The following is a report on a 5 day, 2,000km ride through Western Australia. ~60/40 tar /dirt and four riders. My older brother, John L (Archie55) on a V-Strom 650 was back on a bike after about a 15 year lay off. He's a good photographer and many of the following shots were taken by him. My old mate John B on his GS1200, Pat on his TTR600 and me on my KLR. Just as a taster, this shot by brother John We had 600 kms of tar before hitting the dirt east of Kalgoorlie, a large Gold mining town in the interior, due east of the Capital of WA, Perth. So an early start was in order and we all met in the foothills at a servo. An obligatory stop at the little wheat belt town of Tammin where they have one of the biggest shop interiors I've seem for a servo. and some typical local architecture then out of the wheatbelt and into Pastoral Country Then on to Coolgardie all the time allowing Pat time to refuel the little tanked TTR between commercial fuel outlets My bike meanwhile looking in almost showroom condition, not long to the dirt ! Finally arriving in Kalgoorlie, the last fuel for ~400kms. Everyone tops up tanks and we take on a little extra, anticipating variable consumption in the dirt and sand ahead. We hit the dirt after checking out the roadkill hanging on the sign and racing the light finally camp just on dusk We're in a forest reserve, the road has a bit of traffic heading out to a Community and we're knackered (tired) so we sit around the Fluoro rather than bother with a fire. Early dawn and Pat does a little maintenance and then we're on the road. Passing the Community down the road Brother John hasn't done much dirt before and the V-Strom is shod with some pretty road orientated Trailwings, luckily it's a good beginners road with very little loose material to worry him. We're riding the service road for the east-west rail line line across Australia and around midday we arrive at the former busy little rail service centre of Zanthus. Home now to a young welder and his offsider (his Dad). Both have spent most of their lives out in the desert, the young guy having been born in Rawlinna, another service centre 200 kms further east. Rawlinna is also deserted and the hardy pair spend their working week moving between the two doing repairs to the tracks. We spend some time checking out an derailed carriage and refuelling the bodies. While we're there a goods train heading east pulls over to give priority to the west bound unit Then we head due south down the track about 200kms to Balladonia roadhouse. Balladonia is situated on the main tar road between Perth on the west coast and 'the rest' of Oz on the east. This condition of this road is unknown to us. It started well but soon deteriorated. For Pat and I on the singles, it was no biggy and John B always copes well on the bigger GS, but brother John started to have trouble. We regrouped every 5 -10 kms, John B and I in touch at the front and rear with UHF radios. We estimate about 70 kms of the track had large sections of bulldust. There was mining activity in the area but we saw no vehicles during our time on the track (8 hrs/180kms) Finally another late camp near a diesel fuel trailer THe next day we came across this dam with abundant birdlife. and then later this conga trail of caterpillars end to end. The last 10 kms improve and we cross the airstrip at the back of Balladonia roadhouse where brother John is relieved to hit the tar again after numerous drops in the bulldust. He had been picking good lines through most of the mess but with his lack of dirt riding and the handicap of a heavy road shod bike it was always going to be tough. The V-Strom came through unscathed apart from a cracked indicator housing (lens still working) and a hand shield broken. He had a good sump protector on order but it hadn't arrived in time for the trip. After a feed, fuel and drink we hit the tar heading west to Norseman ~200kms away. There we parted company with John heading due south on the tar to the coastal town of Esperance and John B, Pat and I heading 50 kms south on the tar before turning west onto a dirt road to ride to ride 50kms to Peak Charles for the night. We climbed the hill for some inspiring views and then it was back on the bikes for the ~200kms of good dirt to the small town of Lake King where brother John was due to meet us in the Tavern around midday, having come around via the tar after a quick look at the beaches of Esperance. Lake King is on the edge of the wheatbelt, pretty marginal country due to the scarity of rain. But it has a dynamic spirit and a bloody good rammed earth tavern. Just the place for a steakburger and a beer ! Midday afternoon we pushed off for Wagin, no more dirt. Here we encountered the worst head and side winds I have ever ridden in. The little singles were knocked around badly. Large dust storms roamed across the surrounding paddocks and coupled with the long drought we've been having it was a pretty depressing sight. Western Australia had yet another Cyclone (Hurricane) building in the far north that was affecting the weather all the way down the coast. The last half hours riding to Wagin was done in heavy ovcercast conditions and by the time we arrive it was raining. No arguments about taking a Motel for the night ! Our Pub counter meals arived just as the power supply to the whole town went out. We ate by tea candles and retired to bed early. By early morning the sky had cleared and brother John and I went for a wander around town. Aussie country towns are something else. It doesan't seem to matter how small it is, it's got to have a few Hotels and one has to be called "The Federal". Hmmm....should I get it for Mrs Beak ? Having grown up in a coastal country town I never tire of these little places or the people. As our cities change/evolve with new streams of migration, the Aussie country town seems (to me at least) to just stop time itself. Our ride was really at an end now, just a few hours on the tar back to the city and it would all be over. This one was a bit special, it seems unbelievable, but this was the first time in my long riding career that my brother and I had ridden together. John, thanks for coming along, thanks for having a go, thanks for the great photo's and I'm looking forward to the border run. John B and Pat. What can I say that I haven't said before ? Good riders, good people, great company, lets do it again soon. Andrew Linton.