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Winton Rally 2007

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 21, 2007

This was originally posted in 2007 on VSRI Forum

Ulysses ‘Adventure Riders SIG’ Rally – Winton 2007

The Ulysses motorcycle club is for the mature age riders. Minimum age to be a full member is 50, but you can be a junior member if you are between 40-50. I enjoy saying I am a ‘Junior’ member πŸ™‚ The motto of the Ulysses Club is β€œ Grow Old Disgracefully”

The Adventure Riders is a ‘Special Interest Group’ SIG within the Ulysses Club whose members ride or have ridden dirt/trail/motoX/enduro etc in the past, and who still do enjoy riding off the beaten track. This rally was held in outback Queensland,Beyond The Black Stump on the weekend of 7,8,9th September 2007. The plan was to get there however you liked, this was the adventure, also the return home, but there was going to be some planned guided tours of the region around the Winton area.

Winton is approx 10 hours ride West of my town of Rockhampton, which was too easy, so I had planned to meet up with another strom rider north of Rocky and go a longer way around. On this map is the original route.

Mine is the black line from bottom right and Peters is the green line from top right, he was coming down from Townsville, the red lines are roads. I was going to travel this route with Greg and Nadelle riding 2up on the 07 V. We were to meet at Belyandos Crossing then take the farm tracks via Lake Buchanen and Lake Galilee to Aramac, stay overnight then head to Muttaburra and Winton. This plan was put on hold as I had ben informed of lots of bulldust and sand along those tracks, so we decided to do that another day, when our skill levels had increased. Instead, Greg and Nadelle headed out on Thursday with Dennis on his MotoGuzzi to Barcaldine then arrive Winton on Friday. This was probably a good idea as Tuesday night we had a lot of rain, quite extensive over the whole route we intended to travel, so that bulldust was now bullmud!!!

On the above map, my actual route is marked by the yellow line, from my Garmin GPS Map76S. It ran out of storage so no lines from Barcaldine to home on the return leg.

Day 1

It’s raining and has been all night, which is great cos we need it. Still, it put a damper on the route to be taken, because the dirt sections planned are now mud sections, not good! So be it, plan B is to take the tarmac all the way to Belyandos Crossing, which is todays target. A bit of drama as I had plugged a leaking tyre a few days back(nail) but it is still leaking. I intended to get moving just prior to 8am, managed a few hours sleep the night before, but woke up at 3am. After trying to sleep, got up and did the house work, so at least things were a bit neater I went straight to one of the local bike shops to get some tyre sealant stuff, they ‘sold’ me a bottle of β€œBlue Goo” as they did not have anything else and said this stuff was the bees knees! Their compressor was not charged yet, so I decided to head on out in the heavy rain and just keep an eye on the tyre pressure. I stopped at Duaringa, 1 hour out to change socks as my boots leaked like a sieve. Used freezer bags to see if that would help. Saw a few other riders all packed up, I thought they were headed the same way, but it turns out not. The rain eased for a few minutes and I managed to get this photo near Comet, about half an hour away from Emerald, my next fuel stop.

Had lunch at Emerald. I had wet feet again but only one change of dry socks left so ignored it, topped up my tyre pressure, I had lost 15lb, and headed off. It looked like the rain was going to stop with just some showers in the distance

but that was too early a call as not ten minutes later I was amongst it again

I was still happy though for a few reasons.
1.It was Wednesday, I was not working πŸ™‚
2.I was being paid for being where I was πŸ™‚
3.I had good music in my ears πŸ™‚
4.It was raining, this was good for the dry old country, especially out this far πŸ™‚

I eventually arrived at Belyandos Crossing, which is in the middle of nowhere. All it is is a servo that has an alchohol license, some motel rooms and caravan park with facilities available for everyone. It is the junction of 2 roads and where it is an actual river crossing, it has been upgraded a bit, you can see the old crossing on the left

After booking in( I had booked ahead) and having a hot shower and dry clothes I immediately set about fixing the tyre. Dumped the air, filled rear wheel with 250ml Blue Goo as per instructions, filled with 36psi and wheeeled it around the back yard a few times. Then proceeded to watch all the lovely bubbles of Blue Goo come out of the hole in the tyre

It was about this time that Peter rolled in from Townsville, he reckoned it had been raining most of the way as well, he was also soaked. I decided to not worry about the tyre, I could fill it in the morning and see what happens after travelling a bit, maybe it neede more than a few laps of the yard. So, it was beer time which was easy to arrange, catching up with friends is great. Beer turned into the decision to buy Rum!!! If you want to do this here, buy it somewhere else!!! It cost $41 for a square bear (700ml of Bundaberg Rum)and another 10 bucks for coke. But, it went down well enough and after a good feed, enjoyed a chat with a cow cocki called Paul, he was taking his father in law on a tour up to Darwin and back, they were on their way home. Here is a couple of shit pictures of that night, quality down due to the rum πŸ™‚

One thing I did notice while I was there was a big sign advertising Ladies

but I think it was false advertising cos when you get around the corner there was just a chook shed????

Ain’t no Ladies here, keep moving! πŸ˜‰

After polishing off all the rum, it was sack time. I can tell you that there was a lot of snoring happening around those few rooms that night



Day 2

Well nothing unusual in the morning, it was drizzling and had been all night. Most of my clothes were nearly dry so that was a bonus πŸ™‚ After a good breakfast we were told the phonelines were back up so we had to pay for the accomodation 😦 The night previous the owner told us no EFTPOS of any type but not to worry, we could send a cheque or something, pretty easy going chap old ‘Tug” Anyway, filled up the tyre with air and departed with full rain gear heading north to Charters Towers. On the way, about 60km north we found the turnoff to Aramac that we had originally intended to take, it looked quite muddy and not for us this time.

As you can see from the above photo, it was 286km via mud to Aramac πŸ™‚ We headed off on the blacktop again and just up the road a bit we started seeing this extension lead, like multiple power leads all joined together on the side of the road, it just kept on going and going and going

We finally bumped into the reason for it, it was a geology testing system and these Thumper trucks

were banging on the ground and the shock waves were being picked up by the little sensors on the right in the first photo attached to the black leads. The extension lead stretches 35km!!! We eventually found a mobile control truck up the road a ways. We continued on to Charters Towers where we stopped for air and fuel, I was down to 15psi again, but I could feel it on the road, despite the Airhawk seat. Peter stocked up with a square bear at a more realistic price of $31!! Then we headed west, after checking to see if the roads were open after all the rain that had fallen, lucky for us it was OK.

We got as far as Pentland before stopping for lunch and a ride on a different type of bike πŸ™‚

Continued on until we got to White Mountain National Park, there was a lookout on the side of the road, funnily enough even the TomTom showed the little road loop to pull over for photos.

Finally got to Hughenden around 2.30. After a look around at what accomodation was available we settled on the resort, it seemed the best and had all the stuff we needed, aircon, pub, bottleshop, oh and food We had intended to go to the Porcupine Gorge national Park, but were told it was a 3 hour round trip and with skippies around at dusk, not all that safe, so we decided to leave that until a later time, and camp there. I needed to fix my tyre, so decided to head to the hardware shop and find some BIG self tapping screws. I found some that may do the trick, but were a tad smaller than I wanted. No worries, I will give it a go. Then the next drama occurred!!! Did I mention I had installed a bike alarm/Immobaliser Well, now my remote was not working and I could not turn off my alarm and the spare remote was at home, lucky I had my helmet on, the noise was deafening!! I tried a few times, but no LEDs were working, maybe the battery was buggered? So, when it calmed down I went back to the hardware store and borrowed a jewellers screwdriver and dismantled it to find it was full of bloody water!!! This was a motorcycle specific alarm system, you would think the damm thing would be waterproof, but it could not take a day and a half of rain 😑 So, as it was stuffed, I headed back out and did the obvious, set the alarm off a few more times while I removed the seat and got out my side cutters and cut the siren wires, oh blissfull silence πŸ˜€ (I think Pete has an incriminating photo of me around about this time) Nobody seemed to care I had silenced an alarm with cutters, maybe they don’t have crime and don’t know what it is or what I was doing? Anyway, despite what I asked in the Jaycar install thread, I had managed to wire it up correctly, because the immoboliser was now in effect, so I was still stumped, had dash lights etc but no fire. OK, next trick, untape the ignition wiring harness and cut the wires I had spliced into the cables there. Great, that should work:) Oh bugger, should this plug be out here with me? It was the ignition wiring loom plug, I had pulled it out from under the tank and it was disconnected, now for some serious work, but not out here on the street. So, I pushed the bike a block and a half to the motel carpark and stripped the tank off, cleaned the aircleaner while I was in there and reconnected the harness cable

Once I put it all back together, it worked a treat, remind me to rip that piece of shit out and bin it when I get home!!!! Then I started to frig around with my tyre repair, but the screws were too small still, so I installed another plug and hoped for the best. So, it only took the one beer to fix those problems, we had been told that just south of Hughenden there was an escarpment which had 360 degree views and it had a great sunset viewing place, so here are a few photos of the steep track up, a beer or two overlooking Hughenden in the background, the obligatory sunset pix, then on the way down I had to pull up suddenly so I would not run over this echidna(spiny anteater), I had to park my bike on the slope and chase him into the rocks to get a photo of his bum πŸ˜€

After that we had a careful ride back to the motel/resort, the worst time of the day for skippies, some dinner and a few more rums. I crashed out a bit earlier than Pete because I was knackered, all that exercise pushing the bike I reckon! BTW, the damm tyre was bubbling and leaking again

To be continued.


Day 3

After a great brekky for me, none for Pete it was pack up time. Pete was unable to continue to Winton as he had a Vertical Rescue course to attend over the weekend for SES, so he was heading back to Townsville, just over 450km east. Catch you later Pete, don’t forget to find some time to do the Porcupine Gorge camping trip, let me know. πŸ™‚

I filled up with air again and headed south to Winton, it was single track blacktop but not bad stuff. The sun was out and I had clear skys, what could be better. I passed a few Harleys, looked like mum and dad lol, but they looked like they were heading to the same place, gave them a wave, they waved back. A bit later I could feel the tyre was low so stopped and got my compressor out and filled up. The pub was closed but I took some enjoyment in the fact they were advertising the Corfield Cup, which is the premier horse race that occurs a week before the Melbourne Cup. Mind you, I was over 2500km from Melbourne!

Next stop was Winton and The North Gregory Hotel where it did not take long for all of the Vstroms to gather

all four of them, 2 07 wees and one 07 Vee and my 06 of course. Lucky I got this photo, cos it was only about 1130am and the place was swamped with BMWs later on πŸ™‚ After booking in I was told that there was a ride that arvo to Scrammys Lookout in the Bladensburg National Park, leaving at 2pm. I was also advised to check with the guys up the road at Central Motors as they may be able to help with the tyre problem. I went and spoke to ‘China’ who advised that as they were guiding the ride that arvo, they would see what they could do and to call back at 1pm. After a feed I did so and it was all done, tyre off, taken up the road to the repairers and put back on, all for the measley sum of $20. You bloody ripper πŸ™‚ Thanks a million Butch and China, good work and cheap and the tyre is still going strong.

So, 2pm we all gathered and those that were riding headed off. It was only a shortish trip of around 60km return, pretty much all dirt of course except for the road to the turnoff, this is the google earth view of the track, as you can see there is no track πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

The ride was fun overall, only a few scary moments with the dust and some loose bits on the gravel etc.

A meeting point to regroup

Even the guys with the side cars managed the ride, well done! Notice the ‘well defined track’ lol

That is Dennis on the 07 Vstrom

Scrammy Lookout

A view from the lookout

This next shot is where all the water on the escarpment flows to, the beginning of a creek

And a bit of a rest before the trip back

Greg and Nardell riding 2up enjoyed the ride

The only damage for the day was one of the older chaps on a chinese dirt bike crashed a bit and as he had a half helmet on, when he landed on his face it pushed his glasses into his eyebrow where he eventually got 16 stiches. I guess, full face or motoX style helmets would have saved this pain.

Anyway, after showers and dinner the ‘Meet and Greet’ was held in the beer garden of the NGH, where Alf the organiser of the whole event thanked us all for coming etc, here is his best side

only joking Alf πŸ™‚ The partying continued until the early hours of the morning by some with one of the last comments alleged to have been β€œI can fit 10 CDs on my nipples how about you” I was well asleep by this time as we had a 120km dirt section to be enjoyed the next day!!

To be continued


Day 4

Saturday morning, after breaky some well earned washing/drying needed to be done. They had the markets in the main street out the front of the hotel and it was generally a lazy morning. Just out the back of the pub is Arno’s place where his famous wall is. Here are a few photos, do not leave your bike unattended around this place πŸ™‚ There is just about everything built into this wall, including a few bikes AND the kitchen sink, lol!!

Lunch was when ever you wanted it, but there was a bike display planned for 1pm where all the bikes were lined up in front of the pub, from memory we had around the 200 registrations and about 70-80 bikes, a few did not make it for a number of reasons, crashes while travelling to Winton was one of them!

As you can see from the photos there are a number of cruisers and other non dirt bikes there as well. They would be heading up to Kynuna on the northern road to visit the Blue Heeler Pub about 170km away.

Meanwhile another dirt trip was organised for us, about double the length of Fridays, basically a big loop around that area we were at then ending up back at Scrammys turnoff, it was to be led by Butch. So, at 2pm we were off down the same bit of highway and the same bit of dirt to start with, but we soon veered to the right(south), here is the track that goes down south, veers east, then north and stops where the right turn to Scrammys Lookout is, does that make sense?

This particular ride was a bit more advanced than the previous days ride, a few more looser sections longer in length and a bit longer overall as well. I was going to be a bit more observant as yesterday I bottomed out many times over the whoops. This was due to my lowered Wee rather than the track itself and Greg, 2up on the Vee did not have this problem. Here he is with Nadelle again today, nothing ventured nothing gained as they say and they do like this type of riding as well

Unfortunately, not long after this photo was taken, when I was in front of them again I went through this small cutting and it was all loose gravel and sand, talk about tank slap city!!! I was unprepared for it but managed to keep it upright and immediately slowed down and kept my eye on the rear view mirror, sure enough a hand went up and I pulled over, Vstrom down, managed to take a few snaps while running back to help

Notice here the bike is UP, but the wife is still DOWN!

A this stage I put the camera away and helped Nardelle up. Damage was minor, a sore bruised foot, the brand new bike had just had Givi bars installed, a bit scratched, but the end of the gear lever broke off. They rode back to town for repairs, I continued on!

The ride was a mixture of tracks through the red desert sands, that’s John on his Suzi

Most of the riders had enduro style bikes, I was the only Strom left but a Honda Verdaradero, a TDM, a Transalp and a lot of BMWs were also there. Here we had a rest break and also to try and fix China’s front tyre, it was flat, but it turned out to have broken the valve stem, he kept on riding the Honda SL230 anyway, he reckoned it was only a problem when he went slow 😦 Judging from his riding style, no problems πŸ™‚

Here we have one of the many right hand bend entry, downhill into a loose creek bed with an uphill left bend exit, I took these slow and easy πŸ™‚ sometimes they confused me cos the direction in and out were reversed, lol

Then we pick a track through the trees in the nice soft sand, not!

Next we climbed up over a crest which was made out of iron balls, or it felt like it anyway, very loose and looked very hard, I decided I would not fall off here!

Here is another picture of John who was always around waiting to get his photo taken, lol, another shot of the loose ground

Another drink/smoke break a bit further down

This was taken at the most southerly point of the trip, referring to the GPS track posted above. While looking at that, on the right east you will see a small spur or offshoot, this is an Opal mine dump, basically a big scraper scraped all the topsoil etc together into big mounds which includes opals, we took a diversion up here for a look after the rest break, here is China still riding in with a flat front tyre!

and here are some photos of the mounds etc

You can tell it is the middle of nowhere

On the way back, not sure who this is

and because of all the dust you can see the lowering sun created its own little problems

Before the flat open run home, 120kmh here for me, yeehaaa!!!

It sort of made up for all the 10 kmh bits during the day, lol.

After a well earned shower, sans camera, not an image you could or need to endure we had a great BBQ dinner before the official prize giving ceromony. They had about 10 catagories with the ‘Longest Distance Travelled’ to get there the ultimate prize. That went to one of the older members, about 72 from memory who rides with a wooded leg and travelled via the simpson desert to get to Winton, overall about 7500km and took 3 weeks. I may have some of those details wrong, I hope someone will post the correct score on the prizes. The ‘Most Outstanding Achievment” award was given to Nardelle who limped up to collect her prize

No worries, a bit of ice on the leg and she will ride pillion on dirt again.

NB: They are still married!

Some beers and rum were had while the footy was on TV and some general merry making was done.

As a side note, those cruisers I mentioned earlier that had their own trip up north a bit?? They arrived very late to the presentation. It turns out there was no fuel at Kynuna, no one knew so it was lucky a support vehicle went with them, but they all limped back home anyway. I think they were the noisy ones again this night, I had decided to do the Opalton trip the next day, a round trip on dirt of 250km so I had a reasonably early night as it was a 9am start.


Day 5

Another bright sunny day, which was good as it was Sunday πŸ™‚ Went and fuelled up and parked out the front and found Greg on the Vstrom 1k sitting in the gutter finding a slow leak in his tyre. They were heading back to Rocky today and planning on staying in Emerald.

One of the chaps on a beamer had this yew bewt tyre plug gadget which he lent to him, he had never used it himself and was keen to see it in action. And after much reading of the instructions(hang on, males and reading instructions first, does not sound right eh!) it was promptly inserted and pumped up and they were off. {As a post note, it turned out this hole was more of a small cut and the tyre was constantly leaking, they had a can of air repair which they used a few times. Their mistake was in not having the repair fixed at Barcaldine, 3 hours east of Winton because they only managed another 80km and had to make a forced overnight stopover in Jericho, before having the tyre fixed next day. They bought a new tyre when reaching Rocky safely.}

So, quite a number of bikers were heading home today but there were still a number keen on the Opalton ride. I had planned on being in Blackall tonight, but after doing some talking with Prue and David(owners of the North Gregory Hotel where I was currently staying) and the Acacia Motel in Blackall I managed to stay here another night and swap my booking to Monday night at Blackall. This allowed me to do the ride to Opalton and the chance to do some private business on the Monday during working hours.

This is the route we took, apparently it is a well looked after graded gravel road and it was approximately 120km to our destination

With about 20 or so bikes it was a bit dusty but I pulled over at one stage and snapped this

Most of the road was like this with a few loose sandy bits which got the old heart started and the worst bits which were sweeping bends with loose gravel AND corrugations, they certainly get the old pucker ring puckering! Photo opportunities for me were minimal on the way there, but the scenery was great, after about 1 Β½ hours we got to Opalton, blink and you will miss it πŸ™‚

Yepper, that’s all she wrote, just a small collection of huts, a small store where food and drinks can be bought, this is also where you can buy and sell Opals, the whole reason for being here. So, I hopped off my bike took my helmet and jacket off and went to my topbox to get my sun hat out, DOH! No bloody topbox, WTF! It was there when I left, look in the photo above, thats my bike, nothing on the back, not even the bracket/plate assembly it was clipped too. 😦 Oh well, I could tell that 120km of corrugation had vibrated the Nylock nuts loose enough for the bracket assembly to rotate and it eventually bounced off. I had noticed that the bike that was following me had not appeared yet, so maybe he spotted it, no worries, I would keep my eyes open for it on the way back.

So those of us that had arrived were having a cold drink at the Outpost when the rest of the riders turned up. The Varadero rider who was following me saw it bounce down the road a ways before disgorging its contents. He stopped and picked it all up(thanks a bunch again) and waited for Graham in the support vehicle, so I got all my gear back, a few scratches etc but it still locks. It stayed in the truck for the trip back!

I took this pix when I got home, I have since bought a new handle assy for $30, the scratches can stay and are a conversation starter πŸ™‚

Here is a pix of the Opal sellers and some of the bikes lined up at the Outpost

Opalton is an area where miners extract Boulder Opal from the ground and have mines dug everywhere. We had a great BBQ lunch and then it was nearly ready to head back. We were going to be taken down a mine by one of the characters but he had a tad too much to drink a couple of days before and his autopilot went wonky and steered him into a tree, he is now in Townsville hospital recovering. Another chap asked if we wanted to see a mine working, most of us said yes, so we followed him in his ute in first gear for ages, past all these camp sites, very dusty with mines on all sides and eventually we pulled up at what we thought was his mine site

Look familier? Bloody hell, we just went in a big circle and ended up where we started and got to see nothing?? There had been a communications breakdown. Not to worry. A few of us decided to head back at that point. I must say the trip home was a lot more enjoyable πŸ™‚ Only one bike in front of me, he disappeared in the distance which was great, no dust, I could see things including the road which was a bonus. Here are some shots on the way back, I had heaps of time.

This is the airstrip, facing the way you are looking, the road crosses it from left to right about half way down its length, why not, it can’t be that busy πŸ™‚

Someone flew passed at a rate of knots, I let them go and waited till the dust settled

And finally a picture of me πŸ™‚

which happened to be taken by the guy that went past earlier at a rate of knots, here he is here, good on ya Dennis, another Rocky rider on his MotoGuzzi

This was the end of the dirt and the ride, a very enjoyable day, which was capped off in the bar watching the footy and another good feed.

I would like to thank the support riders who were flying around making sure us non locals stayed on track, also to Graham from the North Gregory who took the ute and a trailer just in case for all the rides, much appreciated.



Day 6

Monday, on the way home but first took care of some business, and said cheerio to the gang up at Central Motors, I would be back next week for work this time though.

I fueled up where I took this photo of this stock transporter, there were 3 of them side by side, then they managed to leave before me going my way, that is a lot of cow poo to follow and get past, especially with the last trailer on each rig weaving all over the place splashing wet gooey cow stuff around, but I got through OK πŸ™‚

Fuelled up again and had some lunch in Barcaldine about midday, before turning North and headed to Muttaburra via Aramac, along the way the cockies were droving stock down the ‘Long Paddock’

navigated through them as well, eventually got to Muttaburra

There is not much there but a lot bigger than Opalton , this is the main street

Had a cool drink at the pub before heading back the way I came via Aramac and Barcaldine, my destination Blackall, still 3 hours away and it would be getting close to dark, Skippy time!

I don’t know why I worried about them cos it was these buggers that caused me more drama, nearly skittled one of them, they were all over the joint!

A funny story about Emus, I had seen so many of them and kept trying to get a photo but they are too fast and are head down bum up by the time I get to stop and pull my camera out etc, this is what I normally got to take a photo of, their bums

Yep, thats it, that round blobby thing to the right of the tree. I finally saw this female Emu just off the side of the road with about 6 chicks, so I pulled over got my camera out, turned to take the picture and she was heading for me real fast!!! EEEEEKK! 1st gear and gorn! She was a tad protective I feel πŸ™‚ Good on her.

Anyway, more fuel at Barky and I was off to Blackall on the final leg, it was 5.10pm and I had an hour to go, no good speeding, this road is notorious for cops and I saw them as well, gave them a wave back also πŸ™‚ Saw many roos, so I slowed way down especially with the long shadows, but got there safely.

Next morning, the reason for this pitstop is now apparent. In my opening to this thread I mentioned the term “Beyond The Black Stump” and this is where it originates. Anything West of this point was beyond the black stump, Winton is 4 hours beyond! The coast is 6-7 hours east

The sign to the left says ‘This side of the black stump’ and the sign to the right says ‘beyond the black stump’

And that was it, just a long ride home listening to music, stopped at Emerald for a feed stopped at the Drummond Range lookout for a photo prior to that

then a quick stop at Blackwater to take a photo of one of the smaller older dragline buckets, you can fit about 4 of these in the new buckets

and got home around 4pm.

TravellingStrom πŸ™‚

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One Response to “Winton Rally 2007”

  1. Nathalie said

    Thanks for sharingg this

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