Banjo Paterson Rides Again

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Frugal Biker, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Learning to cope with the evening 'news' again is still a work in progress for me, but Banjo had politicians sorted, humour is the answer.
    ....
    And from the beasts he let escape,
    The bushmen all declare,
    Were born some creatures partly ape
    And partly native-bear.
    They’re rather few and far between,
    The race is nearly spent;
    But some of them may still be seen
    In Sydney Parliament.
    And when those legislators fight,
    And drink, and act the fool,
    Just blame it on that torrid night
    When Dacey rode the mule.

    Now where was I, about to head down the Birdsville Track. I hadn't used the fuel in the 5 litre container I'd filled up back in Windorah so I topped up the fuel tank, leaving about a litre in the container. It was 320kms to the next fuel stop at Mungeranie, so no worries. The road condition sign had been updated, good to go, well at least for the first part of the trip.
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    Just a hop and a skip on a good road on a beautiful day, Marree here we come.
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    There were signs warning of approaching dips, where generally the worst of the road conditions exist, either sand or rock, but overall the road was pretty good. I managed to scare myself witless a few times, not as bad as that time between Windorah and Birdsville, I think I had learnt my lesson to slow down.
    Snapshot - 29.png
    I think I dislike rocky sections more than sand, the threat of a sliced tyre is more serious. I encountered sections of both during the day, but not a problem if I had slowed before hand.
    Sometimes I think I have a guardian angel, I stopped for a rest and noticed my muffler hanging down. It had just happened because it had not yet banged on the ground and fallen off. The same thing happened on my other 1200 Sport coming down from the Hyder glacier, a design flaw in the muffler, the stainless steel work hardens and then cracks. I had 'fixed' this bike before with an ordinary hose clamp but that had suffered the same fate. As luck would have it a car pulled up, two blokes and a woman and offered some help. I had some string that would suffice but the woman found several cable ties in her handbag that was a more professional fix.
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    A shoelace added a nice touch.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #41
  2. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    I pressed on, stopping every now and again for a rest and to take in the view or something of interest, it's not every day I ride the Birdsville Track. It's not so much the view but the atmosphere, the feeling of isolation and vulnerability. But in reality just as long as I didn't do anything stupid, it was just superficial, I have water, food and shade. I had just proven that if I needed help, it was just down the road, let it come to you, not visa versa.
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    It's good to see someone has a sense of humour.
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    I'm still trying to figure out that one, perhaps when the water is there it's too hot? Certainly no diving.
    Stop, revive, survive.
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    I eventually reached Mungeranie, re-fueled, had a beer and a pie, all top notch. I did order a Big Mac, they'll let me know when it's ready. Here I met a bloke riding a bicycle north up the track, he was an Englishman of course. There was a collection of old trucks outside, they would have been someone's pride and joy once, now they're just slowly rusting away to dust, something to look at and think about while I rested.
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    I was over half way down the track, I had no intention of riding all the way to Marree in a day, just push on while the going was good.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #42
  3. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    The bloke running Mungeranie told me there is a bit of a camp site at Cooper Creek, so I was keeping an eye out for that, I don't know if this puddle was all that's left of Cooper Creek down here. Remember back upstream near Windorah, Cooper Creek was a bit bigger.
    Snapshot - 30.png

    I can't remember seeing any signs or crossing any creek, things deteriorate when I get tired. I pushed on while light permitted, it was generally easy going, I just got to pay attention, I had covered another 120kms since Mungeranie and I had had enough for the day. I set up camp in a parking area beside the road. A couple of farmers from a nearby farm come over for a chat, they told me that Cooper Creek was back up the road a fair bit, 60kms or so, back in the last big flood in 2012 there was 30ft of water across the road, that's depth not width, amazing. Just another km down the road they told me is their Coolabah campsite, even got showers and toilet, but by this time I had set up camp, I just wanted to sleep. This is the sunrise next morning.
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    I love that ball of fire in the sky. If you want to worship something then the Sun and Earth would be a good place to start, but I'm too much of an anarchist to take it seriously.
    I was only 80kms north of Marree, I was almost there and feeling relaxed about that. One of my rules on the road is to never let an opportunity for a good wash pass me by so I called into the Coolibah campsite. It was up a track nearly a km off the road but worth the visit.
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    Back on the road I came across a sign warning of bulldust, something else to watch out for. I had heard of bulldust, it's a fine but thick dust, but I've had no experience with it. That didn't take long to fix, holy smoke!, another sphincter moment, where did that come from? People pay good money to get scared witless like that. I didn't see that one coming, like stepping on a land mine. These moments do take their toll on my state of mind, it's very tiring. Just relax, it does feel good when I let my shoulders drop, it's like lifting a brick off my brain. I meet a couple of bikers going north, they were right over on the edge of the road where it had recently been graded, and going very steady. I lift a hand to give a friendly wave, the 1'st biker didn't respond and the 2'nd rider gives a short frantic wave before quickly grabbing the bars again. Just relax folks.
    Did I say it was another beautiful day, fair dinkum the weather has been fantastic every day, I hadn't needed to put on my waterproofs once. I roll into Marree, time for breakfast.
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    I can recommend their coffee and egg'n bacon rolls, very good.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #43
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  4. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    While I was taking in the sights of Marree I was considering what my next move would be, either go up the Oodnadatta Track to Marla or chicken out and cruise south on a beautiful smooth bitumen road towards home.
    The Afghan history is on display in the main street with the Moslem Mosque.
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    The camels were put out of business by the railway.
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    Of course Banjo had something to say about that.

    "The opening of the railway line! -- the Governor and all!
    With flags and banners down the street, a banquet and a ball.
    Hark to 'em at the station now! They're raising cheer on cheer!
    'The man who brought the railway through -- our friend the engineer.'
    They cheer his pluck and enterprise and engineering skill!
    'Twas my old husband found the pass behind that big red hill.
    Before the engineer was born we'd settled with our stock
    Behind that great big mountain chain, a line of range and rock --
    A line that kept us starving there in weary weeks of drought,
    With ne'er a track across the range to let the cattle out.
    ...
    My contribution...
    The daily strain and pain was eased by the camel train,
    In a chain a hundred long, driven by Afghans lean and strong.

    It would have been a tough life.

    Now, even the old Ghan has had it's day, put out of business by the road trains. Not a road train but this old truck and it's driver Tom Kruse MBE put the Birdsville Track on the map.
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    It was time to get back on the road so I took a look at the Oodnadatta Track.
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    I hadn't gone far when the distances on the sign got to me. Perhaps if I was heading towards home I could have persevered, but I succumbed to the easy path, I turned around and headed back towards the bitumen. 'Bwark, bwark, bwark, bwaaarrk, Chicken man!'. Yeah, stuff it, I had had enough of gravel. Besides, I was now heading towards the Flinders Ranges, beautiful country.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #44
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  5. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Leaving Marree for Port Augusta there were a few fluffy clouds about, it was another beautiful day.
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    But it didn't take long for the motorbike gods to apply some retribution for piking out on the gravel road - it started to rain - so I took it on the chin of my full faced helmet and pressed on.
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    I didn't stop to put on my waterproofs thinking that might appease the gods and sure enough it was just a short but heavy drenching. No problem, standing on my pegs intermittently for the next half hour I soon dried out.
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    I like the pastel colours of the Flinders Ranges. I figured I had enough fuel to get to Port Augusta so I didn't worry about filling up when I passed through the small towns on route, small one horse towns like Parachilna.
    P1010829.JPG I met a couple in their late 50's or so riding bicycles taking a rest here at Parachilna, they had ridden from Melbourne up through the Flinders Ranges, passing through some beautiful country. Today they were on their way to Leigh Creek, another 64 kms up the road, they looked very fit indeed.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #45
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  6. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Honey, I'm home.
    Snapshot - 42.png
    Well, not quite, but this was someone's home once, in the middle of nowhere. I wonder who lived here last, and how they felt as they closed the door for the last time and walked away, or perhaps they died here and that was that. The end of an era either way. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, rust to rust.
    Just south of Hawker I passed a signpost pointing down a sealed road to Orroroo, the name was familiar, it was on my route to Broken Hill. I thought I had to go through Port Augusta to stay on sealed roads, but I was wrong, I must have misread the map. I've just checked my Hema road atlas, it's nice to know what happened. There are 2 maps for the area, on page 118 the road is shown as gravel and on page 65 it's shown as sealed.
    I like the Flinders Ranges, it's beautiful country.
    Snapshot - 43.png

    I had only one problem, it was slightly longer to Orroroo, and the low fuel light had started to blink. I stopped at the general store in Carrieton, they had fuel but they were now closed for the day. It was getting late so I was happy to stay here for the night and fill up in the morning. I read the fine print on their door and tomorrow was Saturday, and that was their day off. I was never going to pay their emergency $10 opening fee and then I remembered I still had a litre of fuel left over from Birdsville. Phew!, I made it into Orroroo in time to fill up with fuel and visit the IGA supermarket and stock up with food. A local guy directed me to a free camp site up past the hospital and I was set for the night. I even lit a campfire and boiled up some noodles, the simple things in life are the best.
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    Next morning as I was packing up I heard someone say 'hello'. I thought I was alone but a young man had approached on the other side of the fence. His name was Mike and had driven up from Adelaide on a geo-cache hunt, I had never heard of such a thing. It's an internet game where people hide GPS beacons and players try and find them, record their find and then leave them in place for others to find. He had found this particular cache up a tree and he had the problem of getting it down to record his signature. It was out on a thin branch, I offered to film him crawling out on the branch but he figured it out in the end. The GPS beacon was attached to a retractable tape measure, all he had to do was find something to snag the loop of wire that was attached to the beacon and pull it to the ground as the tape extended. Of course there was a long thin branch at his feet with the requisite fork on the end, it had all been planned by the owner of the cache. Mike signed his name on the beacon and then let the tape retract it back up into the tree.
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    Anyway, it was time to move on, today's destination was Menindee east of Broken Hill, 400 kms away. It was time to get back on Banjo's track, Menindee was the scene for quite a long poem about quite a long horse race, so I'll give you the first few verses today.

    You never heard tell of the story?
    Well, now, I can hardly believe!
    Never heard of the honour and glory
    Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve?
    But maybe you're only a Johnnie
    And don't know a horse from a hoe?
    Well, well, don't get angry, my sonny,
    But, really, a young un should know.

    They bred him out back on the "Never",
    His mother was Mameluke breed.
    To the front - and then stay there - was ever
    The root of the Mameluke creed.
    He seemed to inherit their wiry
    Strong frames - and their pluck to receive -
    As hard as a flint and as fiery
    Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.

    We ran him at many a meeting
    At crossing and gully and town,
    And nothing could give him a beating -
    At least when our money was down.
    For weight wouldn't stop him, nor distance,
    Nor odds, though the others were fast;
    He'd race with a dogged persistence,
    And wear them all down at the last.

    At the Turon the Yattendon filly
    Led by lengths at the mile-and-a-half,
    And we all began to look silly,
    While her crowd were starting to laugh;
    But the old horse came faster and faster,
    His pluck told its tale, and his strength,
    He gained on her, caught her, and passed her,
    And won it, hands down, by a length.

    And then we swooped down on Menindie
    To run for the President's Cup;
    Oh! that's a sweet township -- a shindy
    To them is board, lodging, and sup.
    Eye-openers they are, and their system
    Is never to suffer defeat;
    It's "win, tie, or wrangle" -- to best 'em
    You must lose 'em, or else it's "dead heat".

    With gladness we thought of the morrow........

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #46
  7. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    How come our leaders persist with lockdowns when now the vulnerable have been vaccinated and there are known prophylactics and treatments for the rest of us? Why do our leaders not even acknowledge this? How come there is no education program about enhancing the body's immune system? All we get from the politicians is case counting, lockdowns and fear, fear and more fear shoved down our throats. All the media, except for Sky News Australia, are compliant, never ever a question of an alternate strategy, only finger pointing when there's an outbreak.

    Welcome to Covid Central,
    Come on down and join the mental.
    These bloody lockdowns,
    All they do is make me frown,
    And take my spirit down.
    I'm so bloody angry,
    I just want to be free,
    I'll sort out what's best for me.
    No complaints allowed,
    Especially those aired aloud.
    We are in for another beating,
    Having another variant is just cheating.
    Who wants to be a politician,
    Especially those who are not a magician.
    Yeah but I've heard of Ivermectin,
    Studies show it reduces infectin.
    How come it has not been seen,
    In our ramshackle quarantine.
    I've thought of buying a boat,
    The only way out of here is to float.
    Hands up those in the crowd,
    All those who haven't been bowed.
    I did think of doing a runner,
    These lockdowns are a bummer.
    I looked outside and it was raining,
    So that fact proved to be restraining.
    It's a four hour run to the border,
    And the Harley is still not in order.
    But with time on my hands it leads to strife,
    I'll soon own a V-Rod if I choose to strike.
    But with luck it'll soon be sold,
    Before my wife chucks me out in the cold,
    Or so I'm told.

    Compared to other countries, Australia and New Zealand have done an exceptional job in controlling Covid, but now the game has changed, the vulnerable have been vaccinated. These Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions are hard to accept, livelihoods are being wrecked, let individuals take responsibility for their own wellbeing, we are supposed to be a free country. Our leaders are full of compassion but are lacking the courage to take on big pharma over Ivermectin, they could be heroes and not just for one day.

    Our so-called leaders should pay attention, this is how you lead, there are no lockdowns in South Dakota.

    Ooh, I think I'm in love, what a beautiful, intelligent, courageous and decent woman.
    Have a nice day,
    Frugal.
    #47
  8. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Motorbike trips are a great way to travel. I'm always meeting people, stopping for a chat and having a laugh. After saying goodbye to Mike the geo-cache hunter in Orroroo I travelled the few kms to Peterborough. On the outskirts of town there is a steam museum, toot, toot.
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    I parked outside the supermarket next to a BMW RT9, they're a neat looking bike. Soon enough the owner turned up and we chatted bikes for an hour or more, I was in no particular hurry although I had 400 kms to go to Menindee. By this time I had been on the road for three weeks and I was most probably looking for someone to talk to. He didn't want to be photographed which is a shame because it helps with the memories.
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    Anyway, I eventually hit the road and headed northeast into the outback which seems weird, but west of Broken Hill is the outback, it's dry, isolated and sparsely populated. I remember passing through small towns, with maybe a hotel, a railway station, a few old houses and no shops, it was pretty depressing really, my recollection of the area had the feeling of having seen better times. But Australia is a big place and lightly populated so what can I expect. Perhaps my mental health is showing the effects of this lockdown. It's no wonder I'm thinking of buying another bike, I've got my eye on an old Harley, I hope it stays unsold until I can see it, it's winter, cold and wet and windy, so who in their right mind is going to buy a bike. Anyway it gives me happy thoughts just thinking about it, or perhaps I'm just dreaming, but I've been known to make rash decisions when I've got time on my hands. I better get on down to the shed and complete the luggage rack on the XR1200 so I'm ready to go when the restrictions are lifted.
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    Cheers, Frugal.
    #48
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  9. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Getting back to the RR, about 50kms west of Broken Hill I stopped on a railway overpass to take in the view, the whole lot of not very much tends to be a bit overwhelming.
    Snapshot - 45.png

    The main street of Broken Hill reflects the mining wealth that the town is based on. Back in 1885 silver, lead and zinc were found nearby and the rest as the saying goes is history.
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    Although having never been to Broken Hill before, I do have a soft spot for the place, the mining company BHP were the first shares I ever bought. I doubled my investment in a year and then cashed in. Although it felt good at the time, that was back in the good old days of no capital gains tax, it proved to be a mistake, sadly one of many over the years, those shares have since appreciated 50 fold. I've gotta laugh, now I stick to what I know until I can figure it out, but my so called 'figuring it out' has ground to a halt. I've tried different approaches with little success. I've tried 'buy and keep' which turned out to be 'keep and weep' with stocks like gold miner Sons Of Gwalia and copper miner Copper Co turning to dust. I've lost all confidence, now I just leave it to the superannuation experts which is turning out pretty good so far, but I'm smart enough to realize that times change and there are no guarantees. That could explain my recent outburst of rash behaviour, I'm waiting on a superannuation cash withdrawal to pay for this extravagance. I've tried to explain this to my long suffering wife but she doesn't understand. Although life is like a box of chocolates, I must admit I never expected to own a V-Rod. I wonder how it will go on the Oodnadatta Track. I'm joking of course, this is the most expensive bike I've ever bought, too expensive to knock about, I'm not the Million Dollar Bogan. I once had a pair of shoes that were so comfortable that I was afraid to wear them in case I wore them out - that's frugality for you, it's a bloody disease, but that's the way I am and I have no desire to change, not that I could anyway.
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    But I digress. After checking out the main street I headed to Menindee and the Darling River which has been in the news lately with fish kills during the recent drought. When I arrived I found Greenie protest flags hanging about but no Greenies. I found some in the pub and enjoyed a beer with them. I appreciated this poem when one of the gang jumped up on his soap box, the Banjo would have appreciated it too.

    The Darling River is empty - but not because of drought -
    the government and companies have pumped the whole thing out.
    People there are suffering and don't know who to trust,
    they watch their lives, farms and lands fail and turn to dust.
    Please listen to their stories and think of what to do,
    go to www.thevanishingriver.com.au

    I thought that poem was pretty good, Australia is a land of poets. I asked him what he thought about the Bradford Scheme. That's a pie in the sky water diversion idea that's been hanging about since 1938 to divert water inland towards the Darling River. But he didn't like it, he didn't like the idea of man interfering with nature. I was surprised but shouldn't have been, after all he is a Greenie - where everything is a problem and not a solution in sight. I'm all for the Bradford Scheme, come on Barnaby (he's our latest and greatest new deputy PM, again) get on with it.

    I set up camp down next to the river under a fish cleaning shelter. There was even water on tap for a midnight wash.
    Snapshot - 46.png

    Laying in my tent I swear I heard a horse gallop by, I drifted off to sleep thinking of the shenanigans of that infamous horse race that happened just along the river bank a hundred years ago, those shenanigans still continue today. It's great that sometimes the good guys have a win.

    ...
    We strolled down the township and found ’em
    At drinking and gaming and play;
    If sorrows they had, why they drowned ’em,
    And betting was soon under way.
    Their horses were good ’uns and fit ’uns,
    There was plenty of cash in the town;
    They backed their own horses like Britons,
    And, Lord! how we rattled it down!

    With gladness we thought of the morrow,
    We counted our wages with glee,
    A simile homely to borrow —
    ’There was plenty of milk in our tea.’
    You see we were green; and we never
    Had even a thought of foul play,
    Though we well might have known that the clever
    Division would ‘put us away.’

    Experience ‘docet,’ they tell us,
    At least so I’ve frequently heard;
    But, ‘dosing’ or ‘stuffing’, those fellows
    Were up to each move on the board:
    They got to his stall — it is sinful
    To think what such villains will do —
    And they gave him a regular skinful
    Of barley — green barley — to chew.

    He munched it all night, and we found him
    Next morning as full as a hog —
    The girths wouldn’t nearly meet round him;
    He looked like an overfed frog.
    We saw we were done like a dinner —
    The odds were a thousand to one
    Against Pardon turning up winner,
    ’Twas cruel to ask him to run.

    We got to the course with our troubles,
    A crestfallen couple were we;
    And we heard the ‘books’ calling the doubles —
    A roar like the surf of the sea.
    And over the tumult and louder
    Rang ‘Any price Pardon, I lay!’
    Says Jimmy, ‘The children of Judah
    Are out on the warpath today.’

    Three miles in three heats: — Ah, my sonny,
    The horses in those days were stout,
    They had to run well to win money;
    I don’t see such horses about.
    Your six-furlong vermin that scamper
    Half-a-mile with their feather-weight up,
    They wouldn’t earn much of their damper
    In a race like the President’s Cup.

    The first heat was soon set a-going;
    The Dancer went off to the front;
    The Don on his quarters was showing,
    With Pardon right out of the hunt.
    He rolled and he weltered and wallowed —
    You’d kick your hat faster, I’ll bet;
    They finished all bunched, and he followed
    All lathered and dripping with sweat.

    But troubles came thicker upon us,
    For while we were rubbing him dry
    The stewards came over to warn us:
    ‘We hear you are running a bye!
    ‘If Pardon don’t spiel like tarnation
    ‘And win the next heat — if he can —
    ‘He’ll earn a disqualification;
    ‘Just think over that now, my man!’

    Our money all gone and our credit,
    Our horse couldn’t gallop a yard;
    And then people thought that we did it
    It really was terribly hard.
    We were objects of mirth and derision
    To folks in the lawn and the stand,
    And the yells of the clever division
    Of ‘Any price Pardon!’ were grand.

    We still had a chance for the money,
    Two heats remained to be run:
    If both fell to us — why, my sonny,
    The clever division were done.
    And Pardon was better, we reckoned,
    His sickness was passing away,
    So we went to the post for the second
    And principal heat of the day.

    They’re off and away with a rattle,
    Like dogs from the leashes let slip,
    And right at the back of the battle
    He followed them under the whip.
    They gained ten good lengths on him quickly
    He dropped right away from the pack;
    I tell you it made me feel sickly
    To see the blue jacket fall back.

    Our very last hope had departed —
    We thought the old fellow was done,
    When all of a sudden he farted
    To go like a shot from a gun.
    His chances seemed slight to embolden
    Our hearts; but, with teeth firmly set,
    We thought, ‘Now or never! The old ’un
    May reckon with some of ’em yet.’

    Then loud rose the war-cry for Pardon;
    He swept like the wind down the dip,
    And over the rise by the garden
    The jockey was done with the whip.
    The field was at sixes and sevens —
    The pace at the first had been fast —
    And hope seemed to drop from the heavens,
    For Pardon was coming at last.

    And how he did come! It was splendid;
    He gained on them yards every bound,
    Stretching out like a greyhound extended,
    His girth laid right down on the ground.
    A shimmer of silk in the cedars
    As into the running they wheeled,
    And out flashed the whips on the leaders,
    For Pardon had collared the field.

    Then right through the ruck he was sailing —
    I knew that the battle was won —
    The son of Haphazard was failing,
    The Yattendon filly was done;
    He cut down The Don and The Dancer,
    He raced clean away from the mare —
    He’s in front! Catch him now if you can, sir!
    And up went my hat in the air!

    Then loud from the lawn and the garden
    Rose offers of ‘Ten to one on!
    ‘Who’ll bet on the field? I back Pardon!’
    No use; all the money was gone.
    He came for the third heat light-hearted,
    A-jumping and dancing about;
    The others were done ere they started
    Crestfallen, and tired, and worn out.

    He won it, and ran it much faster
    Than even the first, I believe;
    Oh, he was the daddy, the master,
    Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.
    He showed ’em the method of travel —
    The boy sat still as a stone —
    They never could see him for gravel;
    He came in hard-held, and alone.

    That's one of my favourites, what a tale!

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #49
  10. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    After surviving the gravel roads of Outback Australia without a mishap I came to grief under the fish cleaning shelter at Menindee, I dropped the bike while I was moving it to give me room to roll up the swag. The engine wasn't going at the time so I really don't count it as a real off, just another mishap I put down to a stroke of a few years ago. That stroke comes in handy whenever anything goes wrong - 'sorry, I didn't think of that' or 'sorry, I'm a bit weak down my left side'. When stuff happens I forget to take a photo, perhaps subconsciously I don't want a record of it. The bike was jammed between a post and the table, I had to ask a neighbour to give me a hand to lift it up.
    I could have gone south from Menindee but I didn't feel up to more gravel so I did myself a favour and backtracked to Broken Hill on the bitumen. I checked out the Menindee lakes on the way back, they are a natural water storage for the Darling River.
    I try to upload a photo and find my external hard drive is broken, the USB socket has come adrift from the circuit board, the connections are tiny. Holy smoke! All my photos are stored on it. Can I fix it?
    #50
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  11. Chris S

    Chris S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    420
    Location:
    UK and around
    All this talk of Menindee reminds me of a song I like by Neil Murray (another great Outback balladeer) about the Burke & Wills saga.

    "I say leave the bloody country to the crows..."

    Just read the story behind the Mac D's sign. Had me going there for a minute.
    V-Rod looks just the job for the Oodnadatta.
    #51
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  12. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Haha, good one. There's a lot going for 'to stay in the shade at Menindee where the beer is cold, cold, cold'.
    I was joking about riding the V-Rod down the Oodnadatta Track, I'm not the Million Dollar Bogan, although I'm sure it would be ok, I plan to ride the XR1200.
    The crows have got the land sorted out -'farrrk, farrrk, farrrrrk'.

    Cheers, Frugal
    #52
    Chris S likes this.
  13. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Hey, I'm famous! Well not quite, but check out my little cameo at the 19 minute mark, my introduction to the big screen. It was a pleasure to meet Daniel at Birdsville, I love his spirit.



    According to a few of the comments on Youtube some viewers were entertained.
    This comment made me laugh 'That old timer was funny (looked like Ol’ Fred from the movie “Tremors”).
    An arm chair critic took me to task for spraying a potential Covid bomb when I laughed, but he had the good grace to apologize when I explained to him that my facial muscles were affected from a stroke I had a few years ago, I think I've made a pretty good recovery, good enough to ride a motorbike again anyway.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #53
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  14. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    Hallelujah, praise the Lord, please forgive me Sweet Jesus whenever I doubt your benevolence, I have recovered my photos. I tried to re-solder the USB connector on my external storage drive, but it was too delicate even for my dainty fingers. After a week or so my brain kicked in with idea of scavenging the printed circuit board out of a similar external drive. The model was superseded years ago so buying a new one was not an option. A couple of days later Cash Converters flashed through my brain and bingo, their shop in Moonie Ponds had the exact model for $60. I don't really like riding into the city, but 3 hours spent on the V-Rod made the trip a bit easier. Maybe the V-Rod wasn't built to go round corners, but it goes like a cut cat in a straight line, hang on to your hat, it's good fun.
    IMG_20210715_143234444_HDR[1].jpg
    I've promised my sweet wife, I call her 'Boss', that this is the last motorbike I'll buy. I bought the bike sight unseen, just based on trust, the vendor said it was perfect and that was good enough for me. Between lockdowns I flew over to Adelaide and rode the V-Rod home, my enduring memory of that trip is that I should do this more often. So how do I reconcile this conundrum, life ain't easy.
    IMG_3724.jpg
    Just tie on the swag and hit the road. It's beautiful country just south of Adelaide.
    IMG_20210628_165852021_HDR[1].jpg

    So, back to the RR, the Menindee Lakes are a natural water storage for the Darling River.
    IMG_20210418_092401407_HDR.jpg

    I've just had a brain flash, I could cut off the USB plug from the cable, drill small holes in the printed circiut board, poke the wires through and solder them directly onto the board. I suppose I will get over spending the $60 on another drive, time is a great healer. I could even use the new drive as a back up.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #54
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  15. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    This is a view of my way back to Broken Hill from Menindee.
    Snapshot - 49.png
    There was even a corner or two as I neared Broken Hill.
    Snapshot - 50.png
    On my way south to Mildura the view was similar, long straights with an occasional dogleg.
    Snapshot - 51.png
    I stopped at a rest stop and chatted with a bloke travelling in a converted bus, he carried a KTM bike on the back.
    P1010842.JPG
    He spent most of his time just travelling about, he had fitted out his camper himself, all the comforts of home. He was a friendly chap, we chatted for half an hour or more about bikes and stuff. Human beings are generally a social animal, we require social contact or we go mad, he told me about a few mad people he had encountered, usually in isolated spots, he said it was a bit unnerving, I told him 'Shit happens, just look at Wolf Creek' which was a bit mischievous of me, sorry.
    Cheers, Frugal.
    #55
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  16. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    I wanted to come home via Echuca, that is where the Campaspe River flows into the Murray, but I couldn't find the right road. I stopped and asked a pedestrian and was given a bum steer so I gave up and headed towards Ouyen. It was getting dark, not a good time to be on the road, so I was keeping an eye out for a campsite. The railway line runs parallel to the road so it wasn't long before I found a spot. I love camping next to a railway line, laying in my tent in the dark, I hear a low rumble, it grows louder reaching a crescendo as it approaches, mechanized thunder, the loco light illuminates the tent, if near a crossing or if the driver is a joker, he blows the horn, it's not a friendly toot toot like Thomas but a angry blast like Gordon, right at the last moment a thought flashes through my brain - I hope that thing doesn't jump the tracks - and then it passes and as the rumble fades I drift off to sleep. Well that's how it is in North America, but here it's a bit different, our trains are a bit of a disappointment really.
    IMG_20210419_065551834.jpg
    Anyway, I woke up to another sunrise, a great way to start the day.

    Cheers, Frugal.
    #56
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  17. Frugal Biker

    Frugal Biker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2021
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Australia
    The closer I got to home the greater the pull to get home, a bit like a magnet really. A trip should be about the journey, not the destination, but I am thankful that I was looking forward to getting home, I mean how would it be if that wasn't the case. It would be like having a job that you detested, you wouldn't want to be there, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. My last job was like that, an absolute waste of time, I only stuck it out for the money, I had a sense of responsibility to provide for my family as best I could. But every cloud has a silver lining, it made me realize and appreciate that for the most part, I have had interesting and rewarding jobs, I had looked forward to going to work each day.
    Anyway on my way home I passed though the Mallee, that's the west area of Victoria and it's wheat country.
    IMG_20210419_112626304_HDR.jpg

    The Mallee reminded of a poem, Banjo knew the value of wheat.

    We have sung the song of the droving days,
    Of the march of the travelling sheep;
    By silent stages and lonely ways
    Thin, white battalions creep.
    But the man who now by the land would thrive
    Must his spurs to a plough-share beat.
    Is there ever a man in the world alive
    To sing the song of the Wheat!

    It's west by south of the Great Divide
    The grim grey plains run out,
    Where the old flock-masters lived and died
    In a ceaseless fight with drought.
    Weary with waiting and hope deferred
    They were ready to own defeat,
    Till at last they heard the master-word—
    And the master-word was Wheat.

    Yarran and Myall and Box and Pine—
    ’Twas axe and fire for all;
    They scarce could tarry to blaze the line
    Or wait for the trees to fall,
    Ere the team was yoked, and the gates flung wide,
    And the dust of the horses feet
    Rose up like a pillar of smoke to guide
    The wonderful march of Wheat.

    Furrow by furrow, and fold by fold,
    The soil is turned on the plain;
    Better than silver and better than gold
    Is the surface-mine of the grain;
    Better than cattle and better than sheep
    In the fight with drought and heat;
    For a streak of stubbornness, wide and deep,
    Lies hid in a grain of Wheat.

    When the stock is swept by the hand of fate,
    Deep down in his bed of clay
    The brave brown Wheat will lie and wait
    For the resurrection day:
    Lie hid while the whole world thinks him dead;
    But the Spring rain, soft and sweet,
    Will over the steaming paddocks spread
    The first green flush of the Wheat.

    Green and amber and gold it grows
    When the sun sinks late in the West;
    And the breeze sweeps over the rippling rows
    Where the quail and the skylark nest.
    Mountain or river or shining star,
    There's never a sight can beat-
    Away to the sky-line stretching far-
    A sea of the ripening Wheat.

    When the burning harvest sun sinks low,
    And the shadows stretch on the plain,
    The roaring strippers come and go
    Like ships on a sea of grain;
    Till the lurching, groaning wagons bear
    Their tale of the load complete.
    Of the world's great work he has done his share
    Who has gathered a crop of wheat.

    Princes and Potentates and Czars,
    They travel in regal state,
    But old King Wheat has a thousand cars
    For his trip to the water-gate;
    And his thousand steamships breast the tide
    And plough through the wind and sleet
    To the lands where the teeming millions bide
    That say: Thank God for Wheat!

    Amen,
    Frugal.
    #57