East is East & West is West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guzzimike, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,420
    Location:
    Them Thar Hills WA Australia
    This is my first ride report, I have read a lot of other people's adventures, so I thought I would tell you about my latest one.
    It starts with the Phillip Is GP which, for those of you who don't follow such stuff, is held every year in early October about 150km SE of Melbourne, Australia.
    Herein lies problem No 1, I live about 4000km away, on the other side of Australia, in the hills SE of Perth. This has not stopped me doing the trek 5 times previously, in fact, for me it is the ride, not the racing that moves me. The GP is really just an excuse to see more of the country.
    So, in the last week of September I load up the trusty Guzzi Le Mans IV.
    I have owned this bike from new, (23yrs), and know him pretty well, we have done over 200,000 km together.
    On a sunny Wednesday morning we set off through the lovely forest that surrounds Perth.[​IMG]
    You'll find quite a few pics with "Gus" as the foreground coz there's only me and him.
    300ks from Perth we stop for fuel at Hyden, home of the famous Wave Rock, but having been there, done that, we fuel up.
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    and hit the dirt.

    From Hyden to Norseman is 300km of dirt with no services, but having done it many times before, by car and bike, it's a 3 hr non stopper, apart from a pic for you guys, and a stop to allow a road train to get ahead so I didn't have to swallow his dust.


    The road varies from 160km/hr stuff, to bloody great holes, often in the space of a few metres, but is easily doable on any road bike.
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    From Norseman it's an easy 200ks to Balladonia.
    Balladonia is just a truck stop on the long and lonely Highway 1, but as they go it's pretty civilised. Pub, Motel, Resturaunt, all the works and jerks.
    I have a fav camp spot 5 ks out that I dump my stuff at, empty the top bag, take the bike into "town", fill up, bag of ice, & cokes, back to camp for icy Jacks & Coke, cook up a storm and enjoy my first evening on the road.
    If the universe has 10 million stars, you can see em all out here, no light pollution, and very dry air.
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    As the sun went down it was pretty, but I was a bit slow, so the colour had gone by the time I found the camera.
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    Up early, as we are now 1000km east of our home, but in the same time zone, so it gets light early
    The Eyre Highway is busy these days, lots of trucks and "Grey Nomads" (retirees with caravans) unlike the 1960s when my folks took us kids on the adventure of a lifetime to Sydney, it was all dirt in those days, and bloody rough dirt, even to us "bushies" who were used to dirt.
    Back then, if you met someone coming the other way, you stopped and had a chat about the price of corn.
    These days its tar seal, but a lot of people still wave and come up to you in roadhouses to chat.
    After leaving WA we cross the 100 km or so of the true Nullabour (from the Latin NULLIS = No ARBOUR = TREES
    It's another 1000ks to Ceduna, which is civilization again.
    This trip I decide to take a detour down the Eyre Peninsular (named after Edward John Eyre, who, in the 1840s WALKED east to west across this desert. His partner was speared by the locals and all his black trackers but one jumped ship. Amazingly, he lived to tell the tale. The Aussie explorers were made of stern stuff.
    This area actually has about an 8" annual rainfall, but because it is limestone karst, that is, it was once a coral reef, it is porous limestone with caves, the rain goes straight down. some of the caves are the longest in the world, going for 10s of miles, often right to the sea, so we have blowholes up to 40 km from the sea.
    Down the coast we come to the world's centre for cheap oysters, Smokey Bay, I have a wander and a half dozen for morning tea $4
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    Another 150ks brings me to Streaky Bay. When I was last here, in 1967 it was a dust hole, my how things change in 41 years!
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    Had lunch at the pub
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    $8 counter lunch
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    Met up with a couple of young blokes from Perth on KLRs on their way to Sydney to put the bikes on a plane to Santiago, Chile, to travel around S. America for 9 months - and I thought I was on an adventure!
    Here are their bikes
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    Down to Pt Lincoln, the town with more millionaires than any other in OZ, didn't look like my kinda town, so after a quick look around Coffin Bay
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    I headed up the East coast of the Peninsular, headed for Cowell, the jumping off place for the ferry to Wallaroo. It was not to be.
    In my haste to get out of Lincoln, I forgot to refuel, so 3ks north of a place called Arno Bay I went onto reserve, with 45k to Cowell, at night, I decided to return to Arno.
    The fuel station was closed, as was everything, except the pub, which was jumping. 150 people in a town of 50.
    The first person I meet is Jacko, who has just had a coming together of car & bike on his way back from Darwin, smashing his left arm and leg in the process. He makes me very welcome and by the time I stagger to bed I have met everyone in town.
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    I just love the bit about "If you forgot to pay"
    Drag myself out of bed in the morning, take a look at the superb architecture of the pub,
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    and cruise around to Jackos for tea.
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    Then, after dragging the father of the bride out of bed (did I mention It was a wedding) to open the otherwise shut fuel station, it was on to Cowell and Lucky Bay to catch the ferry across to Walleroo on the Yorke Peninsular. A few bikes on this crossing.
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    Among this lot was a fellow Mk IV rider from WA who I spent the next week with riding to PI and engaging in a mutual admiration society re our bikes.
    Off the ferry in Wallaroo, we headed for Murray Bridge, skirting around Adelaide because cities are not my bag.
    Next morning we came across a collection of Nortons just over the bridge in MB, well worth a look even if you have trouble telling one from the other. Dean, the 77yr old "curator" of this museum is quite a character & is happy to chat as long as you are. This is a 1955 Manx.
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    On to Casterton just across the Victorian border, 3 pubs in Casterton, 2 of them closed and the third not far behind if the clientel on a Sunday arvo/evening is anything to go by (us). Nice building though.
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    Made even better by the class machinery parked out the front.[​IMG]
    South Western Victoria is pretty nice country.
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    On the south coast of Vic lies the most amazing collection of bikes, collection is hardly the word for it, a jumble would be more like it. Ther is some pretty exotic stuff here, mostly Euro, wierd and rare.
    None of it is for sale.
    Here are a couple of snaps.
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    This one caught my eye because of it's similarity to the Guzzi,
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    No ride east is complete without a blat down the Great Ocean Road, even if it is infested with cops, caravans and tourists in Hyundais.
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    First though, a night in the best backpackers in OZ. at Pt Campbell.
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    This is the view from the front verandah
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    and from just over the road
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    Spectacular scenery along "The Road"
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    3 Geese have a chat
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    We come out the other end unscathed
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    For those of you who remember the TV series "Seachange" here is Diver Dan's Jetty
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    and the "closed bridge"
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    This is Barwon Heads where we stayed in rhe caravan park prior to chatching the ferry across Pt Phillip heads -saves going through Melbourne.
    On the Thursday we are set up and ready to go at Trackside Campground.
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    4 days at the Island and I say goodbye to Clint who has to go back west to work, I ride east to continue my adventure.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,699
    Gotta get me down to ride in Oz some day.. Beautiful :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. Makalu

    Makalu Long timer

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    Oct 29, 2003
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    Event horizon
    Nice! It would be interesting going through this stuff if you had the time.

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    #3
  4. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    106,192
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    What a great trip!


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    #4
  5. zadok

    zadok Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Western Australia
    Nice one. I left on grand final day for the same destination.:D My first venture over the Nullabor.
    #5
  6. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,420
    Location:
    Them Thar Hills WA Australia
    After a day in a motel to dry out (in more ways than 1) I headed off Eastward, Strezleki Hwy, Leongatha, where I finally succumbed and bought some better gloves, gets a bit nippy in S Gippsland, especially when it's raining as well.
    By the time I got to Maffra and met up with Paul, things were warming up a bit, so we unloaded Gus and headed up the twisty road to Licola. With me leading it can't have been pretty sight for Paul, but WA has only about 3 25km/hr corners in the whole state, so we don't get much practice.
    We got there anyway.
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    Fining the store closed Paul decided to test out the abilities of Gus as against his 640Adv. We came 2nd.
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    Thanks for showing me around your neck of the woods mate. Next time I might just have a more suitable bike, in which case I might have to blame my own ability (or lack of it).
    After another long sleep in the pub in Maffra I headed off up the back way to Dargo - Freestone Creek Rd.
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    Awsome bit of country, but not a lot of water in the rivers.
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    Pretty reasonable dirt except for a few washed out bits, usually on the tight corners
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    Another portrait
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    Starting to get a bit of elevation here.
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    The Dargo Pub is famous so it had to be on my itinery.
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    My room was an honest to goodness log cabin with all the kitsch accoutrements.
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    I spent a lazy arvo chatting to Dargo Dan at the general store, plenty of advice on local roads, an all round good bloke is Dan. His missus as well but I can't remember her name coz it doesn't hook with Dargo, like Dan does.
    Pretty little creek runs through Dargo.
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    In the morning I am awakened at 7am when Bozo next door starts up his 8.2litre F250 2 feet from my head and proceeds to warm it up for 45min.
    I feel like going out and telling him that he is ruining 2 things, the motor, ang his relationship with his neighbour. However he looks like a right redneck so my brand of early morning sarcasm may move him to violence and I'm a lover, not a fighter, so I settle on grumbling to myself ,
    We hit the High Plains Road about 9
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    and almost immediatly run into evidence of the fires that devastated the high country in the summer of 2006-7
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    These fires were only about 45min from Dargo when the wind changed.
    A lot of this country is changed forever, as the fire was so hot it sterilized the soil and heavy rain fell in many areas shortly afterwards, washing away the topsoil. Quite surreal.
    As we climb we start to see remnant snow on the peaks away in the distance.
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    After 70km or so of dirt we hit the Great Alpine Road about 10 ks from Hotham
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    I think the speed limit may have been exceeded a bit up this bit of road!
    From Hotham down to Omeo and fuel for man & beast.
    The road from Omeo to Tallangatta on the Murray goes down in my book as the best bit of motorcycling road in Australia (so far) the 30 odd ks of dirt means that in the 130ks of sweepers and twisties I did not meet another vehicle - Magic!
    In fact I found Victoria's secondary roads to be, by and large, deserted.
    SHIT HOT!
    This day however we only get as far as Anglers Rest, the Blue Duck Inn has cabins that sleep 6 for $120 a night, but for 1 this is too rich so I cross the bridge and free camp beside the river
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    Then Wander back over the bridge for drinks and dinner, top class tucker too.
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    How good is this?
    This is magic country, to a boy from WA having a mountain to look at is a rare treat.
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    The friend who was to come on this trip but couldn't used to live in a little town on the Murray called Jinjellic so I had to go there.
    What a find,
    The Pub's a gem.
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    Free camping in front of the pub, right beside the river.
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    Top class meals.
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    And met up with a couple of ratbag bikers.
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    The one on the left is from the US and works under deep cover for the CIA. (just kidding I think) his name's Jim. The short arse on the right with the attitude problem is Fred, he will feature later in this tale.
    In view of the big night I will pause here in memory of the hangover.
    #6
  7. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,420
    Location:
    Them Thar Hills WA Australia
    Leaving Jinjellic we are still going east, Her indoors is starting to make noises like "How come you are further away than when we last spoke" but the pull of the east is strong.
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    In the background the Snowy Mountains are visible
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    We pass through Khancoben and then onto the Alpine way, dirt when I was last here, but sealed now. I'm getting used to the twisties.
    Started in the 40s and taking 40 years to finish, the Snowy Mountains Scheme diverted the south flowing Snowy River west into the Murray, via a system of tunnels through mountains, providing irrigation water and hydro power at the expense of the Snowy and it's ecosystem, back then they thought all problems could be solved with engineering.
    "The Snowy" as it's called here is regarded as one of the worlds 7 engineering marvels of the 20th century.
    Here is the pipework feeding the Murray No1
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    And Gus taking a break from the twisties
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    The rivers are clean and cold hereabouts, this one at Geehi, the site of the Alpine Rally, I'm a couple of weeks early.
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    The ski lifts are still operating at Thredbo, but I feel a bit alone at this point, so settle for sitting on a rock, talking to my beloved on the phone, watching the beautiful people drive by.
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    I'm on my 18th day away from home and it's time to stop going away and start going back. Berridale, between Jindabyne & Cooma is my most easterly point, here I turn south and spend the night in a great pub at Dalgety, on the Monaro plains, a truly icon Aussie town.
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    Dalgety almost became the capital of Australia, pipped by Canberra at the post.
    Here we see the effects of the Snowy Scheme on the Snowy itself, now a mere ditch, many times before the Scheme this bridge was a mere inches above the water. The Snowy now flows at 7% of it's pre Scheme levels.
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    And this is rain shadow country, it's bloody dry mate, they depend on the river.
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    We are headed south to Bombala and Delegate.
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    After Delegate we cross once more into Victoria at Delegate River heading for Orbost.
    Not many motorcyclists pass this sign without a Kodak Moment.
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    At the end of the day we come to Marlo, where the Snowy meets the sea, and get pissed again, good pub on a warm Sunday night is the Marlo.
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    Thus ends Day 19.
    #7
  8. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,841
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden

    Whats the story behind this? This is very interesting collection. I can see a Vespa and prob'ly a Lambretta in there.
    #8
  9. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,420
    Location:
    Them Thar Hills WA Australia
    There comes a time in all journeys when you must turn around and go home.
    Or as the great philosopher once said, "Everything has an end, except a sausage, which has 2"
    This was my time.
    From Orbost we take the Highway as far as Bainsdale, then branch off north on a road less travelled, Lindenow, Glenalandale, Maffra, (again), Tyers, then up to the old mining town, now tourist trap of Walhalla.
    Great Mountain Ash country here.
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    Then through Hill End to Noojee.
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    Here I stayed in a little A frame on the property of a very sociable bloke named Barry who has a little bit of paradise in one of the only well watered spots I saw in Vic.
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    Next morning I move on, skirting around Melbourne, through Healsville, Whittlesea, get lost between Wallen and Bacchus Marsh, (Jees it's bloody dry around there, like the surface of Mars, to end up in Winchelsea.
    Fantastic old bridge here, still used on Highway 1, built in 1861 from memory.
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    On to Colac, then branch off though the Otways to Lavers Hill, (in the rain) and another night in Port Campbell.
    I have arranged with Fred (remember him?) to meet up in Robe SA and on the way meet 2 other riders on the way to the Ducati Tourismo in Adelaide.
    So we make 4 bikes, Gus, Fred on a Triumph Trophy, Big Al from Sydney on a Multistrada, and Erik from Holland on Al's '74 Ducati 750GT.
    Here we are in the Robe caravan park, top spot!
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    Al & Erik
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    From Robe we form convoy to Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, where we camp for 2 nights and take in the National Motor Museum at Birdwood.
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    One exhibit I thought worthy of mention is this 1913 cyclemotor, apparently capable of 40km/h, It looks terrifying, no brakes, left hand corners would mean no drive, RH corners would mean lifting the main wheel off the deck. Might have a bit of trouble getting compiance these days.
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    They used a lot of stone in their building in the old days in South Australia, stone is something SA is not short of.
    This is the old mill next to the museum.
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    And a private house (used to be a mill) in Mt Barker.
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    Fred and I now get the bit between our teeth and head for home.
    It's 2000km from Penong SA to Perth and we do it in 2 days, only stopping in this salubrious accomodation at Caiguna.
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    You see alot of loonies on the East-West highway,countless Japanese & Germans riding pushbikes, rollerbaldes, skateboards, but this one takes the cake, he's pushing a wheelbarrow from Perth- Sydney (4500km)
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    So, last Wednesday evening, 4 weeks after leaving home, I return to reality, but with many memories of places, and more importantly, people that I met along the way. Made a couple of friends, no enemies (that I remember) and saw a bit of OZ that I haven't seen before.
    Can't wait for the next one.
    Thanks for looking.
    #9
  10. Ri-Ra

    Ri-Ra Burgeoning

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
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    6,341
    Location:
    In the wellspring
    Great pics! :clap :clap
    #10
  11. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
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    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    Great Report! :D

    I'm hoping to ship the KTM over next year & see some of those places.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #11
  12. Stormcoming

    Stormcoming Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    :bow :bow :bow
    #12
  13. DANNOj

    DANNOj Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Mike, I must have missed this report when you first put it up!!

    Great read, and you visited some of my most favourite areas in Australia!

    Cheers,
    Dan
    :thumb
    #13
  14. doublen

    doublen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Idaho
    Great ride report. So many places to see and so little money to do it with. :cry
    #14