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Old 09-15-2010, 06:17 AM   #16
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Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Great story Andrew, and great photos. You have nothing to fear in that department. I regret missing the experience now, and I'm starting to consider 2012 already, even before I know where it is.

Keep it going - I'm really enjoying this.

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Old 09-15-2010, 07:16 AM   #17
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We left Bre, heading north for a bit before turning north east onto some great dirt roads.

All the while keeping an eye out for cattle.

A nice little one laner.

I sat here for a while and when the lads didn't turn up, I opted to turn around rather than use the radio.

I met them coming along about a k back down the track. Jim's chair has a bit less clearance than mine, he's hit a lump in the road, it'd pulled his handbrake cable on and locked his chair wheel. He's been pulled hard left into the drain while wrestling the bars hard right !

Problem solved, we thought, so we pulled into the side of the river for a brew and food.

It was here that Jim noticed the thump into the drain had cracked his frame near the wheel.

Nothing a bit of welding wouldn't sort in Lightening Ridge.

I liked this clever idea. A public toilet just outside of town. Read the sign.

We pulled into town and Jim arranged to borrow a welder from the local fabricator, behind the tyre shop while Andrew and I went into town for some groceries and a coffee.
Jim borrowed a TIG, cutting saw, some spare angle iron and 30 minutes later had a satisfactory repair.
The cost. $0.

You gotta love these country people !

I had a chat with the tyre guy about the availability of 17 inch tyres out this way, plenty apparently and we got around to talking about plugs. He had a tractor come in with a sidewall split. The owner had put in 7 plugs, side by side. It held air and he drove it to town for a replacement tyre.
(My outfit has a 205/50/17 inch tyre, fitted directly to the original bike rim)

Andrew meanwhile discovered his chair wheel was losing it's axle bolt. We decided to camp the night in the local van park and sort out his wheel.
We weren't in a hurry, and I was enjoying the country, it was all new to me.
It didn't rain, the park had some half decent grass and we were able to tent instead of van camp.

We sorted Andrew's wheel and Jim kindly charged one of my camera
batteries with his inverter. Another good night yarning and piss taking.
One week on the road now with these two and still cruisy.
Good company, new country and a bike. It doesn't get any better.

I failed to get a single picture of our time in "the Ridge". Sometimes I just forget, I'm too in the moment to worry about pictorial records.

On the road the next day and heading for the little (tiny) town of Albert and the Rabbit Trap pub.
Andrew 2 tells me they'd had a ADV gathering there once.
I had about 12 days before I was due back at work in Perth. Between now and then I wanted to
-catch up with my step son in Melbourne where he's now living with his Dad.
-visit friends in Mt Eliza, just south of Melbourne and then
-visit friends in Robe in the south of SA.

Heading down to Albert we found more dirt, rivers and tiny towns

I can't remember where this was, I got bored while watching the bikes when Jim did some food shopping.

We finally made it to Albert and the great little pub.
Celine, the barmaid, studied English in Taiwan and had been working in Oz a few months. She was off to WA in a week or two.

Travelling with Jim and Andrew was funny sometimes around dinner time. Jim can't eat Gluten and Andrew is a Vegetarian. Me ? I eat anything !
Ordering meals were funny but Jim is such a bloody card, he'd walk into a coffee shop and with 2 minutes would have the old biddies behind the counter eating out of the palm of his hand.

Rabbit Trap was no exception. While Celine did most of the work, the owner and 3 of her buddies sat in the lounge sipping on god knows what.
When ordering our meals and being told by Celine that the cook was in the lounge, Jim was straight in there making sure his meal is sorted properly.

And sorted they were, bloody cheap and filling.

A small pub and pretty quiet, just a few other drinkers, one of which came over to Jim and mentioned he'd worked in Brewarrina years ago. Off they went, reminiscing about places and people they both knew.
I get the same thing around the Gascoyne and mid west of WA, even though I haven't lived there for 30 years.
With only 20 million in the whole country, the outback can seem such a small place at times. Things move slowly and people keep connections to places.
I like that sense of belonging. Family names can open doors in the strangest of places.

We headed further south. I had planned to visit a mate in the high country, north of Buchan but the weather was closing in. A severe weather alert was insured for the area with high winds in excess of 120 kph. My route down through Jindabyne was out so we started heading directly for Melbourne.

Travelling with Jim and Andrew in strange country (for me) I pretty much left the route to them and eventually it became time for Andrew to peel off to Woolongong and home.

I was sad to see him off as he was good company and it also meant the end of a chapter in my holiday. I felt like it was starting to head downhill and I was already heading home, albeit a week or more away.

Jim and I rode on in increasing rain showers. Jim rang his wife in Tasmania via his Audio com and got her to book his usual motel room in Albury. From there we'd head straight to Melbourne, with a slight detour towards Marysville. Anything to get off the Freeway.

The rain got heavier, the roads got wetter and we ended up coming into Melbourne via some road called the Black Spur Pass.
Lots of Motorbike symbols with warning signs on posts. Lots of hairpin bends with posted speeds of 35 kph. Lots of "Don't be a Statistic" signs.
I took it very easy and for once actually drove at the speed of the signs.
Hauling the outfit around some of those bends was a lot of work.

Finally we made it to Melbourne and my pre arranged meeting with my step son in Chappel St.
I pull up in the only parking I could find, right outside the old Jam factory (our meet point) and who should call out to me . . . Gad.
Small world.

We sit and chat for a while, waiting for young Tom to appear.

Busy streets and I'm worried about my swag on the back of the bike.

Jim's astute comment "it's safe, the people around here wouldn't know what to do with a swag anyway."

To be continued.
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:44 PM   #18
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What a trip! Thanks for the tale and pics!
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:41 PM   #19
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Hey mate good read so far. Good to have met you and the other two inmates. Replacement for that tyre arrived today!

Eaglebeak, Andrew2 and Lout. Bourke - Wanaaring Road
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:43 AM   #20
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:44 AM   #21
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Finally the young fella wandered into view. I call out his name, I yell out to him, no response.
I trot after him into the arcade and just as I'm about to tap him on the shoulder, he pulls his speakers out of his ears. Oblivious !

NIce guy, smart, but needs to get out of Toorak before it corrupts him.
Already, I can feel my time slipping away.

We get an hour or so together catching up. I feed and water him and run through the detailed list of questions his Mum told me to ask.

"So Tom . . how are you REALLY ?"

He gets to give me long answers, short on detail. I DON'T get to meet his girlfriend but he gets to meet Jim.

All too soon, it's dark and I have to leave for Mt Eliza. Jim has to head down to the Bass Strait ferry for his trip home to Tasmania.

His mother is MUCH better than me at getting all the necessary answers and he's flying over to Perth this weekend as I type.

We convince him he needs to admire our sidecars before we leave and then we part.
Jim to his ferry, Tom home to his Dad's Toorak apartment and me . . . facing a long trip south to Mt Eliza, in the dark, in the rain and with scant directions to my mate Maurice's place.

It takes me a god 30 minutes just to get off Chappell St at this time of day and then I find water on both sides of my visor.
I had a rough idea where I was headed but the rain didn't help.
On the plus side, this must be the first trip where I haven't had a leak somewhere in my wet weather gear.
Usually the pants. But I'd recently bought some BMW waterproof pants. Say what you like about their price, their stuff works !

I'd organised to stay months ago and really should have spent more time with Maurice and Simone, we go back a long way, but two nights was all I.

I spent some time checking out his wood working workshop.

Clever guy. He trained as a chef, 30 years ago. Travelled the world, had a gift for languages. Picked up Japanese and started a business in Sydney dealing with Japanese film crews. They'd come out to Oz to film commercials for their home market, he'd organise locations (eg, sand dunes for Toyota 4WD ads), book hotels, arrange transport, translate, etc. Very successful. He then sold out to his partner and set up again in Queenstown NZ, Same deal.

Lived there for about 5 years. finally moved back to Melbourne, Simone's home town.
Now he's making timber furniture, beautiful stuff and he's totally self taught. Dressers, dining tables, bookshelves, classy bench tops, you name, he can do it.

We used to ride together in WA, back in the day. Lately he's had a Laverda Jota, but found he wasn't getting enough time to ride, it had to go.

I'm trying to get him onto another bike, any bike, I'd like to ride with him again one day before I drop off the perch. Maybe to Dargo.

As usual, I was too busy, doing very little actually, to take pictures of his beautiful wife and kids.

I did find time to do a little maintenance of the bike. That's when I discovered oI'd lost one of the bolts holding the battery box up. It was hanging by one, loose remaining bolt.
I scrounged around in my tool kit and found another of similar thread. Problem fixed.
What I couldn't solve immediately was a bigger issue.

My outfit was coming apart !

Where the left wall met the floor, the TIG welding didn't look to have a very good bond and I had two longish splits developing.
After some thought I decided it'd do until I got to Robe, my mate Colin would have access to a welder and we'd do a temporary repair there, enough to get me home to Perth.

It was obvious the body would have to come off to do it properly and I already had ideas to brace the weld with aluminium angle.

In hindsight, I think my fabricator polished the weld a little too enthusiastically. He's not a rider, doesn't appreciaite the stresses involved and it was a case of "style over substance" I reckon.

Oh well, both Jim and Andrew2 had small issues, it was now my turn.

I left Mt Eliza on the day of the Federal Election, intending to take the ferry from Sorrento across the bottom of Port Phillip bay to Queenscliff.
I was going to ride the Great Ocean road to Robe, casting an absentee vote somewhere along the way.

I had plenty of time to think as I rode south in more bloody rain.

The bike had performed flawlessly, no mechanical issues, the tyres were wearing better than expected, all my camping gear was working well as usual. My UHF radio had been a bonus. I'd made it to Wanaaring, despite all the rain. Caught up with the usual crowd, met a few more new mates and seen some great country.
I couldn't complain.

After only a short wait I drove onto the ferry and got the bike settled for the short ride across the bottom of the bay.

Considering the wind, I was expecting the middle bit, where if was open to the ocean to be a bit rougher but it was like a windy day on the Swan River, nothing more.

A couple of pictures taken from the ferry. Private homes or Hotels ?

It was a bit wild and windy when I got off the ferry and it was obvious it was going to be a wet ride today.

I've only done this road once before, in the summer of '98.
It is beautiful, maybe these pictures will show that.

I saw something in the water and tried to get a decent shot of a couple of whales rolling their pectoral fins out of the water.

Not long after this, I stopped in Lorne to vote. I'd already tried in Barwon Heads but didn't realise that not every Polling Station was able to handle interstate absentee voting.
Nice town Lorne, obviously gets a lot of day trippers. I got caught up in a line of sports bikes, being lead by a fluoro coated rider, furiously waving me in to his designated parking stop.

Not today buddy, Places to go, people to see, no lattes for me !

Spot the shed on the hill.

More bloody rain, I rode through squall after squall and on this short section winding 40 kms through the hinterland before coming back to the beach, a truck had dumped diesel on the road. He must have overfilled a tank, every corner for about 20 kms had fuel on it. That coupled with leaf litter made me glad I was on an outfit, not a solo.

I came around one corner to find a young guy, out of his car, trying to clear a large tree branch that had blocked our lane.
I got off to help as a small van behind me stopped further back to warn traffic.
Two or three minutes of heaving and we couldn't shift it.
As it was on a blind corner I got some smaller branches and placed them back around the corner, to slow drivers before they got to the bigger branch.
Ever driven in Asia ? They place branches as warnings everywhere. I guess it's cheaper than fluoro cones, or just that they don't have the luxury of lots of road crews that we have.

I'd driven from Melbourne to Robe in a day before, but forgot that I had taken the shorter, more direct route. Time was getting on and it looked like I'd be doing some night riding again.

One more pic, then it was head down and bum up.

The wind was driving that hard I had a thick film of salt on my visor. As soon as I hit another rain squall I turned my head skyward to wash it off.

From Millicent in SA I turned off onto what I think is called the "Southern Ports Hwy".
I ended up riding an hour in the dark along this bouncy, narrow, heavily vegetated road. Rain and more rain.

A great welcome from my friends Colin and Robyn and I woke to sunny skies and no wind, go figure ?

Colin and I worked together in Perth in the late 70's. He met Robyn there and they married in her home town of Robe, in 1978. I was a groomsman and drove over from Perth with two others for their wedding and being a small town, it felt like half the town was there. The three of us, "out of towners" were treated like royalty.
I've been back a bout 6 or 7 times since then.

Early on, they bought land and built a kit home.

On the spare block next door Colin put up a shed and being an ex sail maker, soon got to work making swags.
Robyn was already establishing a reputation for classy leatherwork. Appliqued leather bags, custom made footwear.
Her work has been exhibited in London with Australian craft expo's and her footwear has been purchased by local actress Rachael Ward (Brian Brown's missus) and Pamela Stephenson (Billy's wife).

Lately, the shed has been removed and two guest houses built. I was privileged to have one for my stay.

The interiors were just as good.

In addition, years ago they bought 100 acres just out of town, where they breed cattle for the meat market.

In honour of my visit, Colin had organised Monday off from his job in a local vineyard.

I'm God father to their daughter Leesa

and luckily she was down from her Uni in Adelaide to attend a local 21st birthday bash.

Every time iI come back, I find little changes. The town is a popular holiday destination place for city people and the town has managed to retain much of it's charm while not letting the crowds spoil it.

An aside. Colin, Robyn and the family have always been Kelpie people. On one of my visits they were running a large cattle property, renting their house out and living about 100 kms from Robe. With my two cattle dogs and their two Kelpies we had a ball, working the paddocks and chasing foxes.
After their last kelpie died, they couldn't face getting another, comparisions would be too hard.
After a year or so, Robyn had this crazy idea of getting a couple of midgit dogs.
You know the type. I call them Ugg Boots.
They're not too useful outdoors, but a laugh all the same.

Can't say I'd ever contemplate it myself.

To be continued.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:13 AM   #22
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Colin and Robyn had some other friends visiting.
Sally and ? ( (brain fade) usually spend their time west of Alice Springs, working as teachers in one of the communities.

We decided a barbecue out on the block was called for so Colin and I went out to get a fire going.

and check out the new tractor. Too clean I said

While the meat was cooking I wandered around taking a few crappy pics

It's a cold and windy part of the State around Robe. Not a lot of tree cover either

Next years barbecue

The Ugg boots. Left AND right feet !

Later Col and I went for a drive. There's some great beaches around here.
Unfortunately we spent most of the time chatting, catching up on gossip and checking out the area. I took bugger all pics.
I was just happy to be spending some quality time with an old mate and grateful he's organised time off for me.

Back in '98 I'd driven across to Melbourne to paddle the Bass Strait to Tasmania. Naturally I'd stopped off in Robe and my paddle partner, Gerry Thomas, and I decided to have a light training paddle out to these islands.

A shitty day. Stormy and windy but we figured we needed to turn our arms over after the drive from Perth. We didn't want to lose condition.

We approached them from Robe, way around the bay on the left. About 6 or 7 kms out, straight into very stiff headwind. It'd taken us about 1 hr 45 mins to get there.
A very small beach landing amongst a lot of rock. We had to share it with a very angry Sea Lion. After a rest and a bite to eat we paddled back to Robe, surfing back with the wind now behind us. From memory the return took about 40 minutes. There is a big bank out there that Colin had warned us about (he used to run a Crayboat in Robe as well) and when crossing it the swell picked up to about 15 feet, very short and steep with the tops breaking in the wind.

Cold and wet, we had a pie on the town foreshore while the few locals that had witnessed our departure came over for a chat.

Colin still gets asked about "his crazy friends from Perth".
Like I said earlier, small towns. Even the gossip moves slowly.

Early Monday we arranged to see a mate of Colins to get some welding done on my sidecar.
The town supports about 25 Aluminium hulled crayboats but apparently there's only two MIG or TIG's in town.

That gas heater (picture centre) is needed, believe me.

I asked about the car on the hoist and was shown this.

Rust and crap, from the fuel tank to the injectors. Fuel pump was stuffed well and truly.
"He insists on running it on Ethanol" I was told.

Well, my holiday was coming to an end. It was midday Monday and I had wanted to be back in Perth Friday afternoon. About 3,500 kms away.

Mrs Beak wanted to ride out on her GS500 to Hyden and meet me there Thursday afternoon so that we could ride the last 300kms back to Perth together on Friday.

I sat down to lunch with my friends and only after promising to make every effort to come over again in 2011 was I allowed to leave.
(Albeit with a large fruit cake of Robyn's tucked away in the chair).

More rain, another bloody headwind, how can this be ?
I took a quick snap of the once mighty Murray, near Tailem Bend.

I got lost coming through Adelaide in the afternoon and somehow starting heading for Gawler. I cut back towards Snowtown and found myself another 50 kms of dirt. No time for pictures, I still think of the notorious murders and the "bodies in barrels" for which Snowtown will forever be etched in my mind.
The dirt was brilliant, smooth and lightly dusted. It was just on dark, so I powered away learning more about riding this new toy of mine. Big, wide dirt corners are great on a chair aren't they.

After some more night riding I finally crashed in Port Pirie. Exhausted and cold, I wimped out (again) and took a cabin.

Not too shabby, about 550kms in half a day.

It was Monday night.
I could feel that the holiday was coming to an end and was determined to meet Mrs Beak in Hyden by Thursday night.

So, something like 2,200 kms to Hyden by Thursday afternoon ?
On a solo, no big deal, with a chair, a bit of work to do.

Would the headwinds cease, would it stop raining, would it warm up ?

To be continued.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:59 PM   #23
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Heading to Port Augusta, clear skies but still a headwind, and cold.

At Port Augusta I turn west for Ceduna.

By the time I hit Ceduna, the cloud was coming back and somehow I WAS STILL HEADING INTO THE WIND ! # *

I shouldn't have been surprised, there's always a headwind going west on the Nullarbor.

I made it to Penong, home of the Feral surfers, about 620 kms for the day.

Not bad, considering the wind was pushing the outfit left. I'd spent most of the day riding on the opposite side of the road. To let the camber neutralise the steering.

Raining again, I pulled into the camp ground looking for a roof. Had a long chat to the owner, his family used to own all the land down on the coast, where the waves were. He had all the goss' on the ferals. (He and the pub were the ones to suffer when the TV show cancelled their bookings)

I scored an onsite van and undercover parking for the outfit. $40/night.

Showered, shaved and feeling altogether a new man, I switched on the complementary TV, poured the last of Andrew's and my Scotch and cooked up a feast.

Sitting back later, checking my maps when I had a knock on the door.
One of the other park residents, offering some cooked vegetables !

He and his wife had been on the road a while and were getting sick of having to surrender their veggies and fruit at every state border crossing.
(In Australia nearly every state has border stops to declare any fruit, etc. Worried about infestations of fruit fly and other diseases).

I've noticed this a lot when motorcycle travelling. If you're in a group of more than 3 or 4, people are reluctant to talk to you. Travelling solo or with Mrs Beak and the eaglet, it's easier to strike up a conversation with 'bike deprived civilians'.

The van park office, the former Penong Nursing post.

The heavy overnight rain had left wet roads but a clearing sky, for now.

I left town, heading west. Soon I'd be out of the grain country and back onto the Nullarbor proper.

Before Nundroo I had to pull over to get the wets on again.

At Nullarbor Roadhouse I ran into 4 other riders. Small place Oz, these guys were unknown to me but it turned out we had riding mates in common.

The sky above was typical, squall after squall, with a bitterly cold wind.

Nearing the border the road comes closer to the coast. Checking out the ocean, I noticed a little track to my left.

Hang on, what's that down there ?

A track !
I wonder who put that in. How do I get to it ?
I filed it away in my mind for another trip.

I never tire of looking at myself. Narcissistic or just confident ? I prefer the latter.

Wednesday and I spend a cold night swagged out the back of the Caiguna roadhouse.

Thursday morning and I'm off at Sparrow fart. Hyden here I come.

Another quick stop to oil the chain. I'm still coming to terms with this after 35 years on BMW's.

This tyre has about 8,000 kms on it at this point, not too shabby.

About midday I hit Norseman. A refuel, bite to eat and I hit the road, 300 easy kms of dirt to Hyden.

Looking back across the Lake Cowan causeway to Norseman.

I round the northern end of Lake Johnston . . .

. . . . and pull into the camp area for a salami and cheese sandwich.
Riding an outfit, it's the genteel way to travel.

One of only 2 vehicles I saw while on the gravel.

A stop to top up the tank. Here you can see how good this road is. 80% is like this as it's used by a couple of minesites along the way and they maintain it.

Looking down the barrier fence.

A bit of history.

Approaching Hyden the first farms come into view before the tar begins.

I make it to Hyden before 1600 hrs and turn my mobile on. A message from Mrs Beak, she can't get out of Perth until after midday. I grab a room at the Motel and jump in the shower.

It's been bloody cold and I'm just thawing out under the warm water when I hear a bike pull up outside.

A knock on the door.

"It's open" I shout. "Come in, get your gear off and hop in the shower !"

(Geez, I hope it's not the cleaner)

Luckily it was Mrs Beak. She'd made good time, a bit over 3 hours after clearing the city. Heated handlebar grips on the whole way and very grateful for my invite.

The next morning she's feeling pretty pleased with herself (although having seen this picture she's wishing she'd tidied her hair.)

This was her first big solo trip outside the city. Although a work commuter on her bike, all her country rides had been with me.
It's always good to get that first big solo under your belt. A real confidence booster.

We had breakfast at the bakery before hitting the road for Perth and home.
(I've always thought her number plate was prophetic. 1CY. She suffers in cold weather, especially her hands.)

Hyden art work.

The Corrigin dog cemetery.

At Brookton the bikes rest while we sit in the sunshine (at last) in the grounds of the nicely restored train station.

We're happy to ge riding together, happy to be out of the city, happy to have escaped the responsibilities of work and kids, even if only for a few hours.
We amuse ourselves taking photographs of each other and our surroundings.

A couple of hours later and we were home.
8,770 kms, 3 weeks.

The weather wasn't the best and I didn't get to camp out as often as I'd planned but they're minor complaints.

On the bike, out of the city ? Nothing better.

My thanks to Jim and Andrew. We must do it again sometime.
A big thanks to Mrs Beak for . . .well . . everthing.

Andrew Linton.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:11 PM   #24
sidetrack one
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Aussie RR of the year for me, thanks for the effort in posting.
I live more in 5 minutes on my motorcycle than some people live in a lifetime...............
Where are my pants? Our farmers thank you!
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:13 AM   #25
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Brilliant Andrew Was good catching up with you at Wanaaring; and now you've shown me what to look forward to next year. Thanks for the report.
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
Quorn Schnitzel club
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:30 AM   #26
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Thanks Bob, Clancy.

Clancy if you want more ideas on trips in WA, I have links to other reports I've written, going back over a number of years. Some were done with the family, some with mates.

Just PM me.

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Old 09-18-2010, 01:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by sidetrack bob
Aussie RR of the year for me, thanks for the effort in posting.

Sums up my thoughts perfectly


Is it wrong to take my vitamin tablet with beer?

If a man says something in the woods and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?

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Old 09-18-2010, 02:57 AM   #28
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Top ride report Andrew.
NOW i can see why you want your wife to ride with you .

That little track to the left you saw .
Small world i took our outfit down there last year.On the way to the border run.
Had a hard time getting back up the hill. Bro had to help push

Thank you for posting.

Cheers Ian.
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:45 AM   #29
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Nicely done Andrew.I thoroughly enjoyed riding with you and Jim.Roll on 2012 OCR.

I still laugh when I think of what happened here


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Old 09-18-2010, 03:31 PM   #30
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Great suff Andrew, great ride report as always. Nice meeting you at the OCR will look forward to the next one.
So many roads . . .
So little time!

If I'm in here, I'm suffering from PMS
(Parked Motorcycle Syndrome)
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