of the year and it was great to be on the bike. I arrived at Dons mid afternoon, it is only 650km or so, but the traffic was bad and the speed reduced enforced slow zones were yuck!
After showing me around his area, and showing where last years floods had affected it, it was back home for some well deserved ales and a chat session. Once again it was good to catch up and he and his wife had also been to Turkey, so I managed to pick up some sightseeing tips, thanks :) It was not going to be a big night because Don had a funeral to go to the next morning, but it was still gone midnight before that square bear looked empty!!! No pictures sorry ;)
The next day I rode over to Graham’s house, he was putting me up for the night. Just as an aside here, my TomTom sat nav is now 5 years old and has old maps. Brisbane has added some nice new roads, my TomTom had no chance, and nor did I, in the end I did the old favourite, head in one direction for 10kms, then try again, that usually gets you away from any snarls and it did this time. Graham, for those that don’t know, very kindly looked after my bike while I was in America. He has a couple of bikes himself(mainly Ducati’s)and does electrical repairs on others and he rode mine to work every couple of weeks or so to keep the juices flowing so to speak. He and Donunder also installed some of my new gear which had been sent there, so I could step off the plane from BsAs and hop on it and head west to the ulysses meet in Albany, a great pair of blokes!
Once I had unloaded my panniers and stocked the fridge, we had visitors, and this kept up all day and cannot remember any of the names except Ange, mainly because she had just bought a brand new Vstrom and was waiting for it to be delivered. We had a great chinwag, and that was when I found out the new model bike has a Gladus motor or some such and is nearly a different bike, a shame it was not there, I would have liked to have had a dorrie at it. But I did get to compare Graham’s garmin Zumo550 with Ange’s Zumo650, I reckon the 650 is my new toy if I can get a cheap enough one :)
So, beer was drunk, then rum was also drunk and once again it was close to midnight before I crashed out, this time before 12 though ;) Must be getting old eh!!! But in all seriousness, we were riding in the morning.
The next day was New years Eve, I was heading west to Chinchilla to see some more friends, but to get there was about a four hour ride. The boys had decided on a route and were coming to ride with me for the first 100km, through some back roads then
dump me leave me with my TomTom to navigate the rest of the way, which was not hard, head west don’t stop til you get there, lol :)
An early start was called for and we left to meet up with Don at his place, and we were also meeting another Duke ride, another mate of theirs. First off though, an old MotoGuzzi, just for Jim
This is Graham on his ‘factory’ Ducati
Donunder on the 1000 version of the Vstrom, getting some go juice
And we were off for a ride in the country, basically all the twisty winding country roads they could find that headed west, some were just rural roads, but nice countryside. After an hour or so we ended up at Forrest Hill which was the stopping point for breakfast/smoke/morning tea whatever you wanted.
After something to eat, we all went our separate ways, great to ride with you and to meet for a beer and chinwag :) It was only a couple of hours to Chinchilla and I had originally said mid afternoon, so I dawdled along and got out my GPS(my garmin one in which I save waypoints etc). I decided to look for some geocaches along the way, I had been along here last year and done a few, but this day I only managed to find one.
But that was OK, that is my 99th find :)
So I arrived in Chinchilla and went to the servo for some deep fried stuff and a cold drink before heading to the house. It was great to catch up with this pair again, fellow bikers are always like that I feel, no matter what bike they ride, there is always that camaraderie, and beer which we had a few of! The afternoon and evening progressed until it was time to go to a party at a friend of theirs house, I took some beer along as you do, I had never met them before, but did that night. Around 11pm we went back to drop the car off before heading up to the local Club Hotel to see in the New Year, lots of drunks around, not as many as watermelon festival time though, all having a good time, only one went with the local BIB for a nap. I had a couple of rums, but to tell the truth, as we were going for a ride tomorrow(today) I was not rally into it, so we were back and crashed out by 1am, all in all a good night though.
Next morning was a reasonably early start, but the ride was only a few hours, we were heading to the Bunya Mountains. Once the bikes were ready we headed off, on the way we picked up Nick, riding his Harley, we made him lead so the noise should scare all them roos away!
It was a nice leisurely ride, with some back country, all sealed of course, and some nice twisties, just the thing.
We eventually got to the top of the mountain, just over 1075m, or about 3300ft, a lot cooler up there, here was where we stopped for a slightly overpriced lunch and took a few photos.
After that break we headed back down again via the lookout where Rocky gets a mention, but no actual distance, just a direction.
Then downhill, through some tight winding tree shrouded roads, with extreme hairpin corners and some nice open country in between.
After the bottom of the loop we started to head back home, first stop on the way was the BUN hotel, bloody thing was closed!!
Next stop was Bell, here the pub was open and we had a nice refresher to clear the colour out of the system, remember, amber in clear out!!
This place was quite nice and under new management, he even had a great deal, you come down and have a meal and some drinks, you get a free room upstairs for the night!! Considering the cost of rooms nowadays, that is a great offer, I will keep that in mind. Then the next stop was at the Exchange pub, another oldie but a goodie
Then it was home time, we had to get back in time for about 5pm as some friends were coming around for dinner, which we managed to do, only a little bit late. ;) Well, as I had missed out on the rum last night, I made up for a few of them this time, it was a great evening and a great days ride. Tomorrow I was heading back home and I was thinking of taking some dirt, the bike looked too clean after the rain the other day cleaned it :)
The next morning after brekky, I packed up and we headed north after fuelling up. The idea being to find some dirt, but the first 90km was single lane sealed road, still a nice ride though :)
We got to the dirt, this is when Jim and Lesley turned around for home, they had some people to go see. Nice to catch up again, thanks for having me and who knows I may get a chance to see you before you head back to the US for Bike week. Then off I went, finally on some dirt and it was fun too, once I got back into the swing of things. The road was in reasonable condition, a grader had been along here at some time since Noah, so it wasn’t that rough, just watch out for the spooked steak!
I had no real idea where I was going btw, I had no paper map, the TomTom was telling me to turn around, but I figured as long as I was heading north, I should hit a main road eventually. There was a waypoint called Auburn Station beforehand, so no worries, plow on and have fun. there was another waypoint called Rockybar, another station and this one caused a modicom of concern because it was heading west, I needed to go north, but in the end it took me to the east west main highway where I could pump up the tyres and head to Theodore via Cracow :) On the map it is at point 1 where I went west, then back to the east.
At this point, I headed west as I thought the dirt was finished, BUT, I saw this road to the right and it had a great sign and I thought, why not, it hasn’t rained for a day or so, it should be sweet! :)
Well, the road was a bit narley and loose with some big gonnas embedded in it, so obviously that grader has not reached this far just yet. But, it was fun and the rough stuff cleared up after about 40km or so and then I got some pace up, sitting on a buck twenty in places :)
They put in a few bits of seal, no idea why, but the joins were shocking, I think I bent a rim on the step up at one of the bits!!! But, eventually I arrived at the Leichhardt highway and I was just 12km east of Theodore and here I turned east for Banana servo and a feed :)
After that it was all highway home, all in all, an enjoyable vacation and the only reason I cut it short was I had work commitments with my internet business in the morning which I did not want to miss.
Nice to meet all those new faces, although the names are gone already, and it was great to meet up with so many friends in such a short time, although my liver needs a flush!!!!
ciau til next time