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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guzzimike, Sep 13, 2010.
Yeah still watchin vegies grow ,& missus won't let me ride with the busted leg.
Oh shit, that's right, I'd forgotton about that, sorry.
How's it mending?
Very nice trip. Guys you leave in a magic country. We want more of it
From Yass I took the Wee Jasper road, would love to do this on a sportsbike.
And here is the actual Wee Jasper shearing shed.
After Wee Jasper the road turns to gravel until about 30ks out of Tumut.
A nice little detour on my way to my overnight stay in Wagga.
Wagga (don't call it Wagga Wagga) surprised me, it is, as I found out, Australia's largest inland city, It's ruined by the traffic lights on every intesection down the main drag.
I've never seen a place so overburdened wiyh traffic lights.
I'm out of there as fast as I can in the morning, drawing a line for Mildura, where I have arranged for a new rear tyre. The old Mitas 09 is not toast yet after 11thou. probably got 2 left in it, but Mildura is the last outpost of civilisation that has a Mitas stockist. More on this in a moment.
When I was a young takka my Dad & Mum took us on a camping trip to the Eastern States, it was quite an adventure in those days, when half the Eyre Hwy was dirt.
Anyway, for some reason I always remembered the lifting bridge over the Murrumbidgee at Darlington Point.
I've not been back to DP in 50 years, but I discover the vandals in charge have removed the bridge. (Part of it now graces the entrance to the DP caravan park FFS)
However, not all is lost because a few ks down the river is Carathool, they still have their bridge.
Magnificent! A pox on you, Darlington Point.
Caravan park gates! Bah Humbug!
The Hay Plains have always been dry, desolate, hot or freezing, most boring piece of road in the whole country.
Not this time, they've had rain.
At Hay itself, there was a pond by the side of the road with rushes and frogs.
Question, where have those damn frogs been hiding out in the 15 years since there was last a pond here?
Of course, where there's frogs, there's frog eaters
More scintillating scenery, but at lest it's green.
You'd think that with all crap they put on cameras these days, a spirit level would be a must have, so I could get those horizons straight.
I spent a couple of nights in Mildura getting my tyre, doing the washing and other stuff.
Mildura M/C were friendly and helpful, but they are listed on Mitas' website as a "Premium Dealer"
I don't think they had ever fitted one before, they certainly had zero stock and had to overnight it from Melbourne.
Anyhow, it got done and I had time for lunch at my favorite pub in Wentworth.
Last time we were here, they reefed the cook out of a drinking session in another pub in town, just to cook us lunch after the kitchen had closed.
I like that sort of service.
Onward up the West side of the Darling River to one of my favorite towns in Oz, Pooncarrie.
The country sure looks a lot different than when I was here last November.
After a few beers and a lotta laughs with the publican and a few locals, I pitched my tent on the lawn next to the Hall and settled in.
I think the last photo says it all, the Jacks bottle was looking a bit sick in the morning. You get that but. On the Big Jobs.
Don't go away folks, I'll be right back.
I thought we had a fairly big OCR adventure, but it seems fairly insignificant compared to your epic trip.
Do carry on.
The Darling below Menindie shows little of the huge amount of water that has flowed down from Qld this year, the locals are a little dark about it.
The reason is here, in the pic below, you see that line across the middle distance, that's the other side of the Menindie Lakes, which artificially robs the lower Darling of it's water. To be released in dribs and drabs when it suits them.
Evaporation must be colossal.
Anyway, I'm off to Broken Hill.
I always find these places very sad, I come away feeling that we have lost so much of what made us as a nation, today we just dig it up in remote FIFO camps and ship it off to Asia to make things out of it, back then we turned iron ore into ships at places like Whyalla.
How many people know that BHP-Billiton started here as Broken Hill Proprietary. 120 years ago.
Don't quote me on the numbers, but I think about 30,000 men used to work in the mines here, now about 1500.
200 km west of BH is the town of Yunta, it is here that I head North again into the Flinders Ranges.
At first the road is a Freeway.
This area is in the rain shadow of the Flinders and is, even in this year of plenty, bloody dry.
About 40km north of Yunta I turn off onto a lesser road which, by the evening will take me to Hawker.
As I got further west, it started to green up.
Between Craddock and Hawker the sun shone through the clouds and I took this pic, it doesn't do the scene justice but it's the best my limited ability and my 250 buck camera could do.
It had been a long, warm day and I needed a shower and a bed.
The Flinders are not over endowed with cheap accomodation...............
Next time we meet some totally inspirational dudes, and get seriously wet.
Great RR! I enjoy it a lot. Thx for sharing.
Mate, it's my pleasure.
Great stuff - cheers!
My plan, (remember those) was to get to the top of the Flinders, then to Marree, up the Oodnadata Track then maybe to Dalhousie & Mt Dare, then to Uluru and back to Perth via the Great Central Road.
I'd heard about the Postie Bike Challange that was due to be in Blinman on Friday night, this was Wednesday so thought this was all doable.
Oh the best laid plans of mice and men.
But more of that shortly, in the meantime I head North from Hawker and begin to see a little of the stunning scenery of the Flinders.
North of Wilpena I take the Bunyeroo Gorge Road, pretty good stuff this.
These old stock yards had some nice patina
This loop took me back onto the main road to Blinman.
After lunch in Blinman I headed off down Glass Gorge, I thought a couple of beers in the Prarie Hotel at Parachilna and I would return to camp somewhere in Parachilna Gorge.
When I arrived in Parachilna, the first people I meet are these dudes, "We're from Perth" says the guy in the buggy. I'm looking at him thinking to myself "He's got a bicycle in there with him, no, hang about, they're not bicycle wheels."
It turns out they are paraplegics who have just come across the Simpson and down the Birdsville Track. Amazing story, read it here....
This is Jim
Who had spent the day towing Anton (aka Ferret) because the latter's drive belt had exploded in a big way, leaving Jim as the last man standing (so to speak). As it was their last day anyway it was decided to wait for a support vehicle to pick up Ferret's buggy, then he and Jim would travel together in Jim's buggy the rest of the way to Port Augusta tomorrow.
The four wheeler was duly loaded
This called for a drink.
This is Greg, the factotum of the operation, also gun rider of KLX 250s, chatting to Jim.
Jim & Ferret, with Conan, filmmaker on the left.
Smelly has pups everywhere.
Sandra, being a filmmaker didn't want her photo taken? Anton didn't mind.
These three guys, sons of the owners and the next door neighbour, had a big day, They'd been up to see the ferry across Cooper Creek and had a fight with a couple of bottles of rum on the way home, it was all in fun though I imagine a few bruises would show up tomorrow.
In between all the merriment I got these shots of an old solid tyred, chain driven truck chassis, no Idea what make, but pretty damn old.
And here's the famous Prarie Hotel
An hilarious night was had by all.
Truly inspirational people, who have not let a hiccup in their lives grind 'em down.
In the morning packing up took some time.
Off to Blinman, up the Parachilna Gorge
Jim and Ferret coming,
In Blinman we said goodbye as the first spots of rain tapped on the buggy roof and the guys donned wets.
Marvellous, bloody Marvellous
Love ths pic for me it sums up the Border Run OCR part of the trip.
great read so far Mike and still gotta get home yet
You aint seen nothin' yet Dave.
By the time I got to the pub it was raining properly.
And within an hour the creek at the end of the street looked like this.
Blinman had 117mm in the next 6 hours or do, it was positively cyclonic.
The postie bikes strugged in, having been caught between creeks and trailered across, dragged across, whatever.
This is well documented elsewhere, so I won't go on about it here, but they couldn't have picked a worse weekend if they tried, it was the most rain Blinman has had in 24hrs, in 128 years.
Pizzas were good but.
As you can imagine, there was no room at the inn, or anywhere else, the hall had 40 bods sleeping on the floor. Camping was not an option, it was blowing fit to kill by this stage, so I took option Z.
Yep, the Ladies in the camping ground at the back of the pub.(No-one was camping)
At least it was dry, but there were times during the night when I thought we were going into orbit, Jeeze it blew!
In the morning it was freezing and raining lightly so I decided to bolt for Hawker while the going was good.
The morning's 100k run to Hawker would go down as the most challanging bitumin ride I've ever done, it was freezing, raining and blowing 100k/hr.
Add to this the rock climbing necessary at every creek crossing, and there were plenty of them.
Not much incentive to stop and take photos.
This was one of the shallower ones.
The heater in the motel in Hawker got a workout as I spent the day reading my book and formulating a New Plan.
The Oodnadatta Track was definitly out, Marree had supposedly had 80mm.
So what to do?
The Nullabour loomed as option 1.
If I took this it would make bike trip #28 across the paddock, so I wanted to try to avoid this if possible.
Option 2 was down to Port Augusta, then up the Stuart Hwy and down the Great Central Road, which is dirt, to Laverton in Western Australia.
So that's what I decided to do.
The country on the way to PA looks lush, if you decide to come here next year, don't expect it to look like this.
At PA I ran into a bunch of Farriders who had been up to the top of Horrocks Pass to remember Davo, FR #1 who was tragically killed in the US last year after hitting a deer on the last day of the Iron Butt Rally.
Some of these guys I would meet up with further up the Hwy, as one of them was attempting to ride 3000km in 24 hrs! Bigger nuts than me mate!
I camped that night north of Coober Pedy in the middle of the Painted Desert,
It is only relatively recently that this hwy was sealed, before then it was known as the worst road in Oz.
At Erldunda roadhouse we turn west, to Yulara, the GCR, and home.
More to come.
You're the only other person I've ever seen with a safety yellow Tatonka barrel bag
Good shit that bag, like the Tokyo Underground, always room for 1 more.
Wolfman Bag ??
Wolfman make good bags
150km or so off the hwy is Mt Conner, it's on Private land & is only accessible by guided tour. It's actually a white man's sacred site, if you will.
3 members of the Severin family are buried here.
Lots of Japanese tourists think it's Uluru, take some photos & go home, never having seen "The Rock".
The Severins own Curtin Springs station, where I stayed.
It's a good spot to stay if you're going to the Rock, because it's only 100km from Uluru, has free camping & reasonably priced rooms, and you can buy booze here, without the bullshit & six pack limit you cop in Yulara.
Honestly, what overseas visitors must think of this country when they have to jump through hoops to buy a $30 six pack, because they may be supplying the locals if they buy more defies the imagination.
In Yulara, if you don't have a vehicle you must catch a bus from the Shopping Centre about 2km round the ring road to get this 6 pack, or 1 bottle of wine.
It's a bloody joke
The next morning I woke up to this.
That's right, the weather gods had shit on my parade again.
Now it was wait, or do a 2000km backtrack.
Wait is what I decided to do.
The patriach of the Severins, Peter, who's now 83 came out here in 1958 with his new bride, the first thing he did was take the keys out of the car, so she couldn't bolt. Even though she couldn't drive he didn't want to run the risk that she might learn, quickly.
He still works every day from about 6am till about 4pm when he installs himself in the bar and entertains the tourists for a few hours, over a few bevvies.
He is a real character, and worth the cost of the room on his own.
His views on the world and how to fix it definatly would not please the PC crowd.
I stayed 3 nights.
With more rain forcast over the weekend I decided to dip my toe in the water on the Docker River Road & on to the GCR on Thursday.
About 40km out "The Rock" comes into view.
After passing through the ripoff point, sorry park entrance, $25pp, and getting away with no charge coz I said I was going straight through, I went straight through, but got this view of the rock.
Sorry to all those who think otherwise, but to me, seen one rock, seen 'em all.
Now I'm back to country I do understand and love.
Don't you just love those Desert Oaks?
The first 20km of the Tjukaruru Road is the worst, for a while I thought all my fillings would have to be replaced. After that it was good, the rain had firmed up the sand, which meant I had an easier run than is the norm to Docker River.
Between DR and Warburton the road crosses the NT/WA border and gets pretty damn picturesque in spots.
None of these communities allow photography, but it was only Docker River, that in my opinion, had anything to be ashamed of. It looked like a shithole.
The rest of the communities along this road were something we can all be proud of. No booze, no petrol sniffing, seemed like model outback towns to me. (I just looked at this & wondered whether all this sounds patronising or not?)
Anyway I just love this country, it's an easy dirt highway, but I only passed about 8 or 10 cars in the 1150km.
I camped for the last time between Warburton and Tjukayirla.
What I noticed most about this country, when compared with the station country further in, was how much it didn't look like a desert, and how soft the ground is, presumably because there are no cloven footed animals to compact it.
Take a look at my tyre track.
It's just as well the locals leave dead cars lying about everywhere so I could find something to put under my bigfoot, or the bike would be horizontal in the morning.
I took a chalet in Leonora Friday night, and, with the bit between my teeth, (finally) I cranked it up to do the 950km into Perth by mid-afternoon.
My trip was over, 14500km, 37days. Memories to last me all my days. Solitude and good company, some new friends made, and some old ones caught up with. You know who you are.
Thanks for watching.
Bravo young man, bravo