2005: an outback odyssey

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Gravel Seeker, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
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    Alright.

    Many f you are already aware, but for those who aren't I'd just like to say that the adventure has begun. I hereby invite you all to tag along on this trip which I hope will live up to expectations.

    I've purchased a domain and have a little site going, albeit not yet at 100%; Gravel Seekers.com
    I'll try to keep this site updated as we make our way around Australia.

    As of now we're still in Melbourne trying to get the bikes through customs. What we thought woul be an easy task, since we had gotten approval by the DMV to import the bikes, has turned into somewhat of a papermill since customs won't talk to the DMV..... we're hoping the bikes will be "ours" on wednesday though. Let me give a big thanks to Leon H. (adv rider) for faxing an estimated value of our bikes on BMW letterhead to our agent :D

    I'll copy the first two reports from gravelseekers.com over here:

    1. 2005: an outback odyssey
    The countdown has begun. I’ve ben counting down for a while now to tell you the truth, but I’m not counting months or even weks anymore – we’re down to days ! Summer has finally arrived here in Oslo with daytime temperatures between 26<sup>o</sup>C - 30<sup>o</sup>C, so it’s kind of sad to be leaving, but I can’t dwell on that now. Tuesday the 12th of July marks the beginning of what will hopefully be the adventure of a lifetime. At least until the next opportunity comes knocking.

    We start at Oslo Intl. Airport Gardemoen and the journey takes to London and Hong Kong before Touching down in Melbourne, Australia. We were debating if we should stop over in Hong Kong for a day or two on the way down, but decided against it in the end – we might do that on the return trip.

    The bikes were shipped via container on May 27th which is supposed to arrive in Melboure on the 11th of July. I’m sure it will be pretty exiting to open the container and see what shape the bikes are in. From experience I know that the container probably won’t be unloded until the next day, which happens to match our arrival schedule perfectly as we land on the 13th local time….maybe it’ll be 14th by then – either way it’s a damn long trip.

    2. Departure and arrival

    Tuesday, July 12th, has come and gone. The day we’ve waited for for so long started just as hectic as the previous days in July. The last few details had to be arranged and we had to squeeze in the last swim in the Randsfjorden as well.

    We left Gardermoen Airport without any delays and arrived at Heathrow on time, after about two hours in the air. The central arconditioning had died so airport employees were franticly running around with their mobile AC units. After a while they got the centralAC working and the four hour layover went by in aprox. Four hours….

    The flight from London to Hong Kong was the longest of the trip with it’s 12,5 hours. The seats were surprisingly comfortable and everyone had their own little entertainment center mounted in the back of the seat infront of them. The layover in Hong Kong got to be a tad more exiting than it needed to be as they had forgotten to scan out passports in London. It turned out to be innocent and we had time to look at some camera gear which was supposed to be cheap. Lots of nice new models, but our time there was just too short to ask the important questions and get the right answers so we made our way to gate 62 without any new camera gear.

    The next flight lasted 8,5 hours and served the best fod by far. Yngve and I (and a few others) got seats where the entertainment units were defective. The very nice flight attendatnt moved the movie “Sahara” from channel 1 to ch. 37 since that was the only one we could see. She later gave us vouchers for US$25 each, but I’d rather have a functioning entertainment unit.

    We arrived in Melbourne on Thursday the 14th of July at 6.10am local time and , like everyone else, we became victims of the very strict quarantine laws of Australia. Or so we thougth until we stood in line for about an hour to get through the passport control. The lady in uniform with the magic stamp was dead set on getting my street address in Melbourne and got pissed when I said I didn’t have one. Tonje experienced the same thing and the unirofrmed ones were whispering “this is very suspicious” among themselves. The let us through though.

    With out passports stamped we collected our luggage and went through the customs check fairly quick. They only scanned our stuff and if I’d known I would’ve brought more than 4 cans of snus (oral tobacco which I was told was ilegal in Australia).

    A short busride later left us in downtwn Melbourne and we hadn’t walked more than 50 meters when Christian strolls over to a MC messanger and says hello. Turned out it was George, an aussie friend of Christians. What are the odds ?! Breakfast at The Blitz at a little over 9am and a hotelroom for the night booked by 11am. It was just that the night was so long away we just had to take a “power nap”.
    #1
  2. FuddyLogic

    FuddyLogic Blue'n'Orange

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,048
    Location:
    Tasmania, Australia
    Welcome to Oz...

    Looks like it will be a great trip. Can't wait for your future posts.

    Best of luck.
    #2
  3. HIgh Water

    HIgh Water Waisting Time

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    Los Barriles, Baja - Colorado - Stuttgart Germany
    :lurk Biring it on!
    #3
  4. OUtback UFO

    OUtback UFO GLOW IN DARK SPACEINVADER

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,595
    Location:
    NOT HERE
    Looking forward to seeing the pictures...

    had a friend who ran out of the chewing tobacco downunder and had to suck on cigar leafs.... and another friend had his Snuff taken at customs.


    See Bungie Bungie if you get a chance much better than Ayers Rock...
    #4
  5. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,819
    Location:
    Northern NSW
    G'Day,

    Good to see you finally made it into Oz. Let me know when you are passing through the North Coast of NSW and I'll see if I can be of any assistance.

    Good luck with the trip.
    #5
  6. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    We're still in Melbourne. Customs wants to x-ray the container which wil take a few more days. Hopefuly we'll have the bikes on friday. Will write some more on life in Melbourne with one change of clothes tonight perhaps.
    #6
  7. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    Latest from Gravel Seekers:

    The hostages, the stork and the toad

    The bikes are still being held hostage - so we’ll spend another weekend in Melbourne.

    We were grasping at straws hoping we’d get the bikes today, Friday, but it’d soon be clear that was not to be. Chrstan talked to Julie (agent) around 10-11am and the container will be unpacked on Monday with quarantine on Tuesday. This meat that we, first of all, had to find new accomodations for the weekend as the Stork (The Stork Hotel) was fully booked. We found a new and better place a couple of blocks down and I say this with sadness in my voice; the Toad (Toad Hall Hotel) jumps all over the Stork.

    Some pictures I took on Sunday. We went to the Melbourne Aquarium. I took 94 pictures and kept the ones I thought were any good. As usual not many, hehe.

    This is a lizard of some kind....duh...
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    Shark attack
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    Another shark. I like the way only half of it shows.
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    Out the window between floors at the Melbourne Aquarium we could see the moon between two buildings - thought it was a nice subject.
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    Same thing, zoomed in.
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    I like to use the landscape around me to create a specific image or view others might not see when walking the same path. Here are a few examples:

    The old Spencer St. passage (will be torn down soon)
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    Here I used the paint and tram tracks to make lines through the picture from each bottom corner (had to cut a little)
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    Bridge over the Yarra river
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    Same bridge, different view
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    Art on Swanson St. (?)
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    Different view
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    So we're stuck here for another few days. Hopefully we can start the real trip on wednesday. We're afterall coming back here in Decemer, so I can take a closer look at things then....
    #7
  8. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    So, we've made our way north along the boring straight highways. Had a few days layover in Grafton since Christians rotor died, but we're true and well in Queensland now. Brisbane was done by night - which I don't regret - absolutely stunning lights and bridges. Yesterday we headed out onto the Great Sandy Beach nationalpark. We got out there a bit late and played around. Then Tonje crashed and she and Christian made camp then and there. She seemed ok other than a few bruises. The bike will need some TLC, but I'm sure it'll be fine too.
    So Yngve and I continued on and camped on the beach a little further up. We rode out the freshwater creek road this morning and it absolutely killed us. The first 3km of that road is better not done by one wheel drive.....the sign says "<i>4 wheel drive vehicles only</i>.....

    Here are some pictures from the last week.

    Flat Rock tent site
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    Flat Rock Sunrise. Easternmost part of Oz. On low tide.
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    Just entered the beach of the Great Sandy
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    Camp with a view. Great Sandy.
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    Watching the sunrise. Great Sandy. Selftimer.
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    Parked the bikes on the Great Sandy near the wreck....can't remember the name of the wreck right now. Cherry something.
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    Better part of freshwater creek road...
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    #8
  9. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    A new update is forthcoming. Just have to write it first...

    In the meantime - here's a couple of pictures

    Tonje on the beach
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    Yngve on the beach
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    Christian on the beach
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    Me on the beach
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    Me being caught by the setting sun in the middle of nowhere
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    #9
  10. roundabout

    roundabout n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9
    beautiful shots, making me homesick. i live in melbourne (wish i had have checked your post earlier, could have caught up for a beer) but am sort of originally from brisbane. i've done a lot of that area in 4wd's but bikes just looks so much more fun
    #10
  11. bavarian

    bavarian bavarian

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,770
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    Beautiful adventure - keep it coming.
    #11
  12. fifthcircle

    fifthcircle Beer Knurd

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,832
    Location:
    Knee deep in diapers, Nebraska.
    Lookin good!!
    :lurkcan't wait for more.
    #12
  13. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    I have written some more stuff and uploaded some pictures at Gravel Seekers.com.

    Report 004 and 005 are new today. Under is some of the text and a few of the pictures.

    <b>Report 004</b>

    [Snip]....The Coolola beach is about 70kms long and we camped about halfway. Tonje felt it only natural to test the strenght of her R80GS. It can take about the expected amount of abuse after getting off at about 70km/h....[Snip]

    [Snip]....the Fresh Water road, 20 km’s to Rainbow Beach and or brunch. This road as it turned out isn’t suited for a fully loaded bike with a big rider…..350kg’s on 20 cm2 in soft sand and uphill is really exhausting. After three km’s the the track get’s hard enough that you don’t have to be on your toes and you can actually enjoy the ride….don’t get me wrong, there’s still several more km’s before you can sit down, and when you can you’re on hard packed dirt, surrounded by green rainforest with vines hanging down from the trees – nothing less than spectacular !....[Snip]

    [Snip]....A 100 meters after the sealed surface ended a state of wild chaos broke out as two fully oaded bikes tried their best to navigate the ditch at 80km/h. It had been raining so I guess we should’ve expected the roads to be soft and slippery – covered by 5-10cm of red sludge from hell......[Snip]

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    <b>Report 005</b>

    [Snip]....Equipped with Marius’ business card and orders to find Hooterz Scooterz and ask for Steve and we’d be taken good care of, we found the barge terminal.....[Snip]

    [Snip].....We pitched our tents and got a shower and a couple of beers in the bar at Bungalow Bay and had a few laughs with five Irish girls .....[Snip]

    [Snip]....the manager and quiz leader soon announced that the Nowegians riding around Oz on motorbikes would act as head judges and award the last six points. It just so happened that the team we awarded the six points was running five points behind. The prize was free beer and we were invited over to the winning table to share of the prize....[Snip]

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    The complete stories and all pictures are at Gravel Seekers.com
    #13
  14. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,355
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    #14
  15. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    #15
  16. Leon H

    Leon H BMW Prima Donna

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Townsville, Australia
    Thomas and Yngve,

    Thanks for coming to the Ville and allowing me to hang out with you guys for a few weeks. I had a great time riding, and a great time just kickin' around town relaxing. It was a pleasure to have you stay, and anytime you want to come and stay again you are more than welcome. Melissa and I are sad to see you go - we have become accustomed to having you guys around the house. But at least you are going off on bigger and better adventures and will no doubt see some amazing things and go some incredible places over the next few months - I wish I was going with you guys you lucky bastards!

    Anyway, thank you for allowing us to share our lifestyle with you for a few weeks, we had a blast. Please have safe travels, and keep in touch in the future.

    Cheers

    Leon
    #16
  17. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    Thanks a lot Leon. We highly appreciate your hospitality !

    We're in Darwin and I've updated the site.
    #17
  18. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    Hello everyone

    I've updated Gravel Seekers.com with story and a bunch of pictures.

    Here's a few samples of the pictures:

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    #18
  19. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,967
    Location:
    Dreary old Norway, dreaming of adventures past
    You might think this horse is dead,

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    but you're mistaking

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    I know I haven't been very good at updating this thread, so I thought I'd let y'all know we're back in Norway and everyone's still kicking.

    The trip lastet 8 months and I covered 25.000km's. Spent four sets of tyres, one radiator, one head gasket, one waterpump, all rear wheel bearings, 2 tents, one pair of Alpinestar Tech 4 boots, one riding suit and a few other bits and pieces.

    Since I know that most of you like pictures better than words I'll just post the addy for the reports and pictures: www.gravelseekers.com



    Here are a few sample pictures from the last part of the trip

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    #19
  20. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,132
    Excellent report and outstanding pics! :thumb
    #20