Each year in April our Dr650’s are dragged out of the shed and packed for our annual extended ride to parts afar. Over the last number of years we have trailered the bikes from our homes in Adelaide over to Melbourne and then launched into various trips to the Victroian High County, The Snowy Mountains and Tasmania (see Ride Reports here ). This year we decided to do something a little different – follow the Murray River from South Australia across to close to its source in the NSW Snowy Mountains and then head for the East Coast before looping back through Victoria and home. Our route ended up looking like this and was close to 4000Km in total I like the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” so my reports are based around lots of photos that tell the story of our trips from start to finish. At the end of each day’s report I will include a link to a map of where we travelled and that page also has a link to download the gps logs. The tracks will also be uploaded to the excellent Trans Australia Trails Website. Enjoy Prep and Day 1 As the old girl was nudging close to 80,000 km a little TLC was required before I left. With a DR this is never very arduous, but I did change over the sprockets, added a new chain, did and oil and filter change and even checked the valves. Then the packing got under way Ready to roll My partner in crime Russell was ready bright and early on a Saturday morning and we were soon off through the Adelaide hills towards the Murray River. After passing through Inglewood we dodged the morning fog and weaved our way east through some minor roads before popping out at Birdwood, home of the National Motor Museum. It was then over the ranges where we were reminded of how dry the country is. Adelaide has had only 17mm of rain up until mid-April this year, well short of its average which is over 100mm. This makes us very reliant on water pumped from the Murray. After a negotiating a few gates we crossed over the moonscape to the views of the plains in the distance which lead to the river. One of our riding mates Pat, was joining us for the first night and we had arranged to meet him at Mannum. Arriving a little early we popped down to the Mary Ann Reserve by the river where we checked out the big flood levels and the local wildlife. It was soon time to meet Pat and indulge at one of our favourite SA bakeries. The home of the best Kitchener Bun money can buy Once our gluttony was curbed we followed the river around to Walker Flat where we waited for the ferry. There are a total of 11 cable driven ferries over the Murray (sometimes called punts) in South Australia and only two in the whole of Victoria/NSW. It’s a shame that the days of country hospitality and trust have now been eroded and led to video surveillance of onions Soon the ferry arrived and we crossed to the eastern side of the river before stopping at one of several lookouts positioned along the cliffs. Soon we headed away from the river and picked dirt roads through Bakara and onto the Old Loxton Rd. These were all good roads through the Mallee country with plenty of dips to keep our interest up. It wasn’t long before we were in Loxton where we grabbed some lunch before heading out the 37km to the start of the Murray Sunset National Park. We entered at Carwarp Rd and then turned north on Taparoo Track. This passed by the ruins of Taparoo Homestead where I almost managed to pick up a roll of fencing wire around my wheels. This brought back some rather salient memories from late last year where I tangled with some similar wire at speed on a trip up to the mid north. That occasion ripped off my chain guard, smashed the chain guide and whipped back and smashed the licence plate light! (and gave me quite a fright..) Without a major tangle I was soon clear and we soon crossed over the main Mildura Rd then took Berribee Tank Track north. Then through a short cut down Pipeline Track which ended with Pat taking a nap when he caught a rut. It was then out over the claypans and onto the Old Mail Rd that runs east/west and parallel to the southern side of the Murray River. We then turned off a few kilometres along the road and onto Lindsay Island. This section of the river is characterised by a number of quite large tributaries that run into each other and then eventually into the Murray. They include the Little Mullaro Creek and Lindsay River and in this section the Lindsay River loops around forming a large island. The area is predominately clay based and has lots of tracks that follow the various watercourses through the gums. It wasn’t long and we found a suitable spot by Little Mullaroo Creek and set up camp and then washed the days dust away with a few cleansing ales Then it was time to sit back and soak up the atmosphere, before Russ cooked up a storm! Map of Day 1 Day 2 Sunrise is always a nice time of the day. Now, normally on our April trips away we are needing to contend with cooler temperatures, often below zero overnight. However, this year not only was it very dry but it was unseasonably warm. In fact the temperature for our first night never dipped below 15oC and with a full blown winter sleeping bag I was sweating like pig for most of the night! Once camp was packed away Pat bid us farewell and headed home while we worked our way out of the park through some dry creek crossings and tracks through the gums that eventually led us back out to the Old Mail Rd where we headed east. Normally, at this time of the year, slippery conditions are often an issue but this year it was the bull dust sections that kept us on our toes. The Road follows close to the Murray in spots and there are lots of tracks that lead off to unlimited camping opportunities along the way. Once back on the Old Mail Rd it was 85km until we reached Mildura and stopped for a break at (where else?) They put on a good bacon and eggs too After breakfast we checked out the main river front wharf before heading off to get some fuel. It was now getting rather warm and soon after heading out of town I noticed a misty spray on my helmet. It turned out I’d lost the one way breather valve on my tank cap and fuel was splashing up from the full tank. After sorting that out Russell then noticed my chain guard was not where it was supposed to be and we stopped for a closer look. Sure enough it was flapping around up near the front sprocket! After the wire incident last year the alloy lugs used to attach the guard had been ripped off the swing arm and I’d replaced them with some metal brackets. It seems they were too thin and the corrugations had taken their toll and snapped them both off. With these two little mishaps now under control we finally headed out of town and turned off down Entrance Rd towards the Hattah – Kulkyne National Park Soon we picked up Mournpall Track that led through the park. Passing through a number of gates, past a few lakes and a several campsites. Once through the park we shadowed the river past a number of state forests before turning in to try and locate the junction of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. The track we took (Mills Lane) was a little sandy in places but after a little over 5km we reached the junction where we stopped for a break right at the confluence We then continued following the river along a track that meandered its way around each bend. We were on the lookout for a nice camp and sure enough not long after came across a nice sandbar which we decided would do just nicely. We set up camp on a small rise above the sandbar and washed away the dust (followed by a swim) We then enjoyed the colours created by the setting sun before getting dinner underway (snags and bread) Map of Day 2 To be continued..