Around Australia with a KTM sidecar.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WoutenAnnie, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Tuesday October 01st

    Wout:
    Early on our way to Port Hedland. Along the long road is one Roadhouse, but we have enough petrol and according to the GPS we are in Port Hedland before 12:00h. About 30 km before Port Hedland we stopped to empty the Jerrycan in the motor tank (light blinks). After that: the engine turns out to get no fuel and after 100m it stops running and can't be started anymore. First thought "Vapor lock" in the sidecar tank system. After changing the wiring I hear the fuel pump making familiar noises again but that turns out to be of short duration. After 100m it’s over again. Waiting for the engine to cool down doesn't give any results. It is almost 40ºC and we are our short on drinking water. I started to take the tank off to look at the carburettors for the problem. At that moment a Toyota Land Cruiser stops with behind it a boat on a trailer. The help is very welcome and with the bike behind the boat trailer I am towed to Port Hedland. Annie is in the Toyota, preferably no passenger when I am towed.

    At the 4WD garage he knew we stopped and our help quickly drove on to the bay where he was planning to sail.

    The owner of the garage is not willing to help us except by giving us the address of a motorcycle shop at the end of the street. There we walked in the heat and explained everything. He would pick up the bike and try to repair it that afternoon.

    We were taken by taxi with all our luggage to the chosen campsite.


    Wednesday October 02nd.

    Wout:
    At 8:30 I called Super Performance Cycles. He had already tried to find out if the fuel pump was working and didn't hear anything there. He also had another problem because he had to go and talk to his ex-wife's lawyer…… in the evening I recieved a telephone call. The problem was located and nearly solved. The electric valves for switching from sidecar tank to bike tank are not working properly. Probably vibration damage (ship or motorbike?). He will replace them and tomorrow we are on our way.
    #41
    JanGr, mrsdnf and Miggins1 like this.
  2. Miggins1

    Miggins1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Cheshire, England
    You should be due some good luck shortly!
    #42
  3. JanGr

    JanGr n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2019
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    South Australia
    With everything that's happening you will be experts on traveling around Australia.
    #43
    WoutenAnnie likes this.
  4. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Still not riding. The owner of the one-man-shop is in hospital, bitten by something. Adventure is always unexpected.
    #44
  5. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    News: Karl of Superior Performance Cycles had been bitten by a Redback spider that was sitting on my byke. He will be back at work this afternoon. Hope we will be riding soon.
    #45
  6. sages

    sages Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    301
    Location:
    Perth, West Australia
    Preemptive strike?
    #46
  7. makad

    makad P/T Shed Dwelling Hermit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    487
    Location:
    The Shed, Coolup
    This time of year, especially in the north, everything about Australia will try and kill you.
    Please carry more water than you think you'll need.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for posting - best wishes & good travels
    #47
    WoutenAnnie and Miggins1 like this.
  8. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thursday 3 October.
    Wout:
    Received a text message in the morning about Karl (Superior Performance Cycles) had been bitten by something and that he had been taken to the hospital. Could not contact anyone and no further messages.

    Friday 4 October
    Wout:
    Karl turned out to be bitten by a Redback spider who appeared to be under the engine at the battery case (I have the solenoid valves there for switching from sidecar to engine tank), who had bitten him in the cheek.
    The valves turned out to have gotten stuck due to dirt and didn't open anymore, so no gasoline was transported to the carburettors.

    Saturday 5 October.
    Wout:
    No news, so I had time to update this report, and do some shopping (H-ride taxi, about half as expensive as the regular taxi).
    Kleine Australische duif.jpg
    #48
    B10Dave likes this.
  9. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,429
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    Epic! :thumb
    #49
  10. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sunday 6 October.
    Wout:
    We decide to go to the Visitors Centre (H-ride taxi) and then walk around the town, there are many nice viewpoints and a museum. After the Visitors Centre we had a soggy sandwich with coffee.... SMS message: Karl. The bike is ready and he will make a test drive and bring it to us: “Where are you now?”
    Answerd that we are in the western part of the city but that we will go to the camping as soon as possible. He first went for dinner, so that was okay.
    Back at the camping the familiar sound of the KTM came to our ears. Karl put the combination in a parking space and took off his helmet. Still a pretty thick left cheek, but this had already shrunk to about half, he said.
    He liked the ride on the KTM-hack very much (sure, if you compare it to an Ural with sidecar he had ridden once), and I must be working in electronics to make it all so neat and good (concrete is getting closer to reality, but ok). Nice compliment.
    That evening a group of 3 Harley drivers arrived at the campsite accompanied by an old and very long Chevrolet Pickup Truck with an equally long trailer with 2 Harleys on it. They turned out to be the aftermath of a charity ride with lots of bikes and muscle cars.

    Monday 7 October.
    Wout:
    Left early to stay ahead of the heat (39ºC). At Sandfire Roadhouse the tent was pitched under the Mango-trees full of black flying foxes (also called fruit bats) and between the peacocks. We are almost ready for dinner when a Long Chevrolet Pickup Truck with trailer and 3 Harley's arrive at the campsite. They left later, but had to stop every 100km to fill up the very small gas tanks of the Harley's. The Chevrolet as a tanker.

    Tuesday 8 October.
    Wout:
    Left early again because of the expected heat (42ºC) at Eighty Mile Beach. On the way we notice that the heat is slowly coming in but closer to Broome a cool wind rises from the sea, which pushes the temperature down to about 34ºC, we're not going to get cold here.
    At Broome the plan was to camp at the Bird Observatory, but the road to it was very sandy and with the solenoid valves in mind it we skipped that. We chose Broome Caravan Park. Here was grass to pitch our tent on.
    Just did some shopping and have my glasses repaired.

    Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 October.
    Wout:
    From Broome to Derby is 222km and we enter the campsite at 11:30. We took it easy because here too it is close to 40ºC.
    The season is over and many are closed or very poorly stocked. During a visit to the Visitors Centre it becomes clear that there are no more flights over beautiful areas. The pilots are not here this week and with my (outdated) Delta Wing license I think they won’t give me a Cessna.
    When we enter Jila Gallery Cafe there are 4 Italian motor between the tables. An MV Agusta F4, a Ducati Paso 906, a Moto Guzzi 850 Le mans and a Moto Guzzi 1000 le mans. Tonight we'll have dinner here, will be Italian as well. Vliegende vossen in de Mangobomen.JPG Kleine Australische duif.jpg Holle Baobab.JPG Jila Gallery Cafe.jpg
    #50
    B10Dave, Gone Troppo, mrsdnf and 2 others like this.
  11. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,429
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    I would be heading south....
    #51
    WoutenAnnie and makad like this.
  12. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Friday, October 11th.

    Wout:
    It’s 39º/40ºC in the afternoon every day, so we wake up at 4:00h, shower, pack the tent, have breakfast and drive off. Today a stage of 267km to Fitzroy crossing. On the way we see our first wild Kangaroo's cross the road. Suddenly further on I see a lot of white spots on the road. It turns out to be a huge swarm of parrots that fly away too late as we arrive. As it is too late for braking we feel at least 5 birds collide. One is stuck on the nose of the sidecar. Annie has thrown it to the side of the road. Like many animals along the road, it is food for birds of prey (which usually fly up in time).
    We are at the reception of Fitzroy River Lodge at 10:00 am. There are many Wallaby's around on the campsite, the first time we see free kangaroo's nearby. We pitch our tent under a tree and go to the bar to have a drink and to process pictures and movies.
    Because of the hotel facilities there are much more friendly staff here than at most campsites.
    It seems as if the sidecar tanks are not used at all and the system switches directly to the motor tanks. Maybe something changed during the repair in Port Hedland? The battery box opened and the wires crossed. After having put everything back together again, I’m thinking it all over again. Not good, the wires were definitely where they should be. So tomorrow we will fill up the motor tanks with the Jerry Can and drive to Halls creek.
    I called NTmotorcyclecentre Darwin for a new chain and a rear tire. Both are not standard. Because of the large rear sprocket (52 teeth) the chain needs 2 extra links and the rear tire is a car tire size 195/45R17, which for that diameter is a rather narrow tire. Must therefore be specially ordered. A car tire garage is not an option because they can't have a motorcycle wheel. There machine takes a wheel from the inside and on my wheel that’s where the spokes are. A motor tyre fitter takes the wheel on the edges of the rim.
    First I had the service department which, when the man understood my needs, connected me to the parts department. This man thought he could arrange it and would call me back later. Pauze bij uitkijkpunt.JPG
    Uitkijkpunt 1.JPG
    #52
    B10Dave and mrsdnf like this.
  13. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Saturday 12 October.

    Wout:
    On the way to the campsite in Halls Creek. At a rest area we meet an Australian BMW biker. He loves our hack and takes photo’s out of every corner.
    At the campsite: bare, few trees and an unpleasant environment. Lots of noise from people and animals from outside the site, first loud music and then loud dogs that kept barking all night (probably dingo's).
    I’ve changed the wires again, see what happens tomorrow.
    The asphalt rear tyre is almost bare. With these temperatures wear is high. If it can't make it to Darwin, I'll have to put on the off-road tire, which will too run out in no time.

    Sunday 13 October.
    Wout:
    On to Warmun Roadhouse Caravan Park. Smoothly drove the first 100km. Then Annie takes over.
    Annie:
    It's a bad piece of motorway, or to tell the truth: roadworks. In turn, the traffic was directed over a gravel road at 40 km per hour, and 2 times halfway again waiting in the hot sun. The engine also runs hot, but I managed to lower the engine temperature along that slow parts.
    There even was a kangaroo crossing, which this time made it across the street alive.
    After this long interruption, there was a nice twisty but bad road. The bends by the book sidecars: less throttle to the left, more to the right. Still it needed pushing a lot because the road surface was healing to the left, and the wind was blowing strongly on the sidecar side. It was only 59 kilometers, but it was heavy.
    Wout:
    We arrive at Warmun Roadhouse Caravanpark at 9:00 am. There is a HeliSpirit office and we enter that immediately. The pilot, who is doing some paperwork, tells us that the best time to fly is 6 o’clock am. Then it is not too hot and the lighting is the best. We would like to get on the road early so we prefer a different time. We decide to register first at the campsite, put up our tent and change clothes. After that we want to make a flight over the Bungle Bungle's (a part of the Purnululu National Park). At 10:30 we are back in the office and we get the preparation for the flight. First the pilot (Christan) indicates on the map how he will fly. Then the safety instructions. We have to bring "plenty of water" (which turns out to be 1 bottle of 600ml). The entire flight over the Bungle Bungle's takes 45 minutes and we see mountainsides, gorges and waterfalls in the park that would otherwise not be accessible. A great experience for a first time helicopter flight.
    After that we eat, swim and sit in the shade.
    Heli.JPG
    Helivlucht 11.JPG
    Helivlucht 15.JPG
    #53
    OzCRU and B10Dave like this.
  14. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Monday 14 October.
    Wout:
    We drove through a beautiful hilly landscape between Purnululu and Kimberly heading for Kununurra. Everything is fine but for some reason the petrol system still doesn't do what it's supposed to do. When Annie takes over, I have time to think about what can be wrong with the petrol system. I remember having seen a tiewrap on the solenoid. I'm sure I didn't put it there.
    At the campsite I open the batterie case another time and what I suspected turns out to be true. The valves were both on: "manually open", so the petrol from the motor tanks can run freely to the sidecar tanks. That explains why they overflow after each refuelling, because the sidecar tanks are lower than the motor tanks. I took off the tiewrap and put everything back on “automatic”. In the description of the repair in Port Hedland it said that the fuel filter had been flushed. Probably that was the whole malfunction, because during the test drive everything worked as it should.
    I have installed a fuel filter between the fuel pump and the carburettors, and in the dusty environment dirt must have got into the gasoline. So the filter does what it's supposed to do, but that can’t go on for ever....
    I made an appointment for a service in Darwin. We need a new rear tire and chain and sprockets, and oil change is also necessary and just check everything else. Even if you do everything yourself, it's good to let someone else check it all. They have no space on Friday, so I accept the appointment on Monday October 21. Plenty of time to get there.
    IMGP0129.JPG IMGP0134.JPG
    #54
    OzCRU, B10Dave, mrsdnf and 1 other person like this.
  15. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2,296
    Location:
    Tacoma Wa
    Great Ride report!! Really awesome ADVenture your on. Stay safe. Cheers!
    #55
    WoutenAnnie likes this.
  16. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    440
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Hey Wout, The Red-back was supposed to bite the visitors not the locals - it obviously missed the memo! Glad you are are staying warm. - remember these days when you are back home in winter.
    The bike sounds like its handling the heat ok and looks like you are seeing lots of the good bits. The Bungles are amazing from the air - (and the ground if you had time) Cheers Rob
    #56
  17. rossguzzi

    rossguzzi 990 Adv.

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,635
    Location:
    Bottom left hand side of OZ
    Great ride. I hope you cope with the heat, as I`m not sure I would any more.
    If you have time I would recommend a side trip to Wyndham. The town is not much but it has a lookout that is the best views anywhere in the North West. It overlooks 5 rivers converging into the gulf. Seriously impressive at sunset.
    Also Lake Argyle dam. Beautiful.
    #57
  18. rossguzzi

    rossguzzi 990 Adv.

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,635
    Location:
    Bottom left hand side of OZ
    Also Katherine Gorge. Oh and BE CAREFULL where you swim up there :-)
    #58