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

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

  1. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    That looks nice. Planning on I vestige ting this camping malarkey later this year.
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  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    So long as you have that magic plastic card for the odd real bed & solid roof it's a good thing. Otherwise popping up the nylon is great..So long as it's not raining. :-)

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  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 17 (127), Thurs, 14/09/17, Katherine, Shady Lane Tourist Park.

    Business getting in the way of Travel.

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    It's getting hot, 38C here in Katherine yesterday, 37C today. It was a very easy 110km ride up here from Mataranka & we have booked into a Cabin for two nights.

    One of the things going on in the background of the Happyidiots lives is managing & securing our financial future. I'm not willing to go into to much detail on this forum, but the basics are Jenny & I have set up a Self Managed Superannuation Fund, earlier this year we purchased a Commercial Property in Perth. We are now at the pointy end of the deal & our SMSF is going through the settlement process to finally secure the property.

    So what does this all mean for our Australian Ride. It means we have to adapt our Ride plans to achieve the result of completing the purchase of the Commercial Property. We thought that a couple of days in Katherine would be enough to sort this all out......WRONG !

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    Down Town Katherine NT (pop. 11000). We find the Post Office & pick up the Property Settlement Documents that we need to sign & return...all sounds very 20th Century.

    We had intended to travel up to Darwin via Kakadu National Park but now need to visit one of our Banks branches to shift some funds & thrust complete the property purchase. Our nearest Bank Branch is in Darwin a mere 320kms away. So tomorrow Jen & I will high tail it up to Darwin. Hopefully sort out this unfinished business at one of our Banks branches, spend the night in Darwin then head out to Litchfield NP for a couple of nights before returning back to Darwin. Where we have the bikes booked in for a service & some friends to catch up with.

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    Home for a couple of nights. A bit of luxury, nice to have an Air Cond.

    Jenny & I spent 12 months living in Darwin back in 1991, we both worked at the Casino. While there Jenny fell pregnant with our first child. But that my friends is another story in another lifetime. What I'm trying to portray is that even though it was 26 years ago we know Darwin & the Northern Territory, Top End pretty well & don't feel to bad missing out on the odd sight that we have seen before in our distant past.

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    It is definitely hot enough to go swimming every day now, 38C. Trying to keep cool.

    We now have 4 weeks until we have to be back in Mandurah, some 5000kms to ride. We have committed to giving a Presentation about our 8 week Indian Ride at the next Horizons Unlimited meeting that is being held in WA. I guess all this means that this Australian Ride & this RR is rapidly coming to an end. I intend to keep regularly updating the RR until we get home. Just thought it is worth letting you know what's going on & why.
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  4. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 18 (128), Friday, 15/09/17 Katherine to Palmerston (Darwin) then back to Howard Springs 325kms.

    We escaped Katherine nice & early to beat the heat. Made a quick fuel stop at Adelaide River for some fuel & quick drink then rode the last 100kms to Palmerston.

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    More 130km/h speed limits.....nice. Jenny's little CB500X Honda struggles a bit at that speed so we generally maintain 115-120km/h. You don't see much at that speed but at least the fast cars don't run you down.

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    Whoops little quick there. Does the S-Ten go any quicker...maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, I can't remember :-)

    Palmerston is on the outskirts of Darwin & has a large Shopping Centre, which happens to have one of our Bank Branches there.

    Jen & I parked the bikes up on the path near the Bank & before you knew it a Parking Inspector was on top of us, warning us that if we parked there we would incur a fine. So obviously we shifted over to a nearby car park.

    No hassles at the Bank, so we have now jumped through all the hoops that we can at this stage......We deserve a beer ! I had noticed a Pub at the front of the Shopping Centre, we rode the Bikes over there. Once again parked up on the path near the Pub (like to keep an eye on things in these larger towns), no Parking Inspector pounced on us , so we headed into the Pub to enjoy a coldie & plan what we should do next now that we had arrived into Darwin 3 days earlier then planned.

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    It's hot & we just had some success at the Bank, just one quick beer before heading back to Howard Springs for the night.

    The Happyidiots came up with a pretty straight forward solution. We would ride back to Howard Springs (10kms south) stay at the Caravan Park, then head out to Litchfield NP for two nights.

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    Howard Springs Caravan Park, nice enough & no complaints except the cost for our little patch of grass.
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 19 (129), Saturday 16/09/17 Howard Springs to Wangi Falls (Litchfield NP), 120kms... with a short 30km section of dirt.

    Howard Springs, Big 4 Caravan Park was nice enough but expensive at $46 per night, so we were happy to pack up & head off. The ride out to Litchfield was good. We stopped at Berry Springs for a look and reminisce. Last time we were there was 18 years ago with our 3 very young children. There were large Water Monitor Lizards roaming around. Berry Springs is still special but sadly the Lizards are all gone now after the Cane Toad invasion arrived several years back.

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    Berry Springs, one of the many fantastic Croc free water holes that you can swim in that are dotted around the Top End.

    After finishing our coffees at Berry Springs we continued on. Once onto the Litchfield Park road it actually became a really good ride, with twisties & long sweepers to keep us both amused. My Brother Geoff even rang so we spoke for about 5 minutes while I rode along, then the phone signal dropped out. Then BAM, dirt road, slippery thick, small sandy gravel stuff.

    My instrument panel thermometer was indicating 38C, we had slowed our speed down to 50km/h on the dusty dirt track. There was a bit of road works happening & some graders trying to improve things. It looks like they plan to seal this last section of the Litchfield road to create a continuous bitumen loop through the Park. Now that will be a nice Bike ride.

    Finally it turned back to the hard black stuff & we arrived at Wangi Falls. Wow this place has certainly changed. It is now verging on a Circus Side Show, there's a Cafe, BBQ's, great facilities, masses of people swimming & bobbing around on noodles etc.

    We set up the Tent, paid our $26.50 for two nights at the honour box & went swimming with everyone else. The Falls are still as majestic as ever. The water temperature was just right & we had a pleasant swim around. It's a 300m walk back to our camp site.

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    Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park, popular place on a hot day, time to get wet.

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    Wangi Falls, Litchfield NP, Northern Territory. About 120kms from Darwin if you take the shortest route.

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    The water temperature is just fabulous.

    Then plonked our Helinox camp chairs in the shade on a nearby grassy area & enjoyed an afternoon reading (no wifi or phone reception) & swatting biting March Flys. Later we made good use of the free BBQ's & cooked up some steaks.

    Just before I wrap up this RR post I need to tell you what an amazing night it was. There was no moon, no wind, there was a Bilzilion Stars in the sky, little nocturnal Bandicoots, Quolls & the odd feral Pig scampering around. Bats flying past. The warm red wine even tasted ok as well. :-)
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  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 20 (130), Sunday, 17/09, rest day Wangi Falls camp ground Litchfield NP.

    What can I say great day, met some great people, had a zero $$$ day, heaps of swimming. I'll let the photos tell the story.

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    We've started getting up at sunrise now, since it's not cold. Here's our little camp site in the Wangi Falls camp ground. It is an easy 300 meter walk to the Falls.

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    I'm having a look for Johnson River Crocodiles, apparently they only eat fish. Can't see any, all good :-)

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    You can't see them but there are heaps of Sooty Grunters (Black Fish up to 40cm long) in the water with Jenny.

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    We met Dianne & Andy from Alice Springs. Great couple, they even shouted us a few cold beers out of their esky, said we could shout them back next time they visit the West...thanks guys, it was a top day !
    .
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  7. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 21 (131), Mon, 18/09, Wangi Falls to Darwin via Bachelor. 185kms.

    Team wiljen got away from Wangi just after 8am, just before leaving we said a quick "see ya later" to Alan & Dianne. Our next stop was Florence Falls about 30kms away, still in Litchfield NP. The ride there was really pleasant & interesting the temperature was still under 30C & there was no wind.

    At Florence Falls you can walk about 1.2kms down to the Falls & Plunge Pool but Jenny's knees are still causing her grief so we just checked them out from the look out. Luckily we have been to the Plunge Pool quite a few times in the 90's so I didn't feel to bad about giving them a miss.

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    Florence Falls in Litchfield NP, pretty easy to spend a whole day down in that glorious Plunge pool.

    Next up it was a short distance to our secret place....Buley Rock Holes, we had camped there a several times & they use to be at the end of a rough dirt track. Well not anymore, the whole world seems to know about them now. There is a bitumen road there, large car park, toilets, pathways & lots of people. I'm just so glad we have those memories of having the whole place to ourselves back in the early 90's & being able to park our Ford F100 right at the Rock Holes. Still a nice spot & we spent at least an hour swimming there. At least half of the other people were nubile female backpackers in tiny bikinis, so the view was ok as well.

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    Buley Rock Holes, this place is ACE ! We spent an hour just enjoying the view. Hey Jen what are you looking at over there ?

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    Just one of the many large Termite Mounds in the area, still in Litchfield.

    Still in our wet bathers we chucked on our riding gear & headed for Bachelor, a small town on the edge of Litchfield. We bought some burgers & drinks, just as we were finishing up Dianne & Andy rocked up, so we chatted to them for awhile.

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    One last goodbye to Andy & Dianne at Bachelor, they're headed back to Alice Springs.

    From Bachelor it was straight through to Darwin. We are staying in a 4 story motel located in the locality of Parap, which is one of Darwin's original suburbs. The Paravista Motel was open in May 1974, about 6 months before old Darwin was wiped out by Cyclone Tracy (Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Day 1974) lots of people sadly lost their lives & Cyclone Tracy went on to come one of the most infamous Cyclones to hit Australia.

    Anyway somehow the Paravista survived, it's a quirky place, still with 70's decor. One good thing is our old local drinking/eating hole the Parap Hotel is only about 250mtrs away from here.

    One thing I've noticed as we rode in, is the 2017 Darwin is vastly different from 1991 Darwin, we are looking forward to spending a few days here & checking the place our. Sometimes we think about moving back here.
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  8. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 21 (131), Mon, 18/09, Wangi Falls to Darwin via Bachelor. 185kms.....CONTINUED
    Some preliminary Darwin & Paravista Motel photos.

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    The Paravista Manager (formally a West Australian but lived in Darwin for 7 years) gives me tentative permission to climb to the top of the Motel & snap a couple of pics. He mumbled something like "I know nothing, if you fall it's your problem". So 4 stories plus the mobile phone tower...:-)

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    Darwin City Skyline. 18/09/17.

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    Panoramic photo of Darwin from the Paravista phone tower.

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    Late December 1974 after Cyclone Tracy destroyed the old Darwin, Paravista Motel (centre of the picture) was one of the few surviving structures.
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  9. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 24 (134), Thursday, 21st September, Darwin NT. Approximately 14400kms travelled in Aus. on the bikes since our original departure on the 2nd of April.

    This is our last full day in Darwin....
    Jenny & I have caught up with a few friends while here in Darwin, Danyelle our sister in-laws younger sister, Max the epic long distance cyclist, who we rode with for awhile on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula back in 2015. He's finishing up his 30 month Australian/Indonesia tour where he has ridden 14000kms & heading back to Scandinavia.

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    Hi Max, great to catch up with you again mate. https://cycloaustralis.wordpress.com/

    Tonight we are going out for dinner with an old ex-workmate (& Facebook Friend) Howie & his wife Carin. Must say I'm looking forward to that. He's done some huge Aussie trips on his big Harley Davidson.

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    Our Rev-it Riding Jackets & Pants are starting to smell a bit fruity, they haven't been washed since we started this trip. So we take the opportunity to freshen them up a bit.

    Yesterday we took the Honda CB500X & riding it two-up, went sight seeing. There was quite a bit of reminiscing while touring around Darwin. We checked out the CBD, the old shared house/units place we use to live in, East Point & Fanny Bay, amongst other things. Wow Darwin has changed massively over the past 25 years, we hardly recognise it.

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    Old WW2 Cannon Emplacement at Darwin's East Point. Use to be a 9.2 inch gun there, first fitted in 1944. Darwin was attacked by the Japanese in February 1942 which caused heaps of damage and 236 fatalities.

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    Jenny & I go 2-up "Scooter Style" on the Honda for a tour around Darwin, here we have arrived at Rorkies Hotel in Darwin's CBD.

    The Happyidiots are really looking forward to getting back on our bikes, which have been serviced & are ready for the final 5000kms across the top & down the sparsely populated West Coast back home. Tomorrow the journey continues. :-)
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  10. Portly

    Portly Plodder

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    If you are into reading there is a book by Tim Flannery called The Explorers which has diary entries and other short quotes from various explorers of Australia over the years which starts from the Dutch back in the 1600s.
    There is an interesting segment about Burke and Wills. There was another with them named King who survived by living with the natives for a month or so after the others died. He was then rescued by a search party and was able to tell the story.
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  11. Not the Messiah

    Not the Messiah Old enough to know better, but slow learnin'

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    All right already, you can claim you're commission from NT Tourism. We've all put it on our list! :-)
    Thanks for posting up.
    Cheers
    Brian
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Brian I've been doing my best not to be a whining West Aussie from the S/West, but f*ck it's stinking hot & humid up here ! Never thought I'd ever say "that I can't wait to get to the moderate climate of Carnarvon, WA. " and that town is known to be hot.
    Thanks for following... Will
  13. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    You
    You are right Portly, there are some amazing Australian early exploration stories out there. I'll check out The Explorers once I get home. All the best...
    Will
  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    The Happyidiots escape the clutches of Darwin.
    Day 25 of part 2, (total=135) Friday the 22nd of September. Darwin to Pine Creek, mainly on the back roads, 295kms.

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    See ya Max, enjoy that snow in Sweden !

    First up it was breakie at a nearby Cafe with Max. Then by the time we packed up & said good bye to everyone at Paravista Motel it was 10.30am. Next we stopped at Coles Supermarket in Palmerston to resupply so it was 11.30am & 38 Degrees Celsius by the time we were riding out of the city limits.

    Jenny dialed in a "scenic shortcut" that left us totally off the correct route & we ended up out at Channel Island which is home to a very large Gas Plant.

    Once back on track we came out near Berry Springs, then after a quick refreshment (read beer) at Adelaide River we took a back road that passed close to the Daly River & Douglas Hot Springs. It is a stinking hot & humid day so we made a stop at Robin Falls for a quick, stripped down to underwear swim.....so nice :-)

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    Gregory Creek near Robin Falls.

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    It's hot & we decide that cooling off will be a good idea.

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    Jen had something in her eye so we make a stop at Hayes Creek about 80kms north of Pine Creek.

    Once at Pine Creek we set up camp in the Lazy Lizard camp ground, had a swim in the pool, then consumed a couple of coldies at the Pub. Next thing you know Danyelle, Husband Mark, Rugrats , bros & Dad are there, half unexpected. So we kicked on a little bit. Right now it's 10pm there is no fly on our tent & the smartphone is saying it's 29C !!!

    We have 21 days to cover approximately 4600kms, this means an average of 220kms per day, should be easy, we will see. Thanks for reading, maybe no wifi or reception for the next 3 days, we are aiming for Victoria River tomorrow.
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  15. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Map Details:
    Day 18 (128), Friday 15/09 to Day 28 (138), Monday 25/09, 7 riding days & 4 non-riding. Howard Springs-Litchfield-Darwin-Pine Creek-Timber Creek-Lake Argyle-Halls Creek. 2060kms.
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 26, (136), Sat, 23/09, Pine Creek to Timber Creek via , Katherine, Victoria River, 395kms, 38C Deg.

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    Just North of Katherine having a quick "break".

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    Unusual rock formation about 10kms from Katherine.

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    We stayed in the Caravan Park behind the Timber Creek Roadhouse/Hotel, down at the actual Timber Creek there are about 7 resident Freshwater Crocs that they feed a few times a week. This fellow is about 6 foot long so probably the Alfa Male.

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    Greg from Broome arrived on this unusual outfit, he had picked it up in Adelaide & was riding it home via the Stuart Hwy through the guts. Nice bloke even shouted me a nice cold beer out of his car fridge....cool :-)
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  17. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 27 (137), Sun, 24/09, Timber Creek to Lake Argyle, 39C, 245kms, time change -1.5hrs Once we crossed into Western Australia.

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    After about five & half months the bikes arrive back in their home State. Quarantine Check Post in background.

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    On the 36km side road to Lake Argyle, looks like anything goes out here.

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    The huge & magnificent Lake Argyle (1000 square kilometres) started in 1969, completed in 1971.

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    The Lake Argyle Dam wall isn't even that big, just in a strategic location. The water currently is for the agriculture area around Kununurra. The lake is fed from the Ord River. Next up we booked into the Tourist Park, put up out tent and went for a swim in the infinity pool, it was a 39C day.
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  18. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Right now, ..today. As you probably noticed I'm busy catching up on the RR. Not much free Wifi or decent phone coverage out here.
    Today was fantastic riding, the scenery was exceptional. Lots happened, starting with our neighbour in a large RV Van making us morning coffees & having a chat, Fabian was in her sixties & had been travelling solo around Oz for the past 3 years. We saw wild Brumbies (feral stock horses), taught a group of youngish Backpackers how to check the tyre pressure on their hire Landcruiser. For the second time on this tour we were RBT'ed by the Police in Halls Creek & finally got an air cond room at the Kimberley Hotel in Halls Creek....did I mention it was another hot day. :-)

    DAY 28, (138), Monday 25/09/17, Lake Argyle to Halls Creek via Kununurra, 450kms.

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    I take a action photo of Jenny crossing the Ord River Diversion Dam. The black plume in the background above the building is a "Dust Devil" or "Willy Willy" depending on where you are from, it's over some burnt out bushland.

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    Then Jen takes a pic of me. You may not be able to see it, but I am smiling.

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    The bottom of the Diversion Dam, near Kununurra.

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    Just a small sample of what our 450km ride was like today. Big Spaces, Big Skies, Great Scenery & Hot.
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  19. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Excellent update but I'm lost.....what is "RBT'ed by police"??:dunno:hmmmmm
    Best Regards....just jeff
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  20. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Just Jeff, in all Australian States & Territories there is Random Breath Testing (RBT) where the Police are allowed to stop you, even if you haven't broken any laws, traffic or otherwise & get you to blow into an alcohol analyser machine to make sure you are under the limit for blood alcohol level.

    Generally that level is 0.05% in all States, there is a slight loop hole in WA, where you can be between 0.05-0.08% but it will cost you. 6 demerit points & a hefty fine, but no loss of licence.

    These Halls Creek Cops were actually very friendly & courteous about it, they even said "don't worry about getting your licence out, you obviously have one" though they did take our names, address & rego plate details.

    I'm guessing you have something similar in Canada ?
    Will
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