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Old 09-16-2013, 03:10 AM   #1
KiwiSteve OP
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Joined: Aug 2003
Location: The Land of Oz
Oddometer: 202
Brisbane to Brisbane - Outback Down & Around......

THE PLAN

To ride from Brisbane out to Birdsville, down the Birdsville track to Adelaide, over to Melbourne and around the coast back to Brisbane, a trip I've wanted to do for, well, a long time.

I had no set time frame or preconceived ideas on what I would see/experience, just a bike, a map and a sense of adventure


I left on the 16th August and was on the road for 25 days, did over 8500km, this is where I ended up going........






The following is what was used on the trip and will provide a review at the end of the ride report.


THE BIKE

2013 F800GS with a few extras to make it a bit more outback-proof:

Bash Plate
Crash Bars
Headlight Guard
Hand Guards
Touratech Gear and Brake Levers
Mitas E-09 Dakar front
Mitas E-10 Dakar rear




THE EQUIPMENT

BMW Tankbag
Wolfman Rocky Mountain Luggage with mounting racks and cross-brace http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/index....addle-bags.cfm
Wolfman Expedition large duffle bag http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/index....product_id=104
Wolfman rear top rack http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/index....product_id=317
Redverz Expedition Tent http://shop.redverz.com/products/Ser...2d-Yellow.html
Extra fuel -10L Scepter with locking cap and internal stored pourer
Aerofast Tiedowns - RRCL3 http://www.aerofast.co.nz/
Helinox Chair One http://www.helinox.com.au/helinox-chair-one.php
HEMA Australian Motorcycle Atlas http://www.hemamaps.com.au/en/Buy/Bo...-200-Top-Rides
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook - Chris Scott http://adventure-motorcyclingh.com/
SPOT GPS tracker
RAM Mount for Spot
Canon 7D 15-85mm
iPhone 4S




THE RIDING GEAR

KLIM Badland Pro Jacket http://www.klim.com/Motorcycle/Badlands-Pro-Jacket.html
KLIM Badland Pro Pants http://www.klim.com/Motorcycle/Badla...tml?colorID=33
KLIM Element Glove Short http://www.klim.com/Motorcycle/Element-Glove-Short.html
Arai XD4-Explore http://arai-xd4-helmets.com/arai-xd4-explore.html
Alpine Star Toucan Boots http://www.alpinestars.com/toucan-go...l#.UjUwzNpAqmQ
Fox Pawtector Gloves http://shop.foxhead.com/store/produc...44449/cat20060
Fox AIRSPC Googles http://www.foxhead.com/airspc/
Camelback 2L Classic









PART I

It took a while for all the gear to turn up as most of it had to come from the States, but once it arrived I was able to undertake the final preparations for the trip.

One of the last things to do was fit the tyres, I needed a practice run since outback Australia is no place to find out what tools you do and don't have .

















The dog was very interested in the finer details of fitting off-road tyres to an adventure bike...........not
















Day 1

Finally on the road..........

















Day 2

On the way to Carnarvon Gorge..........



















Memorial to an aircraft crash in 1943..........






































Carnarvon Gorge............








































Back at the Carnarvon Gorge visitors centre - Amazing area!!










DAY 3



























One of many Road Trains I saw/passed heading West..........










Only 841km to Birdsville.............


















Day 4

3.5 degrees at 6am..........


















On the road between Charleville and Quilpie......









Loaded up with plenty of water..........





























Someone must have really liked The Wombles ...........































No shortage of straight long flat roads out West...........























Having a rest and a snack in the shade..............









Swallow mud nests inside the rest stop shelter......












Heading into the real West now ............










Cooper Creek and bridge, just out of Windorah...........










Solar Collectors at Windorah...........












............Go Karts...........in the outback.........











Peak hour in Windorah...........























Day 5









































If you ever want to know where the middle of nowhere is, I found it ........














































End of the bitumen, start of the 250km dusty, rocky and corrugated gravel road to Birdsville........











Rear tyre looking 1/2 worn already, at this rate it'll be shot by the end of the dirt roads ............










Front tyre still fine........























The perils of Outback travel, plenty of shredded tyres out here, I helped them change their spare and they drove off happy campers while I re-packed my bike. I caught up with them a few kms down the road where a rock destroyed their fuel pump, it was game over this time, they were going nowhere.

It was mid afternoon Friday and over 100km to Birdsville, so I told them to wait with their vehicle and I'll let someone know of their plight once I get to town. I saw them at the campsite late that afternoon, they ended up getting a tow from the Birdsville recovery guys back to Birdsville which cost them $650!! Plus they had to get a new fuel pump flown in and their vehicle repaired before going anywhere, very expensive their outback adventure.

Lucky they didn't try crossing the Simpson, minimum recovery cost out there if you break down starts in the thousands!!!............











4km to Birdsville, yay ..........











Big Red...........











4X4 Brigade hanging out on Big Red..........










Start of the Simpson Desert crossing looking West, 1100 more sand dunes and you've reached the end........































Day 6

Rest day in Birdsville…………
































Birdsville Hotel...............










One of the locals waiting for a drink inside the Birdsville Hotel ........



































Where the famous Birdsville Races are held each year, the town swells from a population of around 100 to over 6000.
I'm glad I arrived and left before all the madness ..........











Birdsville race track..............












One of Burke and Wills famous trees............












Where Burke and Wills engraved the tree before heading off on their tragic journey.......










The old Royal Hotel, Birdsville...........












Artesian Water supply, comes out of the ground at around 98 degrees C............












Water towers..........














Stream to cool the Artesian water before using it in the town supply..........











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KiwiSteve screwed with this post 09-21-2013 at 02:58 AM
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:12 AM   #2
KiwiSteve OP
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Location: The Land of Oz
Oddometer: 202
PART II

Day 7

Packed and ready to farewell Birdsville.................









Start of the Birdsville Track heading South, 520km of rocks, corrugations, dust and absolute solitude..............
















































Sturt Stoney Desert........










Somewhere along the Birdsville Track, billions of rocks all wanting to take you down, like playing a real life game of Asteriods at 100km/hr.........





























Looking South, haven't seen another vehicle or person for at least the last 2 hours
Remote is an understatement...........












Same spot as the previous photo, looking right..........












....Looking left............








My home for 25 days..........












Enjoying a well deserved dip at the end of a long and dusty day, Mungerannie Roadhouse.............




















Inside the Mungerannie Hotel, interesting interior with thousands of travelers momento's lining the walls and ceiling.
Great hosts and great food!!! .............











Galahs and Cockatoo's evening get together at Mungerannie.......



























DAY 8


Dawn at Mungerannie Billabong............











The thousand bird alarm clock at 6am…………










My Trusty steed........









The Bull Dust was, shall we say, interesting, if you've never ridden through it on a fully laden bike at speed you don't know what your missing
Very easy for things to go pear shaped that's for sure ............



















The end of the Birdsville Track at Maree.............









Looking back from whence I came...........









Farina Station, South of Maree......










Heading towards Arkaroola in the Flinders Ranges region, the gravel road from Copley to Arkaroola was AWESOME especially on a sunny afternoon.
One of my favorite roads on the trip ...........





























Camping Arkaroola style










A friend waiting in my tent upon my return after dinner, he was a big sucker ............









DAY 9





























Heading towards Parachilna from Blinman...........










..........along the B83........










.........to Brachina Gorge




















In the heart of the Flinders Ranges.......











Adventure riders version of El Dorado









DAY 10

Indiana Jones silhouette *play theme song here* ...........










Flinders Ranges National Park.............










Wilpena Pound..........











........What an amazing part of the world .........











DAY 11

Jamestown........











"Waiter! There's a fly in my disc"...........bet he's dizzy




















Taking the scenic back roads into Adelaide.......










Burra copper mine.............










Riding to the End of the World.............











Following the Power line Rd between Burra and Morgan..........













Waiting for the ferry, one of many on my trip........












One of the locals................




















The Murray River, Australia's longest at 2375km..............











DAY 12









Mr Ed ..............











Having lunch with one of the local birds .............










The Granites.............



















Seaside at Robe..............










Sunset at Robe..........






















DAY 13

Sunrise at Robe.............










Beachport Jetty.............










Beachport.............





















Beachport coastline..........












Windmills old and new..............
















































Caution! Autobots ahead ...............










DAY 14










Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road.............







































Drop Bear in the middle of the road................











































Great Ocean Road, not so great in the wet with a fully loaded bike on 1/2 worn knobbly tyres.............













DAY 15

I'd love to know the story behind who named this place, maybe an ex boxer ........













Flinders Street Station, central Melbourne

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KiwiSteve screwed with this post 09-21-2013 at 03:25 AM
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:13 AM   #3
KiwiSteve OP
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Location: The Land of Oz
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PART III


After catching up with friends in Melbourne on days 16 & 17 I was ready to hit the road again.



DAY 18

Dandenong Ranges..............









































Near The Nobbies, Phillip Island...........




























DAY 19

Wilsons Promontory..............


















Whisky Bay...........




















Norman Bay................











DAY 20


















On the road to the Snowy Mountains......................




















1000ft drop off straight down on a single lane road .........































The Snowy River, although not much snow today, it was 27 degrees!! .............




















Finally found some snow , at Persiher Valley, Kosciuszko National Park.................
































DAY 21











Some hitchhikers.................










Mr Snake..............










Mr Snake on the move..............











Eden coastline......................











Bermagui beach............












Bermagui at sunset............











DAY 22






















Back road to Bathurst................











Mount Panorama Bathurst, the venue for Australia's great race.............










On the start line...............











On Brock's Skyline................










The Chase...............











DAY 23

Road to Jenolan Caves...................











The road through the hillside at Jenolan Caves...........























The Blue Mountains, West of Sydney..................




















Shelly Beach, The Entrance..............










DAY 24










DAY 25












Byron Bay..............











Home.......... the dogs taking a bit more interest in my tyres now .............










REVIEW

F800GS


Before............








After...............








The bike performed flawlessly the whole trip, not one single issue, ran fine on regular (91) or super (95+) unleaded, only time I got the tools out was to adjust the chain a fraction, which it didn't really need but I just wanted to feel useful .



Motorline BMW did the 10,000km service prior to departure, there were a couple of minor warranty issues but the guys got everything sorted in time for my trip, definitely recommend them for any BMW Motorrad requirements in the Brisbane/SEQ region
http://www.motorlinemotorrad.bmw.com...p?PageID=41288



BASH PLATE - 100% must have, got hammered by loads of rocks, 10/10
CRASH BARS - Recommended - never saw action this time around but they're a solid piece of kit and no doubt would save many an engine case if dropped, great for hanging stinky socks at the end of the long days 10/10
HEADLIGHT GUARD - 100% must have, protects headlight from rocks/bugs and easy to take off and clean 10/10
HAND GUARDS- 100% must have, good wind and lever protection and especially good at keep the bugs off your knuckles 10/10
TOURATECH Gear and Brake Levers - Recommended, found them good to use with off-road style boots, very robust and easy to fit 10/10



TYRES


Mitas E-09 Dakar front
Mitas E-10 Dakar rear



Initial impressions are that they are noticeably slower turning in to corners when you first use them, however once you get used to it they grip on the dry bitumen very well, especially considering the luggage I was hauling.

I did around 1500km gravel/off road and the rest (over 7000km) on the bitumen, no punctures or issues. I ran quite high pressures (26psi +) the whole time and was usually doing around 100km/hr on the Birdsville Track and the straighter gravel roads.

I was concerned at the rate of wear after the first 2000km which involved mostly bitumen riding from Brisbane heading West, the tyres seemed to be 1/2 worn already and I was expecting to change them at Adelaide after completing the Birdsville track/Flinders Ranges gravel road sections.

They still appeared to have some life when I got to Adelaide so I decided to press on, I did get a couple of wet sections as it was drizzling/light rain down near the Great Ocean Road which required extra vigilance/speed reduction, it goes without saying that running off-road knobbly tyres on a wet road requires extra vigilance and patience, otherwise............ .

It seems strange but they actually wore less as time went on, to the point where the last 1500km I don't think they wore at all.

After 8500km+ of riding all manner of roads at various speeds (Some of the road transports were, errr, fast ) I have to say I'm extremely impressed, and will score no less than 10/10.

Big up to Mitas Dakar tyres






Front tyre before................








Front tyre after...........









Rear tyre before..............








Rear tyre after............








EQUIPMENT

BMW TANKBAG - Good size and nice features, waterproof (although not tested in torrential downpours), the fitting/removing is a little fiddly but otherwise an excellent product 9/10

WOLFMAN ROCKY MOUNTAIN LUGGAGE WITH MOUNTING RACKS AND CROSSBRACE - Excellent product and well thought out/engineered, the internal stiffeners could be modified to allow the inner bags to slide in easier without catching (caught my fingers a few times when pushing 'down' on the inner bags ) and a couple other little minor fixes.

Having the ability to modify the volume was great, I didn't need to adjust the side straps pretty much the whole trip, and having water/dust proof inner bags you can take out at the end of the day without removing the bags was fantastic.

They were the perfect size for my equipment/clothes etc. and I didn't notice the luggage at all when riding the gravel roads, that is, they did not unbalance the bike in any way.

I originally rated them a 9/10, however after considering how well they have been thought out and engineered I've since upgraded to a 10/10

WOLFMAN EXPEDITION DUFFLE BAG LARGE - this carried my tent, hammer, sleeping back, pillow, self-inflating bed roll, hiking boots, Helinox chair and a few other smaller items, Excellent piece of equipment 9/10

WOLFMAN REAR TOP RACK- easy to fit, strong and functional 10/10

REDVERZ EXPEDITION TENT- probably my favorite piece of kit, easy to put up/take down, compact when packed, having a garage for the bike and being able to hide everything away at the end of the day was great, certainly generated a lot of interest at campsites .

Only criticism's are the amount of light it lets through (I have the yellow one) and it's weather proof-ness. The first week on the road there was a full moon, so was like sleeping with the light on and everywhere I camped seemed to be next to some form of camp lighting which compounded the issue. The green tent may have blocked out the light better and I originally wanted green, however the supplier only had yellow in stock.

I'm not sure about it's weather proof-ness based on my experience, as it ended up getting a little wet on the inside on more than one occasion, without heavy rain either, although it did dry quickly once erected. Might have to experiment in the rain to determine it's actual limitations, for this reason I have to score it down a little, still very happy with the product 8/10

p.s., don't forget a hammer, much easier to pitch the tent with a bit of clout

SCEPTER 10L fuel container - with locking cap and internal stored pourer, for my requirements this worked out to be an excellent extra fuel container, gave me the range I needed and did not leak once 10/10

AEROFAST TIEDOWNS- RRCL3 - Used for trying on the large duffle bag and fuel container, excellent product 10/10

HELINOX CHAIR ONE- my second favorite piece of kit behind the tent, light, compact, easy to assemble and comfortable, not the cheapest camp chair but for my requirements I found it an excellent product 10/10

HEMA AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE ATLAS with TOP 200 RIDES - I didn't take a GPS (apart from SPOT) as I wanted to follow a map and my nose, like in the old days, worked out really well and found the HEMA maps to be accurate with lots of useful information, excellent product 10/10

Chris Scotts ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLING HANDBOOK - The only 'book' I took, although I had read it prior to leaving was good to read over certain parts again, without a doubt the best adventure motorcycling reference book available, great job Chris 11/10

SPOT GPS tracker - Very accurate, worked a treat for friends family watching online from back home, they had fun trying to work out where I'd go next, which was the fun part for me too . It's not as intuitive as it could be when setting up, the web based layout could be greatly improved, overall 8/10

RAM Mount for Spot - Worked a treat, nice and compact, never broke or came loose 10/10




RIDING GEAR

KLIM BADLANDS PRO JACKET - Excellent piece of kit, well vented and warm when required, much better than BMW gear with zip in/out liners (I've had BMW stuff before and although it is nice, I found the zip in/out liner is a pain). The KLIM zips did show signs of dust slowing them down a little, however almost all zips will do this to a certain extent and I found by managing when the zips were open or closed helped. I also lubricated them at the first instance after the dusty roads and they work like new.

The coldest I was riding in was about 9 degrees in the early morning wet fog and the hottest around 34 degrees just out of Sydney in stop start traffic, at these extremes the base layer could have been changed to improve comfort levels however I did not feel overly uncomfortable. I found the temperature range I was riding in changed quite a bit during the day, and in this regard the KLIM gear performed fantastic , although could have done with a tad more venting when really hot.

The only criticism is the wrist cuffs, I found when using them as intended (with the thumb through) they bunched up in my gloves and keep cutting circulation to my hands. I ended up just putting my whole hand through the wrist hole and using them like any other jacket, I think this feature could be removed without any detriment to the jacket, overall 9/10

KLIM BADLANDS PRO PANTS - Reviewed as per the jacket, also could have done with a bit more venting, especially on the front edge/knee area, overall 9/10

KLIM ELEMENT GLOVES SHORT - A tad bulky and took a while to wear in, L/H finger wiper worked great, overall a great product although a little pricey 8/10

ARAI XD4 EXPLORE - Nice helmet with great venting, criticism's are it's a bit noisy at highway speed with/without using googles, and most disappointed was it fogged up easily on the 1st rainy day prior to leaving on my trip.

This was fixed with the addition of a pinlock anti-fog attachement, which sorted the fogging issue, but for the money you spend on an Arai I'd expect at the very least to have a pinlock fitted at standard, overall 8/10

ALPINESTAR GORETEX TOUCAN BOOTS- Comfortable boot even when walking, although a bit squeaky, also buckles played up a little (not locking, hard to unlock) and not as nice as my old Gaerne's. Goretex was 100% waterproof after walking through streams etc., overall 8/10

FOX PAWTECTOR GLOVES - good product for the price, easy to get on/off when required, not too hot and comfortable after hours of riding, overall 8/10

FOX AIRSPC - Excellent fit and a perfect match for the Arai with my shaped head/face, I prefer to ride with goggles to keep out dust/wind from my eyes. The nose bridge of the goggles fits perfectly against the front of the Arai with almost no gap so no itchy nose syndrome (which I get if using 'normal' goggles) or nose getting bombarded with bugs. I use the grey tinted lenses, overall highly recommended 10/10.

CAMELBACK 2L - Used everyday and worked great, I have the classic version and it's very limiting on space to carry other stuff (I originally bought it for dirt-biking) when full of water and I wanted to go hiking for 2+ hours, next camelback I get will be a little bigger so I can carry extra items when needed (spare rain jacket, food, 1st aid kit etc.), overall and for it's intended purpose 9/10.


So that's it in a nutshell, I had a great experience and was everything I dreamed it would be, I went searching for the real Australia and I think I found it

Cheers till next time..................
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KiwiSteve screwed with this post 09-25-2013 at 03:37 PM
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:40 AM   #4
7days1shower
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Love the photos. The outback really is an interesting place. I rode up to Cairns earlier this year but because I had to stick to sealed or at least hard packed roads, it was just hours and hours of straight nothingness on the horizon :(

Did you do the Great Alpine Road at all?
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #5
BcDano
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Brilliant ride! Thanks for the reviews as well.
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
vtgs
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Spectacular

Great pictures. Nice recap and review on equipment.

Makes me want to ship my bike there.
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
KiwiSteve OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOE200 View Post
Love the photos. The outback really is an interesting place. I rode up to Cairns earlier this year but because I had to stick to sealed or at least hard packed roads, it was just hours and hours of straight nothingness on the horizon :(

Did you do the Great Alpine Road at all?

Glad you enjoyed the photos, I was planning on doing a loop from Jindabyne around through Cabramurra and back to Jindabyne, however the road was closed due to a rock fall, so missed out on this trip

The road from Nowa Nowa through Buchan and the Snowy Mountains to Jindabyne was AMAZING, it had everything from fast () sweeping road sections to narrow and winding single lane gravel tracks, amazing scenery and it's up there as one of my favorite adventure roads for sure ..............

Cheers
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:30 PM   #8
KiwiSteve OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
Brilliant ride! Thanks for the reviews as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtgs View Post
Great pictures. Nice recap and review on equipment.

Makes me want to ship my bike there.


Thanks for viewing, regarding the reviews I wanted to honest in my feedback using all the gear relative to the purchase price, that is, did I get value for money? I believe I did.

Regarding my concerns with the weatherproof-ness of the tent, I had some helpful feedback from REDVERZ:


Quote:
Regarding weatherproof, I can pretty much guarantee, the issue you are having is condensation. Our tents are 4000mm hydrostatic head waterproofing, pretty much the highest rate you can get for a mountaineering/expedition tent.

Because the vestibule area does not have a floor this could cause condensation in certain environments. Most of our users, to cut this down will buy a second groundsheet for the vestibule. http://freeoutdoors.com/blog/camping/tent-condensation is a great reference on condensation.

As mentioned I did not actually get to test the tent in proper rain, the wide temperature differentials (3 degrees to 30's C) and the different ground conditions (grassy campsites etc.) experienced were certainly conducive to condensation build up.

I still think the tent is an extremely well thought out and excellent product, with the ability to store everything out of sight, including the bike, I can stand up inside the tent/garage when getting bike gear on/off and it compacts down to a relatively small package (considering the erected room/features).

Big up to REDVERZ and still my favorite piece of kit

Overall I was extremely pleased with ALL the gear I chose and I should have added that NOTHING broke on any of my kit!!

On this count alone ALL the gear should be seen as fantastic really and most certainly recommended

Cheers
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:08 AM   #9
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Mighty ride, beaut pictures.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:13 PM   #10
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Great photos - and a great ride report . .
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:31 PM   #11
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Fantastic stuff,looks like you travelled some nice ground!,i do a fair bit of riding around the carnavon region in cq very nice area that gets overlooked by many people touring.Thanks for the r/r and photos.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:08 AM   #12
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Brilliant report mate. Did you do any thing with those photos or are they straight from the camera? Some of those shots are fugging awesome
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:41 AM   #13
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Great read/ride mate
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:56 AM   #14
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Best ADV read I've had for a long time, well done. There's a lot to be said for enjoying the country we ride through rather than just worrying about how quick you can get to the end.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:19 AM   #15
Gotawee
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Great pics and RR of your trip.
Thanks for sharing
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