Australia - The four amigos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Benji13, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 14 continued

    Salt water crocodiles were in the rivers and waterways in the Litchfield Park. So we headed to the Florence Falls picnic area car park. Changed to thongs and board shorts. There were 160 steps to climb, return walk of 1.6km. Then we were at the plunge pool.

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    No crocs in the Florence Fall pool. There were small fishes in the waters feeding on my dead foot skin. Free beauty session. Yeah. Swimming to the bottom of the water falls cleared all the road train fume in my lungs. Feeling great.

    Mark gathered the strength and walked up the rock to take nice photos. And we were happy to stay in the pool.
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    We had a fun time in the park. Enjoyed more twisty roads in the NP before hitting the straights on the Stuart Highway again going south in the afternoon.

    When I pushed above 130km/h on the Stuart, the front began to vibrate. Not violently but not good not good. I checked the discs and they were straight. the brake calipers were tight. The forks were still sturdy. The front was a bit heavy for me to lift and rock it. But I thought it could be the wheel balancing or the head bearings. We were a few hours from Darwin. I called Cyclone. Jason there again was not keen. Were all people in Darwin so relaxed? As I probably sounded serious on the phone. He casually asked me to find a car tyre shop nearby for help. OK that was new to me. I had been riding for almost 30 years and never heard of this kind of advice. Perhaps there were some bush mechanic knowledge for a tough old bird like me to learn. Well the phone call did not end well even though no party was literally rude. Well we needed to think. I employed the limp mode i.e. no more than 125km/h hehehe until we reached Katherine. We located a Honda bike/ATV shops there but it had already closed for the day. So I booked a nearby Ibis Styles Hotel so that I could check into the bike shop the next morning.

    The Ibis Styles in Alice Springs was great. However this Ibis Styles Katherine was not. It had bad bugs. Really! Nothing to do with my bad wheel. The lady owner in Halls Creek Motel confirmed this later.

    After a slightly restless night, Robbie and I waited for the Honda/Polaris shop to open in the morning. It was called R&M Motorcycles. I met the boss, his wife and son there. Forgot his name, my bad. If you need help near Katherine, please see them. Within 30 mins the trouble is resolved for a tiny fee. Yes the wheel balance was way off. Stuart Highway here I came again!

    There was no other BMW Motorrad dealer in the whole NT. I paid $1,587 to Cyclone for a service and a set of Metzler. Much more expensive than what I paid in Sydney. They charged higher. I understood. Why not. My career is around the $ sign the whole life. Everything is basically commercial these day. However it was the part they did not balance the wheel probably after putting on new tyres cum car tyre shop advice which I did not appreciate. Would I recommend them for other GS riders? Instead I would ask whether you can manage the bike until Perth.

    Now please no more bed bugs tonight.
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    Attached Files:

    #61
  2. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 15 - 583km

    This was going to be a long day. So instead of starting late after my wheel balancing was fixed, the triple black and the Tiger left Katherine first. The white GSA kindly wait with the GS for the bike shop to open at 9am. We would catch up with the others in the late afternoon.

    Today we travelled on the Victoria Hwy through the Gregory NP. It was such a long road of more than 500km but surprisingly twisty with some stuff for the history buffs. The view was red earth bare hills with trees at the bottom of the hills leading to a corner and then some more. Some straights were also landing strips with road markings for pilot to spot. Fuel became expensive and far between from now on. So be prepared with a fat wallet.

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    See the huge tent and sleeping back on the white GSA. When you paid a bomb for a GSA, you actually saved tons of money by choosing the bulkiest camping equipments which no body wants. By the way, we never used them in the trip. So anyone wants an as new but well travelled tent at a giveaway price??

    Helmets: two of us were using full face ones, one used a adventure one with a beak, and one used a modular one. I had this wrong impression that modular helmet was designed for people who smoke. I always loved the full face helmets. If they saved Rossi in a 280km/h tumble, what can go wrong right. Since the trip, my thinking changed a little bit, when you travel 3 hours west in the hot afternoon, a low beak would have been a nice feature as it blocks some sun and instantly you feel a bit cooler. I have a GS adventure helmet now, the wind noise and pull on the beak actually is acceptable. You see a stubborn old man can still be convinced that they have been wrong for many years.

    Bluetooth headsets, I think all the amigos had them except me. Mark listened to his 5,000 song lists (he has not finished the lists yet), Robbie had audio books, what Russ did with the headset I don't know. Me? I sang to myself in the helmet.

    Robbie and I were a good 2 and 1/2 hours behind the other two. However, the two of us were travelling at good speed. Solo is my preference. Two bikes trip would be nice too. Especially when you need a mate to pick up a fallen GSA!

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    No he did not knock down the road sign. It could be an accident blackspot in Lake Argyle. No damaged to the white beast. Robbie was a good sport. The OEM engine bar was a bit soft as it bent close to the engine cover. Perhaps it was an intended engineering design by the Germans. My American Alt Rider bars were so strong that it would likely bent the frame first.

    Robbie, I found the culprit. This gecko was hiding on the left behind the LED headlamp. No wonder you lost balance and fallen on the left. Hahaha!
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    Lake Argyle is one of the biggest reservoirs in Australia and surrounded by a rugged landscape. It is part of the Ord River system.

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    Robbie tried to launch the bird. Have you ever seen a DJI Mavic having a cramp mid air? It was painful yet funny to watch. I laughed and rolled on the dam when Robbie was sweating with the bird to no avail

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    #62
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  3. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 15 continued.

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    After the funny episode on the Ord River Dam, it was a nice view of the mighty Victoria River. During the WWII, when Darwin was bombed, our soldiers were parachuted here to keep surveillance on the enemy. Enough history and some geography. Yeah we had crossed into WA.

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    At the same time, the other amigos were having a bickering and some cleaning of mud.

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    All was good and we reached at the place for tonight Hotel Kununurra. We were laughing at the GSA riders and the gecko over the beer. And had a good night of rest.

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    #63
  4. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 16 - 426km

    Today turned out to be a rather short day.

    We wanted to tour the Argyle Diamond Mine. When we were there, they said they were for booked guided tour only. So no chance for these wealthy adventure bikers to purchase big pink diamonds for our wives. Well we did try hard right? Of course, we would have tried even harder if one could ride on a piece of diamond at 190km/h right?!

    However I was thinking of buying something during the trip for my wife. Of course I would not buy a model junk boat and carry it on the pillion for 19 days back home like James May in Top Gear Vietnam. I needed to ride a scooter instead of a GS to do that.

    Next we were at the Bungle Bungle.
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    And Russ took a photo of the Bungle Bungle inside from the tourist board, and he posted this photo on his FB.
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    There was a problem. We did not do the 45km of washboard dirt to go in!! Regret? yes big one. Ok we will be back next time, on a bike or perhaps take a helicopter ride there.

    The best part was a well-travelled buddy saw Russ' FB and thought that we rode into. I hate people lying. Actually there was a label at the bottom of this photo. The buddy missed that. Well still Russ you naughty.

    So we arrived at the accommodation Kimberley Hotel in mid afternoon. The amigos went into their rooms for a beauty lap. I was still too awake. So I dropped the boxes and went to the China Wall.
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    Attached Files:

    #64
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  5. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 16 continued.

    The afternoon spent around the China Wall was fun. Dirt, sand, setting sun, took some photos. The GS behaved much better without luggage. Only wished Robbie was there to open and close the many gates for me.

    I can confirm that the China Wall is not the source of the COVID-19 virus.

    The lady owner Karen of the Kimberley Hotel was a strong character. It must be tough to run a motel on this stretch of the road with not a lot of traffic. She charged a bit more for the rooms than average but she justified it with a well maintained and equipped establishment. The Russian Jacks bar and the dining hall were well stocked. The state bordered have been closed for some time in this pandemic. Wish Karen will have good business once the travel ban is lifted and people taking local holidays.

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    I chatted to the little waitress Jess from northern China. My Mandarin sucks. She was happy to chit chat in her limited English. China Wall and China Jess. A good day indeed.
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    OK of all famous things Australian, Nicole Kidman would be one of them even though I am not a super fan. (I am a super fan of Tom Cruise instead)My best memory of her was the movie Days of Thunder. One of the amigos have a open secret crush on her.
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    #65
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  6. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    do all GS's fall over eventually? Almost dropped my new one a week ago in the driveway
    #66
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  7. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Keep reading cause there were bigger stories on that topic.
    I put 60,000km on my GS in 2 1/2 years without dropping it until March this year in the deep mud. So you should be fine, hopefully.
    PS I miss my 1992 red VFR750. I sold it to a friend when I left Hongkong in1995. Your yellow VFR looks great although I always have red bikes.
    #67
  8. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    thanks, it was a great bike but my friends had more hp, had to change bikes to keep up.
    great thread by the way. Can't wait for holiday this summer for trip to Idaho on my HP1250
    cheers
    #68
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  9. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 17 - 684km

    We were now back to our average mileage today and travelling in the Kimberley region. People are sparse, landscape is ancient, coastline is isolated, dramatic gorges and savannah are everywhere here. Also I kept reminding Russ to fill up the tank in every opportunity. He listened to me half the times. So I stopped.

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    None of the bikes had a mechanical problem in this trip. So that gave us a newly developed confidence in them. If you have a new GS or GSA or Tiger, you hopefully find some comfort here. If you are still sitting on the fence, please don't wait and buy one. Enjoy it cause today might be your last day. No one has told me that they found a Motorrad dealer in heaven.

    We passed Fitzroy Crossing after almost 300km. Fuelled. Another 230km and fuelled again at the Willare Bridge Roadhouse. A lot of boay trees (bottle tree's real name). Not much else.

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    Then we reached Broome and headed to the Roebuck Bay Hotel in the late afternoon. 2017 1005.JPG

    This place was very customer focused. If you ride here, it is recommended to stay here. They have skimpies from 5pm in the bar! What could be better than being served an ice cold beer by the skimpies after a hot day of tradie works or rode 680km to come here. Apparently this is a WA tradition. Yes the establishments relied on the sexual objectification of women. But give us a break on this political correctness BS. The ladies were making an honest living and we of course were admiring a bit. That's all.

    After a couple of beers, we walked around town. Found the oldest picture garden cinema with deck chairs inside.
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    And found a place for breakkie tomorrow morning. 2017 1002.JPG

    I bought a black pearl for my wife as souvenir. Broome is famous for pearls. White ones are from here. But the black ones are from Tahiti. Hahaha! Well, the black ones actually look more cosmopolitan, and precious. Not cheap but they sent it to my home for no extra charges. They even timed it so that it did not arrive before my arrival back to Sydney. Great!

    Almost sunset, so we headed to the famous Cable Beach for the ritual sunset drink.

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    The sunset camel ride is world famous. The amigos were happy drinking sauvignon blanc and hydrating our bodies. No one wanted to move their ass on to the back of these big creatures.


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    #69
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  10. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    More red dirt to go...
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    And...
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    #70
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  11. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 18 - 629km but 699km for Robbie. And everybody loved Russ.

    The skimpies last night distracted me a bit. I did not realise it until Robbie said at bed time that we were now over the mid point of our trip, and he said going forward would be shorter that going back. Mmmm... Then I fell into a deep stage of zen. Zzzzzzzzzz.

    Ok, this morning, we were riding the Great Northern Highway from Broome towards Port Hedland. The next petrol station was the Sandfire Roadhouse 321km away. Easy peasy, right?

    No cop what so ever on this road. It was still in the north and the temperature rose quickly. We enjoyed almost full throttle and the increased airflow thru our jacket ventilations. Beautiful. There was absolutely no incentives to stop.

    However when the triple black and the red GS reached Sandfire, both riders were sweaty. We ran for the blue Powerade 32 Oz. No we were not sponsored by Coca Cola, but they were great with advanced electrolyte system, vitamins B3, B6, B12...

    When the big bottles were finished, there was still no sight of the other amigos. Mark and I thought for a while and decided not to go back to check. It was just too hot.

    Then the white GSA came. As suspected, the Tiger had run out of fuel 30km from Sandfire. Robbie jumped off, ran in the shop, bought a jerry can, filled it up and looked up at Mark and I. Someone suggested scissors, paper, stone. Mark and I refused. So Robbie jumped back on and rescued the Tiger.

    Russ checking if miraculously 3 litre of premium 98 could be found in his topbox. Of course not.
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    This could have been how Russ spent the night in the bush. Thanks to the copyright of Triumph Motorcycle PLC.
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    2017 Hall of Shame entrant:
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    So how on earth did the GS arrived with a 25km range still and the Tiger 30km short? We employed the NCIS team and their report showed:
    It went back to yesterday afternoon. As usual, we lost Russ in the mirror. That was ok because he had the Roebuck Bay address. We got off the NR1 and into Broome before we pumped petrol near the hotel. Russ was lost at the back and he pumped petrol at the BP station at the NR1 turnoff. Then he rode 34km to the hotel. Again everybody was enjoying the beer at the skimpy hour, and he was already 34km down on the range.

    Both GS and Tiger had a 20L tank, 1200cc engine. Apparently the triple engine had higher HP output than the boxer but drank a bit more fuel. Also the Tiger was carrying a more hefty load. Hey that is physics, and it meant Russ' tent and nothing got to do with his better built body, right?!

    Theoretically, the Tiger could have arrived at Sandfire with 4km left.

    We passed the Eighty Mile Beach. You could not swim there because of the great whites. No more mishap that afternoon. And we reached the Discovery Park in Port Headland. It was a huge place with a lot of cabins and caravan sites. The receptionist did not know a shit but we finally found our cabin at the shore of the park.
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    We showered and took a Toyota Tarago cab to the restaurant. The cab driver was fresh off the boat (just like me) and did not know much about the place. He dropped us at a deserted restaurant site near the beach. 2017 1020.JPG

    Luckily, we realised it when the Tarago cab was trying to make a U-turn out. We jumped right back in and drove to the restaurant precinct Esplanade.
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    Great laughter over the meal. I tried to google the inventor of the jerry can that night. Great man he must be.
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    #71
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  12. ctydecks

    ctydecks n00b

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    We did a trip two up, on a MG v7c through the center via Sydney, adelaide, ullurru, Darwin, Cookstown evtl back to Syd 13 T kms. At a few stops we met GS riders, with support vehicles. Totally flabbergasted that we carried our gear & slept in our tent every night. Multiple times my wife had to check the depths of the water by wading through. But we thought we had it tough when you meet cyclist in this heat and water costing upwards of $5 a bottle. But reason I am sharing this. We started around 4:30 am in the morning leaving by 5 am. Very slowly, because plenty of animals. But it's the most perfect time seeing the sun rising over the horizon, what a experience highly recommended. Also we are currently (stuck in Peru because of covid-19) in S. America on our Breva 750 since Oct 2012 and doing early starts at just before sunrise. Thanks for the article. Christian
    #72
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  13. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    I saw a v85tt on mount Glorious near Brisbane last year. Looked great.
    Generally the high costs here are almost crippling to over landers on shoe string budgets. Just imagine how much you can buy in northern Thailand for AUD5.
    You are brave. We would not start riding before the sunrise. I was traumatised when I hit a wallaby on the CBR. I think I have recovered.
    #73
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  14. Tail Gunner

    Tail Gunner Life is Good !!! Enjoy the Ride

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    Sounds like a great ride so far.
    #74
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  15. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 19 - 765km

    Some riding buddies back home was enjoying the episode yesterday and said we could have brought a siphon tube. What is the point if the 30L tank GSA riders were not prepared to share their "fluid". Hahaha!

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    Today was simple. 240km to Karratha. 298km to Nanutarra. 228km to Minilya. Easy right?! Oh where was Russ? Better get him to fill up first.

    Mark had a mechanical problem.
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    The Sena was falling off his BMW Modular helmet. He spent too much time but failed to fix it. When you have problem, just more duct tap and we can go.

    Have you seen or heard of this movie? Check it out if not.
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    There was no food in the Discovery Park Port Hedland. So we raced to Whim Creek for breakkie.
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    The food and coffee was great. Even though we woke up the chef from his bed to make it. Sorry mate.

    When we reached Karratha, the air smelt strange. It was a mix of the rusty mining train diesel foul, and the calming indian ocean breeze. The top left of the photo below was were the mining train moved the iron ore to the bridge for the ships. Next to it, others were shipping out salt too.
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    Then it was a short ride to Dampier to look for the red dog. He travelled around this Pilbara region mostly on its own. Legend.
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    Before dinner time, we reached Minilya Roadhouse. We agreed not to push to Carnarvon. So we took the rooms there.

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    #75
  16. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    This sticker is proudly on my pannier now. Everybody loves it.
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    Russ tried hard to hide the jerry can.
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    A photo from the day before when we were at Sandfire waiting...
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    The mighty GS/As parked outside our Minilya cabin.
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    The Elsie WA ale is not bad. Have a try if you can find it.
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  17. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

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    Interesting RR to follow. Thanks for posting it up as time allows. We all need an adventure fix about now with all the restrictions, even an adventure that happened a couple of years ago.
    #77
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  18. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Thanks mate. The positives I got out of this wuhan virus are that we do not need bombs. We could be wiped out by something minute and unimaginable.
    By the way I spent the summer in Salisbury Beach NH in 1986. When I am stuck at home, I think perhaps I should go back there and have a look. Thanks to the Chinese lab for such a chance of reflection.
    #78
  19. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 20 - 499km

    Minilya Roadhouse has one of the best dining hall. We became roadhouse specialists during this trip.

    Some couples wanted a seachange or treechange. They sold up and left the endless rat race in Sydney or Melbourne. They cannot mine and prefer not to farm. They buy a roadhouse. Some put more money in to do up the place. Some don't. Some run the place for a few years and some fail. Others grew up in the outback, left for cities, and when their kids are bigger, they move back there and take over the roadhouse from their old folks. We just love to visit them, spend some monies, and have a chat over meals.

    A nice brekkie and we were on our way.
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    The amigos came from different backgrounds. One thing is common. Our lovely wives are not bikers. Perhaps once in a long while to be on the pillion to a restaurant. That's all. None of them wanted to come for overnight ride. My wife was on my R1 pillion a few times when the kids were young. I cannot blame her for stopping coming after that. She did comment that the VFR was one of the best ride for 2 up.

    The idea of the wives flying out of Sydney to meet us for a weekend flashed through the mind of my wife before the trip. The others were not keen. So maybe next time dear. I appreciated her thought a lot.

    Today was not a lot of miles. I had booked a nice place to stay.

    The first stop after 140km was Carnarvon. We found OTC Satellite Earth Station, an important part of the NASA Apollo program, including relaying signals for live telecast of the Neil Armstrong moon walk in 1969.

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    Then we rode to the One Mile Jetty for lunch under the big blue sky. Not a single cloud. Wonderful.
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    Now we were riding alongside the Indian Ocean. It was magical. The scene here was still red dirt hills on our left punctuated by deep green vegetation. On the right, it was this fantastic water. I am sort of a beach bum my whole life. My wife wanted to move to Melbourne. She studied there. I love Melbourne but preferred Sydney only because the beaches here are better. It is a relatively short drive for me to hit the Northern Beaches. Loving it.

    The colour of the Indian Ocean is amazing. It was ok for me to keep looking at it as the road was smooth, straight and almost empty. Most of it was green, the deeper water was blue. Then there was a tiny bit of yellow and even red here and there under the bright sunlight. I slowed down a lot doing 90km/h. The amigos were way in front. That's fine. We were not in a hurry today.

    Then I came upon a bike with a foreign plate. It looked familiar. It's a GS. Same as mine. However it looked different. Oh yeah it was the thick layer of dust and the white scribbling on the back. And I passed it in no time. It was doing 80km/h. Very slow. Was he OK I wondered. I caught up with the amigos at the Wooramel Roadhouse ahead. When we were done with filling up and hydrating, this foreign GS came in.
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    He is Mathias. Swiss. He left home on the 2015 GS 16 months ago. After 55,000km, he met the amigos in Wooramel. He told us it was supposed to be a 2 up journey. Shit happened and they broke off. A few months after that, he came to Sydney and we took him out to our best old road Warrior Cafe. He flew to Canada with the bike and 2 1/2 years later he is still riding somewhere in south America. Impressive stuff for a true free spirit.

    He said he never exceeded 80km/h in order to save fuel. So I practised that on the way to Monkey Mia. Wow if my mental maths did not fail me, I could get more than 500km in one tank. When I reached Monkey Mia, the amigos were happy to see me as they thought I was stuck somewhere. So they were enjoying a platter while waiting at the bar. Great.

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    The villa was amazing too. 2017 1095.JPG
    #79
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  20. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    I've been to Sydney and Perth. Enjoyed them both. the best beer is down there :)
    #80
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