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Old 11-06-2012, 03:34 AM   #1
rodmuzwa OP
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Big ride in Western Australia

Ok folks. I'm off on my first big ride in a week or so. When I say big ride I mean about 1100 kms all in spread over 2 days. Now, I know it's not a big ride for most of you hardened, weather beaten old timers, but its a bloody big ride for me. 4-5 hours is probably my current personal best.

Luckily I will be accompanied by a couple of experienced fellas. Exile730 (Brian) will be there to show us how it's done although if it starts raining his face is going to take a pounding in his open faced helmet. Also coming along is our little welsh friend Dave who is certainly the fastest Welshman I've ever known, except possibly for Colin Jackson and Ivor the Engine!

Now I have identified a couple of issues I may have with this ride. Keeping up with the other two will be a problem. Brian is usually pretty relaxed and cruises along at a steady pace on his GS1150 enjoying the countryside and generally allowing me to keep up with him on my weeStrom. Dave has just got rid of his R1 and replaced it with an also extremely quick Tiger 1050. Dave will no doubt want to put the Tigger through its paces and when he sees the big wide empty country roads it's goin to be very difficult for him not to open it up, leaving me far behind on my screaming 650! If Brian gets the itch and follows Dave I reckon I could be riding alone for much of the ride! I was secretly hoping Dave wouldn't sell the R1 before this ride as although he would get there quicker than me at least I'd be able to walk on arrival. Now he will be quicker but still comfortable. Damn the Triumph Tiger!

We plan to leave Mandurah and head out to Williams then on to Narrogin, Wagin, etc as we head south towards Albany. The quickest route would be to take the Albany Highway south from Williams but its a boring road so we are doing the Great Southern Highway instead. It certainly heads south but ill tell you how great it is when we get back!

Some nice little towns to visit on the way down, many of which I've never been to before so should be interesting and hopefully plenty good coffee shops en route!

My other concern for this trip can be summed up in one word which until recently was a benign term which did nothing to raise my heart rate. Now this simple little word scares the life out of me- Gravel! Now that I am a highly experienced off-the-beaten-track rider (I've been off the black stuff 3, yes, 3 times) I know how gravel roads can make you feel like your life is about to end very quickly. Gravel certainly makes you very aware of your own mortality! A couple of weeks ago Brian and I tried out a couple of gravel roads and lets just say it scared the sh!t out of me, more than once. The way the back wheel swings around on gravel is in itself somewhat disconcerting but my main issues are firstly, steering is almost obsolete on gravel and secondly braking in any way shape or form can be hazardous and extremely unpredictable! Our last little jaunt on the loose stuff ended with the back end of the wee flicking out to the left unexpectedly just as we neared the Tarmac. My heart was in my mouth but I didn't drop the bike and made it safely back to terra firma in one piece. I am pretty sure Brian had a little chuckle as he rode behind me! I compared that section of gravel road to a rather dicey nightclub I frequented in Aberdeen a long time before I was happily married. It was known as the "Clappy Valley" which was to be honest a suitably descriptive title. But Gravel is like the Clappy Valley in that I know I shouldn't go near it again but some sick part of me draws me back to it! I have a feeling all the roads in hell will be gravel roads. This ride will have its fair share of gravel. We plan to do Stirling Range Drive which as the title suggests takes us through the Stirling Range, a mountain range near Albany. Gravel in mountains? Are you mental? Clearly yes we are. But to be fair to us, mountains are scarce in Western Australia so it's an opportunity we couldn't miss.

An overnighter in Albany and return via Walpole, Manjimup and the South West Highway. No mountains but some great winding forest roads for the way back.

I'm really looking forward to it and ill tell you all about it when we get back. Should be some great photos and lots of laughs. I'm taking extra underwear!
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:27 AM   #2
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Wink

Forgot to mention, as a precaution I just fitted crash bars to my wee! Hope I never need them!
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:01 AM   #3
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My new crash bars and rad guard!
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:06 AM   #4
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Talking

With a bit of luck:

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Old 11-07-2012, 02:07 AM   #5
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Gravel , You'll learn to love it. Have a good trip
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:09 AM   #6
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Thanks mate. As long as I stay shiny-side-up!
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:27 AM   #7
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Ok, only 3 sleeps to go, so as the excitement builds in the lead up to the big event I decided, while my wife watched Winners and Losers, I would park my arse beside her on the couch and clean my helmet. She looked a little perplexed but I explained that there was no way I could go on a long ride and an overnighter with a dirty helmet. Enough said I think!
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:17 AM   #8
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1 day to go. Luckily I cleaned and lubed the chain yesterday and spotted that the chain was as loose as an extremely loose thing. Got it sorted today and the wee feels and sounds much happier. Also raised the screen which has reduced the wind noise level substantially. Sena bluetooth thingy charge so I'll be able to crank up some tunes from my iPhone on the way down. Dave and Brian all good to go so an early start on the cards tomorrow.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:32 AM   #9
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Well, it happened and it was bloody marvellous. The weather was perfect and the traffic was fairly light. Here are some pics to give an idea of the run.

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Dave turned up, resplendent in his bright orange helmet to match his bright orange Tiger! Scary and sad thing is he also had a bright orange camera. Dedicated follower of fashion our Dave is!
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:36 AM   #10
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First stop of the day about an hour and a half into the ride- Services at Williams. Comfort break only or pish stop as it's called in my homeland!

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Old 11-18-2012, 12:42 AM   #11
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Then it was on to Wagin for lunch. I got the Tiger for this leg, Brian got the Wee and Dave got the Beemer. The Tiger didn't half make me smile, alot!

Dave couldn't resist the big sheep, but then again, he is Welsh!

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Then on to lunch at the only place we could find. Ye's it's a video rental place come deli, come fast food joint. Quite the thing in small town Western Australia.

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Old 11-18-2012, 12:59 AM   #12
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From Wagin it was a quick run down the Great Southern Highway to Katanning where we re-fuelled. This was a recurring theme as the Tiger was quite a thirsty animal! Then a great fast empty road to Gnowangerup where we stopped to get our bearings and I broke my expensive sunglasses!

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Luckily for me Brian had a spare pair of $6.95 jobs which were actually quite dashing, especially on me!

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:04 AM   #13
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Onwards, south to the Stirling Range. Now I don't think any of us had an idea what to expect but as we got closer I am pretty sure we all agreed that they are real mountains and are very imposing as we crossed the flat Aussie landscape towards them.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:08 AM   #14
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The Stirling Range! Pretty impressive in anyones language. The main peak you see is Bluff Knoll which is the highest mountain in Western Australia. It even get a covering of snow in the winter which is a rareity for this part of the country.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:14 AM   #15
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Dave should really have used this!

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