TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Day One to Six Inclusive

Posted by TravellingStrom on May 28, 2008

An early start and a 850km run to Townsville for my first ever Ulysses AGM.  I had no idea what to expect, all I knew was that today was Wednesday and a lot of people had been there since the weekend.  I had a tent site booked inside the showgrounds and I was going to try and meet up with Al and Des from Cairns(from The Long Ride fame).  And of course Peter aka TSV-Strom on VSRI  who now lived there.

No pictures on the way up, too busy riding and I wanted to get there before 5pm to be able to book in.  I eventually got to Townsville about 3.30pm and met up with Peter who took me down to the registration center, the address was unknown to TomTom.

Here was where I picked up my wrist band, a different colour depending on if you were attending the two official dinners and of course if you were camping or staying off site.  I also got a bag of goodies and a Polo shirt which I had prepaid for.

After that Peter showed me where the showground was, a very long way and then tried to find a camp site.  There was no structure that I could see, just pitch your tent where ever you could, which I found a bit annoying as I had paid good money for a spot.  Anyway, found a piece of dirt, too hard to get any pegs in, there must be concrete about 2 inches down!  Dennis turned up and camped next door, he is from Rocky and rides a ZZR, well this time anyway, last time it was a guzzi.

Once that chore was done it was off to the bar 🙂  As you do!  There was this massive tent that had been setup in the main show ring and it had a bar attached to it.  The beer was a reasonable price, sad news was that they did not have any spirits except for RTDs, I hate the cola in the rum, so I had plans 🙂

Excuse the sparkly bits on the pictures, I did not find out untill a day or so later that there was dust and crud over my lens 😦  Anyway, the night progresed, entertainment had been booked for each night and there was even dancing on the tables

Myself, Denis and Peter ended up adjourning to out tent site and drinking rum and proper coke with ice, I had prepared my pannier as an icebox again.  We ended up hitting the sack after midnight and not a teeny bit pissed

This is the view from my tent the next morning, right opposite the CanAm Spyder practice track.

After a breakfast up at the corner stand which was yuck, we wandered around the show ally area.  This was when I found out that all these bike manufacturers and other equipment suppliers had set up stalls and tents with all the gear they wanted to show off. Amazing stuff, all these bikes lined up and you could test ride any one you wanted to!!!  Or all of them for that matter, Ithink that what Dennis intended!  This is the Piaggio

It had a wierd front end setup and you could lock the suspension any way you wanted to.

I booked a ride on one but as they made you do a breath test, it was lucky it was not until after lunch 🙂

I also checked the bookings for the CanAm Spyder, these test rides had been booked for months in advance.  You had to get a practice ride done first, then you could go on the stand by list, we did that, this was the track near my tent.  These bikes are weird to ride, no counter steering, you have to turn the handlebars to steer around corners.  There is no front brake lever, nothing there at all, it is all ABS controlled by the right foot lever.  Very powerful, these were 990cc, a bit of wheel spin happened on this track 🙂

A bit of a wander around and found these multi horses in their stables

It looks like he is milking a cruiser in that one eh!   I did not test ride this one

After a bite to eat it was time to go ride a Piaggio, these are a crazy bike to ride.  No practice given, just a briefing beforehand then out on the streets, we all wore fluro bibs and stayed in a group, a very enjoyable ride.  These were automatic gearing, no clutch, that lever was your back brake, that was confusing to start with 🙂

After that ride we joined a group of stand by riders for a Spyder ride, amazingly we managed to get on first time, two people had not turned up 🙂  This bike can get up on two wheels if you really try, especially through the small Townsville roundabouts.  The motor has a centrifugal sensor on it, if it pulls more than so many G force, it will feather the engine output, very sneaky, but it stops tip overs and being flung out of the seat, a very real possibility.

Then it was beer time again as it was Thursday, might as well celebrate, it only comes once a week <g>

Here is sunset

Des and Charlie from the Cairns Group

And Suzie on the right

I would have posted one of Al, but it might be inciminating, I have to ask him first.

A reasonably quiet evening as I was still a bit fatgued from last night.  Woke up fine the next morning though, Friday.  Here are some pictures of the camping grounds, all sorts of tents and trailer setups here. A regular daily bin pick up and the ice man cometh twice a day with bagged ice, he would not deliver beer though, although I did ask.

We had planned to meet up with Greg and Nardelle from Rocky for a ride, they had their big 5th wheeler with them and the 1k Strom strapped to the back, but they had to stay in a campground 20km north on the main road. We went to the top of Mount Stuart where all the TV and other transmitting antennas are.  Then took a small walk around and checked out the views.  There were a heap of bikes around as you can guess.  With over 3500 registrations, that means at least 2000 extra bikes around the area.

Thats Greg

Thats their setup

Then it was time to go get a shower and get ready for the Friday night formal dinner.  The doors opened at 6.30pm and what a line up, we are talking up to 3000 people wanting to get in and have some dinner.  This from where I am in the queue, the end of the queue where I started was out the gate, down past the food stands near the corner of the main entrance!!!

Once inside it was massive, but according to people who had been to Coffs Harbour the year previous, this was only half the size, they had 6000 registrations there!

The helium filled ballons were a source of great entertainment, anything and everything was tied to them and set ‘free’, even some scrundies with token skiddies

This was my attempt, it managed to be at quite neutral bouyancy and eventually ended up on the other side of the tent

Some of our Capricorn branch members, some I had never met before, but then we have about 120 members, but usually only about 20 or so turn up for ride days

They did quite well with the dinners, everyone fed (3000 meals and deserts) in about 2 hours, then the entertainment started.  I was a fair way back from the stage, but that voice and some of them jokes sounded familier

Yes, that’s right people, it was none other than Fats Thommo, all the way from the Northern Territory, we had met him just a few weeks back at Three Ways while doing the Rumble To The Rock.  Now was my chance to see what type of dick I had made of myself out there, cos I was picked to be the sailor at Three Ways, other mugs were on stage tonight thankfully 🙂

When we registered we were all issued with a small shoulder bag with goodies in it,

it became useful to carry camera, drink bottle, snacks, wallet and it even had a phone pocket.  I had come prepared tonight as I had pre mixed a rum and coke and it fit in this bag neatly 🙂  I smuggled it in with none of the door goons asking to look in it, lots of people were carrying them, I just had to be careful when I filled my glass.  We ended up sitting outside on the dog track fence because the music later on was very loud and it was a bit stuffy inside.  We had a few nitecaps down at the tents, but it was reasonable early to bed as we had the grand parade in the morning, I wanted to tackle that relatively sober!

Woke up quite healthy and after a quick shower and a cuppa boiled on my billy, it was get ready for the parade.  We had planned to ride together in the parade, so Denis and I met up with Greg, Nardelle and Peter out the front. (the rule is if you are not camped in the showground, your bike does not enter.  The security was very high, your wrist band ID number was matched to your bikes sticky number tag everytime you left and entered.  No thieving of bikes went on here 🙂 )  People could come and go as they pleased of course, but only those with an AGM wristband.  Except today, the side show ally was open to the general public while the parade and AGM was on, but the camp ground was fenced off.

Anyway, we met up and headed off to the marshaelling area, here the scouts were doing bacon/egg rolls etc for breakfast, very welcome 🙂  The parade was to start at 10am, there was a lot of bikes already there(9am) and heaps more turning up all the time.

Once I got off my bike I realised it could be hard to find again, so I used my SES training and took some cross bearings with a couple of trees and walked up the row till I found the first bike in line, it turned out to be the yellow one

The bikes kept on coming

This kind man in fluro let us stand on his car roof to take photos, he did not seem to care about the bike boots

I managed to get some good photos for myself and while up there I took a heap of photos for about 20-30 other people as well with their cameras.

There were real women there

And some not so real women

The ride was stuffed up in a way, the cops would not allow the full contingent of riders to all ride at the same time in procession.  They let about 5 rows go at once, then a 10 minute wait, then another 5 rows etc.

The ride itself was fun, all three Vstroms rode together, mostly standing on the pegs and waving to the kids and parents that lined the streets, a well turned out event.   Eventually we ended up at the registration centre

The actual AGM was to be held here this afternoon, to re elect office bearers for the Ulysses organisation etc.  We decided as it was only 11am to head up the twisties on the western mountain ranges and have lunch at the cafe.  We dropped of Nardelle at their campsite.  We figured if most of the bikes were at the AGM, there should be a good opportunity for a ‘speedy’ attack of the mountain roads without too much slower traffic.  This was achieved, with Greg and Denis racing back up and down for another go  🙂  They were selling some coffee up at this shop, $50 a cup, apparently been passed through the intenstines of a cat or monkey or something, supposed to make it nicer to drink???  I had a can of coke  🙂  Here is Pete and myself modelling some nice trendy headgear they also sold

I ended up buying one, in expectation of the freezing cold in Cobar next weekend 🙂

Then it was back to the showgrounds where there were more bikes to ride

That R1 was powerful, heaps of grunt! Keeping the front wheel down was a challenge, so was changing gears, 140kmh in first, lol.  Still, a very hard riding position to get used to and the pegs were way up high, still I enjoyed the experience.  Greg and Nardelle wanted a go on the Spyders, but were told no pillions by the organisers, becasue there was no sissy bar or back rest.  But, apparently, if you are a stripper with big knockers, you can go anytime

But we were lucky, we hung around for a while and managed to score another ride, good fun.  Then it was hurry up and get ready for the Saturday night dinner in the tent.  I had planned something different this time with regards drinks.  The mixed drink last night had gotten warm too quickly, so tonight what I did was this, I took my 3lt camel back bladder and filled it with a bottle of rum and coke and topped it up with ice, then stashed that in my shoulder baggie 🙂 That worked real well, but I found out in the weeks ahead, nothing would remove the smell of rum from the water, even though the bladder got washed heaps of times.  My advice, don’t do this unless you have a spare bladder 😦

The dinner was similar in the long queue to get in, the food was better and the entertainment was an all girl band, very good.

Different colour ballons and the nights theme was going troppo, a great night was had by all.  Most people had an early night as tomorrow it was back on the road again , no need to get too drunk and ride hungover and maybe have the cops breathalyse you.

Early next morning and people were already on their bikes, before daylight, them damm Harleys that make so much noise and need too much time to warm up before they can get going, unlike the strom, turn it over, ride!!!  Here is a chap that had ridden a Spyder with trailer up from Sydney, heading home, I am a bit suss about the pink esky though!

And the campsites starting to empty quite quickly by the time I had had a cuppa and packed up.

In the background here you can see tent city, for those that did not want to bring camping gear they rented a tent, just brought their bikes and clothes.

Then myself and Denis headed over to Peters place to say goodby and pick up a DVD he burnt for me, then on the road by about 10am.  I had made arrangements to stay in Sarina with a friend overnight while Denis was staying with his son in Mackay.   Getting fuel further down the road

While on the road there was so many bikes amongst the normal traffic and it was drizzley as well.  Not a good combination and there were a lot of bikes with trailers, too close together on the road and riding in groups of 6 or more, with no space for anyone to pass them, this was so dangerous and bloody stupid.  I cannot figure out why they do this, and to top it all off, most of them were only riding between 80-90kmh this meant normal road users were being held up and were taking chances in overtaking them!!! Crazy!!!  Anyway, me and Denis got ourselves well away from that type of rider and kept to our own speed, around the 110 mark, we arrived in Mackay about 3pm where we went our seperate ways.
A pleasant afternoon and evening drinking beers and rum with me old m8 Shayne and his missus Jenny and a very ate start in the morning for the final leg home. I arrived home around 2.30pm, all in all a very enjoyable time.

Cheers
TravellingStrom
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2 Responses to “Day One to Six Inclusive”

  1. Dave Murray (Muzza) said

    A great job as usual Richard. Your standard of reporting is fast becoming legendary. Hope to see you at next years Rumble or the AGM.

  2. travellingstrom said

    Hiya Dave, thanks for the kind words m8.

    I will not be there next year because I hope to be in South America on my RTW trip, I may be back for Albury WA in 2010, maybe 🙂

    Happy Rumbling though

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