Cape York & into Asia via Timor-Leste, Indonesia, etc

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by The Bigfella, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    I’d been getting ready to go to Cape York in early August when K0diak, who was also planning on coming on that trip as well as doing the Ho Chi Minh Trail with me early next year, said “why don’t we ride our bikes to Asia?"

    Sounds like a plan, said I, except that it was already July and I’d just booked my mid-January flight to Thailand for the HCM Trail trip. The plan ended up being to ride the bikes up into Asia, then flit home to the family for Christmas and get back for the rest of the trip in mid January. I had to be home by December 5, as my wife is getting a hip replacement then… and it wouldn'’t be good form to not be there to make the occasional cuppa for her, eh?


    Anyhow… that was it, I was in and things got hectic. I’d been working on a few modifications for the KTM 950 SER, but spinning this August two- week trip into something that was going to go over many months meant some frantic work. I’d been working on a carbon fibre dual headlight setup for a while.....

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    There was a bit of wiring to do too

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    I added the Highway Dirt Bikes setup, which has proven to be brilliant. Their switchgear is so much better than the KTM crap. At least now I have a kill switch and horn button that I can actually use.

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    The main issue at this stage was what to do about carrying camping gear and spares for a longer trip. My big worry was the SE’s rear sub-frame. They break if loaded up on rough roads. My eldest boy is a mechanical engineer and he convinced me that welding it wasn'’t the way to go. We couldn'’t find out what the 7 series alloy it is made out of was tempered to… which meant that if we welded it, we ran the risk of significantly weakening it – making it worse, with little chance of getting anything re-welded in Asia.


    I decided to build a carbon fibre/kevlar rack to transfer the loading to the stronger section of the sub-frame. That and getting things like passport, carnet, medical gear, parts and the like organised meant a hectic 3 weeks. I “finished” the rack at 9pm the night before I left… then I had to pack.

    Here’s the rack under construction.

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    Looks simple eh? To get to that stage, I had to take a mould off the original fender, make a piece out of that mould, modify the piece to this shape (sounds easy), make another mould, then make this… with the odd failure or two scattered into the mix.

    At the same time, I was making a carbon/Kevlar sump guard

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    I almost got it finished… just had to glass in the rear mount, but it hasn’t made it onto the bike yet. It can wait until the bike gets home somewhere towards the middle of 2012.

    I gave the bike a pretty decent once over… set the valve clearances (with assistance from my son Pete), did all the fluids and filters and threw on some new tyres.



    I left Sydney on July 29th and hot-tailed it to Cairns, towing my bike and one other – a CT90 scrapper that I was giving to fellow forumite, Sibbo to play with (he wants to try some fairings to improve fuel economy). I picked up another forumite, Gordo (Gordonmichaellee), from near Tweed Heads and we headed north with the KTM and his DRZ400 in tow.

    We left Cairns on Aug 1st – with myself and Bernadette (soul adventurer), who I’d sailed down the Great Barrier Reef with a few years back, on her DRZ400, Peter (dkadvrider), a 23 yo Danish guy who rode his Tenere to Oz via Russia, Mongolia and Japan and Brett (dzl) from Adelaide on his ex-Army XT600.

    We stopped at the bike shop in Cairns to pick up Peter, who was getting some tyres fitted and chomped into some sangers that Bern'’s Mum had made for us. It turned out to be our only food the whole day until well after dark. A life-saver. Thanks Mrs H.

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    Here’s our first river crossing – the Daintree River…. the start of the CREB Track – one of the toughest 4WD tracks in the country. Most of us made it across without incident.


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    .... to be continued (yep.. some of these early shots have been shown in a Cape York thread, but we'll move into virgin territory pretty quickly)

    .... edited to fix the forum change issues....
    #1
  2. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    We struck some problems on the CREB – - Bern'’s bike got drowned in another crossing and by the time we got it mobile, it was dark – so we camped on the track – and it rained on us overnight.

    Including the drowning of the bike and our progress the next day, we did 7km (about 4 miles) in a 24 hour period. This was because the track is red clay and nigh on impossible when wet. 17 people were helicoptered out the next week in wet weather.

    Here’s Bern contemplating the first descent the next day. I went first and pitchpoled my bike – with me doing a swan dive over the handlebars. It was incredibly steep just past where Bern is. I really need to get my bar risers sorted out... they turned up after I got back to Cairns... but I couldn't fit them without extended cables and lines.. and I'm still suffering when I try and ride this bike whilst standing.

    [​IMG]


    All of us had at least one spill on the CREB in the wet. Some had a lot. Bern made it down that nasty decline but came to grief on the major uphill on the other side of the valley (Big Red) and had to withdraw with a hurt shoulder. We hid her bike and she recovered it a couple of days later. I had five offs on the CREB. One from a stupid touch on the front brake (silly prick Ian)... and a couple were after I'd stopped for someone else who'd had an off. Starting off again, ending up not being able to keep both wheels in the one rut, and that's that.


    We continued and diverted off the main road again to go up Battlecamp Rd through Lakefield National Park. A lovely area.


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    We diverted again into an aboriginal community at Lockhart River, where this memorial to the US 5th Air Force is at the WW2 airfield


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    We stayed about 50km from there and struck some problems in the early hours of the morning with some drunk/drugged pig shooters who decided they wanted to kill people instead of pigs…. but everyone survived. Given the nature of the death threats being shouted out, I rang the cops in Cairns on the sat phone but they proved to be about as useful as second hand toilet paper. We suggested that if they sent the guys out from Lockhart River, they'd solve some problems. Nah.

    Next day we headed back through the Iron Range National Park on the spectacular, but technically difficult, Frenchmans Track. This is me fording the Pascoe River on that track. The water got up onto my headlights in one of the holes.

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    Frenchman's is reasonably narrow and I found my HDB guards were working hard. Any tree up to about an inch and a half got brushed aside. I hit one a bit more solid than that and had ringing fingers for a while - not because the fingers got hit, just from the whack the bike took. The bauxite gravel on the track was like riding on marbles too.

    My sixth, and hopefully last, off was painful. It happened on the first section of the Old Telegraph Track. Not on a difficult section... and it was one of those silly things. We'd agreed on a riding system that'd been working. We'd swap the lead every 10 km, leader to go to the rear and at intersections, everyone to group up. Pretty simple and that way, no-one gets lost, no-one ends up lying in a ditch for hours either.

    Somehow it went astray at an intersection and three of us took a wrong fork. Coming back, I ended up in a dusthole on a steep section... stationary, with a spinning rear wheel.... and took a 5' cruncher at zero km/h. I ripped a groin muscle. Nothing too serious, but in the sand on these tracks, it became an issue for me. As we all know, the throttle is your best friend in sandy conditions. Trouble is, whenever the bike stepped out of line, it was like having a red hot poker stuffed into my groin. Every damn time the bike stepped out of line, I backed off. I couldn't do anything else... it took me a long time to get back into opening the throttle.

    Peter showed maturity well beyond his years. He recognised my difficulties and made sure I got through. I owe him a beer or two.

    Anyhow, back to the scenery. Here’s a historic boat we came across on the way up. Its at Coen.

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    While on the theme of old metal – here’s Peter playing in a crashed Beaufort bomber up near the tip. There was intense activity up there during WW2 – and the bush around there is littered with rusting fuel drums – many marked USN on the ends.


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    Here’s a couple of the lads improving the atmosphere around the camp by washing away some dust at Fruitbat Falls on the Old Telegraph Track (which has an amazing number of creek crossings). Thankfully they decided to wash their three day old underwear too...

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    …. and here’s four very satisfied and relieved lads who made it to the Tip

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    <o
    >
    My bike disgraced itself that day... the fuel pump shit itself 20km short of the Tip. Peter, a mechanic, came to the rescue and re-plumbed the fuel lines. By gravity feeding the carbies, I was able to use the top 15 litres in the 30 litre Safari tank. Added to that, I was carrying an 8 litre fuel bladder, so I had enough range to get me back to Cairns without any problems... but it meant I wasn't going to do the Starke Track - although the reports we were getting on it suggested I wasn't missing much.


    Heading back, we did the top section of the Old Telegraph Track the hard way – from the North. Peter drowned his Tenere at Nolans – and it took a few hours to get mobile again – and it took all our oil reserves too (he drained it, put one litre in to flush the water, then drained it again – and used the last of our pooled oil). We carried the rest of the bikes through. The issue was the soft bottom – all dug up by the 4WDs.

    <
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    <

    That's Peter and I in front. I'm the greybeard.

    I got a bit bogged at the next creek (as did the others) - again, it was like quicksand here. L-R Brett, Peter, Gordo.

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    </
    #2
  3. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

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    :clap
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  4. havafati

    havafati Yassdafarian

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  5. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    Just looking at that last photo again reminds me of what it was like up there.

    When I cartwheeled down the hill on the CREB Track, I'd bashed the headlight... but it'd stood up to it. What didn't stand up to it was the screws holding the lights in. They simply vibrated out on all the corrugations... hence the tape holding the left hand light in. I eventually got some new screws in Cairns and they've been fine since.

    So – the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Cape York</st1:place> leg from Cairns to the Tip and back was just over 3,000km – the vast majority on dirt / sand roads and tracks. Its about 1,000km each way via the Development Road, but we'd done a lot of additional riding. The sand and the bauxite gravel were nasty and the corrugations were extreme in places.

    Four people died on the roads while we were up there – two on bikes, which was a bit sobering given that there weren’t that many people there. We came across the leftover medical gear where they'd operated on one of the bike guys before airlifting him out. A silly accident from what we heard. We spoke to several people who'd been involved in the recovery ops. They went through the windscreen of their own support truck.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    An extra comment re that photo of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Pascoe</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place> in my last post. We had a swim there while a drowned bike got sorted out…. long enough to get sun burned enough to peel…. then found out later that a big salt-water croc had been seen around the corner the week before.
    <o:p></o:p>
    I’ll post some more Cape York pics here – these photos won’t be in order because I'm stuffed if I can remember the right order anyhow… but here’s some that will give you a bit of an idea about different conditions.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Here’s a typical major road shot. We avoided the “<st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Development Road</st1:address></st1:Street>” as much as we could – by taking the old tracks – but at times it was the only option. At times it was firm – hard packed clay – then suddenly, sand…. which was often worse on the corners<o:p></o:p>


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    It was always dusty. If a car with trailer went the other way, it was horrible - a truck meant panic braking and crossed fingers that no-one was too close behind - because visibility went down to about 2 metres for 20+ seconds

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    This was a reasonably good section of the corrugations. No-one took photos of the really bad stuff because it was too hard to slow down / stop on to take photos

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    Us with an old Blitz truck at Old Laura Station. L-R Bret, Peter, Ian and Gordo.

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    We had a good look around this billabong - one of the guys spotted a small crocodile (a couple of metres long).... but he went under and we couldn't find him again. Between us we only spotted 4 crocs in the 10 days on the Cape.

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    Water was an issue at times. We ran out of water on the CREB Track - having not planned on the need to camp overnight. This is the guys filling up out of a creek. When we'd filled up, I found a dead goanna (about 6' long) about 10' downstream of where we'd all just filled up.... but he'd been there a fair while.... just downstream of the road crossing.

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    This shot is towards the end of the CREB - not long after Bernadette had gone into the 4WD.

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    The view from where we had to camp on the CREB Track

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    Bern having a rest - she was by no means the only one. Laying in our tents, listening to the rain wasn't nice. We knew we'd be having fun when we got up.

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    This is one of the other guys (Peter) right about the spot where I pitch-poled my bike. The photo really doesn't show how steep it was. My rear wheel literally overtook the front one.... it just lifted off the ground and over the bars I went - I couldn't get my weight back in time. Ouch.


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    Bernadette is a nurse and she was watching me from the top when I crashed. She was expecting injuries because I was all over the place as I landed... but for an old bastard I jumped up reasonably well.

    What doesn't show in the photos from the CREB Track is the layer of wet clay we had to deal with on and around Big Red..... which was starting to dry by the time we got out - a lightly loaded 250 would be a lot more appropriate in there - in the dry. Anything has trouble in the wet - hence the 17 evacuated by chopper the next week when it rained again.

    This lot are further north - on or near the Frenchmans Track - in Iron Range NP - or at Lockhart River

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    Damned narrow track - it gave you virtually no wriggle room for most of the way.

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    The old FJ40 that some local guys had got stuck and then flattened a couple of batteries. We'd found the two guys 10 km down the road at the start of the Frenchman's Track. They were sitting there waiting for someone they knew to come along and help. We offered assistance, but they were OK and while we were crossing the river we heard them get started and go back the other way. It was funny being out in the middle of nowhere and seeing their bare footprints along that 10km of track.

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    Much of the track was like this, or worse

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    This is the fuel station in Lockhart River. No staff - you need a PIN-enabled credit card to get fuel. All locked up at night. There were plenty of kids running around near there that I'd have expected should have been at school.

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    Our campsite at Chilli Beach - where we encountered those drunk / drugged pig shooters at 1.30am.... and three more times up until about 3.30am. I don't mind admitting, I grabbed my machete and slept with it beside me. I had a couple of run-ins over the years with crazed druggies and having had one swinging a tomahawk at me last time is it as far as I'm concerned.

    The druggies were on that road about 10 metres past our camp.


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    Chilli Beach itself

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    Local wildlife... a Dingo. One of these killed a 9 year old boy from my son's soccer team in 2001 (further south, on Fraser Island). RIP Clinton.

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    Somewhere on the Cape ....

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    It was nice to see the occasional warning sign..... but it was pretty damn rare. I hit one big dust hole - enough for me to worry about a bent rim - but I saw one as I went past it that would take down any bike that hit it - a vertical rear wall at least 18" high, with the hole filled with talc-like dust

    When the creeks got to this size - and many got much bigger - we stopped and checked for holes and rocks - of which there were plenty. As a result of all the creeks, we had wet boots / feet continuously while on the Cape. Ten days of wet feet.

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    We saw lots and lots of hawks and eagles - and a vast number of bird species I'd never seen before. I subsequently had a few high speed, very close, encounters with hawks on the way to Darwin - I had to duck 3 at one spot - they were feeding on some of the plentiful roadkill - but in a shadow, so I didn't see them and ended up with one going over each shoulder and one over my head - at 130+kph. Think 80 mph turkey into the chest and you understand why you keep an eye open for them

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    One of my best sights on the Old Telegraph Track was a Red-winged Parrot that flew out of the low scrub and led me up the track for quite a ways. I'd only ever seen them in captivity before.

    The slaughterhouse at Old Laura Station - now abandoned. Big verandah for shade, mesh to keep the flies out

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    Me, wandering over to the Old Laura Station house. Note the kidney belt - an essential item up there with all the corrugations.
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    The worst corrugations were the last little bit of road out to the Tip. It was horrendous. Vision blurring stuff. It was reasonable most of the time... the corrugations were pretty even, so you could get some speed up and skip over them. Get a couple of twisted ones involved though and suddenly you'd be all over the place.

    I had one damn close call on a good section of corrugated road. I was doing 70kph and chuffing around a nice curve when suddenly I was in a tank slapper... with the front knobby scrubbing sideways one way then the other until I stopped. That of course ripped the damn groin muscle again and I was sorely tempted to put the bike on the boat back to Cairns for a while.

    Me again.... getting wet feet (well, keeping them wet, actually)

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    So... there's hundreds more photos, but that gives a hint of what the Cape was like.

    When I got back to Cairns, it cost a small fortune to get a fuel pump shipped in in a hurry ($550 in freight, on top of the pump cost) – in order for me to meet an agreed date getting to Mt Isa….. only to find that the person I was meeting had changed his mind and was now meeting me in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Darwin</st1:place></st1:City> at a later date.


    K0diak had originally been going to do the Cape trip, as had some others, including a friend from Adelaide, Phil (Balia). As the trip got closer, their plans changed and Andras (K0diak) who was going to meet me in Mt Isa, decided he'd go to Darwin rather than Mt Isa. Bugger. I guess I learnt a lesson there... don't tell the Mrs "I need it here on Monday" without adding "as long as the cost is reasonable".

    I didn't get the message about going direct to Darwin until too late.... which brings up another point... telecoms. My mobile is with Vodafone. Useless. I ended up buying a Telstra phone on the Cape... and even that was limited to the major settlements. Outside them, its sat phone or nothing. The sat phone wasn't that good either... just an item of last resort really. It cost me $27 of airtime sending my first SMS on it.


    The bike shop in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cairns</st1:place></st1:City> was short staffed, so I did the fuel pump and a few other things (air filter, etc) on the footpath.

    <o:p></o:p>
    Check out the 3,000km air filter next to a new one.<o:p></o:p>

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    #5
  6. Dave Nolan

    Dave Nolan left from woopwoop

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    Excellent stuff so far. Thanks very much.
    #6
  7. philth

    philth philth

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    good stuff!
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  8. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    Thanks folks...

    Since last night, I've been sorting out lots of photos that hadn't seen the light of day... so I'll see if I can whack them in right here and keep the whole shebang in order from here on in.

    So, a couple of weeks on the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Cape</st1:place> and 3000 km. Where did we stop each day?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Day 1, the Monday, was a relatively short leg. We started about 100km south of <st1:City w:st="on">Cairns</st1:City> and while Peter headed in to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Cairns</st1:City></st1:place> to get tyres, Brett had to have his XT&#8217;s sidestand welded up. I ended up back at the same welder after we got back from the Cape, because the ProMoto Billet sidestand I&#8217;d fitted to the Katoom shit itself early on Day 2&#8230;. Which eventually meant me doing most of the 6,500 km I did in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region></st1:place> without a sidestand. Oops &#8211; I digress.

    We left <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cairns</st1:place></st1:City> after midday, fuelled up at Mossman and headed out to Daintree village. Some local lads on chook chasers pointed us to the start of the CREB Track. Our first de-watering of a bike took a fair while &#8211; tank off, air filter out, that sort of thing and we ended up doing a couple of km in the dark and camped literally on the track. <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bern</st1:place></st1:City> cheered everyone up with her &#8220;this is Taipan country&#8221;&#8230; one of Oz&#8217;s deadliest snakes.

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    <o:p></o:p>
    Day 2 was even shorter distance wise. These shots give a bit of a flavour as to why. That red clay is like riding on grease when its wet. This is Brett on the 20 year old ex Army Yammie

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    A bit of a re-group after our first sliding session that morning. Note the sidestand on the KTM. Packing that on the back of the bike wore a bit thin and I eventually just leant the bike on whatever was around.

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    I seem to recall having an "off" somewhere like this. A 950se can be a bit of a pig if it hasn't got some momentum in places like this.

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    <o:p>I should mention at this stage, that I'd been wearing the Matrix knee braces that Adventuremoto sells. They saved my left knee somewhere around there. I went over backwards with an almighty thump and thought I'd busted my shin bone. It was the knee brace digging in. I ended up with a bruise bigger than the palm of my hand where the force was transferred to the shin... but it saved my knee.</o:p>

    We eventually made it off the CREB and stayed in cabins at The Lions Den.

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    <o:p></o:p>

    Day 3 was brekkie in Cooktown, then <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Battlecamp Road</st1:address></st1:Street> and through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Lakefield</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">National Park</st1:placeType></st1:place> to Musgrave Roadhouse, where we camped &#8211; but ate in the roadhouse.

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    Just one of many gentle reminders

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    Day 4 took us through Coen, <st1:placeName w:st="on">Archer</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName w:st="on">River</st1:placeName>, <st1:placeName w:st="on">Lockhart</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType> and out to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Chilli</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Beach</st1:placeType></st1:place>&#8230; where we camped. The only exotica in the food department was chomping into a stale old coconut off the beach.


    Some folks couldn't keep their front wheel under control.


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    <o:p></o:p>

    Day 5 was back through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Lockhart</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place>, then off onto Frenchmans Track and up to Bramwell Station&#8230; a few km out from Bramwell Junction. Despite the guys preferring the beer to getting wood, it was appreciated when we ended up sitting around the campfire (after getting a bellyful of beer and beef).

    Camping again.


    Plenty of creeks and the odd river that day

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    No point looking at it... get into it.

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    <o:p>Plenty of pleasant spots to pull up for a while </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>and while some folks were getting plenty of practice at drying out their bike...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>... others looked like they needed a rest</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>... damn that sidestand</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>... more Frenchman's. Note the marble-like bauxite. </o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    <o:p>Yep... you can't beat a decent fire</o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    <o:p>This is an old dugout canoe at Bramwell Station. Some drongo had cut the arse off it years back, but its good to see they've got it up off the ground</o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Farewelling Bramwell. There's a bit of a game they play there that if Peter wanders by, might be worth asking him about. Something to do with a horseshoe on a string... and a nail on a post. Brett and I got it on our second go, with Gordo a bit behind. Peter might like to tell us how many hundreds of goes he had.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Day 6 saw us doing the southern section of the Old Telegraph Track and just sneaking in to the northern section to go to Fruit Bat Falls for a swim. This would be a drowned Tenere by the look of it.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I'm sure the sheen in the water is a naturally occuring substance. Couldn't have been us... because no mechanic with us would treat his tools like this...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Oh, hang on</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>My injury had slowed us down, so we barrelled up the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Development Road</st1:address></st1:Street> to make sure we got to the Jardine River Ferry before it closed. Peter checking the distance</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>My brand new Garmin Montana had shit itself on the corrugations on Day 2, so I'm glad someone knew where we were going. The scenery along the way was nice too</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>This is the damn innocuous looking spot where I ripped my groin muscle. Not enough momentum, a hidden hole full of dust... sat there and spun, then just dropped and twisted.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I wasn't a happy chappy. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here's Peter, being his normal useful self... showing Brett the way through one of the creeks. We were really, really disappointed when those lovely Swiss ladies who were watching us there never caught up with us.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Another view of Fruitbat Falls</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Almost an anti-climax, riding across the Jardine like this</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We ended up getting to the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Loyalty</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Beach</st1:placeType></st1:place> camp grounds&#8230;. Although I forked out the extra and had one of the donga cabins at $105 a night for 3 nights. The other lads camped, but ate dinners at the restaurant with me.</o:p>
    <o:p><o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    #8
  9. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    We spent a couple of days at the top end. Day 7 got us to the Tip… after my little fuel pump hiccup. We met this mob there - and IIRC they were from Newcastle and included some inmates. They were on chook chasers and had some support vehicle(s) with them.

    [​IMG]

    Lovely scenery up there

    [​IMG]

    We sought out the WW2 bomber wreck and started to go a bit troppo....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That wouldn't be a Katoom resting on a tree, would it?

    [​IMG]

    Don't invite the US Navy to a picnic in your backyard.... they don't take their empty tinnies with them

    [​IMG]


    Peter ended up getting a job as a mechanic at Bamaga – but quit on his first day and ended up heading south with us.

    While he was working, the rest of us went fishing in a crappy little tinnie. It was struggling with us big buggers in it.

    [​IMG]

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Heading South, we did the Northern section of the Old Telegraph Track that we’d missed on the way up. I reckon it’d be an easier run heading North. We had planned to get down to the beach at Captain Billy’s Landing… but ended up camped in the bush near the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">twin falls</st1:City></st1:place>. I reckon its fair to say that a drowned Tenere slowed us down a tad. It took two hours to sort this one out. Water in the oil and all.... We had enough oil to drain the slop, give it a quick flush and drain and then fill it up. Brett's spare filter got put to use - not bad, given the 20 years between bikes.

    [​IMG]

    There was a lot of burning off going on and things got a bit sureal with the smoke overhead. This is one of the few original telegraph poles that we saw on the old track

    [​IMG]

    Here's Peter, taking my 950se up one of the creek exits. He did like it and I could see some cogs clicking in his mind....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There's probably too much information in this photo...

    [​IMG]

    Yes... this is much nicer

    [​IMG]


    Plenty of carnivorous plants around here too

    [​IMG]

    .. and where would we be without an ADV salute

    [​IMG]

    This is the twin falls area. Still very strange with all that smoke around

    [​IMG]

    and to give the falls some perspective

    [​IMG]

    Our non-campsite camp.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    We did the track in and out of Captain Billy’s the next day. I had a graphic illustration of how the fatal accident happened on the way out. I’d glanced left to see if I knew any of the 4WD’ers pulled up at the lookout on the way in and when I looked back ahead… after just a couple of seconds, I discovered I was sharing the track with a 4WD belting in from the other direction. A sphincter-tightening moment and a too-close pass. This is the lookout

    [​IMG]

    ... and this is Captain Billy's - well worth seeing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    The run south ended from the Captain Billy’s turnoff was on the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Development Road</st1:address></st1:Street>.

    [​IMG]

    It was back to Bramwell Station for another night in the tents and the same again the next night at Musgrave Roadhouse. We went around the campground there and found a couple of guys on bikes who were travelling solo and heading North. One on a BMW 650 and the other on a DR. Very different characters, but we suggested they ride together for support.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    Our final night was on the southern fringes of the <st1:place w:st="on">Cape</st1:place> after heading down the Bloomfield Track. We camped at the pub at the Daintree. A couple of the lads got told to mind their own business when they jumped up to help a guy who’d been glassed in the face by another guy. “Leave my brother alone”. Hmmm… nice family eh – yep, one brother glassed the other. Then it was back to <st1:City w:st="on">Bern</st1:City>’s, south of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cairns</st1:place></st1:City>.

    .... and that was Leg 1.<o:p></o:p>
    #9
  10. horseman474

    horseman474 Outback Albatross

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Wollongong, Australia
    Looks like hard Yakka up there !

    Subscribed :clap

    Horseman
    #10
  11. Arek Kontrol

    Arek Kontrol Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Ex-pat Poles in Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    I'm in !!!:clap
    #11
  12. ata

    ata expat in the jungle

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,296
    Location:
    Bilbao, close to the fu****ng Guggenheim
    :lurk

    ten days of wet feet is equivalent to almost all possible species of mushrooms, right?
    #12
  13. digga1111

    digga1111 bann ed

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,726
    Location:
    wynnum
    awsome
    #13
  14. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    One shot I just found was this one from Musgrave Roadhouse on the way north. There was a bunch of guys there on posties... and they were doing major surgery on one of them - which eventually proved successful

    [​IMG]


    So. Leg 1 done... that was Sydney-Cairns with the bike on the trailer, then Cairns - Cairns via the tip, with the various tracks that I've outlined. I had a quiet day at Bern's while the others headed off. Then it was into Cairns on the Monday morning to pick up the fuel pump and some other bits... new air filter, etc. I'd brought a half worn Mefo Super Explorer with me and I threw that on to replace the pretty stuffed Dunlop 606 I'd used on the Cape.

    The bike shop in Cairns was short-staffed, so I set up on the footpath... using a "sidestand" thoughtfully provided by the Council and replaced the fuel pump and air filter, while the shop did the tyre. Yeah... I can change them, but hey!

    [​IMG]

    Check out the old filter next to the new. Ughh. I'd decided not to use a pre-filter because it lowers the level that water can get in on these bikes. Given the depths we went through, I'd do the same again.

    [​IMG]

    I finished up a bit late to get away and ended up checking in to the backpackers. Next morning, I was out front and the sidestand I'd had welded up on Monday morning let go again. I grabbed the first guy walking past and got him to hold the bike while I loaded it. He was an American NBA pro basketballer... and we had a good chat.

    Leg 2 was a transit run from Cairns to Darwin. I headed inland just south of Cairns and then down the Kennedy Development Road, to get some dirt in, and then onto the Barkly Highway, across to the Three Ways in the Northern Territory and turned right. In my rush to get away, I'd forgotten that its cold in the middle of Oz in mid August. Yeah... I froze a tad in the mornings. I'd packed for the Cape and Asia... but the KLIM gear was pretty good.

    No trip in Oz is complete without some bloody great big animal or fruit beside the road. This thing used to swim around here (Richmond) when it was an inland sea a few (or more) million years ago. The skeleton this is based on is at Harvard Uni in the US.

    [​IMG]

    I kipped at Porcupine Gorge the first night. I was starting to get a bit weary and when the 6' rats started jumping across the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hmmm - must get this stand fixed

    [​IMG]

    I was ready to camp beside the track, but this damn good camp area popped up.

    [​IMG]

    The rufous betong came around for a look too.

    [​IMG]

    I'd planned on stopping at Mt Isa, but a Chinese guy suggested Cloncurry as a better option and after a cold night the previous night, I grabbed a cabin.

    I ended up having a damned nice dinner with a grey nomad lady who was doing the trip she'd always wanted to do when her hubby was still alive. Had a look at the original QANTAS hangar too... at Longreach - they are now the world's oldest continually operating airline

    [​IMG]

    There were a couple of nippers at the border, so I threw the Nikon to one and asked him if he knew how to take a photo. Sure... we've got one just like this... He ended up coming up to me at a service station somewhere in the Northern Territory a few days later and reminding me he'd taken the photo.

    [​IMG]

    I passed a few of these on the Barkly. They were heading back to Darwin after the bi-annual exercises with the Americans at Shoalwater Bay.

    [​IMG]

    Not sure that I know how to link videos here.... its a bit shaky.. done hand-held.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzGwnKHa4bM&feature=player_profilepage

    Some interesting mailboxes out there too.

    [​IMG]

    I did about 855km on the third day and stayed about an hour north of the three ways junction. Nice fireplace and chockers with grey nomads.

    [​IMG]

    I took a detour into a billabong... turn left just after the cattlegrid just north of Elliot. About 12 km in.

    [​IMG]

    Nice sandy road in

    [​IMG]

    Not forgetting the old corrugations again...

    [​IMG]

    I took it easy, well sort of.... :evil because the strong winds were starting to wear me down a bit. I went as far as Katherine and did a croc cruise that night. Saw plenty, of course, and fed this bloke a few bits of sausage. Only a tiddler... about 8' long.

    [​IMG]

    Did the baa baa tourist thing the next day too and went sightseeing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ... and tootled up the highway to Darwin. Dunno if I should tell the Darwin story....
    #14
  15. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    One thing I did do in Darwin was fix that damned sidestand.

    The bike shop sent me off to some engineering place that did mainly mining work. One of the guys said... "the boss had one of these, and has an Adventure now, so we better fix yours up eh"

    I told them I wasn't interested in pretty... and I didn't want it to break again. Its a ProMoto Billet sidestand... which to be fair, isn't designed for this weight bike. Its for a 525 or something like that. That said... having a grub screw through where the weight gets taken doesn't seem too whippy to me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A bit of extra time and I'm sure it'd be stronger and better looking... but I'm happy. Its held up with people climbing all over my bike every time I turn my back.

    Oh yeah, the guy who owns the engineering business is an inmate here too.

    The bike shop actually had a blinker flasher unit for the se in stock. First time ever I think I've got a part for the KTM out of shop stock! I'd been without blinkers since Day 1. My fault... I hadn't secured the flasher properly and it'd shaken off the ends of the wires. I fitted a new Mefo and a new knobby on the front, changed the oil and sorted a few other things out.
    #15
  16. markwrich1

    markwrich1 Going South

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    Albany WA 400km to the nearest traffic lights
    All quality that glassing, too much sun up that way I reckon
    Great RR so far, you can have clay mud all to yourself along with the 950SE, you're a brave man:clap:clap:clap:clap
    #16
  17. FuTAnT

    FuTAnT KTM 990ADV

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    343
    Location:
    Brisvegas, Oz
    Great trip report. Really interested in your south east Asian leg too. I've got a bit of a plan but haven't worked through it yet, to do South East Asia, then up to China and back down through India. Getting through the Islands might be the hard part ...

    Again, great photos, great stories, top stuff.
    #17
  18. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Well, not all quality glassing... :D the rear rack didn't even get the edges trimmed!

    The headlight setup has come out pretty good, but I'd do it slightly differently the next time - I reckon I'd make it a two part affair, rather than the single piece. I never did get to making the trim rings to go over the metal parts of the light tubs - or to the fairing parts, not that they are really needed. The frame for the headlights is all buillt out of vacuum-bagged carbon/Kevlar sheet - thin, light and very tough. The Kevlar is in there so it doesn't shatter if it gets hit (and it sure did when I endo'd the bike) The only mould was for the instrument setup.

    The rack has been excellent, except for the blinker attachment setup. I grabbed some LED blinkers at a shop here. I'm on my second set now. What it needs is blinkers without stalks.... something designed for dirt bikes. I'll get some at some stage. The rack had some moulding defects in it, repairable... but I didn't have time to deal with them, so I just slapped some stickers on the defects. When I eventually get the bike home, I'll do a Mk11 version. It needs a better stand-off setup to keep it away from the mufflers and if I add a tube up each side internally, it'll be 1000% stronger. As is, its had 50kg+ pillions sitting on it over some damn rough terrain and its stood up to it.... and the subframe is still intact.

    I do like the open-arse end look now :evil

    [​IMG]

    I reckon I might have struck problems with my rego inspection if the bike hadn't been heading to Asia. Speaking of that... I had a very narrow window to get all the paperwork sorted. My rego was expiring while the bike was going to be away.... and the folks who issue the Carnet documents insist that it be rego'd. Dunno why I'm still paying 3rd Party personal insurance for NSW though while the bike is in Asia... but such is the way of the bureaucrat.

    Here's the summary.

    Rego here means an inspection certificate (the pink slip).... and these are only valid for 42 days (it may be 40... I'm doing this from memory)..... and you can only renew your rego three months before the due date. If you have an interstate or overseas inspection, it has to be from something like a government agency. Too damn hard to organise I reckon... so I got mine inspected and.... left it all to the Missus to do :clap We got lucky - there was a one week overlap period with the pink slip and the 3 months early.... and she got it all done and the bike is still legal.


    Mate... the islands are fun. Getting to that, but first Darwin..... ughh.

    Things were slipping time wise. I'd been getting messages that we were being pushed back by Perkins Shipping. I don't really know if it was Perkins or the other guys time horizon that was doing the pushing. I was now scheduled to meet Andras and Phil in Darwin for a late August departure. It was working out for me too I guess, because I didn't have to fang it the whole way from Cairns to Darwin. I checked into Chilli's backpackers and had a horrible night in a stuffy 4 bed dorm with an aircon that made noise but didn't cool.

    Next day, I heard back from a woman I used to work with. I knew she'd moved to Darwin 20 years ago and had left a message on her phone while I was headed there. "Ian, great to hear from you, oh btw, my life's gone to shit... I've got a 6 year old daughter now, I got retrenched from my good job, my man's left me for a 22 year younger woman, I've just been released from a mental hospital, there were 8 cops here the other day, I've lost my licence for drink driving.... etc, etc... why don't you come over?"

    Silly fool.... me, that is. I went over.

    I should point out here, this lady and I were former workmates - not lovers.... OK? Friends without benefits.... So, I rock up at her place. Nice house... pity about the fist hole in the front door. Hmmm. Anyhow, I moved in to see if I could give her a hand sorting things out. Spent a week there while waiting for Phil and Andras.

    Phil turned up after a couple of days. Andras was having problems with his DR and being royally stuffed around by a bike shop or two. He ended up getting into Darwin with the bike on a road service vehicle after it sputtered to a halt in Katherine. To cut a long story short... it was the alternator shorting out. He ended up missing the boat.... and so did Phil.

    So, our week in Hell scarred me a bit.

    I fixed the hole in the door, sealed up the leaky shower, made friends with the daughter, drove them to the shops, took them out and about, did the school run,.... tried to get the stupid woman to cut down a bit on the bottle of vodka a day and 45 cones. Nah. There's not going to be a happy ending there. Phil tried too... and he took a long hard look at the situation with her and her kid and he headed for home. He made the right choice... he's just heading away on a work contract and he's got kids... and he decided the kids need him more than he needed a few months riding through Asia.

    I ended up calling a taxi one night, loaded all my crap in the boot and followed him to the Travelodge. Ahhh peace and quiet. Andras turned up the next day, moved in with me there and we set about getting the bikes sorted. I put my bike on the ship and flew to Dili. I needed to escape. Andras got his bike sorted and made the next ship - about 9 or 10 days later.

    Getting to Dili, in Timor-Leste is reasonably easy.

    No need to crate anything. Just rock up with the bike at Perkins Shipping and then jump on a plane to Dili. Its a week for the bike to get there... and then a few more days stuffing around at that end... and then you're away. It cost me about $380 for the bike and another $45 at the other end. I got screwed on the plane ticket, as I hadn't booked ahead. It was around $450 and another $35 or so for excess baggage.
    #18
  19. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I suppose I should post a self-portrait…..

    [​IMG]

    That's me doubling Andras around in Darwin. I ended up being his taxi driver in Dili too, because I had my bike back by the time he arrived there. It was rather crowded on the 950 se the day I picked him and his luggage up at the airport.

    So, I flew into Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, having escaped the nutters in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Darwin</st1:place></st1:City>.

    Here's a shot I pinched from Keith's blog of Dili, on approach. Keith and Ellen are fellow inmates who had their bike on the same ship as mine - they are riding <st1:country-region w:st="on">New Zealand</st1:country-region> to their home in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">UK</st1:place></st1:country-region>. I'm sure Keith won't mind if I use a couple of his shots, as he's got some of mine....

    [​IMG]


    Just a note to those that follow. Get your accommodation directions well sorted before you get there. My driver spoke no English and despite me knowing where I wanted to go, we drove right past it (I missed the sign) and I ended up at the Hotel Dili, rather than the Backpackers. The taxi driver must’ve been on commission… and it cost me $70 for B&B the first night rather than $10 at the Backpackers. I had “The Richard Carlton Room”… mis-named after the late Australian journalist who obviously liked that room.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I moved the next day. I’ve had decades of 4 and 5 star travel for work… but I much prefer staying at the cheap end of town when I’m on the road. Its warm people to talk to and a bed… rather than a cold, empty room.

    <o:p></o:p>
    What a lovely group of people they are here in the world’s second newest country. Its an amazing place – my daughter tells me its taking over as the tourism hot spot to replace Bali among young Aussies, but I think that’s a long ways off.

    <o:p></o:p>
    The roads are diabolical, you will be scooting along and discover that you just missed a 3&#8242; deep pothole – all the time, or discover that a manhole cover is missing... Kids wander all over the place – animals too… and the UN goons think they own the place. I haven’t seen any of the UN goons doing anything…. other than driving around the place flat out or crowding out the beaches and restaurants and driving prices up.

    <o:p></o:p>
    I travelled east from Dili in a Toyota RAV4 with Keith and Ellen... they generously wouldn't accept a cash contribution, so I covered the fuel costs. Too generous of them.

    We travelled around the eastern parts of the island and then back to Dili to wait for our bikes to arrive.

    <o:p></o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on">There's plenty of graves</st1:place> from the resistance campaign against the Indonesian invasion (Ford/Kissinger gave the green light for the Indo's to invade, with my old mate Gough in tow - it should never have happened).

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>


    Lots of war-damaged houses everywhere. Hard to know if this was from the retreating Indonesians or from the in-fighting between the East Timorese factions. That's still happening btw... and the border was closed a couple of weeks back because some East Timorese groups were shooting at each other. Incidentally, they don't involve foreigners in their squabbles... but with an election coming up, things might get interesting.

    These houses were all burnt out

    [​IMG]

    I ended up doing a lit bit of volunteer work restoring one of the burnt out places in Dili with a local guy doing great things for the kids there... but I'll get to that eventually.

    Ellen handing our “smilie” stickers. Kids have been mobbing us

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>and Keith at the same spot</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>... yours truly</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Dozens of them turned up when we stopped there. I'd spotted some WW2 wreckage that I wanted to check out. Next thing.... kids everywhere. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p>The Japanese are very messy… they left these behind:</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>This was our first petrol stop – we picked up fuel from the only available place in Com… up the Eastern end of Timor-Leste. A bit of a rip-off, as the old water bottles are 1.5 litres… and they call it a litre when its a bit over half full.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The guy who helped us fill up was “carrying” – a .45 pistol in a shoulder holster. No uniform… just the pistol. Dunno the story.</o:p>
    <o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Here was the next servo. There were bowsers here…. but I guess no electricity. At one place the electricity went off at 3am (killing the fans in the room…. damn it)…. at Com, we had it from 6pm to 8am only.

    <o:p></o:p>
    This guy dipped petrol out of a drum, filled a 20 litre container, then filled the car. 40 litres was $US50. The currency in Timor-Leste is US dollars btw… except for the coins which are pretty basic token like items. Our car only took about 38 litres until it was full, so I gave the last couple of litres to a guy waiting on a bike. He couldn’t believe his luck.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    When we stopped in Com, the guesthouses we wanted to stay at were full and the ones on the other side of the road were real dusty – so we whooped it up and stayed at the “Resort”…. best place in town. $20 IIRC… although our bar and food bill was a bit steep. Here’s the “clothes line” at the Resort…. that’s the bed linen being dried at the Resort

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The view from my bar chair was a bit better

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>It seems that the door keys are all the same there, though. A Japanese guy wandered into my room at about 7am… I told him to scoot…. in slightly different terms.

    There’s an interesting story attached to the Beach Bungalows at Baucau. We stayed at this place, but in the more western accomodation.

    [​IMG]

    Ramos Horta – one of two key political figures in the country (a former school teacher, who had taught the East Timorese taxi driver we had in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Darwin</st1:place></st1:City>) stayed here during the last election campaign.

    His opponents burnt down 3 of the 4 bungalows as a political protest just after he left. Only the right hand bungalow and a guesthouse block remain. Lovely (local) family running it though. I met a local guy from that area and he eventually admitted he'd been there when the bungalows were burnt... but says he didn't do it. It took a fair effort to get him talking about the politics, but its pretty obvious that feelings run deep.

    I presume this is their swimming pool….. which is obviously not needed, given the brilliant beach 50 metres away<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Keith got up early and took some dawn photos at the beach

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here’s where we went swimming… local kids playing on the rocks. Older kids were 60&#8242; up the coconut palms, collecting them just nearby

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The coastline takes a bit of a hammering from the locals in places and this was obviously a good spot

    [​IMG]

    You could go for miles in places and see no-one. Speaking of seeing…. we saw a small whale broach a couple of hundred metres offshore…. no photo though<o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Typical road hazards…. house owners build obstacles / leave rocks on the road to slow down cars/bikes

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>... and this one means "bridge out.... find the detour"</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Somewhere near here on the way back, we saw a couple of bikes pulled up and half a dozen locals with a young woman laying down. It didn't look at all serious - she was wearing a helmet, but there wasn't any sign of real trouble... no bikes on their side or anything... but we passed an ambulance not long later, heading there. When I came back past a few days later on the bike, there were flowers there.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The mountains we went over to get to the south coast

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here’s what stopped our progress on the south coast road…. about 10 - 15 km south of Lore… and this is the only road anywhere near there. I reckon I’d have had a go at getting over it… if it’d been my vehicle and we’d been closer to help, but we were miles from anywhere or anyone.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>No machete… no progress (mine was on the ship... under the bike's seat). </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I wandered all through the jungle looking for a way past, but nah… </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here’s the only other vehicle we passed on that road. The woman you can just see behind the cart was swinging a machete and she really did have a mad look in her eyes. I think we scared her.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Oh to have had the bikes there...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Typical housing down that way. No electicity at most of the places, just in the bigger towns and no water…. We saw people carrying water for miles

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>A different shot of carrying water…. I just missed a massive smile from the girl on the left with this shot.... she's a cutie

    [​IMG]
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>One of about 3 road signs we have seen. We stop and ask directions (in Tetun) whenever there’s a fork in the road… same as I did last year in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vietnam</st1:place></st1:country-region>. As long as you know the local pronunciation, it’s the only way to go.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Plenty of lovely crap left from the days of the Indonesian occupation though.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here’s typical public transport.

    <o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/159.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/183.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>There's one downside to that btw... somewhere north of 50% of the population have tuberculosis (TB).... and they spit constantly. I rode through the sidestream spray of one big hoik as I was lining up to overtake a truck. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>No, I wasn't happy... I had my visor up and got wet.... never again though, when behind these things.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]Brilliant beaches[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/Dili%20sunset/P9020458-L.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/Dili%20sunset/Panorama-2-X2.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>Those two above are Keith's shots btw...</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>There's fabulous wooden (and grass) boats everywhere</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/169.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/167.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/038.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]Here is the main road linking the north and south coasts, out east. The roads are going to rack and ruin…. but they are pushing electricity poles out fairly fast – no wires yet. When the Portuguese got pushed out of here in 1975, there were only 20 km of sealed roads in the whole country. [/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]The Indonesians invaded (to stop those dreaded commies) and built plenty of bridges and roads, taking the total to 2,000km…. but nothing’s happened in the decade since they got evicted. Things are falling apart everywhere… bridges down, roads collapsing. The aid focus has been on law and order (which is still a bit fragile), water and electricity. We only saw a few road construction projects in the whole country.[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/083.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/Dili%20sunset/P9040595-L.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>This was fabulous, but I didn't really capture the moment here. Some kids taking wood up the hill to the village. That little wheelbarrow had a worn-out motorbike sprocket as its wheel. </o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/080.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]This is one of the better efforts at block laying we saw there. Most are really, really bad. Truly woeful construction[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/082.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]This was one of the local fisherman at Com… who is also the security guy at the resort at night... and he does one of the best massages possible… apart from the sandpapery hands. Honestly... his hands were like rasps until the oil soaked in.[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/065.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>Hmm... this is before I started walking a lot... and losing weight. I wonder who left those damn beer bottles there. Must've been Keith and Ellen</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/213.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p></o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]One of our rooms (<st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Baucau</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Beach</st1:placeType></st1:place>) had the very latest technology …. bet you don’t get these in American or European hotels. No tapes to play, of course.[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]<o:p>[IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/043.jpg[/IMG]</o:p>[/COLOR][/FONT]
    </o:p>[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR][/FONT]</o:p>[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]Local varmints. I gave this bloke a soccer ball, but it led to tears eventually with the bigger kids[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/099.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]... and this miserable old bitch, who is that kids grandmother I think, ripped us off....[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/101.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]We got a quote from her for two rooms and both dinner and brekkie. She wouldn't take the money ahead of time. Her daughter's a cop btw... and next morning she sent the son in law out with a bill 50% more than she quoted. Arguing with the cops doesn't tend to produce a result. Don't stay at her rat infested hole in Lospalos. Its called "27a".[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]Heading back to Dili, we had a quick wander along one of the beaches[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/110.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon][/COLOR]</o:p>[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
    [COLOR=#444444][FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[COLOR=lemonchiffon][FONT=Verdana][/FONT][/COLOR]</o:p>[/FONT][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#444444][FONT=Verdana]<o:p>[COLOR=lemonchiffon][FONT=Verdana]This next one is the view down fro[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]m the Jesus statue… a few kilometres out of Dili. About 680 steps up – and we did it at midday. Mad dogs and Englishmen.... and seeing I'm not English...[/FONT][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/150.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]Jesus, the statue, was a gift to the locals by the Indonesians.[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/Dili%20sunset/P9020462-1-L.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]He's a big fella... 27 metres tall (one metre per the then number of Indonesian provinces)[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon]OK, so it was back to the Backpackers to sort out the arrival of the bike... and to do some socialising. Eva, this lovely young Dutch lady spotted me at the Backpackers and came running up to me, gave me a hug and said "a tall man, at last".... she'd just had a month in Indonesia and was on a visa run to Dili. So, in the spirit of ADV'ers everywhere... its time to socialise[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [FONT=Verdana][COLOR=lemonchiffon][IMG]http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/P9050627-1-L-1.jpg[/IMG][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    [COLOR=lemonchiffon] [/COLOR]
    </o:p>[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#444444][FONT=Verdana]<o:p></o:p>[/FONT][/COLOR]
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    #19
  20. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Andras was waiting around in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Darwin... </st1:place></st1:City>being stuffed around trying to get parts for his Suzuki DR650. This meant we were going to be another couple of weeks later than &#8220;planned&#8221; into <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Indonesia</st1:place></st1:country-region>, exposing us to the likelihood of riding in the monsoons.


    Speaking of getting in to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Indonesia</st1:place></st1:country-region>&#8230; some kind backpackers left a list of what&#8217;s needed to get a visa. I had to have new passport photos taken for the visa&#8230;. they must have a red background&#8230; and I had to write an application letter describing why I wanted to visit&#8230; and so on. Also, they only take 50 applications a day... and, despite fronting at 7am, I ended up at number 57 on the list.


    So, it was up at 4:30 am the next day... and when they book finally opened in the embassy gatehouse, I was number 7, but was given a 30 day single entry visa, having applied for 60 days multiple entry&#8230;. all thanks to the miserable woman we were sitting with who was bagging out the guy making the decisions while he sat there and listened to her. When I got up he said "you travel with her?" No, said I, but she'd done the damage. A Canadian guy here eventually told her she was a nasty old woman to her face&#8230; and that he didn&#8217;t like her. He was spot on.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    I suffered a bit of dehydration while in Dili. There was a young Aussie doctor-to-be (final year student) here at the backpackers who was wagging her finger at me. I started throwing some more water in and things improved.

    <o:p></o:p>
    So, the next couple of days proved busy &#8211; I teamed up with a Portuguese woman and we shared a cab around Dili, doing some exploring &#8211; and then we did a one day bike ride into the mountains after I got the bike.

    <o:p></o:p>
    We met Ilia when I brought some red wine, cheese and olives back from the supermarket to share with Keith and Ellen to thank them and send them on their way to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Indonesia.</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">[​IMG]</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Meanwhile, I was getting around in taxis and minibuses. This bloke struggled in the tight spots a bit, with his young bloke trying to help...</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">[​IMG]</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">I'd been hanging out behind Keith on this one... but it wasn't the best of looks... straddling him and trying to grip the rain gutter with my fingertips... so when a guy in the front got out... I grabbed the seat</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">[​IMG]</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Here&#8217;s the two key people at the East Timor Backpackers, Rita (co-owner) and Ellie</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>and Rita with her partner, Dan... who somehow got his hands on my bottle of Portuguese wine...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I upgraded from the 10-person dorm to a room by myself.... which upped the tarif to $25 a day, but hey....</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The exploring&#8230;. first, to the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Santa Cruz</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Cemetery</st1:placeType></st1:place> &#8211; scene of a major massacre during the Indonesian occupation - 20 years ago yesterday. 250+ locals were mown down here by the Indonesian army. Not their finest hour.</o:p>
    <o:p>

    [​IMG]


    Then back into another cab. Not much to see out of this one... I couldn't see a damn thing through that crappy film


    [​IMG]


    .... it was off to the Xanana Gusmao reading room&#8230; where we bumped into Zelia, a friend of Ilia&#8217;s in Portugal, who has been here working on a project to convert senior college education materials from the outdated Indonesian stuff to a local syllabus. Small world eh?


    [​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We met her again out at the beaches for the Dili Sunset and dinner. Pity everyone but me spoke Portuguese....</o:p>
    <o:p>

    [​IMG]


    The sunset was nice. Local fisherman in his outrigger...


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    It really was nice to get the bike earlier that day&#8230; not that getting it was easy - I got the right royal runaround with customs (no... not this office, go to Head Office... get there... no, go to the office at the Port.. where I'd been... back there... )

    Note the Dili riding gear!

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We&#8217;d had no luck trying to steal a car earlier in the day....</o:p>
    <o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>This is the sort of crap that lurks just off - and sometimes on - every road in Timor-Leste</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Ilia was still talking to me, so we set off to the mountains&#8230;. when she finally emerged from the dorm that was (sheesh, I&#8217;m the only one around here who gets up at 6am)</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    We wore heavier gear than around Dili, because it can get cold up there&#8230;. But we roasted.


    [​IMG]



    <o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>

    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Here&#8217;s a view of Dili from a few kms into the mountains&#8230; on the way to the Sparrow Force memorial at Dare (Sparrow Force were the Aussie army troops who fought the Japanese here in 1942)</o:p>
    <o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>There&#8217;s a school at the memorial, built with funds from Sparrow Force survivors</o:p>
    <o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>The first traditional house we came across up this way</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Then it was off to Alieu for a late lunch. The roads were extremely dusty and we were filthy&#8230; There was the obligatory dog under the table. Lunch was $2 each, including a bottle of water. I shouldn't have... but did eat the salad that came out with lunch... and paid the price. Dr Imodium saved me though.</o:p>
    <o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>


    After lunch we checked out the local church (an Ilia thing) and a memorial to Portuguese folks and soldiers massacred by the Japanese


    [​IMG]


    ... and headed to a dotted line on the map, an un-signposted &#8220;road&#8221; that went to Ermera.


    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We only have that one photo of the good section, because it was a matter of concentrating through the washaways, rocks and the dust holes from then on. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>At one stage, it opened up to a lake and paddy fields, but then we didn&#8217;t see anyone for maybe 15km and it was really rugged, but the KTM was fine with it&#8230; albeit running a bit warm with the slow speeds. </o:p><o:p>We guessed, based on size of the road, at a few forks and eventually got through...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>These folks didn't speak a word of English. The kid who took the shot of us below had never seen a camera, but he adapted well. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We never failed to get a reaction from kids and adults all day&#8230;. Some young kids ran away, but most smiled and waved and talked (Ilia could communicate with most as Tetun has a basis in Portuguese)</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p><o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>



    The road improved after that, but it still had its moments&#8230;


    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>That remaining piece of road surface was all cracked and failing&#8230; and only about 70 cm wide&#8230;. And the fall was 20 metres plus (60&#8217;+) straight down &#8211; and I was double the weight of anything that had been across it. Still&#8230;. We made it (I asked Ilia to walk it).</o:p>
    <o:p>

    <o:p>We caught up with a friend of Ilia&#8217;s and his girlfriend for dinner when we got back. Alipio runs a Youth Centre (and does a bit of O/S travel talking about it at international conferences &#8211; which is good because it helps with funding). His girlfriend works at a women's support organisation, run by Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, the Prime Minister's wife.

    [​IMG]
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>We did a little bit of volunteering work with Alipio&#8217;s youth group and provided him with some cash to kick off a new business that will help continue funding the centre's activities (by allowing them to establish an internet cafe linked to his centre which will also provide Voice over IP facilities to the locals).
    <o:p></o:p>

    Here we are. Construction Timor-Leste style. This is the second building at the Youth Centre, run by Alipio and a group of young Timorese guys. The main building is a bit more robust&#8230; and it has tables and chairs in it donated by some Australian Rotary Clubs and rebuilt computers from Oz for the training sessions.
    <o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    </o:p>

    This is in the Dili outskirts &#8211; it has electricity, but no running water&#8230;. that&#8217;s a few hundred metres downhill and has to be carried up the hill every day.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Not bad construction eh? They were pretty impressed that I could position all the bamboo battens by myself&#8230;.

    <o:p></o:p>
    The young Doc at the hostel lost a patient on the operating table &#8211; an apparently healthy chap (having some relieving surgery on burns scars) - and the nurse also staying at the hostel here had lost one on her first day&#8230;. so there were some tears that day. Its a really big issue here&#8230;. more on it another time.<o:p></o:p>


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