The alarm went off at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:time Hour="4" Minute="30">4.30 am</st1:time>, it didnt matter as I was already in the kitchen making coffee. I find it a little hard to sleep when about to embark on an adventure of the sort I had planned.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> I had 2 months and a credit card so figured what better way to make the most of both than to go for a ride ! The decision of where was quickly made, I rode to Cape York last time, there is a lot of central and west Australia I havent seen yet so a ride to the other side through the middle, keeping to as many dirt roads and tracks, sounded good to me !<o></o> After a few last minute details I had the front wheel pointing down the road at 6.00 am on a beautiful autumn morning with the thoughts of what lay ahead causing a massive grin under my helmet, even if it was only 4 deg c. After negotiating the Gatton Clifton rd I pulled over in Clifton to try and rub some feeling back into my summer dirt glove shod hands and check that everything on the bike was the way I had put it, I was using different gear and a different bike to my last trip so figured it was gonna take me a little while before I found the best configuration. Half hr later I was tearing down the first of many dirt roads on the way to Goondiwindi. I had spoken to Ozmick a couple days earlier and we figured that after putting the 625 back to normal gearing and riding sensibly (that part could be a problem for me ! ) that I should get similar economy to his 640 adv, approx 17 km/lt. Well after having to tip the bike on its side 4 times to drain what little fuel was left in the 21 ltr tank to the tap side I rolled into the caltex Gwindi exactly <st1:metricconverter ProductID="320 km">320 km</st1:metricconverter> later to realize that maybe I had overestimated my fuel economy, either that or I was having way too much fun on the dirt ! So after filling both the tank and the 5 ltr drum in my side saddle, which I had left empty until this time, thinking I wouldnt need it, I made my way towards Mungindi via Boomi. 100 kms west of Gwindi I stopped to water some trees that looked a little dry and glanced over the bike to discover oil splatter all over the swingarm and rear end. Thinking Id done a countershaft seal I remembered reading something about a similar incident happening to Ozmicks and Evildingoes 640 advs some months earlier, I figured a quick call to Mick was in order, Nah, shell be right mate, just nip it up and itll be all good was the response I got. I knew the countershaft sprocket on the LC4s is a bit dodgey, we ascertained this after a few of them came loose on the last wild boar ride, including mine, apparently there is a rubber o ring type seal behind the sprocket that can leak a little if the sprocket isnt done up 100 % tight. I checked it <st1:metricconverter ProductID="50 km">50 km</st1:metricconverter> later and Mick was right, all was good. This is the only servo in Boomi, credit/key card or no fuel. At least its 24 hrs. About 50 ks after Mungindi I turn right to follow the dirt into Lightning ridge from the east. Upon entering Lightning Ridge, which is an opal mining town, there is what is called a hot bore bath that is fed from the Great Artesian Basin, which is like a massive underground ocean that supplies water for the majority of central Australia, this water comes to the surface at approximately 30 40 deg c and makes for a great hot bath that also has therapeutic qualities derived from the mineral content of the water. So after soaking for an hour or so I made my way another <st1:metricconverter ProductID="30 km">30 km</st1:metricconverter> towards <st1lace><st1laceName>Narran</st1laceName> <st1laceType>Lakes</st1laceType></st1lace> to set up my first of many bush camps about 500 mtrs down a little used track for the end of day 1.