Mr. Cob, goes for a ride-about, down under.........
For a long time I had and have been following the ride reports of guy who lives in Australia, it seems like this fellow was always on the road going to some of the most interesting and beautiful places, the photos he posted were great.
Sadly for some reason Jock whose screen name here was "Old Ozzy" is now perma-banned. I had hoped to be able to write a ride report working with Jock as I did when I toured the UK with Inmate Tarka, working with Steve I think that ride report turned out well as he filled in the details whilst I posted the photos and commentary from my recollections. I tried working behind the scenes to get Jock reinstated but failed in that effort, that being the case this ride report will not be nearly as good as it could have been.
About six months ago, Jock had posted a ride report over on "Farm Rules", that really caught my eye, the photos were very interesting as they showed terrain like none I had ever seen before. I posted to Jock's thread telling him how much I enjoyed reading his ride reports and mentioned that it was a dream of mine to someday ride in Australia. I then received a PM from Jock in which he invited me to come to Oz and ride with him. This set in motion a series of PM and email exchanges where within a month a plan was worked out that would have me spending a month riding with Jock, down under.
Before I go any further with this, I must tell you folks that without Jock's generosity as he supplied the round trip plane ticket and to Jon the Australian Ural importer who supplied me with a rig to ride whilst in Oz this trip would NEVER have happened. Thank you Jock and Jon from the bottom of my heart your kindness and generosity made this a trip of a life time. :clap:clap:clap
Now that you folks know how this all got started, lets get on the road. I left from Seattle on July 22nd, flew down to LA and from there to Brisbane Australia arriving there the morning of July 23rd. Man I am tellin ya that was a LONG flight squeezed in-between two guys who were built like pro foot ball players who each needed a seat much wider then what we were herded into. When I arrived in Brisbane I had no trouble spotting Jock as I had seen many photos of him. Here we are greeting each other at the airport, I am the ugly guy in the black hat, Jock is the feller who looks like Santa without his red suit.:lol3
Anja, one of Jock's friends accompanied him to the airport as he had parked his truck at her home, she gave us a ride to her home where we picked up Jock's truck and headed to his home about 200 klicks north. When we got to Jocks home he had to ride his KLR to the local place where you get license plates as he needed a new plate for that bike. Jock rode the KLR, I rode his Yamaha Tenre (sp) 660, I might add that this would be the FIRST time I had ever ridden on the LEFT side of the road.:huh We arrived with out incident, but I did have a couple of heart fluttering moments crossing intersections and not being used to looking for traffic coming from the right.
Jock gets his new plate.
On the way back to Jock's home we ride past huge fields of sugar cane being harvested, I had never seen machines like this before.
We stop for a light snack, I think this is where I had some fish and chips, quite good.
This water crossing is a few miles from Jock's home, we didn't cross at this time but did so later near the end of my trip. The water is now about 12-18 inches deep, there is a concrete road bed laid down so that when the water is low enough traffic can cross this stream. There are many of these types of water crossings in Oz.
Here's a better shot of the crossing showing its full lenght with Jock in the photo to give a sense of scale.
When get back to Jock's home I get a chance to check out his garage and some of his projects. On the work bench behind Jock is a "Postie-bike", Jock a couple of weeks before my arrival had competed in a race ACROSS Australia a distance of over 6,000 klick IIRC, he did it in 8 days on a 110cc bike, talk about having an "Iron Butt" :eek1
The wide tires shown in this photo were used on the Postie-bike when Jock rode the bike across the Simpson Desert, he is the FIRST person to have done such an insane thing. :clap
The day comes to an end with a fine meal prepared by Barb, she didn't want her photo taken but later on I did get one of her.
We spent the next day getting gear sorted and packing for the trip to the dealership where I would pick up the Ural that I would be using for this trip. Stay tuned. :D
Looking forward to this one!!!
I've followed a couple of your other adventures and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Subscribed...
Excellent. Most of my "subscribed to" threads have dried up. I so looking forward to your write up (even if you don't have help with the story telling).
COOI! Another report from Mr. Cob and from Oz at that! I'm in.
Adventures with Mr.Cob!
I'm in like Flint!! :freaky
Excellent! I am looking forward to hearing more about Australia. :clap
Monroe Washington checking in! :clap
Day three, the rideabout begins...........
The morning of my third day in Oz broke clear and a bit nippy after all it was the middle of winter in Australia. Jock and I had gone through our gear sorting out what to take and what to leave behind. As I really had no idea what was in store on this sojourn I brought along a lot of gear that in the end wasn't needed, one thing that worked in my favor is about two weeks before leaving home I was accepted into "Klim" gears VIP program and so got a brand new jacket and pants at a very good price, my old gear was getting pretty tattered, leaked and was no longer serviceable for such a trip.
This would be Day One of our actual rideabout. Our gear sorted and strapped onto the bikes we set off from Bundaberg to Glen Innis. http://mr-cob.smugmug.com/Motorcycle...P7237281-L.jpg
This was an easy ride through the country side, lots of trees along side of the road, we rode around and then over a low mountain range, it was quite cold once we were riding, glad I had the good gear.
Jock had a rear tire go flat on the KLR so we stopped at a tire shop to have it replaced. I should point out to those who don't know it, I am very hard of hearing, I am 75% deaf in my right ear and 50% deaf in my left, I have great difficulty hearing and understanding some peoples voices, the combination of my hearing problem and Jock's accent left me at times asking him repeatedly "what did you say", listening to Jock and the man working on his tire converse left me truly in the dark as I could only make out perhaps one in five words that were spoken.
This little piece of wire is what caused the flat, Jock decided to replace the tire rather then repair it as it was quite well worn.
After getting the tire replaced, we rode the rest of the day enjoying the curve filled roads and what for me was to one of the trip long delights LACK OF TRAFFIC, we would ride for MILES with no traffic coming or going it was pure motorcycling bliss, well aside from the critters who would cross the road from time to time. We got a room, got a good dinner and settled in for the night, tomorrow we would pick up the Ural, ah life is good.
Day two of the rideabout started out badly, the Yamaha I was riding wouldn't start. However having led the life of a hooligan in my younger years and acquiring skills needed to circumvent such things popping a side cover and using a screw driver to short the solenoid terminals soon had the Tenere running, this would be the method for starting the bike until we got solenoid replaced sometime later in the trip.
The ride to Armidale, were we would pick up the Ural took us over another mountain range along the way we passed through Guyra, and the highest elevation of this range. The weather was clear but the air cold about 45 degrees F, I never could get the hang of the Celsius temperature scale.
Along the way we passed the boarding school that Jock attended whilst young.
Before long we arrived at the shop where we would pick up the Ural in Armidale, I am sorry I have forgotten the mans name standing on the far left, he owns or works at the shop where we got the Ural and is a racer of local renown, to this man right is Jon who is the importer of the Ural motorcycles to the whole of Australia, I am seated on the rig, Jock is in the sidecar.
When I picked up the rig it had 3,and almost 200 klicks on the odometer, I should have rode the bike another 50 feet before taking the photo then it would have read 3,200K
NOW the story gets shall we say interesting. So far riding on the left hand side of the road had presented few if any problems, I mean riding a motorcycle on the right or the left hand side of the road is really no big deal they handle, start from a stop and come to a stop the same way. HOWEVER riding for the FIRST time a sidecar rig that has the sidecar mounted on the left side of the bike is a whole DIFFERENT game.
When accelerating or stopping a sidecar rig the machine will tend to wander due to the weight of the sidecar. On a rig with the sidecar mounted on the right as I am used to, when you accelerate the bike wants to go to the right when you brake it wants to go to the left, having ridden a sidecar equipped bike now for many years this is so normal that I have adapted a riding style that makes these movements all but disappear except under extreme uses of the throttle or brake. Now put the weight of the sidecar on the opposite side of the bike and this completely changes the dynamics of riding and control of the machine.
I am used to the sidecar coming off the ground when going fast into a right hand turn so when I entered a left hand corner at speed and the sidecar came up it was exhilarating to put it mildly especially when I was drifting head on into incoming traffic.:eek1 After a few miles I was becoming somewhat accustomed to this upside down and backwards way of life and within a few days it was feeling like it was the normal way of doing things. Yes an old dog can sometimes given proper motivation learn new tricks.
Soon after we left from the shop we spotted a sign that would make a good photo, it was the name of a school or some other important building ( Inmate "GTinAus" has informed me that the sign the Ural is parked in front of is the name of the town, thank you GTinAus, I appreciate the correction to my post. ) that if a person stood in front of the last two letters you could only see the first four letters which spelled Ural. I have been known for years to drive up onto the grass, across sidewalks and other such uncivilized behavior to get a good photo so doing this whilst in Oz was for me normal.
We stop to gas up the bikes, have a snack and take a meandering ride to Jon's home where we will spend the night. Jock left the KLR at the shop as "Zac" another Yank would in a few days be joining us on the rideabout, Jock would from this point on be riding the Yamaha Tenere.
Here are some shots of the ride to Jon's home.
We spent the evening with Jon and his wife, swapped lies, ate good food, drank some beer and went to sleep. The next day would bring us into the big city, driving the Ural on the motorway in heavy traffic and more then a few butt puckering moments, stay tuned.
Glad to see you managed to get your hands on some new gear Mr Cobb. Very jealous of your trip.
Cool! I wondered when we were going to see a report on your Oz adventures. I loved your take on Europe, looking forward to rest of the story from the great southern land. Well done the Ozy's for shouting you the trip!
Day three of the rideabout took us from the country to the heart of the big city of Sydney. When we left from Jon's home it was quite brisk, the seats of the bikes were covered in frost, the skies blue and cloud free. The fuel tank on the Ural holds five gallons, many of the places we were to travel over the next three weeks were more then five gallons apart so carrying and using a spare gas can was an inescapable task.
We rode around and over another small mountain range called the Nowindoc Range, again not much traffic but many very steep grades. In the USA most of the major roads and all of the freeways have grades of 7% at a maximum this was done as anything over a 7% grade was determined by the military to be unsuitable for military transport, there is also a minimum curve radius but I forget what it is, in Oz I noticed that many of the grades that were marked were in excess of 10% many at 12% and 14% this made for very slow riding when coming up on or trying to pass some of the large trucks.
About 150k from Sydney we meet up and had lunch with a local Ural rider his screen name is "roscoau" he rides a green Patrol and is standing to the left of Jock in this photo.
This was the first time I had eaten an Australian burger with the "works", the works is a pile of lettuce, some onion, tomato, some kinda sauce, topped off with a fried egg and beets. First time I had ever had a burger with egg and beets on it. I learned to oder the burgers without the beets, they were a bit to much for my taste.
roscoau, rode with us for a while through some nice country rolling hills criss-crossed by many small streams, he lead us to the motorway which would take us to Sydney and then pulled off and headed back to his home. Thank you roscoau, it was a pleasure to meet, eat and ride with you. :clap :deal
Here we are gassing up the bikes just before roscoau, lead us to the motorway.
Riding the Ural with the sidecar on the left, on the left hand side of the road in the country was not that big of a deal; doing so in heavy traffic at motorway speeds trying to keep Jock in sight in an area I had never been in before was down right nerve racking at times. It was getting dark when we got into Sydney, we found the shop where would spend some time the next day as I was to be interviewed by a local bike magazine reporter, Roland the owner of the shop stayed late to let us park our bikes in the shop and then took us out to dinner before setting us up for the night in his home.
Somehow I lost all of the photos I took that evening, I took many of the shop and the bikes that were for sale, some of the project bikes in the garage and of the neat BMW sidecar rig in the basement. Roland to us to a Thi restaurant, a very nice restaurant, Roland must be a regular as we were picked from the line waiting for a table and shown to our places well before those who were in line ahead of us. I am NOT much of a fancy food person, just a meat and potatoes man. The food we ate that evening was really good but I dare say I don't have a clue what most of it was, the way it was served much of it wrapped in leaves was all new to me and quite enjoyable.
Roland kept an apartment in Sydney that he lived in during the week as his regular home was a quite a drive from the shop, again I have no photos of this neat place. We spent the night in Roland's apartment before heading to his shop the next morning.
Day four of the rideabout, started by me working on the Ural at Roland's shop as we waited for the reporter to show up. There were somethings about the setup on the Ural that I wanted to change to make it more suited to my personal riding style. I reset the lean-out of the bike, leaning the bike toward the sidecar at about 1 degree rather then the 3 degrees it was set at, I removed and re-positioned the rear brake lever so it would provide stronger braking action, and re-positioned the reverse lever to make shifting into and out of reverse with your heel much easier.
While I worked on the Ural, Roland on the left talked to Jock about our trip.
Here's a photo of me and the Ural I was riding in front of Roland's shop along with a couple of the Ural's he had for sale.
Th entire staff at Roland's shop, we took this photo after the interview and before we left in the early afternoon.
I am going to post this part of the ride report and then EDIT this post to show a good photo of the front of Roland's shop, as I have forgotten what he calls it. I am going to email Roland and ask him to email me a photo for this ride report. He took great care of us and his shop deserves recognition for the services he provided. Stay tuned.
I'm looking forward to reading of the rest of your trip...
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