Day 1 – March 12th
I was up bright and early, planning on a 5am start, but in the end it was around 6.15 before I got away. I had needed something from my storage shed, but it turns out I wasted my time as I had no access until after 7am, and it was raining a bit.
I was planning on a long day, I had even thought about doing an Iron Butt 1600km day, but the late start put a damper on that as I had no Aux lights.
I got up to the Mount Morgan range, where I had an overcast view of Rocky.
I saw a number of bikes on the road, I guess a lot where headed to the Ulysses AGM in Penrith. I chatted to a few at Banana, where I stopped for breakfast, good old Mrs Mac The back seat driver of this Harley said she was already over the trip and they had only come from Blackwater, about 2 hours away!
Further down south after Theodore was the Isla Range. There is a lookout at the top of the range, now I had passed this turnoff heaps of times but there is no sign except at the crest of the pass, saying turn now!!!! I had always missed it and there is nowhere to turn around. It is also a dirt road that you turn onto. Anyway, I remembered this time and went for a look, the road was manageable, and the view not too bad.
On the way out I spoke to some rangers doing maintenance and mentioned the fact the signage could be upgraded, maybe add a turn right in 300m for lookout sign etc, they took it on board
On I go, down through Taroom, Miles and Goondawindi, the road was mostly straight and it was overcast with a few wet patches. I finally got to the state border around half 2 in the arvo.
I lost an hour due to daylight saving down here, but the run was only hampered by the occasional bit of traffic, this was abnormal.
Continue through Moree, Narabri and Coonabarabran and around half past 4 in the arvo, this is the most sun I saw all day.
I got to Gilgaldran around 6.30pm but decided to continue on to Dubbo. I probably shouldn’t have as I found all these people that were flashing me during the day were not advising of cops ahead! It turns out that my lights were out of adjustment due to the extra load on the back, ooops! I was possum spotting if I used high beam I eventually got to Dubbo around 8pm and booked into a motel and had a few beers down the road at the bowls club before retiring. I had done a good days travel but still had a fair way to go, so I wanted an early start.
Distance travelled for the day – 1200km
More to come, stay tuned>>>>>
Day 2 Friday 13th
I got an early start which was good, but as usual NSW was dark at my normal waking time! Off south and past Peak Hill and then Parkes, this is the location of The Dish, a very large radio receiving dish.
I was riding along around this area and had a thought, I have a small 4Gb USB key which has all my documents stored on it, it has a screw in connector and the whole unit was attached to my key ring. I thought that I should maybe remove the key in case the vibration caused me to lose it. It has a secure section on it so no worries there, just a pain if I lose it to replace everything. A bit down the road I stopped to take the following photo and found it missing Bummer, I was too late, grrr!
Anyway, if anyone has any idea what this photo is about please let me know. I did a google but found no info.
It is located just north of the town of Tomingley and between Parkes and Dubbo near this intersection
Anyway, on I go into rain and showers off and on.
Continue down through Forbes, West Wyalong and Temora, then Junee and Wagga Wagga and a place called the Rock, could not see it Then Culcairn and around midday or so I arrived in Albury. I bought a few things at woolies and had a bit to eat, still raining on and off.
Then I headed east to Tallangatta where once I got amongst the mountains it seemed to clear up a fraction
Then as I turned south along the Omeo road, it got even clearer It was even a bit warmer, but not much! This road had some nice twisties, just to wake me up as well.
I finally arrived at Mitta Mitta at 3pm and looked like I was the only bike there???
A small enquiry at the bar had me around the back where the camping site was and I soon had the tent in a vertical position.
After that it was just a matter of registering, meeting and greeting etc and maybe a few beers.
Dinner was at the pub and after dinner we wandered down the road to the local hall for a number of presentations. The only downer for the night was the bulb blew in the projector late in the evening, although Dave tried to fix it, it was a no go situation. The night ended around 11pm for some. No photos of the presentations by John and Alana Skillington, they did a ride from England to Aus via the silk road on a Vstrom, Scott the Canadian who talked about his 4 years riding and living in Mongolia and another chap talking about blogging etc, but I do have some during dinner.
Distance travelled for the day – 644km
More to come, stay tuned
Day 3 Saturday 14th
I woke up fine not too early, brekky was around 8ish, so no hurry. It turns out the only place to have a shower is the caravan park, about a kilometre away, so I thought I would do that later. I had a look around the area and we were camped next to a small river with a small weir which created a swimming pool, a tad chilly though.
There was about 60-80 registrations I think, with the people spread around between different accommodation, some at the pub itself, the caravan park, a few boarding houses around and of course the free camping behind the pub. I chose not to book as I was not even sure I would turn up, so I took pot luck on the day, it turned out fine. There were numerous types of bikes, here are some.
We had a bit of a ride organised, just a short one up to the local Dartmouth Dam, not everyone went.
The blue strom had been down, with the crash bars but damaged the fairing, you can see the shiny scrape mark above the Vstrom badge on the tank. You can also see how tall the bike is for me without lowering while I am backing back for a photo shoot.
Here are some ‘penny tech’ highway bars
This is a lowered GS650 owned by Bonnie, not in shot, this is Jenny I think from Mackay, thinking about a new lower bike
I like the idea of these extra fuel bottles, but not behind the axle.
That’s Bonnie, she is shorter than me if you can believe it
Now, on the way up I was by myself as I had a flat front tyre and went back for my compressor. So, I did not see others hit this loose section. I hit the first one and nearly lost the front end, it is a downward cresting left hander. After straightening up I saw the 2nd patch just on the crest so I swerved right and of course missed the corner a bit and was on the wrong side of the road going around the corner In the first photo in the top of the pix, the other loose bit was adjacent to that white guide post.
Needless to say a sever pucker moment, lucky the day was not busy and no cars were coming the other way. I found out at the dam that nearly every 2nd person had hit this section and did the same as me, whew, lucky no one got hurt!
On the way back I passed some slower riders so I could hit the twisties before getting back to Mitta Mitta
The Touratech man turned up and set up his display. The beamer on the back had been down, I could see the scrape marks
Meanwhile I was chatting to Beamer Bird, or Margaret Peart
She has returned from South America and had set up her DL1000 Vstrom for touring over here. I liked a few thing she had done already, especially that wasted space behind me on the pillion pegs.
She had also made a water bladder tank bag out of windshield reflector and some material, there was a 3 litre camel back bladder on each side, they were joined together, quite a good idea, I may pinch it
I had a quick look at the Touratech van then grabbed some lunch from the local shop, spreading my money around as the town had a very small population of about 150. It looked and sounded like rain, so I went back to the pub where I could stay dry. Lucky I did as within 10 minutes we had this happening!
The rain sort of stayed around for a while, so we stayed indoors for a while
They had an inventors board, some nice stuff.
Then we had a talk by the Touratech man about how they make and design Safari tanks, that was until the rain started again.
So we went back inside for a while
They did not really have any ‘break out’ sessions as such, but there were quite a few presentations down at the hall. The projector was unable to be fixed, so Dave the Canoe Guy organised to have his large screen TV brought in and this was hooked up and the seats moved a bit closer.
Dinner was a spit roast at the pub, very nice but no vegetables, bummer, only salads! Apparently they only have vegies in the winter. After dinner it was the night time session of presentations, so fortified with a square bear, coke and ice I settled in. First cab off the rank was Beamer Bird, describing her tour around the Americas, she was also part of the Iron Butt team, people who do long distance riding. She achieved the amazing feat of riding every state in the USA in 9.5 days, not many people can do that!
There were a few other presentations including Garry Chadwick, who did China and Russia on a Burgman step thru, I cannot find a web page for him at this stage.
The evening ended quite late with the skies clearing, the temperature had already dropped, so I could imagine a very cold night!
Stay Tuned for the return home.
Day 4 Sunday 15th
Crikey it was cold last night. I did not freeze, but I was too pissed to find my beany, so my head was a tad cool! When I did eventually surface on daylight, my temp gauge said 0 degrees Centigrade, obviously winter arrives early here up in the high country.
I enjoyed my cuppa that I boiled up, it is good to have a stove in these situations
Everyone was packing up, it was very wet and cold, so I was planning on waiting for the sun to get over the hill. There was steam from the exhausts and even from the river which was now running over the weir that I stood on yesterday.
But not from the back of Skips bike, it would not start as a sensor was crook, so we pushed it out onto the road where the sun could warm it up!
I had seen the KLR650 with Happy Trails panniers on it yesterday, same as mine. The seals on mine had been damaged by the bolts that hold the lid racks on, this was last year, HT had sent shorter bolts and new seals under warranty and I installed them. But, I was still getting damaged seals, so when I looked at the KLR I noticed they had re designed the mounting system and they had either spot welded or pop riveted the lid racks on. You can see the difference in these photos.
I ended up taking a few photos and sent an email to HT asking what can be done to fix mine, especially as one of the panniers carries electronic items.
I packed up with all my gear wet as it looked as if the sun would be a long while getting to my site! I then unpacked again to get my my air compressor to fill the front tyre which was flat again!
This is a legacy of my ride to Chinchilla a few weeks back, I got a flat, fixed it with a string but it is obviously leaking. It is a slow leak so I can keep an eye on it, no worries, I will check it every fuel stop. [As a side note here, I have the Tyre Watch system which a few weeks ago advised of a puncture in the front tyre. I had no compressor, so I used my compressed air can with sealer to inflate it, this got me to a servo where I found the hole and plugged it, the sealer didn’t, it was leaking quite fast. I filled the tyre and got back home fine. But, the sensor in the tyre died the next day, I have a new one coming from the company in France, I hope. The tyre has been fine until the trip down]
This is the Burgman that has done China and other out of the way areas.
I dropped into the caravan park on my way out, I still had not had a shower, I am now officially a smelly biker My goal here was to check out Skillos bike, this is the bike that went from London to Oz a year or so back. I wanted to see how he had done the external fuel filter mod first hand, I had seen the post on VSRI, here is the link
but due to the fact the forum moved and Skillo has not reregistered, it is posted as anonymous. I sent him an email
Anyway, we had a chat and I liked the way it can be done, but I need to find out if it will work on a 09 650. I also noticed the rocket launchers out the back!
He said these are 75mm tubes, but were too small. I am thinking of adding some 100mm ones to mine.
After a bit of a chat I headed off, this time I decided to go home a different way, via Corryong, you can see, even though it rained and was cold, the hills are dry as a bone! I fuelled up at Corryong where other riders had the same idea They were heading further east, maybe the Alphine Way, but it was still only about 8C so, too cold for me.
Within ½ an hour I left Victoria and entered New South Wales.
Not much to spruike about from now on, it was just a long cold day riding north. I had no music, my sound system had died. It was brand new, a Camos stereo Bluetooth system, but the connector in the headset was faulty and had come loose and pushed back inside, so no contact!!! It left me a lot of time to think about my upcoming trip to the states, if I got a visa that is but I am very hopeful. Of course I had no email or phone the past few days.
So, up through Corryong, Tumut, Gundagai, Young and Cowra. Then Cudal, Morong and Wellington.
These next two photos are taken 5 hours apart, it is still dry, no green really except for the irrigation areas. The skies were clear, but I still wore all my gear as well as wets and thermals, it was cold all day.
I continued on through Dubbo and Gilgandra, the light was still good but the shadows were getting long.
I eventually got into Coonabarabran around 8pm just after dark and booked into the El Paso motel. There was no food, but I had some Chicken Twisties and bought a couple of beers and had an early night.
Distance travelled for the day – 1047km
Last day to come, hang around
Day 5 Monday 16th
Well, after a quiet evening catching up on some emails and charging some gear I had an early start, I still had a 1000km day ahead. I had sent an email last night to the 3 people on my SPOT list, this was to advise of a test this morning as I was going to send a HELP message, followed by a normal OK message then of course the tracks to follow me home.
I did this, but as I did not have myself as an email reciever I did not get the help message and left it running for a while. Around 6am I started an OK message and after fuel and air, I headed off north. It was quite chilly, about 5C, but not zero
I knew I had arrived last night low on fuel, but considering I had pushed into a head wind all day long it was no wonder I had bad economy, but I never realised how close to empty I was.
The strange thing was, I had had a head wind all the way down south, so how unlucky to get it on the way back within a few days? The higher highway speeds were also a significant factor as well.
So, up through the Piligia forest where this was taken on the way to Narrabri.
I stopped for a quick breakfast at Narrabri, a great pie
Onwards through Moree and an hour and a half after Narrabri I arrived at the Queensland border after fuelling up at Bogabilla:) What a welcome sight. I had also missed a phone call from one of my SPOT contacts. I had sent the ‘advice of a test’ email to a different address, so it was not recieved. But, they got a whole stream of HELP messages and of course thought I was in trouble So, the HELP function works fine, it sends a signal every 5 minutes until it is stopped, or so I found out
It started to warm up straight away, not a great deal, but I could feel the difference, especially when stopped waiting for these things, of which there was a fair number.
Then more straight roads
After an hour or so I got into Dalby where I bought a salad roll and a coke, then kept on going as I figured I would find a shady tree outside town somewhere. Doh, of course there are none! I eventually stopped at a small town where there was supposed to be a vintage tractor, there was a table so I ate here and rested in the shade. It was very hot by now and I was glad of the rest. Someone seems to have stolen the tractor out of its cage though!
I had planned my fuel stops, I was only getting around the 330km mark with the wind and speed etc, but this time I lucked out. The small village had a servo that was closed. Should I go back to Dalby, about 60km or keep on going north? I kept on going north, as you do I was quite lucky in a way, I was down to the flashing bar of fuel and still a long way from Mundubbera, but happened to chance upon a small servo in the middle of nowhere called Darr Creek! This happened to be the very servo where I repaired my tyre about 3 weeks ago, how cool is that, it was an oasis all right? I fueled up, filled up the tyre with air again and kept on going
That was just before 2pm, after that I just plugged on northwards, sucking back the water as it was now in the high 30s. After Munduberra, Eidsvold, then Monto, Thangool and Biloela. I made a decision in Bilo not to fill up with fuel, I judged I only had 150km to go, so I wanted a nearly empty tank when I arrived, so I only put in 10 litres and kept on going. I arrived at Mount Morgan range with the sun nearly down and long shadows.
After that, it was a straight run home through Bouldercombe and I eventually arrived home at 6.30pm, just before dark and out of drinking water
Distance travelled for the day – 1007km
Total round trip – 3898km, the return was a tad longer, but I took mostly minor roads.
While writing this ride report up, good news, my passport with US visa turned up, I immediately bought a ticket online and will be out of here in a few weeks.
On another point, remember that USB key I lost on day one, well I feel like an idiot but I found it I had copied all my useful documents on it and of course I took this to Sydney when I went for my visa interview. So, it was in the coin pocket in my wallet all the time I had flown home and packed and got up early and left so did not even think about it until Sunday, silly me All’s well that ends well.
I will post a ride report for the Chinchilla Watermelon Festival soon and in between, I will be preparing for the states.