Great Central Road Trip - Oct 09 - The Ride Back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Vince_WA, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Vince_WA

    Vince_WA Rides badly :)

    Joined:
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    Tapping, WA
    This is part two of my slowly being assembled Ride Report of a recent (October 2009) trip with Barry, Tony, Josef, Alan and Rob to Uluru and back. The first part of the ride - from Perth to Uluru via the Great Central Road - can be found here - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11253484#post11253484


    Before moving on from Uluru however and covering the trip down to Ceduna and then back across the Nullabor - let me add a few more pics that I personally like, and a few words about Kings Canyon and my deviation from the main trip....


    Day 5 (Wednesday 14th Oct)


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    ... Uluru is about 300km approx down that road ...



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    ... a feeble attempt at creative photography ...


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    ... this is one of the classic photos from the trip - we've just ridden from Giles to the Olgas - just a few hundred km but the hardest riding we'd encountered so far on the trip, and having all made it safe and sound back to bitumen we were pretty elated with our achievements. This is one of our few tripod-enabled group photos !


    After visiting the Olgas and Ayers Rock that afternoon we camped at Yulara, enjoyed a hot shower and then made our way to the Pioneer Outback Pub for a few well-earned beers....


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    ... Enjoying some cold beers after a dry ride up the Great Central Road ...

    Day 6 (Thursday 15th Oct)


    Another early morning to break camp, and it was back on the road for the 300km approx bitumen ride up to Kings Canyon, stopping at Curtin Spings to refuel, check out their 'Fucking Good Port' (how mellow was that port Barry??), and also take note of customer service suggestions, Curtin Springs-style:
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    The ride from Uluru to Kings Canyon was the most tiresome of the whole trip - whilst it was just a few hours in duration we were all whacked when we got to the Kings Canyon. None of us were more whacked than Rob who had taken a solo detour to check out Boggey Hole, and had had a few dramas along the way, finally making it into camp after sunset with a few more scars on the DR650, a swollen ankle, and tales about coming off on a sand dune and being trapped under his bike for twenty minutes or so as he dug himself out....


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    ...whilst Rob was stuck under his bike, the rest of us were making fun of Barry's dinner, which didn't look particularly appetising to the rest of us...


    Day 7 (Friday 16th Oct)


    Day Seven dawned with mixed feelings for me. Karen, my lady friend, was flying to Uluru that afternoon to spend the weekend with me (that was the good part), but the rest of the guys were heading thru the bush up to Alice Springs for a few days, so we were going to split up for a while (thats the bad part).


    Before parting ways however, those fit and able headed to Kings Canyon to take the 3 hour walk around the canyon rim.


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    ... the first 400m of the 6km canyon rim walk is up a steep and rocky incline. Josef tackled this section like a mountain goat !!!


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    ... the Kings Canyon Rim Walkers !!!


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    ... looking across Palm Valley ...


    Back at camp we packed our meagre belongings, said our goodbyes and headed in different directions. Eager to be on time for Karen's 4:30pm flight I checked into the hotel back at Yulara and slipped out to the airport at 4:00pm, only to discover that the airport was all closed up. 30 minutes later when I finally got Karen on the mobile we figured out that she had inadvertantly flown to Alice Springs by mistake - about 550km NE of Yulara - woops !!!


    Not to be thwarted, she hired a car that afternoon in Alice and drove the 550km to Yulara, in time to catch me washing my riding jeans in the bathtub...
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    ... and the spa did a great job rinsing out my clothes after they were washed in the bath ...


    Whilst the five other guys were having their own adventure heading to Alice (including Tony practising a few freestyle stunts and seperately putting a hole in his radiator), Karen and I did a few touristy things around Ayers Rock...


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    ... up early for a sunrise on the rock ...


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    ... and to her credit, Karen (who wasn't a huge fan of riding pillion..), had brought a spare helmet with her so we got around on the KLR, and she developed quite a liking for it after a while ...


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    ... one evening I cooked some camp rations for us in the hotel suite (thai rice with peanut sauce). The bathroom sink made it easy to wash up that evening after dinner... :D


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    ... and another evening dinner was held under the stars, watching the sunset on Ayers Rock and the Olgas, eating kangaroo and crocodile and toasted wattleseed apple crumble, and listening to an astromer recount stories of the local Aborigines describing the origins of some of the constellations...


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    ... sunset over the Olgas ....


    Day 11 (Tuesday 20th Oct)


    After my four nights R&R in Yulara it was time for Karen to fly back to Perth, and for me to rejoin the gang. It was 750km approx to Coober Pedy where they were spending that evening and on leaving Yulara that morning I wasn't too fussed on going the whole distance...


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    ... stopping at Erldunda to refuel and grab a bite to eat I met Toru - a Japanese gentleman who had flown into Perth a few weeks beforehand, bought a ZZR250, and had ridden up the WA coast across to Darwin, and was making his way to Ayers Rock and then back to Perth. (footnote here - Toru called me from Japan a few days ago and so he got home safely - way to go!!!)


    The road south from Erldunda into SA was sooooooo boring and monotonous there was no incentive to stop on my own for the night, so I pushed on into Coober Pedy that afternoon, getting in a bit before sundown, and meeting the guys at the caravan park there. A cheap meal and a few beers at the bistro attached to the caravan park went down nicely that evening...


    Day 12 (Wednesday 21st Oct)


    A morning ride took us north of Coober Pedy to the Breakaways, where movies like Mad Max 2 and 'Priscilla - Queen of the Desert' were filmed...


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    ... bikes at the Breakaways...


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    ... and their motly riders. Tony is missing from this pic as he stayed back in Coober Pedy to arrange overnight accommodation for the two of us in one of Coober Pedy's underground hotel-motels (highly recommended if you haven't tried it before - check out the Comfort Inn) ...


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    (whilst Alan looks as cool as cucumber it was pretty hot out at the Breakaways...)


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    ... Does my arse look big in this ???


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    ... and that afternoon Alan and the rest of us enjoyed a tour of a local opal mine. This is Alan doing it the hard way....

    Dinner that evening was at Tom and Mary's Greek Taverna, where we tried to learn Greek from the waitresses, and enjoyed a few glasses of wine and some pleasant food....


    Day 13 (Thursday 22nd October)


    With Tony and I well rested from our night in the underground motel (seperate beds okay) and the other guys having enjoyed another night under the stars, we packed up again and headed south to Glendambo to refuel and then begin our return westward on unsealed roads running thru the Gawler Ranges...


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    ...but not without stopping at the Kingkoonie (check spelling) pub...


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    ... to enjoy an ice cold beer or soft drink ...


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    ... or some female companionship, in Alan's case ...


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    ... An afternoon of excellent riding across some quite varied and interesting terrain (which struck me as suitable for a rally race actually) made way for a great campsite ...


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    ... and it didn't take Josef The Pyromaniac long before he had the camp fire roaring ...


    Day 14 (Friday 23rd October)


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    ... another beautiful morning in the bush ....

    Today's plan had us completing the unsealed ride down to Wirrula, head into Ceduna, and then out to Fowlers Bay on the SA coast ....


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    ... the riding thru this area was exhilarating. Here Richard Gere is taking a short break ...


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    ... Rob, looking exhilarated as usual ...


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    ... and Tony the quiet achiever, looking cool and calm, as usual ...


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    It was with some regret we pulled into Wirrulla, as that marked the end of that excellent unsealed section of road, but the sausage rolls were tasty ...


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    ... arriving at Fowlers Bay that afternoon after a mix of bitumen and unsealed roads we managed an almost complete group photo - just missing Rob as he was bringing up the rear in his own time ...


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    Jeff - proprietor of the Fowler Bay caravan park and deli was roped into taking so many group photos for us I thought he deserved a picture with the guys ...

    All credit is due to Barry for picking up a carton of beer in Ceduna, and to Josef for briging in the ice - a few cold tinnies that evening were a great way to savour an excellent day's riding!


    Day 15 (Saturday 24th Oct)


    Day Fifteen had us depart Fowlers Bay and pick up the Nullabor, heading across the Bight. A strange and mysterious fog was rolling across the road and the cross winds were quite strong ...

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    ... at the Bight ...


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    ... any minute we expected the Mary Celeste to appear from within the mist ...


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    ... gratuatious pic of my bike ...


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    ... either Richard Gere, or Josef ...


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    ... Tony enjoying the view from the Bight ...


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    ... and then we pushed on together to the SA-WA border, marked by this giant kangaroo. Here I bade the rest of the group farewell as I needed to return to Perth to tackle some business matters, whilst they were planning a more scenic and relaxed ride back, spread over a few more days.


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    Refueling at Madora Pass I met a French Canadian guy heading east across the Nullabor. He'd been on the road for about five years since leaving Canada, and was full of praise for his KLR ...


    I pushed on that afternoon to Caiguna, again riding in strong cross winds. On the way into Caiguna the wet and slippery roads were making the riding even more challenging, with the bike skipping sideways on occasion, so I was happy to pull into the roadhouse and bunk down in a donga that evening ...


    Day 16 (Sunday 25th Oct)


    Day Sixteen and time for me to return to Perth, with a ride of just under 1,100km to complete today if I was to be sleeping in Perth tonight ...


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    ... a short distance out of Caiguna I stopped to check my cooling system and snapped a pic of this truck thundering past. Over the next 13 hours we passed each other about six or seven times - his longer fuel range and endurance balanced by my higher road speed resulted in a day-long game of leap frog ...


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    ... cheapest fuel in Norseman ...


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    ... almost home - the replica Ettamogah Pub at Cunderdin ...

    ... and an hour or so later I was home. About 6,400km clocked up in sixteen days (and that included about four rest days I think), one set of Dunlop 606's worn out, no accidents, a lot of fun, and the only incident on the road was in the last sixty seconds with a @#$%^ city slicker tailgater in a car giving me a hard time - and how much I wished I was still out riding along that Great Central Road !!!!
    #1
  2. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    Great Follow up...........
    #2
  3. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Awesome fella's.:D:clap
    #3
  4. olyflyer

    olyflyer Long timer

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    :thumb
    #4
  5. bully1

    bully1 Long timer

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    great stuff as usual Vince.:freaky
    #5
  6. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

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    Nice report Vince.
    I did the exact same ride (Great Central to Uluru and home via Glendambo, Gawler Ranges, Wirrula and the Nullarbor) but on a push bike, back in '96.

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    Nice country.

    Andrew.
    #6
  7. kiwi-gordon

    kiwi-gordon Been here awhile

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    Great report.

    Something to think about for next year I think.

    Gordon
    #7
  8. Vince_WA

    Vince_WA Rides badly :)

    Joined:
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    Tapping, WA

    .... and we thought we were crazy at times Andrew - well done !!!!
    #8
  9. Gobby

    Gobby Trust Me!

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    Another excellent RR Vince, thanks for sharing.:thumb

    Keep in touch.:beer
    #9
  10. neilaction

    neilaction Slightly Less Adventurous

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    Cheers Vince, great stuff. :1drink

    To say I'm jealous is an understatement. :1drink
    #10
  11. oz_mick

    oz_mick Been here awhile

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    Thanks Vince for the awesome RR and making me feel depressed sitting at home reading it. sigh

    Seriously really,,, I thorougly enjoyed reading it and hope one day to do a similair trip.
    #11
  12. farcall

    farcall Long timer

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    Great read Vince. :thumb :thumb

    The worst part is when you get home and it sinks in that your next ride is months away :(: .

    I've ridden the GCR twice in the last 18 months and I know I'll be doing it again and again... it's a great way to get anywhere east of the state border, even if it is the long way _____ .
    (the word round was deliberately omitted) :D
    #12
  13. Vince_WA

    Vince_WA Rides badly :)

    Joined:
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    Tapping, WA
    Thanks for the positive feedback, but I must admit that it falls way short of what I'd hoped for. We had some many funny moments - and a good few scary ones as well, and I thought I'd remember them well enough to put them down on paper (or at least the Internet) when I got home, but old age and memory loss is creeping up on me. I take my hat off to people who record all the fine details and can write a book about their exploits - especially on top of having to concentrate about the riding and camping etc etc - now that's something to applaud !!!

    I'll start going thru the video shortly and that may jog my memory, and provide some more stuff to upload :-)
    #13
  14. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff Supporter

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    That statement puts lie to those people who think that speed is the sole answer to covering distance.

    Big fuel capacity, a comfy seat, wind protection, and steady, legal(ish) speeds are what`s needed. These result in lower operating costs, and the rider wont become so tired, therefore being more able to enjoy the beers at the end of the day.

    Maybe the Far Riders are onto something.
    #14
  15. tripodtiger

    tripodtiger Off riding around on bitumen circles.

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    Plain and simple top stuff :thumb
    #15
  16. Desert2202

    Desert2202 Been here awhile

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    Great report and pictures. You have inspired me to get off my butt and do a similar trip I have thought about doing for years.

    I live in Alice and have longed to ride from here to Perth via the Great Central Road and back along the Nullaboar. Basically the opposite way you did.

    Well done

    Geoff in the desert
    1995 R1100GS
    #16
  17. DANNOj

    DANNOj Long timer

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    Awesome Vince! Great pics, and nicely narrated. :thumb

    Nice to see a mix of Klugger's and DR's, but the Guzzi is my favourite!!

    Catchya next ride.
    Dan
    #17