Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 103, Fri, 14/07, Cooktown......continued.

    Forgot to mention we had some heavy rain last night, luckily our old tent is still keeping us dry :clap

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    After our sight seeing, Jenny & I head for the Pub to have a light lunch before doing some grocery shopping.

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    It turns out we we aren't the only ones in town with the "Pub-Lunch, Beer" idea. Nice old 900 Ducati there, I noticed 79000kms on its odometer. The other bikes were a KLR650 & DR650, they looked like they had seen some fun stuff !

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    What ya look'in at Willsie ?

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    Cooktown has some Gold Mining history, there are some nice historic buildings in town that have managed to survive fires & Tropical Cyclones. The population is about 2500.
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  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Oldbeer,
    Yes I bet you are freezing your balls off :-) mate if you have never been up here (FNQ ?) put it on your list. So much to see & do, if you have been here then next NZ winter maybe it's time for another trip. Only another week of updating the RR then I'll continue on with it once we return late August. Try and keep warm....Will
  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 104, Sat, 15/07, Cooktown to Cape Tribulation. via
    Bloomfield 115kms (32kms rough dirt with large water crossings & rain).

    Wow what a day ! Even though we only did 115 kilometres it was a challenge for us. As we departed Cooktown it started to drizzle a little, by the time we were at the Black Rock Mountains (very large hills made up of huge black boulders) the drizzle had ceased. It started up again at the Lions Den Hotel, a rustic old Pub at the start of the Bloomfield road. It was just on 10am so we stopped there for a coffee, hoping for a lull in the drizzly rain. The light rain didn't seem like it was going to stop any time soon so we continued on with our journey.

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    Lions Den, I could imagine this place goes off on the weekend !


    At a Boat Ramp on the Bloomfield River we spied a covered bench so stopped there for a lunch of prawns (that we had bought the previous evening off Nico the Cooktown Fish Monger). The Prawns went down a treat, we took care not to get to close to the River as there were Warning Signs about Crocodiles & those large "Snapping Lizards" make us nervous, we have seen them in action in our younger days up in Darwin & they can't be trusted.

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    How good is this, freshly cooked prawns for lunch on the Bloomfield River. Sure beats working !

    It wasn't long before we were riding along the 32km dirt section of the Bloomfield Track, this gave us a small taste of what it would have been like travelling through this area back in the 80's & 90's when we had originally wanted to travel over here but human biology got in the way :-) . The rain had stopped at this point & we were hopeful that possibly it was over, keep in mind we are suppose to be in the "Dry Season" now.


    While on the track (approximately halfway) the rain began again which made for some slippery conditions, there are a couple of steep hills one being a 33 degree gradient & the other at 20 degree. Some concrete with grooves was laid in these sections so on the bikes there was no issues even in the wet conditions, just stay away from the edge & don't stop were the only rules.

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    Grooved Concrete on the steeper gradients.

    Also we saw a Cassowary during one muddy section of the track. I pulled over and immediately switched the bike off. I told Jenny about it & asked her to switch off as well. The large rare flightless bird was about 100mtrs in front of us in the middle of the track. Wow & double wow !!! The GoPro was on but unbeknown to me there was a large water droplet in the middle of the lens. Luckily I did mange a couple of long distance iPhone 7 snaps that turned out ok. This was a real "Yeti" moment for us & we would have watched the Cassowary for longer but a car came & scared it off into the jungle.


    The other challenging obstacles were the water crossing, all up there were 5 of them, with the worst being the last. If we had travelled the Track south to north we may had actually turned back at this big crossing but since we only had about 5kms further to go to reach Cape Trib. there would be no turning back.


    I don't mind admitting to being a total Off-roading Motorbike Noob....Put me in our diesel Toyota Landcruiser 4WD 100 Series with it's centre & rear diff locks, low range transfer case, snorkel & large all terrain tyres then no problem, I'm in ! On a 265kg plus cargo Super Tenere I'm a very nervous man. Poor Jenny is feeling even worse, especially after the last crossing.


    What we are faced with is a 30 metre water crossing ranging from 700mm deep at the beginning & improving to 500mm as you traverse it. The bottom consists of river sand in the first 5 metres turning to fist sized & bigger smooth river rocks, water is flowing moderately fast, both the entrance and exit have been chewed up by numerous vehicles so there is a ledge to negotiate as well. To top it off there is a yellow sign that warns against swimming. "Salt Water Crocodile Inhabit This Area" .... Great so not much room for error then.


    While trying to work out how to tackle the river crossing a 4WD Dual Cab Ute comes along, heading the same direction as us, we watch it cross & I decide to follow exactly where it's right side wheel tracks went. I jump on the Tenere, fire up the 1200cc motor with Jenny watching & yelling moral support via the helmet intercom I go for it !


    Revving the motor & trying my best to maintain forward momentum, my adrenaline is pumping to much for me to be scared. The bike is slipping, bumping off submerged rocks, my feet & legs are wet but eventually I reach the other side, powering it over the ledge. Whew...I made it.

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    Happyidiots learning on the job, this was our biggest Bloomfield water crossing.

    "Your turn Jen" I yell across the water.....I can see she is actually very nervous & doubtful of her ability, not an emotion she experiences to often.

    "Would you like me to ride your bike across for you" I call out ? She gives the big thumbs up to that suggestion so cautiously with my eyes wide open I wade back to the other side. Now I'm really wet.


    Just as I reach the northern side of the crossing a couple of older blokes on what I guess are about 600cc Dirt/Enduro Style Bikes arrive. They are all serious & in a no-nonsense mood. We explain where we think it's best to cross, they decide to not take my word for it and one of them walks the crossing, zig zagging & trying to work out the best approach. In the end they decide on roughly where the 4WD Utes left set of wheels had travelled. I'm ok with that, the first Old Dude goes, paddling his legs along to help maintain balance, then the next old Boy follows. After he exits I'm on my way on Jenny's little 500cc Honda, pretty much following a similar route to the two Dirt Bikes.


    The Dirt Bike Riders are decent enough to wait on the other side for me (just in case). I go to exit over the ledge I nearly loose my balance but mange to regain it & it's done, two Adventure Touring Style Bikes on 70/30 tyres have made it.


    The Old Blokes give me a wave & continue up the muddy hill. I wait for Jenny to wade across, we then spend 5 minutes getting our act together & make our way the short distance to Cape Tribulation & PK's where we decide to fork out for a Hut as the rain is now pouring down & remains like that until the early hours of the next morning. After 5 x $10 jugs of beer & some dinner we are ready to call it a night.


    2 minute video of our Bloomfield Ride.

    Sunday will be a rest & look around Cape Trib day while our gear dries out. "Part C" of our Australia/New Zealand Bike Tour is now nearly at a close. We have ridden 10343kms (according to the Tenere odometer) in Aus & the 1180kms on the GSA in NZ. I estimate approximately 1000kms of that has been on Dirt/Gravel Roads.
  4. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Great stuff guys!!
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Our Halfway Point in the Journey....short break in our Tour coming up.

    16/07/17. Sunday, Day 105 Cape Tribulation. FNQ...Far North Queensland, or is it "F*ck'n Not Quickly" ?

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    Happyidiots on the Famous, Cape Tribulation beach, shame you can't swim in there, Croc's, Sharks & Stingers !

    Fellow present & future ADV Riders, all is good up here in FNQ. It's not cold, quite humid, the sand flies bite you often, it rains more than we thought it should for this time of year & the place is absolutely crawling with the whole repertoire of travellers/tourists. In general we are loving it.

    Most people are unsure of us...."oh are you on a gap year"?, "extended holiday"?, "what do you do for work"?, "when do you have to go home"?

    When we say, we can't be bothered working or paying taxes anymore, we go home occasionally to tweak investments or have a rest (holiday) from travelling at the THB (Travel Home Base) but plan on travelling until the gig is over, it really throws them !

    Most people seriously can't handle a couple in their 40's not working, ( & not wanting to work), gee we struggle with how they feel about our current lifestyle choice at times but hey, tomorrow's a new and relatively unplanned day, who knows what magic it will bring.

    So after freaking out our similarly aged Kiwi neighbours on their annual holidays at PK's Jungle Village at Cape Tribulation we head over to the Bar for a few beers & play some Pool. Earlier we went for a walk.

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    Jenny hustling me at Pool again :-) PK's Jungle Village, Cape Tribulation, Qld.

    Walking is extremely hard for Jen, her knees & lower back hurt her a lot. The Doctor said it's Hereditary Osteoarthritis, one of the reasons for heading back to Perth in a few days is for Jenny to see an Arthritis Specialist. Surely there is something that can be done or will this be her last hard core adventure ? We both hope not !

    As you can see not all is well in Happyidiots Travelling Paradise. To you people planning your future trips, DON'T WAIT TO LONG, there are no guarantees in life & good health is your biggest asset, then time, with being cashed up a distant third.

    I've also been recently asked by a good cycling mate to join him on a bicycle ride from Cairns to the "Tip" of Cape York in 4 weeks. I actually gave it real consideration. How hard can it be, go home, pack up my expedition bicycle, fly back, ride to the Tip, catch the Supply Barge back, ship the bicycle home & continue on our Motorbike Tour. After some research, I see I will need 4 weeks. Currently my plate is to full, I'm mentally & physically not prepared for such an arduous 900km bicycle ride so today (Monday) I advised Max I'll be focusing on our Motorbike Tour and other life priorities.

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    Noah's Beach (?) one of the many we stopped at as we headed south today.

    That's enough rambling about the life & times of wiljen, aka Happyidiots. On Monday the 17th of July (Today) we have a very leisurely Bike ride out of Cape Tribulation. Checking out places like Cow Bay, Cape Kimberley & the small town of Daintree along the way. I still need to check the Tenere's, trip meter, but I'm guessing we only rode 100kms (ended up being 115km) to Mossman, which is a mere 20kms from Port Douglas. Right now we are resting up at the Mossman Motel & Holiday Villas.

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    Where we are staying tonight in Mossman....nice !

    I'll keep you all occasionally updated between now and the end of August when we return to Queensland to continue our ride home.

    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising up, every time we fall." — Confucius
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  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thanks Shane,

    About to have 6 weeks off, I will do a few short "I'm alive" updates but the Aus Ride RR will have to wait until late August.

    Will
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  7. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Enjoy your "holiday" Will and Jen and thanks for the updates.
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  8. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Looking forward to the resumption of your travels!
    Best Regards....just jeff
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  9. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 109. 20/07/17.
    MaverickAus, Shaggie, Oldbeer, Just Jeff, Workhorse & anyone else who has been following our Ride Report, I would like to say THANK YOU for your support & encouragement. In about an hour I'll be heading down to Cairns from Port Douglas with Jenny on the back of the Tenere as pillion. Jenny is flying home later tonight, easiest option is to just ride the bike there & back.

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    Looking out over Port Douglas 4 Mile Beach.

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    Day 102 - 107, 13th-18th of July, 5 days & a mere 540kms.

    Sadly yesterday we found out Jenny's (Step) Father of over 40 years passed away after suffering from Dementia for the past few years. It was a bit of a shock as we were both certain we would get home before Joe died. Jenny's side of the family are all close, we all loved & respected "Poppy Joe" greatly. It will be nice for Jen to get home later tonight & see her Mum tomorrow.

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    RIP Poppy Joe, you will be missed by the whole family.

    Since there really is not much I can do & the funeral won't be held until late next week we have both agreed that I should continue with my plan to head south to Victoria, prior to coming home.
    Tomorrow I'll be flying down to Melbourne with my brother Geoff, once there we will catch up with my other brother, Steve & our son, Hayden. Steve won second prize at the Essendon/Collingwood AFL Game Brunch back in late April for 4 tickets to round 18's Football game between Collingwood/West Coast Eagles. So it's a Boys long weekend in Melbourne.

    During our 5-6 weeks back in Mandurah we have heaps to do, I'll do an informal short RR post in a few weeks to let you know how it is all progressing. As I've said before feel free to take a peek at our personal adventure blog if you get curious, though I'm guessing that will be mostly on hold as well, while we sort out our lives.
    https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com/

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    Jenny & I arrive at Cairns Airport, have a safe trip Jen, I'll see you in 4 days. Love Ya :-)

    We haven't booked return flights from Perth to Cairns yet but our current most likely plan is to return to Cairns/Port Douglas about the 29th of August. We won't muck around, Geoff is looking after our Bikes & Gear while we are away (thanks Mate, really appreciated) but upon our return we will be taking to the road pretty much immediately.

    Both of us are keen to ride across the Top then down the West Coast. The weather window will be short & temperatures starting to heat up but it will be worth it. We have maybe 6 weeks to ride from Port Douglas to Mandurah.

    Once again thanks ADV Riders, since the report is starting to go off track I'll be signing off temporarily on this for now. We will be back, if for nothing else we do need to retrieve our Bikes. Will.
  10. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Sorry for your loss Jenny and Will. All the best and see you in a while.
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  11. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    All the best guys. Was great to meet you in NZ.
    Your lifestyle would puzzle most people, unless they are avid bike riders - as the saying goes, only bikers know why dogs stick their heads out of car windows!
    But the only people it actually matters to are you two so good on you for taking your opportunities while you can. I hope that Jenny can get a bit of help with her leg and you return to the Far North refreshed and ready for the trip around the top. Sorry to hear about your loss, its good to be with family at those times.
    Whether you are in Perth or FNQ I reckon you will be warmer than us, if not necessarily drier. Take care and look forward to your posts when you get going again.
    Cheers
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Oldbeer, quite a few of the Kiwi contingent are headed over to WA, for the send off . It would be a 500 page novel to tell you all about Joe, British Army, Para Trooper, Malayan Conflict, Stunt Man, even worked with John Wayne on a movie Hatari. That is just his earlier days !
    Yeah we are struggling a bit but the good news is when you are on the bike riding under that big blue sky every thing feels close to perfect . Love the dogs head out the window analogy....so true. We will be back soon, just have to go home, regroup & sort out some business. Thanks Mate.
    Will
  13. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    MaverickAus, we are happy to have you along for the ride. I thought long & hard about posting some of this stuff but feel it's good to let people know about our reality on the road. So glad you are keeping tabs on us and giving us the heads up on some of the East Coast routes. Cheers Will
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  14. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    I am sorry for your loss Jen and Will. As we get older this happens more often. It is another reminder not to let time catch you by surprise.
    Best Regards....just jeff
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  15. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Just Jeff, thank you for your kind words.
    I've now been home for 2 days, understandably Jenny is quite upset, the memorial service is this Friday. The THB house needs heaps of work, it's mid-winter here, tonight we have to head back to Perth Airport & pick up Jenny's sister who is flying in from the UK.
    All quite overwhelming at the moment, I can honestly say I wish we were both back on our Bikes up in North Queensland.
    There is Jenny's little purple XL883N Iron sitting in the shed but the battery is flat, I'll sort that out today so at least one of us will be able to go for a ride to clear out the head for an hour or so.

    Will

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    Old photo from last winter, just to give you an idea.
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Friday 11/08/17
    Currently in Mandurah, Western Australia. Not having much fun....this post is to help link Part A of our tour with the next Part B section of out Australia Bike Tour.

    G'day to you all out there in Adventure Rider RR world. I hope things are going your way.
    As promised here is a quick update on how we are travelling during the brief intermission of our Australian Ride. We are having a 6 week break to sort out some "Life Issues".

    After 110 days & 11700kms (combined Aus/NZ bike kilometres) we have flown home to Mandurah, WA, from Cairns, Qld. Jenny's Dad had passed away & we attended a nice memorial service for him. There are also some financial commitments to attend to while we are back home as well. The Tenere & Honda are parked up undercover in Port Douglas, back in Queensland.

    Behind the scenes over the past few years Jenny & I have been downsizing. After a huge effort we have sold the large family home, renovated & moved into a smaller centrally located house that we call the "Travel Home Base" or THB for short. There is still heaps to be done, like get rid of unnecessary stuff, finish off gardens & generally try to make everything easy care.

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    The THB, we haven't been totally doing nothing while home. With help from Rohan (one of our favourite Contractors) lots of progress has been made on the Front Yard.

    We are now at the halfway point of this intermission in our trip. Our plan is to fly back to Cairns in a few weeks & continue our journey across the Top of Oz, then down the West Coast back to Mandurah. Both of us are really missing our ADV bikes & riding on the wide open roads of Australia's "Outback". Perth/Mandurah is experiencing it's wettest July/August in over 30 years. Being mid winter means it's pretty cold as well.

    There is a reasonably easy solution to the Bike Blues. We still have Jenny's little HD 883 Iron with a dead battery, that is easy enough to sort out but only one Bike that has a solo seat means we can't go on rides together, unless I follow on a bicycle. :-)

    Nearly a couple of weeks ago, while at the local Mandurah Yamaha/KTM store picking up a new 12V Battery for the 883 I spotted a 2014 Yamaha Bolt, with only a mere 1200kms on it.

    Originally we were going to sell the 883 & use the cash to upgrade Jenny's CB500X, but after thinking about it we thought it maybe fun to have a couple of small Cruiser style bikes & just keep the ADV style bikes that we already own. Jen really loves her little Honda & it has definitely proven itself. Quite a few of our friends ride Cruisers so when we head out on group rides & other local short trips having a similar bike will hopefully be a bit more fun. I must admit I like the style of them.

    After sleeping on it we headed back to Mandurah Yamaha/KTM the next day and purchased the Bolt R-Spec at a great price. Back in 2014 it was worth about $13000 new, we got it for about 60% of that price. So much for downsizing & simplifying...

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    I go to the Yamaha/KTM store to buy a 12V Battery & end up with a Yamaha Bolt....? Yes I'm happy about it !

    Between the rainy days we have been out for a few rides, no where particularly special so far, it's just nice to get out there & keep our hard earned riding skills up to date. We even managed to get out this morning before the next massive Cold Front hits later tonight.

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    While out on a ride, Jenny wants to try out the new/used Yamaha Bolt R-Spec, while I ride her XL883N. Both bikes are very similar but different. Not yet totally sure which one I prefer. (note our helmets, they are our old HJC's we mailed home from NZ back in May).

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    Big Cold Front is due to cross the coast later today (Friday 11th of August).

    That's about it for now people, it hasn't been easy being home & we can't wait to continue on with our ride. I'm sure most of you know exactly what I mean.

    My next update will probably come to you in a few weeks time from Port Douglas just before we take to the road again. Meanwhile back to "housework" & the occasional ride for now. See ya soon...
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  17. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Great stuff re the house n bikes Will

    Hi from NZ (where winter really feels like winter)

    Shane
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  18. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Winter in NZ,
    So true Shane, us West Aussies are winter sooks for sure, the bad stuff only lasts for 6-8 weeks & is nothing like what you guys cop. We haven't even had a frost in Mandurah yet. Still doesn't stop us craving the tropics :-)
    All the best Will.
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  19. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Wow you sure been busy, hope the 3 weeks flies by (no doubt of that I think) and you get back to your real job. Entertaining those of us who wish we were doing it. :jack
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  20. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi MaverickAus, flights have been booked. Departing Perth on the 29th....we can't wait ! Should depart Port Douglas on the 31st & our awesome ride will continue. :-)
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