Australian Top End Tour on a BMW 1200 GSA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Beeming, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Harry Sheene

    Harry Sheene Adventurer

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    Great stuff.... I did Australia for 6 months back in 1987 on a TT600. Great days and memories too. Lokk forward to travelling Australia and New Zealand again soon. Keep up the good work!:thumb
  2. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    A place just below Darwin NT....


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  3. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Yeah love to see NZ myself someday. I was going to do this sort of trip on my XR-400 kitted out to tour but in the end I sold a few things and financed the GS. Fair bit of an outlay but I tour a bit with the missus aboard as well so the GS dose everything.
    Even likes to have a lie down after a big day too:D ...


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  4. Chris_GS

    Chris_GS I like a big pair...

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    I remember sitting on the toolboxes of my field service ute, at the warakurna roadhouse talking to the locals. I decided to drive a little out of town, back towards WA, and look at the stars. lay on my toolboxes and woke up with sun in my eyes! The open spaces are breathtaking.
  5. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Definitely. There's no better way to deal with day to day drama/pressure than to schedule a camping trip away from the city lights.
    Camping out in the middle of nowhere with just you and Mr Malone with just the basics can open up a whole new perspective....


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  6. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Awesome report. We're in cold windy London right now being really homesick and you're not helping. :wink:
    Can't wait to ride the bikes out of my mate's shed.
    How much time did you take out to do this trip. We're new to adventure riding in Australia but we'd love to get up to the top end.

    On another note, where did you get the Aussie stickers that you've got on your panniers?
  7. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    I did the 12,000 klm's in only 4 weeks and will complete leg two next year from Longreach the long way down to Birdsville etc.
    I got stranded in Darwin for a week waiting for tyres for the GS which put me behind a bit.
    When you get back shit yeah dust off the bikes and head up North but maybe wait until after the wet, around April on is a good time to be travelling up there.
    Those Aus stickers I found in a souvenir shop somewhere. I'm going to get myself a ADV sticker by the next trip as well tho:D

    Cheers

    Tads


  8. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Rolled into Darwin on a Monday morning and thought I'd be rolling out by Wednesday with new tyres and a full service.
    Well the service was not a problem because I was in charge of that but the tyres for the GS did not exist in Darwin despite there being a BMW bike dealer there.
    They said it would take a week to get tyres and when I asked why they did not stock them he replied "We can't stock everything for these bikes":huh Hmmmm.
    The service rep did a ring around all 7 or so bike shops in Darwin and not one had tyres that would fit the GS.
    I heard stories of other riders being in the same boat recently. In the end I air freighted tyres in to get me going at a total cost of over $600 fitted not including balancing because the bike shop did not know how to balance bike tyres:huh
    They still charged me $30 a tyre to fit and they used my front wheel removing tools because they did not have their own (GS riders know what I'm talking about).
    Anyway decided to stay in a hotel as a treat and ended up doing some handy man work about the place which paid my rent for the next 5 days. It was risky commuting around on the well worn tyres but I never went far and generally sucked in the atmosphere of Darwin while I was there:1drink


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  9. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    I took the opportunity to give the GS a service while she was beached and give the bike an optic to see how she was handling the pounding she was getting.
    I did the valves and as suspected they were all over the place. The valves were slapping since I picked it up from the dealers after its first service and I honestly thought it was normal. Workshop let me take the bike like that so I thought it was a BMW thing.
    After adjusting the valves myself (got the gaps wrong the first time) and on the second attempt I was amazed at how silent the boxer engine actually runs ie its not supposed to make loud valve tapping noises if done correctly.
    Another very good reason to do all your own servicing.
    Work at the hotel was great. Id get a list of jobs like changing tap washers or screwing a broken draw back together then I'd knock off for the rest of the day:D This went on for the next 4 days until my tyres finally arrived on a Monday morning.


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  10. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    I tell you what tho, there are worse places to be stranded and as the temp in Darwin was around 38 and humid, chesticles (jugs) were exposed and mini skirts were the desired attire for the sheilas:D
    Despite all the hotties running around half naked I remained faithful to the misses and just took in the view because in a few days I was going to be in some very hot and harsh terrain...excellent

    Darwin was bombed by the Japanese during WW2 so i enjoyed checking out all the memorials, bunkers etc and catching up on a bit of history of the area. My cousin was a Royal Australian Air Force RAAF Cop for about 10 years here and the air base in Darwin is an important first defence base for Aus.


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  11. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Grab an optic at this. It had four bulges like this in various places around the tyre. I met a bloke on a BMW who told me a story of his mate who suffered the same defect on the front tyre on his GS after doing the Birdsville Track.
    Talking with various bike shops and bike enthusiasts it became evident my front tyre problem was not isolated and is in fact common. I'm looking into it further and will try different brands of front tyre in future altho the rear suffered nothing like it.
    The Front Tourance only has a two ply wall which I think is insufficient for a heavy bike like the GS and the fact I was touring on long, hot and corrugated roads it seemed it was too much for it.
    The new Tourance bubbled only after 600 Klm's after the start of the second main leg of the tour. Noticed the damage to the new Tourance around Roper Bar out of Mataranka NT...


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  12. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    lovin' it.

    Do you plan your route with Tracks4Australia or the ol' felt pen on topo map method?
  13. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    I used the Australian Road Atlas by Hema. Being in book form makes it easy to handle. I knew where I was going before I got there and mainly used the map to calculate distances etc.
    The map was mostly accurate but pays to double check if going in very remote places. I took a GPS but never used it.
    You can't rely on the maps fuel station positions. There were quite a few places that had shut down in remote places that would cause grief if range was an issue. The GSA has a 33 litre tank and I took a 10 liter Jerry and used it a few times.
  14. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Thanks chief :thumb
  15. smiley mark

    smiley mark smiley

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    Fantastic report, Just been up that way myself , unbelievble country. Still getting my ride report together. Thanks again. :clap
  16. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Like the old saying goes, read the signs:eek1 ...

    Good onya Mark, look forward to hearing about it Chief


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  17. aspad

    aspad Empty Suit Supporter

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    Thanks for posting Beeming. I am really enjoying this report and it is whetting my appetite for travel up north next year. Your place looks like a menagerie - good work.
  18. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    Yeah sometimes i wonder who owns who around here. The Kanga's and Emoo's are often referred to as "Free Loaders". I get bread from the bakery they chuck out at days end, once a week which helps with the food bills to keep them. I've just finished building a dedicated nursery and am building a huge avery to house crook Kookas and the like.

    I'm glad you like the trip and I enjoy writing about it. I flicked thru Ewan and Charlies LWD book today and I reckon most of us could write something just as interesting. So much happens out there and I can't wait to hit the tracks again next year. Never know might see some of you blokes out there:D I know of a few Americans who are showing interest in coming over for an optic and I hope whoever reads these Aus trip reports finds something useful in them to help plan something.
    I've left Darwin now and am out at Kakadu NP. I crossed the Alligator River and checked out a few of the sights around here. It was actually on the Arnhem highway I found that little joey...


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  19. Beeming

    Beeming Itchy Feet

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    These blokes are real characters. Very popular as pets in a lotof Australian homes and can talk the leg off a chair if trained. Males are more talkitve than female Cockies. I prefer to see them in the wild tho...


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  20. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff Supporter

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    You`re a good man, Beeming. There`s no doubt you will be looked after when the time comes.

    I had a small `roo (wallaby?) run into the front wheel of my bike on the Arnhem Hwy many years ago. Mum was killed but her joey, much like the one you saved was laying on the road, still alive. Best thing I could do was finish it off with a rock. Not nice, but I couldn`t leave it there.