Great Dividing Range Australia Top to Bottom - Part 1

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by steve connelly, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We camped that night on the banks of a dry creek bed (Star Rv) with the sounds of kookaburras, lorikeets, plovers, bats and cockatoos all chirping, laughing and squawking … annoying the shit out of us actually.

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    They settled down after a while and sitting around the fire it got so quiet that we could once again hear dingos or wolves faintly howling in the far away hills … after a while we worked out the wolves were actually Mark’s fuel tank valve letting air in as the temperature dropped!

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    #41
  2. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Next day we were off to Charter’s Towers and a Macca’s breakfast including a read of the papers to find out what was happening in the world. We headed along off road routes via cattle station roads in a variety of condition, via Scartwater at the head of the Burdekin dam.


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    This was a little oasis in the middle of nowhere

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    Mark checking the speedo squeaking noise that had developed.
    #42
  3. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    A few more KMs along dusty dirt roads
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    Then to the remote Belyando Crossing Roadhouse and Campground where we fed the local vacuum cleaner ( a beautiful white Lab)

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    #43
  4. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    The run from Belyando to Emerald the next day was probably the most boring of the trip. After initially heading down the old road which was now single track (which was challenging including an off by Mark) we spent the rest of the day on open dirt roads with monotonous landscapes. It improved a bit as we came into Rubyvale and Gemstone (old mining towns if the names didn’t give it away) and we pulled into Emerald about 3.30pm.


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    Mark dropped into Kawasaki to get his squeeking speedo looked at and surprisingly the shot of WD40 they gave it didn’t do a thing!

    We stayed the night at Emerald with family friends Brian and Barb and pet dog Spanner who were incredibly hospitable considering our unannounced arrival. We had a great night chatting and swapping stories with fellow adventurers, Brian has many years of wild adventures up on us though! After a three course dinner, big breakky and even a packed lunch from Barb, we were fuelled up and on our way again heading east.

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    #44
  5. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We were loving it!!
    #45
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  6. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Our route the next day out of Emerald took us onto an ever-diminishing dirt road. What often happens is that as you pass each cattle station, the road gets a bit less used and a bit narrower, this repeats itself until either 1) you end up at a dead end at a station, or 2) the reverse starts to happen and the track improves as you pass stations and head toward another main road or a town. Today’s track was one of the first type and we found ourselves going through farm gates until our purple line had us following only a cow track through the scrub.

    We kept going because the country wasn’t too rough and we could probably just keep going through the bush if needed until we came out the other side about 10km away. We got half way in and set up camp, once again on a dry creek bank.

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    And again it was an open fire, bush sounds, the full moon and the stars for company. I was disturbed during the evening by a wild pig investigating the camp, and ... very disturbed by what I thought was an albino kangaroo which turned out to be Mark on the bush toilet!

    It rained a bit overnight and it also started getting colder again as we crossed the tropic of Capricorn line. We continued our journey along the cattle trails until we came up to some cattle yards behind a homestead ... at least there would be a road out! A cattle dog with attitude greeted us with a fair amount of barking. We couldn't find a gate so we had to ride the bikes through the corrals like cattle with the cattle dog nipping at our heels ... yehaa! By this time we were expecting to be roped in, quartered, and branded by the owner but it appeared that no one was home. As we headed out the driveway we could see his fresh 4WD tracks leading out. We reckon the station owner would return, see our bike tracks and follow them back up the drive, across the grass, and in through the corrals and be wondering what the bloody hell took place ... if only the dog could talk!

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    By the time we got up into the Bunya Mountains we had put on all our cold weather gear and were still chilly! We limped into Cooyar, low on fuel and considered staying at the free camping behind the pub until we saw one lonely looking character propped up on a bar stool … limited excitement here. We pushed on (much too quickly in the fading light) for Crow’s Nest where there was a pub with a fire, a meal (big T-bone), and a warm bed (two warm beds actually).


    It was to be our last night on the road and we decided to make it a good one. We met a few great local characters including Barry the cowboy who manages cattle properties between Crows Nest and Chinchilla, his boss (a Ben Cousins almost look alike … steady girls this one wears a shirt and I did say almost), the local postie who rides a Honda 110 stepthrough, and the odd couple … a short guy with long hair and his tall girlfriend with short hair who do forestry work out there. Bazza was the definite comedian with some great stories. He also goes in some of the rodeo’s incl. Canungra and is looking forward to Mark and Sam hosting him and a few of his cowboy mates during next year’s event!

    Attached Files:

    #46
  7. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    The last day of the ride was pretty cruisy, more so because we didn't have too far to travel, rather than because we were hurting really badly from the big night before! We hit one dead end in a state forest where we temporarily lost each other for the first time in the whole trip. We came in through the back of Ipswich through Ripley Valley and then home to Marks. The planned route finished there and I had to find my own way home, for the first time without following a purple line!


    The trip was finally ending, the bikes had performed pretty well with no major dramas and we had avoided injury, we saw some great places and animals, and met some interesting characters. It had been a massive trip and a great experience….


    Some stats of the trip from the GPS.

    Total kms – 8300

    Days away - 33 total, 23 in the saddle, 3 rest days on the road, 7 days in Port Douglas

    Hours riding (moving) – 132.5hrs

    Avge speed – 62.7 km/hr

    Max Speed – 118 km/hr

    Max Elevation – 1114m

    Total ascent/climb – 66,598m


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    Reflecting on the trip, we would have never realized the profound impacts this trip would have on our lives. For example:


    Since returning home, Mark and I are both suffering “purple line withdrawal” This condition is where we no longer have a “purple GPS line” to follow every day. After spending four weeks following the purple line, and getting back to the purple line when lost, we now are a bit lost without it. Our misses’ attempts to draw purple lines to various places around the house where chores are waiting are not working very well. Mark is having more success by imagining there is a purple line to the pub. My Doctor has said that it can only be cured by creating another real purple line adventure for the bikes. Wife is not convinced and is suggesting I find a second more professional opinion.


    The second problem that has arisen is Mum is suffering “SPOT Tracker Withdrawal”. She is a bit lost without being able to log in any time during the day and see where her son is. We are also following Doctors advice and trialling a rehab program for Mum where I carry the SPOT tracker whenever I leave the house… gradually phasing it out over a couple of months.


    We will keep you posted on our progress on these initiatives to transition our lives back to normality!



    Cheers

    Steve & Mark

    Cape York Adventurers :)
    #47
  8. Slick13

    Slick13 Wanderer

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    Hong Kong, Australia (Bright) & Japan
    Top trip report Steve, thanks for taking the time to write this one up. Brought back many fine memories of my time spent in Cairns, the Cape and the Torres Strait; just a magic part of the country, and also responsible for a nasty rum addiction that took a few years to kick. Thankfully, I never got the taste for XXXX (they only put three X’s on bottles of poison mate). Glad yours and Mark’s friendship survived such an epic adventure, and I’m looking forward to following your next trip south. Stay safe.
    #48
  9. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    A most excellent adventure guys. Well done and great write up :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap

    We must be clones Steve - same bike, same helmet and same gps!

    Best of luck with the trip in March next year. If you need any gps logs or just want to chat about anything we've done in Tassie or the Alps etc just flick me a PM!

    Cheers :thumb

    ps perhaps whack a link to this RR on the pinned thread at the top of the Aussie forum (Local Ride Report Links) so more people can enjoy the read!
    #49
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  10. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Thanks @Slick13, it was probably the best trip of my life (don't tell the missus) and something Mark and I often reminisce about. Hope you enjoy Part 2!!
    #50
  11. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Yes @bull600 apart from same bikes and stuff, both good looking top blokes as well! The DR is great for those sorts of trips. I still have the Zues helmet and wear it when I commute but also bought a new Arai which was lots more $$ and probably not as good to be honest. Have also upgraded the bike for Part 2 and getting it set up.

    Thanks again for the info in your fantastic posts and gpx's, also for your offer for further info. We are having a meeting this w/e to sort out the route.

    Cheers
    #51
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  12. Happy Snapper

    Happy Snapper GOMOB.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brisbane, almost heaven!
    Awesome ride report..... XMAS 2008 my wife bought me the Long Way Round / Down box set. We both watched it non stop.

    At this point I hadn't owned a bike for years.

    March 09 and I buy a new KLR to ride to the cape.... but things change and I ended up going west to Birdsville.. in the company of Goosefether on his DR650.

    Your trip sounds like it was a real adventure.

    Well done.
    #52
  13. bungen

    bungen Been here awhile

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    A great write up on a great trip. Thank you.
    #53
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  14. LOFTYBOB

    LOFTYBOB Burning up 98 Octane

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    Thanks for the report, awesome trip.
    #54
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  15. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Thanks Happy Snapper, the KLR is a great bike to get into adventure riding. I checked out your blog and looks like you have upgraded since! BTW its never to late to do the Cape.
    #55
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  16. Valleyam

    Valleyam South Australian Tiger resistance group

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    Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia.
    Great Ride report Steve. Really enjoyed reading it.
    #56
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  17. robbiedobbie

    robbiedobbie Robbiemyboy

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    Armidale, NSW
    Thanks for taking the time to write what is, a great ride report!
    #57
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  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Very nice. Thanks.
    #58
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  19. Stubanger

    Stubanger Adventurer

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    South Australia
    Awesome Steve thanks for posting this one. One day i hope to get my KLR to the cape!
    #59
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  20. PilbaraGoat

    PilbaraGoat Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Tom Price, WA/Bendigo VIC
    Top report

    Brings back memories from 2000
    (How time flies)

    Looking forward to the next one.
    #60
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