Mr. Cob, goes for a ride-about, down under.........

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Mr. Cob, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Howdy All,

    For a long time I had and have been following the ride reports of guy who lives in Australia, it seems like this fellow was always on the road going to some of the most interesting and beautiful places, the photos he posted were great.

    Sadly for some reason Jock whose screen name here was "Old Ozzy" is now perma-banned. I had hoped to be able to write a ride report working with Jock as I did when I toured the UK with Inmate Tarka, working with Steve I think that ride report turned out well as he filled in the details whilst I posted the photos and commentary from my recollections. I tried working behind the scenes to get Jock reinstated but failed in that effort, that being the case this ride report will not be nearly as good as it could have been.

    About six months ago, Jock had posted a ride report over on "Farm Rules", that really caught my eye, the photos were very interesting as they showed terrain like none I had ever seen before. I posted to Jock's thread telling him how much I enjoyed reading his ride reports and mentioned that it was a dream of mine to someday ride in Australia. I then received a PM from Jock in which he invited me to come to Oz and ride with him. This set in motion a series of PM and email exchanges where within a month a plan was worked out that would have me spending a month riding with Jock, down under.

    Before I go any further with this, I must tell you folks that without Jock's generosity as he supplied the round trip plane ticket and to Jon the Australian Ural importer who supplied me with a rig to ride whilst in Oz this trip would NEVER have happened. Thank you Jock and Jon from the bottom of my heart your kindness and generosity made this a trip of a life time. :clap:clap:clap

    Now that you folks know how this all got started, lets get on the road. I left from Seattle on July 22nd, flew down to LA and from there to Brisbane Australia arriving there the morning of July 23rd. Man I am tellin ya that was a LONG flight squeezed in-between two guys who were built like pro foot ball players who each needed a seat much wider then what we were herded into. When I arrived in Brisbane I had no trouble spotting Jock as I had seen many photos of him. Here we are greeting each other at the airport, I am the ugly guy in the black hat, Jock is the feller who looks like Santa without his red suit.:lol3
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    Anja, one of Jock's friends accompanied him to the airport as he had parked his truck at her home, she gave us a ride to her home where we picked up Jock's truck and headed to his home about 200 klicks north. When we got to Jocks home he had to ride his KLR to the local place where you get license plates as he needed a new plate for that bike. Jock rode the KLR, I rode his Yamaha Tenre (sp) 660, I might add that this would be the FIRST time I had ever ridden on the LEFT side of the road.:huh We arrived with out incident, but I did have a couple of heart fluttering moments crossing intersections and not being used to looking for traffic coming from the right.
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    Jock gets his new plate.
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    On the way back to Jock's home we ride past huge fields of sugar cane being harvested, I had never seen machines like this before.
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    We stop for a light snack, I think this is where I had some fish and chips, quite good.
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    This water crossing is a few miles from Jock's home, we didn't cross at this time but did so later near the end of my trip. The water is now about 12-18 inches deep, there is a concrete road bed laid down so that when the water is low enough traffic can cross this stream. There are many of these types of water crossings in Oz.
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    Here's a better shot of the crossing showing its full lenght with Jock in the photo to give a sense of scale.
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    When get back to Jock's home I get a chance to check out his garage and some of his projects. On the work bench behind Jock is a "Postie-bike", Jock a couple of weeks before my arrival had competed in a race ACROSS Australia a distance of over 6,000 klick IIRC, he did it in 8 days on a 110cc bike, talk about having an "Iron Butt" :eek1
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    The wide tires shown in this photo were used on the Postie-bike when Jock rode the bike across the Simpson Desert, he is the FIRST person to have done such an insane thing. :clap
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    The day comes to an end with a fine meal prepared by Barb, she didn't want her photo taken but later on I did get one of her.
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    We spent the next day getting gear sorted and packing for the trip to the dealership where I would pick up the Ural that I would be using for this trip. Stay tuned. :D
    #1
  2. beewak

    beewak Adventurer

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    Looking forward to this one!!!

    I've followed a couple of your other adventures and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Subscribed...
    #2
  3. Spartandude

    Spartandude Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    Excellent. Most of my "subscribed to" threads have dried up. I so looking forward to your write up (even if you don't have help with the story telling).
    #3
  4. kennyh

    kennyh Been here awhile

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    COOI! Another report from Mr. Cob and from Oz at that! I'm in.
    #4
  5. ata

    ata expat in the jungle

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    in..........
    :beer
    #5
  6. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    :lurk
    #6
  7. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    I'm in like Flint!! :freaky
    #7
  8. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Excellent! I am looking forward to hearing more about Australia. :clap
    #8
  9. MrGoodwreck

    MrGoodwreck Retarded Adventurer™

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    Monroe Washington checking in! :clap
    #9
  10. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    The morning of my third day in Oz broke clear and a bit nippy after all it was the middle of winter in Australia. Jock and I had gone through our gear sorting out what to take and what to leave behind. As I really had no idea what was in store on this sojourn I brought along a lot of gear that in the end wasn't needed, one thing that worked in my favor is about two weeks before leaving home I was accepted into "Klim" gears VIP program and so got a brand new jacket and pants at a very good price, my old gear was getting pretty tattered, leaked and was no longer serviceable for such a trip.

    This would be Day One of our actual rideabout. Our gear sorted and strapped onto the bikes we set off from Bundaberg to Glen Innis. [​IMG]

    This was an easy ride through the country side, lots of trees along side of the road, we rode around and then over a low mountain range, it was quite cold once we were riding, glad I had the good gear.
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    Jock had a rear tire go flat on the KLR so we stopped at a tire shop to have it replaced. I should point out to those who don't know it, I am very hard of hearing, I am 75% deaf in my right ear and 50% deaf in my left, I have great difficulty hearing and understanding some peoples voices, the combination of my hearing problem and Jock's accent left me at times asking him repeatedly "what did you say", listening to Jock and the man working on his tire converse left me truly in the dark as I could only make out perhaps one in five words that were spoken.
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    This little piece of wire is what caused the flat, Jock decided to replace the tire rather then repair it as it was quite well worn.
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    After getting the tire replaced, we rode the rest of the day enjoying the curve filled roads and what for me was to one of the trip long delights LACK OF TRAFFIC, we would ride for MILES with no traffic coming or going it was pure motorcycling bliss, well aside from the critters who would cross the road from time to time. We got a room, got a good dinner and settled in for the night, tomorrow we would pick up the Ural, ah life is good.
    #10
  11. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Howdy All,

    Day two of the rideabout started out badly, the Yamaha I was riding wouldn't start. However having led the life of a hooligan in my younger years and acquiring skills needed to circumvent such things popping a side cover and using a screw driver to short the solenoid terminals soon had the Tenere running, this would be the method for starting the bike until we got solenoid replaced sometime later in the trip.
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    The ride to Armidale, were we would pick up the Ural took us over another mountain range along the way we passed through Guyra, and the highest elevation of this range. The weather was clear but the air cold about 45 degrees F, I never could get the hang of the Celsius temperature scale.
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    Along the way we passed the boarding school that Jock attended whilst young.
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    Before long we arrived at the shop where we would pick up the Ural in Armidale, I am sorry I have forgotten the mans name standing on the far left, he owns or works at the shop where we got the Ural and is a racer of local renown, to this man right is Jon who is the importer of the Ural motorcycles to the whole of Australia, I am seated on the rig, Jock is in the sidecar.
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    When I picked up the rig it had 3,and almost 200 klicks on the odometer, I should have rode the bike another 50 feet before taking the photo then it would have read 3,200K
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    NOW the story gets shall we say interesting. So far riding on the left hand side of the road had presented few if any problems, I mean riding a motorcycle on the right or the left hand side of the road is really no big deal they handle, start from a stop and come to a stop the same way. HOWEVER riding for the FIRST time a sidecar rig that has the sidecar mounted on the left side of the bike is a whole DIFFERENT game.

    When accelerating or stopping a sidecar rig the machine will tend to wander due to the weight of the sidecar. On a rig with the sidecar mounted on the right as I am used to, when you accelerate the bike wants to go to the right when you brake it wants to go to the left, having ridden a sidecar equipped bike now for many years this is so normal that I have adapted a riding style that makes these movements all but disappear except under extreme uses of the throttle or brake. Now put the weight of the sidecar on the opposite side of the bike and this completely changes the dynamics of riding and control of the machine.

    I am used to the sidecar coming off the ground when going fast into a right hand turn so when I entered a left hand corner at speed and the sidecar came up it was exhilarating to put it mildly especially when I was drifting head on into incoming traffic.:eek1 After a few miles I was becoming somewhat accustomed to this upside down and backwards way of life and within a few days it was feeling like it was the normal way of doing things. Yes an old dog can sometimes given proper motivation learn new tricks.

    Soon after we left from the shop we spotted a sign that would make a good photo, it was the name of a school or some other important building ( Inmate "GTinAus" has informed me that the sign the Ural is parked in front of is the name of the town, thank you GTinAus, I appreciate the correction to my post. ) that if a person stood in front of the last two letters you could only see the first four letters which spelled Ural. I have been known for years to drive up onto the grass, across sidewalks and other such uncivilized behavior to get a good photo so doing this whilst in Oz was for me normal.
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    We stop to gas up the bikes, have a snack and take a meandering ride to Jon's home where we will spend the night. Jock left the KLR at the shop as "Zac" another Yank would in a few days be joining us on the rideabout, Jock would from this point on be riding the Yamaha Tenere.
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    Here are some shots of the ride to Jon's home.
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    We spent the evening with Jon and his wife, swapped lies, ate good food, drank some beer and went to sleep. The next day would bring us into the big city, driving the Ural on the motorway in heavy traffic and more then a few butt puckering moments, stay tuned.
    #11
  12. slo rider

    slo rider Adventurer

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    WA
    Glad to see you managed to get your hands on some new gear Mr Cobb. Very jealous of your trip.
    #12
  13. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Cool! I wondered when we were going to see a report on your Oz adventures. I loved your take on Europe, looking forward to rest of the story from the great southern land. Well done the Ozy's for shouting you the trip!

    Cheers
    Clint
    #13
  14. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Howdy All,

    Day three of the rideabout took us from the country to the heart of the big city of Sydney. When we left from Jon's home it was quite brisk, the seats of the bikes were covered in frost, the skies blue and cloud free. The fuel tank on the Ural holds five gallons, many of the places we were to travel over the next three weeks were more then five gallons apart so carrying and using a spare gas can was an inescapable task.
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    We rode around and over another small mountain range called the Nowindoc Range, again not much traffic but many very steep grades. In the USA most of the major roads and all of the freeways have grades of 7% at a maximum this was done as anything over a 7% grade was determined by the military to be unsuitable for military transport, there is also a minimum curve radius but I forget what it is, in Oz I noticed that many of the grades that were marked were in excess of 10% many at 12% and 14% this made for very slow riding when coming up on or trying to pass some of the large trucks.
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    About 150k from Sydney we meet up and had lunch with a local Ural rider his screen name is "roscoau" he rides a green Patrol and is standing to the left of Jock in this photo.
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    This was the first time I had eaten an Australian burger with the "works", the works is a pile of lettuce, some onion, tomato, some kinda sauce, topped off with a fried egg and beets. First time I had ever had a burger with egg and beets on it. I learned to oder the burgers without the beets, they were a bit to much for my taste.
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    roscoau, rode with us for a while through some nice country rolling hills criss-crossed by many small streams, he lead us to the motorway which would take us to Sydney and then pulled off and headed back to his home. Thank you roscoau, it was a pleasure to meet, eat and ride with you. :clap :deal
    Here we are gassing up the bikes just before roscoau, lead us to the motorway.
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    Riding the Ural with the sidecar on the left, on the left hand side of the road in the country was not that big of a deal; doing so in heavy traffic at motorway speeds trying to keep Jock in sight in an area I had never been in before was down right nerve racking at times. It was getting dark when we got into Sydney, we found the shop where would spend some time the next day as I was to be interviewed by a local bike magazine reporter, Roland the owner of the shop stayed late to let us park our bikes in the shop and then took us out to dinner before setting us up for the night in his home.

    Somehow I lost all of the photos I took that evening, I took many of the shop and the bikes that were for sale, some of the project bikes in the garage and of the neat BMW sidecar rig in the basement. Roland to us to a Thi restaurant, a very nice restaurant, Roland must be a regular as we were picked from the line waiting for a table and shown to our places well before those who were in line ahead of us. I am NOT much of a fancy food person, just a meat and potatoes man. The food we ate that evening was really good but I dare say I don't have a clue what most of it was, the way it was served much of it wrapped in leaves was all new to me and quite enjoyable.

    Roland kept an apartment in Sydney that he lived in during the week as his regular home was a quite a drive from the shop, again I have no photos of this neat place. We spent the night in Roland's apartment before heading to his shop the next morning.

    Day four of the rideabout, started by me working on the Ural at Roland's shop as we waited for the reporter to show up. There were somethings about the setup on the Ural that I wanted to change to make it more suited to my personal riding style. I reset the lean-out of the bike, leaning the bike toward the sidecar at about 1 degree rather then the 3 degrees it was set at, I removed and re-positioned the rear brake lever so it would provide stronger braking action, and re-positioned the reverse lever to make shifting into and out of reverse with your heel much easier.
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    While I worked on the Ural, Roland on the left talked to Jock about our trip.
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    Here's a photo of me and the Ural I was riding in front of Roland's shop along with a couple of the Ural's he had for sale.
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    Th entire staff at Roland's shop, we took this photo after the interview and before we left in the early afternoon.
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    I am going to post this part of the ride report and then EDIT this post to show a good photo of the front of Roland's shop, as I have forgotten what he calls it. I am going to email Roland and ask him to email me a photo for this ride report. He took great care of us and his shop deserves recognition for the services he provided. Stay tuned.
    #14
  15. roscoau

    roscoau Been here awhile

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    Pambula, NSW
    Hey, it was good to meet you both! I discovered your deafness pretty quickly and just went along with being called 'Rolf'. :rofl

    I'm looking forward to reading of the rest of your trip...

    Ross
    #15
  16. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    Great report Dave! :clap
    #16
  17. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy Ross,

    Sorry for not knowing your name, yes not being able to hear properly can sometimes be a real pain in the arse not only for me but for those who I am trying to communicate with. In December of this year I'll again qualify for a set of hearing aids from the VA, hopefully the new technology will work better then the old ones they gave me which I gave up wearing as they just didn't work. It was great to meet and ride with you mate, tip a pint for me the next time you have the chance. :freaky
    #17
  18. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Howdy All,

    This is a continuation of day four of the rideabout. After leaving from "Better Bikes", saying goodbye to Roland and thanking him again for feeding, housing us and taking care of the rig we set off and headed toward Inmate "slow bike-small penis" home south of Sydney by a couple hundred klicks. On the way to Mark's home we rode through Woolongong National Park, what a wonderful place. We stopped in the park and had lunch, by this time it was starting to hit me how expensive everything was in Australia, our burgers were 12 dollars, the chips 3 and the can of Coke a Cola was also 3 dollars, 18 bucks for what in the States would have cost half that even in the same type of setting.

    This is funny, I have told you folks about my hearing problem and how I had a hard time understanding much of what Jock said, some of this was due to my lack of hearing, much of it was due to Jock's accent and that he sometimes talks into his beard and his voice is kinda muffled. As we were walking back to the bikes we passed a site where a Aboriginal Park Ranger was giving a bunch of school kids a lecture on out back life, how they used the plants and animals, how they built shelters, etc. We stopped and listened for a minute or two, as we walked away I mentioned to Jock how I could hear and understand EVERY word the Ranger had said while he was giving his class, I told Jock I was reminded of the line in the movie "Pulp Fiction", "ENGLISH, mofoer do you speak it?" We both got a laugh out of this. :lol3

    The further south we went, the colder it got. I am glad I had good gear and was getting a bit concerned about Jock as I could see that his hands were getting cold, later we would stop, Jock got some oil and cold weather gloves at a bike shop. As we rode south we rode along the coast, Jock had went ahead to shoot some video of me going along the Hwy that was built on a long bridge type thing that was half on land and half over the water. After I passed Jock where he was filming I pulled into a road side park that had a bath room. I walked up to the bath room, looked but could not find a handle to open the door :huh As I was moving my hand near the door it must have passed through some sort of electric eye, the door magically opened, as I walked into the bath room music started to play. The toilet flushed automatically, the water from the sink and the towels were dispensed again by some sort of sensor and as I exited the bath room a recorded voice wished me a pleasant journey, life down under is a bit different then what I am used to. This is a photo of the automated bath room.
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    Some photos of the coast as we rode south.
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    We arrived at Mark's home about 20 minutes before sunset, it was quite cold out, I was glad we wouldn't be riding in the dark as you could feel the temperature dropping as the sun went down. Mark greeted us and welcomed us into his home, after we got settled into Mark's home he drove us to a club where we had a good meal and some beers. When we were again in Mark's home the drinking in earnest began and went well into the evening.

    Mark provided us with many different brands of beer and wine, as the beers and wine were consumed the tall tales were told, laughs were shared and even politics were discussed in a civil manner, good folks these Aussies.

    It is at this point I'll mention something that struck me as odd but its not odd when one thinks about it, its just how differently Americans view things such as drying cloths and heating our homes. PLEASE do NOT take this as a criticism of the Australian way of life, its just that its not what I as a Yank am used to. As I have mentioned the further south we rode the colder it got, when I was at Jock's home I noticed that they didn't heat the house, it wasn't cold but it was a bit chilly and I found myself wearing more cloths then usual. When we stayed with Roland in Sydney, south of Jock's home I felt cold while sleeping again no heat. It was colder still at Mark's home and I was expecting that as the evening wore on for heat to be felt as the out side and inside temperature dropped. But no heat was to be felt.

    I asked Mark if we could do some laundry, he showed me to the washing machine, I loaded the cloths into the washer, when they were done I asked where the cloths dryer was, he told me he didn't have one. So we hung the wet cloths on a rack that was placed in front of an electric heater and went back to drinking beer and swapping lies. I assumed the heater would be left on at night not only to dry the cloths but to put some heat in the house. This was not to be the case, I woke up during the night and put some cloths on as I was cold in bed, the next morning our cloths were still damp as the heater had been turned off. Not meaning to offend Mark, I candidly asked Jock if he knew why there was no heat in the house, Jock looked at me and said why heat the house it wasn't cold enough for anything to freeze. So it became clear to me just how "spoiled" we Yanks really are, we take for granted that when it gets chilly out side the heat will come on rather then put on a sweater.

    Day five of the rideabout, started with me taking out damp cloths and hanging them on a neighbors fence to dry in the early morning sun. This was the first time I had seen "live" kangaroo's, I had seen quite a few dead ones along side of the road but until this morning never a live one. As I was hanging the cloths, the kangaroo's were hopping around all over the yards in Mark's neighborhood. Here's a bunch of photos showing the roo's.
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    Whilst I was out roo watching, Mark was busy cooking up a GREAT brecky.
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    Look at that pile of BACON along with all the other goodies.
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    I tried the blood sausage, I didn't like it, but the bacon, steak, fried tomatoes, and sausage links were wonderful. What a way to start another great day down under. :clap:clap:clap

    YES, I got my dog fix while at Mark's home.
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    Mark makes me the gift of a flask, thanks Mark.
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    While Mark and I are talking, Jock tends to cooking.
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    Mark says, "Lets eat."
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    Jock has already dug in........
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    I, don't need to be told twice when it comes to eating, my ears work perfectly when food is involved.
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    I have some things to take care, now that breaky is done I'll pick up the ride report in a few minutes with Mark as our tour guide for the day. Stay tuned.
    #18
  19. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

    Joined:
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    I've been waiting on the latest Cob RR too. Glad to see that things went well. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for the rest of us who might never get to ride down there. Keep 'em coming Dave.
    Subscribed, Tom
    #19
  20. backtodirt

    backtodirt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
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    Location:
    Lilyfield, sydney, australia
    great report so far Mr Cob! Welcome to down under I am off on a ride for 3 weeks towards Melbourne then off to the flinders ranges in late October, I hope we cross paths!

    When it comes to heating here, as you were discussing prices of the hamburger being expensive so is power/electrcity, we down here are not subsidised for power at all and a quaterly bill in a normal house now can be anywhere upwards of $700 so putting on a jumper is often the cheapest way to heat!

    I have now purchased 3 bikes from Roland at Better Bikes over the years and a cleaner, better run shop in Sydney you will not find, they know their second hand bikes here!

    Need any help or parts PM me and I will help you guys out, that legend Jock will look after you well, look after him as well, Enjoy the ride! :clap
    #20