A Flinders Ranges Blast

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ozadvntr, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

    Joined:
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    A group of us from Toowoomba in QLD do a a regular ride each year, usually for a week. We alternate the ride between a ride south along the ranges or a ride West to the Desert.

    This year was the trip West.

    The group was 7 bikes, all riders with various levels of expereince on Adventure bikes. 6 BMW's (2 x G650XC, 1 F650 Dakar, 2 x R100GS's and a R1200GS) and a Honda XR600 that was pushed out of retirement for the trip.

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    I rode my BMW G650X Challenge, it was a great choice and proved to be great on fuel and comfortable for the trip. We covered 4000km over the week and had no real issues other than a flat tyre on a mates R100G/S special with a 43l TT tank and a worn out MT21 (2500km) on the power house Honda XR600 that we changed at Broken Hill.

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    Day 1 We left Toowoomba early on a Saturday morning, the temp was close to 0 degrees and a strong westerly wind blew. We headed West toward Eulo 750 km away, our first nights stop. This is just a road run, get west as quick as you can I think a 70km dirt section between Cecil Plains and Moonie

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    Day 2 saw us continue onto Cameron Corner via Thargomindah and Nocundra. The road was great and saw a lot of great sections through the Dunes. At roughly 1300km from Toowoomba, it would be a big day to do it in one hit especially during Summer at temps nearing 50 Degrees, but a few of us are planning a run on the longest day. We stopped at Nocundra Pub for Lunch and had a cuppa down near Naryilco before the last run into the Corner. This section was one of my trip highlights and I would recommend it to any Aussie heading west. The cutting through the Dunes allowed you to get high out of the wheel tracks and treat them like a Berm, it was a real buzz.

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    Day 3 from Cameron Corner to Arkaroola in the Flinders Ranges saw the group enjoy the ride west toward the Strezlecki Crossing. There is a track that joins this road to the Strezlecki Track and we got some wrong info as to it's locality. My GPS did not have the track loaded nor did my Hema map. So, we looked for the track, we went down a substantial track but soon realised it was incorrect as we saw a drill rig and some other gear and turned back towad the Moonba road. Along this road, we ran into a Cockie who gave us the good oil on the location of the track.

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    This track was a cracker, it ran across the dunes and across some salt pans and joined the Strezlecki 50km or so North of Montecallino Bore. We ran down to the Bore and had a look at the rest stop. We then headed south aagain toward the Gammon Ranges and the Turn Off toward the Flinders Ranges.

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    This road was also very good, varying from basically a two wheel track road to a rocky track to the expressway into Arkaroola we saw it all. We had lunch on a creek near the Moolwatana Airfield and then across some of the harshest country I have seen in Australia before turning at the Balcanoona NP and up to Arkaroola.

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    Arkaroola village was a bit overated and the camp ground is a fair walk to the village. However, there is a good camp Kitchen and facilities at the camp ground that is under cover and has good tank water.

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    Day 4 after spending a cold night in the Atco Huts, we headed south toward Hawker via Wilpena Pound. The day was also bloody cold and we all felt it as we headed back up into the ranges for Blinman and a Latte with a gourmet pie, it really surprised us all as we only expected an instent and a four and twenty. After the hour wait, we all got pissed off and would have given anything for the instant and the Four and Twenty but the proof was in the tasting, good tucker and we probably paid the womans ent for the week, everyone was happy.

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    The next part of the run to Wilpena Pound was great, over the hills that lend themselves for great photography, just pity I am not one, we needed Maynard23 along with us.

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    We pulled up a few times trying to get that photo but all with little luck, the day being so dark and overcast did not help. At Wilpena Pound we had a look around and after asking about the walks we opted to ride to Hawker and have an easy afternoon. The road to Hawker saw bitumen and eventually mobile reception, we again reached civilisation. The Hawker Caravan Park let us camp at the camp kitchen and we all sawagged out in the area between the BBQ's. We made our way to the pub for dinner and enjoyed the Tooheys Old on Tap.

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    More soon,
    #1
  2. Curryinahurry

    Curryinahurry Born 2 Ride

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    Great report Mick!!!:clap :clap :clap

    Seems like you had a lot of fun!!

    Keep it coming...

    Cheers

    Bala
    #2
  3. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Good Stuff!

    Hopefully the western leg of our planned Oz holiday next year will be a week or so going Cameron Corner - Innamincka - Flinders, so I'm watching with interest.

    That black & white R100 looks like a bit of a beast too :evil

    Cheers
    Clint
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Spectacular ride!! Thanks for posting your fantastic pics.

    What's the purpose of the blue and yellow masking tape on your XChallenge and the yellow GS? To prevent scratches? :ear
    #4
  5. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

    Joined:
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    Clintnz said:

    You picked the only bike in the group owned buy a bloody Kiwi, and a great bloke.
    I have a good Yarn here, we headed into Thargomindah early on day 2 and passed a freshly killed sheep on the side of the road. We (6 others) all rode past it, but no, the Sheep Shagga pulls up to see if it was still warm.

    Tony is originally from Wellington and the bike is a R80G/S turned into a 100 Special. KTM front end and 100mm longer rear end. Paul Rooney fitted the front end and did the swing arm, Tony and I did the rest.

    Gadget Boy Said:
    Absoloutely, it is cloth tape (100mph instant airframe). Keeps all good underneath and prevents chaffing and sand blasting as well as minor stone chips. Works very well.
    #5
  6. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

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    Dunno why you think you're not too good a photographer Mick ?
    They all look great to me.

    I haven't been to the Flinders since ' 87. I'm hoping to take the family there on our way over to Melbourne next year. At least up the Wilpena Pound.

    Andrew.
    #6
  7. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

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    More on the trip.

    Day 5 was to be I thought a bit of a boring run to Broken Hill. We left pretty early, 7am and it was bloody cold. I was waiting to hit some good dirt to take my mind of my freezing fingers and the road east of Hawker was dirt, but a Highway.

    After passing through Craddock, we turned east again and headed onto a series of station roads that I rate as some of the best I have ridden on. They constantly changed and you on the Pegs and climbing then following creeks and heading North again toward Belton. This soon had all forgetting the cold and the pace got a bit hot and we made great time. We pulled up for Smoko at a place near Barrata on the Siccus river and enjoyed a cuppa. From here we continued east then south toward Yunta and passed a group on old British bikes heading to Alice Springs. After a yarn and giving the guys the good oil on the raod ahead we again headed out toward Yunta, we had now joined the main road that connects through to the Strezlecki.

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    We made Yunta for Lunch and had a feed at a Roadhouse then did 200road run to Broken Hill. We needed to get to Broken Hill before 3pm so Craig could get a Tyre for the mighty XR as the poor advice he was given ref tyres by the local Honda dealer saw the MT21 worn out and we still had a lot of dirt between here and Toowoomba.

    We paced a Container train from Yunta to Broken Hill and it was sitting on between 110 - 120 km/h and I counted roughly 60 40ft containers on the train, I wonder why we cannot ship freight this way on the east coast. Outside of Broken Hill before the NSW border, I got a bit bored and took a few detours over cuttings to get some photo's.

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    We made into Broken Hill and got a Kenda for the XR from the Yamaha dealer and It hardly wore at all for the rest of the trip. We managed to get into the North (Lake View) caravan park before the rain and planned the remainder of the trip.

    Day 6 saw us leave Broken Hill in cold and overcast conditions. We had planned to follow the Railway line to Menindee but received Local Advice at the bike shop to leave it alone if it rained overnight, we did the 120km run to Menindee on Tar. The road east of the Darling was decide on as it was the least busy road and would be obviously more fun. This proved to be spot on and after jumping endless Grids and blasting through sand patches we pulled up for smoko 30km south of Wilcannia on the River. We all sat and looked at this river that once was the life blood of western NSW and south west QLD, dry times and greedy cotton farmers saw the once great darling look like a dirty creek. What are we doing to this great country.

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    We headed back onto the road and into Wilcannia for fuel. The intent of our welfare policies shine here. What a depressing place it was. Teenage Aboriginal Girls pushing Prams no older than my daughters and the local heroes walking around either stoned from Aerosol sniffing or Dope, I was pleased to leave and find the eastern road along the river once again. We all enjoyed the road but the country had changed and the area was very baron of anything at all. We had our usual 50km regroup and our Kiwi sweep was absent. As lead, I asked Andy, B1, were the Shagga was and was tols he only saw him 5 minutes ago. Two of headed back and found Tony roughly 7km south pulling his front tyre from the Super Tanker.

    It apparently hit a rock and with 40 odd litres on board had pinched the tube. Tony and I quickly had a new tube in the tyre and we got away again within 30 minutes.

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    We kept our North East direction and passed Tilpa, we had planned to go to Bourke and certainly seemed well on schedule to get there. At the Tilpa regroup, Craig mentioned to me that he thought the Louth races may be in this weekend and Louth maybe a bit busy, we headed on Still east of the River. The road was a lot of fun and changed a lot over the 140 odd km to Louth. As we road past the Louth Race Course, the people around surprised me, the amount of campers with there caravans, buses and tents filled the town reserve, I deceided to stop at the pub as it was over flowing onto the main road with well over 100 people in and around the pub.

    We quickly had a yarn about staying at Louth for the night and we then headed back to camp ground for a shower before heading back to the Pub. Craig told me that the Louth Picnic races are the biggest in NSW and 2nd only to Birdsville, the amount of people on Thursday night at the Pub certainly proved to me what a popular spot it was.

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    Day 7 started a bit fuzzy, the Old was good at Louth and the company outstanding. The road to Bourke was good, for the first time we headed west of the river, not only as it was supposed to be a better ride but because the traffic would be less.

    Again, Red sand and rocky sections, after a good 30 minutes of up and down on the peg's my head had cleared and all was crystal again.

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    The run to the Bitumen was uneventful, well, at least we thought it was until we arrived at Bourke Bakery for Breakfast come smoko. I was sitting out in front of the Bakery eating a great Pie when I noticed something strange on the back of Tony's bike. I asked him had he lost his blow up Ewe, Baaarbra, but he just said "No, just my Bum Bag full of tools". We decided not to go back and look for it as the chances of finding would be slim, we blew a good hour or so messing around at Bourke so we opted out of the run through Collerina and headed on toward Brewarrina. Here we went North again and soon found the dirt. The road to Goodooga was a good road, but I was on the old XR and she was speed limited at 120km/h with me on it and I was not going to be the one to kill it. From Goodooga we went to Hebel and Pulled up again for a feed. The aim tonight was the Nindigully Pub and we seemed on tracck. We opted to go around Cubby Station and I could not believe the area Cubby has cleared for Cotton. The Infrastructure is massive, nearly as big as the gates on the Ballonne river that feed water into the massive holding tanks that cubby use to store water for the Cotton. Is this progress or environmental vandalism? You be the judge.

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    I did have a picture of the weir gates but it was a bit blurred.

    Anyway, after the detour around Cubby we called into Dirranbandi for fuel and I realised our trip was near done. We had 100km to run into Nindigully and Reg took the lead as he grew up in the area. We shot along the road to Thallon that borders the railway line before Reg did some turns and we ended up at the Pub. We all spent the night in the Pub and enjoyed a great feed. Compared to the previous night at Louth, we all had a quiet night.

    Day saw a frost that covered most things, probably the coldest night of the trip. Glad the Beds at the Pub are heated.

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    We headed via a variety of roads toward Moonie and did the last 100km of tar into Moonie. We pulled up for breakfast and a coffee then headed back up the road to the Cecil Plains Turn Off and East toward home. We got back into to Toowoomba about 12 on Saturday and this allowed Troy and Andrew B2 time to get home.

    From start to finish I had done exactly 4000km and as a group we had not had a real incident on the trip. No step off's no break downs and 1 flat.

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    From Left to Right.

    Andrew B1, Tony (Sheep Shagga), Reg Racer, Troy, Mick, Craig and Andrew B2.
    #7
  8. jtb

    jtb Long timer

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    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

    Top ride report! Thanks for taking the time to share your photo's and adventures... nothing (for me) beats the west!:clap :clap :clap :clap
    #8
  9. pirate63

    pirate63 SUPA 10 PILOT

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    :clap :clap great report and pic's
    #9
  10. Bigem

    Bigem Long timer

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    Great report Mick. You didn't mention the skillfull redistribution of your luggage to Troy and the Sheep Shagga as the XCs rear rack self-destructed mate. On top of it being a great report, pat yourself and Reg on the head for putting such an awesome trip together for the rest of us. It was truly an incredibly well put together ride. I'm looking forward to the next one, especially with the new toy, should be a ripper. :freaky:freaky:freaky
    #10
  11. dirt rider X

    dirt rider X tropical traveller

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    :clap excellent:clap
    #11
  12. atgreg

    atgreg Africatwinarama

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    +1, fantastic !!!!
    #12
  13. smiley mark

    smiley mark smiley

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    Loved those pictures...:clap :clap :clap :clap :clap Thankyou:freaky
    #13
  14. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff Supporter

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    Great report, and photos, Mick. The other Xchallenge was well loaded with soft bags, as well as stuff across the seat, was the sub frame beefed up at all or did it cope OK as it was?
    #14
  15. jdonly1

    jdonly1 Been here awhile

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    nice write up mate:clap :clap
    #15
  16. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

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    Both Reg Thompson and I have over 6000km on our XC's. Reg had twice the weight as I did on this tripbut he had the weight spread with a 1.5mm plate bolted to the rack that spread the load as it was the same shape as his bag. I had a flat HB 3mm plate on top of the rack that seemed to transfer the impact into the rack. My rack cracked and Reg's was fine.

    The Rear frames are also fine and I have stripped mine down without an issue. Reg's is also the same. Another Mate, Dave Osborne has over 10K km on his now and not an issue. He rode his to the OCR. I think there must be a frequency in the vibration that causes these things to crack. American corrugations must be a different oscillation to ours. Either that or we hit ours at a higher speed and the frequency is therefore different.

    As a light very economical adventure bike, there is none better. Reg and I are placing HB pannier frames on ours as soon as they arrive and that will help with luggage carrying and frame reinforcing. Reg also carried a 10l Fuel bladder on his seat and it all went well...

    For the $ now, these are a great bike and they go so well, far better than any Four stroke Single I have owned or ridden. I doubt my old Airhead will be flogged around the desert again for some time.

    Like anything, the more I ride it the more I like it.
    #16
  17. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff Supporter

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    Thanks Mick. I just realised that the other bike didn`t have throw overs, I was confusing it with an Xc in another thread.
    M&W Gold Coast have a set of pannier racks on a Xc there and they look like they`d help strengthen the back end.
    I`m starting to get interested now as I pick an XC up some time next week.
    #17
  18. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

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    David,

    They are Hepco Becker bars. I have a set coming for my 650. I will run soft bags and yes, they will strengthen the rear end by creating a triangle in the rear sub frame, so hopefully removing the issue.

    Planning a ride next month, PM me if your interested.
    #18
  19. stevo

    stevo Been here awhile

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    Nice report,thanks.
    #19
  20. oziexplorer

    oziexplorer fugarewe tribe member

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    excellent ride report.
    thanks guys !
    #20