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Old 05-09-2013, 12:55 AM   #1
sitdownman OP
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Location: Longreach Central Western Qld
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AQR Birdsville 2013

Despite the government canning the May day public holiday the AQR was not to be put off, postponed or deferred. This year however it was decided early on to try and link with Tugboat Bills memorial at Birdsville. Plans were put in place and riders came from all over with the goal to meet Friday at Windorah before travelling on to Birdsville. Those north of the Tropic of Capricorn (Graham, Dale, Kenno, Barra and Charlie) planned to link up and meet at OBJ’s in Barcaldine on the Thursday night whilst I would catch them the next morning in Isisford.
Friday came all too quickly and I was on the road by 7.30 travelling the back way to Isisford to avoid the tar. In almost 30000kms of riding I had never had a puncture on one of my adventure rides until that day. Clipping a large rock with my front wheel the rock moved directly into the path of the rear wheel hitting hard and causing a few expletives to come from my mouth. Instinctively I knew that the outcome would not be good and slowed quickly as the rear tyre went flat. With only 10kms in to Isisford and the meeting time of 9.00am rapidly approaching I thought I might sneak in on the flat and save a bit of grief trying to replace/repair the tube. BIG mistake. On arriving in Isisford a friendly local directed me around to Barcoo Spares where I thought that the gods had favoured me when the owner had a brand new rear tube in stock. This soon turned to dismay when I realised the tyre had been destroyed partly from the impact and then by running it flat.
It was time for my son to return some of the favours that he owes me. After arranging for another tyre, H/D tube, rimlock and rim band at Centretune in Longreach my son was to pick them up and drive them across to me. Unfortunately he couldn’t get away from Longreach until after 11.15 so it was around 12.30 before he finally arrived. In the meantime the rest of the crew had arrived with OBJ who was running shotgun in his RTV Ute.
After a coffee and chat at the interpretation centre they continued on with the plan for me to catch up at Yaraka or Windorah.
I now know why I leave the tyre fitting to the shops as after much cursing and sweating I finally replaced the tyre etc on the rear wheel. Saying goodbye to my son and his wife I headed off towards Yaraka at 1.30pm. About 20 kms from Yaraka I ran into Max who had shown the boys around a few back roads into Mt Slowcom. He reckoned that they shouldn’t be too far in front by the time they refuelled etc. Reaching Yaraka the lady at the servo/shop confirmed that the guys had left about 20 mins before. Refuelled I set off hoping to run down the others before Windorah.
This was not to be as bad luck struck yet again. It was de ja vu – the same thing having happened coming back from the OCR last year. The countershaft sprocket nut had let go allowing the sprocket to move out from the shaft and losing all drive. At the same time the bush that sits behind the sprocket had moved allowing precious oil to escape from the countershaft seal. Lying the bike on the side after unloading my gear I replaced the nut and lock washer which ,after my previous experience, I had added to my spares box together with a spark plug, assorted nuts and bolts, chain link, clutch lever and perch, and front brake lever. This together with my tyre repair kit, spare tube, pump, CO2 cylinders, duct tape, zip clips and tools are all that I carried.
Back on the road I made it into Windorah about 20 mins behind the others who had started setting up their camps behind the hotel whilst enjoying a beer. Rob, Rod and Paul had also arrived although they were camped out a little further up the road. That night we enjoyed a few more ales and a meal at the pub whilst catching up and spinning yarns form the various rides. I of course copped a bit of flak for my troubles to date but all was in good fun
.
The next morning after a hearty meal at the pub we headed off once more towards Birdsvlle. On the way we stopped to enjoys the view from Deon’s lookout as well as see the ‘Hole in the Hill”.



At Birdsville we pulled up at the iconic Birdsville Hotel and enjoyed a drink before heading to the Caravan Park to set up.


The facilities at the park were excellent but if you were looking for lawn to set up your tent – you were out of luck. Bare ground was all that was to be had and you had to be quick to grab a spot in the shade of the trees that were scattered around the site.
Touring the town we were surprised by the number of signs mostly saying No Camping or No something else. We called in at the Birdsville Bakery and checked out their range of pies including curried camel and had a good look at the photos paintings etc that surrounded the walls.
With a can of beer selling for $7.50 at the pub we decided that it would be better to grab a carton for $63 and have a couple back at the camp site before tea. For tea we headed back to the pub for a buffet which wasn’t bad value for $25.
Sunday dawned brightly and after a lazy day looking around the town and catching up with some of the other riders that were riding in we decided we would go and tackle “Big Red”. Four of our crew decided to do it the easy way and booked a scenic flight whilst Kenno, Paul, Rod and myself headed out on bikes and OBJ and Kato took the ute. Ignoring the first dune we turned right and followed the track around to ‘Big Red’.
Whilst OBJ tried to master the art of taking videos I fired the KLX up the right hand track to catch my first view from the top. Kenno soon joined me and not long after we both attacked the left hand track to make it to the top and pose for some more photos.

By this time Fogo and his son Aaron had arrived and after a false run Aaron then Fogo both joined us at the top. Meanwhile Rod and the GS were struggling to get the power to the ground but did manage to shift a fair bit of sand. Big Red has moved at least a metre after his attempts. Paul torqued the big DR up after a failed attempt. The boys in the plane flew over and after giving them the customary salute they flew off to capture more of the landscape.


Heading back to camp we noticed even more bikes had arrived and the Birdsville Hotel was doing a roaring trade.

Tea was at the pub again followed by some more ales and putting some sh*t on Rod and the GS.
Whilst we would have liked to stay on for Bills memorial some of us had to get back for work commitments so Monday after breakkie at the Bakery we hit the road again heading to Diamantina Lakes NP via which would be our overnight stop.

On the way we stopped at Carcory Homestead Ruins and refuelled at Bedourie.

At Diamantina we passed the Gum Hole Camp and pushed on to Hunters Gorge where we set up for the night. We were surprised to find that we had the camping area to ourselves but it wasn’t long before a couple of grey nomads pulled up in their 4wd and caravan and shortly before dark the ranger dropped in for a visit. Sunset over the gorge and the water was great only spoiled by the lack of wildlife particularly birds however the reason for that was obvious as we sighted a number of feral cats and the ranger advised that they had trapped 30 the night before at the Gum Hole Camp.


Sleep was interrupted that night by the Dingos howling and fighting and Kenno swears he saw a min min light.
The next morning after some more pictures of the sunrise we saddled up for the ride to Winton via old cork homestead ruins. On the way Kenno and I checked out the views from Janets Leap.


We almost missed the ruins as it is not signposted so we had to double back a few kms to catch it – luckily OBJ had the navman handy to point us in the right direction. I of course who was up front with Charlie got the blame for leading everyone astray.


At the Winton Roadhouse the group split up with the NQ contingent (Graham, Barra, Dale and Kenno) slabbing it up the road to Hughenden as the rain clouds that were gathering put off any ideas of the dirt, while OBJ, Charlie and myself headed east towards home.

For me it was a great experience having lived in this area for most of my life I had finally got to visit Birdsville and climb the infamous “Big Red” and of course the camaraderie (beer and bulls*t) that you share with other adventurer riders.

sitdownman screwed with this post 05-09-2013 at 01:17 AM
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:40 AM   #2
Hodgo
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Good Read mate. thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:47 AM   #3
johnno950
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Awesome stuff!,thanks for the rr photos.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
charlie59
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good stuff henry.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:29 AM   #5
outback jack
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Winners are grinners

Keanno & Sitdownman after conquering Big Red

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