Central Aus- August 2011

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Squily, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    We got up late, got started late and got away even later. To top it off, the chain Eugene had ordered turned out to be the wrong length and he had to return it. Luckily the Honda dealer had a chain and we could fit it. So Friday was spent doing everything we could not fit in on Thursday.

    Had a final lunch with Steph. All packed and nowhere to go:
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    Filled up and left. Topped up again at Condingup. Tried to get some insight into the road conditions ahead. Were told its slippery. Hmmm... So it was...
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    Smoke break at Derilinia
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    Boertjie...
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    Leaving Esperance
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    Made it to Bobanya homestead just in time for sundown. Someone's been up here doing some work on the ruins- there's a roof on it now. Came in handy and we rolled the swags out in the old house- much drier that way
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    Ended the eve with some beers, pasta and chocalates (after we've done some frog hunting in the gnamma holes around the granites :D)
    #21
  2. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    Started early and headed up the track through the Balladonia station (bypassing the last BAD 15km of Parmango rd and exiting at the Balladonia telegraph station). Riding was good. Track was great. Saw plenty of kangaroos.
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    On the way, there is this massive rock hole. When I passed it last year, it had more than 50cm of water in throughout (some places more than a meter) and made for a good swimspot. This time round- plenty of water, but no swimming.
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    Back on the highway- obligatory stop at the 90mile straight
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    50km down and we headed south onto the plain proper. From there East to the camel tanks. We didn't have enough time to go down to Toolina cove, so we hightailed it back to the highway and East to Eucla.
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    Made Border at 5pm. Just enough time to pitch a swag before dark. Went to look up some company. I left Eugene in the pub around 10. I was pretty bushed. He came back after 2, but I didn't hear him. All-in-all, a pretty good show.
    #22
  3. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    A bit nippy this morning. Temp gauge said 1 degreeC. Hmmm... Not so sure about that...
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    Eugene was feeling a bit worse-for-wear after the night before and we got away from Border after 9, We decided on the old Eyre highway. Apart from slippery in some spots and rocky in others, the going was well and it was easy to maintain 80+. Scenery was great. Saw a pack of dingoes as well.
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    On the way we stopped at Koonalda station. This used to be a roadhouse and there is quite a bit to see. Built out of railway sleepers
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    Fill her up please. What, no unleaded :eek1
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    Old car-graveyard around the place
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    With some interesting finds. V8 anyone?
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    I knew an old cocky from De Aar. Uncle Andre used to say: "You know you'll break down if you drive a land rover, but at least you don't have to push it very far, as just ahead some other land rover has also broken down and you'd be able to get some spares" I can sort of see how this one went :evil
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    We didn't see it all. Some people even left some grafiti suggestions in the old house: Next time...
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    We made it to Nullarbor roadhouse. We caught up with some people recce'ing the route for the Cannonball charity run to raise funds for DEBRA. Worth checking out: www.cannonballride.com.au

    They also had some suggestions for our trip further on. With the late start, we opted to try and make some time up and gave up the dirt for bitumen. Hmmm... Got sidetracked again. What do you know, there was >60 whales in the bay
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    We started getting some wet weather. As the odo on the Varadero turned onto 16kkm, two rainbows. Must be a sign of good things to come
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    We didn't make it further than Ceduna. Pulled in as it was getting dark and with the wet weather we've been having this arvo, we opted for a room over the swags. Tea at the waterfront. They do a 3-course meal for $19.50. Two-plate Eugene decided to have some seafood instead (for those who don't know- he is always hungrier when he orders than when we eat- he orders two plates and then "we" have to help him finish it off- his calamari was great).
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    Whilst I opted for the healthier choice of plenty of meat (and some veggies). Double helping of sticky-date and cream to wash it down. That was a good deal. :deal
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    Back to bed. Skyped with the folks, Tried to get the Spot figured out. No luck.Sorry folks...
    #23
  4. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
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    Beats being at work...

    Got up bright and early. Plan was to be at Wurilla before 8. Although plenty of wet road, not too much water. Sunrise
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    Some light fog
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    Breakfast at Wirrulla
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    We were told there has not been too much rain and that the roads should be ok. Called the 1300 number and got the same (although it was 3 days old). Road was ok. Bit slippery in patches, but once again 80+. There must have been some rain though- plenty of water in the lakes
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    Approached the Gawler ranges
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    Went for a 150km detour down to the ranges. Hmmm... Great ride, Plenty of wildlife- almost got taken out by some Emu's, but slippery. One moment its dusty, the next moment you're sliding. Interesting. But great.
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    Some ruins. Sorry, no history lesson- not boards on site, but I'm sure it would be interesting.
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    Headed back north. Plenty to see
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    Got back onto the Kingoonya rd. and we got our 1st red sands and spinifex
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    Stopped to take some directions
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    And noticed the DL was loosing it's bits
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    Kingoonya and there was a beer with my name on it
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    Further east to Stuart highway. Again- there must have been some rain
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    South to Woomera. Makes you think: Just how many Asians have to hit animals to warrant putting up these signs in Australia?
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    Made Woomera at sunset.
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    Camping: $10/person. Room $25/person. Hmmm... Let's just ruff it in the old barracks then...
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    Off-loading the bike: Hmmm... SW Motech "never in six years" my arse.
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    Luckily there was a bloke fixing a caravan and he took the panier frame. Promised to weld it in the morning and have it back by 9. Hope it costs less than a new one. At least Ian's welds have held up, so with any luck I'll have had all the welds fixed by the end of this trip and then they'll last forever :D



    Tomorrow we'll explore the town and then its off north to the territory. Don't think we'll make the border, but we'll be bush somewhere. and Ayre's rock on Wednesday.

    Not sure when I'll next be able to post something.


    Progress to date:
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    PS- Forgot to add: The caravan park has a great little pub. Drinks are really cheap. Atmosphere is great. And the whole town has the "abondoned military base feel" GREAAAAT!!
    #24
  5. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    8am. Just had a visit from the local fixewr. Cost of a carton ($50 for those who wonder). No awards for welding neatness. And a pipe to make it fit. But this should get us going again. Thanks mate :thumb

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    I also added a GPS map on the 1st page to indicate where we are/progress. Because I can't get Spotwalla to work. :puke1
    #25
  6. sinned

    sinned Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    196
    Location:
    Kiwi in the middle kingdOOm aka China
    finally you guys have hit the track... looks good. Not sure but seems like some of your photos you've posted aren't showing? your ride brings back memories... :clap

    subscribed!
    :deal

    edit: photos now displaying... must have been the ether in cyberspace...
    #26
  7. sinned

    sinned Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    196
    Location:
    Kiwi in the middle kingdOOm aka China
    #27
  8. holmesie

    holmesie I like stuff...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    588
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    In the sticks - CANOWINDRA NSW Australia
    Going well Squily... Shame about the rack, that's pretty disappointing

    This one my fav pic to far :thumb
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    #28
  9. Klein Mannetjie

    Klein Mannetjie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21
    The SA scrapdealers (munts) would love the auto graveyard.Enjoy rest of trip!
    #29
  10. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    At Ayres rock tonight. Pretty knackered. Did 850km and a hiking trail. Think I might stay over a day longer. Climbing the rock tomorrow. Will try and do some updates and post some pics too.

    It's one big arse rock!!! :deal
    #30
  11. rabrd001

    rabrd001 Solo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    South Australia Adelaide

    Guys, sounds like and looks awesome, I have the SW motech racks too on my KLR650,, as of yet mine have not broken like yours i have the 37L panniers i try to keep the heavy stuff as close as possible to the bike, however i have noticed with mine that the bolts with the pins on each side to attach the rack are waring out due to vibration and the mounts on the panniers are also waring out due to same reason:huh:huh.. but i do love being able to take them off quickly and use them as a table or seat...i think the design is good but needs modification hope all goes well for the rest of the trip...:clap

    Rob
    #31
  12. cul8rr

    cul8rr busa no more

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Bunbury, West Oz
    Damn.... If your already at Ayers Rock then there is not much chances of our paths crossing.....
    Should be leaving WA Friday.... maybe Saturday
    #32
  13. holmesie

    holmesie I like stuff...

    Joined:
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    In the sticks - CANOWINDRA NSW Australia
    I never tired of looking at The Rock. I've seen it only twice in my life, and there's definitely it's definitely something special - climbed it as a kid back in the 70's and again in 2009. Enjoy your time there :clap
    #33
  14. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    Set out to explore the greater Woomera. I was told the previous night that the observatory only does shows on Thursday nights. bummer!!!

    And the one museum had a notice on the door- "Sorry we're closed- please come back tomorrow". Well this is tomorrow and the sign has not changed. Bummer!

    But the good stuff. There's plenty of good displays around town. Old rockets, Crashed prototypes. Old planes. Drones. [​IMG]


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    The atmosphere is great. Everything (decor the works) are from the 70's. Built to last, but now have that abondoned feel to it. Even the theatre has only one show and is only open on Saturdays.
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    For those (not of Australia and not familiar with Woomera), this place is Australia's area 51. No, nothing sinister :evil. Just hundreds and hundreds of kms of "Prohibited area". And then this in the middle of town...
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    Oh, and did I mention the prices are great? $8 brekkie
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    Too many things to see. Too many things not done. And Dad, I'll have to bring you here... More info could be had at: http://www.woomera.com.au/

    And then I haven't even gone into Len Beadell, the surveyor that opened up central Australia. http://www.beadell.com.au/



    We set off North. 30km down the road, and it's like someone hit the tree-switch. One moment desolate planes, the next moment trees. Hmmm... This is the non-tree area.
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    We approached a place I only know as a name. Thought it would be "a town to drive thorugh to get to somewhere else"
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    Wrong again. Eugene knew more about the place than I. It's an opal mining town. The thing on the back of the truck is a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks dirt up from below ground. An Australian invention. The whole town (or most of it) is below ground. No shit!!! Those are real rock caverns you're looking at baby...
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    It has a colourful history. The town is built (or uses) the old sandstone mineshafts. You go in a shop at one side of the mountain and come out the other. And you thought shopping malls parking lots are hard to keep track of... :lol3

    But, its a mining town. Everything seems to be "for sale" at the right price. One bloke was even selling "moon rocks" at $1 each. :huh

    This area has also been the backdrop for many movies. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (not that I've watched it- drag's not my scene :wink:) and one of my personal favourates: Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel. This might be a relic of the movie. Not sure- no information on hand and I can't remember it from the movie- will have to watch it again. (Incidentally, the bloke that sells the moon rocks also has some of the towers used in the movie. You know, those funny earth towers where the flying things came up out of).
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    Headed north and made another hour before sunset. Pulled off the road about 1km and pitched the swags. Beautiful night.
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    #34
  15. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    Got up before 1st light. Was going to be a long day. We were slightly behind schedule. Schedule, who's keeping a schedule??? Dawn from our little camping spot.
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    Made decent time and hit the Territory.
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    What's so special about a big piece of land that has so few inhabitants that it's not even qualified to be a State? Maybe the speed limit?
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    Maybe the scenery
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    Maybe the craftmanship
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    Maybe the rock
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    Maybe the night life
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    By the way, its not a mouse. Its a small marsupial and they're wickedly fast. Took us an hour to get this shot.



    Maybe the laid-back people. Or maybe its all of it. Or maybe, it just works. If you find Barcelona nights a tad bit quiet, then this is probably not the place for you. If you like wide open spaces, sun on your face, quiteness, then you might be heading the right way.


    So what's it about the rock. A rock by any other name, will still be a rock. Yes, but this is a big mother of a rock!!! It won't help me trying to explain it. It's when you're next to it- WOW. WTF? Looking at out photos, they're blahhh... The colour just isn't there. When you see the sun set over it, you feel small and know there is a God.


    I went West to the Olgas. Now a word on physical health. I'm not the fittest person in the world. In fact, I'm a lazy fat bastard that don't even run to the toilet. When I broke my ankle, OzBen told me it'll take a long time to heal and one day, the pain's just gone. Well, the last week, the pain's been gone. I don't know when, but I just noticed the other day it was gone. I know it was still painful last week before I left, because Steph joked about me with my hobbles and Eugene with his arm he can't raise- what a pair, she said. No hobling when I get up, no midnight wakeups, nothing. Thought it might be the exercise, the warmer weather, don't know, but it was great. So I tackled the Olgas with vigour yesterday. Did an hour trail in <30min, I felt great. Watched the sun set over the Olgas. Great. Well, let's just say I won't be climbing Uluru this morning,

    The valley in the Olgas. Inside the canyon, there is this little oasis with water running over the rocks. The moon rising above the granite, the sun setting behind you. Perfect
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    From the viewing area, about 1 min before sundown. (and before you go ahhh... it's lovely, but very commercial. There was two tour buses and 20 cars. Everybody jostling for a good photo. Kids running and screaming. I should have just stayed in the canyon. It was quiet there...
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    I've doodling around the campsite this morning. Hoping that with the hotter weather, the ankle would be getting better so I can climb the rock. No luck. I've now repact the panniers, updated the blog, packed the swag, washed the dishes twice. Better just accept it- if I can't hobble to the bathrooms, I ain't hobbling up that hill. Next year dad, when we come back...

    So we're here:
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    Might as well be startting to head north. Plan was to do King's canyon, but I've been advised to go the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve instead, Will see. Not sure about next available reception. Will update when we can. Tyres are getting a bit worn, but we should make Katherine (just).
    #35
  16. holmesie

    holmesie I like stuff...

    Joined:
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    In the sticks - CANOWINDRA NSW Australia
    Very well said mate :clap
    #36
  17. asi00007

    asi00007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Melbourne
    very good adv!!
    keep them coming and stay safe :freaky
    #37
  18. Klein Mannetjie

    Klein Mannetjie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21
    :wink: Hi son, thanks for the thought. Realy looking forward to it. Some nice pics you shot. Keep it rolling and enjoy rest of trip. Hope the ankle will keep it up. :1drink
    #38
  19. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    So we got away from Ayres rock resort at about lunch time. Made it North to King's Canyon. We almost gave this way a miss. I read a trip report on the net and the guys indicated that the route from KC to Alice was not worth the effort (my original planned trip). So we decided to do the meteor reserve instead. How glad I were we did decide to go to KC.

    Thje scenery changd constantly on the way and mountains were absolutely brilliant. On the way we tried to get the perfect shot.
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    What's the cost of the perfect shot? One clutch lever: $15. One hand-guard: $45. A mate at hand to pick the heavy bastard up: priceless!!!
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    Some running repairs, bypass the clutch switch, but she'd have to go with no clutch till we get to Alice...
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    King's Canyon is one of those places you can easily spend a few days exploring. We opted for the easy walktrail to the end and it was well worth is. Plenty of birdlife on the way, and they're not shy and will come to within a few feet of you.
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    Tnere is also a walktrail around the rim of the canyon and we got glimpses of it from the bottom. But the start was enoug to tell me it ain't gonna happen today:
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    We started making our way back south, and continued to sundown. Then looked for a place to camp. Good day all in all
    #39
  20. Squily

    Squily Squily

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,703
    Location:
    Esperance WA
    We had a pretty eventful night. Around the early hours of the morning, the campsite turned into the OK-coral. I swear there were 30 horses out there. I only saw the outlines of the horses against the skyline. In a way, this was spectacular- inbetween "am I going to get trampled?" routine.

    Next morning, the brumbies came back. What, only four?!?!?
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    It was a bit nippy again. Temp gauge said 3 deg C. Hmmm...
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    We made our way South to Giles rd and then East. The 1st ten kms or so was very corrugated. And when not corrugated, sand. The view wasn't brialliant. The bikes were taking a beating. Turn around? Never!!! At one crossing, Eugene slowed down to have a look-see, stalled the bike (no clutch) and TIMBER!!!!
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    Small blessing, as he was picking up the bike, he noticed the sub-frame bolt coming out. No, its not going to work using a Leatherman!!! Off comes, the luggage, out the tools
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    The scenery got better
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    Arriving at the meteor reserve, the DL was loosing bits (again!!!)
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    In some fairness, the Vara had taken some pounding as well
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    I left Eugene to his repairs and headed around the craters. These craters were made by meteorites the size of 210 litre drums. One of the craters are what they call the "water-crater", which has a small cathment off the mountains and form a natural basin. No water in there, now, but must be stunning when it does
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    Back out through the gap...
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    We made Alice just after 2
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    Local tour bus operator stopped with a pay-load. He started chatting with Eugene and gave us directions to the local Suzuki dealer for a replacement clutch lever. That was out 1st stop in town, and RFDS museum after that. The main reason for out visit was to "try out there flight simulator". No luck- out of order. And at $8 entyr, a bit of a rip-off. I know its for a good cause, and I've flown with them myslef, but...
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    We made our way back to the Transport museum. Trucks, this way, trains that way...
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    Now before I start, this is one of those massive places where you happily explore for hours on end. they even give you a pass-out so you can come back. They also have an excellent Kenworth display
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    And the business office of a Kenworth.
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    But the museum has hosts of other rare finds. Alternative fuel anyone?



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    Patent pending?
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    Front-wheel drive push-bike?
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    Three guesses...
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    Old fire trucks. And I thought foam application was a new thing...
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    Mick: here's that Doge you're after
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    And this 8-wheel drive monster AEC. Prototyped for Australia after WW1
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    When they threw us out at 5pm, we have not even started with the trains yet. This place is a gold-mine and I'll need to return to spend more time here.

    I also wanted to visit the aviation museum, but knowing it was closed, decided to see if they will be open tomorrow. Unfortunately, they only open at 11am on saturdays. Not worth hanging around for as we want to be in Katherine tomorrow night (1200km). Another next time...

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    So, progress to date:
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    Hope to make Katerine tomorrow. Luhan indicated the tyres we sent have not arrived there yet. Will have to see. At least there is plenty to see/do around town if we have to wait. I've also bought some oil/filters today to service the Vara when we get there.


    Till next time
    #40