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Day 455-460 – 9th – 14th March, 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on March 14, 2010

Tuesday to Sunday – Albany, Western Australia

A bulk effort for the AGM week and nothing is in any particular order or timeline coz I was busy being lazy and getting the bike sorted out

Today Tuesday, was the beginning of the AGM for me, but there were certain things I needed to do first. I needed to sort out tyres and internet and that was sorted out in not time. I ended up having to get the tyres brought in from Perth, and they would be here tomorrow. The internet was sorted out, it turns out the Optus modem I had was not working correctly, so I had buy a new modem and some data, I was glad when that was sorted out as I could now maybe catch up on some blog stuff, although there was no power in the campground near me! But what was near me was a whole stack of bikes and trikes and all sorts of tents and trailer set ups, some of them are quite impressive.

During the afternoon I had a few visitors, one was a chap called Derek, we had met in Melbourne the other year during a ride organised by K1W1. He was wondering if I was interested in riding back east via the Great Central Road, which is mainly a dirt section that goes through the Gibson Desert to the Olgas near Ayres Rock. He wanted to ride it but also wanted company, so I said, sure it sounds like fun, let me get sorted out with a few things and we can do some more planning later on 🙂 Another visitor was Margaret(Beemerbird), we had last met in Spokane, Washington as she completed the IBR(Iron Butt Rally). We had a great chat and probably more to come over the next few days

This next bit is the next day, I am sure of it 😉

I wandered over to the trade show, but except for the insides of a Piaggio, there was nothing there that really interested me as far as bikes were concerned.

There were only a few bike vendors, BMW of course, but they are all too tall for me, Harley Davidson, not for me thanks, Piaggio and the Spyder. No Jap bikes around at all, which was strange so after a quick look around the other stalls and displays I headed back and then got my phone call saying the tyres have arrived. So, I headed over to the bike shop and proceeded to remove the wheels one at a time and a young chap fitted them for me. I kept a close watch on him while doing this as those tyres must be made of gold, they cost enough!!! I also did an oil and filter change and ended up buying genuine Harly oil, it was cheaper than the full synth and the motor is only new and not run in yet. Well, not officially, but I did the Motoman run in so it is fine 🙂

The whole process only took an hour or so, although they did stuff up the tyre order. I specifically ordered the H rated tyre and a V rated was delivered, after querying the fact, the salesman chap found out that the Perth shop made a mistake and did NOT have one of what I paid for and so put the other one on the truck. Not much I could do about it now, I was in need of a tyre, so I will just have to suck it and see.

So, I now have a knobby on the front for the desert run(yes I have decided to go east that way) and a long lasting tyre on the back, well I hope so as it is not what I ordered! That evening I had my own beer as I had grabbed some broccoli boxes from the supermarket, bought beer ice, snags eggs butter and a heap of other food stuffs, so I can cook my own brekky etc. I found a group of people around the corner in a place called Party Central. This is a gathering of the Ulysses internet forum people who get together for beers and cheers every year. I knew a few of them from the forum as well as a few personally, so it was a nice evening, even with the cold wind and rain!

So, I think this is Friday, I have slowly got my bike to a state where I think it is ready for a ride and I have caught up with emails and some other outstanding things. I have spent some time in the local town library charging electrical stuff and doing a few days blogs, but not too many. This is breakfast on the lawn in front of my tent, I actually have quick release panniers now so they can be used as a table 🙂

The rest of the day was doing not much as it was mainly a countdown until this evenings dinner. I was running a bit late as myself and Margaret had decided to have a few beers/vodka and sit both our SPOT devices next to each other and swap batteries and see what happens. We did that and it was soon apparent that mine did have an issue as it did not matter which batteries it used, it flashed red and also it seemed to lose satellite connection as the lights were flashing out of sequence. Margaret’s device worked fine with my batteries as well as her own. After this was done I had to hustle to get to the dinner, although by being tardy I did not have to wait inline. So, I bought a beer inside and walked around for a while and eventually found the Rocky crew, although finding them in the campground was a hard job to do!

The meal was OK but once that was done I left, the PA system was a bit out of wack and it was hard to understand what was being said. I ended up back at PC with some more beers and good times, as you can tell it was a warmer night tonight 🙂

Saturday was a slow start and I had no need to rush. They had the grand parade on this morning but I was not interested in participating in that, too many bikes too close together, I prefer riding solo, but I guess 3000 bikes could make for interesting viewing. In the end I was trying to get to the library again and could not get there because of all the bikes, so they had blocked the street! As I had to wait I checked out the Parade 🙂

A few hours in the library catching up on the blog in aircon comfort before heading back after lunch. That was when I spotted the smoke, it looked to be from a bushfire and had only just started!

I went down for a look on my way to get some booze and it looked like the hills were alight on the other side of the estuary!

I grabbed some rum and coke, ice etc and went and had a few early heart starters with the PC crew. The actual AGM was happening at this time, but that is just a boring meeting, I would rather socialise 😉 This is where we found out that the fire was started when a local Ulysses rider swerved to miss a roo and crashed, the bike burst into flames and caused the bushfire, hopefully that is not all we would be remembered for! As you can see, the smoke soon covered the city and there was even talk of evacuation!

So, I was nicely warmed up by the time dinner came around in the hokker(the big tent) and one thing I can say, they should never serve steak as a main meal when they are trying to serve 4000+ meals. They did a good job with delivery, it was smooth and well executed, but some peoples steak were underdone and some were overdone, I need new teeth after trying to eat mine! The fun started when the rain came down, and did it bucket, maybe it will put the fire out!!! If you are wondering about the dress up stuff, this year’s theme was Nautical.

Once the dinner was over it was back to the party area and some more rum and beers. It was not until a lot later that I found out that my rain fly was open on the tent and my sleeping bag was soaked and so was half my clothes!! Lucky I was in no condition to feel it eh! And of course my sleeping mat was low on air again, it will need to be repaired under warranty I think, I have heard this is a common fault, except I bought it in Salt Lake City! A job for another day 🙂

Sunday, well it was not as uncomfortable sleeping as I thought, even with a wet bag. But, there was no chance of getting it dry today as it was misty rain outside which looked like it was set in! I am glad it was a down sleeping bag, even when wet they are warm! But, what I did notice was that a lot of people were heading off today, but I wasn’t, I would wait until the main bunch left before being caught out on the road. Plus, I only had a short run to Kalgoorlie to meet up with Derek, by Tuesday afternoon before we hit the dirt on Wednesday 🙂 I had been doing some pre planning and had applied for and received transit permits to enter the Aboriginal land between WA and NT. One couple who were camped over in a stable seemed to have power so when they left, quick as a flash, I was in there before the place was cold and drying stuff out where ever I could 🙂

The day never got any better, more and more people moved out and that left lots of funny patches on the grass as well as lots of empty space.

The stables turned out to be a popular destination amongst the riders left and the place was soon littered in drying gear!

Not a lot happened today, except with a power point I could do another post and charge stuff at the same time 🙂 Dinner was over at the display area and a few more beers were consumed during the evening, tomorrow I was planning a ride to the north and I wanted to do a dirt road that led from Hayden, near Wave Rock, up to the highway to Kalgoorlie. When I had come this way last time, it had been raining heavily and the road had been closed, so hopefully the rain will stay away!

Day –0 km and 0 miles
Trip –4,465 km and 2,775 miles



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