Just back from a ride down the Holland Track. The track was cut in 1893 by a team of four experienced bushmen led by John Holland with the aim of opening up the goldfields around Coolgardie for prospective diggers arriving in the southern port of Albany. Over 500 kms were cut from around the townsite of Broomehill in just over two months. Holland roamed up to 30 km ahead every day and by compass, dead reckoning and a lot of tree climbing he led them straight to Coolgardie. He then ran a cartage business for three years until the State Government completed the rail line from Northam to Coolgardie. The track fell into disrepair until the northern portion of nearly 400 kms was reopened by a group of history enthusiasts in 1993. It has now been adopted by the local Toyota club who maintain some small signs and do occassional track clearing. The southern portion has been swallowed up by freehold farming whereas the top lies in virtually pristine crown land. Three of us... Pat, sensibly leaving his Harley in the shed and borrowing John's old XR600, John on his new GS1200 after countless dirt miles on his 20 y.o K100RS and ... me on my R1150R. We left Perth Friday and planned to make Hyden by midday, refuel and start up the track, hopefully making Mt Holland by nightfall. Passing through York we stopped at the old Greenhills Church, still in use today. If you plan to head to Hyden simply to see Wave Rock, forget it. Heaps of tourists and they charge you to park ! Go to Elachbutting Rock north of Merredin. It's bigger, better,with no crowds, free camping and you can drop by the brilliant Military Museum at Nungarin on the way home. Crossing the Rabbit proof (not) fence The track can be impassable in heavy rain and although we have been in a drought for some years this last few months have seen fairly good rains. That is why we left this trip relatively late in the year. The locals told us they hadn't had much for some weeks but there was a lot of water lying around. Finally making Mt Holland on dusk. There are excellent trip notes with waypoints marked both in distance and GPS. These are in a locally published booklet available from map and chart shops in W.A. The Toyota club have done an excellent job with the track markers but without them it would be easy to get lost. There are a lot of cross roads from mining exploration activity. I used my original bike trip meter to monitor my overall distance in relation to fuel and a pushbike speedo for the constant waypoint distances. (tracks sometimes crossing every 5-10 k's) Morning at Mt Holland. After a cold night the next two days began to heat up. A weird feeling as there was still a lot of water on the track and the countryside was very green. Track conditions varied. Light sand/deep sand, clay, deep ruts tight corner. We averaged 25 kms/hr. I hate sand but love the bush. Over 30 years on bikes and I'm still learning. John complained his new GS didn't handle the sand as well as his old K100RS. Yes, he had road tyres on but so did the old K and we took that to Israelite Bay with my old GS80 in the '80's. He kept saying the front washed out but he and Pat still moved smoother and faster than me. I had dropped my bike twice in deep sand when finally the GS went down. John was trying to ride the ridge between the deep ruts when his rear slid off and down he went... Slight damage to pride and bike. Busted indicator. Well, I tried to post this in the Oz regional forum and couldn't get any text space under my first image posting. That wasted an hour. It's late and I'm knackered from work (that's "tired" to northern hemisphere people). Still to come, Cave Hill, rusting V8's, a sports bike (?), wildflowers ...and oh yes, why the BM riders had to start the Honda every day. More tomorrow. Andrew Linton.