Anne Beadell's Simpson Desert & all that

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RIver seeker, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 13
    Packed up and a light breakfast before starting the last 90km to Birdsville. Bike seemed ok until another large jolt brought the sprocket carrier back onto the spacer. Gingerly pushing on and half expecting a grinding halt to my progress the bike held up. Most alarming experience was when breaching a crest of a reasonably large dune was met with a bike hammering along at over 80kph in the opposite direction - if I had been a 4WD it would have been a head on. Other bikes were following and I stopped them and explained crest riding of dunes. They were all part of an organised Ride Adv tour and were experiencing the Simpson in small part. Ride out for 80km and then back again. After a short detour (approx 10km) we crossed Eyre Creek before the last dune
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    Final dune - Big red. It was what we had come for and collapsed bearing or not I was determined to give it a go. Nice run up and breezed over the top as did Mo. Bike held up ok
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    Into Birdsville and then set about finding replacement bearing. Nothing doing in town - Total Moto Suzuki in Brisbane could get parts tomorrow but only 2 flights out to Birdsville a week (next flight 3 days). I needed to create an account with Toll and arrange pick-up.. it was getting complicated when a stroke of luck fell my way. The Ride Adv guys were busily pottering up and down Big Red when I heard an unfortunate sole had jammed their DR650SE gearbox halfway up and was being brought back to town on a trailer.
    I caught up with Michael and helped to investigate what might be the problem whilst gently probing if the bike was not able to be ridden would he be kind enough to swap sprocket carriers - as it turned out he was a perfect gentleman and without hesitation allowed me to swap over. I organised all the parts to be sent to his house instead of being picked up by Toll. 20190808_165016.jpg
    Yep - when we pulled the sump plug out it had metal deposits all over it. Relieved it had been resolved I took Bob and Pete out for dinner that night for ferrying my bags to town. Michael was with the Ride Adv lads and left early in the morning riding someone else's WRF250.
    If you happen to want recovery from the Simpson you are going to need $7000 cash up front to get the MAN 6WD truck out
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    Another interesting night with Mo having plenty of the amber nectar - it was good to unwind and relax
    #21
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  2. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 14
    Chance to get to know Birdsville - we had paid for 2 nights not thinking we could get going so quickly. Chance to give the bike the once over - calculated I had used 40 litres of fuel to cross the Simpson. Rubbernecked around the town - plenty of hot water coming from the bowels of the earth and plenty of other motorbikes around - tours galore going on. Needless to say the Birdsville Hotel was well frequented - great atmosphere with backpackers looking after the proceedings 20190809_123132.jpg
    More bikes... 20190809_172714.jpg
    #22
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  3. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 15
    Back on semi-sealed roads and pumping out the big kms. Chilly in the morning but warming up throughout the day. Scenery changed quickly as rain had fallen on the channel country - another amazing vista change
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    At Boulia we bumped into one of Mo's workmates - Nico. We also caught up with Robert and Alison who we last saw on the Anne Beadell - small country Australia....
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    Stopped the night at Tobermorey - a working cattle station with a good campground. There's a boat in the upper branches of the tree closest to the homestead - a reminder of how high the water can get when the big wet is on. 20190810_170352.jpg
    #23
  4. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 16
    Cold night and even colder when we got going. I had my 35yo gloves on (used for riding up and down to London from Oxford back in the 90s) and they were doing a sterling effort but cold kept creeping in. Mo suffered the most and it would take him most of the day before he felt his hands were warm.
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    Plenty Highway reasonably dusty but good speed able to be maintained.
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    Tried to find the road to Cattlewater Pass - must have been carefully disguised as we couldn't find it after two unsuccessful attempts (one into a fossicking area that peetered out after approx 15km and another that led to a cattle loading area). Ended up getting to the Stuart Highway and tarmac into Alice Springs.
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    Booked into Aurora Hotel and fed and watered. Restocked food for the next part of our trip.
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    Rear tyre was not going to make the trip home so next day we would be looking for x2 17" rear tyres - last time in Alice I almost had to wait a week for tyres to arrive....
    #24
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  5. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 17
    Funnily enough the hotel room was cold - even with the A/C on warm. Rang through to Mo - he had a bad night and was ill. First stop was at JetCor - where I got a tyre last time I was in Alice. Garth was away and his mum was looking aftrer the shop. COuldn't find any 17" tyres so tried Desert Edge - they had x1 D606 - it looked I was going to have to convince Mo I needed the tyre more. Fortunately Michelle from JetCor rang up and said they had found the 17" tyres and all was good. I run x2 bead lockers on each of my rims and it takes a knack to get the new tyre on - whilst we were waiting Benji rode in on his WR250F looking decidely worse for wear. He ahd created a World Record in crossing all 10 deserts of Australia in a recognised time and all for charity. We found some of his scrawlings on an old piece of trailer when we were on the Anne Beadell. He had a flat along the Tanami and rode it into the local mine. Unable to fix he was fortunate to get it put on a truck and into Alice. 20190812_094452.jpg
    After tyres fitted and suitably refreshed with full tanks we headed for the McDonnell ranges. Great scenery and good riding conditions. Semi interested in completing the Finke River track through to Boggy Hole but Mo helped me decide to give it a miss - probably a good idea at this stage of our trip as other forces were about to play their part. 20190812_094458.jpg

    Through to Hermannsburg and a splash of fuel - Mo had his bike topple over on him as he got off it - my turn would come later
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    The road out to Kings Canyon was fast and corrogated. As this is probably the most used road it has plenty of signage warning drivers of the perils of off-road driving
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    The fresh D606 was doing its job perfectly and the corrogations were traversed with gusto. At Kings Canyon we were greeted by the site of a dingo cleverly opening up a campers cool box and feasting on M&Ms - intersting to be around that dog later that night! Interested campers were inquisitive about our trip and one remarked he hadn't seen a bike with so many kms on it as mine doing the trip we were doing (at this stage I had 72,500kms). I remarked that at the end of the trip i was retiring the bike to which they replied what was I going to replace it with - jokingly I said a 4WD...
    #25
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  6. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 18
    Inspired by Priscilla - Queen of the desert I wanted to recreate the scene where they described themselves as 'cocks in a frock on a rock' - obviously we would be without the frocks. Kings Canyon is a big walk and we declined - maybe something to do with the missus when we are around in the '4WD'. Uluru was under siege - every man and his dog wanted to get to Ayers Rock to climb it before the ban on climbing kicked in.
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    It was here I found the middle bracket holding the Yoshimura silencer on had broken - used a large jubilee clip to secure it to the frame before refuelling at Yulara, getting a brief glimpse of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and chugging onto the Olgas (another rock formation).
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    Last time I had come along the Great Central Road from Laverton it was badly cut up on the Northern Territory side. What a difference of 3 years makes - some tarmac and smooth gravel. We were flying! By the time we got to the WA border it felt like the road would be the same all the way to Laverton. This time it was the WA side of the Great Central Road that would prove to be a major player in the almost demise of the mighty DR
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    At Warakurna I refueled but Mo said he had enough fuel to get through to Warburton. I got interested in the local Aboriginal art and bought another dot painting - this time getting it wrapped up in a cardboard tube. We camped 50kms the other side of Warakurna.
    #26
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  7. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 19
    Righto - I had written in my journal the night before everything was going well and hoped to get home without any further issues - probably put the knockers on me.
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    Ride into Warburton wasn't as smooth as the previous day and to cap it off they had a blackout - no fuel for Mo.
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    OK so rode conservatively for the next 200km and Mo made it to Tjukayirla without me having to syphon off fuel from my tank (his tank took 34.6 litres!).
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    We were aiming for Laverton - a days ride of 700kms over increasingly rougher tracks. Just before Cosmo Newberry we hit a fierce wind that turned into a sandstorm with strong side winds. On stopping to take the below photo I felt the clutch lever 'pulsating' in my hand - it was if the clutch was about to pop
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    I took the option to ride it into Laverton - another 150kms - gingerly... Made it to the BP servo in Laverton where our adventure had orignally started from. By now the pulsating was getting more and more pronounced. After talking it over with Mo we decided to drain the oil and see what comes out. Something was nagging me in the back of my mind and when we couldn't get secure accommodation I chose to try and ride the bike home - another 950kms. On returning the oil back to the servo I did the same trick as Mo at Hermannsburg - got off the bike and it fell on me. Fortunately Mo was still around and helped me get it back upright.
    As I took off from Laverton the skies began to darken and it started to pour. Fortunately I was able to get my wet weather gear on without too much drama. By the time I got to Leonora the rain had stopped and I pressed onto Kalgoorlie (another 200km). The bike wasn't feeling the best and as I approached Kalgoorlie there was a magnificent lightning storm - this helped as by now it was dark and my driving lamps had failed. 25kms out and the most powerful side wind I have ever encountered started up and then it started to rain. It came down in torrents and I couldn't see more than 5 metres in front of the bike. Even my wet weather gear was not holding back the wet. In the end I allowed a car to overtake me and then followed its taillights - dangerous but got me into Kal. Like a drowned rat I found the BP servo - devoured a meat pie and drank gallons of electrolyte. The bike was almost unrideable - I had a moment where I had to give way to a car and the clutch just didn't work - stalled the engine. Retreated to The View on Hannans where I had the A/C on 30 degrees all night drying out my stuff
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    #27
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  8. RIver seeker

    RIver seeker Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Perth
    Day 20
    Didn't really sleep - everything eventually dried out and with a heavy heart I loaded up the bike for the final push home. I learnt the night before that my sister had past away so a lot on my mind. Mo had stayed the night at Laverton and I texted him to keep an eye out for me in case I didn't make it back. First off the bike wouldn't start - flat battery. Bumping no good but as a bit of foresight I had a lithium jumpstarter with me and a purpose jumpstart cable behind the LH side panel. It didn't really want to start but when it did I made sure we didn't stop until we got to Southern Cross for fuel. It quickly became apparent the bike did not like 5th gear so I ended up riding it 600km in fourth. It wouldn't start again at Southern Cross after refuelling but with the jumpstarter I persuded it to go just one last time
    I got the bike home and started stripping it that day - here's what I found:
    • It looked like 5th gear had started to fail somewhere along the great Central Road
    • The magnetic sump plug had captured as much of the filings as it could as well as a lump of 5th gear
    • Metal had got into the countershaft bearing behind the clutch and worn it out
    • The countershaft was no longer restrained so when on power it was trying to get out of the engine via the RH crankcase cover
    • On the overrun it moved all the way in and the clutch was ineffective
    • The alternator magnets in the crankcase were coated with iron filings and the alternator was no longer charging effectively
    I was lucky - things could have turned out much worse than they did.
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    #28
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  9. Bt10

    Bt10 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,061
    Location:
    Saranac,MI
    Wow. I'm glad it got you home.:eekers
    #29
  10. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    So sorry about your sister. Best wishes from a rider in Canada. All the best, take care. Merlin
    #30
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  11. mrsdnf

    mrsdnf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    Oddometer:
    417
    Location:
    Lost between the Dandenongs and Yarra Valley
    Sad end to an amazing adventure. Thanks for posting it up.
    #31
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