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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djeady, Aug 11, 2019.
Looking forward to meet up on the road if you are down my way...
Cool night, but I was warm enough in my tent.
Got up about 6 and chatted with some of the other campers who were up early. Some had slept out in just a sleeping bag - no tent.
I went over to use the washroom. Most of the male washrooms in Australia use troughs rather than urinals. In this case they'd simply fenced off an area with opaque fencing and hung a piece of sheet metal with a piece of eavestrough attached to the bottom that drained into a pipe that ran into a cess pit.
Got organized for coffee and used my Kelly kettle for the first time and it worked well, although it was a. It hard to keep it going with just dry grass for fuel. There were a few people who showed interest. There was one couple who had an interesting camping set that was sort of like our clamshell ones, but included a stove that ran on methylated spirits.
I wandered around and checked out the bikes. There were a number of categories including vintage, British, American, etc.
I considered entering the KLR in the adventure bike category, but decided not to because I expected to leave before they did the judging.
I met up with Robert (Sunshine Coast on ADVRider) who had told me about the show and we wandered around together for a while looking at the bikes. My favourite was a Rickman conversion of a CB750 that had been turned into a very elegant cafe racer.
There was now a second food truck serving Vietnamese and I had a nice Bahn Mi sandwich for lunch.
I decided to head off early afternoon. Robert had invited me to stay at his place, but I had already made plans to get further north. He very kindly bought me a t-shirt from the show and also rode out part way with me.
We rode off through Kenilworth towards Gympie. It was a nice twisty motorcycle road. Robert headed off around Pomona and I carried on through Gympie. The road through Gympie was busy Highway and not so nice, but the road up to Broweena was amazing. It was a very narrow track with some gravel sections and lots if signs warning you to watch out for cattle as there were no fences. There were also many narrow bridges and cattle grids.
I got a chance to check the range of the bike and was pleasantly surprised when I didn't have to switch to reserve until 350 km. thats 20 km further than I expected.
I then followed Highway 57 out to Harvey (pronounced Harvey) where I camped for the night in a hostel/campground called Colonial Village Resort. Nice enough, but a bit too urban for my taste. I'm finding that while I like following the coast, much of it is developed and you don't really see anything from the highway.
I walked down to the nearby beach and put my feet in the water, then went back to the campground and had a dinner of barramundi with chips and salad and topped it off with a piece of fig cake with ice cream.
I'm trying to decide whether or not to go to Carnarvon Gorge. It will add at least two days to my travel time and I'm already starting to worry about time.
It was good to meet you David, I hope you enjoy the rest of the trip.
Part of your route across the top is discussed here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/hells-gate-to-borroloola.1204638/
Have some Barramundi in Karumba, and a drink at the pub at the point.
As discussed, we stayed at Adels Grove, beside Lawn Hill National Park.
Be aware of crocodiles if camping near the beach.
You'll see plenty of termite mounds.
Kind of a boring day. Got up and packed up slowly - didn't get on the road until 10 or so.
Still wasn't sure about whether I would go to Carnarvon Gorge or not. The first part of the trip was going to be the same whether I went to the gorge or continued up the coast. I rode back out to the highway and headed north for a couple of hours and stopped at a little cafe for lunch. Had a pie that was filled with chicken and seafood in a curry sauce and washed it down with a nice chocolate milkshake.
While I was there I talked with another biker and his girlfriend and got some tips on places to go. He also warned me there was a huge traffic stop a few kilometres up the highway.
Got to the traffic stop and they were making everyone blow into a breathalyzer. First time I've ever done that. Registered zero alcohol and I was on my way.
I was hoping to get as far as Yappoon for the night and was going to take the coastal road. Went all the way through Gladstone only to find the highway closed off due to a brush fire.
It was getting late - gets dark at 5:30 here this time of year - so I backtracked down to Tannum Sands and booked into a nice little campground.
Walked about a kilometre to a nice little fish and chip shop and had breaded sweet lip and chips. No vinegar or ketchup to be had though. Walked back around to the big Coles grocery store to get a few odds and ends, then back to the campground where I read for a wile before calling it a night.
Keep up the reports, looks like a fantastic journey.
You have a fascination with the Ibis, we know them as bin chickens though.
I was a bit slow in getting everything together thanks to a long chat with another camper about places to go. He encouraged me to do the cape and said it really wasn't that difficult.
One of the many grey nomads who take their trailers or campers and wander the north in the winter season when it's cool in the south.
As I rode out of Tannum Sands I found myself behind a camping trailer that was dripping fluids out a pipe at the rear. I stayed well back, not knowing if it was water or waste that was spraying at me. As soon as I turned into the Bruce Highway I pulled off at a little cafe/antique shop and had a flat white and poked around a bit until I was sure that trailer was a long way up the road.
The place was empty when I got there, but just as I left a group of 39 Harley's pulled in and I chatted with a couple of the riders for a few minutes before heading off.
Otherwise just a long day of riding the highway - very much like riding highway 17 in Northern Ontario.
I stopped at a little roadside hotel for lunch and had a nice steak burger and a lemon soda. Very nice except the slices of beer were a bit weird.
As I passed through Rockhampton there was a lot of smoke and you could see a big brush fir up on one of the hills. I snapped a quick picture of the smoke.
Continued on until I turned off just before Mackay and headed towards Eungella National Park. It was a long ride through the cane fields with the sour smell of fresh cut cane in the air and lots of little train cars full of cut cane along the side of the road.
There was a long and twisty climb towards the park which I would have enjoyed more if it hadn't been so late in the day.
I got to the Broken River camping area and walked across to the office to check in. You had to either register in advance or do it on site using a computer screen. After multiple tries I finally got booked in and nabbed one of the last 2 sites.
I walked along the river looking for platypus, but didn't see any.
Then I set up my tent and tried to cook my dinner in the dark. I had never used this stove before and between problems getting it lit and the pot falling of it a couple of times I had a pretty rough time of it. I finally got a hot dinner of spicy noodles and some tuna in tomato sauce and wolfed it down in my tent accompanied by a warm beer.
It had cooled off significantly by the time I went to sleep.
Woke up early and cold and got up to organize coffee. There was heavy frost on the seat of the motorcycle so it must have gone below freezing.
My first attempt was with the Kelly Kettle. I gathered a bunch of dried palm fronds and twigs and filled the base. I didn't have any paper which would have helped. Was able to get it lit, but it wouldn't stay going. After several attempts I gave up and decided to try the stove.
I discovered that there were a couple of pieces that had come off the stove which might have been why I had problems last night. I reinstalled them and after a few attempts where the fuel didn't flow properly, I was able to get it going and put the Kelly Kettle on top and booked my water.
As it warmed up I wandered the viewing platforms along the river looking for platypus, but didn't see any. They are normally active in the late evening and early morning.
Finally, just as I was about to give up, I spotted one and watched it dive and surface a couple of times. I couldn't get a picture, but at least I can say I saw one.
I went back to the campsite and started to pack up.
Yesterday the right footpeg had come loose while I was riding. When I stopped to tighten it, the bottom bolt was stripped. Amazing that the bolt was still there. I put locktite on the remaining bolt and tightened it carefully. At least it's the front one so weight on the peg will tend to tighten it. It held through the day, but now the shifter was in an awkward position and it hurt my big toe to shift. I had thought it looked very low. Guess the previous owner had somehow wedged the rear bold in which resulted in the peg being lower and adjusted the shifter to compensate.
This morning I moved the shifter up and it is much more comfortable. Will need to get someone to insert a helicoil or tap the nut out to the next largest size so I can have 2 bolts. This will be crucial for dirt riding.
I had a lovely morning ride back down the twisties of the Eungella Dam Road followed by about an hour of riding through some narrow back roads until I was back at the Bruce Highway.
After that it was 3.5 hours of highway riding until I reached Townsville and the ferry for Magnetic Island.
I stopped in a small town for fish and chips for lunch. Really good, but a $1 charge for a little tub of ketchup seemed excessive.
Some of the little things can be very expensive here. A soft drink or a bottle of water is often $4. for example.
I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get on the ferry as their website said reservations recommended and I was fairly close to departure time, however I was able to buy a ticket without problem, paid my $65 round trip fare and took the 35 minute ride across.
I rode over to Horseshoe Bay and the Bungalow Bay Koala Village and booked a camping side. Once I got settled in I walked down to the bay and had a nice dinner of steak, chips, and salad at the pub. I then walked back to my campsite and read for a bit before going to sleep.
At one point there was a sound like someone throwing a tennis ball at the tent and it took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. There was a hand sized tree frog on the tent and he was bouncing back and forth between the tent and the fly. It took a few minutes to get him out and then all was peaceful.
It was a warm night instead of the cold of the previous night and I slept well.
Ah, Magnetic Island. Brings back memories... My wife & I eloped in May 1975 from Melbourne & lived in Townsville for a year. Mag Is was the local entertainment hotspot for young people without a care in the world.
Horseshoe Bay, on the North side, was the place to be...
You're about to see some of the best of Northern Australia. Enjoy!
Ellis Beach, North of Cairns, camp on the sand above the high tide mark so you can wake up to sunrise over the water (if you're allowed these days). Otherwise there is accom nearby.....
Up early and fussed with the bike a bit. Discovered I have an upper pannier rack bolt broken on the left hand side and have lost one seat bolt. The seat bolt is no big deal, but need to get the pannier rack and foot peg fixed at at Cairns or sooner.
The bike is definitely showing itself to be a true KLR.
In addition to this, my 1/4 inch ratchet wrench had completely disintegrated due to vibration and my oil bottle had leaked and there was oil all over the bottom of the right pannier. I found most of the parts for the ratchet, but realized it would be next to impossible to fix. I cleaned up the oil and put everything back.
Put a load of laundry in ($5 plus $1 for soap) and then had a shower and got cleaned up. Rather than paying another $5 for a dryer I hung my little clothesline up between the bike and a tree and hung everything up.
I took a 20 minute walk up to The Forts trail which goes around the remains of a couple of WWII Forts and offers some spectacular views of the island. It also offers a rare opportunity to see Koalas in the wil and I was fortunate enough to see two.
The whole island is spectacular with multi-ton granite boulders balanced on top of each other in impossible ways like a giant's version of Jenga.
Then walk takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours and then I had a 20 minute walk back to the campground.
When I got back, my laundry was completely dry - even my jeans so I put everything away in the tent.
I rode the bike back to town and went to a hardware store to try and get a replacement bolt for the pannier and was able to find one, though of a lower grade than I would like. I then discovered the bolt had actually snapped off and the end of it was still in the nut. Will need to get somebody to drill and extract it. At this point I went to put my phone back in its Mount and the clip snapped.
C'mon - Friday the 13th isn't until tomorrow.
Back into the hardware store where I bought a replacement socket set, a small led flashlight and some Velcro tape. I put the hook site of the tape on the phone Mount and the loop side on the back of my iPhone case and it worked well - probably better than the original clip and I have lots of extra Velcro tape if it starts to get loose.
Back to the campground and headed out to get some lunch and some beach time.
I bought a meat pie and some extra water and hiked up a very steep trail to a very pretty little bay where I relaxed in the sun and had a couple of swims. The water is still just over 20 degrees - warm enough for a Canadian, but cool by tropical standards.
Just after 4 I walked back to the campground and where I started packing up to be ready for my departure in the morning.
Afterwards I walked back to the pub in the beachfront where I had dinner. Food can be expensive here, but I've found if you order the specials in the pub it can be quite reasonable. I had a breaded chicken cutlet with cheese which came with fries, salad and a schooner of the local beer for $13. Not much more than if I'd bought groceries and beer. I splurged and upgraded to a pint for another $5.
Afterwards I walked back to the campground where I did a little more organizing before trying to go to sleep.
I'd had leg cramps at the beach from all the walking even though I made sure I was well hydrated (had a problem with these all my life), so I took a couple of ibuprofen and walked over to the campground bar where I had another beer before heading back to the tent for a sound and cramp free sleep.
Damn Canadian's are way to tolerant of the cold. Was at sand beach in Acadia, they were swiming in 50 degree water, no americans in beyond their ankles. It was nuts.
I could repost the picture of me diving into the ocean in Antarctica :)
Could you wipe your camera lense maybe, all your pix are kinda foggy?
Noticed that too. I'm using an iPhone 5 in a waterproof case. I'm in a hotel room tonight so took everything apart and gave it a good clean. The phone rides in a cradle on the bike so it does tend to get dirty.
I think some of the blurring is also the haze in the air from the fires.
Will keep an eye on it.
Got up early and packed up and headed to the ferry. Got there very early so had a coffee and slice of banana bread while I waited.
Slow trip up to Cairns, lots of construction and towns to go through.
Stopped in Ingram for lunch - prawns and chips - doesn't look like much but I wound up saving half of it for my dinner.
Got to Cairns and had a roundabout ride to Northern Motorsport. Said they normally don't do service on Saturdays, but agreed to help me with my bolt issues and a set of tires.
They suggested camping in a little area out behind the shop but it didn't look friendly so I checked wiki camps and it showed a motel in town (Yorkeys Knob) that supposedly offered camping. Stopped on the way and picked up some beer and bananas.
The motel didn't actually offer camping - just allowed campers to park in their lot for a fee. Got a room for a good price though so checked in.
Walked down to the beach and put my feet in, but didn't go for a swim as it was rough and windy. Only people in the water were a couple of surfers up the beach.
Went back and reheated the remains of my lunch and read for a while before going to sleep.
might want to make a tool tube ,rubber hose clamped with a retrieving loop to pull things out, keep the panniers clean.
If you end up running up the coast between Melbourne and Sydney, look us up. Bed, beer and full workshop available. We'll be home from our current RTW trip then. We really want to pay back some of the incredible hospitality we've been shown these last 3 years or more.
Day 16 - September 14
Nice to sleep in a bed for a change, but still happy with my camping setup.
After coffee and a shower I headed over to Northern Performance Motorcycles who had very kindly agreed to deal with my bolt issues and install new tires when they don't normally work on a Saturday.
They did a great job and even welded up a break in the pannier rack stabilizer - definitely recommend their service. I then headed to the local Supercheap Auto and bought 10 litre jerry cans for fuel and water along with a spare spark plug (Northern didn't have one) and a couple of other odds and ends.
I then headed towards Port Douglas.
Confession time - I have never ridden a motorcycle with full knobby before. Closed I have had are the 60/40s I have on my bike at home. Either a Dunlop D606 on the back and a Tractionater Adventure 1 on the bike if felt like the bike was floating and the rear had the uncomfortable tendency to squirm between the blocks. The rear also started to howl at 80km/hr. I guess I'll get used to it. Looking forward to see how they do on the dirt.
Beautiful ride to Port Douglas along the Captain Cook highway. Nice twisties, sweeping ocean vistas, and long stretches of sand beach. It doesn't get any better. I'm
Got to Port Douglas and stopped and had a burger and a ginger beer. While I was eating I called the owner of the motel I'd stayed in last night. He'd offered to book a dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef for me at a bit of a discount, so I'm all set to head out tomorrow morning. Two dives plus snorkelling.
I then started looking for a campsite. I considered the Backpackers Hostel, but the reviews said it was very noisy. I then found the Tropic Breeze Caravan park and snagged one of the last two sites for 2 nights. Right in town and only a block from Fourmile Beach. No wifi and a small pad, but great otherwise.
I got my tent set up, then headed over to the beach for a swim. Beautiful long sweep of hard packed sand and I swam, walked a bit and swam again. Safe during the day, but the campsite operators warned me not to walk there at night because of the crocodiles.
Went back to the campsite and started to get organized for the dive tomorrow - charging GoPro batteries that sort of thing.
I walked into town and had a cider at Paddy's Irish Pub and then walked across the street to IronBar and had a bucket of prawns with a side of onion rings and a pale ale.
Back to the tent to read and then sleep.
Great report and pictures. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
Up early and headed to the pier to catch my dive boat for the day.
Got there early so had a look around until it was time to board the Poseidon.
After we had our briefing we were organized into our groups. There were only 4 people in our dive group plus the dive master which was great. Often there are 8 in a group which means things get a bit crowded. In addition to me there was a man from Switzerland who was my dive buddy and a young lady from Germany and a younger man from South Africa who were put together as buddies. They were both less experienced and she turned out to be bit of a pain as she was one of those divers who keeps crashing into everyone under water.
I had brought my GoPro, but because I didn’t have a dive case for it “ just a snorkeling case, I decided to rent a v
We headed out to the Agincourt reefs on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef- about an hour and a half. The ride was pretty choppy, so they encouraged everyone who might get seasick to take motion sickness pills. I’m usually ok, so I didn’t bother.
We actually moved around to a couple of different site before starting which resulted on us getting several briefings on dive sites we ultimately didn’t dive on.
When we got to the reef we put on skins plus a shortie wetsuit and our dive gear. We did a final checkout and then we were into the water. They did a few things differently from what I’m used to, for example the snorkel was kept in a bc pocket and the octopus (spare regulator, was tucked into the right shoulder str on the bc. We also carried plastic tube to inflate if we needed to be picked up away from the boat. I also had to adapt to watching mi air pressure in bars rather than psi.
As usual, I had trouble with equalizing my ears going down - this is why I don’t dive much any more, but I did get down and enjoyed the dive. Lovely coral and lots of life, but you do see signs of die back. Saw a cuttle fish and a turtle.
Second dive was good as well, so I decided to do a 3rd dive. Unfortunately in the process of getting ready I managed to dunk my iPhone and it didn’t survive. I did clean it out as best I could and put it straight in to a bag of rice when I got back, but no luck in reviving it.
After a very bouncy ride back to Port Douglas I walked through town looking for cell phone stores and found nothing. I went into Coles and picked up some additional supplies for the cape as well as a frozen chicken satay and rice dinner. They did have a few phones at the checkout, but all were very basic models and I wasn’t sure they would do what I needed.
My phone was an iPhone5 and I had already decided I would look for a replacement when I got home. It was backed up so I didn’t really lose anything except a few pictures. There was nothing available in Port Douglas so I started looking at what I could get in Cairns. Found a couple of places that seemed to have iPhone 8s at a reasonable price so I decided I would call in the morning.
I heated my dinner in the camp kitchen microwave, then after some more looking at phones online I called it a night.
Your've seen both platypus and koala in the wild. Most Australians never see either, well done. I've seen both, seeing as i am a country boy. Keep up the great report.enjoy the cape and remember look us up if you get to the very south coast of NSW.